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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, January 27th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Monday show

January 27, 2014

Guest: Louis Greenwald, Howard Dean, Michael Hiltzik, Peter Beinart

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: A newspaper that endorsed Governor
Chris Christie`s re-election now says he should resign as the head of the
Republican Governors Association.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The scandal surrounding New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie moves into its next phase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Jersey lawmakers will take a new step --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re going to authorize the creation --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To form a joint committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of the super committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To consolidate those two separate investigations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To investigate the infamous traffic problems for
Fort Lee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The committee is bipartisan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s going to have eight Democrats, four

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eight Democrats and four Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans are unhappy because they have four
members --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s been some criticism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The minority party has some representatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s right for this to turn into a political

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The clock is ticking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The subpoenas are coming down in a matter of

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those subpoenas had a February 3rd return date.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a lot to handle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The documents are going to tell the story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then the big, very big question is why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the truth needs to come out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We still do not have the answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what the citizens of New Jersey deserve,
the answers to these questions.


O`DONNELL: In a unanimous vote today, the New Jersey state assembly
and Senate voted to merge the two legislative investigations in the George
Washington Bridge scandal. The newly authorized special joint committee,
which consists of eight Democrats and four Republicans, reissued the 20
subpoenas that the state assembly had previously issued.

Here is Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, co-chair of the super
committee, on the next steps for that investigation.


see in these documents as they`re reviewed, those are the next -- that`s
the next important step. And I would hope that as we subpoena the people
who are behind writing those documents that they will be forthcoming so
that we can get on with the work of this committee and really find out,
particularly the George Washington bridge issue, the big unanswered
question is who told Bridget Kelly to do it?


O`DONNELL: Despite the unanimous vote to authorize the super
committee by both state chambers, some New Jersey Republicans are
expressing their concerns about the committee, having twice as many
Democrats as Republicans.

Assembly deputy Republican leader Anthony Bucco said today, "The
imbalance of the committee raises questions about how the process will work
and its fairness."

As the investigations have expanded, the editorial board of the "New
Jersey Star Ledger," which endorsed Governor Christie`s re-election bid
just three months ago, published an editorial over the weekend titled,
"Christie should quit GOP governors organization," writing, quote, "Didn`t
Christie just say in his inaugural address that he felt a solemn obligation
to work every day, night and day, to make New Jersey be all that they can

Christie is now fending off two major investigations. Several members
of his senior staff have received subpoenas. Federal prosecutors are also
investigating the lieutenant governor and hurricane Sandy relief effort is
a mess. Christie will have to present a budget next month. Can Christie
really claim that he is doing his best to solve these problems while he is
traveling out of state? What happened to the solemn obligation to put New
Jersey first?"

Joining me now is New Jersey assembly majority leader, Louis
Greenwald, who is a member of the new supercommittee.

First of all, I`m wondering what your reaction is to that editorial
about Chris Christie should give up that Republican Governors Association.

it`s not for me to comment on what the governor should be doing. I`m not a
member of the Republican Party. I`m certainly not a Republican governor
around the country.

I think his focus should be on, as he has said, he was going to launch
his own investigation into the executive branch as to how deep this abuse
of power went. We have not heard one follow-up from that investigation
that he was going to launch himself since he stated at his press conference
over a week ago. But I truly think that his focus should be in getting to
the bottom of really what is the root of the abuse of power that caused him
to terminate his deputy chief of staff and to ask the head of his re-
election campaign who he was bringing with him to the RGA to step down as

O`DONNELL: What is your reaction to comments by some Republicans
saying that you Democrats are overrepresented on this investigative

GREENWALD: You know, I really wish that the Republicans were kind of
joining with us in this -- in what is a really very important step to keep
the level of the integrity of the investigation at an all-time high and to
really go along the lines of finding who knew what and when did they know
it. Really, where did this idea about the lanes around the George
Washington Bridge, the allegations of a study that we know now did not
exist, where did it begin, who was behind it. And really again who knew
what and when did they know it? That`s where the focus of this
investigation should be.

As to the number of members on the committee, we were just re-elected
in November, an overwhelming Democratic majority in the legislature. The
group that started the inquiry into this investigation was really the
leadership and the assembly Democratic -- the House of the people and the
general assembly. We took the hardest hit when we joined the committees.
We lost three of our Democratic members when we pared the committee down
and moved it to a joint Senate and assembly committee.

I think really much like the allegations and the criticisms against
your station, MSNBC, I think it`s what people say when they don`t want to
focus on the hard truth. And really where the focus needs to be now is not
an emotional reaction but really a very detailed and focused inquiry into
what took place here, what transpired here, why were these decisions made
and who made them and really caused such hardship for the state of New
Jersey and put us in the national limelight in a very negative way.

O`DONNELL: You know, I just want to point out that it is very
difficult in legislative committees to usually reflect with exact precision
the balance of the parties within the committee. For example, at 8-4 that
means that the Democrats have 66 percent of the committee when the
Democrats actually are 60 percent of the legislature. If you just switched
that to 7-5, then the Democrats would actually be somewhat underrepresented
on a committee in which they are the majority in the bodies.

But I want to go to something that Ms. Weinberg said when she said
that the big question, the obvious, most important question is who told
Bridget Kelly to do what she did. Does that mean that Bridget Kelly on the
face of the evidence as we see it now is probably the most valuable source
you could have at that committee and therefore is she the one most likely
to be offered immunity?

GREENWALD: Lawrence, to be honest with you, all 20 subpoenas that
went out were not a critique on anyone`s involvement, guilt or innocence in
this. It is a discovery tool that we are using to gather information.

I think it`s premature to say who is going to be the, quote-unquote,
"star witness" in this. I think what you will find as the discovery comes
and is returned to the investigatory committee, that we may find things
that we did not expect. And that`s in any discovery process.

So, our goal really is -- the reason why we made the decision to go
out and hire the counsel that we did and Reid Schar and his firm was
because of their expertise, Reid`s background, Mr. Schar`s background as a
U.S. attorney himself, his involvement in these types of investigations and
really to take his advice as to who should be subpoenaed and quite honestly
the order in which they should come in to testify.

And that`s really where we are now. There`s really a very unique
period in this investigation, I think, where it`s going to appear that
there`s a lull. But the reality is we`re in the process of gathering
information. And I think rushing through this, not to put you in this
category but to meet the press`s demands for this or the public`s demand
for this, to really read the last chapter of the story is not going to be
providing really true justice to the people that are involved.

I`ve said time and time again, I think this needs to be a very
deliberate, methodical approach and that`s why we`re going to be following
the advice of counsel step by step to make sure that the integrity of this
investigation is upheld.

I just want to go back to your comments about the numbers on the
committee again. In my mind, it`s a distraction from really what is the
purpose here. The purpose is to find out who knew what. Get that
discovery information in.

And to your point, switching one member or the other changes the
balance of the legislature. We`re talking about a difference between a 60
percent makeup or a 66 percent makeup, where the focus of this
investigation this really be, not on members of the legislature who are not
involved in the decision-making process but who made these decisions at the
Port Authority and why? Was the executive branch involved beyond Bridget
Kelly? And if they were, why? And really I think that is where the focus
of the investigation should be.

O`DONNELL: New Jersey Assembly majority leader, Louis Greenwald,
thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GREENWALD: Thanks for having me again.

O`DONNELL: Also joining us now, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean,
former head of the Democratic National Committee.

Former Governor Dean, tell us about these governor associations, the
Democratic Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association.
What is it like for Chris Christie to be president of that association with
these kinds of investigations on his back?

to go all over the country raising money and recruiting candidates and
shoring up the candidates he already has. So, it`s a big time commitment.
Interestingly enough, I was actually chair of both the DGA and eventually
the NG -- the national governors, actually first.

The NGA, while it`s more prestigious, is not nearly as time-consuming.
It`s a very partisan job, and on Chris Christie`s shoulders rests the
maintenance of the Democratic -- of the Republican governors trying to keep
their majority.

O`DONNELL: Going to something that Assemblyman Greenwald just said
about Chris Christie promising in his press conference to be conducting his
own hands-on investigation within his governor`s office, we haven`t heard a
word about it since, and we see him flying around the country for the
Republican Governors Association. Isn`t that the kind of thing that New
Jersey voters are -- may be considering as we watch his popularity decline
in the polls in that state?

DEAN: Yes. Although to be honest with you there`s always some
complaint about governors going out of state, usually from the opposition.
I certainly had that when I was in Vermont. And the voters don`t get upset
about that.

I think, frankly, the biggest damage that he`s got is this assembly
investigation is going to be bad. But I can`t wait to find out what`s
going on with the Hoboken money. I mean, that really is a federal crime.

If he did in fact send his lieutenant governor to threaten the mayor
of Hoboken and withhold Sandy aid, he may not finish his term, if that
turns out to be true.

O`DONNELL: Well, that brings up something he said in his press
conference where he was asked about would he comply with subpoenas? This
is really important. Let`s listen to this.


REPORTER: If you were to get a subpoena for whatever reason, what
would you do?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`m not going to speculate on


O`DONNELL: Of all the things to not answer, will you comply with
subpoenas, if there`s a subpoena that he gets either from the investigative
committee or from the U.S. attorney that he fights and tries not to comply
with, isn`t that pretty much the end for him politically? At that point
isn`t it impossible for him to go out with the governors association or any
kind of presidential campaign?

DEAN: It makes it very, very difficult. I mean, he`s really between
a rock and a hard place. If he says yes to the subpoena that means they
can rummage around in executive privileged files. If he says no to the
subpoena, then it looks like he`s hiding something and most New Jerseyans
think that is the case, whether it`s true or not.

So, this is a very difficult question. I actually think he gave the
right answer. There is no good answer. To say yes or no without talking
to your lawyer, even though he is one, would be a mistake.

O`DONNELL: Former Governor Howard Dean, thank you very much for
joining us tonight.

DEAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president has announced his theme for
tomorrow night`s State of the Union Address. And what Hillary Clinton
actually said today about running for president.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight the author of last week`s most ridiculous
Republican sound bite had a very different position on health insurance
mandates about birth control just a few years ago.



BILL MAHER, TV HOST: It`s plainly way less dangerous. Alcohol abuse,
88,000 deaths a year. Prescription drug overdoses, 16,000 a year. Not one
recorded instance of a marijuana overdose. I have living proof right here.
That you cannot overdose on this subject, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A friend of mine, though, had a bale of it fall on
him. That`s the only guy that --





time to restore opportunity for all. Tomorrow night, it`s time to restore
opportunity for all.


O`DONNELL: The theme for tomorrow night`s State of the Union Address
will be opportunity for all. The president will focus much of his speech
on the economy and jobs.

According to a new study from Pew, most Americans rank the economy and
jobs as the top priorities for the president and Congress.

Venture capitalist Tom Perkins believes the best way to create jobs is
of course to stop attacking the rich. Perkins wrote a letter to the "Wall
Street Journal" which the paper published with the headline "Progressive
Kristallnacht Coming."

His letter said, writing from the epicenter of progressive thoughts,
San Francisco, "I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi
Germany, to its war on its 1 percent, namely its Jews, to the progressive
war on the American 1 percent, namely the rich. From the Occupy movement
to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our
local newspaper, the `San Francisco Chronicle,` I perceive a rising tide of
hatred of the successful 1 percent. This is a very dangerous drift in our
American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930. Is its
descendant progressive radicalism unthinkable now?"

The company Tom Perkins founded denounced the letter. And today,
Perkins said this.


TOM PERKINS, VENTURE CAPITALIST: I think that a very important part
of America, namely, the creative 1 percent, are threatened.

I -- I`m friends with Al Gore, who tells me that inequality is the
number one problem in America.

I`m friends with Jerry Brown. I voted for him. I will vote for him,
even though he raised my taxes 30 percent. He tells me the number one
problem in America is inequality. And that`s probably and possibly true.
And I think President Obama`s going to make that point tomorrow night.

But the 1 percent are not causing the inequality. They are the job
creators. I regret the use of that word. It was a terrible misjudgment.

I don`t regret the message at all. Anytime the majority starts to
demonize a minority, no matter what it is, it`s wrong and dangerous.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is executive editor Richard
Wolffe and Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist for the "Los Angeles
Times," Michael Hiltzik.

Michael, you covered California`s 1 percent, as Perkins would refer to
them, who believe their California`s and America`s job creators. Is he
typical of their thinking?

MICHAEL HILTZIK, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, I think he`s becoming
typical. And that`s really the problem. The entitlement of the Silicon
Valley millionaires and billionaires is really beginning to get out of

You know, George Orwell, one of my personal heroes, would have had a
word for this. He would have called it "disgusting." And I think we would
call this Orwellian, to have somebody like Tom Perkins, who`s been very
successful. He has started and funded a lot of good companies.

But for him to be sitting on his yacht or in his mansion and really
enjoying a tax rate that is as low on people of his income that it`s been
in 50 years or more and to compare himself to the victims of Nazism, it`s
beyond satire, really.

O`DONNELL: It really is.

Richard Wolffe, one of the things about it, though, is what Perkins
was saying, most of that thinking, possibly not the Nazi parallel, but most
of that thinking, is shared by most of the Republicans who will be sitting
in that room listening to President Obama`s State of the Union Address.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM: Well, certainly the element that this
crowd, the job creators, that they should be getting even more favorable
treatment, that part of it is very widespread in terms of Republican
thinking. And the notion as well implicit in all of this is that somehow
this president is leading the pitchfork brigade.

I mean, there are so many worse things you could call the group of
ultra wealthy people who have done so well over many decades now than the 1
percent. If this is what demonization looks and sounds like, then these
people need to get out more because that`s not what this president has been
doing. And the minor barbs, the discussion about inequality, does not
equate to being victimized in any sense of the word that rational people
would understand it.

O`DONNELL: Michael, the job creators are consumers. If you begin
where the economy begins, which is with demand. You can`t -- you can`t
hire someone to do a job that does not provide a good or a service that is
in demand by a population that can afford it, which is an argument that the
president has been trying to make on things like, for example, minimum
wage, which can increase affordability and consumer demand and extensions
on emergency unemployment insurance.

HILTZIK: Well, that`s absolutely right. We all know that the real
problem that we`ve had in this economy really since before 2008 has been a
lack of aggregate demand. You know, President Obama has a lot of
progressive models to draw from to talk about this.

Francis Perkins, who is the creator of Social Security, told Congress
when it was debating whether to start this program, that it was going to
increase the velocity of money, that it was going to put money in the hands
of people who would spend it. She understood it. So, we got Social

Lyndon Johnson, 50 years ago in his State of the Union message, talked
about millions of Americans living on the outskirts of hope, and what he
was going to do for them. He was going to improve health care for the
elderly. He was going to build schools and hospitals and libraries and
homes. And he called on his Congress to do more of that in the coming year
than they had ever done before.

And I think that`s the model that President Obama has to draw from
when he`s talking about how he`s going to spur demand in this economy and
get it moving again.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, what does the president have to say
tomorrow night to a national audience that knows that there`s a Republican
House of Representatives out there that`s trying to stop everything that
President Obama wants to do?

WOLFFE: Here`s the hard thing at this point. He`s got to strike some
kind of overarching values proposition, some goal that encaptures this
vision of a fairer society somewhere with this opportunity. And at the
same time he has the granular level of detail that could actually become

And the truth is that never mind the income inequality, the gap
between the rhetoric and what this president can actually do gets wider and
wider with each passing year of this presidency. So, that`s the hard thing
for him tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe and Michael Hiltzik, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Lawrence.

HILTZIK: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up -- what Hillary Clinton had to say about running
for president today.

And in the "Rewrite," Mike "Libido" Huckabee, apparently he was for
the libido before he was against it. That`s in the "Rewrite."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be neglect if I didn`t ask the -- what are
your plans for 2016?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry. You know I had to ask that.

CLINTON: Yes, you did. You did. I understand.

And I have to say, I don`t know. Not a very satisfactory answer, I


O`DONNELL: That was Hillary Clinton earlier today, speaking to the
National Automobile Dealers Association meeting in New Orleans. She shared
with her audience what she called her proudest moment serving in President
Obama`s cabinet.


CLINTON: I had several, but I`ll mention one that is well known to
everybody. And that was being in the room making the analysis, making the
recommendation that the president should send the SEALs in after bin Laden.


O`DONNELL: And when asked about her biggest regret, Hillary Clinton
said this --


CLINTON: You know, my biggest, you know, regret is what happened in
Benghazi. It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans, two diplomats,
and now, it`s public, so I can say two CIA operatives.

And it illustrated one of the biggest problems that I faced as
secretary of state. We have a lot of dangerous locations where we send not
our military but our civilians.


O`DONNELL: That calm response comes almost exactly one year since
Hillary Clinton said this in a congressional hearing.


fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it
because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they`d go kill some
Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to
figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever
happening again, senator.


O`DONNELL: Senator Rand Paul showed this weekend that Republicans
will not limit their attacks on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to
how she handled the incident in Benghazi.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, you know, the Democrats, one of
their big issues is they have concocted and say Republicans are committing
a war on women. One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good
is that bosses shouldn`t prey on young interns in their office. And I
think really the media seems to be -- have given President Clinton a pass
on this.

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, MEET THE PRESS: Right. But is it something that
Hillary Clinton should be judged on if she were a candidate in 2016?

RAND: No, I`m not saying that. This is with regard to the Clintons.
And sometimes it`s hard to separate one from the other.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid and the "Washington
Post`s" Nia-Malika Henderson.

Joy, Bill Clinton is back, but not in the way he wants to be back.

think it`s amazing. I think it might be the definition of the war on women
to reduce Hillary Clinton to the wife of the cheating ex-president, right?
And I think to try to make her answer for bill Clinton. It negates all of
her separate accomplishments, all of which, by the way, are fair game in a
presidential election.

This woman, in addition to being the first lady during the whole
impeachment and Monica Lewinsky gate thing has also been a United States
senator in her own right. In the clip you just played she`s within been
our secretary of state. She has held really substantial positions and done
really important and substantial things, whether you agree with them or
not. Litigate that. I think it`s the cheapest of cheap shots to try to go
after Bill Clinton. But the purpose of it obviously is to try to dissuade
Hillary Clinton from using the war on women language against whoever her
opponent is going to be.

O`DONNELL: We saw a lot of possible Hillary talking points,
presidential campaign talking points there. First of all, trying to get
some share of the Bin Laden credit and then finding a way to talk about
Benghazi in which she does express regret about, it her biggest regret.
Obviously, she`s going to have to find ways to talk about Benghazi. But I
want to play something she said to the automobile dealers association about
driving a car. Let`s listen for this.


CLINTON: The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996 and I
remember it very well. And unfortunately, so does the secret service which
is why I haven`t driven since then.


O`DONNELL: Nia, if you`re trying to make people think you`re in touch
with their lives and how it`s going out in and, you know, things like the
price at the pump, I think you want to get rid of that "I haven`t driven a
car since 1996" line.

know, probably not the best talking point. But I will give credit to
Hillary Clinton for doing this, for being honest about who she is. I mean,
oftentimes you do have politicians who are millionaires or they`ve been in
public office for many years and they do try almost too hard to relate to
the struggles of everyday Americans.

And Hillary Clinton has done that before. When she campaigned in
2008, she would go to gas stations. There was an incident when she went,
and she was trying to get coffee for a guy who she was sort of on the stump
with and she didn`t really know how to work the coffee machine. Of course,
the most famous example being George Bush with the scanner in the grocery

So in that way I think it`s good that she`s being authentic to who she
is, but again, not the best way to connect with the average Joe. And also
I think it also highlights how long she has been in public office. And
this is something that`s going to be hammered constantly as Republicans try
to figure out how to run against her. I was only a panel with Newt
Gingrich and he was recalling she was a Goldwater girl and he was doing it
in sort of a smerky way and essentially suggesting this is a woman who is
part of the past and not necessarily when you look at presidential
campaigns it`s necessarily all about the future. So, I think that`s a way
Republicans are going to try to frame her.

O`DONNELL: "The New York Times" magazine piece, planet Hillary has a
very big description of how Clinton world works. And it`s one of the
things that Hillary is going to have to contend with this. There are an
awful lot of authorities on Clinton world, James Carville and others, who
say these things about it that don`t make it sound very pleasant inside

You know, James Carville says that it`s like an onion and the safest
place to exist is the third or fourth layer. I don`t know what he`s trying
to say there. Another aide says, you know, working with the Clintons is
like staying in hotel California, you can check out but you can never
leave. Another person compared it to prison. Not everyone can adjust to
life on the outside. I think tell that to George Stephanopoulos.

Joy Reid, that army of quotable people from inside Putin world is just
going to be constantly floating around her.

REID: No, absolutely. And the biggest risk for Hillary Clinton, as
Nia-Malika was alluding to, is this sense of do you want to take a trip
back to the land of Bill and Hillary Clinton? Do you want to go back to
the `90s? I think reminding people about Monica, reminding people about
the sort of strange world of the Clintons is really the best the
Republicans have got right now, right? Unless they want to actually, I
don`t know, debate her record or something crazy like that. They`re going
to try to litigate the whole idea of the Clintons.

The danger of that, though, is a lot of the voters who are going to be
looking at the Republican versus the Democrat, if Hillary is the candidate
in 2016, aren`t going to necessarily going to remember the `90s other than
they had a really great economy. So when you just sort of put the Clintons
out there, even if you put impeachment out there, people will generally
remember that as overreach by Republicans, not as something that the
Clintons really -- that Bill Clinton really deserved, sort of a level the
Republicans were willing to go to try to take him down.

So, there`s a double-edged sword to reminding people about that. And
by the way, I think for a woman running for president having stature,
having been in public life and in huge top positions for a long time isn`t
necessarily a bad calling card.

O`DONNELL: Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you very much for joining me
tonight. And Joy Reid, thank you very much for joining me tonight on the
day that the greatest network president in the business announced that you
are taking over the 2:00 p.m. hour on this network.

REID: Thank you so much, Lawrence. Yes, I`m very excited. My goal
is to get into the "Last Word" montage, the opening montage, like every

O`DONNELL: you`re going to be there. Tamron Hall, who`s in the 2:00
p.m. hour now, is moving up to 11:00 a.m. And we will be watching you at
2:00 p.m. And yes, you`re going to be in the open. Get used to it. Thank
you both.

HENDERSON: Congratulations, Joy.

REID: Thanks, Nia. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Fantastic! Thank you both very much for joining me
tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, it turns out Mike Huckabee was for birth control before he
was against it.

And later, who is the real leader of the American Jewish community?
Hint. His first name is Barack.


O`DONNELL: On Saturday night 21-year-old Alexis Wilkinson will become
President Wilkinson. Her inaugural moment will come in a black tie
ceremony hours after she is no longer able to pass a breathalyzer test. If
all goes according to tradition, she will remember very little about her
inaugural ball, but she will awaken late Sunday afternoon as president of
the Harvard lampoon, the nation`s oldest humor magazine.

Founded by Harvard students in 1876, the Lampoon has been steadfastly
behind the times ever since. Women got the right to vote at the Lampoon in
1971, when the "New Yorker`s" Patty Marks became the first woman member. A
few years later, Lampoon president Jim Downey led what became a stampede of
Lampoon graduates into comedy writing via "Saturday Night Live." But by
the time Conan O`Brien was president, the job had become so undesirable he
couldn`t find a successor to hand it off to and had to serve an
unprecedented second term.

The last Lampoon presidential election to earn national media
attention was won by Lisa Henson, who became the first female president in
1982. The year before, Maya Williams had become the first African-American
woman on the Harvard Lampoon. And now, a mere 32 years after Lisa Henson
was elected, the Harvard lampoon has elected its first African-American
woman president, thereby, vaulting ahead of the times only as compared to
the American government.

President-elect Wilkinson had to carry the white boy vote since that
remains the dominant demographic at the Harvard Lampoon. Outgoing
president Eric Brewster, whose only claim on Lampoon history is that he was
the only president to serve as an intern on this program, says that the
Lampoon is witnessing quote "the death of the great white male hierarchy."

I wish that were true, president-elect Wilkinson told me tonight. It
is, she said, dying a slow, painful death, one that will be sped up a bit
by President Alexis Wilkinson.


O`DONNELL: Mike Huckabee was the author of the Republican sound bite
of the week last week.


MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS HOST: If the Democrats want to insult the
women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without
uncle sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for
birth control because they cannot control their libido or their
reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.


O`DONNELL: Reaction from supporters of the affordable care act was


whatever classes they were giving on how to talk to women. But I think at
the end of the day what`s more important, Lawrence, is not what he said but
is the fact that what he believes. And that is that women don`t deserve
access to birth control.


O`DONNELL: And Republicans distanced themselves from Huckabee.
Here`s Reince Priebus talking today with Chuck Todd.


about Mike Huckabee. In your comments afterwards you told one reporter you
thought they were kind of goofy, he had a much more formal statement which
I read. It sounded to me like a rebuke. So I ask you, were you offering a
mild rebuke of Governor Huckabee`s choice of words?

mean, yes. I was.


O`DONNELL: Mike Huckabee`s FOX News colleague Greta Van Susteren
said, "I like governor Huckabee, but the words he chose to make his point
are insulting to women."

But Huckabee`s friends, who objected to his language, did not object
to his factual error. Uncle sugar, by which he means the U.S. government,
does not provide prescription each month for birth control. It simply
requires under the affordable care act that health insurance policies cover
birth control. That is what Mike Huckabee is opposed to, mandating that
health insurance policies cover birth control. It sounds like he really
doesn`t like birth control, but it`s very clear that he hates health care
mandates, especially the mandate that health insurance policies cover birth
control. He just hates it. And he hates it because it is based on the
belief that women cannot control their libido without the help of the
government. Why else would Obamacare mandate that health insurance
policies cover birth control? There`s just no other reason that FOX News
preacher mike Huckabee can think of.

But he didn`t say anything about anyone`s libido when he was governor
of Arkansas in 2005 and the legislature passed a bill that landed on his
desk for his signature with the title "the equity in prescription insurance
and contraceptive coverage act."

The bill said quote "every health benefit policy that is delivered,
issued, executed, or renewed in this state or approved for issuance or
renewal in this state shall provide coverage for prescribed drugs or
devices approved by the FDA for use as a contraceptive."

And what did Governor Mike Huckabee do when that bill landed on his
desk? There`s no suspense left here, right? I mean, why else would we be
talking about it? That`s right. Mike Huckabee signed the bill that
mandated that Arkansas health insurance policies must provide coverage for
birth control. And he signed that bill in 2005, toward the end of his
governorship, when he was being very careful about what he was signing
because he was planning on running for president.

And Uncle Mike`s health insurance mandate, forcing insurance companies
to cover birth control, was not hidden in some big hunk of legislation
about something else. It was a bill that was entitled "the equity in
prescription insurance and contraceptive coverage act," just like the Obama
version of that mandate. It includes an exemption for religious employers.
But the Obama version of that exemption exempts many more kinds of
religious employers than Uncle Mike`s very narrow exemption.

Uncle Mike actually signed a birth control mandate into law that
subjected many more categories of religious employers to that mandate than
the much more carefully crafted mandate in Obamacare. Mike Huckabee signed
a birth control mandate into law five years before president Obama signed
one into law in the affordable care act. But that didn`t prevent Mike
Huckabee from pretending he would never do such a thing while uttering the
single most ludicrous and to some most offensive thing said about that
policy idea.


HUCKABEE: If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by
making them believe that they are helpless without uncle sugar coming in
and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because
they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the
help of the government, then so be it.


O`DONNELL: Like Mitt Romney before him, Mike Huckabee proves once
again that being a Republican means never having to say you`re sorry about
attacking President Obama for a health care policy that you signed into law



how we, and when I say we, in particular young people can work together to
make progress in three areas that will define our times -- security, peace,
and prosperity.


OBAMA: I`m proud that the security relationship between the United
States and Israel has never been stronger, never.



O`DONNELL: That was President Obama last year getting a warm welcome
at the Jerusalem international convention center. That was no surprise to
Peter Beinart, whose recent article is provocatively entitled "the only
leader who speaks for American Jews on Iran is Barack Obama." The
article`s subtitle asks this question "most American Jews support Obama`s
policies on Iran. So in whose name are their so-called leaders sabotaging
his nuclear diplomacy?" In truth, says the article, "the only person who
can legitimately claim to speak for American Jews on the subject of Iran is
the very guy American Jewish leaders oppose, Barack Obama.

Look at the evidence. In 2012, Mitt Romney slammed Obama for not
supporting tougher sanctions against Iran and for not more explicitly
pledging that if sanctions failed to curb Tehran`s nuclear program, the
U.S. will attack.

In so doing, Romney road tested the critique leveled by Benjamin
Netanyahu and many American Jewish leaders. The result, Obama won 69
percent of the Jewish vote. Jewish voters preferred Obama to Romney on
Iran by a margin of 58 to 26 percent.

Joining me now, Peter Beinart, senior columnist for Israel`s "Haaretz"
newspaper and a contributing editor for "National Journal" and "the

Peter, you got my attention with that headline.


You know, I wrote this column because of my distress really. And I
speak as someone who is a very committed member of the American Jewish
community. And the American Jewish leadership has gone all in on pushing
sanctions legislation that Barack Obama and even America`s intelligence
agencies say would wreck the chances of a diplomatic deal. That would be
bad enough on its owned merits. And yet the press often covers it as if
these are the representatives of the American Jewish community when all the
polling suggests and the 2012 election suggests in fact that American Jews
support Barack Obama`s Iran policy and that you have a group of American
Jewish leaders who don`t represent American Jews whatsoever in the agenda
that they`re pushing in Washington.

O`DONNELL: But Peter, they would argue that their concern is not
moment to moment support or popularity I think in the American community
but more what they see as the needed -- the necessary position for
preserving --

BEINART: Right. As it happens, that position is not the position of
many Israeli security professionals. And that the position that the
American Jewish organizational leadership proposes is that basically since
Iran is a completely irrational regime that you can`t deal with it in the
kind of normal diplomatic give and take that these negotiations would see
and that in fact you have to kind of dictate to it in a sanctions
legislation as we`ve done.

But actually the Israeli leadership and the American intelligence
leadership say that Iran`s regime, although absolutely brutal, absolutely
despotic, actually has a history of making fairly rational calculations
about its own interests. And that`s why I think that this push for
sanctions is ultimately bad for America`s security, bad for Israel`s
security, and it frustrates me that it`s done in the name of American Jews
when in fact American Jews have shown again and again that they don`t
support it.

O`DONNELL: Peter, what is at stake in your view in this vote in the
Congress about the possible sanctions bill?

BEINART: I think what`s at stake is the possibility of a diplomatic
deal with Iran and the end of America`s 30-year cold war with Iran, a cold
war that has been tremendously damaging to the entire Middle East. If you
look at the horror that is taking place in Syria, one of the drivers of
that horror is the cold war that is occurring between the United States and
some of our Sunni allies and Iran on the other hand.

We know from our cold war with the Soviet Union that cold wars have
horrific collateral damage across the world, and we`re seeing that in Syria
today. It would be Barack Obama`s greatest international achievement if he
could come to terms with Iran, stop it from having a nuclear weapon, and
end this cold war. And I would just hate to see the idea that the American
Jewish organizational leadership is making that part harder.

O`DONNELL: Peter Beinart, author of the one of the most important
pieces I have read on this subject. Thank you very much for joining us
tonight, Peter.

BEINART: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night on MSNBC, watch stat of the union coverage
beginning at 9 p.m.


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