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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  April 3, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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watch. stay tuned. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow night. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have great night. after two quickly called wins in maryland and washington, d.c., nbc news declares mitt romney the winner in wisconsin. mitt romney leads rick santorum with newt gingrich and ron paul trailing far behind. the maryland republican primary, nbc news projects mitt romney will win. romney leads santorum in maryland with gingrich and fall far behind and in washington, d.c., where rick santorum is not on the ballot, nbc news projects mitt romney will win that primary beating newt gingrich and ron paul. joining me now is chuck todd, nbc news political director, chief white house correspondent and host of msnbc's "the daily rundown." chuck, wisconsin is where everybody's looking tonight. what do we learn about mitt romney's strengths tonight? and the future of rick santorum?
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>> well, i think not only to we know the demographics are destiny once again. wisconsin told you was going to be a little bit closer to being more like somewhere in between an illinois republican primary electorate or michigan primary electorate. worse for santorum we're starting to see his core sport groups that we've been identifying throughout this primary season, most notably non-college graduates, white evangelicals and folks that make less dollar $100,000 in household income. dead even among basically middle income folks there, folks that make less than $100,000. look at this one here. our next graphic here, among college graduates. there it is. moved too fast. trying a little touchscreen tonight, lawrence. bear with me. the college graduates, no college degree, romney won that category. he lost, this is where santorum wong non-college educated
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republicans. both in michigan and in ohio. not the case here in wisconsin. and finally, the evangelical vote which was not large in wisconsin in comparison to in ohio, but look at this among evangelicals. santorum is going to win them but only by two points. what we're seeing in our exit polls, what we're seeing in the actual raw returns is that that coalescing. it's starting. and in wisconsin, when you think about it, lawrence, there were two big popular republicans in the conservative movement who got behind romney over the weekend. one is ron johnson, a big tea party favorite, that new u.s. senator. the other is paul ryan. watching ryan introduce romney tonight and seeing how base republicans reacted to president obama targeting paul ryan today in that speech, i think there's going to be a lot of pressure on mitt romney to pick paul ryan and while that might leave some democrats giddy about it, i thch think that makes the base as
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giddy for the party. could be a fascinating ticket preview we got tonight. >> the romney/ryan ticket taking shape. hang in there with us. joining us is rachel maddow, host of rachel maddow and steve schmidt, msnbc political analyst and adviser to the 2008 mccain campaign. rachel, these republicans talk through your show. rick santorum seizes par of the your show then romney seizes part of your show. do you have expresed thoughts on tonight's proceedings your audience would have heard if mitt romney didn't grab your microphone? >> thank you, you are very kind. the romney/ryan prospect that chuck was just raising there is interesting. i mean, the democratic and particularly the liberal perspective on that is, oh, please, go there. like, wed yourself even more to the kill medicare guy. i mean, that is absolutely the issue that democrats i think are most enthusiastic about being able to win on. this idea of turning medicare
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into a coupon system. we all saw how well george w. bush did on that in 2005 with the privatize social security plan he came up with. so i think that is from the liberal and the democratic perspective a very exciting prospect. seeing him speak tonight, there is no worry that paul ryan would overshadow mitt romney as a speaker and as a campaigner. i sort of, because paul ryan is so beloved on the right, i thought when i heard he was going to introduce him tonight this might be a real chance for paul ryan to show off. it was, again, he gave a very bad introduction. it was bad enough i cut it puff an i would have let it run if he was saying anything useful. he's calling saying i thinkt ths guy, you wanted to be the uniter, not the divider. didn't he say that? no, he didn't say that. george w. bush didn't say that. it was not a barack obama thing. maybe he will pick him. he won't be overshadowed by him. >> steve schmidt, you've been through the vice presidential selecting on the republican side. you gave us sarah palin.
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what did you think of paul ryan's audition for the vp slot tonight? >> well, lawrence, i'm not sure that that qualifies as an audition for it, but i think that he could certainly wind up as one of the people who goes through the vetting process who's on the list, but i think that the mistakes of 2008 will have a big impact in 2012. i think for sure that governor romney is going to run a very tight process that results in someone who is qualified to be president of the united states should they have to take the oath of office from day one. >> chuck todd, is there any mathematical formula left for rick santorum to cling to tonight in the delegate doesn't? >> no, there's not. in fact, tonight, he may not even crack ten zledelegates. tonight our modified winner take all systems began april 1th, the way republicans take their rule. if you carry a congressional district in maryland or wisconsin the way it did, you would win, and if you didn't carry it by a vote, you win
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three delegates out of that district. it's possible looking at the results come in the way they are in wisconsin tonight that santorum might carry three congressional districts of the eight. that would give him nine. can he get one congressional district out of maryland? that's not clear. he may not crack ten. there were 92 delegates at stake tonight. this is going do be interesting to watch. i thought romney in his speech was basically giving santorum permission to stay in the race i thought at the very end when he was asking for support from folks in pennsylvania, new york, rhode island, connecticut. he was rattling off the april 24th states. you have to wonder if the pressure is going to grow on santorum and if santorum is prepared to potentially lose his home state. does he want to be embarrassed that way going out? look at what we shaw on the demographics tonight, his core group is starting to erode. he may -- i'll say in the next three days, it wouldn't surprise
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me if you see rethinking going on. >> rachel, does romney want him to stay in he won tonight by over 50% in maryland. he can now get a couple real big looking wins against santorum. maybe that's more useful than having no opponent. >> if santorum stays in, how important is it for romney, if he does lose five, six, seven, more primaries? i mean, if santorum stays in for arkansas and for west virginia and for texas and all these places and mitt romney still is the inevitable nominee but has to get basted by rick santorum who has no chance in those states, does that hurt mitt romney in a way more than just hurting his feelings? does that have a material effect on his ability to mobilize people once he's got the nomination locked up? i'm not sure that we've seen that and would know how that would play out. >> steve schmidt, what's your answer to rachel's question? >> of course it hurts him. you saw today with president obama in the speech that he gave
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starting the general election campaign. he's trying to seize the ground in the middle of the electorate. trying to make mitt romney own the ryan budget. trying to paint that ryan budget as extreme. i think both sides start out, lawrence, with 47% of the vote. that middle part of the electorate is going to be critical. mitt romney needs to get into the general election against president obama. he needs to get out of the fight with rick santorum that's pulled his favorable ratings down to 34%. plus, the campaign needs to begin the process of merging with the republican national committee. offloading some overhead and expenses to the national committee. so at this point, when rick santorum has no chance of being the nominee, and mitt romney for sure is going to be the nominee, it's good for this to start winding down. i think rick santorum is going to be under a lot of pressure not to do more injury, not to do more damage in a race that he has no plausible chance of winning. >> chuck todd, steve schmidt,
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and rachel maddow, thank you all very much for joining me tonight. >> absolutely. coming up, the president was unleashed today in a speech in washington, specifically unleashed on paul ryan and mitt romney. by name. that's next. in the "rewrite" tonight, another episode of the politics of religion. mitt romney knows the polls show he has a religion problem and so he's trying to create a religion problem for president obama. some of mitt's supporters might think that the president is a secret muslim, but mitt is now saying the president is a secret atheist. and later, new information in the killing of trayvon martin. george zimmerman a lawyering up. he has a new lawyer on the case tonight. and that lawyer immediately went on local television in florida to explain how he can defend a client he has still not met. [ female announcer ] here in california, our schools need help.
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mitt romney still has to deal with rick santorum in the republican primaries, which is fine with president obama who today finally let everyone know exactly what he thinks of mitt romney and his partner in budget crime, paul ryan. that's next.
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it is a trojan horse disguised as deficit reduction plans is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. it is thinly veiled social darwinism. it is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it. a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top but grows outward from the heart of the middle class. >> it was president obama unleashed today in a speech in washington in which he finally went after mitt romney by name. >> one of my potential opponents, governor romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last
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year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency. he said that he's very supportive of this new budget. he even called it marvelous, which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget. it's a word you don't often hear generally. >> joining me now is former dnc communications director and current msnbc political analyst karen finney and john heilman, national affairs editor for "new york" magazine and msnbc political analyst. thank you both for joining me. i want to explain to the audience the reason you didn't get hooting and howling and cheering and all of that, tell us who this audience was, karen? >> this was the american association of newspaper editors, so that's not an audience that's going to cheer. >> they're sitting on their hands. they're like the supreme court. they can't clap. >> that's right, in theory, right?
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a little bit of laughter. >> an audience that is guaranteed, a historic audience presidents go to get big speeches and will get a lot of media attention and has gotten it today. and will continue to get it for a lot of the week. >> jonathan capehart pointed this out earlier, it was a very red meat speech to the crowd like the net newspaper association where it was a crowd that couldn't give the hooting and hollering in the same way that like you kind of heard in romney's speech where he was clearly throwing out the red meat, you know, because the crowd loves it. >> it was a long speech, knowing that these people are capable of listening to a long speech, in fact, taking notes during it. there were things he wanted to drill in don't forget, don't forget in your coverage don't forget this. listen to what he said about the bush tax cuts. >> the results of their experiment is there for all to see. at the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003.
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we were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth. they did not. the wealthy got wealthier. we would expect that. but prosperity sure didn't trickle down. >> he was giving them ways of framing things, i think, even in their own coverage, karen. >> absolutely. whether it's trickle-down economics, you're on your own, to pick your favorite phrase, it was absolutely -- for democrats one of the things i was happy to hear, he was essentially rejecting the republicans' premise that you've screwed everything up. there's not this magical universe if we did their way, here's how much better it would be. he said, you know what, we tried it their way and here's how it was. here's how we did it under me and here's what's happening. >> what do you make of him picking today as mitt romney day? here's the day i come out here with the name i'm going to be running against. >> appropriate in the sense that mitt romney basically sewed up the republican nomination tonight.
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but also, think about, there's a poetic element to this tonight. mitt romney on stage tonight first with paul ryan. paul ryan is almost as important a foil in this campaign as mitt romney. the president framing those two up today throughout the speech saying this is the paul ryan budget, republicans are wed to this and mitt romney is wedded to this. it is extreme, it is radical, and importantly in that previous bite we just heard, saying not just extreme and radical, but a proven failure and making the praguementmatic argument that under push we had huge tax cuts and did not see great growth. under clinton we had higher tax rates and huge growth. let's look at the historical record here in addition to this is too extreme. >> also making a point that under republican presidents like nixon who started the epa, right, that government plays a role, it's been republicans who have recognized the role of government. i thought it was interesting mitt romney, i means to me tonight felt like game on. right? romney tried to come right back at him. this whole obama wants this government-centered society. he was clearly going right back
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at obama in what he said today. >> he went as far back for republican presidents talking about linking and the trans-continental railroad as a worthy government project. and he seemed to be going after the ryan thing on that -- a piece that we see in the press all the time. at least paul ryan is serious and at least he's proposing something. and president obama tried to undermine even that framing. >> he is. he's kind of -- joe biden over the weekend was on one of the sunday shows and said republicans aren't hiding the ball. they're telling you what they're going to do. there is a virtue to what paul ryan is doing. if you keep tax rates where they are we need to make cuts to a lot of programs that are going to affect a way larger swath of the american public. the president said this is a religion for these people in some ways. it's one that's going to bite really hard if we follow this path. >> in this version of the ryan plan now, it's a very big tax cut. it's taking these rates way, way down. go ahead.
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>> remember what the president did is he reminded this audience in the framing last time it was gingrich who said this is right wing social engineering to remind them. he ended up having to attract that because he got jumped on by his own people. that was another interesting little tidbit he threw in there. >> karen finney and john, thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, paul ryan and mitt romney may have just committed an election crime in wisconsin. seriously. stay with us. we're going to tell you all about it. they may have violated the law there. and in the "rewrite" mitt romney has a new theory about president obama's religion. mitt romney is insisting the president may be a secret atheist. that's in the "rewrite." and we'll have the latest on the killing of trayvon martin including video of george zimmerman us zimmerman's new lawyer tonight on local television in florida
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explaining how he can defend a client he still has not yet met. that's coming up.
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now, mitt romney is trying to invent a religion problem for president obama by accusing the president of trying to start a new religion. no more of this secret muslim stuff. now the republican strategy is to call the president a secret atheist. that's later in the rewrite. and we'll have the latest developments in the killing of trayvon martin. george zimmerman has a new
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lawyer tonight. charles m. blow joins us.
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hello, everyone, i'm lynn
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berry. here's what's happening. tornadoes whipped through the dallas metropolitan area earlier causing severe damage in some areas and canceling hundreds of flights at dallas-ft. worth airport. the national weather service calls the storms extremely dangerous. buildings were ripped apart and the winds tossed around tractor trailers. the city of arlington declared a state of emergency. so far, more than a dozen injuries have been reported. a salmonella outbreak sickened 90 people across 19 states. authorities believe it may be linked to sushi. there have been at least seven hospitalizations. officials in california say anger may be the motive for the deadly shooting at a christian university in california on monday. police say the suspect was teased by fellow students. march was a big month for automakers driven by demand for smaller more fuel efficient cars. in all, more than 1.4 million were sold last month. gm and chrysler posted double digit sale gains.
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rose 5%. back to "last word." while president obama was eviscerate lging the ryan budget in a speech in washington, congressman paul ryan was in wisconsin participate inning a possible illegal election day event. >> the person we go to the polls today if we have not already done today is who i think is going to be the winner today here and the next president of united states, join me in welcoming governor mitt romney. >> i got tell you how much i appreciate your commitment by getting a presandwich today. that's a tough job, but someone has to do it. >> wisconsin state law in the section easily found under the title "election bribery," prohibits, quote, offers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend anything of value to induce a person to go to the polls or vote. anything of value includes any amount, quote, now any amount of
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money or any object. the value of which exceeds guess how much? $1. the sandwiches cost $5 each. the wisconsin government accountability board told nbc news affiliate wtmj milwaukee it appears the romney campaign broke the law. after participating in a apparent election crime with mitt romney, congressman ryan attacked president obama for talking about the ryan plan. >> i don't think history is going to be really kind to a president that when confronted with one of our country's most pressing challenges in debt crisis chooses to do nothing about it and waits for us that offer solutions to attack us in these kind of baseless ways. >> see, paul ryan and his supporters are cool with anyone talking about the ryan plan as long as they use only praiseful adjectives and don't do any math.
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>> these proposed tax breaks come on top of more than a trillion dollars in tax give-aways for people making more than $250,000 a year. that's an average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country. $150,000. let's just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for. a year's worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen, plus a new school computer lab, plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran, plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease, plus a year's salary for a firefighter or police officer, plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable, plus a year's worth of financial aid.
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$150,000 could pay for all these things combined. investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us. >> joining any now are john nicholls, washington correspondent for "the nation" and steve kornacki, political columnist for "salon" and msnbc political analyst. john, we've seen worse election crimes in this country, but giving out $5 sandwiches to get someone's vote, it reads as a technical violation of wisconsin law. >> well, you have to understand that wisconsin is pretty tough on these things. historically it's been a rigidly ethical state. this law is well-known in wisconsin, especially to people like paul ryan. paul ryan has run in a dozen primary and general elections since 1998, and he managed campaigns, ran campaigns before he became a candidate himself.
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so it's a little bit shaky for him to suggest he was unaware of the law, and it might have been a good idea for him to remind his friend mitt romney of it. >> there are a lot of states with these laws in the professional campaigners know about it. it's no surprise. i want to get to the president's speech today and how he took on the ryan plan directly and especially let's go to what he had to say about the ryan plan and medicare. >> here's the solution proposed by the republicans in washington, and embraced by most of their candidates for president. instead of being enrolled in medicare when they turn 65, seniors who retire a decade from now would get a voucher. if health care costs rise faster than the amount of the voucher, as, by the way, they've done for decades, that's too bad. seniors bear the risk. if the voucher isn't enough to buy a private plan with the specific doctors and care that
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you need, that's too bad. it's a bad idea. it will ultimately end medicare as we know it. >> end medicare as we know it. steve, this was a carefully written speech in the teleprompter carefully delivered. he's not going to need those words in the teleprompter when he's in florida campaigning. that is the memorized boilerplate florida campaign. >> this was the dress rehearsal for next seven months everywhere. what obama is doing is the updated version of the bill clinton re-election campaign. bill clinton was down and out after the 1994 midterms and got the gift of a far right republican congress that was devoted to deep cuts in the social safety net. it was medicare back in 1996 and medicare in 2012 and other issues raised by the paul ryan budget but bill clinton was successful in 1996 as presenting himself as the defender in chief as the social safety net. newt gingrich was more the chief foil and it's more paul ryan right now. this is exactly the kind of plan
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that obama wants to run against. i hate to say this. i think there might be a little mischief on the part of the white house. it's not their main goal here. but think about this. if mitt romney is the republican nominee and he's going to be, he is going to need a vice presidential nominee who really passes muster with the republican base. by singling out paul ryan the way he did today, barack obama made paul ryan the most popular conservative republican in the country and in a way a natural running mate prospect for mitt romney. i think the obama campaign would love it if that ever happened. >> john nicholls, you wisconsin experts know paul ryan better than any of us. when you hear paul ryan for vice president, what's the reaction in wisconsin? >> it depends on the person you talk to. republicans in wisconsin adore the guy, and that's why mitt romney attached himself to him. i have never seen anyone run in wisconsin so closely aligned with a particular congressman as mitt romney was with paul ryan. but there's a challenge with paul ryan, and that is that he
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is not merely a rigid economic conservative and a reading extremist as regards cuts down government. he's one of the more richer rigid social conservatives around. he is right there with rick santorum. so, it is, in fact, true that among conservatives, hardcore conservatives, he's a very popular figure, but folks should understand that if you look at polling not just in wisconsin, but nationally americans know who paul ryan is. they associate him with assaults on medicare, medicaid and social security. if he was chosen as a vice presidential candidate, mitt romney would be attached to that agenda. i think it's true. that would be a dream ticket for the obama white house to run against. >> steve kornacki, the right wing social engineering is what newt gingrich first referred to it as.
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we have all that video. the obama campaign has all the video to play. this is also an untested possibility for the vice president. as much as we feel like we know this member of the house of representatives because we're covering them on budget issues, that's such a narrow frame to look at someone. do you think that the romney campaign has reason to fear what the full vetting of paul ryan might show and might show in terms of just weakness around the country? >> oh, sure. the fundamental lesson of the sarah palin experience in 2008, is really, you have to vet these people very closely. and who knows with paul ryan what you're going to turn up. the fact ryan is getting more mention now than he was before speaks to the problem mitt romney has and the primary results wo s we see tonight for matter. there's strong resistance against mitt romney. culturally conservative, social conservative, evangelical christian, the most conservative
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elements of the party. these people are refusing to vote for him. these are the people who are going to be disproportionately represented at the convention. these are the people that are going to be disproportionately represented this summer. if it's not paul ryan, it has to be something like paul ryan. >> rachel maddow made the point that ryan can be a really boring speaker. does he have the capacity with rhetoric to light up a room? >> no. he's not a particularly exciting speaker. you saw that when he did the response to the president's state of the union last year. >> yeah, yeah. >> but one thing about paul ryan people should understand, he is a very charming man. he is very, very good in tv interviews, and he can handle himself. he can take the hits, and so in many ways they will look at him as an appealing candidate. he's not the guy that wows the convention with a great stump speech. >> john nicholls and steve kornacki, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> sure.
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coming up mitt romney has decided to attack president obama on religion. now mitt romney is saying the president is a secret atheist. that's next in the rewrite. later, as the fbi continues to investigate the killing of trayvon martin, george zimmerman has added a second lawyer to what is is now his defense team. we have video of that lawyer appearing on a florida television station tonight. charles m. blow will join me.
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okay, so if you don't buy the idea of barack obama as a secret muslim, how about mitt romney's new idea that the president is a secret atheist? that's next in the "rewrite." we have new developments in the trayvon martin case tonight. george zimmerman has hired a new lawyer who went on local television tonight in physical physic florida to explain how he can defend his client without having met him.
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in tonight's rewrite another episode of the politics of religion.
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willard m. romney has a religion problem and he knows it. that's why he's saying things like this -- >> well, i think there is in this country a war on religion. i think there is a desire to establish a religion in america known as secularism. i know that based upon reports the obama administration gave this a lot of thought. a lot of discussion. >> there is mitt romney who has as bad a religion problem as anyone who's ever run for president trying to create a religion problem for president obama. a political religion problem. that's what we're talking about here. romney has a political religion problem. this is romney's attempt to swift vote the president on religion. this is a much used page of the republican playbook. we saw it used against john kerry, who is a decorated war hero and combat veteran of the vietnam war.
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george bush had taken the more practiced route for the sons of privilege at the time by avoiding service in vietnam while being coddled in a national guard unit in texas. compared to john kerry, george w. bush had a war problem, as in experience at war, as in showing courage under fire literally under fire. george w. bush had carefully avoided combat while john kerry risked his life on the battlefield and so, of course, the republicans attacked john kerry's combat record. they took george w. bush's problem and made it john kerry's problem. let's take a look at just how bad mitt romney's religion problem is. here's a poll showing voter reluctance based on a candidate's religion. you see, catholicism puts a 7% drag on a candidacy. with 7% of voters saying they would not vote for a catholic.
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it's the same with a baptist. 7%. a little more reluctance for a jewish candidate, 9%. and then a huge jump, more than double with with 22% of voters unwilling to vote for a mormon candidate. that's in an election that's going to be decided by one or two percentage points. so what does mitt romney do with his religion problem? he doesn't just attack president obama's religion, he invents a whole new religion, a religion that doesn't even exist and attributes it to president obama. >> well, i think there is in this country a war on religion. i think there is a desire to establish a religion in america known as secularism. i know that based upon reports the obama administration gave
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this a lot of thought. a lot of discussion. >> and so there's mitt romney, accusing president obama of trying it to create a new religion. now, part of romney's religion problem is he's a member of a new religion. established religions like judaism, which is about 4,000 years old christianity which is 2,000 years ago. don't easily warm up to new religions like romney's which is only 182 years old. mormonism was created by a guy in upstate new york in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that god told him to do it. 48 wives later joseph smiths lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go along with it, which mitt romney says he believes. mitt romney is not content with
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attacking the president's religious beliefs. romney must accuse the president of trying to create a new religion, a religion newer than mitt romney's. religiously mitt romney lives in the glass house of american politics. that's what these polls tell us. 22% unwilling to vote for a mormon for president. mitt romney knows that the press wouldn't let him get away now with accusing barack obama with being a secret muslim, which is an even bigger glass house in american politics. polls show that 46% of voters would be reluctant to vote for a muslim candidate. so instead of calling barack obama a muslim mitt romney is now calling him an atheist. >> i think there is a desire to establish a religion in america known as secularism. and i know that based upon reports the obama administration gave this a lot of thought, a lot of discussion.
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>> so having failed to make barack obama a muslim, republicans led now by mitt romney are hellbent on making him an atheist. and here's why. in the politics of religion in this country, the only thing that's worse than being a mormon or a muslim in the eyes of our extremely religiously intolerant electorate is being an atheist.
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new developments tonight in the killing of trayvon martin. one lawyer is not enough nor george zimmerman. now he has two. joining the zimmerman defense team as co-counsel is hal hurug who was in the coverage of the casey anthony trail. he is a former gainesville, florida, police officer and former florida assistant attorney general. he joined greg sonner who has been representing george zimmerman without ever having met his client. craig sonner is the lawyer who fled to our studio in florida last week just before doing a scheduled interview on this program. the zimmerman defense team appeared tonight on the local fox station in orlando and addressed the oddity of both of them defending a client that
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neither one of them has actually met. >> there's been a pretty thorough investigation ongoing in this case. there are cases where i want to hear my client's version and look in his eye and see if i believe him or not. in this case, i understand the sanford police have already given him a voice stress test. he passed that. the evidence seems to support his version of what happened so, i don't need to necessarily look him in the eye. >> one week from today a grand jury meets to decide whether there is enough evidence to indict george zimmerman and bring him to trial. joining me now, charles m. blow, editorial writer for "the new york times" and natalie jackson, co-counsel for the martin family. natalie, first of all, what do you make of this expansion of the zimmerman legal team with hal? >> it makes us optimistic that it may go to trial now. that's something that wouldn't have happened had it not been for the public outcry. he has a right to counsel and a right to a presumption of innocence.
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that's all this family wants, is a fair and just trial. >> charles, craig sonnor, the first lawyer in the case was clearly in way over his head. he never handled a homicide case before. you could tell in his television appearances he wasn't accustomed to handling anything of this weight. does this mean that we are -- is it your sense that this is any indicator that we are headed toward some kind of real judicial process here? >> well, it could mean that. you would lawyer up if you felt like it may go to trial, but another very important thing, i think it's important for everyone to remember, is that this is also a pr offensive on both sides. so the martin -- trayvon martin's family has a pr offensive to try to make sure that george zimmerman is charged and is brought to trial. the zimmerman family has another pr offensive, which is to make
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george zimmerman innocent in the public view, because what you have to remember is what if george zimmerman is not charged? what if he is charged but not convicted? he still has to live out the rest of his life. so what the family would want to do is to have that be in the public that believes his side of the story aside from what happens in a courtroom. >> right. i will say also, charles, one other thing that their pr strategy is is to make this -- they're bringing the race issue into this. we have 2.2 million americans that signed a petition that said george zimmerman should be arrested. 73% of the american population says he should be arrested. they however are claiming hatemongering and racism. americans of all nationalities believe he should be brought to trial. >> let's listen to an interview
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that was on cnn this morning with one of george zimmerman's neighbors. >> all of the perpetrators of the burglaries, the apparent burglaries were young, black males. >> when he saw trayvon martin in your mind it would make perfect sense to say he's a young, black male? he probably is a robber? is that what you're saying? >> there's an old saying if you plant corn, you get corn. >> natalie, that's one of zimmerman's defenders, public division defenders. public television defenders. now, this place where trayvon was walking is a 20% black gated community. it's 20% black. it's not like there's one black family there. it's 20% hispanic and only 50% white. they're trying to suggest there's something peculiar in a 20% black gated community to see a black person walking.
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>> that's how racial profiling is, and that's what we have to address in this country. no one on this team and no one in this camp and supporters of this camp support any type of racial division. we have not mentioned that -- we have never talked to george zimmerman. i can't tell you if he's a racist. what we know is he found trayvon martin suspicious because he was black and wearing a hoodie and walking slow. according to his own words. that is racial profiling. that's what we need to address and what america needs to address to maintain the integrity of americans. >> charles, zimmerman's friend seemed to confirm that you didn't need anything more than black skin to be worthy of the highest level of suspicion. >> mr. taaffe is getting me hot under my collar. it was hard for me to listen that about planting corn. george zimmerman did not blast a hole through a cob of corn. he blasted a hole through a young man who was 17 years old who was buried on march 3rd and will never get to be a day older than 17 years old.
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you cannot, no person can be condemned for the sin of another person. i don't care if six, seven, maybe there were burglaries and if they fit that profile, that does not give anyone the right to profile trayvon martin or anyone else who looks like the person that committed the crime, and it definitely does not give you the right to shoot them in the chest. what we need to find out is whether or not there was a reasonable rationale for george zimmerman to shoot trayvon martin. that is the only thing important to this case. everything else has to be put to the side. i don't care about the burglaries. i don't care about what he was wearing. i don't care about, you know, whether or not george zimmerman had suspicions that he had to deal with or threat response. we need to know why did george zimmerman shoot trayvon martin in the chest? end of co

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