'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

October 31, 2012

Guests: Joy Reid, Robert Reich, Dorian Warren

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The good news for Mitt Romney tonight is
the massive storm has made everyone forget about his secret tax returns.
The bad news for Mitt Romney is the massive storm has made everyone forget
about Mitt Romney.


TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: On the ground in the middle of the

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama will tour New Jersey.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: The October surprise, bipartisanship.

HALL: Governor Chris Christie --

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I cannot thank the president

HALL: -- and President Obama --

this is done.

HALL: -- together surveying the damage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big storm requires some big government.

OBAMA: The federal government --

WAGNER: It seems like common sense.

OBAMA: -- will not quit until this is done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any possibility that Governor Romney may
go to New Jersey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no role for a challenger.

CHRISTIE: I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does a challenger do in a major disaster?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney, he`s back on the trail.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We come together at times
like this.

WAGNER: Back on the trail in Florida.

ROMNEY: We love all of our fellow citizens.

JANSING: The question that`s dogged him --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney`s position on FEMA.

JANSING: -- was about FEMA.




ROMNEY: Take something from the federal government and send it back
to the states.

JANSING: Sending disaster management back to the states.

ROMNEY: That`s the right direction.

JANSING: Even the private sector.

ROMNEY: That`s even better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should privatize everything, including FEMA.

ROMNEY: That`s the right direction. That`s the right direction.
That`s the right direction. That`s the right direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your view of the proper role of federal

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big storm actually requires some big

OBAMA: Federal government will not quit until this is done.

CHRISTIE: The president has been outstanding this. The president has
been all over this and he deserves great credit. He`s been incredibly
supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: There comes a time when the grown-ups
have got to do their jobs.

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: If you don`t run Chris Christie,
Romney will be the nominee and we`ll lose.


O`DONNELL: We begin tonight with the continuing effort to assess the
damage and begin the cleanup from hurricane Sandy. President Obama
traveled to New Jersey today, the state hardest hit by the massive storm to
meet with hurricane victims and state officials led by Republican Governor
Chris Christie. The two men toured southern New Jersey on the ground and
from the air over flooded streets, flattened houses and piers washed out to

Reporters did not accompany the president and Governor Christie as
they flew on Marine One, the president`s helicopter. Governor Christie,
who had been spending most of his days prior to the storm attacking the
president on the campaign trail, today, thanked him.


CHRISTIE: I want to thank the president. We spent a significant
afternoon together surveying the damage up and down the New Jersey
coastline. We have lots of challenges. Our challenge now is to get back
to normalcy.

And I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and
compassion for our state and for the people of our state, who suffered some
loss. Luckily, we haven`t suffered that much loss of life. And we thank
God for that.

This is the worst storm that I`ve seen in my lifetime in this state.
But we cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all
New Jerseyans have.

OBAMA: This is a federal, state, and local effort. And the first
thing I want to do is just to thank everybody who`s been involved in the
entire rescue and recovery process.

I want to thank all the first responders. The first responders, keep
in mind, their homes usually are underwater too.

I`m just going to make a couple of comments. Number one and most
important, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones. My
second message is: we are here for you. And we will not forget. We will
follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you`ve


O`DONNELL: The number of deaths reported from the storm now stands at
72 people. The number of homes and businesses without power is
approximately 6 million, 2/3 of those in New York and New Jersey. That
includes much of southern Manhattan, which remains dark tonight.

Authorities have also discovered several residents of Staten Island
drowned in their homes. Many were alone and in some cases elderly. That
brings the number of dead just in New York city to 34.

The damage on Long Island, New York, is severe. About 77 percent of
power customers do not have electricity and could remain in the dark for as
long as 10 days. Partial subway service is scheduled to resume tomorrow in
New York City, along with more railway and bus service. And we have new
video released by firefighters in Greenwich, Connecticut, showing the
conditions during the storm as they tried to put out a massive fire that
destroyed multiple homes.

In Hoboken, New Jersey just across the river from Manhattan portions
of the city remain underwater tonight. The National Guard has been brought
in to help people stranded in their homes in Hoboken.

Joining me now by phone is NBC News` Chuck Todd, who was traveling
with President Obama and Governor Christie today in New Jersey.

Chuck, tell us what the trip felt like. When I look at those two men
together, it looks to me as the way that not necessarily on this particular
subject but it`s the way serious men and women of government want to work
together regardless of party. And the whole day seemed to have that
sensation to it.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS (via telephone): Well, it did.

And let me tell you something about Christie. He just seemed like an
exhausted guy. He struck me as somebody who had been up for a couple of
straight days, who was numb, a little emotional to what he`d been seeing
but also numb to the destruction he`d been seeing.

So, you know, it was interesting. You know, when the president walked
out of air force one there was only one guy to greet him, and it was
Christie. And then the two of them just immediately, you could tell, were
just -- seemed to -- they suddenly became inseparable, and then you never
saw more than a foot of actual physical distance between the two of them.
You know, they worked the shelter together and all this stuff.

So, it was a -- it certainly was -- it was business-like, but you
could just -- you could feel sort of this emotional exhaustion just
watching Governor Christie.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the president`s 15-minute rule promise
that he made today.


OBAMA: We`re not going to tolerate red tape. We`re not going to
tolerate bureaucracy. And you know, I`ve instituted a 15-minute rule
essentially on my team. You return everybody`s phone calls in 15 minutes,
whether it`s the mayor`s, the governor`s, county officials. If they need
something, we figure out a way to say yes.


O`DONNELL: And, Chuck, on that video right behind him you see
Governor Christie nodding, smiling, approving of everything that the
president is saying out there. It`s a scene that was just impossible to
conceive even a week ago.

TODD: It is. I mean, to think that the last week of the election the
guy that Chris Christie`s hanging out with is Obama and not Romney, you

And I can tell you this: Chris Christie is one of I`d say two or three
of the most effective Republican surrogates the Romney campaign had been
using. Somebody they had put out on their own. Not quite the level of
Bill Clinton for Obama but not bad. You know, Marco Rubio and Chris
Christie sort of are the two sort of stars that can get people on their

And here he is with Obama. I tell you, you see him -- here`s another
sort of fascinating thing to watch -- the number of photographs that people
asked to take with the two of them, and they kept taking them. What are
they going to say? You have these people at the shelter or their homes,
and they`re both emotional, upset, and excited to meet the president and
the governor. And here they were posing for pictures together, the two of
them, with constituents in New Jersey too.

So, that part of it was a little surreal, especially when I sort of
remind myself that today`s Wednesday and Election Day is, I don`t know, not
even 200 hours away.

O`DONNELL: An extraordinary day. Chuck Todd, thank you very much for
joining us tonight.

TODD: You got it.

O`DONNELL: Across the river from New York City, Hoboken, New Jersey,
remains mostly flooded and mostly without power. As much as a foot of
water flooded into the city during the storm. That water is receding very
slowly after public pleas for help from the mayor of Hoboken, the National
Guard, arrived today to help rescue the most vulnerable of the 20,000
people who have been trapped in their apartments since Monday.

NBC`s Katy Tur has the latest from Hoboken.


KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And, Lawrence, here in Hoboken, the
water has receded a little by but it`s still pretty high in some areas.
There are 500 million gallons of water here that they need to pump out, 500
million gallons in just this-square-mile town. They say that half of this
town is underwater as we speak.

Now, they say it will take about two days to do this. They`ve been
pumping all day today. They`ve got industrial-strength pumpers working at
this. They`re going to pump all day tomorrow. So, maybe by tomorrow, it
will all be gone.

You have to realize that even though you`re seeing it at my shins
right now and it will go down and what looks like maybe it`s not flooded
anymore, that`s not the case. The basements of homes will still be
flooded. The water table will still be high. The sewers will still be
flooded. So it will cake some time to get it out of here.

They`re saying seven to 10 days before there`s power back on. That is
not anything people want to hear around here. Unfortunately, that is the
case. They do want people to prepare for at least that. If it gets on any
sooner, great.

People were able to come out of their homes for the first time today,
to get a look at the damage, to get a look at the damage and to also get
some supplies, walk to the nearest Target. They walked to the next town
over in Jersey City, came back with some supplies so they could stay here.

The National Guard was here as well. They were getting the elderly
and people who needed emergent care out of their homes. The rest of the
people, a good majority of them, are staying within their homes tonight.
And because of that, the National Guard also delivered a number of supplies
including food and water.

The mayor here, though, Dawn Zimmer, says they still need a lot of
help. They need generators. They need boats to help get people out. And
they do need food, water, and batteries.

The big concern right now other than the flooding and the people that
are trapped inside is the water. This is sewage. This is heating oil.
This is debris. This is all sorts of nasty stuff that you don`t want to
touch with your body.

So, they`re concerned about it, and they`re asking people to try and
avoid the water if they can.

Lawrence, back to you.


O`DONNELL: Katy Tur in Hoboken, the birthplace and hometown of Frank

Across the river in New York City, there is some good news as limited
train, bus, and ferry service will resume Thursday, but not before another
night in the dark for many New Yorkers. NBC`s Anne Thompson reports from
Manhattan`s Murray Hill neighborhood.


ANNE THOMPSON, NBC NEWS: I`m here at the Rare Bar and Grill where
there is power. But let me show you what happens to Manhattan.

Behind me, you can see the bright lights of this world famous skyline,
but if you look over here, you`ll see that a quarter million people remain
in the dark for the third straight night.

(voice-over): In New York, the haves and have-nots are divided by
power. For those without, Manhattan`s new hot spots are any places with
power strips to share.


THOMPSON: Where the buzz is about living in the dark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m on the lower east side. There`s no lights,
no power, no nothing.

THOMPSON: And with little mass transit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took five buses to get to downtown Brooklyn,
walked across the Brooklyn Bridge because I work in Stuyvesant Town just to
see what was going on. Had no idea what happened.

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: This station had water filled
halfway at the moment but before as much as to the ceiling.

THOMPSON: With subway still underwater, some people took to two

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s sort of like the city has in some ways been
cut in half right around 40th or 42nd Street.

THOMPSON: Most got in their cars and didn`t get anywhere fast.

(on camera): We are at 67th and 2nd Avenue. Our goal is to go 31
blocks south on 2nd Avenue. Let`s see how long it takes.

The first block took seven minutes. It`s going to be a long ride.

(voice-over): To ease the gridlock, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced
new rules for driving into Manhattan over the four east side bridges.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: From 6:00 a.m. to midnight, if
you`re coming into Manhattan on one of those bridges, you have to have
three people in the car.

THOMPSON: In other parts of the city, the situation remains dire.
After rooftop evacuations yesterday in Staten Island, rescuers in boats
today went house to house in this still submerged neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of these homes underwater, again, we`re
talking about a good six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 12 blocks inland, a good
mile or so inland, before the water finally recedes over here.

THOMPSON: Here, normal seems very far away.

But it is slowly returning to parts of Manhattan, the symbol of
economic power, the New York Stock Exchange, reopened, running on a
generator. And despite some criticism the New York City marathon will go
on Sunday. It brought $340 million to the city last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is New York City`s lost a lot of
revenue these last few days. We`ve lost a lot of economic activity. We
need to restart really quickly for the good of our people.

THOMPSON (on camera): The mayor hopes most of the power will be
restored by the time the runners take off Sunday morning. In the meantime,
New York University had to relocate 6,000 students because there is no
power or water in their dorms. While there is progress, there is still
plenty of problems.

I`m Anne Thompson in New York City, now back to you.


O`DONNELL: Anne Thompson in Manhattan.

Coming up, more of what it looks like when President Obama and New
Jersey Governor Chris Christie join forced. Krystal Ball and Richard
Wolffe are here.

And in the "Rewrite", we`ll show you just how hard it is being Mitt
Romney these days and being utterly irrelevant to the most important story
in America, repairing the damage from hurricane Sandy. And we`ll show you
that on video. We`ll show you just how idiotic Mitt Romney can be when the
anti-FEMA candidate tries to show his expertise in storm cleanup.

This is video that you have got to see. It`s in the "Rewrite."


O`DONNELL: They were political opponents just days ago. Now, they
have bonded in tragedy. We`ll have more on President Obama and Governor
Christie, next.

And what will happen just six days from now when polls open, or they
try to open, in the midst of the cleanup from hurricane Sandy? We`ll have
a look at election mechanics. That`s coming up.



CHRISTIE: The president of the United States and I have now had six
conversations since Sunday. That shows to me a level of caring and concern
and interest that I think a leader should be giving to this type of
situation. This was as comfortable and relaxed an interaction as I`ve had
with the president since I`ve known him. And I think it`s because we`re
both doing what we wanted to do, which was to get things done.

There will be some folks who will criticize me for complimenting him.
Well, you know what? I speak the truth. That`s what I always do.

When I got on Marine One, I`m pinching myself. Believe me. You know,
Sandy and Bill Christie`s son on Marine One was not exactly what I thought
was going to be happening with my life.


O`DONNELL: That was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a press
conference tonight, talking about his new best friend, President Obama.
Today, the White House tweeted this photo of President Obama and Governor
Christie, studying hurricane damage aboard Marine One. That photo was then
retweeted by Chris Christie.

A new "Washington Post" poll shows that 78 percent of likely voters
rate the president`s response to hurricane Sandy positively. Only 8
percent rate his response negatively. Forty-four percent rate Mitt
Romney`s response positively, 21 percent rate his response negatively.

"USA Today" asked Romney campaign senior adviser Russ Schriefer this
question on a conference call with media today.


USA TODAY: I wonder just in crass political terms if you think the
president`s response to Sandy has been helpful to him, and are you annoyed
that Governor Christie has been so effusive in his praise of the president?

RUSS SCHRIEFER, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Governor Christie`s doing his job,
and he`s doing exactly what he`s supposed to be doing as the governor of
New Jersey. And the president is doing what he needs to do as president.


O`DONNELL: After Mitt Romney ignored reporters who asked him at least
11 questions on his position on FEMA funding yesterday, Mitt Romney
released this statement today: "I believe that FEMA plays a key role in
working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural
disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to
fulfill its mission while directing maximum resources to the first
responders who work tirelessly to help those in need because states and
localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and
communities affected by natural disasters."

Krystal Ball, could you translate what Mitt Romney actually said?

translation is oh, you like FEFMA? I like FEMA, too. Oh, you don`t like
FEMA? No, FEMA`s terrible. That`s the translation of Romney.

O`DONNELL: Richard, he seems to be talking about getting money
directly to first responders. That would be a sudden interest on Mitt
Romney`s part in getting federal money for firefighters and for local
police officers, the kind of thing that President Obama has done.

quo. But he`s also lost his moral -- deep, deep moral concerns about the
nature of debt, because that extra funding that these natural disasters
cost, we have to go borrow that money. Let`s face it.

And before, when he was running for the nomination, that was a deep,
deep concern to him as a question of values because debt as a question of
values is more important than helping people in need. By the way, it only
took him 48 hours to come up with a statement. You would hope that as
president, he could respond to a disaster a little quicker than that.

O`DONNELL: And actually, I found myself in the middle of it getting
lost as I was reading it. It was not exactly the clearest statement on
FEMA. But this is a guy who said you could actually do all this from the
private sector. Never mind return it to state governments --

BALL: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- but actually the private sector. He envisions what?
The Bain recovery corporation that you hire when you have a flood in your
state to come in and fix things?

BALL: I mean, it is a terrifying thought. And it is the one thing
that I actually believe Mitt Romney really believes in -- his undying,
unyielding faith in the private sector to solve every problem. And the
only time when he denies that is when faced with the reality of a massive
crisis that obviously requires federal government response so that
everybody impacted is taken care of, not just the people who can afford to
pay into the Bain Capital recovery system.

O`DONNELL: There`s a "Huffington Post" poll out today that asked the
question, should the federal government provide assistance for communities
impacted by natural disasters, or should disaster relief be left to state
and local governments? In other words, should we do it the way we do it or
should we do it the Romney way? And it`s really impressive.

The -- only 37 percent of Republicans agree with Romney in this poll.
That`s the 37 percent you see of Republicans who think state and local
should carry the whole burden.

Richard, the Romney position as happily described by him during those
Republican primaries, he just can`t speak a word of that right now.

WOLFFE: The natural disaster they`re looking at are those numbers.


WOLFFE: And that`s why he`s doing these flip-flops right now. When
you are in an election that is separated by one or two points in pretty
much all the critical states and your opponent is getting 78 percent
approval -- 78 percent approval for his behavior on a national stage just a
few days before an election, that`s a political disaster. Never mind the
natural one that everyone else is suffering.

O`DONNELL: Many Republicans concerned about this Chris Christie
embrace of President Obama, which makes perfect sense from a governing

BALL: Sure.

O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh thinks he`s got it all figured out. Let`s
listen to Rush on this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Is it possible Obama called
Christie and said, you want some money? You want some -- you`d better let
me come. (INAUDIBLE) is not going to come.

So what if Obama called him and wants to make money contingent on it?
Christie wouldn`t reveal that. I`m trying to be charitable here, folks.


O`DONNELL: Let`s just talk about his impression of Obama. Actually,
can we rerun that SOT just to the part where Rush is doing his impression
of Barack Obama saying you want some money? Can we just do that?


LIMBAUGH: Is it possible Obama called Christie and said, you want
some money? You want some -- you`d better let me come. (INAUDIBLE) is not
going to come.

So what if Obama wants to call and make money contingent on it?
Christie wouldn`t reveal that.


WOLFFE: He needs help.

O`DONNELL: OK. That is -- that`s officially the worst Obama
impression ever done.

BALL: Unbelievable.

WOLFFE: I thought it was "Goodfellas" for a minute. Which part --
he`s ridiculous. He needs help.

BALL: I`d love to hear -- I`d love to hear previous Limbaugh episodes
where he is effusively praising Chris Christie. Apparently now, he thinks
Chris Christie is the type of guy who can just be bullied into doing
whatever effusively on multiple occasions.

I mean, I don`t think anyone can look at the Chris Christie statements
and not feel that they are at least in part genuine. And yes, the
president`s incentives and Chris Christie`s political incentives align on
this, but I think there is a very genuine sense of gratitude at how the
president has handled this crisis.

O`DONNELL: But, Richard, when you see a lot of the crazy elements we
see in polling on the right wing in America, it`s explained by that nut,
who we were just watching, and his notion of how government works. I think
he actually believes that that is something close to a real scene in
American government, what he just described.

WOLFFE: Look, he`s suffering from many things, among them Obama
derangement syndrome. But the really painful thing for I think ideologues
like him is that they try to argue about government and right-sizing,
downsizing, whatever they like.

When real people see the images out of New Jersey, they think of the
indelible images of government failure after Katrina. That`s what people
are reminded of. That`s when you had a president and a federal government
that did not work, did not come to the aid of people.

So you don`t have to talk about the Bush legacy. You don`t have to
draw the comparison because it`s right there in people`s heads. In the
case of our dear friend on radio, what`s left of his head is clearly

O`DONNELL: Ideologue is the kindest thing said about Rush Limbaugh on
my show.

Richard Wolffe always keeps it classy.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

O``DONNELL: Richard Wolffe and Krystal Ball, thank you both very much
for joining us tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mitt Romney actually tells the crowd in Ohio
that he knows all about hurricane cleanup because -- this is absolutely
true, this is what he told them -- he once had to help clean up the
football field after a football game when he was in high school.
Seriously. That`s his experience with cleanup. And that`s in the

And with the election just six days away, will voters across the
Northeast be able to actually vote on Election Day? Will the hurricane
problem still be going on? That`s coming up.



that we are closer in more states than we have been ever before. And we
have more opportunities than we have ever before. We feel like we`re in a
very, very good place with one week to go.


O`DONNELL: A new Marquette University Law School poll shows President
Obama has opened up an eight-point lead in Paul Ryan`s home state of
Wisconsin. 51-43. A new Quinnipiac/"New York Times"/CBS News swing state
poll shows President Obama leading in Ohio with likely voters 50 to 45. A
tighter race in Virginia; President Obama at 49, Mitt Romney at 47, which
is a statistical tie, within the poll`s three percent margin of error.

And in Florida that poll has President Obama at 48 and Mitt Romney at
47, another statistical tie. Tonight, Nate Silver of the "New York Times`"
538 blog forecasts that on November 6th, President Obama will win 300
electoral college votes and Mitt Romney will win 238, and President Obama`s
chance of re-election ticked up tonight in Nate Silver`s calculations to
78.4 percent.

And finally, George W. Bush has entered the presidential campaign. He
did that today when he was dragged into it by his little brother in


JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: Do you honestly think that this
president is capable of bringing people together? His entire strategy is
to blame others, starting with my brother, of course. Basically, he blames
every possible thing rather than having the humility to be able to reach
out and define common ground.


O`DONNELL: And the fight over who is the real friend of the auto
industry continued today.


speak for themselves. President Obama took G.M. and Chrysler into
bankruptcy. Taxpayers still stand to lose 25 billion dollars from the
president`s politically managed bankruptcy.

These companies, Chrysler in particular, we know their story, are now
choosing to expand manufacturing overseas. These are the facts.

president talked about Romnesia? Well, it`s contagious. Congressman Ryan
-- Congressman Ryan`s caught it. Let me tell you the facts. Congressman
Ryan voted with us. He voted in the Congress with us.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid and Robert Reich, former
Clinton labor secretary, University of California at Berkeley economics
professor, and author of "Beyond Outrage."

Joy Reid, you know Florida? Has no one told Jeb Bush this thing about
his brother`s lack of popularity with the American public?

JOY REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Poor Jeb keeps trying. He tried
it at the convention too. He just tries to slip George in there every so

O`DONNELL: You can`t blame a brother, though.

REID: He loves his brother. You know, he keeps trying to get him
back on the stage, and Republicans keep saying no, thanks, we don`t need
him. It`s also interesting. I wonder if Jeb has seen that memo that came
out from Republican party operatives about the sort of panic attack they`re
having about the state of Florida. They are losing the early vote ground
game right now.

They are actually very worried, particularly looking at places like
Palm Beach, which is a Democratic-leaning county, but where Republicans
usually have a decided advantage in absentees. They send them out to a lot
of elderly folks. This time, Democrats have closed that gap and closed it
fast in terms of absentee. And they`re already winning the early vote

So if you look now at states where Republicans should have already
secured their base, places like North Carolina and Florida, they should
already have put away -- when you hear expanding the map like what you
played back in that clip, expanding the map is what you do when you`ve
already won your must-win states and now you`re expanding it beyond that to
states that you can now pick up that are non-traditional.

That`s what Barack Obama did after he won his must-win states like
Illinois or Pennsylvania. Republicans haven`t secured Ohio. They haven`t
secured Virginia. They haven`t even secured North Carolina. You can`t
expand the map until you secure the map.

O`DONNELL: Let`s get to this auto industry fight. We have two new
polls out of Michigan tonight. A "Detroit News"/WDIV poll shows President
Obama leading 48 to 45 percent, which is within the poll`s 3.8 percent
margin of error. But a new "Detroit Free Press"/WQYZ poll has President
Obama leading by six points, 48 to 42.

Now, half of those polled said that the rescue of GM and Chrysler was
a deciding factor in their support. And two thirds of those people backed
President Obama.

Robert Reich, it seems like Michigan voters have figured out who they
want to give credit to for the auto bailout.

Romney and Ryan are doing everything they possibly can, Lawrence, to
confuse voters, to dissemble, to claim credit for the bailout, to actually
say, believe it or not -- and unfortunately some people believe big lies
when they`re told over and over again -- that Romney was in favor of the
bailout and that somehow, by some stretch of the imagination, the president
is responsible for shrinking Chrysler and shrinking GM and sending the jobs
out to China.

That`s actually what they are saying right now. I mean, it takes lies
to a new height of prevarication.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the help that President Obama`s getting on
in from Colin Powell.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He served America as a four-star general, as
secretary of state. Here`s Republican Colin Powell on CBS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you endorse President Obama?

were in one of the worst recessions we have seen in recent times, close to
a depression. The fiscal system was collapsing. Wall Street was in chaos.
And we were in very difficult straits.

And I saw over the next several years stabilization come back in the
financial community. Housing is starting to pick up. Consumer confidence
is rising. The president saved the auto industry. I also saw the
president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war. And
the actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have
been very, very solid.

I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.


O`DONNELL: Joy, if team Obama had written a script for Colin Powell
for an ad, it couldn`t be better than that. It`s an amazingly compact and
full case for the president.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. And Colin Powell is one of the few Bush
administration figures who retained a strong measure of popularity. By the
way, he`s the only probably Republican that could take away a third of the
black vote immediately, were he to run for president. So it`s an
incredibly big endorsement, just as much as the Chris Christie sort of
bromance thing that`s happening with the president helps Barack Obama`s

But no doubt. And I can tell you that if you talk to Democrats about
who they most thought would be their most formidable challenger before this
election started, it would have been Mitt Romney in part because he
theoretically puts Michigan in play. His father was very popular, very
popular with African-Americans. He ran American Motors.

Romney rejecting the bailout of General Motors was such a colossal
blunder politically because it took away any possibility that he could flip
that state red. There`s just no chance.

O`DONNELL: Robert Reich, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has decided
it will be able to come out with a jobs report on Friday, that the storm
will not prevent them from doing that. What are you looking for in the new

REICH: I expect about 125,000 new jobs, Lawrence, about 7.%, 7.9
percent unemployment, not much of a change. I think, though, that the
numbers are going to look a little bit better than we saw last month
because the overall trend is slightly in a positive direction. Now, it`s
not dramatic. But as long as it continues in a generally positive
direction, the president`s point has much more credibility, that he is
improving the situation.

Why take a risk with Mitt Romney, who over and over again shows he
doesn`t know what he`s talking about?

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Robert Reich, thank you both for joining me

REID: Thank you.

REICH: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, another one of Team Romney`s frauds has been
exposed. And we have video of Mitt Romney at his very silliest in
tonight`s Rewrite.

And the mechanics of next week`s election in the wake of the
hurricane. How and where will people vote? That`s coming up.



OBAMA: What I can promise you is that the federal government will be
working as closely as possible with the state and local officials. And we
will not quit until this is done.

ROMNEY: We`re going to box these things up in just a minute and put
them on some trucks. And then we`re going to send them into -- I think
it`s New Jersey is a site that we`ve identified that can take these goods
and distribute them to people who need them.


O`DONNELL: Oh, it`s hard out there for a presidential candidate who
is utterly irrelevant to the massive relief effort President Obama is
running in the aftermath of this week`s historic storm. Because the
desperate and shameless Romney campaign believes it cannot win the election
without winning Ohio, Team Romney pushed their poor candidate out onto a
stage in Ohio yesterday. Because the storm was still in progress in some
states and the death count was climbing in New York and elsewhere,
traditional political decency dictated that Mitt Romney not be caught
campaigning yesterday.

And so Team Romney hastily rewrote a campaign event into a, quote,
"non-campaign storm relief effort." Thanks to Buzzfeed reporter McKay
Coppens, we now know exactly how they did that. Buzzfeed reports, "the
night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Walmart and spent
5,000 dollars on Granola Bars, canned food and diapers to put on display
while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. As
supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney-
Ryan t-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth,
shouting, you need a donation to get in line. Empty-handed supporters pled
for entrance, with one woman asking, what if we dropped off our donations
up front? The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently
stacked near the candidate. Just grab something, he said. Two teenaged
boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each and got in line. When it was
their turn, they handed their donations to Romney. He took them, smiled,
and offered an earnest thank you."

Before Romney took the stage, a ten-minute campaign video that debuted
at the Republican National Convention was played for the crowd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An extraordinary chief executive officer. I know
he understands the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s uniquely qualified to get our economy moving


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not a stuffed shirt guy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is rock solid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authentic leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knows he`s one of the guys that can do it, turn
it around.


O`DONNELL: As reported here last night, Romney campaign chief
strategist Stuart Stevens explained the use of the video this way: "I don`t
know what happened. Some volunteer just pressed play, I guess."

By the time Mitt Romney was doing this fake disaster relief event, he
knew that he was not welcome anywhere near the real disaster zone. He
learned that the hard way that morning on "Fox and Friends."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any possibility that Governor Romney may
go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?

CHRISTIE: I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or
interested. I`ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that`s much bigger
than presidential politics. If you think right now I give a damn about
presidential politics, then you don`t know me.


O`DONNELL: Yesterday, Mitt Romney was surely still hoping he too
would get to ride around in a helicopter with Chris Christie and be asked
his advice on how to help the people of New Jersey who`ve lost their homes
and, in some cases, lost everything they own, and in tragic cases, lost
loved ones.

And so at yesterday`s fake disaster relief event in Ohio, Mitt Romney
tried to show Chris Christie that he knew a whole lot, an awful lot about
how to help out New Jersey.


ROMNEY: I remember once we had a football game at my high school and
the football field afterwards was covered with all sorts of rubbish and
paper goods from people who`d had a big celebration there at the game. And
there was a group of us that was assigned to clean it up. And I thought,
how are we going to clean up all the mess on this football field? There
were just a few of us.

And the person responsible for organizing the effort said, just line
up along the yard lines. You go between the goal line and the 10 yard
line. And the next person between 10 and 20. And then just walk through
and do your lane. And if everybody cleans their lane, we`ll be able to get
the job done. And so today we`re cleaning one lane, if you will.


O`DONNELL: No, no, no, Mitt. You`re not cleaning anything. And
America knows it.


O`DONNELL: With only six days until election, voters in some east
coast communities hit by the storm are asking where they can vote. A
number of polling stations in New Jersey and New York are still without
power and in some cases flooded. Election officials in the Jersey Shore
towns say it could take another five days to fully assess the damage and
figure out a plan for election day.

According to FEMA Director Craig Fugate, the federal government will
reimburse any costs states assume to get voting locations up and running.
While Congress does actually have the authority to change the election day,
no presidential election in the history of the nation has ever been

Joining me now, Dorian Warren, assistant professor of political
science at Columbia University and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute in
New York. Dorian, what problems do we see from the storm, first of all?

DORIAN WARREN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: So in many places that are
devastated by the storm there is no indication that those polling -- those
polling places will be open on Tuesday, much less --

O`DONNELL: Well, in the video we`re seeing they don`t exist. I mean,
there are some coastal polling places, no doubt in New Jersey and on Long
Island, that no longer exist.

WARREN: Yes. That`s right. Although New Jersey and New York and
Connecticut are reliably blue states. They`re not swing states.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. It won`t affect the electoral college. And it
won`t affect the outcome. It could affect, since the votes favor President
Obama -- it could affect the national vote total in an election where
there`s some concern he could end up with an electoral college win and not
the popular vote. Especially New York votes are going to matter.

WARREN: That`s right. It could affect the popular vote. Although as
you know, we don`t directly elect the president. It`s through the
electoral college. So in that sense, Virginia becomes very important,
because it was a state that was hit by the hurricane, although not as bad
as New Jersey and New York. And it`s not clear --

O`DONNELL: And that`s an important swing state. We don`t know which
way it`s going to go.

WARREN: Exactly. And the polls are very close there. And it`s
unclear if the state will be able to have all of the polling locations up
and going by Tuesday. They probably will. But it is a concern, I think,
that we should raise.

O`DONNELL: And it slowed down early voting in Virginia, didn`t it?

WARREN: That`s right. There`s early voting by absentee in person.
So not early voting, say, like in Ohio, but by absentee in person. It`s a
complicated process. So it probably won`t have that much effect on the
final outcome as long as the polls are open on Tuesday.

O`DONNELL: And we do have new developments in Ohio that we should be
talking about tonight. That secretary of state, the Republican secretary
of state out there, is doing everything it seems he possibly can to try to
help the Romney ticket.

WARREN: This is why down ballot races are important. The secretary
of state of Ohio could end up deciding this election. And he has tried to
use every tactic in his arsenal to restrict the vote. He first tried to
end early voting for the three days before election day. And we know that
there`s a disproportionate number of black voters that voted those three
days before election day in 2008. He lost on that. The Supreme Court
refused to hear the case.

And today he actually just had a small victory, where an appellate
court argued that he can -- that provisional ballots cast at the wrong
polling place might not count.

O`DONNELL: Including situations where it isn`t the voter`s fault,
where they`ve actually been given the wrong information by poll workers.

WARREN: That`s exactly right. So again, it`s a way to restrict the
vote and to throw out votes that he thinks might be going to President
Obama. It`s another tactic he`s using. He`s won on this issue.

O`DONNELL: Dorian Warren gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks, Dorian.

WARREN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: "THE ED SHOW" is up next.


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