Guests: Joel Bennett, Melissa Kogut, Jay Carney, Lisa Graves
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: So which is worse for a Republican
candidate for president? Being accused of sexually harassing women, or
being named Mitt Romney?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fourth woman has just come forward.
SHARON BIALEK, CAIN ACCUSER: Mr. Cain had been sexually inappropriate
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accusing Mr. Cain of sexual harassment.
BIALEK: Put his hand on my leg.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: His idea of a stimulus package.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you see Gloria Allred stepping forward to
represent someone, you know it`s about to get bad.
ALLRED: I`m here today with my client, Sharon Bialek.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me play the sound from Sharon Bialek, she`s
this latest woman.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: That amazing tape from a new Herman Cain
BIALEK: Put his hand on my leg, under my skirt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NBC News has not independently confirmed these new
BIALEK: I said, what are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NBC News has not confirmed these woman`s
BIALEK: Mr. Cain said, you want a job, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to stress NBC News has not independently
ALLRED: I for one am disgusted.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don`t even go there.
REPORTER: Can I ask my question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cain is still raking in the campaign cash. He`s
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: His supporters are basically saying, you know,
thumbing their nose at the media.
CAIN: Please send him the journalistic code of ethics.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: The Cain train, it just keeps going
around that track.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Lots and lots of Republicans say this is not a big
UNIDENTIFIED FEMAEL: I don`t get your party. I just don`t get them.
I don`t get them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of his primary opponents have attacked him
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A feel-good candidate for the Tea Party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Herman Cain should have been a joke long ago.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: If she cuts a sympathetic cloth,
it`s going to be a very, very tough haul for him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to understand America and I want to
understand the Republican Party.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: They`re not mad dog behind any one
TODD: Everything`s gotten attention except Mitt Romney`s record.
TOURE: He`s touching women but it`s better than Romney.
MATTHEWS: If Cain combusts and Romney remains Romney, who will be the
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR: If you don`t run Chris Christie, Romney will be
the nominee and we`ll lose.
O`DONNELL: In an NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll released
tonight, Herman Cain continues to hold his front-runner status, this time
in a tie with Mitt Romney. Cain`s 27 percent of the vote is exactly what
he had in this poll a month ago. The poll is taken after sexual
allegations against Cain emerged last week.
The poll asks Republican primary voters, how much concern, if any, do
you have about voting for Herman Cain based on these allegations? Fifty-
four percent of Republicans say they are not concerned at all. Fifteen
percent say just a little. Five percent say quite a bit. And 8 percent
say a great deal.
But that poll was taken before Cain`s newest accuser stepped to the
microphone today in New York. The accuser, Sharon Bialek, is a registered
Republican and was employed by the National Restaurant Association in
Chicago. Bialek claims that during that time, she spoke with Cain on
After she was fired from her job, a firing she considered unfair, she
says she contacted Cain for help finding another job. Bialek traveled to
Washington and met with Cain who took her out to dinner, assured her he
would consider helping her or look in to helping her find a job, then told
Bialek he wanted to show her the location of the National Restaurant
Association offices in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIALEK: He parked the car down the block. I thought that we were
going to go into the offices so he could show me around. At that time, I
had on a black pleated skirt, a suit jacket and a blouse. He had on a suit
with his shirt open.
But instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and he
put his hand on my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He
also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch. I was very, very
surprised and very shocked.
I said, "What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This isn`t
what I came here for." Mr. Cain said, "You want a job, right?"
I asked him to stop and he did. I asked him to take me back to my
hotel, which he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: About a month ago, Bialek claims she approached Herman
Cain at a Tea Party conference in Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIALEK: I went up to him and asked him, do you remember me? I guess
I wanted to see if he was going to be man enough to own up to what he had
done some 14 years ago. He acknowledged that he remembered me from the
foundation, but he kind of looked uncomfortable. And he said nothing as he
was whisked away for his speech by his handlers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: NBC News has not independently confirmed Bialek`s
The Cain campaign issued a statement after the press conference which
read in part, "All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are
completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately, the
American people will not allow Mr. Cain`s bold 9-9-9 plan, clear foreign
policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these
Joining me now, Joel Bennett, the attorney for one of the women who
has accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Thanks for joining me
tonight, Mr. Bennett.
JOEL BENNETT, ATTORNEY: You`re welcome, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Bennett, have you had any contact with Sharon Bialek?
BENNETT: I had contact with a woman named Sharon in Chicago the last
five days. I don`t know if it`s the same Sharon because I never got her
last name. The Sharon I had contact with left a voicemail in my office one
night indicating she had been harassed by Herman Cain while he was with the
National Restaurant Association. When I called her back the next day, she
said she had decided not to pursue it further.
I then called her again yesterday to advise her that she could give
her information confidentially if she wanted to. She said she`d think
about it and let me know. I have not heard from her since then.
It may be the same woman who spoke out today.
O`DONNELL: So you did have conversations with her on the phone only
with the first name Sharon and you heard her voice in this press conference
today. Does it sound like the same person?
BENNETT: I really couldn`t tell, Lawrence. I`m sorry.
O`DONNELL: OK. What do you think what Ms. Bialek revealed today --
how do you think it fits in the story as we currently know it about Herman
Cain and these kinds of allegations?
BENNETT: Her allegations are similar to the incidents that my client
suffered, not exactly the same, but similar, and to me it shows a pattern
and it would be interesting to know what the other two women suffered. But
his statements that he never engaged in sexual harassment clearly are
O`DONNELL: Well, this statement today indicated there was contact
with sexual intent. The use of his hands in both of the descriptions of
the use of both of his hands is very clear physical contact with sexual
intent. Are you saying that your client experienced that same thing?
BENNETT: My client decided that she would not specify the incidents
that she suffered in 1999. They were multiple, over multiple days and I`m
not authorized to give further information other than the fact that they
were incidents of sexual harassment.
O`DONNELL: And you`ve seen already today Rush Limbaugh coming out,
making some really vicious attacks on this woman who emerged today.
Is that the kind of thing, the Limbaugh reaction, is that the kind of
thing that your client had in mind by making her situation as publicly
known as she could without revealing her identity?
BENNETT: That`s certainly a possibility. She and I have never
discussed Mr. Limbaugh specifically, but I can tell you since I became her
spokesperson in the last few days, I`ve been subjected to very nasty e-
mails and one obscene phone call.
O`DONNELL: Attorney Joel Bennett -- thank you very much for joining
BENNETT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC analyst Steve Schmidt. He is the
former senior adviser to the McCain/Palin presidential campaign and senior
strategist in the Bush/Cheney `04 presidential campaign. Thanks for
joining me tonight, Steve.
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Great to be with you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Steve, for the Republican politics of this, I want you to
listen to what Rush Limbaugh had to say, because he is definitely a vocal
factor in Republican presidential primaries. I want you to listen to what
he had to say today about this new accuser.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I have been wrong in pronouncing
the fourth Cain accuser`s name as Bialek. Gloria Allred says that her name
is pronounced Bialek, as in buy a lick, as in buy a lick. There`s no "R"
in the name. You can`t say it`s rent a lick. It`s buy a lick.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Steve, what is this doing to Republican presidential
politics? I mean, here is Rush Limbaugh who has by far the biggest
audience of any conservative commentator out there, bigger than all the FOX
News audiences put together and he is talking this way about a woman he
knows nothing about. He has no idea how credible she is or how non-
credible she is. But he certainly invested in complete credibility in
every such person whoever came out and talked anything like that about a
SCHMIDT: I think the hypocrisy of it is clear to people who would be
in the middle of the electorate. I think the comments are mean-spirited.
I don`t think they reflect particularly well on him.
The reality here is I think we have a checkmate. We have on the one
hand blanket denials by Herman Cain. On the other hand, we have anonymous
And then, on the other hand, we have a settlement. So there`s smoke
where there`s fire.
Then we have something coming forward with 15-year-old allegations
standing next to Gloria Allred which frankly in my opinion doesn`t help her
credibility. And certainly doesn`t help her credibility in the eyes of
Republican primary voters.
So, I`m not sure where the story goes other than to say I think we
live in an entirely new media age where people choose the information they
want to be exposed to, and at the end of the day, I think a scandal in the
mainstream media may not be a disqualifier in the Republican primary. It
may in fact be a credential.
And you put that on top of Herman Cain`s obvious unpreparedness for
the job of president of the United States, tax plans that don`t add up,
ignorance of the fact that China is a nuclear power, no comprehension that
Uzbekistan is an important part of our operations in Afghanistan -- this
does not bode well for the Republican Party in an election that Republicans
should win. And so, I think that there`s a lot of disturbing aspects to
O`DONNELL: And is there -- is there something disturbing in
Republican inconsistency here? I want to read you something from Bill
Bennett, because it strikes me from the outside of Republican world that
this is the kind of thing that will eventually start to sink in in
Republican minds. Bill Bennett, obviously a very strongly credentialed
conservative, the former secretary of education, under President George
He said today, "If Herman Cain cannot stand up to these charges, if he
refuses to, then he should step out of the race. A man big enough to run
for president should be big enough to have a full and candid press
conference on all of this. He wants us to elect him president, after all.
He`s asking us to trust our lives and the country`s life to him."
And, Steve, he added in that statement, a point about the hypocrisy of
people who attacked Bill Clinton over this sort of thing and are defending
Herman Cain over this same sort of thing.
SCHMIDT: Well, I agree completely. I think fundamentally that`s what
the story`s about. I think millions of Americans will see it that way.
It`s a story of rank hypocrisy.
You know, and the fact of the matter is, what Herman Cain ought to do
is ought to stand up, he ought to answer every question until the reporters
are done asking questions. And he ought to demand that the National
Restaurant Association release the study, release the report, redact the
women`s names from it. But he should demand the National Restaurant
Association release all the information they have on this matter to see if
his assertions are credible or not.
Certainly, you know, on the one hand, I think you want to be very
careful when accusations are made that there`s a rush to judgment, that
there is, you know, a rush to proclaim him guilty, where, you know, we live
in a highly politically charged time. But, on the other hand, where
there`s smoke there`s fire. He ought to make that information available
and he ought to answer questions.
O`DONNELL: And, Steve, on Bill O`Reilly`s show tonight, Herman Cain
once again threw out the possibility, the idea that some other Republican
campaign started this whole story which I think is all the more of a
problem for the Republican field having that kind of mud thrown around.
Steve Schmidt, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
SCHMIDT: You bet.
O`DONNELL: Republican voters just don`t trust Mitt Romney and for
very good reason. A woman who was in the room when Romney vowed to protect
abortion rights and protect Roe versus Wade will join me for an exclusive
And in another LAST WORD exclusive, before we start counting the votes
in the 2012 election, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney joins me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry came
under fire for giving a bizarre animated speech in New Hampshire leading
some to speculate he may have been drunk or on medication. Here to defend
himself, Governor Rick Perry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Right before the speech, Herman Cain shows up
with a godfather`s pizza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you`re saying Herman Cain drugged you and now
you can`t remember anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, I remember one thing. Right after
Herman gave me the pizza, he leaned in and he whispered, I touched all
those ladies` boobies.
(END VIDOE CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you fund Planned Parenthood at the national
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s on my list. That`s
on my list. I should have mentioned that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Defunding Planned Parenthood was not on Mitt`s list when
he was running for office in Massachusetts and Republicans know it, which
is why he`s been unable to move up in the polls, even while his new chief
rival is struggling through a sexual harassment scandal.
Joining me now for an exclusive interview on the evolution of Mitt
Romney, Melissa Kogut, the former executive director of the National
Abortion Rights Action League Pro Choice Massachusetts.
Thanks for joining me tonight, Melissa.
MELISSA KOGUT, ATTENDED MITT ROMNEY PRO-CHOICE MEETING: It`s good to
O`DONNELL: Melissa, you were kind of dragged into the spotlight last
week when the "Washington Post" identified you as being part of a 45-minute
meeting with Mitt Romney and the NARAL Pro Choice Massachusetts group in
2002 where Romney promised he would be a good voice for the party, meaning
the Republican Party on for your cause. And his moderation on the issue he
said would be widely written about.
Could you tell us about that meeting and how convincing Mitt Romney
was in his pro choice position?
KOGUT: Sure. You know, we met with Mitt Romney. He was very
interested in meeting with us during the campaign for governor. We sat
with him and had follow-up questions about some of his answer to the
questionnaire which were really surprisingly good.
And what was most striking about this meeting was really at the end
when he was emphatic about how we need somebody like Mitt Romney in
Washington to advocate for us on this issue.
And he sort of went on about it for a while and said he would be a
good voice for choice and that the issue was killing the Republican Party
and he wanted to be an influence.
O`DONNELL: Well, he sounds right about all those things. Now, he,
you were -- it was a group of you and you were taking notes. He knew you
were taking notes at this meeting, didn`t me?
O`DONNELL: Does the organization or you still have the notes from
KOGUT: Oh, yes. The notes, we have the notes. I brought them with
me. They were very detailed and had a lot of quotes in there, and quite
specific about the conversation.
O`DONNELL: Did any of you ask him how he thought he might be able to
make it to a career that would take him to Washington with a pro choice
position in the Republican Party?
KOGUT: You know, he didn`t elaborate, but he was running for governor
in the state of Massachusetts, where it was conventional wisdom that you
had to be pro choice to win. He wanted us to know that he would preserve
and protect the right to choose in Massachusetts. He made that statement
And he was already thinking about Washington as well. I don`t know
what his plan was to get to the place where he could be a pro choice
candidate in the Republican Party, but he certainly said that that was the
-- he inferred that in his comment when he said he wanted to be a voice for
choice, a good voice in the party.
O`DONNELL: Now, I know in some of his public comments back in that
year, he actually mentioned his mother when he talked about being pro
choice, that he had followed her guidance into that position. Did he
mention that with you?
KOGUT: I don`t know if he mentioned that in the meeting. I certainly
have heard him say it publicly on a number of occasions. He may have
It`s hard to remember where I heard it. It`s not -- I don`t think it
was in our notes.
O`DONNELL: It must be hard for you to believe that any of this is in
controversy at this point because it was so public at the time in
Massachusetts. We could roll endless videotape here of him in debates and
at other points talking about his pro choice position.
KOGUT: Absolutely. But, you know, we here in Massachusetts know Mitt
Romney best, those of us who were working hard to, on various issues of
importance to us in the state. And I think it`s important for constituents
and people around the country just to really understand how emphatic he was
when he met with us about his position.
He said he didn`t want to be called pro choice or pro life. He said
he didn`t -- he would not overturn Roe v. Wade. He didn`t think it was a
I mean, he proactively offered a lot of these comments to kind of be
specific about his position and it was so soon after he got elected that,
you know, he voted to -- he vetoed an emergency contraception bill here in
the state very soon after he got elected. And he completely changed his
So, I think that`s an important fact to know about.
O`DONNELL: Melissa Kogut, I`m glad you held on to the notes. Thank
you very much for joining us tonight.
KOGUT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Up next, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney joins me
in an exclusive interview to discuss the 2012 race and President Obama`s
And the crazy right wing Family Research Council gives an award to
deadbeat dad, Congressman Joe Walsh, for being such a great family man.
And that, of course, gets Joe Walsh back in tonight`s "Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: Still to come tonight, the other Herman Cain scandal. The
one he`s really worried about. The IRS has been asked to investigate the
cash that got the Cain campaign started. It could be some tax crimes are
in there, it could be some campaign law violations are in there. That`s
going to be later.
And next, my exclusive interview with White House Press Secretary Jay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So if President Obama is re-
elected, you have a pretty good idea what the four years would look like.
Now, the alternative, of course, is that you turn on your TV about a year
from now and instead of seeing the Obama camp celebrating, you`ll see
something on the TV that says Mitt is it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: At this hour, on this day, exactly one year from now, we
will be counting the votes in the presidential election on November 7th,
2012. A just released NBC News analysis shows that the election is
probably going to be very, very close.
There are now only 11 states that don`t poll solidly Democratic or
Republican, or are considered to be leaning Democratic or Republican. The
11 battleground states as of now are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan,
Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and
Wisconsin, a total of 147 electoral votes.
All 11 of those states were won by Barack Obama in 2008. The new NBC
News/"Wall Street Journal" poll finds only 44 percent approve and 51
percent disapprove of the job President Obama is doing. And possibly the
most dangerous number in the poll for the president, 73 percent of people
think the country is on the wrong track.
But as soon as you name an opponent to the president, his re-election
chances look much, much better. In the poll, President Obama beats Mitt
Romney 49 percent to 43 percent. If by some miracle the president was
lucky enough to face Herman Cain, we would see an Obama landslide with a
15-point win. And the fast fading Rick Perry has sunk so low in the polls
that the NBC poll did not bother to ask the question on how Perry would
fair in a one-on-one against the president.
Joining me now for an exclusive interview, White House press secretary
Jay Carney. Thanks for joining me tonight, Jay.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thanks for having me,
O`DONNELL: Jay, as you see in the poll, the numbers look very good
for the president when you match him up against a likely Republican. As of
tonight, I think we would all have to bet the most likely Republican is
Mitt Romney. Will you be able to campaign against Mitt Romney the way the
Republicans have been, basically finding fault with his former life as a
CARNEY: Well, Lawrence, what I can tell you is with regards to Mr.
Romney or any of the other potential Republican nominees, the only thing
we`re really focused on when we look at that is the fact that their
economic ideas are all very similar not just to each other, but to the
ideas that got us into the mess that this president has been trying to get
us out of for these last few years.
I mean, there`s no question that we have a lot of work to and
Americans are justifiably frustrated with the fact that the economy is not
growing fast enough, that jobs aren`t being created in substantial enough
numbers. But one thing we know for sure is that Americans, I think, by in
large, and in substantial majorities, don`t believe we ought to go back to
the very same policies that caused the Great Recession, that almost became
the second Great Depression, and which this president has been digging us
out of for the last almost three years.
O`DONNELL: Jay, to that point, the 73 percent who say the country is
on the wrong track, will the presidential campaign essentially be a
struggle over who got us on that wrong track?
CARNEY: Well, no, I think -- I think the American people still, if
you look at the data, understand that the crisis that was here when the
president took office wasn`t created overnight. And it certainly won`t be
What I think most Americans want to know is where are you taking us?
Where do you think this country needs to go? And the president feels very
strongly that his ideas about the need to grow the economy in the near
term, create jobs in the near term are the right ones. And they`re the
ones that the American people broadly support.
And His ideas about how to get our long-term economic foundation in a
solid state are also representative of sort of the broad American consensus
about how we do that, in a balanced way, so that in order to get our fiscal
house in order, we`re not asking seniors or vulnerable Americans to bear
all the burden while giving the wealthiest Americans, for example, an added
He doesn`t believe that`s the approach that the American people want.
And it`s certainly not his approach. So it`s a combination both of how
people assess why we are where we are, but also where we`re going and who
has the best ideas about where we should go.
O`DONNELL: Jay, all of Washington have their eyes on the super
committee. Their deliberations have to be wrapped up fairly soon in order
to deliver something on schedule, some sort of long term deficit reduction
program on schedule. There have been predictions that the super committee
will simply fail, that they simply won`t come to an agreement.
Some Democratic senators have made that prediction. I want you to
listen to what George Will said about the super committee yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WILL, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The president needs this
committee to fail because he`s already decided to run against what he calls
the Republican Congress. While he was lecturing in constitutional law, he
missed that part of the Article 1 that says there`s a Senate also. And the
Democrats control that.
And as Boehner said, they`re holding up a lot of legislation. If he`s
going to run against a do-nothing Congress, it has to do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jay, is it better for the president if the super committee
CARNEY: I think what George Will said -- and I have no specific beef
with George -- but it`s just nonsense. The fact of the matter is nothing
would delight this president more than the opportunity, or rather the --
that Congress deprived him of the opportunity to run against a do-nothing
Congress by actually doing something on jobs and the economy.
I mean, he would -- if this Congress, which, yes, is controlled by the
Republicans in the House, and which Republicans have enough senators in the
Senate to prevent anything from happening -- yes, if the Republicans in
Congress decided to pass the American Jobs Act tomorrow, he would sign it
and gladly relinquish the opportunity to run against Congress`
disfunctionality and inaction.
He would be gladly willing to praise the Congress if they took his
proposals for medium and long-term deficit and debt reduction, his
proposals to do it in a balanced way that asks everyone to bear the burden
and doesn`t protect millionaires and billionaires at the expense of senior
If Congress were to act on that, he would welcome that tomorrow, next
week or next month. So his interest is in get things done for the American
people. Frankly, that`s good policy, which is the most important thing.
It`s also good politics.
O`DONNELL: Jay, there`s some good news for the president in the
"Washington Post"/ABC News poll, which asked, who is responsible for
inaction on the economy? Fifty percent said President Obama is making a
good faith effort to deal with the country`s economic problems, but the
Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and
And then 44 percent said President Obama has not provided the
leadership necessary on the economy. So in that one poll reading, the
president is certainly winning the perception game as the guy who`s really
trying to get something done.
CARNEY: Well, look, I think overall the fact that Americans are
frustrated with the state of the economy and with the pace of job creation
is wholly understandable and it`s reflected in the data. But I think it`s
also the case, reflected in what you just cited, that Americans understand
that the president is putting forward ideas and proposals that they
support, that they think make sense, and that they know when they`ve looked
into it or heard enough about it, are paid for and paid for in a way that
they support, which is with regard to the American Jobs Act, asking
millionaires and billionaires to pay a little extra so that we can get this
economy back on track and growing jobs.
So I think that`s what that specific citation reflects. And I think,
you know, Americans understand when their number one priority I think in
that same poll, is overwhelmingly jobs and the economy -- they understand
that Congress is not actually acting on the things they care about. Last
week, we had Congress passing a measure -- you know, the House of
Representatives, led by Republicans, focusing on the important work of
passing a resolution to allow for special coins celebrating Baseball Hall
of Fame Members.
Now, that`s fine. I`m a huge baseball fan. But it`s certainly not a
high priority for the American people.
O`DONNELL: Jay, here you are a year away from re-election voting.
And the voters in the NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll said that their
number one concerns and worries are health care and jobs. The health care
with 33 percent, jobs at 32 percent. This after a president campaigned on
health care reform, actually got health care reform legislated.
But during his first term, the uninsured in this country have actually
increased. And health care has remained a number one worry for the
American people even at this stage in President Obama`s term. Does that
CARNEY: Well, it doesn`t surprise me that health care is a preeminent
concern for the American people, because it`s such an important part of
their lives. What we know is that the Affordable Care Act, which the
president fought for and passed into law, has already created a lot of
benefits for the American people.
But much of what it will do happens in the next several years as the
exchanges are created and more and more people are brought on to the
insurance rolls. What I`m sure most Americans don`t want is rescinding of
the Affordable Care Act, which would prevent the possibility of an
additional 30 million Americans getting on -- getting health insurance, and
would also jack up our deficit substantially, because there`s significant
deficit reduction built into the Affordable Care Act.
O`DONNELL: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, thank you very
much for joining us tonight.
CARNEY: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, only for the Herman Cain campaign would sexual
harassment claims be the least of their worries. They are now being
investigated for campaign crimes, violations of tax law and federal
And Congressman Joe Walsh is back in the Rewrite. The Family Research
Council has actually given the deadbeat dad an award for -- and I quote --
"unwavering support of the family." That`s next in the Rewrite.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking Herman Cain news at this hour. After
insisting over the weekend that he wasn`t going to say anything else about
the harassment charges against him, and after telling supporters in an e-
mail today that he won`t, quote, "play by the media`s rules," and that he
was completely finished talking about any of these allegations against him,
the Cain campaign now plans a news conference at 5:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow
to discuss those allegations against him.
The Rewrite is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. It turns out the right wing
sex police at the Family Research Council really do have a sense of humor.
For years, we`ve known the Family Research Council as sex obsessed TV
watchers who were ready to pounce whenever some of our greatest TV shows
revealed too much cleavage or acknowledged sexuality in any way.
They are among the sex police who have attacked some of our greatest
TV shows, which because they are on commercial television, are actually all
rather tame. "NYPD Blue," "E.R.," "Glee" and then, of course, they got all
bent out of shape over this moment at the Super Bowl seven years ago.
Just last week, a federal appeals court again laughed off a 550,000
dollar fine issued to CBS by the FCC for that Super Bowl halftime show, yet
another defeat for the sex police.
The Family Research Council raises its money through tax deductible
contributions from sexually obsessed people who love hearing the
organization`s president, Tony Perkins, talk about his personal obsession
with gay sex.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: At its base, what
terrorism is, it`s a strike against the general populace, simply to spread
fear and intimidation, so that they can just kind of disrupt and
destabilize the system of government.
That`s what the homosexuals are doing here to the legal system. This
has significant ramifications for our system of law and justice here in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Perkins must mean these homosexuals, since they`re the
only ones whose decisions have the most, as Perkins put it, significant
ramifications for our system of law and justice. But for some reason, in
an uncharacteristic moment of timidity, Tony Perkins did not mention these
nine homosexuals by name.
Then there`s Peter Sprig (ph), whose business card calls him the
Family Research Council`s senior fellow for policy studies. He is obsessed
with gay soldier sex.
Here is Mr. Sprig talking about sex on TV in the only way the Family
Research Council finds acceptable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soldiers are put in a positions of forced intimacy
all the time. They shower together. They sleep together in the barracks.
And it`s simply unfair to put soldiers in a position of forced cohabitation
with those who may be viewing them as a sexual object.
That is a formula guaranteed to lead to greater sexual tensions,
sexual harassment and even sexual assault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Wow. How fast would Peter Sprig be joining up if he were
still young enough?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They shower together. They sleep together in the
barracks. That is a formula guaranteed to lead to greater sexual tensions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Peter Sprig, like all of the current crop of conservative
commentators, has absolutely no personal experience with the military
because even though he obviously would have loved showering together and
sleeping together with the men on the barracks, he, like all of today`s
most prominent conservative men, didn`t have the courage to do what
soldiers have to do when they`re not showering together and sleeping
If you suspect that Peter Sprig had trouble keeping a straight face
while talking about showering together and sleeping together with men, in
fact, if you suspect that the Family Research Council really is a big joke,
I mean, a joke that they`re in on, a joke that Tony Perkins and Peter Sprig
and everyone else working at the Family Research Council gets in the same
way that you do, they have now in effect publicly announced that, yes, this
whole Family Research Council thing is a complete joke.
They chose to do that at the end of last week by giving an award to
the most famous deadbeat dad in America, Congressman Joe Walsh. You
remember him. He`s the guy who said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOE WALSH (R), ARIZONA: I won`t place one more dollar of debt
upon the backs of my kids and grand kids unless we structurally reform the
way this town spends money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh said that while owing
117,437 dollars in child support to the first Mrs. Walsh. Joe Walsh still
owes every penny of that past due child support.
His failure to meet the most minimal standard of fatherhood by
fulfilling his child support obligation got him banned from this show as
soon as I discovered it. He had done a couple of appearances here, but I
will not allow him back unless he pays his child support.
Joe Walsh`s failure as a father has gotten much more media attention
than the mere mention by me on this show. It is impossible for the Family
Research Council to know nothing about his failure to pay child support.
But still, the Family Research Council gave him an award for, quote,
"unwavering support of the family." Now, that is funny.
It is funny -- it`s beyond funny. It`s like the kind of funny where
you can`t even laugh. You just stare at it in awe. Awe of the audacity of
the joke. "Unwavering support of the family," but no support of the Walsh
It`s amazing. It is beyond -- obviously Tony Perkins and the sex
police have just gotten wicked bored at losing every battle they pretend to
fight with the TV networks. And now they`ve just decided if you can`t beat
them, join them. And they`re just going into entertainment, themselves,
starting with comedy.
Pretty soon, they`ll be singing. They`ll be running dance contests.
They obviously just want to have fun now. Welcome to showbiz, Tony.
O`DONNELL: The breaking news tonight from the Herman Cain campaign,
he`s having a news conference tomorrow afternoon to address the harassment
allegations against him after saying he was never going to talk about it
again. But that`s not the only big problem for the Cain campaign. On
Friday, Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a
complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Herman Cain`s
Today, the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, filed
a similar complaint to the Internal Revenue Service, this time concerning
at least 40,000 dollars they believe was illegally used to start the Cain
Joining me now, Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for
Media and Democracy, which filed today`s complaint. Thanks for joining me
LISA GRAVES, CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY: Thanks for having us on.
O`DONNELL: Lisa, what is the tax component, the IRS component of this
money that went into the Herman Cain campaign to get it started?
GRAVES: Well, tax law bars charities like Prosperity USA, which was
founded by Mark Block last year, from spending their money to help
campaigns, basically to be a bank or a credit card for a political campaign
like Mr. Cain`s. And so there are significant consequences.
The charity could be shut down. There could be sanctions. We`ve
asked for both.
O`DONNELL: This was a Koch Brothers funded group, Americans for
Prosperity, that seemed to put in about 40,000 dollars to the campaign.
There was also another 100,000 dollars in here somewhere that they came up
with that they gave to a group to have Mr. Cain go and speak there.
So there`s a big flow of money that, as we`ve already talked about on
this show, could be in violation of the federal election law. But the IRS
is the one that has the guys with the real badges that can cause you a lot
of trouble if you cross their lines, right?
GRAVES: That`s right. We think that the IRS should take a very close
look at these porous boundaries between the Herman Cain campaign, between
Block`s Americans for Prosperity network, as well as its Prosperity USA,
Prosperity 101, Wisconsin Prosperity Network.
You name a prosperity group, he`s founded it in Wisconsin the last
couple of years. It`s a little bit like whack a mole with the prosperity
name. The fact is that if they gave 100,000 dollars -- this small group of
Block`s gave 100,000 dollars in advance of Mr. Cain`s appearance there,
that would be more than the Congress on Racial Equality reported to the IRS
in 2009 as having received.
So it`s a huge sum. There`s a lot of money flowing back and forth.
It`s very murky. Who gave Block`s group, Prosperity USA, a big, huge loan?
How was that money spent? Why were they buying basically private jets for
the Cain campaign? And why were they helping to bankroll the events of
American for Prosperity, which Mr. Block also previously led in Wisconsin?
O`DONNELL: These would all be great questions to ask at his press
conference tomorrow, but I suspect he`s going to be drowned by the sexual
harassment questions. This is the bigger scandal. This is the one that
can follow him long after the campaign.
The FEC`s notoriously slow, but they could be asking him questions
under oath long after the campaign`s over, as could the IRS.
GRAVES: The fact is that Mr. Block, himself, has really been
orchestrating a number of these various groups. And I think that there`s a
lot of scrutiny brought to bear on what he`s been doing and how these
different levers through these various prosperity groups are being pushed
to promote the candidate and also the for-profit group, Prosperity 101,
which had Mr. Cain on the payroll. How does that relate to this group?
It was basically founded by that group.
O`DONNELL: Lisa Graves with the Center for Media and Democracy,
thanks for guiding us through this. Thanks for joining us tonight.
GRAVES: Thank you so much.
O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog,
TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. You can follow my tweets @Lawrence.
"THE ED SHOW" is up next.
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Guests: Joel Bennett, Melissa Kogut, Jay Carney, Lisa Graves