tv The Last Word MSNBC November 9, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
how he'd like them to be acted out with spooky music. tomorrow, did you hear what they're declassifying tomorrower? nixon's watergate testimony. the testimony on the cnbc republican presidential debate has just ended and we have a loser. the cnbc republican presidential debate has just ended and we have a loser. here we're focusing on character and on judgment. you've been a ceo. >> yes.
>> why should the american people hire a president if they feel there are character issues? >> the american people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. that's what that's about. over the last nine days, the voters have voted with their noggins, and they're saying, they don't care about the character assassination, they care about leadership. >> would you keep him on if you had bought his company? >> ah -- >> herman cain is the person to respond to these questions. he just did. >> you said, no, let detroit go bankrupt. now that the companies are profitable again, you said, well, actually, president obama implemented my plan all along. with a record like that, of seeming to be on all sides of the issue, why should republicans be confident in the steadiest of your economic leadership?
>> whether it was by president bush or by president obama, it was the wrong way to go. >> your opponents have said you switched positions on many issues. you seem to have encapsulated the last debate when you said, i'm running for office, for pete's sake. >> i'm a man of steadiness and constancy. i don't think you're going to find somebody who has more of those attributes than i do. i've been married to the same woman for 25 -- excuse me, i'll get in trouble, for 42 years. i've been in the same church for my entire life. i worked at one company, bain, for 25 areas. >> let me switch back to the economy. >> it's the regulatory world that is killing america. >> until we throw out the tax code and put in something bold, get government out of the way by reducing the regulatory environments. >> speaker gingrich, 30 seconds to you. your firm was paid $300,000 by
freddie mac in 2006. what did you do for that money? >> are you asking me? i have never done any lobbying. every contract that was written during the period when i was out of the office specifically said i would do no lobbying and i offered advice. it's sad that the news media doesn't report accurately how the economy works. >> what is the media reporting inaccurately about the economy? >> what? the cnbc republican presidential debate tonight included a meltdown moment, the likes of which we have never seen in a presidential debate. >> it's three agencies of government when i get there that are gone. commerce, education, and the -- what's the third one there? let's see. >> you mean five? >> oh, five, okay. so commerce, education and the -- um? >> epa? >> epa, there you go. >> seriously? is epa the one you were talking about? >> no, sir. no, sir. we're talking about the agencies of government -- the epa needs
to be rebuilt, no doubt about that. >> but you can't name the third one? >> the third agency of government? i would do away with education, the -- >> commerce. >> commerce. and let's see -- i can't. the third one i can't. sorry. oops. >> i said at the end of rick perry's first debate that he had destroyed his candidacy by attacking social security. he could not possibly beat president obama by attacking social security if he ever got to be the nominee and he probably couldn't win the republican nomination with that attack on social security. tonight, he just lost all hope of even being considered for the vice presidential nomination. the party cannot afford to send that man into a debate with joe biden. joining me now is msnbc analyst steve schmidt. he is the former senior adviser to the mccain/palin campaign, and a senior strategist in the
joining me now is msnbc analyst steve schmidt. he is the former senior adviser to the mccain/palin campaign, and a senior strategist in the bush/cheney '04 campaign. and msnbc political analyst and future msnbc host, alex wagner. thank you both for joining me tonight. steve, you've seen a lot of these debates. i -- there's never been a moment in my lifetime, in the history of televised presidential debates, as what we just saw happen with rick perry. he's got these three agencies of government he absolutely wants to close down when he becomes president. just can't remember that third one. >> yeah. i think it's over for him. i think his campaign effectively ended tonight. just an extraordinary moment, the likes of which we have never seen before in a presidential debate. he had fallen off the radar screen. he's fallen to michele bachmann levels in the race, but i think it's over tonight with that.
>> yeah. he had collapsed in the polls, alex, but when you look at that stage, there's a bunch of people who absolutely can no be on a ticket. newt gingrich, ron paul, michele bachmann, and so by process of elimination, even though perry's numbers were very bad, he was still in it, theoretically. he was still somebody, since he was elected governor, could conceivably end up on a ticket. that's gone. >> it's hard to be more underwhelming than by the people he was surrounded by. that's something akin to wetting your pants on the last day of school. there is no reprieve for rick perry, especially, ironically, on energy, which is something he has hammered over and over and over. >> well, it turns out, 20 minutes later, he was thinking of the department of energy. he finally got that out. here he is, the governor of texas, the oil business centered there, and he couldn't remember, oh, yeah, that department that regulates my big industry, i want to get rid of that.
>> it was one of those white-knuckled moments where you could almost hear him saying, line, line. it was painful to watch. but once you have the pity of the american public, you've also lost their vote. >> and steve, this is one of those debates everybody was watching just to see, how is herman cain going to handle it? and also, not just how is he going to handle it, but how is it going to come up? it wasn't clear to me in a cnbc economics debate, how you could bring this up. but let's see exactly how it did come up in the debate. >> here we're focusing on character and on judgment. you've been a ceo. >> yes. >> you know that shareholders are reluctant to hire a ceo where there are character issues. why should the american people hire a president if they feel there are character issues? >> the american people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. that's what that's about. and i value my character and my
integrity more than anything else. and for every one person that comes forward with a false accusation, there are probably -- there are thousands who would say, none of that sort of can activity ever came from herman cain. you were right. this country's looking for leadership. and this is why a lot of people, despite what has happened over the last nine days, are still very enthusiastic about my candidacy. over the last nine days -- over the last nine days, the voters have voted with their dollars, and they're saying, they don't care about the character assassination. they care about leadership and getting this economy growing and all of the other problems we face. >> steve, that was it. just one question to herman cain about it. how did he handle it? >> well, i thought he handled it terribly. and i thought his campaign effectively ended yesterday with that news conference. 30 minutes of nonsense talk with a healthy dose of conspiracy theories thrown in on top of it.
a conspiracy between rick perry, the democrats, and the media. i think these are extreme charges, and it was a extraordinary moment, when someone who is accused by four women of sexual harassment, when he refers to speaker pelosi as princess pelosi. i just thought it was an extraordinary moment. i thought in a poker game, i thought it was a big tell. and i disagree with nancy pelosi on nearly everything, but she earned that title. and his contempt that he showed towards her, i just thought it was bad, thought it was a big tell, and i think herman cain is going to lose ground rapidly in this race, you know, in the next couple of weeks. >> alex, he referred to nancy pelosi as princess pelosi later in the debate on a health care question. but there was one more round where john harwood tried to reignite this question of the
cain sexual harassment by putting this question to mitt romney. let's listen to this. >> would you keep him on if you had bought his company? >> i -- i'm -- [ audience booing ] >> look, look, herman cain is the person to respond though these questions. he just did to the people in this room and across the country, they can make their own assessment. i'm not going to -- >> governor huntsman, let me switch back to the economy. [ cheers and applause ] >> the debate audience has spoken, the once in the room. they don't want to hear a word about this. >> well, look, the idea was this was going to be focused on economic policy, but at the end of the day, this is a huge news story. and i think it was only
appropriate they asked herman cain about it. my favorite herman cain line of the night was when he said, for every woman who has accused me of sexual harassment, there are thousands who have not. which is the same argument a serial killer could ewe. for every person i have killed, there are thousands of people i have not killed. this is not cogent, this is no coherent, this is not someone who should be president. >> steve, we normally think of primaries as the process that toughens up the nominee. certainly worked that way for barack obama last time around, because he was running against some very difficult competition, obviously, in hillary clinton and others. i mean, joe biden was a serious force on the debate stage. chris dodd was a serious force on the debate stage, when he got a chance to speak. there are no serious players on that debate stage anymore.
it's mitt romney by himself. he cannot fail. and it doesn't seem to me that this debate process is strengthening him as a candidate. >> i think one of the interesting aspects of this is the comeback of speaker gingrich over the last month or so, particularly with the collapse of perry. he's in third place right now. and i would expect him to rise on the basis of the performance tonight. the further collapse of perry, i'd expect cain's numbers to come down. but we may well see a situation where speaker gingrich now is the chief competitor to mitt romney going forward. and speaker gingrich, i don't believe he'll be the nominee, but i do believe he'll put governor romney through his paces in these future debates. as we move into the voting period and the number of people on that stage begins to shrink, i do think that governor romney's going to have some more competition than we've seen so far in the race. >> the msnbc team, steve schmidt and alex wagner, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> you bet. the great to be with you, lawrence. coming up, michael moore with his reaction to tonight's debate. and later, america's most corrupt lobbyist, jack abramoff joins me to talk about his new book. and the republicans who got caught and the ones who didn't.
rational question about the economy that would lead them to say, for example, who's going to pay for the park you're occupying if there are no businesses making a profit? >> joining me now, a man who needs no introduction, but he's going to get one anyway, academy award winning filmmaker michael moore and the author of "the new york times" best seller, "here comes trouble: stories from my life." michael, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> that was mr. newt gingrich talking about occupy wall street. he really seems to have a feel for it. >> well, it's amazing that here's a movement that's seven weeks old and it was mentioned two or three times tonight in the republican debate. that's something they used to ignore that sort of thing. so that's a victory for occupy wall street. but he -- i think he's got it mixed up, what he said, if it
wasn't for the corporation, there wouldn't be a park there. i seem to remember in america, parks are developed by the local governments for the people, by the people, let the people pick and do things. i don't ever remember a corporate park. >> you don't have to buy a ticket to, you know, grand central, central park and boston, these places. >> do they have to start these primaries in january? i don't want these to be the end -- >> we have a little subject change possibility here. we have breaking news from penn state. a bad week for penn state. >> yeah. >> the trustees have just voted to oust coach joe paterno, apparently effective immediately. i gather that he won't even be coaching on the next game. this is a kind of shocking development this week. >> yeah. well, this is a problem, not just with penn state. it started -- not started, but certainly, the catholic church and i have talked about that. >> he's of that age and that era
where those men didn't know what to do about this. >> yeah. he may not even have known or understood what was being told to him. >> we're actually going to pick up the board of trustees right now live from pennsylvania. >> we did have a phone conversation. we were unable to find a way to get to that in person without causing, we thought, greater distraction, and that was a conclusion that we made. >> you didn't think you owed him the courtesy to go to his house or talk to him in person? >> there's really nothing we could comment on. we did what we thought was best? >> what's your decision for dismissing coach paterno now and leaving tim curley in leave? >> there were a number of matters that over time will get resolved and dealt with. >> will joe's son still be on -- >> there's no change there at the moment. what happens in the long-term is a different question. >> what about mike mcqueary?
>> as i said, we're not aware of any change in his status and there's really no more comment we can make on that personnel matter. [ inaudible question ] >> well, i don't really want to get into what individuals should think or not think. i would hope that our students and we would hope that everyone who cares about penn state, our 95,000 students, our hundreds of thousands of alumni, the thousands of degrees which get awarded each year, our outreach for agriculture in every county of the commonwealth, i would hope that what everyone would agree is what we are doing, is what we believe is in our best judgment, in the best long-term interest of the university, which is much larger than athletic programs. >> -- making him the fall guy for this? >> i think the -- people can believe what they wish, but i
think when the facts come out in the longer term, and we don't have them all here in front of us, and no doubt the additional facts would shed light on things. >> you said there'll be a full investigation at the same time. what do you say to those who argue that this is a rush to judgment. there has not been a full investigation, so how can you reach this conclusion at this time? >> as i said, these are judgments and decisions and balances that boards have to make with thoughtful deliberation. in our view, things had reached a point where a change was necessary and we thought in the best long-term interest of the university. >> is the board aware that it's under the department of education investigation? and what's the larger message about how penn state responds to allegations of sexual abuse on campus? >> i am just briefly aware of the matter that you just described and have no information on it, no real knowledge of it. if there is another investigation by a federal authority, of course, we will -- the university will cooperate in every means possible. and beyond that, i really have no knowledge of it. and i think as we indicated in our statement yesterday, we intend to be as responsible as we can and make whatever changes are necessary to insure we have
the highest standards of conduct. >> has coach paterno been told he can go to the game on saturday or told to stay away? >> we did not discuss that matter. >> you've talked to a lot of students. what do you want to say to those who think the board of trustees has handled this matter poorly? >> we handled it the best way we could with the information we had and with the time that was available to us. again, wanting to be decisive, but also wanted to be thorough and appropriately deliberate. others are welcome to their own opinion. we believe we did the best job we could. >> what would be the harm in letting the coach continue until the end of the season? >> can you define the term "best interest of the university" regarding coach paterno? >> i think i'll leave it to you to describe what the best interest -- although i would say that the current situation we're in, which by all accounts, has its roots in a certain organization of the university, the situation we are in today is not in the university's best
interests. >> what would be the harm in letting the coach continue until the end of the season? what's to be gained. tell me specifically. >> i'm not sure i can tell you specifically. in our view, we thought a change now was necessary to enable -- or to allow this process to continue. we thought it was going to be damaging the university, and therefore we took the action we did. >> we're back. michael, this is in the broad scope yet another example of what happens to the stakes, what happens to the way people behave when big, big money is involved. in the university system, there's no bigger money than the big football program that is basically a big television football program. >> correct. >> and everything starts to get protected, because the stakes are so high. >> the first mother of the first child that was molested or raped, filed her complaint with the university in, i believe, 1998.
this college, penn state, has known that something was up for almost 13 years. and now that it's blown out into the open like this, they're offering up this man in his 80s, thinking this is going to somehow clear us of our failure to do our job, or to do what's just kind of decent and morally right. and, you know, win just think this is a -- i mean -- just going back to the catholic church for a second on this same issue, no bishop sits in a jail cell. the cover-up -- the priest who
committed a lot of those times were sick and needed help. the bishops weren't sick, and they covered it up, they ignored the complaints, they knew it was going on, but the institution came before the human being. >> and that's what we're seeing here. >> that's exactly what we're seeing. >> institutional protection. and again, the catholic church, big stakes, big money, in many ways, involved, both on the sensation of possibility liability and all that sort of thing. and so the behavior, there's become a sort of american denial of responsibility when you get to very large institutions. this is what we're talking about on occupy wall street, what we're talking about in that industry. there's no personal responsibility. plenty of people who knew we shouldn't be doing this, we shouldn't be doing that, but no one taking the action, the responsible action that stops the big institution with the big
money stakes from continuing. >> right. well, it's -- greed operates on many levels. and it's blinding to those who are participants in it. and i don't know what part of that first incident where the person who worked for the athletic program said that he walked in on, visually saw, in person, not a rumor, not innuendo, the assistant coach raping a 10-year-old in the shower. what part of that needs to be -- you know, when you go and you tell the coach that, and he tells the school, which he should have done, but then continued to work with the coach? i just -- it just -- i feel voyeur for these kids and the parents and, i feel sorry for the students at penn state who love going there and had no idea that this was going on.
>> yeah. and who were, obviously, hugely invested in an image, in a sense of actually the opposite. this was supposed to be the football program filled with honesty and integrity and not corrupted by the big money system and by all those big stakes and those big pressures that are out there in that system it is just something that, it's shocking, and yet there's a weird aura of, we're kind of familiar with this in this country. we're kind of familiar with the big institution looks the other way if the stakes are high enough. >> that's right. and -- >> i mean, we evened a rick santorum, the former senator from pennsylvania this week, not quite knowing what to say about this. now, this is somebody who has very, very strong opinions about what the government should do in relation to the way people conduct themselves sexually.
and on this, he just wasn't so sure exactly what to make of it, when he first heard about it. i mean, such are the political pressures of such a thing in pennsylvania. >> well, and plus, you know, these politicians like santorum and the people we saw in the debate tonight, i don't know what planet they're on. i don't know what world they live in, but this issue of sexual abuse, of rape, whether it's of children or whether it's of -- i forgot what the statistic was of how many, you know, women are raped every few minutes -- there's at least one woman raped every few minutes in this country. it's a huge, huge problem. it really doesn't get discussed very much. and you saw tonight in the debate when maria bartiromo attempted to ask cain the question, she got booed, and then after his answer, you had one of the loudest applauses of the night. the applause said very clearly, shut up, woman, don't ask questions like that. and, obviously, we still have a long way to go.
>> we still have steve schmidt with us. steve, your reaction to this development with the ousting of coach joe paterno? >> well, it's a devastating story, particularly for the children. but i think it's a story of moral cowardice. beginning with the 28-year-old graduate assistant who, i understand, remains an assistant coach, who witnessed this, didn't call the police. he called his dad. and he talked to coach paterno about it. it's a cover-up. i agree with michael moore that this probably goes much deeper than the people who have been fired tonight and fired, deservedly so. one of the great issues of our time is the collapse of trust. and nearly every major institution in the country saved the united states military. and it's another example of an institutional failure breaking the trust with the people. and it is a sad day for penn state, but it is a tragedy for those children who were abused. and it's a particular tragedy for the children whose abuse
occurred after the first incident. and joe paterno, a person who so many of us admired in this country, goes out tonight in disgrace, because his actions were disgraceful. and no one should have sympathy for him because of that. >> steve, you've seen this kind of crisis management before, not exactly this model, obviously, but how do you -- how would you advise the university to handle this, from this point forward? obviously conceding they've made a lot of mistakes up to now. >> i think that they need to bring in independent investigators, people of unimpeachable integrity who will top to bottom review what happened. what were the systems failures that took place here? why did this happen? why was it covered up? who was involved? and they need to issue a report
that is completely transparent and completely honest. and whether, you know, it is a former governor of impeccable credentials like tom ridge, you know, some democratic counterparts, but people of impeccable integrity need to cam forward, i think, be called forward, to evaluate this and to report on it with total transparency and get all the facts out there, after a thorough investigation. >> steve schmidt, thank you again for joining me. we'll be back with more, with michael moore. we'll get to talking about the debate. and later, my interview with jack abramoff. [ female announcer ] from the moment we arrive...
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what we have in washington today is a president and an administration that doesn't like business. the senate somehow thinks they like jobs, but they don't like businesses. >> michael, the republican candidates went into your home state, michigan, tonight, to debate. not one of them, not one of them supported the out bailout that president obama did that effectively saved the american automobile industry. >> not only that, there was no discussion of jobs, real jobs, in a state where there are hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs. we've at a high rate of unemployment for the last five years. and also, no apology on their part as a party for giving this disastrous economy to the new president, having destroyed it in the previous president's term. nobody seems to want to take any credit for that. but i was just wondering, the people in the audience there, what they were feeling and thinking, when there was actually no discussion about real jobs or how to put people
back to work. but it was one of those debates where -- i've enjoyed watching all these republican party debates, and it just, you know, tonight we learned from michele bachmann that $10 for people who didn't know what $10 was, it's two happy meals. huntsman, who was really like the only sane person there, you know. it's like he's -- the it's like he's taken -- >> defiantly sane, jon huntsman. >> it's like he's taken the other seven out on a field trip. like they don't know they're at a debate. like he's the doctor and he's brought them around. but he said something -- and perry, over what he did there, where he was trying to remember the third department that he would get rid of. i thought the next question to him actually was going to be, name the three meals you've had today. and he's going, breakfast, lunch -- and they were trying to help him out. they were shouting out departments. epa! close the epa! close this, close that! and to john harwood's credit --
>> oh, fantastic. i loved that he stayed with it. >> he stayed with it. he department allow it to be laughed off. i thought, boy, that was a great moment. but huntsman's ending moment, because i think he's, again, the sanest of the bunch, he said that he wants medical records computerized and streamlined so that patients will receive a more efficacious form of treatment. i think using the word "efficacious" at a republican debate, you're over! you're just over! that's the end of you. sadly. >> yeah. and it is over. they talked a little bit about the foreclosure crisis, the housing crisis in this country. the republican plan is, of course, both from ron paul and mitt romney, each end of that very narrow conservative spectrum that's out there. each end says, oh, you know, tough. you know, don't do a thing. let the market completely bottom out. let everybody lose their hopeless who has to lose their
homes. there should be no intervention whatsoever. there shouldn't be any adjustments on those mortgages. just let them go. really marie antoinette attitude toward it. >> and it's also a call to destroy the united states of america. just think if they had been president instead of franklin roosevelt during the great depression. do nothing! >> we'd still be in it. >> not only would we still be in it, but would we have handled world war ii? >> well, surrender would be one option, just not entering it at all, i guess, would be the other. let canada go do it, i guess, right? >> yeah. i think the american people get this. obama, i don't think he has much to worry about. >> i think he's winning every one of these debates. these guys keep staking out these right-wing positions, repeatedly. they basically keep loading up the obama campaign with video of romney, who's going to be the nominee, staking out these wildly right-wing positions. >> right. no. can i say one positive thing
about newt gingrich, just -- >> take your time! this is history you're making here. michael moore, something positive about newt gingrich. >> well, we just heard steve schmidt -- >> he said i agree with michael moore, we made history there. >> somebody from the cain campaign said, i agree with michael moore. so i just want to return the props there. when he -- when they were all asked to tell us what your health care plan is in 30 seconds, and he sort of rightfully said, no, you can't do that in 30 seconds and i won't. and then maria kept pushing him and he gave in. and i was just, no, don't do it. stick to your guns here. this is your right. this is more complicated than that. but he eventually gave in and did it. but i was at least momentarily impressed with him saying something that should be obvious to most people. >> filmmaker, activist, friend
of the show, michael moore, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you very much. my interview with jack abramoff is coming up next. [ man ] i got this citi thank you card and started earning loads of points. you got a weather balloon with points? yes, i did. [ man ] points i could use for just about anything. ♪ keep on going in this direction. take this bridge over here. there it is. [ man ] so i used mine to get a whole new perspective. ♪ [ male announcer ] write your story with the citi thankyou premier card, with no point caps, and points that don't expire. get started at thankyoucard.citi.com. see? he's taking his vitamins. new one a day vitacraves plus omega-3 dha is a complete multivitamin for adults.
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you say i'm selfish. [ bleep ] you! you say i have a big ego. [ bleep ] you twice! i'm wonderfully grateful for the wonderful gifts i've received here in america, the greatest country on this planet! i'm jack abramoff. and oh, yeah, i work out every day. >> that was kevin spacey in "casino jack," based on the true story of the most corrupt lobbyist of our time. in the spotlight tonight, jack abramoff. on january 3rd, 2006, jack abramoff pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, corrupting public officials, tax evasion, and mail fraud. he received a reduced sentence in exchange for cooperating with federal investigators, which
ultimately led to the conviction of one lawmaker, former ohio republican congressman, bob nay. joining me now is jacques abramoff, author of the new book, "capital punishment: the hard truth about washington corruption from america's most notorious lobbyist." jack, thanks for joining me tonight. >> thank you very much. >> so you name yourself our most notorious lobbyist. what other adjectives were on your list to self-describe? >> well, my list, probably none that -- other than notorious. other people had other adjectives, but i couldn't put them on the book. >> now, you know, the book reads to me not as a story of a corrupt congress, but as a story of a corrupt republican congress. there are democrats in this book. >> there are. there's harry reid in the book. >> for what? >> for helping our lobbying efforts, accepting money from us. i think the important -- the important thing, i think, is that republicans and democrats are part of the same system. the system, overall, needs to be
changed. and republicans and democrats, unfortunately, have participated over the years, over the decades in the same system, as had i. >> you famously told leslie the other night on "60 minutes," that you owned 100 members of congress. they were all republicans, right? >> no. >> which democrats did you own? >> well, the phraseology of "own" became part of "60 minutes" show. but i guess probably the better way to phrase it is "heavily influence." there were scores of republicans and democrats. i can't stress enough that the system itself is indictable. the system itself is the problem. i don't want to sit here and blame individual congressmen or senators that are part of the system. even individual lobbyists. i think that they're human beings. and human beings operate a certain way, have certain incentives and motivations, and they need to have a system that doesn't play to and lure them into a system of difficulties. and i think that's what we have
today. >> the -- there are a bunch of e-mails that are -- some of them are not included in this book, that you were questioned about at different times, including in a senate hearing where a senator ben nighthorse campbell was questioning you. he said he referred to one of your e-mails, and it's about your representation of indian tribes, and he said, you sent an e-mail to mr. scanlon, which referred to some of your clients. let me read it to you. i'll illuminate the profanities to avoid those, but you can fill in the blanks. "are you f'ing kidding me? i hate those f-boy scouts. what a bunch of a-holes." we can fill in the blanks. but to which indians were you referring? why did you refer to them in such despicable terms, you took the fifth amendment. can you respond to that now? >> well, i sent over the course of my career some very stupid e-mails. that was one of them, obviously. i was a very passionate and emotional player in what i was doing. and sometimes our emotions spilled over into jocular, and
frankly, stupid, e-mails. that's one i regret. i've apologized for it. i apologize tonight for it. it was just a stupid move. >> one of your rackets was indian tribes, representing indian tribes and playing the casino game on one side or the other, trying to help some of them get permission to run casinos, trying to prevent other tribes getting permission to run casinos, because that would compete with your tribe, casino. and in one of those non-compete games, you ended up in a situation with ralph reed, and they asked you under oath in the senate committee, kent conrad asked you, he said, "i would like to ask, did you, mr. abramoff, you and your partner, your colleague, mr. scanlon, give $4 million to ralph reed?" and you pled the fifth amendment on that and didn't answer that. did you give $4 million to ralph reed? >> yeah, we provided -- ralph reed was a very important vendor in terms of our effort to slow down competition for our tribes.
absolutely. i don't know the exact number. >> and you -- and that $4 million was delivered to ralph reed to get him to mobilize christian conservative opposition to a casino that some indian tribe you weren't representing was trying to -- >> well, either indian or non-indian casinos. >> any casino -- >> we hired our clients, as often others are, to prevent them from losing their market. and we were very creative and used every method we could to do that. and one of them was to mobilize people who hated casino gambling for the short-term strange bedfellows partnership of working together to stop a new casino. >> one of the tribes, thetiguas that you represented, eventually they ran out of money in their ability to pay you. how much did they pay you over time? >> i think it was a couple million dollars. >> and eventually they ran out. >> right. >> so you came up with another idea. "in 2003, abramoff approached the tigua tribal council with a novel proposition.
free term-life insurance for all elder members of the trim. abramoff would pay the premiums, but there was a catch. the death benefits from the term-life policies that abramoff for would not be paid to the families of the tribal elders, but to a private school in washington, d.c. the school, founded and directed by abramoff, would use the money to pay tigua lobbying fees to abramoff's law firm." so the private school, you would use that to launder money to then pay you lobbying fees? >> lawrence, i think with all of this stuff, i was involved in an area i shouldn't have been involved in. that was an example. that particular thing was an insurance program that the law firm that i was a member of created in their insurance division to help nonprofits. was put forward not only to the tigua tribe, not by me, but to the firm by other corporations and native american organizations. unfortunately, it was, yet again, something i shouldn't have been involved in, which i'm terribly sorry that we were.
>> now, you were opposed -- these people that you called in some of these e-mails "morons" and one other lobbyist who represented other indian tribes, you called him a moron. and these other terrible terms you were using, these were the people who actually brought you down. >> i brought myself down, lawrence. >> but they started the investigation. >> maybe. i'm not certain. i'm not certain. does it matter, really? >> it matters -- well -- >> i was doing things that was wrong. i was doing things i shouldn't have been doing. i was in a business i shouldn't have been in. i've been severely punished for it. i've been totally bankrupted from it. and now i'm trying to make recompense and trying to help clean up the system. these are things that i've gone through, you know, before. >> well, you know who tom rogers is? he was a lobbyist that represented other indian tribes. he, himself, is descendent from native american. you called him a moron. he was one of the people who started the investigation
against you. have you apologized to him? >> no, i don't have any contact with tom rogers. >> have you apologized to any -- >> absolutely. i have many native american supporters, by the way, who came to my hearings, and who understand, by the way, that this small aberrant behavior should not take away from the fact that i did wonderful things for the american indian tribe. i stopped the american income tax that would have decimated indian gaming opportunities. we helped them on health care, we helped them on education, on crime, issues across the board. our team spilt blood for our tribes, we loved our tribes. i spent 850,000 e-mails over the course of time i was a lobbyist. that's a lot of e-mails. there were probably 50 e-mails that are jocular, stupid, dumb, emotional, and ridiculous. they didn't represent what i felt. and unfortunately, i guess i'm
not the first person to write dumb things in e-mails, but i'm the poster child to have the guy, when they say, don't write something in an e-mail you don't want to see on the front page of "the washington post," that's my picture that comes up. >> i want you to hear what representative frank wolf has said just recently about you. >> my conscious has required me to come to the floor to express concerns i have with grover norquist has on the political process in washington. one of mr. norquist's relationship with jack abramoff, mr. abramoff essentially laundered money through atr and mr. norquist knew it. i believe mr. norquist is connected with or has profited from a number of unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream. >> is he right? i think frank wolf has an agenda. obviously, he's upset with grover over whatever, i don't know. i'm not really close to grover
at this point. >> the anti-tax pledge and locking them in on the tax -- >> fine. fine. i'm not involved in that, obviously. the accusation -- >> but did you launder money through -- >> the accusation that grover norquist or his organization broke the law laundering money or anything i think just has to meet with the fact that thes cause investigated with 300 investigators in the justice department and the fbi, with 2,000 open investigations and grover norquist wasn't indicted, didn't have to plea, was never really brought in any way close to, as i understand it, a problem. however, people like frank wolf and others want to keep pounding him for having an association with me, i can't say much about that. >> the book is "capitol punishment" thanks for joining us. i wanted to get into how you ended up doing these things. i wanted to get into the details. after this break, we'll have reaction from fired penn state football coach joe paterno.
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speaking at his house just a few minutes ago, joe paterno told students, "right now i'm not a football coach and that's something i have to get used to." the penn state board of trustees fired paterno and ben state president graham spanier tonight over an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse of as many as eight boys by jerry sandusky, some of which allegedly happened on school property. critics say paterno himself should have done more after learning about the allegations in 2002. much more of this story is ahead
on a live edition of "the ed show." a quick programming note. tomorrow night, my pick for the republican presidential nomination, tim pawlenty, will be here on "the last word." tim pawlenty, the candidate with the best shot for the republican nomination, will officially announce what we have known for about a year -- he is running for president. the view that has been the official position of this show since last year, that tim pawlenty is in the strongest position to win the republican presidential nomination. the official position of this show is that tim pawlenty is going to be the nominee. here's the pawlenty wins theory -- pawlenty wins everything on this show, by the way. it's the theory of the show. this show has officially declared tim pawlenty to be the nominee. tim pawlenty, who on this program, and nowhere else, is considered the front-runner for the republican nomination. we'll talk about how the republican landscape would be different today if pawlenty had just stayed in there.
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