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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

August 7, 2013
Guests: Julia Ioffe, George Takei, Sam Stein, Hunter Walker

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: President Obama made news last night on
"The Tonight Show" telling Jay Leno he will go to Russia for a summit
meeting of 20 heads of state. And today, the White House told Vladimir
Putin that he will not be meeting one-on-one with President Obama.


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: The big chill between the U.S. and
Russia may be heading for the deep freeze.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Putin`s shelter of Edward Snowden --

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: No Snowden, no meeting.

WAGNER: -- comes at a price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has now officially cancelled plans to meet with

the Cold War mentality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a moderate response?

OBAMA: That`s the past. We`ve got to think about the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a totally moderate response.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Snowden was one part of this puzzle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edward Snowden, missile defense, human rights --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thousands of people rallied last night into
Tunisia`s capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yemen says it has foiled an al Qaeda plot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Massive fire (INAUDIBLE) the airport.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia`s anti-gay laws.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That controversial law that bans gay

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re talking about the protection of American
athletes abroad and a lot of concern about how it`s going to impact the

OBAMA: I think Putin and Russia have a big stake at making sure the
Olympics work.

MITCHELL: How do you think the U.S. should handle this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have athletes who have been training for that

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The relationship has to get back on track.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, it got a lot chillier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we headed toward a modern day Cold War.

OBAMA: A Cold War mentality.



O`DONNELL: President Obama told Jay Leno last night that he will
attend the G-20 summit in Russia next month in St. Petersburg, but White
House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced today that the president will
not many stop in Moscow on the way for a scheduled one-on-one meeting with
Vladimir Putin.

"Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms
control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human
rights in civil society in the last 12 months, we have informed the Russian
government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the
summit until we have more results from our shared agenda. Russia`s
disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a

Last night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", President Obama
discussed the Snowden factor.


JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW: Were you surprised that Russia granted
Snowden asylum?

OBAMA: I was disappointed, because, you know, even though we don`t
have an extradition treaty with them, traditionally we have tried to
respect if there`s a law breaker or an alleged law breaker in their
country, we evaluate and we try to work with them. They didn`t do that
with us.

And in some ways it`s reflective of some underlying challenges that
wee had with Russia lately.

LENO: Right.

OBAMA: A lot of what`s been going on hasn`t been major breaks in the
relationship and they still help us on supplying our troops in Afghanistan.
They`re still helping us on counterterrorism work. They were helpful after
the Boston bombing in that investigation.

And so, there`s still a lot of business we with do with them but there
are times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War
mentality, and what I consistently say to them and what I say to President
Putin is, that`s the past and, you know, we`ve got to think about the


O`DONNELL: Foreign policy adviser for Putin said today, "We are
disappointed by the U.S. administration`s decision to cancel the visit of
President Obama to Moscow planned in early September. It is clear that the
decision is due to the situation around the former U.S. Special Services
employee Snowden which we did not create."

Joining me now Krystal Ball, and Ari Melber, co-hosts of MSNBC`s "THE
CYCLE", and Julia Ioffe, a senior editor at "The New Republic:".
Previously, she was a Moscow-based correspondent for "Foreign Policy" and
"The New Yorker."

Julia, the -- to start with the Snowden factor. For that the Russians
statement to say this is a situation which we did not create is, of course,
a lie. They were in complete control of the outcome of what would happen
to Snowden the second he arrived at that airport.

But the administration -- are you surprised that the administration
included it in their official statement about the decision?

JULIA IOFFE, THE NEW REPUBLIC: I want to start actually with the
first part of your statement. I don`t agree with you that it`s a lie. I
think that Snowden showing up in Russia whether or not the Russians knew
about it in advance or not, they couldn`t then let him go once the Bolivian
plane was downed in Austria. They saw that -- initially, they wanted him
to get out of the country. They saw very quickly that he was becoming a
headache for them but once the U.S. and U.S. allies in Europe downed the
Bolivian president`s plane because they feared that Snowden was on board
this was really nothing that the Russians could do.

O`DONNELL: Julia, hold on. Julia, hold on a second.


O`DONNELL: You aren`t seriously suggesting that Vladimir Putin and
the Russian government did not have complete, total, absolute control over
the outcome of Edward Snowden entering that airport in Moscow. There
wasn`t anything that prevented them from doing anything other than what you
may be suggesting is their own sense of the public image of it and how it
would play for them.

But they had and still have complete power over his every breath in
that country.

IOFFE: Now they do but I think you do overestimate the Russians. I
think in general, people who haven`t been to Russia tend to overestimate
their ability.

O`DONNELL: Wait a minute. Julia, let`s just -- I don`t want to get
caught up in this for too long but they control that airport completely.

IOFFE: I know but -- I don`t think --


O`DONNELL: They could have sent him out of that country immediately
upon his landing in airport.


O`DONNELL: They controlled every second and Putin controlled every
second that he was --

IOFFE: I don`t think Putin controlled personally. We overestimate
Putin`s abilities but I think that they really -- once that Bolivian
airplane was grounded in Europe, there was nothing that they could do.
They couldn`t let them leave and then allow him to get taken back to the
U.S. and potentially face the death penalty. It looks terrible at home.

O`DONNELL: He doesn`t face the death penalty, Julia.

IOFFE: This was the trope in Russia that the media --

O`DONNELL: Let`s get it straight. You`re saying within the shape of
the Russians` own propaganda, they could not violate the propaganda myth
that they created about this thing which the Russians and Putin chose to

IOFFE: I don`t think Putin is the one creating that. Putin doesn`t
sit there and personally write the, you know, scripts for the news anchors.
Putin sends a certain signal and then the system then interprets it as it

I think -- we`re -- just like Obama doesn`t control everything that
happens in the U.S., Putin doesn`t control everything that happens --

O`DONNELL: Very different. Julia --

IOFFE: I know --

O`DONNELL: You are getting absurd now. We`re getting absurd, OK?
Putin does, indeed, in fact controls --

IOFFE: Really? Does he? Have you reported out of Russia?

O`DONNELL: They do control some news outlets in Russia.

IOFFE: No, the Kremlin controls it -- no, no, no.

O`DONNELL: There`s no comparison.

IOFFE: The Kremlin owns them but you can`t say that Putin whispers in
the ear of --

O`DONNELL: The Kremlin owns them, Julia. Owns them, OK?

We`re going to come back to you.

Krystal, the notion that Snowden was the deciding factor here is
something that`s being debated a lot today. It seems like the White House
and the administration had a lot of incentive to actually look for a reason
to not have this summit since there really was at this point very little to
talk about.

KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: Yes, I think that`s right. Snowden was a
convenient excuse. There was a lot of pressure actually on the president
to not have this one-on-one summit with Putin as a result of Snowden.

But in reality, there wasn`t a lot to talk about. We haven`t been
able to make progress on things like Syria. The issues that we haven`t
able to collaborate on, such as the transit routes from Afghanistan, there
wasn`t any more progress to be made there. So there was a risk for the
president of having a one-on-one summit and really having nothing come out
of that so I think it was sort of a no-brainer then at this point to go
ahead and cancel that summit.

O`DONNELL: Ari, the last on-one with Putin didn`t go so well and they
had those photographs coming out of these guys, obviously having run out of
things to say to each other.

ARI MELBER, THE CYCLE: Yes, I mean I think the issue here for a lot
of diplomacy is you can only use words and rhetoric and outreach so much.
So, all the discussion of a reset didn`t get you over those divergences.
The main thing what happened at least the Obama presidency here is a
renewal of a similar framework from Nunn-Lugar that provided some
nonproliferation baseline between the two countries that`s an issue that
actually Senator Obama had worked on before his presidency.

Other than that, you don`t have a lot here s yes, a lot of observers
would say tensions were already high and cooperation had frayed long before
this issue.

I think the legal piece if you want to look at it is the lack of an
extradition treaty allows everyone to throw game around. We know from
history, of course, Lawrence, there are times when countries use the
absence of an extradition treaty to say they can`t do anything and there
are times in its absence, we deport or send people over there specifically.
We`ve declined to send some people to Russia in the past. On our end, that
would be like the reverse of the situation, but we`ve also sent accused
Nazi war criminals back to Russia who were executed there. So it does work
both ways when great powers want to play the blame game.

O`DONNELL: Julia, what do you see coming now after this decision in
the future of the relationship?

IOFFE: I think there`s going to be a re-evaluation on both sides
which I would say should have happened a long time ago, we had the reset.
Now this is the reset of the reset.

We`ve totally -- I think both sides have totally exhausted the old
agenda. Arms control -- well, mostly arms control, they don`t see eye to
eye on the Middle East and never will. There`s not much left to talk about
on Syria or Iran until things, you know, really get -- really change there
on the ground.

What`s left talk now is Asia, the Arctic, reducing nuclear weapons
capacity, but I don`t think either side is ready to talk about especially
not the Russians who have been as we started getting into there have become
kind of prisoner to this nascent neo-Cold War mentality.

O`DONNELL: Julia Ioffe, Krystal Ball and Ari Melber thank you all
very much for joining me tonight.

MELBER: Thank you.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, George Takei here. He says we should move the
Winter Olympics because of Russia`s oppressive anti-gay laws. Let us know
what you think about that on Twitter and Facebook.

And later tonight, I`m going to talk about Rush Limbaugh`s weight --
unless you can tweet me some good reasons why I shouldn`t between now and
then. Now, I know we`re not supposed to talk about his weight. I know
it`s impolite and I know it`s taken many people to be insensitive not just
to Rush`s weight problem but to all people with weight problems.

But I certainly don`t intend for it to be taken that way. I will be
talking, if I do, about no one but Rush Limbaugh because when Rush Limbaugh
of all people attacks Michelle Obama for her anti-obesity campaign, do we
really have to ignore the elephant in the room, really?

All right. You be the judge. I will do later in the rewrite.



LENO: A story that is just shocked me and I`m surprised it`s not
bigger is Russia literally rounding up homosexuals.


LENO: I mean, to me this is Germany in 1933. You know, I mean I
think you and I were of that generation when I was in school, they never
told you how did that happen. Well, how did -- I mean, OK.


LENO: When Hitler becomes dictator and rounds up all the Jews, well,
how did -- this is how it starts.


O`DONNELL: That was Jay Leno last night here in this studio. You can
watch the entire interview on our Web site,

Coming up next, George Takei wants to move the Olympics out of Russia
I`m not sure I agree with him. He`s going to have a few minutes to
convince me. See if he can do that.

That`s coming up next.



OBAMA: You know, I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making
sure the Olympics work and I think they understand that for most of the
countries that participate in the Olympics, yes, we wouldn`t tolerate gays
and lesbian being treated differently, they`re athletes. They`re there to

And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit then every judgment
should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or on the balance beam
and people`s sexual orientation shouldn`t have anything to do with it.


O`DONNELL: In his latest blog post, my next guest, George Takei
writes, "Nations are not judged merely on their might but also by how they
treat their most vulnerable. Russia`s cynical and deplorable actions again
the LGBT community have given license to hate groups within its borders to
act with violence and impunity against a group based solely on whom they
were born to love. It now seeks to spread that hate abroad through its
tainted Olympics. The IOC must do the right thing, protect its athletes
and the fans and move their 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia."

More than 62,000 people agree with George Takei signing a new petition
calling for the Winter Olympics to be moved to Vancouver where the games
were held in 2010.

Joining me now for a LAST WORD exclusive, actor and gay rights
activist George Takei.

George, thank you very much.

GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR: Lawrence, good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: I read your blog post today. It makes a strong case. But
the practicalities of this, NBC covering the Olympics already heavily
invested in the Russian location. Everybody`s heavily invested in the
Russian location.

Is there enough time? Is it even possible logistically to get this
thing moved to Vancouver.

TAKEI: Yes, the clock is ticking, however, we must get it out of
Russia. It is an untolerable situation. They`ve stated sternly that the
laws will be enforced which has given license to hooligans and thugs to
humiliate --

O`DONNELL: We`ve seen some video that have already.

TAKEI: Yes, so it`s a terrible situation. Vancouver can handle it.
They have the facilities there, the hotel capacity.

And I`ve been flooded with Canadians writing me saying, we will
embrace you with open arms, the Olympics.

It`s the IOC that`s got to stand up on this because they bear a huge
responsibility. You know, there are athletes that are gays or lesbians and
their supporters are gay or lesbians too and they are being put in danger
and if something horrific happens and it`s very likely given the kind of
history of what`s been happening there, the responsibility is great.

The IOC can move the Olympics out. There is enough time to do that
yet. The clock is ticking.

What was it that a quote from Edmond Burke. All that`s needed to let
evil triumph is for good men to keep silent.

The members of the IOC are good people I like to think. But they also
have to be responsible people for what might happen.

The other thing here is, the IOC is giving an international platform
to Putin. We need to learn from history. In 1936, the Berlin Olympics
happened. Three years before that, Hitler came to power and began this
gradual campaign of horror against the Jewish people, and he got legitimacy
throughout the word, he got more power, he got that status and that`s
precisely what we`re giving Putin with the Olympics being held there.

O`DONNELL: In the past, there`s been talk of boycotting for different
reasons. We tried that once.

TAKEI: It won`t work.

O`DONNELL: And Greg Lugaynas (ph) who was a victim of that boycott,
athlete, doesn`t want to see a boycott.

This is a different idea. This is --

TAKEI: Right.

O`DONNELL: Look, Vancouver has the facility. They`ve used it

TAKEI: Right.

O`DONNELL: For exactly this. Just a couple of years ago. Just dust
it up, it`s ready to go.

You say in here in your piece today something that`s directed at NBC,
the sponsors, everybody involved. Trust me, if you are a corporate brand,
you do not want to be associated with the Sochi Olympics.

TAKEI: It`s going to be a horrific Olympics. It`s almost predictable
now and all these corporations, including NBC which is going to be
broadcasting it, is going to be spending millions of dollars and trying to
get public goodwill, all that is going to be dissipated.

And the Olympics is going to besmirch the Olympics name as well as all
the corporate brands. It is in their interest to move it out of Russia.

O`DONNELL: I happen to have, George, as we sit here in an NBC
building in Burbank, I happen to have NBC Universal`s official statement on
the matter which I will read to your great disappointment, I can guarantee

"NBC Universal strongly supports equal rights and the fair treatment
for all people. The spirit of the Olympic Games is about unifying people
and countries through the celebration of sport. And it is our hope that
spirit will prevail."

That`s it. That`s all they got.

TAKEI: It`s moved out of Russia. I trust that NBC will move with the
Olympics to the appropriate venue. NBC is made up of good people. And
they should not --

O`DONNELL: You don`t have to say that.

TAKEI: No, no I --

O`DONNELL: I agree with that. I know a lot of good people who are
involved in trying to deal with this terrible situation that they`re in.

TAKEI: This is the situation of good versus evil.


TAKEI: It is evil that`s happening there. And we must not play into
Putin`s game.

O`DONNELL: All right. You had me at Edmond Burke. I`m going to sign
-- listen, I mean you`ve got -- here`s what I love about what you`re doing.
You have a practical idea. You`re not saying this is wrong, don`t do it,
boycott, you`re saying --


O`DONNELL: Vancouver is ready to go and they now to move and move
fast. We all know how to get there. Let`s change the plane tickets to
Vancouver, get the hotel reservations up will.

TAKEI: Canadians want us.

O`DONNELL: All right. I`m signing the petition right after the show.

George Takei, thank you very much for joining us once again, teaching
us once again.

TAKEI: I hope we have your signature.

O`DONNELL: You got it. We`re going to do it.

Tomorrow, Dustin Lance Black will be right here right in the George
Takei chair. He`s urging the entertainment industry to take a stand
against Russia`s anti-gay policies.

And later, the campaign for mayor of New York continues on its strange
road. And, of course, Rush Limbaugh is in tonight`s rewrite unless I see
some reason not to on Facebook or Twitter, I am going to be forced to talk
about Rush`s -- Rush Limbaugh`s weight problem.


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight the new Republican civil war, now
in the dog days of summer. Mitt Romney is back and butting heads with
conservatives once again. In his first fund-raiser address since losing
his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney weighed in on the Tea Party push to
shut down the government until the Affordable Care Act is defunded.

Mitt Romney said, "Emotion is understandably at play in Washington
among some of our fellow Republicans. I badly want Obamacare to go away
and stripping it of funds has appeal but we need to exercise great care
about any talk of shutting down government. What would come next, when
soldiers respect paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social
Security, and when the FBI is off duty? I`m afraid that in the final
analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the
next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy."

Mitt Romney also weighed in on 2016 saying, "I do have some advice for
us as a party. I know I lost. I`m probably not the first person you`d ask
for advice." That`s correct, Mitt.

"But because we all learn from our mistakes I may have a thought or
two of value, staying smart also means backing candidates that can win. My
guess is that every one of the contenders would be better than whoever the
Democrats put up. But there will only be one or perhaps two who actually
could win the election in November. Think it through, stay smart."

Joining me now, "The Huffington Post`s" Sam Stein.

Sam Stein, I present you with the same challenge. I want you to stay
smart throughout this entire segment, OK? You`ve done it before. You`ve
done it before.

SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: No, I haven`t, never made it through
a segment.

O`DONNELL: So, Sam, senior adviser to the Republican Tea Party caucus
on the Hill, Mitt Romney, wants them to just calm down, just calm down, you
guys, think this through, it won`t work for us. Will that kind of message
get through if delivered by Romney and others who have their ears?

STEIN: I think it`s the right message but the wrong messenger. I
think what tends to be the case with losing presidential candidates is that
the party from which they came quickly abandoned them as losers. In this
case, Mitt Romney happens to have the virtue of being right and he is not
the only one talking about it in these terms.

I think, first of all, it wouldn`t work. The majority of the funds
for Obamacare are mandatory and you can`t simply stop Obamacare by shutting
down the government, this congressional research proved it. Secondly, the
problem they face right now is that they are actively the ones courting the
shutdown. It`s not like we`re having a shutdown and who can blink first.
It is like Republicans are saying we want to shut down the government if it
means defunding Obamacare. And so, when it comes time to lay the blame
it`s very easily and very obviously going to the GOP. And I think if you
have those two in combination you end up with a very bad hand and it
doesn`t take Mitt Romney or any other genius to point it out.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Paul Ryan, the other loser in the
last presidential campaign has to say about this.

STEIN: Sure.


than sort of swinging for the fences and trying to take this entire law out
with discretionary spending. I think there are more effective ways of
achieving that goal. We think we can do better by delaying the law. We
have had votes to do -- delay other parts of it. Democrats have supported
us in that. And so, I think there is going to be a better strategy to
actually achieve our goal if ultimately delaying it ultimately replacing


O`DONNELL: Sam, what is your sense of Paul Ryan`s effectiveness as
someone within the Republican caucus on the hill who can convince them on
the way forward? Certainly it`s not as strong as his power at that is not
as great as it once was.

STEIN: Yes, but you have to imagine he still has a lot of sway in the
house. He is the budget committee chairman. He has respect for
authorizing the budgets around which the house Republican conference
coalesced. And, you know, he is generally regarded as a, you know, bright
person on these sort of legislative strategy issues.

I think he`s right. He has the virtue of being right in another
respect which is that in two regards have the Republican Party been able to
delay Obamacare. One is by putting pressure on organizations like the NFL,
for instance, from advertising the benefits of the law and availability of
the exchanges.

The other way that the Republican Party has been able to delay
Obamacare is totally irrespective of the Congress and that is through the
states where Republican governors have rejected Medicaid expansion.

Those are the main two vehicles to which the Republican party has been
able to sort of take a piece of flesh out of the law. Hasn`t delayed it --
I mean hasn`t totally upended it, it has delayed it. It sort of ruin its
effectiveness in some respects. But Paul Ryan is right that there is
betters to Republican party to go by doing this if this is the real

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, doing Mitt Romney proud and staying smart.
Thank you very much.

STEIN: I do what I can.

O`DONNELL: Beautifully done. Thank you, Sam.

STEIN: Take care.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Anthony Weiner is in trouble tonight for
something he said about one of the other candidates for mayor of New York.
And in "the Rewrite" tonight, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh of all people,
Rush Limbaugh, attacked Michelle Obama for her successful anti-obesity
campaign and I have invited to you tweet me a reason to leave Rush
Limbaugh`s own weight problem out of this discussion. And so far,
seriously, I`m looking at them right now, the best reasons I`ve seen are
from hundreds of you who say, you just hate seeing Rush Limbaugh appear on
the show in any form at any time in any discussion of him. But that isn`t
going to stop me. It`s coming up.


O`DONNELL: There is a new report out indicating that Michelle Obama`s
anti-obesity campaign has become very successful. More surprisingly
successful than anyone suspected it to be, since we have never had real
progress in that area before, but, that, of course, does not mean that the
Obama haters will any way give Michelle Obama credit for this. And one of
her attackers on the matter of her anti-obesity campaign is the obese Rush
Limbaugh and so he`s in "the Rewrite." Michelle Obama is in "the Rewrite"
and "the Rewrite" is next.


O`DONNELL: Michelle Obama is trying to rewrite the lives of poor
children in a way that no one else of her prominence has ever really tried
to do. Certainly no one in the White House has ever tried. First there
was this.


all of that soda and those sugary drinks with water?


OBAMA: Kids won`t like it at first, trust me, but they`ll grow to
like it. Or deciding that they don`t get desert with every meal as I tell
my kids, desert is not a right or they don`t get it every day or just being
more thoughtful about how we prepare our food. Baking instead of frying.
I know. It`s -- don`t shoot me. And cutting back on those portion sizes.


O`DONNELL: There was Michelle Obama speaking to the NAACP three years
ago trying to get the message through to poor families about the eating
habits of their children and then there was this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where`s the ingredients?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is in honor of Michelle Obama the other day
when she said we should not have desert?


O`DONNELL: Of course, the only way Sarah Palin could react to what
the first lady had said was to lie about it. Michelle Obama did not say
that kids should not have desert. She said they should not have desert
with every meal. And now, comes this on the front page of today`s "New
York Times." The obesity rate among preschool-age children from poor
families fell in 19 states and the United States territories between 2008
and 2011, federal health officials said Tuesday, the first time a major
government report has shown a consistent pattern of decline for low-income
children after decades of rising rates. Children from poor families have
had some of the nation`s highest rates of obesity.

In other words, the first lady`s campaign is working. Parents of poor
children are listening to her. Parents of all children are listening to
Michelle Obama and the children are healthier for it. The first lady keeps
finding imaginative ways to keep parents and kids` attention on the problem
of childhood obesity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, honor the first lady`s let`s
move campaign and to encourage parents everywhere to get up and get moving
with their kid, we present to you the evolution --

ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST, ELLEN: I`m just wondering if you can do
more push-ups than I can do.

OBAMA: You know, it depends how your back is. I know you get these
back issues.

DEGENERES: No, no. No, no.

AUDIENCE: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. 21.

OBAMA: I want to get some exercise so I`m going to talk around
"Sesame Street."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Obama exercises, Elmo wants to exercise too.

OBAMA: If you want your child too have healthy habits practice
healthy habits too because you`re your child`s best role model.


O`DONNELL: Obama haters, of course, have been unimpressed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take her anti-obesity thing that she`s on, she`s
on this kick, right? What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to
make decisions for their own children, for their own families and what we
should eat.


O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right. We cannot trust all parents to make
good eating decisions for their children. For example, would you trust
this guy to prepare healthy meals for his children? Well, luckily you
don`t have to because he has never had any children. If Rush Limbaugh had
children, it is virtually guaranteed that his children would eat as badly
as he does.

Now, no one could force Rush Limbaugh or any parents to make healthier
food choices for their children. We cannot force the parents to make
healthy choices but we can encourage them to. And none has ever done a
better job of that than Michelle Obama.

Now, speaking of Rush, we know he`s an Obama hater, but there`s just
no way he would have joined the Obama haters attack on what would turn out
to be Michelle Obama`s successful campaign against childhood obesity. I
mean, he is like, you know, in no position to, you know -- if you know what
I mean, and if you don`t know what I mean, what I mean is Rush is a
morbidly obese guy. That is a clinical term. Morbid obesity. That is a
physician`s accurate, nonjudgmental description of Rush Limbaugh`s height
and weight. Morbid obesity is defined as being 50 percent to 100 percent
heavier than the ideal body weight or 100 pounds above the ideal body
weight and Rush meets both of those definitions for more bid obesity.

And so, if you`re expecting that this is the spot where you hear the
morbidly obese Rush Limbaugh attack the first lady for fighting childhood
obesity, if you think that`s what`s going to happen now, that means you
know exactly how Rush Limbaugh rolls.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I`m sure you`re aware that
nutritionists at large, Michelle Obama, is urging, demanding, advocating,
requiring what everybody can and can`t eat which is demanding everybody
basically eat cardboard and tofu. No calories, no fat, no nothing. Got to
stop obesity.


O`DONNELL: OK, I know what you`re thinking. Rush didn`t stop there.
He is not that restrained. And, of course, you`re right because Rush is
really about only one thing, excess. He is a trafficker of excess in all
things, calorie, words, everything.

Now, I am going to let you listen to a little bit more of what Rush
had to say but I urge you, I urge you to listen to it for the outrageous
comedy bit that it is. Please don`t make the mistake of taking it
seriously the way Rush does. He is a joke. Performing a joke that he
doesn`t know is a joke. It is as if some Rush hater slipped him this
script to read to humiliate him and his blind Obama hatred made him blind
to how breathtakingly ridiculous these words are. If they were said by
anyone and how phenomenally ridiculous these words are coming out of Rush
Limbaugh`s ravenous mouth, the most morbidly obese commentator in the
history of politics actually said this.


LIMBAUGH: Michelle my belle minus the husband took the kids out to
Vail on a ski vacation. They were spotted eating and they were feasting on
ribs, ribs that were 1,575 calories per serving with 141 grams of fat per

Now, I`m sure some of you, members of the new -- this is typical of
you what do Mr. Limbaugh, you take an isolated once in a lifetime
experience and try to say she is a hypocrite. She is a hypocrite. Leaders
are supposed to be leaders. If we`re supposed to go out and eat nothing.
If we are supposed to eat roots and berries and tree bark, and so, show us
how. And it is supposed to make us fit, if it`s supposed to make us
healthier, show us how.


O`DONNELL: Of course, Michelle Obama never said that we have to be
perfect at every meal. She has repeatedly made the point that healthy
eating is a matter of overall balance.


OBAMA: Look, no one wants to give up Sunday meal, no one wants to say
good-bye to Mac and cheese and fried chicken and mashed potatoes, I`m
getting hungry. Forever, no one wants to do that, not even the Obamas,
trust me.


O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh like Sarah Palin has to lie about what
Michelle Obama has been saying in order to attack her because what the
first lady has been saying about healthy eating and childhood obesity is
correct and unassailable and Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh knows that but
attacking the Obamas is a hatred reflex they cannot stop.

Rush Limbaugh was born in 1951. The first lady of his childhood was
Mamie Eisenhower. Rush was two when the Eisenhowers came to the White
House and 10 when they left. There`s no telling what poor little Rush
would look like today if Mamie Eisenhower had spent those eight years
trying to teach the children of America the basics of good nutrition.


MYA ERVIN, LAST WORD INTERN: Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio
went from first to fifth in a New Hampshire primary poll. In April review
have the support 15 percent of New Hampshire Republicans and was in tie for
first place for Senator Rand Paul. But the latest poll gives him just six
percent support compared to Chris Christie who topped the list with 21
percent. Rand Paul now has 16 percent, Jeb Bush has 10 percent and Paul
Ryan eight percent. And Rubio`s favorability has gone down among all New
Hampshire voters from 51 percent in April to 33 percent now.

Up next, another candidate who slipped in the polls, Anthony Weiner.

O`DONNELL: Mya, that was fantastic. Beautifully done. I`m so sorry
I`m not there. This is your last week as an intern. And we always like to
give you guys a shot at the easy stuff, the reading of the prompters stuff.
But you did -- have you done that before? Are you one of these interns who
works on the college TV station and reads prompters all the time?

ERVIN: I do work at my college TV station but I do production --

O`DONNELL: That`s called cheating. Come on. That`s the second one
this year who had prompter experience before. So this is your last week.
When do you start up back in college in North Carolina?

ERVIN: I go back -- we start shall -- that`s a good question, 16th.
No, not the 16th. Friday. Whatever date that is.

O`DONNELL: We still need your help. Keep e-mailing suggests.

ERVIN: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Thanks a lot, Mya.


O`DONNELL: The front-runner in the campaign for mayor of New York,
Christine Quinn received the endorsement today of Sandra Fluke.


SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN`S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I have watched her leadership
and I know she is someone who is going to champion the communities I care
about. These going to stand up for women`s rights. She`s going to stand
up for gay rights. She has the experience. She has the leadership and
when it comes down to it she has the seriousness and maturity to handle the
office of mayor of New York.


O`DONNELL: Anthony Weiner struggled with a new problem in the
campaign today after an angry encounter with one of the lesser known
candidates in the race, George McDonald.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. I heard what you said. Don`t put
your hands on me again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep your hands off me. I heard what you said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t put your hands me ever again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is he going to happen. Are you going to
get tough?



O`DONNELL: Joining me is Hunter Walker, a reporter for "Talking
Points Memo" who has been covering the New York mayoral race.

Hunter, so there`s Anthony Weiner angrily calling McDonald grandpa
using it as an epithets. He`s 69 years old, I believe the sitting mayor of
New York is 71 and was about 68 when he was re-elected to a third term, not
sure that the voters of New York are with Anthony Weiner on that particular

this incident took place before a forum that was co-hosted by AARP.


WALKER: So it`s --

O`DONNELL: The American association of retired people. There might
have been some 69-year-olds in that audience.

WALKER: Yes. And, you know, also the older segment of the electorate
is actually disproportionately large. So, you know, in a city where
basically less than 1/8 of the population is expected to vote he took a
shot of a really large segment of that electorate.

O`DONNELL: And they are the most faithful voters.

WALKER: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: They show up.

Now, this Sandra fluke endorsement, a national figure, a great -- has
great support and following in New York city, but does that kind of thing
have much of an impact in a mayor`s race?

WALKER: You know, Chris Quinn is currently the front-runner through
her name recognition. But, you know, these rivals of hers in the runoff
when it comes down to sort of the top two people, you may see the
opposition consolidate against her. And has this national buzz, because
she is a woman. She would be the first out gay mayor. And she also a
high-powered consulting firm that also represents Sandra Fluke. So, all
these things mean she does get national figures like Sandra, like Edie
Windsor, but the polls right now are showing if she`s in a runoff against
anyone but Weiner she`s in trouble.

O`DONNELL: One of her problems in a way she has too much experience
in the sense that she`s been in city hall for so long, she`s got a lot of
things on her record there that aren`t easy to answer on a debate stage and
it seems to me someone like Sandra Fluke elevates her beyond. That that`s
whey think the advantage of the Fluke endorsement is it`s not about city
hall. It`s not about, you know, what did Christine Quinn do to help
Bloomberg to be able run for a third term. None of that is present in that
kind of endorsement.

WALKER: You`re totally right. And you know, when I talk about sort
of the opposition consolidating against her it`s a lot about the third
term. It is a lot about these other parochial issues like paid sick leave.
And this is sort of Chris Quinn showing that she has national star power
and the ability to rise above all that. So we`ll see if it works.

O`DONNELL: And the other candidates -- the other candidates, are they
exploiting the opening that Anthony Weiner has given them?

WALKER: Well, you know, we`re seeing Weiner support go off to a lot
of it to Bill Deblasio (ph). So, he is surging right now and, you know,
came into sort of the top three in this race. What was interesting is if
you dial down into the polling numbers, the remaining support Weiner has if
he starts to shed that, it spreads more evenly to Deblasio and Quinn and
Thompson. So, if Weiner keeps hemorrhaging voters. it is not necessarily
can change the top three any one way or the other.

O`DONNELL: Hunter Walker gets tonight`s last word.

Thanks, Hunter.

WALKER: Thanks, Lawrence.

Chris Hayes` show is up next.


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