Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Michael Isikoff
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Looks like the Bain game is back and Mitt
Romney`s losing it.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: The Obama campaign is trying something new.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: We`re seeing another round of attacks.
TODD: Hitting Mitt Romney`s record.
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Bain Capital --
JANSING: And Bain Capital`s investments --
BASHIR: And the sourcing --
JANSING: In jobs overseas --
BASHIR: Of American jobs.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Bain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain.
JANSING: There is a new poll out. Forty-seven percent think that
places like Bain hurt people.
NARRATOR: Does Virginia really want an outsourcer in chief?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just another assault on free enterprise.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`ve got to give
Mitt Romney credit. He`s a job creator in Singapore, China, India.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy outsourced jobs.
BIDEN: He`s been very good at creating jobs overseas.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we know is that the
president failed to lead.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: We`ve seen this with Mitt Romney time
BASHIR: We`re growing desperate for him to say something interesting.
ROMNEY: This economy runs on freedom, not on government.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Freedom is the answer.
ROMNEY: We have to get government a little smaller and freedom a
great deal greater.
CORN: He`s for freedom! And who can argue with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Romney campaign is in trouble.
BASHIR: Facts are irrelevant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re only talking about the economy and not
putting forth proposals --
BASHIR: As are actual plans for governing.
ROMNEY: This economy runs on freedom.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Adjective, verb, economy.
BASHIR: This is all part of the Mitt`s maneuver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His attempt to be a pretzel.
BASHIR: Cast blame, ignore the facts, obscure the truth.
ROMNEY: The president failed to lead.
The path we`re on is leading us to Greece.
What we`re left with is a bit of a muddle.
I`m not familiar, precisely, with exactly what I said, but I stand by
what I said, whatever it was.
ANN COULTER: Well, if you don`t run Chris Christie, Romney will be
the nominee and we`ll lose.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, a just-released NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"
poll shows the Obama campaign`s swing state offensive on Mitt Romney is
working. Among registered voters nationally, President Obama leads Mitt
Romney 47 percent to 44 percent, just a three-point margin of error, and
that`s within the margin of error in that poll.
In the swing states, though, where the campaigns have been focusing
their ads and the speeches, President Obama has a much bigger lead. He
leads by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent.
On favorability nationally, 48 percent of respondents have positive
feelings toward the president, only 38 percent have negative feelings
towards the president; 33 percent have positive feelings toward Mitt Romney
and 39 percent have negative feelings.
In the swing states, President Obama`s favorability is virtually the
same, but Mitt Romney`s favorability drops, 30 percent have positive
feelings towards Mitt Romney, 41 percent have negative feelings.
The polls were conducted as "The Washington Post" ran this headline.
"Romney`s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas."
Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden brought that message
to Georgia and Iowa voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don`t need somebody
who`s a pioneer in offshoring or outsourcing. We need a president in the
White House who`s going to every single day be fighting to bring jobs back
to the United States, do some in-sourcing.
BIDEN: So you`ve got to give Mitt Romney credit. He`s a job creator
in Singapore, China, India. He`s been very good at creating jobs overseas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If some of the Obama campaign`s attacks on Mitt Romney
appear to go unanswered, it`s not because Mitt Romney doesn`t have an
answer. According to his son and campaign surrogate, Tagg Romney, Tagg
told concerned Republican voters in Iowa, "You`ll see us hit back pretty
hard. We`re biding our time." He explained how his father`s campaign had
to refill its financial coffers after a lengthy primary fight. "We`re
catching up on cash on hand. If we`re going to get outspent in June or
October, I`d rather it be June."
Joining me now are MSNBC`s John Heilemann and Joy Reid.
John Heilemann, that is the accepted strategy about campaign spending.
You`d rather hold the money for later in the campaign. But is the Romney
campaign in danger of allowing the Obama campaign to set the image in stone
of Mitt Romney in these battleground states?
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there`s always a
danger of that, Lawrence, for sure. I think what the Romney campaign is
counting on is that -- that they`re not actually going to get outspent in
October and they`re not going to get outspent for the rest of this year. I
think if you think about the Romney fund-raising apparatus, they`re raising
a lot of money and catching up rather quickly to the president.
And as everyone has talked about for weeks now, the super PACs on the
Republican side are going to have a lot more money than the Democratic
side. Mitt Romney will probably, by the end of this the, have a financial
advantage. And they`re counting on that.
But I do think, you know, these numbers that we`ve seen show that for
all of the worries that a lot of Democrats have had over the past three or
four weeks, and, you know, you`ll remember back in 2008, David Plouffe, the
president`s campaign manager then, used to talk about and dismiss
Democratic bedwetters who would question the president and the campaign`s
strategy then. That there`s been a lot of bedwetting over the course of
the last three or four weeks around Bain and some of these attacks.
You look at those swing state numbers you point to, that is going to
give Chicago a strong retort to Democrats who think they have been on the
wrong track with the messages they`ve been sending.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I`ve never seen anything like it. In 2008, the Obama
campaign was always right and the Democratic worriers were always wrong.
Let`s take a look at an ad that the Obama campaign is running today in
Virginia, ahead of Mitt Romney`s visit there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: The "Washington Post" has just revealed that Romney`s
companies were pioneers in shipping U.S. jobs overseas, investing in firms
that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new
facilities in low-wage countries like China and India. Does Virginia
really want an outsourcer-in-chief in the White House?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joy, Mitt Romney`s father, George Romney, advised him to
get rich before he ran for president, so he wouldn`t have to worry about
money, so he could afford to run for president. That was the father-to-son
advice when Mitt was a young man. Well, he got rich, but it looks like he
got rich in the worst way.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean the problem for Mitt
Romney, right, is that he`s got to try to capture a larger share of the
white vote. He`s got to maximize that vote.
So to do that, he`s got to do well with white working class voters.
But the problem is his whole persona, his whole background, his wealth,
while it is appealing to general in Republicans, and even in this poll,
when they were asked stream of consciousness questions, the word cloud part
of the poll, what is good about Mitt Romney, him being a businessman polls
well with Republicans.
But the problem is, in those swing states, the image of an outsourcer,
of a guy who`s not looking out for the middle class, not looking out for
the working man, that`s a problem for Romney and it`s a problem for his
bottom-line strategy, getting as many white working class voters to the
polls as possible in November.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Joe Biden today talking about Mitt Romney
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: He gets to be governor of the state, and his administration
signed a $160,000-a-month contract to pay people abroad to answer the phone
to help poor people in Massachusetts who were calling about, after having
lost a job, how they could get food stamps. Not a joke. Not a joke. And
when Massachusetts legislature passed a bill saying, you couldn`t outsource
contracts overseas, he vetoed that bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John, there`s something to be said now in politics for
having actually had a career in government, where you think you`ll never be
accused of outsourcing, at least. And it turns out, even there, Mitt
Romney can be accused credibly by Joe Biden of outsourcing.
HEILEMANN: Yes, there`s no question that Romney`s business
background, as Joy alluded to, really cuts in two directions -- his
strength remains his private sector background, the fact that a lot of
people trust him right now on the economy. That`s the one place where he
polls better than the president in terms of all of the other personal
attributes that the president leads him with or on.
But this is a real problem for him. It`s a vulnerability, and, you
know, the campaign, the Obama campaign has been very confident with the
attacks on Bain. The outsourcing thing is a whole new leg of this
But when they ran those ads, when they attacked him on Bain, I
mentioned before, the thing about Democratic bedwetters, they said, listen,
this is not a strategy that is aimed at the elites in Washington, D.C. and
New York and Boston. It`s aimed at these swing states and they have been
very confident, their polling show that those ads work and that attack
works. They intend to keep it up, and they`re going to keep it up until
Election Day, especially if it keeps showing returns like it seems to be
right now in those key states with those key swing voters.
O`DONNELL: Joy, what seems to be so effective about what the vice
president said, is he`s talking about outsourcing and Romney doing
outsourcing, but not when he was in the private sector. Doing outsourcing
while he was governor, so there he`s showing people an example of how, if
you elect Mitt Romney, even to a government post, he may be in a position
to continue to outsource American jobs.
REID: Right. And, Lawrence, you have to remember, too, that the
Obama campaign, their campaign people have been preparing to run against
Mitt Romney for two years, minimum. They have prognosticated that he was
the obvious sort of person to become the nominee. So they have two years
worth of opposition research, or really more, back from his previous
presidential run, and they`re going to hit him on this and hit him on this.
We`re seeing a rerun of the 2004 election, where he is being defined,
all throughout this summer. That`s what the Obama campaign is going to do.
And to your point, they`re going to do it in Ohio. They`re going to
do it in Pennsylvania, where, you know, the vice president has particular
resonance. They`re going to do it in Virginia. They`re going to hit him
in these swing states and define him as the outsourcer, whether he was at
Bain or he was governor, he doesn`t care about the working class. That`s
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, we`ve just received the breaking news in
my ear that Mitt Romney has won the Utah primary, which I believe, I
believe I actually noticed in my calendar this morning, that the Utah
primary was today. But I`d forgotten it until this moment.
So he rolled up this nomination in a machine-like way, a business-like
way. I think he would proudly say. And are they, in the Romney campaign,
surprised at this stage about how they have not yet gotten past what the
trouble they were running into in the primary, which was his business
record, his Bain record, as raised by Newt Gingrich?
HEILEMANN: Well, I don`t think they`re surprised about it. I mean, I
think, certainly, Lawrence, they were surprised. Although, first, let`s
take a moment historically to note, the Utah primary is, I believe, the end
of the Republican nomination fight. We are officially now done with that,
so our long national nightmare is over. That should be marked for history.
I think that they were surprised that they got hit on the Bain stuff,
on his tax returns. They were surprised that Gingrich and Rick Perry
attacked him from a Republican point of view. But they have always
expected President Obama to come at him hard on this issue. So nothing
that`s coming at them now from the Obama campaign is any kind of surprise
for them. They`ve been waiting for that all along.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann and Joy Reid, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
REID: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have an NBC News exclusive. The police
recording of Matt Sandusky, the adopted son of Jerry Sandusky, detailing
his years of sexual abuse and why he initially lied to the grand jury about
the case. That`s coming up.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, how the mythical individual mandate
might destroy the health care law in the Supreme Court. It`s a mythical
mandate, because it`s not really a mandate at all. And I will show you
And later, we lost a great one today, a great writer, a great
director, and for many of us, a great friend. We`ll show you the joy Nora
Ephron brought to all of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love that you get cold when it`s 71 degrees out.
I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love
that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you`re looking at me
like I`m nuts.
I love that after I spend a day with you, I can still smell your
perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to
talk to before I go to sleep at night.
And it`s not because I`m lonely. And it`s not because it`s New Year`s
Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the
rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as
soon as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There is still much confusion in the news media about who
won and who lost in the Supreme Court yesterday, and confusion about what
was won and what was lost in the Supreme Court yesterday.
But there is no confusion about the political winners and losers. The
craziest hate-driven governor in America was crushed by President Obama
both politically and substantively.
Arizona`s biggest embarrassment, Governor Jan Brewer, famously tried
to lecture the president in their last encounter -- tried to lecture
someone who knows more about the law and governance than Jan Brewer will
ever know. The president made no attempts to teach Arizona`s bloviating
ignoramus anything in that moment, because he knew that his Eric Holder-led
Justice Department was going to crush her constitutionally demented attempt
to seize control of immigration law.
Some in the political media understand what happened yesterday in the
Supreme Court. "The New York Times" editorial page gets it. Their first
line was, "The Supreme Court rejected the foundation of Arizona`s cold-
blooded immigration law and the indefensible notion that the state can have
its own foreign policy."
But page one of that very same newspaper, "The New York Times," didn`t
get it. "The court unanimously sustained the law`s centerpiece, the one
critics have called its `show me your papers` provision, though they left
the door open to further challenges."
OK, let`s get it straight. The court did not -- did not -- sustain
the law`s centerpiece. The court sustained another provision, a minor
provision compared to the centerpiece. The part of the law that the court
let stand, at least temporarily, and probably only temporarily, makes it
mandatory for Arizona police officers to check the immigration status of
some people they arrest or detain.
That procedure is already a perfectly legal optional procedure. Not
mandatory, optional procedure for police officers anywhere in America.
That procedure was already going on in Arizona and elsewhere.
The court pointed out that while it can stand making it mandatory --
it can stand temporarily, the fact that they make it mandatory does risk
what the court calls constitutional challenge, as soon as Arizona starts
enforcing that provision of the law. And as the court made clear, that
provision does not allow police to detain anyone simply to check their
immigration status. The Supreme Court made clear that if Arizona police
take someone into custody, they are not allowed to keep that person in
custody for any extended period of time to check their immigration status.
And the court made clear that if Arizona police take someone into
custody and discover the person is in the country illegally, the Arizona
police can do absolutely nothing about it. Nothing. Nothing.
There is no legal reason for the Arizona police to detain anyone
simply because their immigration status is not legal.
The centerpiece of the law, which was struck down, which was blown
away, the centerpiece enabled Arizona police to arrest people for
absolutely no reason. To arrest them for no other reason than being in the
United States illegally. That was the centerpiece.
The centerpiece of the law made Arizona police able to enforce federal
law. That was thrown out. That was the "show me your papers" provision.
That was the provision that allowed Arizona police to stop anyone,
anywhere, in church, in the mall, walking down the street, and demand --
demand instantly to see their green cards or their work permits or
immigration documents or any kind, anything that they possess, an Arizona
driver`s license, to prove that they are in the state legally. And if
those people could not instantly satisfy the police in such encounters,
that they were in the state legally, Arizona could round them up, could
handcuff them right there, put them in jail cells, or put them in not yet
built prison camps and hold them there.
That was the "show me your papers" provision. That was destroyed in
the Supreme Court. That affront to the Constitution, that offense against
humanity was the centerpiece of Jan Brewer`s legislative madness that the
Supreme Court wiped out yesterday.
The part of the law the Supreme Court left standing does not allow
anyone to show papers, doesn`t enforce anyone to show papers. It simply
requires a police officer to communicate with the immigration service
center to check the status of certain people arrested and detained,
something that is already allowed by law, and something that does not allow
the police officer to then take any further action based on whatever
information they get back from the immigration service.
A million such status checks are already run every year through the
immigration service center, which is open 24/7 for precisely that purpose.
The centerpiece of the law, the one that had echoes of the most
oppressive regimes in the world, was the one that allowed people to be
stopped anywhere at any time and thrown in jail if they didn`t answer a
police officer`s question the right way. And that particular piece of un-
American law enforcement was something that Mitt Romney was just as crazy
about as Jan Brewer was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As president, if you had the opportunity, would
you drop the federal government`s lawsuit against Arizona over SB-1070.
ROMNEY: Yes, and I would at the same time finally put in place
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you believe that police officers and
troopers should go looking for illegal immigrants that might not be
breaking the law and deporting them?
ROMNEY: I`ve told you my position. My own view is that if you secure
the border and you do the job that I want to do as president, that this
issue will ultimately disappear and we`ll be able to have a legal
immigration program that works.
I`ve also told you that I support the effort on the part of Arizona to
have a safe and secure border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and
former DNC communications director, and Ana Marie Cox of "The Guardian."
Ana Marie, Mitt Romney was on record in the past as saying he supports
the Arizona law. And then when the Supreme Court rules, when one of his
favorite justices, the chief justice, rules against Mitt Romney`s support
of the Arizona law, Mitt`s having trouble mustering some strong support for
Jan Brewer`s position here.
What`s happened to him?
ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Well, I mean, he`s searching for a
position that will satisfy all comers, or at least satisfy with the base,
and, you know, this elusive Latino Republican voter, who I believe exists
somewhere. But they haven`t been able to find him yet.
And it is a puzzle for him. He might actually have to come up with a
conviction that he has about something, which he`s been loathe to do so
far. I do feel like Mitt Romney has sort of been given new meaning to the
memory "negative campaigning", because he`s like defining what he isn`t all
the time. He`s just not saying stuff and leaving us to guess what it is he
O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, you will be surprised to know that Rush
Limbaugh is very disappointed in his boy, Mitt. Let`s listen to what Rush
had to say about Mitt.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: OK. Ladies and gentlemen,
yesterday Mitt Romney blew it. Yesterday was a warning, I think.
Yesterday was a red flag for the Romney team.
Yesterday, and it`s the first time in a long time, first time I`ve
thought this in a long time, the Romney team was not ready for prime-time
on this illegal immigration, the Arizona decision. If Romney`s response
yesterday had happened in a debate, it would have been a big win for Obama.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Karen, with friends like Rush, Mitt isn`t --
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Finally, he`s being helpful.
O`DONNELL: Mitt`s in very serious trouble. There`s the box right
there, he dares not -- Mitt dares not cross Rush Limbaugh on this.
FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. But, look, I think the response
we saw from Mitt yesterday also reflects the practical reality that we`ve
really reached a tipping point in this country on this issue, given that we
are fast becoming a majority/minority country. We`ve had more minority
babies born in the last year than white children.
So, I mean, the demographics of our country are changing. Which means
Mitt knows he`s got to get a certain percentage of the Latino vote, which
he is trying to figure out, how do I do that and not totally alienate the
right-wingers, who, you know, are perfectly happy with what Jan Brewer`s
approach to this problem.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to President Obama talking today about the
difference between Mitt Romney and him on this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They don`t want to go backwards to a day when young people who
as children were brought to the United States and were raised with our kids
and went to school with our kids, are our kids, are Americans through and
through, in everything except the papers that somehow they should be sent
away instead of contributing to the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, it strikes me that even if you leave policy
aside, what you see there is President Obama is very comfortable talking
about this, and it`s yet another instance where the frequently awkward Mitt
Romney is even more awkward, when he just can`t find his way to a clear
position on this.
COX: It`s true. And immigration at its heart is actually a human
issue. It`s a human rights issue. And it`s something that I think we
forget when we`re talking about building fences and deportation.
But, actually, one of the things that`s interesting about the Supreme
Court decision is they kind of say in their decision that this is a
humanitarian concern. And this should be something that is left to people
to decide, to have some discretion about who it is we`d go after.
And the really sad thing is the kind of easing of, you know,
restrictions that Obama`s talking about, they actually just don`t apply to
that many people. When the Republicans get so upset about these
humanitarian leniencies that the Obama administration is putting out, that
affects like 2 percent of the people that are coming into the U.S. I mean,
it`s really a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of people who
would like to be American citizens.
O`DONNELL: Karen Finney and Ana Marie Cox, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight.
Coming up, we have an exclusive NBC news video of Matt Sandusky, Jerry
Sandusky`s adopted son, talking about his experiences with his father and
the -- and why he testified to the grand jury differently from what he told
the police during the trial.
And in the "Rewrite," everything you`re going to need to know about
the individual mandate, the mythical individual mandate before the Supreme
Court rules on it. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, the Sandusky case. Four days
into Jerry Sandusky`s trial, Sandusky`s adopted son, Matt Sandusky,
secretly met with police and told them Sandusky also molested him. NBC
News has exclusively obtained the audio of that police interview. We
should warn you, the conversation can be graphic at times.
Here`s NBC`s national investigative correspondent, Michael Isikoff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-
over): Jerry Sandusky`s adopted son, Matt, in his own words, describes for
the first time how he says he was molested by his father.
MATT SANDUSKY, ADOPTED SON OF JERRY SANDUSKY: It was like the
showering, with the hugging, with the rubbing, with the just -- the talking
to me, the way he spoke.
ISIKOFF: NBC News has exclusively obtained a 29-minute tape, recorded
by police detectives the week before Jerry Sandusky`s conviction. At the
time, they were preparing Sandusky`s son to testify as a surprise
prosecution witness at his adoptive father`s trial. Matt Sandusky told
police he was repeatedly molested and would try to avoid being touched,
sometimes hiding in a fetal position when his father entered his bedroom.
SANDUSKY: If you were pretending you were asleep and if you were
touch ordinary rubbed in some way, you could just act like you were rolling
over in your sleep so that you could change positions.
ISIKOFF: Matt met Jerry Sandusky through the Second Mile and told
police on the tape he was off and on molested from ages eight to 15. Like
many other Second Mile boys, he began staying overnight at the Sandusky
household. Jerry and Dottie Sandusky later become his foster parents and
adopted him at age 18.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when you were staying at his house, then he
began to come into your bedroom at night and he would blow raspberries on
your stomach and his hand would rub down or rub along or against your
ISIKOFF: Matt Sandusky told police he tried to escape from the
Sandusky house, one night fleeing barefoot to hide in his grandfather`s
basement. He also said that he tried to commit suicide.
SANDUSKY: I know that I really wanted to die at that point in time.
ISIKOFF: Sandusky told police he`s been seeing a therapist and
memories of his abuse are just now coming back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you said at the beginning of our interview
last night that things happened to you, but there was no -- that you can
recall, there was no penetration or oral sex, is that correct?
SANDUSKY: Yes, as of this time, I don`t recall that.
ISIKOFF: After years of denying that he had been abused, including to
a Grand Jury, Matt Sandusky told police he was coming forward now so his
family would know what really happened.
SANDUSKY: So that they can really have closure and see what the truth
actually is, and just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the Grand
Jury and lying.
ISIKOFF: Sandusky`s offer to testify was a crucial turning point in
his father`s trial. When Jerry learned that his son had turned on him, he
was crushed, and it kept him off the witness stand, according to his
KARL ROMINGER, ATTORNEY: When Jerry heard that initially, he was very
upset. And I could tell you that the next day, when we were preparing,
that was the most despondent I had seen him.
ISIKOFF: Defense lawyers told NBC News that they were prepared to
attack Matt Sandusky`s credibility.
ROMINGER: Do we believe what Matt Sandusky has to say? Absolutely
ISIKOFF: On Monday, Rominger was the first to visit Jerry Sandusky in
jail and describes his client as defiant.
ROMINGER: He`s not a beaten man. He is pacing a cell right now,
being held in solitary confinement, wanting to get out and get his story
out and continue to defend himself. I don`t think Jerry believes he has
anything to feel sorry for. At this point, he maintains his innocence,
O`DONNELL: That was NBC News` Michael Isikoff reporting.
Coming up, the Supreme Court will decide on Thursday if the individual
mandate is Constitutional, but what if it really isn`t a mandate? That`s
in tonight`s Rewrite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it turned out to be Julia. It turned out to
be Julia all along.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Julia, you are the butter to my bread and the
breath to my life. I love you, darling girl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The mythical individual mandate in President Obama`s
health care law now threatens to get the entire bill ruled unconstitutional
by the Supreme Court. And it is a mythical mandate, because, as attentive
viewers of this program know, there is not a real mandate in the Affordable
Care Act. It was watered down in the legislative language to virtually
And the reason the mandate was softened as Congressional Democrats
were writing the bill was not because of Republican objection. Democrats
had already given up on getting Republican votes for the bill. The mandate
was weakened and weakened again and weakened some more because of outraged
liberals, angry at the notion that poor people who could not afford
insurance would be ordered by the government to buy it, and then sent to
jail if they didn`t.
During the drafting of the bill in the Senate Finance Committee, where
the legislative mechanics working on it always regarded the fine attached
to the individual mandate to be a tax -- that`s why it was in the Tax
Committee -- they included the standard penalties for tax evasion. If
someone violated the individual mandate and then failed to pay the tax
penalty, liberal voices on this very network let loose their outrage that
the government would put people in jail for failing to add to the profits
of health insurance companies.
And so in the next draft of the mandate, the standard prison sentence
provisions for tax evasion were suddenly removed and the fine was reduced,
and then reduced again on the next draft, as liberals remained worried that
people who couldn`t afford health insurance would then be ordered to pay
the IRS heavy fines, and so in succeeding drafts of the mandate, fines got
reduced lower and lower. And in the final draft that is now law, the fine
for not purchasing health insurance is so low, less than 100 dollars for
some people, that the level of fine provides absolutely no financial
incentive to buy a product that costs thousands of dollars.
And that`s what the fine is supposed to be, an incentive to buy the
product. Even if you`re one of those people who will get a government
subsidy to help buy health insurance, you still might not do it, even
though the government is paying for half of, say, your 5,000 dollar health
insurance policy. You simply don`t have the other 2,500 dollars you need
to pay for your half of the policy. And so you then get hit with maybe a
100 dollar fine from the government.
You will take that fine rather than pay the 2,500 dollars. Many
rational people who want health insurance will still not be able to afford
it, even with the government subsidy, and will rationally choose to suffer
the very, very low fine of 100 dollars. And what will happen to them if
they don`t pay the 100 dollar fine? This is where the liberals went all
the way and completely removed any enforcement mechanism for collecting the
100 dollar fine.
The law reads, "waiver of criminal penalties; in the case of any
failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section,
such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty
with respect to such failure."
It also ruled out civil pursuit. "Limitations on liens and levies;
the secretary shall not file notice of lien with respect to any property of
a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this
section, or levy on any such property with respect to such failure."
There you have it, the only tax provision in which the IRS is
forbidden from using any of its tools to actually collect that little tiny
tax in the health care mandate. This is the liberal version of an
individual mandate, one in which there is no real penalty for not complying
with the mandate. And there is very, very good reason why liberals watered
the mandate down, to the point of being a mythical mandate.
Liberals never liked the individual mandate. As has been pointed out
repeatedly, it originated as a republican idea. The first Republican to
put it in legislative language was Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island, who
in the 1993 introduced a health care reform bill as an alternative to
Hillary Clinton`s health care reform bill. Hillary Clinton`s bill had an
employer mandate, mandating that employers must provide health insurance.
Senator Chafee and the Republicans countered with an individual mandate.
And Hillary Clinton condemned the individual mandate every chance she got.
And virtually all Democrats and liberals agreed with Hillary Clinton
then and were completely opposed to the individual mandate. The Chafee
bill never had more than 18 Republican co-sponsors in the Senate. That`s
18 out of 43 Republicans at the time; a minority of a minority of
Republicans supported the Chafee bill.
A minority of that minority actually understood that there was an
individual mandate in it. And as soon as we started having hearings in the
Senate Finance Committee about health care reform in 1994, the Republicans
started running away from the individual mandate. Bob Dole was a supporter
of John Chafee`s individual mandate in 1993 and an opponent of it months
later in 1994.
No Republican, not even John Chafee, ever voted for the individual
mandate, because the Republicans never even attempted to bring it to a
vote. Very few Republicans had a very brief crush on the individual
mandate, and that was the end of that, back in the spring of 1994.
After condemning it as evil, an idea -- just as evil an idea as anyone
could imagine in health care reform in 1993 and 1994, Hillary Clinton then
embraced it for some reason in 2007 as a presidential candidate. Her
health care reform ideas as a candidate were actually written by someone
who had worked for Republican Senator Chafee back when Hillary Clinton was
opposed to his ideas.
And candidate Obama held to the Democratic party position on the
individual mandate, the liberal position on the individual mandate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In some cases, there are people
who are paying fines and still can`t afford it. So now they`re worse off
than they were. They don`t have health insurance and they`re paying a
fine. And in order for you to force people to get health insurance, you`ve
got to have a very harsh, stiff penalty.
And Senator Clinton has said that we will go after their wages.
If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness
by mandating everybody buy a house. The reason they don`t have a house is
they don`t have the money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And when Senator Obama got the nomination for president,
he chose, as his running mate, someone who held the Democratic position on
the individual mandate, the liberal position on the individual mandate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In one word,
Americans don`t like mandate. They don`t like the word "mandate." I don`t
want to make this hard. I want to make this simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But the policy technicians don`t know how to make health
care reform simple. There is one way, of course. Open up Medicare for
everyone. But the political people will always tell you that`s impossible.
And so the Obama administration stepped through the looking glass and into
the individual mandate and embraced the idea that liberals once rejected.
And so they watered down the provision. Liberals always hated the
enforcement provision. And so the individual mandate is now simply a
mirage. It is only a mandate on paper. One, just one of the Republican
appellate court judges who reviewed the health care bill, cited the
emptiness of the mandate in his opinion finding the law Constitutional.
And so it may be that the only way for the mandate to survive in the
Supreme Court on Thursday is if the Republican justices have figured out
that the mandate is a mirage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Nora, why is it so hard to be a Democrat? What`s hard
NORA EPHRON, WRITER/FILMMAKER: Oh, because they break your heart.
Because you believe them. Because hope springs eternal --
O`DONNELL: They make promises?
EPHRON: They make promises, hope springs eternal, and because I do
think that liberals tend to be more romantic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was my friend, Nora Ephron, here on THE LAST WORD, on
one of the most fun nights I had on the show. A tried to collect my
thoughts today when I heard that we`d lost her today. And -- and I
couldn`t. But Tom Hanks could, and I want to read you what he had to say
about Nora. "Nora Ephron was a journalist/artist who knew what was
important to know, how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was
fascinating and why. At a dinner table and on a film set, she lifted us
all with wisdom and wit, mixed with love for us and love for life. Rita
and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who
are lucky enough to know her."
Who else -- who else but Nora Ephron could write "Silkwood" and "Harry
Met Sally." There has been exactly one writer among us who could do those
two wonderful pieces of work. And speaking of "Harry Met Sally," Billy
Crystal put out this statement today: "I`m very sad to learn of Nora`s
passing. She was a brilliant writer and humorist. Being her Harry to
Meg`s Sally will always have a special place in my heart. I was very lucky
to get to say her words."
I feel like I was very lucky to get to know her. Never had the great
honor of working with her. And what we are all trying to remind ourselves
of today is just how lucky we were to have her and to be able to enjoy her
work. Our thoughts tonight with her husband, Nick Palegi (ph), a great
writer in his own right, her sons, Jacob and Max.
Read about her. Get online, read the stories about her tonight. Read
about how this daughters of writers grew up to be a great writer and
director. Let`s look at her work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m in the pink.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where you going?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to go with him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ll be OK. I have it under control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, don`t go anywhere with him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s all right. I`m coming. You want to keep
your goddamned hands off. It`s all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Karen, concentrate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How`d that plutonium get in my house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you put it there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did I what? What are you, crazy? You think I
put -- you think I`d contaminate myself? You think I`d do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you`d do just about anything to hurt this
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You realize, of course, that we can never be
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not?
BILLY CRYSTAL, ACTOR: What I`m saying is -- and this is not a come-on
in any way, shape or form, is that men and women can`t be friends, because
the sex part always gets in the way.
MEG RYAN, ACTRESS: Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh, God, oh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ll have what she`s having.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for
people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions
just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, cafe, decaf, low-
fat, no-fat, et cetera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it that you really like to do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eat. That`s what I really like to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know. I know.
And you are so good at it. Look at you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m growing in front of you!
O`DONNELL: That`s Nora Ephron.
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Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Michael Isikoff