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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

December 13, 2012

Guests: Phil Roe, Lucia McBath, Ronald Davis, Ari Melber

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: OK, Massachusetts, are you ready for
another Scott Brown Senate campaign?


SUSAN RICE, U.N. AMBASSADOR: There are so many things we need to get

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Ambassador Susan Rice.

RICE: Today, I made the decision.

WILLIAMS: Withdrawing her own name.

RICE: Not to continue to be considered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had to remove her name.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: To be the next secretary of state.

RICE: It was the best thing for our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She didn`t get a hearing.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don`t believe she deserves
to be promoted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vetted informally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Everybody makes her own judgment.

GRAHAM: I don`t trust her.

MCCAIN: We`ve mad ours.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: Beating up on this woman.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: This is not going to help Republicans
at all.

MCCAIN: We`re all responsible for what we say.

RICE: There are so many things we need to get done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention negotiators, the people have spoken.
Most of you want compromise.

talking about doing it now.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: The two sides are talking.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Let`s get real. Let`s really get

BOEHNER: The president is not just serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tensions in Washington are nearing critical mass.

BOEHNER: Here we are.

PELOSI: Here we are.

BOEHNER: At the 11th hour.

PELOSI: Eighteen days.

BOEHNER: We made a reasonable offer.

PELOSI: The Republicans sent a letter.

BOEHNER: We made a reasonable offer.

PELOSI: That had no specifics.

BOEHNER: It`s issue, spending.

PELOSI: Let`s all take a deep breath.

MITCHELL: Americans get it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Voters trust the president to handle the

BOEHNER: Oh, I know they`re talking about doing it now.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Are we back to square one?

PELOSI: Here we are again once again.

BOEHNER: The president is just not serious about cutting spending.

PELOSI: We are not throwing America`s seniors over the cliff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn`t make us.

PELOSI: But to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should we do something that`s stupid?

BOEHNER: I have no idea.

PELOSI: We have clarity on that.


O`DONNELL: Today, after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name
from consideration for secretary of state, Senator John Kerry came closer
to becoming secretary of state. An administration official close to the
nomination process tells NBC News` Andrea Mitchell tonight, there were two
people on the list two minus one is one.

In other words, Senator John Kerry is virtually certain to be
nominated secretary of state. Here is Senator Kerry tonight.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I put out a statement earlier
today and I`m just going to continue to do my work.


O`DONNELL: Senator Kerry`s statement read are in part, "As someone
who was weathered my share of political attacks and understands on a
personal level just how difficult politics can be, I`ve felt for her
throughout these last difficult weeks, but I also know that she will
continue to serve with great passion and distinction."

NBC News Brian Williams spoke with Ambassador Rice today.


RICE: today I made the decision that it was the best thing for our
country, for the American people, that I not continue to be considered by
the president for a nomination of secretary of state. I didn`t want to see
a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very
distracting and very disruptive, because there are so many things we need
to get done as a country.


O`DONNELL: Ambassador Rice said this.


WILLIAMS: Did you want the job?

RICE: I would have been very honored to serve in that job, just as
I`m delighted to do what I`m doing. But yes, sure. How can you not want
to, in my field, serve at the highest possible level?


O`DONNELL: Republican senators have resisted the nomination of
Ambassador Rice to put it mildly, but they have welcomed the possible
nomination of Senator John Kerry, the current chairman of the committee
that holds confirmation hearings for secretary of state.


MCCAIN: John Kerry came within whisper of being president of the
United States. I think it works in his favor, but I love to hear him make
his case. But I don`t -- I don`t have anything in his background like this
tragedy in Benghazi that would make me want to examine the whole situation.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think John Kerry would be an
excellent appointment and would be confirmed by his colleagues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the president wants an easy confirmation
hearing and an easy confirmation process, what he would do is nomination
John Kerry.


O`DONNELL: If the president does nominate Senator Kerry in
Massachusetts, it would have to hold a special election to fill his seat.
Republican Senator Scott Brown lost his Senate race to Elizabeth Warren.

Here`s what Scott Brown said during his farewell speech in the Senate


SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: As I`ve said many times before,
temporary -- victory and defeat is temporary. You know, depending on what
happens and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again.


O`DONNELL: After learning about Ambassador Rice`s withdrawal, the
Massachusetts Democratic Party tweeted, "bring it on

The Democrats got very cute when John Kerry was running for president
and they feared Mitt Romney appointing a senator and they said, they
created this thing where you have to have an election.

Now, it`s there will be an interim appointed.


O`DONNELL: And then 150 days or somewhere there, you have this
election. And so, it looks like the Democrats feel confident enough that
they can hold on to the seat.

REID: Yes, oops.


REID: You know, here comes Scott Brown again.

I think this whole thing is just so irritating, on so many levels. I
mean, you have basically the Republican members of the Senate seeding to
themselves the right to decide who the next secretary of state is, rather
than admitting that constitutionally, really it`s the president`s call who
he wants.

They`ve all decided, look, the only thing that`s bipartisan in
Washington, and you know Washington, is that senators prefer other


REID: Well, no, duh, they`d rather have one of their own, and a sweet
deal to get Scott Brown a second bite of that apple. OK, Democrats say
they are confident they can win another special election. But this whole
thing just smells (INAUDIBLE).

O`DONNELL: The last time I saw one of these kinds of confirmation
hearings, in 1993, Bill Clinton appoints Lloyd Benson secretary of the


O`DONNELL: He is the chairman of the committee that confirms the
treasury secretary OK? And so, we had to run the hearing even though the
chairman is down there as the witness. Bob Dole actually said, why don`t
we vote before the hearing started? They voted to confirm to him before
the hearing started.

HAYES: The whole thing, I got to say. The whole thing is just has
this like bros helping bros grossness to it, right now, where, you know,
sure, yes, John Kerry would be great and, oh, look, John Kerry, is a member
of the same club.

I got to say -- the other thing about this entire Susan Rice story
that is just jaw-dropping is here`s someone who has quite a long record
serving the U.S. government, none of which came to bear in any way, shape,
or form, on whether she would be a good secretary of state, whether she
would, you know, be different in any way than Hillary Clinton or put us on
a different trajectory.

Her record crafting Africa policy for much of the Clinton years which
was incredibly complex and problematic and subject to critique, none of it
was critique, none of it had anything to do with anything except extracting
the stupid base political scalp.

O`DONNELL: And, Joy, she was attacked for what she said on a TV talk
show by people all of whom have lied on talk shows knowingly --

REID: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- at certain points. And saying your entire career comes
down to his one exchange on television.

REID: Exactly, an attacked by the guy who pretty much does nothing
else in his Senate career but go on Sunday talk shows.

HAYES: Right.

REID: That`s what he does, I guess he is an expert of how you do it
right. And they were attacking her for one she said about something she
was not in supervisory capacity over. It was not her job to secure that
base. She was giving the talking points just like John McCain does when he
goes on Sunday talk shows. She didn`t give the classified version.

It was so small -- but this is why people hate Washington. These are
senators and this is their hubris. They want to pick --

O`DONNELL: And here`s what we don`t know at the center of this. I
think we can assume that there were two names on the list. And what we
don`t know is in a world with no static, what was President Obama`s first
choice? It wasn`t John Kerry, it might have not been Susan Rice.

And then, Chris, in this environment, assuming the president`s choice
was affirmatively John Kerry, not by default, how would you handle it? It
seems to me one way you`d handle it is that you would ask Susan Rice to
publicly withdraw from consideration rather than appear to reject her.

HAYES: There is a lot of reporting right now and speculation about,
did she jump or were she pushed? Which is usually what happens after one
of these. And it does seem to me, more likely that there`s communication
with the White House explicitly about making this announcement, that this
wasn`t something done freelance.

And I thought her answer to Brian`s question about did you want to job
was like refreshingly honest. Of course I wanted the job. It`s secretary
of the state. I`m like, let`s not pretend that I didn`t want the job.


HAYES: Look, the question to me is, and I think there`s a really deep
question here, which is -- how much does the secretary of state affect U.S.
foreign policy and diplomacy?

And I think there are different cases to be made and you make cases
about, you know, what the Condoleezza Rice secretary of state meant as
opposed to the Colin Powell one, and what Hillary Clinton is meant. But
it`s just none of -- we never have gotten to any of that during this whole
thing and it`s just to me, is this abject lesson in the stupidity of our
conversation on politics in the Beltway and specifically foreign policy,
where no one every actually wants to talk about the stuff that is
happening. They want to talk about these atmospherics.

O`DONNELL: On the Scott Brown possible campaign, he`s up against
something tough. Ed Markey has privately expressed an interest in this. I
now firmly believe Ed Markey is running because I invited him on the show
tonight and he refused to come on the show. That means he`s running, OK?

REID: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Now, Ed Markey has spendable cash on hand for his
campaign, $3,142,000, OK? Scott Brown has $464,000 on hand spendable on
this campaign. I don`t believe Scott Brown can catch up with Ed Markey in
fundraising. I don`t believe Scott Brown can appeal to the state of
Massachusetts statewide the way Ed Markey can, especially after this last

REID: Yes. And I mean, Scott Brown only narrowly Martha Coakley. He
was arguably probably the worst candidate for Senate in the history of
Senate campaigns. And in this time, yes, he just ran and you can argue he
still got infrastructure in place that could help him. But I think the
Democrats will make sure they don`t make the same mistakes in this special
election that they did in the first special election when he ran against

O`DONNELL: But, Chris, Ed Markey doesn`t run, then I don`t have a
bet. I don`t know who wins this race.

HAYES: That`s exactly the problem. And I mean, you know, when you
look ahead to the governor`s race, in Massachusetts, which is the other big
statewide office and Deval Patrick won`t be, you know, reelected there,
it`s not a really super strong field, right? I mean, there`s not a strong

And the fact that there is not a hugely strong field of plausible
Democrats for statewide office has always been the background subtext of
this whole fight about whether Kerry was going to be nominated. So I agree
with you. I don`t think Scott Brown is anything but a sure bet. And I
think there`s a stench of loser-dom on a candidate who literally just lost.


HAYES: At the same time, after Markey, it`s not clear there`s someone
very formidable.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Chris Hayes, thank you both for joining me

REID: Thank you.

HAYES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: a Republican congressman will join me to talk
about what happens if we do go off the fiscal curb in January.

And in the "Rewrite," the jokes of Grover Norquist, including his
jokes about rate.

And later, a LAST WORD exclusive, the parents of Jordan Davis, the
unarmed black teenager shot and killed in Florida last month. His parents
will join me.


O`DONNELL: Senator Al Franken has performed a miracle. He`s managed
to make a truly bipartisan thing happened in the United States Senate.
Now, granted, there were little bribes involved. That`s coming up with Ari

And in the "Rewrite," how mean is Grover Norquist? He is way, way
worse than you know.


O`DONNELL: President Obama met with John Boehner at the White House
earlier this evening, on a day when once again, polls show just how
unpopular John Boehner`s position is. A new Pew Research poll finds that
69 percent support raising taxes on incomes over $250,000. While just 28
percent oppose it.

A majority of Republican voters, 52 percent, support raising taxed on
incomes over $250,000. And more than 2/3 of independent voters, 68
percent, support it.

But being the leader of the poll-denying party isn`t always easy.


REPORTER: Could you describe how difficult it is to craft a deal that
your conference will support while not jeopardizing your job at speaker?

BOEHNER: I`m not concerned about my job. What I`m concerned about is
doing the right thing for our kids and our grandkids.


O`DONNELL: John Boehner is now getting all sorts of helpful strategic
advice from Democrats.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We still believe that a big
deal is possible. We believe the parameters are there. In case of
emergency, the House should break a glass, that the House speaker ought to
allow Republicans to vote on extending tax cuts for 98 percent of the
American people. That would deal with a chunk of the so-called fiscal


O`DONNELL: And former Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is now giving
public seminars on how a bill becomes a law even when the speaker of the
House doesn`t really like the bill.


PELOSI: They can bring a bill to the floor that doesn`t have the
majority or maybe does have a majority but doesn`t have everybody on their
caucus onboard, they can bring a bill to the floor that the Republicans
don`t have to vote for, except for 25 of them. So it`s tough. But you
have to do it.

So if the point that you don`t want to put your members on the spot --
figure it out. We did. Figure it out and then go forward and continue to
debate the issue.


O`DONNELL: Senator Rand Paul, who has announced he`s going to vote
against any version of a tax increase has this suggestion for how to get
the tax increase passed in the House that he, of course, would vote against
in the Senate.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: My suggestion to them has been I think
that we should put forward that we are for. If it gets beyond that and
something is going to happen, I think we should encourage those in the
House to vote present. Let the Democrats own this tax increase and it can
become a Democrat plan.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Republican Congressman Phil Roe of
Tennessee, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions.

Thanks for joining me tonight, Congressman.

PHIL ROE (R), TENNESSEE: Thanks, Lawrence. Thanks for having me on.

O`DONNELL: So, you got a real, tough situation here. What do you
make of Nancy Pelosi`s advice to John Boehner, which is, listen, every once
in a while, something comes along that you don`t like, that you don`t
really want to move, but you put it on the floor and you let it get the
support of the party, if that`s the way it`s going to pass, and you let
anyone in your own party go for it and let the bill pass?

ROE: You know, Lawrence, it`s certainly one way to do it. I think
what I would like to do is suggest that if we do -- if the taxes do go up
and you know this because probably not anybody better on television, you
served as the budget -- chief of staff in the Finance Committee in the
Senate, I know you know numbers well --this is not going to solve our

I looked at the numbers and looked at the $30 billion number for 10
years and the $50 billion for raising taxes on the top 2 percent does. The
problem with it is, it only covers 10 days of the deficit in November of
this year. So it`s spending.

And the other way to raise revenue which nobody is talking about is
getting our people back to work.

I looked at the data, Lawrence, about a week ago, and with this
recovery, and we just saw that our unemployment rate drop 7.7 percent and
it caused half a million quit looking for a job. And we have created I
think this year about 150,000 jobs per month.

If we create 350,000 jobs per month for the next three years, it`s s
going to take that to get our rate down to 6 percent. That`s what we ought
to be concentrating on this, cut and spending, and getting our people back
to work.

And this small -- and because you raise taxes, the CBO statistically
scores this for our viewers out there means if they put a number on it,
small businesses will certainly make some changes. I doubt that will get
the revenue this predicted. Other tax increases haven`t done that, but
that is a way to raise revenue.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Roe, let`s the go up to New Year`s Eve. Let`s
go off the cliff, as it were and now it`s January 1st and January 2nd. And
John Boehner convenes an emergency session of the House. And the proposal
before the House of Representatives is to cut taxes on everything except
the two top income tax brackets.

What would happen on a vote in the House in January, in the first week
of January, to cut taxes on every bracket, except the top two?

ROE: I think I would bring that bill and I think I would bring a
second bill to cut taxes on the top two. Not cut them, but not to let
people know we are extending the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.


O`DONNELL: Just to get to, I mean, to the mechanics of where we would
be in the first week of January is, the rates would go up, they would all
go back up to those Clinton levels. And so, what the president and what
the Democrats would want to do is say let`s get them all except the top
two. And Republicans want to cut them all.

Why not send two bills out on the floor one that cuts them all,
including the top that would not pass with Democratic votes, could pass
with House vote, with Republican votes, and then put the other one up there
that would cut them all except the top two. That would surely pick up
another Republican votes to pass also, wouldn`t it?

ROE: I think you`re right. You know, I talked to Senator Corker
about that. That`s certainly one strategy. Again, we are still talking
about tax increases.

And what we need to talk about what we are going to do for the entire
budget. This is a very -- you know this, Lawrence. You looked at numbers.
I`ve heard you on your show talk about it. It doesn`t put a dent in the
deficit. And we`ve got to stop the trillion deficits for the foreseeable

O`DONNELL: But, Congressman, that would be an argument against any
tariff. It would be an argument against the gasoline tax. It would an
argument against anything that it doesn`t solve all of our problems.

When is the last time that you voted for something in Congress that
completely solved everything about the problem?

ROE: Never. You say never.


Congressman Phil Roe, thank you very, very much for joining us

ROE: Thanks for having me on, Lawrence.

Coming up, the comedy of Grover Norquist. Grover e makes jokes about
war. He makes jokes about rape. Yes, he does -- in his desperate and
losing attempts to prevent members of Congress from violating the Grover
anti-tax pledge. That`s going to be in the "Rewrite."

And the parents of the unarmed black Florida teenager shot and killed
last month because the music in his car was too loud, they will join me in
a LAST WORD exclusive.


O`DONNELL: One million people now have concealed carry permits for
guns in the state of Florida. Last month, a 17-year-old boy was shot and
killed by someone with one of those permits, after that person thought that
the teen was playing music too loud in his car. The parents of Jordan
Davis will join me in a LAST WORD exclusive, next.


O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, America`s gun culture.
Florida`s commissioner of agriculture and consumer services made an
announcement yesterday that he is very excited about.

Here is the press release that he issued yesterday in which he proudly
told the world that Florida`s concealed weapon and firearm license program
is one million strong. One million people in Florida now have successfully
applied for an obtained the right to conceal and carry a loaded gun.

Forty five year old Michael Dunn is one of those concealed weapon
license holders Florida, a license he apparently believed included the
right to shoot and kill 17-year-old Jordan Davis, which he did three weeks
ago in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jordan Davis was sitting in the back seat of a car parked at a gas
station convenience store while another friend was in the store buying
snacks. Jordan and the kids in the car had the music jacked up pretty
loud. Michael Dunn didn`t like that. He was in the parked car next to
them. He told them to turn down the music.

The kids didn`t turn down the music and so Michael Dunn started
shooting. he fired eight bullets, six of which hit no one. The other two
hit Jordan Davis and killed him. Michael Dunn then fled the scene, did not
report the incident to police. And thanks to an eye witness who caught
Dunn`s license plate number before he fled, police arrested him the next
day, 173 miles from the scene of the shooting.

Today, Michael Dunn was indicted for the capital murder of Jordan
Davis and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree of the other
kids in the car.

Joining me now for their first national television interview, the
parents of Jordan Davis, Lucia McBath and Ronald Davis, along with their
current attorney, John Phillips.

Lucia, you got that phone call that parents can`t imagine getting.
Ron found out first. He called you. What -- what was your feeling? What
happened to you when you got that phone call?

LUCIA MCBATH, MOTHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: It just -- when I just happened
to come up in the bedroom and I saw my phone light up. And I saw that it
was Ron. I knew it had to do with Jordan. I knew it. You know, 11:00 at
night, there would be no other reason why he would be calling.

And when I picked up the phone and he just kept saying, you know,
where is Earl, get Earl. And I knew when he was telling me to get Earl,
you know, my cousin, that it had to do with Jordan. I knew something was
terribly, terribly wrong. And I think I knew in my spirit. I knew that he
was gone. I just -- I felt that.

O`DONNELL: Ron, do you think that it was in your voice when you made
that call. It was -- I can`t imagine what it`s like to be in a father`s
position, having to make that call to the mother of this child that you
both just lost.

hospital from seeing him, that it was my child in the hospital that had
passed, walking up to my front door, just thinking I can tell my wife,
Jordan`s step mother, first of all, and going through the reaction. And
then the realization to both of us that we have to immediately make that
call to Jordan`s mother.

And the first thing I thought about was, as she said, to get her
cousin who is like a brother to her, Earl, to stand with her and make sure
she was sitting down. And that`s what I tried to do. That`s why I kept --
she kept saying, why do you want Earl. I said, just let me speak to Earl.
Why do you need to speak to Earl?

She finally just made me say. She said is something wrong with
Jordan. At that time, I did tell her that Jordan had been shot and he
didn`t survive.

O`DONNELL: Lucia and Ron, when the nation was watching the Trayvon
Martin story develop, I think we all felt, -- all of us parents of
teenagers in America thought, wow, that could have been anyone`s child.
I`m sure you must have identified with that story that way.

Did it create, in following that story to whatever extent you did, an
extra sensation of worry about Jordan?

MCBATH: Absolutely, without a doubt. Because underneath I kept
saying, that could have been Jordan. I mean, that could have been Jordan.
So when you hear a story so tragically, like Trayvon Martin`s, you know, it
does put a sense of fear in you, because you know that you can`t watch your
child every moment of the day as they get older and they start living their

And you want to protect them and you want to watch over them. But you
know that it is not always possible and that, you know, there are dangers
and people out there that sometimes you just can`t protect them from. And
it makes you kind of feel helpless.

O`DONNELL: Ron, African-American parents in this country, throughout
its history, have always had to have the conversation, especially with
teenage boys, that it is different for them out there.

DAVIS: Right. Jordan never believed that it is different for them
out there because, as I was raised as a child in New York City, from
Queens, New York, right here, and I never had that problem. I was a child
of the `60s and the `70s. There was a lot of love going around, a lot of
neighbors. When you did something bad in your neighborhood, your mother
and father knew about it before you got home because the neighbors, they
told on you. And they helped protect you.

And so I used to tell Jordan. He said, well, dad, I have a lot of
friends. All of my friends, they are of all colors, Bosnian, Irish, you
name it. And we all play together. We all have fun together. So I`m not
going to take it. I`m not going to let things that happened in America
guide me and make me be something that I`m not.

So he was the type of child that was raised to be with everybody. So
we never really raise him to have that great fear of that. We never did.

O`DONNELL: Lucia, in Florida there seem to be two things that come
together here: this determination to have concealed weapons, and the state
government wanting people to have concealed weapons, carry these loaded
weapons, and this Stand Your Ground Law, this notion in Florida that there
comes a moment in a confrontation where you have a right to pull a trigger.
And it is up to citizens to make that judgement. This is that moment where
I get to shoot and kill someone.

It seems that, as much as anything else, that is where this problem
arises. And this case sadly also has a racial component. This is a white
shooter of a black teenager.

MCBATH: Most certainly that is the case, you know. Mr. Dunn is white
and, you know, my son is black. But we are not going to concentrate on
that. There needs to be an amendment to the Stand Your Ground Laws. We`re
not saying that you don`t have a right to bear arms, because we can`t
choose for you what you choose to do. But there needs to be
accountability. There needs to be responsibility.

You need to understand the means by which you can bear arms and
protect yourself. And that is something that really has to be addressed.
So it is not a black/white issue. It is a nation issue. And people are
operating in fear. People are afraid to walk out of their homes. And I
know that is not what God intended for our country. I know that. We know

O`DONNELL: Ron, it is an American problem that we`re talking about
here. But here are these two now sadly well-known cases in Florida,
Trayvon Martin and now your son. Florida seem to have a special problem

DAVIS: Well, we have big following in Florida with the NRA. I can
see that, looking at their website, you know. And everyone looks at
Florida as far as concealed weapon permits. I think it has tripled over
the last few years, I believe I`ve read. I know the NRA has four -- over
four million members.

People want to bear arms. I understand that. People want to have
concealed weapons now. When I say it is an overall problem, not just the
state of Florida, in America I see that as an overall problem because
states now are operating as individual countries, the way I see it.

When you go to Europe, you know, it`s -- the size is around the same,
but you see each state size is a country in Europe. Well, we are operating
like a country also. Each little state -- if Colorado wants marijuana,
then they get it, because that`s the way they want to operate. If Florida
wants to have guns, and everybody has concealed weapon permits, and
everybody walk around with a gun, then the state of Florida gets it.

As I was growing up, I noticed that the federal government stepped in
more and stopped letting all the states change all the laws. The lawmakers
were accountable. If you went a little bit too far in your state, the
federal government kind of slapped you back a little bit.

But now the federal government doesn`t do that. Each state makes laws
for themselves. Even when President Obama came into Arizona, he got a
stern talking to. And he`s the chief of the country. And he has a finger
in his face.

So the respect that we have for our leaders is not there anymore.
That`s what we have to get back to as a country, is have the respect for
our leaders. And the state of Florida, the best that we can do, as
Jordan`s parents, is to get the Stand Your Ground repealed, because what
that is is just a shield for people to go ahead and use their firearms
without any type of other thought about human life. That is why we want to
repeal that.

O`DONNELL: Lucia and Ron and your lawyer, John Phillips. John helped
me out understanding the legals of this before the show. Thank you for
coming here and telling the story. I`m very, very sorry that you are
sitting here tonight telling the story that you have to tell. Thank you
very, very much.

MCBATH: Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be back.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, as Grover Norquist watches his unbreakable pledge
to never raise taxes get rewritten by Republicans into a pledge to never
raise taxes except maybe this one time, Grover is getting desperate and
mean. Well, Grover has always been mean. But he really is getting
desperate now.

Here he is on CSPAN this morning.


Obama claims to be for that we will make -- we, the Republicans in the
House and Senate will.


O`DONNELL: Grover has controlled the Republicans in the House and
Senate so long that he now thinks he is actually one of them. That is one
desperate and delusional, highly delusional anti-tax fanatic.


NORQUIST: We, the Republicans in the House and Senate, will make him
actually make those spending restraints in order to get the continuing the
resolution out, a week, two weeks, a month. Obama will be on a very short
leash, fiscally speaking, over the next four years.


O`DONNELL: Now, "very short leash" is a common phrase in this kind of
situation. So I don`t want to think that Grover deliberately used that
phrase to create the imagery of Barack Obama as a dog or a slave. But
Grover actually specializes in deliberately vicious hate speech -- hate
speech against anyone who takes a responsible approach to financing the
federal government.

And so I`m sorry to say that Grover is not above suspicious on that
phrase about the short leash.


NORQUIST: Obama will be on a very short leash, fiscally speaking,
over the next four years. He is not going to have any fun at all. He may
decide to go blow up small countries he can`t pronounce, because it won`t
be any fun to be here because he won`t be able to spend the kind of cash he
was hoping to.


O`DONNELL: "Blow up small countries he can`t pronounce." Grover
never once criticized the pronunciation skills of George W. Bush. Grover
never once criticized George W. Bush`s frequent inability to form a
coherent English language sentence.


old saying in Tennessee. I know it is in Texas, probably in Tennessee --
that says fool me once, shame on -- same o shame on you. Fool me -- you
can`t get fooled again.


O`DONNELL: Grover never once criticized George W. Bush, the most
inarticulate president in Grover`s lifetime, for being inarticulate.
President Obama may be the only president in Grover`s lifetime, possibly
the only president in American history for whom there are no small
countries he can`t pronouns.

And if Grover is suddenly moved to joke about blowing up small
countries, why did he find nothing funny in his hero Ronald Reagan`s
invasion of Grenada. And why did Grover never try to make a joke about
George W. Bush blowing up small countries?

Because George W. Bush was a tax cutter. So Grover didn`t hate him.
What does Grover think of the fiscal cliff crisis in which the first
casualty is going to be Grover and his pledge?


NORQUIST: This fight on the fiscal cliff is a skirmish.


O`DONNELL: Oh yes. When you are losing a really big fight, when you
are losing the fight of your life, just pretend it is not important at all.
That is now Grover`s performance choice, as he sees his pledge becoming
meaningless to so many Republicans who signed it.

As you can tell from what you just saw, and almost any time you hear
Grover Norquist think, Grover thinks he is a very clever boy. Very clever.
He is the kind of clever boy, the kind of clever Republican boy with no
sympathies for any hardship he himself has not experienced. And he seems
to have experienced none.

He`s the kind of clever boy who thinks he can make jokes about blowing
up small countries, because, of course, Grover never considered joining the
military himself. Never considered the possibility of voluntarily being
anywhere near a bomb going off. So people being killed in war, bodies
being blown up, that stuff, that is a joke for Grover.

He doesn`t say those things because he is losing. He doesn`t say
those things because he`s desperate. He says those things because he is so
often reflexively mean and inhumane. That is what allows him to be an
anti-tax fanatic. He cares about absolutely no one he does not know or is
not related to.

He does not believe in community or a shared responsibility of a
community. He thinks that kind of community is communism. Grover does not
care about one person on Staten Island tonight who is homeless because of
Hurricane Sandy. Grover thinks those people should fend for themselves and
not try to take tax dollars from Grover in their time of need.

Grover takes so much delight in his cleverness that it prevents him
from seeing how grotesquely mean he can be. He once told "The Denver Post"
"bipartisanship is another name for date rape."

Yes, Grover thinks rape is something to joke about to make a political
point. And he is so blind to how uncool that is that he does it publicly.
That is how out of touch with the human experience, how heartless Grover
Norquist can be. Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.

Spoken like a truly oblivious Republican who thinks he doesn`t know
anyone who has been raped or experienced date rape. Of course Grover does
know someone who has experienced that. But she would never share that with
someone who can be as cold hearted as Grover Norquist.

I`m sure Grover is in some ways a good person. And I know in some
ways that he is not. We are all a mix of good and bad. We all have things
to apologize for. But Grover, you have a daughter. And I can promise you
the following two things are going to happen. One, she is going to grow up
to unfortunately know someone in high school or college or later who
experiences the tragedy, the savagery, the crime of date rape.

And two, she is eventually somewhere on the Internet going to come
across her dad making a joke about date rape. "Bipartisanship is another
name for date rape."

And then, Grover, my hope for you as a father is that you can find the
words that will make your apology to your daughter something that she can


O`DONNELL: Public Policy Polling, which has one of the most accurate
polling records of the last election, has found that 44 percent believe
that Santa is a Democrat, while 28 percent say he is a Republican. In the
United States Senate, there is now no doubt that Santa is a Democrat.

For the second year in a row, Al Franken organized the Senate`s Secret
Santa exchange on Monday. Sixty senators, 40 Democrats and 20 Republicans,
put their differences aside, ate fruit cake, pretended to like the fruit
cake, drank egg nog, maybe did like the egg nog, and exchanged presents
with their colleagues across the aisle.

There was a 10 dollar limit on gifts, which forced the senators to be
creative. Senator Franken received a VHS copy of the movie "Tunnel
Vision," which Senator Franken starred in back in 1976, from Wyoming
Republican John Barrasso. New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte gave North
Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan the took "1,001 Gardens You Should See Before
You Die."

And Vermont Democrat and Batman enthusiast Patrick Leahy received a
Batman Snuggie. He really did, from Utah Republican Mike Lee.

Ari Melber, you have grown out of your Batman suit?

ARI MELBER, "THE NATION": I brought you a Harley Davidson Snuggie.
I`m saving it for your holiday party.

O`DONNELL: So, it turns out in the United States Senate, Santa is not
only a Democrat. He is also Jewish. Senator Al Franken --

MELBER: Tell me more.

O`DONNELL: Who knew? Who knew? So Al Franken is bringing peace and
joy to the United States Senate. Filibuster reform can`t be far behind.

MELBER: Well, that`s an open question. Hanukkah Harry I always
thought was a Democrat. I know that much. No, Al Franken is a great force
because he is -- talking about bipartisanship, he`s trying to get the
senators together. There is a lot of talk about comity between the

But he has also been very clearly on the side of some of the reform
issues of changing the way the Senate works. And one word, making it more

O`DONNELL: there is always this -- you know, filibuster reform is an
easy thing to talk about. It`s a hard thing to really step up and do,
especially -- especially if you are a senator who has ever been in the
minority. That is when you love the rules as they are now. That is when
41 of you can stop anything.

So the Democrats have enough people who lived life in the minority,
knew how much they needed the rules as they exist now, who are very
reluctant to tamper with it.

MELBER: That is exactly right. I mean, this fight, Lawrence, is
between logic and power. The logic of democracy is strong. And we know
that. WE know the amendments we made to the Constitution are about
extending the franchise, pro-democracy. Everyone can get behind that, in

But when you look at how the Senate works, it is a minoritarian
institution. And as an individual senator -- forget the party. As an
individual, you have more power when you have a robust filibuster, when you
have the ability to hold and use cloture as a device to get what you want.

That is why although Senator Merkley is pushing very hard with Harry
Reid to reform the filibuster, to try to force people to at least get up
and talk, not even get rid of the whole thing, but at least make it harder
to do and thus subject to less abuse. But there are several Democrats,
Levin, Inouye from Hawaii and others who said, hold on, we like this power.

O`DONNELL: They all have long and painful experiences in the
minority. So they are kind of like, yeah, I`m not sure you want to let go
of this thing. You know, we could need it at any time.

MELBER: That is right. The other piece of this is that Common Cause,
which is run by former Congressman Bob Edgar, is suing in court right now,
arguing that the Senate has this power and, to the extent that Republicans
are subjecting everything to a super majority, including through the
filibuster, that itself is unconstitutional. The federal courts are
hearing that. But it may intersect with what Reid`s trying to do next

O`DONNELL: Courts will never touch Senate rules. Ari Melber gets
tonight`s -- wait, I just got tonight`s LAST WORD.

MELBER: I think you did.

O`DONNELL: OK, Ari Melber was supposed to. He will next time. "THE
ED SHOW" is up next.


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