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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  July 30, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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first day you got it, especially if that that day was your birthday. i have no judgments about this, whatsoever, but that this guy feels so super psyched about this thing that he so righteously did. that feeling right there, best new thing in the world today. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. with 99 days to go in mitt romney's campaign to win the white house, without coming clean about his taxes, his latest answer about his taxes is as dirty as ever. >> four more years! four more years! >> ladies and gentlemen, my name is joe biden. >> this election's not about joe biden. this election really is about president obama and governor romney. >> this is not your father's republican party. >> i want to tell you what mitt romney is going to do. >> a fundamentally different set of priorities. >> mitt romney is that man. >> go back to the bush program except on steroids. >> don't tell me what you value.
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show me your budget, and i will tell you. >> was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9%? >> i've tried to raise the issue. >> i'm happy to go back and look. >> you'd look for us? >> i haven't calculated that. i don't pay more than are legally due. only what the tax code requires. >> i think he's going to release another year. >> romney has found himself on the defensive during the first two stops of his foreign tour. >> he hasn't laid out a foreign policy vision that is hugely different. >> did romney give israel the green light to bomb iran? >> palestinian leaders are slamming republican presidential hopeful mitt romney. >> the gaffe is really a politician accidentally telling the truth. >> i just got a copy of the "newsweek" cover. >> "newsweek" was accusing him of being a wimp. >> has anyone ever called you a wimp before? >> i don't recall that, no. >> if we don't run chris christie, romney will be the nominee and we'll lose. mitt romney got in more tax
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trouble in israel while his campaign continued to peddle a lie in a dozen battleground states. this morning, the romney campaign released another ad based on that lie. >> he was trying to say, hey, you didn't build that business on your own. the government helped you build it. and that's what ticked me off more than anything. my name is dennis sawman, president of sawman electric, and i built this. >> and with that ad, dennis sollman joins the list of romney spokesmodels who zlim built their business without any help at all from the government, when in fact, they saw the and received and were dependent on millions of dollars in government money. a "huffington post" investigation reveals that sollman received a $915,000 contract for work on the trotwood-madison city school district and a $1.6 million
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contract for work in the miami east school district. today, the romney campaign held 18 so-called "we did build this" events in a dozen battleground states. at least one event starred a person who collected government money for 18 years. >> you see the sign behind me? he said, the other day, you didn't build that, to america's entrepreneurs. he said, somebody else did. >> of course, he didn't say that. at least 15 of the businesses involved in romney's "we did build this" events have received government money at some point, according to the think progress and the "tampa bay times." before romney left israel today, the deputy prime minister and minister of defense had this to say about the obama administration. >> i should tell you, honestly, that this administration, under president obama, is doing in
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regard to our security more than anything that i can remember in the past. >> romney's tax problem followed him to israel in the person of abc's david muir. >> was there ever any year that you paid lower than the 13.9%? >> well, i haven't calculated that. i'm happy to go back and look, but my view is i have paid all the taxes required by law. >> you say you would go back and look. you would look for us? >> i -- i haven't looked at the tax rate paid year by year. i know that i pay a very substantial amount of taxes, in every year, uh, since the beginning of my career, so far as i can recall. >> according to a transcript of the unedited part of that interview, mitt romney also made this admission. "from time to time, i've been audited, as happens, i think, to other citizens as well, and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job paying taxes as legally due." joining me now, co-host of
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msnbc's "the cycle," steve kornacki and "newsweek" special correspondent, michael tomaski. his latest article is on mitt romney's wimp factor. mike, jan crawford of cbs actually asked mitt romney how he feels about you calling him a wimp. let's take a look at that. >> i just got a copy of a "newsweek" cover that's going to be hitting the newsstands tomorrow that calls you a wimp. have you seen this? >> ha-ha, no. >> does that concern you? is that fair? >> they tried that on george herbert walker bush. he was a pretty great president and anything but. >> but it did hurt him, to some extent, that narrative did. are you worried about what the media is saying here in this kind of story line that gets out there, and how do you counter that? >> >> if i worried about what the media said, i wouldn't get much sleep, and i'm able to sleep pretty well. >> has anyone ever called you a
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wimp before? >> i don't recall that, no. >> mike, apparently no one's ever called him a wimp before. a lot of us have been busy calling him a liar, so we haven't moved down the list, actually, to wimp. but make your case. what's the wimp factor here? >> the case is fundamentally built, lawrence, around the idea of his cravenness toward the right wing of the republican party. there are other aspects to it, but that's really to me the core of it. we've all seen him flip his positions on so many issues, and not just one or two, which all politicians do, but i mean six, seven, eight really core issues, ranging from abortion rights to immigration to gun rights to, of course, the health care plan, his own health care reform, which he now repudiates and won't discuss. this is a guy who has no backbone when it comes to talking to the right wing of his party. everything they want him to do, he does. when rush limbaugh says jump, he says, how high? and he just -- he doesn't present as a guy who really has
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a core inside him. he presents as a guy who will just say whatever it is he has to say to get those people to like him. >> mike, do we now have, finally, a counterpoint to your wimp case? and that -- he's now held his ground for months on the matter of releasing anymore tax returns. has romney finally found his spine on something? >> that's an odd thing to develop bake bone about, but i suppose maybe you could make that argument. but, actually, that's another instance of what i'm talking about. i mean, you know, if he doesn't have anything to hide, if he has played by the rules and if he has done everything right, then why not do it? and it's a good example. his sort of whiney response to that question. and the way he says, you know, i've done everything legally and i'm not going to give them more evidence, just to go after me. well, why is there evidence to
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go after you? you know, just let us see. so, yeah, that's another problem, as far as i'm concerned. >> steve, i loved david murrah, his question, the way he handled it. especially since the opening was there because romney's spokesperson had said in the past, well, no, he's never had atach return where he paid notachs. that opens the question for, as we said then, specific items. so david says, have you ever paid less than 13.9%? and romney basically says, um, i don't know. you know, it's not responsive. i could -- then he says, i'd be happy to look. and then david says, will you please look? and he doesn't, of course, that's when he realizes, uh-oh, i can't say yes or no. and he does the romney jumble of words that has no meaning. >> right. i've paid a substantial amount of taxes and the american people wouldn't want a president who pays anymore than he should. and this is the line we'll keep hearing, and obviously you can't go down that road because if you look once, there are a thousand
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other questions that will be asked about that. and the simple answer is, why don't you release them and we can answer all our questions by looking. but if you remember back in the primaries when he was trying to release no tax returns or at least trying to put it off for months, the pressure built really quickly, especially in his own party, and he folded within about a week of that pressure coming on. that's not been the case now. this has dragged on for a few weeks. now we're in the olympics, that will give him a little bit of cover, then he's going to do the vp rollout, then we'll have the conventions, and it's starting to occur to me, this guy could get away with only putting two weeks out. and it could be that the calculation is that this speculation we're engaging in right now isn't as damaging as whatever's in there. >> and this kind of thing has worked in the past for other politicians, the media will give up. other things will happen. the olympics will come along. you know, mitt will go to israel. well, the olympics came along, mitt went to israel, and the media did not give up. >> right. right. and i don't think the media's really going to give up on this.
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you know, i think he'll continue to be dogged about it. of course, this is going to depend, lawrence, to some extent on how hard the obama campaign continues to press this issue. if the obama campaign drops it, then the media is probably going to drop it largely too, unless somebody happens to get a big scoop and get spoon fed, you know, many years' worth of returns. but, you know, it's going to be partly up to the obama administration to keep the light on this subject. >> steve, has to come up again in october at the debates. i mean, it is inconceivable that there would be a moderator who would not ask about this. especially in comparison to romney's father and all other presidential candidates. >> right, no, and what it comes down to, i think, is there isn't a clean way out of this for him. it's not like, okay, it's going to come up in the debates or it's going to be used in the ads or the obama campaign's going to attack him on it, therefore he bet your just get it out there and get it over with, because again, we don't know what's in there, but i suspect that it's a bunch of years where his marginal tax rate is on the low end.
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and it underlines the thing the democrats are trying to talk about, that the obama campaign's case is well, romney and the republican party are really sort of, you know, acting in service to that sort of superrich class. and so romney really is potentially devastating to be that closely associated with it and the taxes could do that. >> i think we now have a right to believe there's something uglier in the returns than the $77,000 deduction for his olympic dancing horse. steve kornacki and mike tomasky, thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> sure. >> yeah, thanks. coming up, mitt romney's on a foreign tour, in praise of socialism. of course, since he doesn't know what socialism actually is, he doesn't know he's been praising it. and as the voter suppression movement spreads, it could affect 5 million voters in november. and in the "rewrite" tonight, new hope for restrictions on guns and ammunition comes from the place you would least expect. and from the person you would
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mitt romney, as we know, is a pathological panderer. he also tries to say what he thinks his audience wants to hear. and so, on his foreign tour, this has meant that he has ended up heaping praise on socialism. that's coming up. and in the "rewrite" tonight, the new voice of sanity on gun and ammunition control is the most conservative member of the united states supreme court. gun and ammunition control could not have a more important ally. that's in the "rewrite." i'm barack oba
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ma and i approve this message. [romney singing]: oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain, america, america, god shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good, with brotherhood...
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mr. president, every citizen will be able in his productive years when he's earning to insure himself against the ravages of illness in his old age. this insurance will help pay for care in hospitals, in skilled nursing homes, or in the home. and under a separate plan, it will help meet the fees of the doctors. >> the world's best single-payer health care system turns 47 years old today. on july 30th, 1965, president lyndon johnson signed medicare into law and presented former
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president harry truman with the first medicare card. so how did mitt romney celebrate medicare's birthday? by taking a world tour of other government-run health care systems. today he was in israel, a socialist country, praising its socialist health care system. here's what romney said at a closed fund-raiser in jerusalem today. "do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the gdp in israel? 8%. and you're a pretty healthy nation. we spend 18% of our gdp on health care. 10 percentage points more. we have to find ways not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs." israel is a far more socialist country than the united states has any chance of becoming. israel's domestic governance is further to the left than the democratic party has ever proposed.
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but, of course, the hater of government, the republicans, are now running for president, actually knows nothing about government here or anywhere else in the world, and has no idea he was praising a socialist system. israel has universal health care coverage. israel mandates that all of its citizens buy health insurance. israeli's premium contributions for their state-financed health insurance are directly deducted by the state from their paychecks. sound like a tax? the higher their salaries, the more they pay. just like progressive income taxation that romney thinks is so grotesquely unfair. and why are health care costs low in israel? because all health insurance companies are nonprofit and because government bureaucrats in the ministry of finance set the amount israel will pay
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health providers in israel. on his way to israel, romney spent time in the united kingdom, making one diplomatic mistake after another, and watching the opening ceremonies of the olympics which included an homage to britain's purely socialist tick national health service. if romney had found the time to see michael moore's "sicko," he would have understand that the brits were celebrating their favorite form of socialism. >> what do you pay for a stay here? >> no one pays. >> we're asking how do people pay. and i said, well, there isn't. you don't. >> national insurance. there's no bill at the end of it, as it were. >> what'd they charge you for that baby? >> sorry? >> you've got to pay before you can get out of here, right? >> no, no, no. >> everything's on nhs. so it's -- it's not america. >> joining me now are karen
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finny, former dmc communications director and contributor, and keith boykin, a democratic strategist and b.e.t. columnist. karen, there he goes again. the serial panderer goes to israel, thinks it's safe to praise their health care system, having no idea he's praising a system even more socialistic than his massachusetts system, and far more socialistic than anything that exists in the united states. >> and what you have to love about this gaffe, lawrence, because i think from the perspective of republicans and his campaign, it's a gaffe. although i think most of us are perfectly happy to welcome him back to this way of thinking, is that it encompasses, as you said, almost everything that's wrong with mitt romney as a candidate. number one, that he does have this baggage that, guess what, he did have -- his system, obama care, is based on romney care. and he can't run away from it as much as he would try, and the
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question is, was he actually being honest when he was pandering to the israelis on their health care system. but number two, he is so focused on pandering to whatever audience he was speaking to, it really doesn't matter what facts are. that should also make conservatives in this country nervous. and number three, he doesn't actually bother to know what the facts are and know what the information is and understand the policy. and by the way, just because you're in israel doesn't mean over here in the united states we won't hear what you said. >> let's listen to what he said about president obama's, the plan that president obama signed into law, what romney said about it last month. >> obama care was bad policy yesterday, it's bad policy today. obama care was bad law yesterday. it's bad law today. obama care puts the federal government between you and your doctor. >> keith, obama care comes between you and the doctor you don't currently have, because you can't afford one, and says, here's some money so you can afford a doctor, go ahead, go
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find one, which romney doesn't seem to know, and he doesn't seem to know that in israel, the government is the absolute and total regulator of your relationship with your doctor. >> exactly. i mean, he did know this at some point, because he was the grandfather of romney care. so he knows about what health care can do. but, you know, the funny thing, "the washington post" did a story today on health care reform, and they showed this guy who needs to get -- he needs to sell t-shirts to pay for his chemotherapy and he has health insurance. that's the system we have in our country, where people can't have afford to pay for their health care when they have health insurance. on the other hand, look at romney care in massachusetts. it's the one good thing that he actually did there. and it's one of the most popular programs in the state. meanwhile, you see also in israel, health care reform is very -- health care is very popular there. it's popular in great britain as well. all these places indicate that if we start to move in that direction, we might actually be more successful in our health
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care deliveries, as well. >> karen, when i watch romney, the panderer, it is no longer interesting to me, the question of what does romney really think. i just don't get the feeling he really thinks anything. it just feels like he is a pure business guy and he thinks whatever closes the deal is the thing to say. >> well, of course, that's exactly right. and if i was sitting in the romney campaign right now, one of the concerns i would have about that is, guess what, the base of the party is figuring that out too. and he already has a problem with true conservatives in his party who their support for minimum is a little bit shaky. he's got a fairly fractured republican party, and a lot of people don't think they can trust him. so, the more these kinds of things come out, i think the harder it is for people to trust him. secondly, i hope as democrats, though, we focus on what is so important in the substance of this, as keith was pointing out, which is the system works. the point is, it is a lower -- i mean, cost of gdp. it does provide better health
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care. their people in israel are healthier than we are. there are better outcomes. so, again, if we could move in that direction, we might actually be a healthier country. so both from a substantiative perspective, as well as the political, this is a good idea. >> keith, to go back to a point that mike tomasky raises in his "newsweek" cover about romney being a wimp, that seems to be what many conservatives are actually relying on. they have said, look, we don't care what that guy thinks. we are going to give him orders, when he is in there, in the white house. we will control him because he's a wimp, because he doesn't think anything. >> yeah, he's sitting next to sheldon adelson, this casino billionaire from las vegas in israel at this huge fund-raiser and this guy, you know is telling him what he's going to have to say, what he's going to have to do. it makes you wonder, does mitt romney really believe in all of this? i kind of disagree with karen on one point. i don't think that the conservatives are just figuring this out. i think they knew this all
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along. i think they never liked the guy. they don't trust the guy. they're just hoping that somehow, if he manages to make it to the white house, that they could have control over what goes on in the oval office. >> grover norquist has said that he's very confident that romney will take his orders. >> that's right! >> karen finney and keith boykin, thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> thanks. the authors of the second amendment were not thinking of weapons that can fire 100 bullets in a minute, and that's why the new best hope for more restrictive gun laws is now coming from the supreme court's most conservative reader of the constitution. that's in tonight's "rewrite." justice scalia gives us reason to hope. and the republican vice presidential auditions continue and tim pawlenty slipped off message a bit. jonathan capehart joins me, coming up. [ donovan ] i hit a wall. and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard." then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going.
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we might have never heard of rosa parks were it not for thelma glass. rosa parks might have been just another of the african-american women arrested in montgomery, alabama, in 1955 for refusing to sit at the back of a bus. but when rosa parks was arrested, thelma glass immediately went to work organizing a boycott of the city buses, believing there was power in the fact that three quarters of the bus riders in montgomery were african-american. when the first bus came by with nobody on it, i couldn't believe
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it, thelma glass said a few years ago. "it's a feeling of such happiness and accomplishment that you just can't quite explain." the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. joined the boycott. 11 months later, the supreme court ruled that alabama's law segregating the buses was unconstitutional. she was born thelma mcwilliams in 1916. she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school in alabama at the age of only 15. she graduated from alabama state university, then earned a masters degree at columbia. she was a professor at alabama state for 40 years. her husband, arthur glass, also taught at alabama state. she was the last surviving member of the women's political council, the group that launched the bus boycott. asked why they rushed to take action at a time when public protest could have gotten members of the women's political council killed in alabama,
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thelma glass said, "we didn't have time to sit still and be scared." thelma glass died last week in montgomery. she was 96 years old. whoa, look at all those toys. insuring that stuff must be a pain. nah, he's probably got... [ dennis' voice ] allstate. they can bundle all your policies together. lot of paperwork. [ doug's voice ] actually... [ dennis' voice ] an allstate agent can help do the switching and paperwork for you. well, it probably costs a lot. [ dennis' voice ] allstate can save you up to 30% more when you bundle. well, his dog's stupid. [ dennis' voice ] poodles are one of the world's smartest breeds. ♪ bundle and save with an allstate agent.
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are you in good hands?
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in the spotlight tonight, veep stakes. if we assume that mitt romney will not make his vice presidential announcement without his wife, ann, by his side, as tradition dictates, then it is safe to assume that he will not make that announcement until the romney's $77,000 deduction horse is eliminated from the most peculiar event in the olympics, which can't happen until friday at the earliest. that leaves thvice presidential hopefuls auditioning on the campaign trail. here's ohio senator rob portman today in pennsylvania. >> america gave the ball to barack obama, because he promised he was going to turn things around. he promised he was going to bring people together to solve big problems. we gave him the ball and he fumbled the ball. it's now time to give that ball to mitt romney. >> here's the one i'm betting on, tim pawlenty today in ohio.
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>> barack obama is all foam and no beer. [ applause ] >> and you can't live on the foam. look, his speeches are his foam. everybody was all enamored with him in 2008, because he gave these big, fancy teleprompter speeches. do you remember that? all the folks with their eyes wide open and their mouth open. boy, he sounds really good. a terrific speaker on the teleprompter. do you remember that? but now, guess what, the results aren't so good, are they? >> pawlenty slipped off-message there. republicans dropped their anti-teleprompter rants months ago once they realized they were in the process of nominating a candidate who can never be trusted going off-prompter. the head of the last republican search for a successful vice presidential candidate found fault with the most recent
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choice of a vice presidential candidate. >> i like governor palin. i've met her, i know her. she's an attractive candidate, but based on her background, she's only been governor for, what, two years. i don't think she passed that test. >> of being ready? >> of being ready to take over. and i think that was a mistake. >> joining me now is jonathan capehart, "washington post" editorial writer and nia henderson, "washington post" national political reporter covering the romney campaign. nia, it seems that we are unlikely in the timetable to see a choice anytime soon. do you have a sense when the romney campaign would like to do this? >> you know, that's right. i think it's going to be a little while. it all depends on how well rafalca does in the olympics. it could go until next week, if he does well over there. but i think one of the things that we should know about mitt romney and that we've seen over these last many months of him
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being on the campaign trail is he doesn't really step outside of the box. he doesn't really -- he's not a man who likes to surprise and shock. so this idea of he's going to make a surprise pick or make a pick much earlier of another candidate, it's probably unlikely. i would say probably, you know, a week before the convention, which is pretty standard. so we've got, i think, a couple weeks left of this auditioning that we've seen over these last weeks, as mitt romney is auditioning on the global stage. you've seen people roll out -- and i say, in that clip there, rob portman, not a lot of energy out there on the stump. i mean, he was a little flat. tim pawlenty, your guy, your pick for this thing, he was much better. and he is somebody who's very good with words, and very good with sound bites. and i think in that way, he could be a good choice, but i think people still seem to think, at least the conventional wisdom is that it would be rob portman. >> my boy, pawlenty, embarrassed me a little bit with that beer and foam thing. he went way too far with the foam thing.
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jonathan capehart, there's a surprise here that we have in a public policy polling robo survey. not the most reliable form in the world, but it says that condoleezza rice, as a running mate, could give mitt romney a six-point advantage in swing states of michigan and pennsylvania. that would put romney into a tie at 45-45 in pennsylvania, narrow the gap in michigan, very significantly. i think more attention needs to be paid to condoleezza rice, because we don't see that kind of polling effect from anyone else on the list. >> well, i mean, she would be an interesting choice. african-american, woman, highly accomplished, former secretary of state. the only problem is, she brings a lot of baggage. and that is the eight years of the bush administration, the two wars, particularly the war in iraq, that i don't think mitt
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romney would want to have to deal with in addition to all of the other things he's going to have to deal with in terms of trying to unseat president obama. it's an interesting -- it's an interesting idea, but, you know, secretary rice has said many, many times, and i'm sure she's wondering if people actually are listening to her, she's not interested. >> nia, the -- did you get the sense from the romney campaign that, basically, what they're looking at here is, who has the fewest negatives? because as jonathan points out, yes, there's an obvious set of negatives that come with not just condoleezza rice but all of the candidates. and that's really why -- how i've ended up with pawlenty. he seems to me to have the shortest negative resume. >> that's right. and, you know, the golden rule is, first, do no harm. and when you do look at portman, he has that tie to the bush administration. he was head of omb there. and that's going to make democrats be able to easily make that argument, where they can tie mitt romney to the bush administration. but i do think they also are thinking about who can step in
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the job on day one. and pawlenty, i think, has a bit of a gravitas problem. i think he has these, you know, even though you didn't like the beer and the foam metaphor, you know, it's kind of quirky and a sound bite type of thing. he would be good at the attack dog role, but i'm not sure he would fill the share of being a vice president and a credible president. but we'll see. you know, i think another dark horse is bobby jindal, evangel kalz really like him. he has a really, really strong record on abortion, in the sense that he's against it in all instances. so a lot of evangelicals are very much interested in what he will do and whether or not the romney campaign is looking at him. he was also out on the stump over these last days for mitt romney. >> jonathan capehart, imagine for me bobby jindal or a marco rubio, the younger men in this crowd with less experience, standing at that hour and a half
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debate podium with joe biden. that's the first test of how they fill that position. >> well, i think either senator rubio or governor jindal would do an even better job than sarah palin did when she went up against joe biden four years ago. >> oh, come on, that's not the test. cut out. >> i know it's not the test, but i thinkny yao-mallika brings up a good point, the person that romney has to pick and wants to pick, from all the reports we've heard is somebody who's ready on day one to be vice president, but to also take over the job of president if that were to be made necessary. and i don't see how bobby jindal and marco rubio rise to that level, because, relatively speaking, they're inexperienced compared to the two folks, governor pawlenty and senator portman who seem be the number and two top contenders. >> jonathan, quickly before you go, this is your second
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consecutive appearance here on "the last word" without a neck thai, and i'm just wondering, is there something we need to discuss here? oh, i get it. this is your olympics look, right? when the olympics are over, the neckties will go back on. >> you know it, i don't know. i'm thinking of starting up a thing called "jonathan after dark." only for you, lawrence. >> it's working for you in late prime-time. jonathan capehart and nia henderson, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, there is new hope for gun control advocates coming from one of the members of the u.s. supreme court and it's coming from, of all people, justice antonin scalia. that's in the "rewrite." and the spread of voter suppression laws could deprive 5 million people of their right to vote in november, but the revolt against those laws is now gaining some momentum. that's coming up.
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tonight's "rewrite" is very probably a first and a last. i will figuratively rise, for once, in praise of justice scalia. that's next in the "rewrite." and later, the revolt against voter suppression laws is underway. that's coming up. the global ready one ? yeah, but you won't need... ♪ hajimemashite. hajimemashite. hajimemashite. you guys like football ? thank you so much. i'm stoked. you stoked ? totally. ... and he says, "under the mattress." souse le matelas. ( laughter ) why's the new guy sending me emails from paris ? paris, france ? verizon's 4g lte devices are global-ready. plus, global data for just $25. only from verizon.
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there is hope tonight in america. hope for a better country through government. and it is more than just a ray
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of hope, it is the hope that we will some day, not soon, but some day be able to rewrite gun and ammunition laws in this country to bring us a step closer to sanity and a step closer to what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the second amendment. and that hope comes this time not from representative carolyn mccarthy, one of the congress' precious few untiring advocates of such sanity, it comes from a far more important place than congress when dealing with a constitutional issue. it comes from the united states supreme court. and even more importantly than that, it comes from the dominant side of the court, the conservative majority. and most importantly, it comes from the most conservative justice, the dominant conservative thinker on the supreme court. that's right. justice antonin scalia is now the beaming source of hope that
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government might some day do something to reduce the chances of you and your family being shot to death by a madman when you go to the movies in america. >> let's turn to an issue that is in the news right now with the massacre in colorado, and that is gun control. you wrote in 2008, the opinion in district of columbia v. heller, the majority opinion that said the second amendment means what it says. people have a right to bear arms. question. how far does that constitutional right go? can a legislature ban semi-automatic weapons or can it ban magazines that carry 100 rounds without violating an individual's constitutional right to bear arms? >> what the opinion in heller said is that it will have to be decided in future cases. what limitations upon the right to keep and bear arms are
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permissible. some, undoubtedly, are. because there were some that were acknowledged at the time. for example, there was a tort called a frighting, which if you carried around a really horrible weapon, just to scare people, like a head ax or something, that was, i believe, a misdemeanor. so, yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed. what they are will depend on what the society understood were reasonable limitations at the time. there were certain location limitations, where -- >> but what about these technological limitations? we're obviously not now talking about a handgun or a musket. we're talking about a weapon that can fire 100 shots in a minute. >> uh, we'll see. i mean, obviously, the uh, the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand carried. so it's to keep and bear. so it doesn't apply to cannons,
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but i suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be -- it'll have to be decided. >> how do you decide that if you're -- >> very carefully. my starting point and probably my ending point will be what limitations are within the understood limitations that the society had at the time. they had some limitations on the nature of arms that could be borne. so it -- we'll see what those limitations are as apply to modern weapons. >> we'll see what those limitations are as applied to modern weapons. there's the most conservative supreme court justice saying, we'll see what those limitations are. saying, there can be more limitations on modern weapons. who among us predicted last week that the most important thing said about gun and ammunition control in america after our most recent mass murder would be
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said on fox news by the most conservative supreme court justice? with the four justices on the court appointed by presidents clinton and obama now joined by scalia on allowing restrictions on the second amendment, there is a majority on the court in favor of doing the right thing. and if scalia is willing to do the right thing, then others from the conservative side of the court will surely join him to form an overwhelming majority. when john mccain briefly strayed from the national rifle association party line after the columbine massacre, the nra attacked him in their magazine, calling him one of the premiere flag carriers for the enemies of the second amendment. the nra, of course, frightened john mccain back into the party line, so that he could run for president and re-election to the senate. so now it's scalia's turn to be portrayed as an enemy of the second amendment. but the blood-drenched leaders
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of the nra will not dare do that. because they know they can't throw a re-election scare into a supreme court justice. >> we have life tenure. and we have it precisely so that we will not be influenced by politics, by threats from anybody. >> and so tonight, hope lives. thanks to, of all people, mr. justice scalia. [ male announcer ] drive a car filled with as much advanced technology as the world around it. with the available lexus enform app suite, you can use opentable to make restaurant reservations. during the golden opportunity sales event, get great values on some of our newest models. this is the pursuit of perfection. insuring that stuff must be a pain. nah, he's probably got... [ dennis' voice ] allstate. they can bundle all your policies together. lot of paperwork. [ doug's voice ] actually... [ dennis' voice ] an allstate agent
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this goes to my core beliefs and values, that if a government can ask citizens to violate a law, which is a civil rights act, in order to enforce a law, then that law is no good. >> that was christopher broach, the election inspector for colon, pennsylvania, explaining why he refuses to enforce pennsylvania's new voting law that requires all voters to bring a valid photo i.d. to vote. broach could face fines or jail time for violating the law, but he said, quote, rosa parks made the same decision. as we reported last week on "the last word," 1 million registered
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pennsylvania voters may be turned away at the polls on election day because they don't have proper photo i.d.s. this despite lawyers for the state acknowledging, in a signed stipulation, that there is no evidence of voter fraud in pennsylvania, nor any threat that fraud would occur in the state in november. nationwide, 16 states have passed restrictive laws that could affect november's election, and at least 5 million voters could be affected by the new laws. joining me now, dorian mard, a fellow at the roosevelt institute in new york. dorian, what we just saw may really be a rosa parks moment. >> absolutely. i think we're seeing more and more state officials standing up and saying, these laws are an attempt to rig the election, to rig the game, and we won't enforce it. and we're also seeing efforts by progressive groups of challenging these laws, not only in federal court, but also in
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state courts, in missouri, for example, and even in pennsylvania. so there's a growing challenge to these laws to expose them for what they are. and that's to limit the right to vote. >> and mr. broach thinks it's a violation of the voting rights act. with the voting rights act of '65 says no voting qualification or preweek which sit for voting or standard practice or procedure shall be imposed that would abridge the right of any citizen in the united states to vote on a count of race or color. now, here, let's listen to eric holder's take on what he thinks we're sewing here. >> under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo i.d. but student i.d.s would not. many of those without i.d.s would have to travel great distances to get them. and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them.
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we call those poll taxes. >> he's talking about the new texas law, but, yes, if you have to pay and come up with these new costs for voting, something that never cost you anything, that, and paying the government for this new i.d., that is, in effect, a tax. >> this is the 21st century version of the poll tax. of jim crow laws that were explicitly designed to exclude african-americans from the right to vote. and, so, now we're seeing -- and by the way, it's not just photo i.d.s. in lots of these states, it's also ending early voting. if that's not an attempt to restrict access to the ballot, i don't know what is. but these are efforts to restrict the right to vote of democratic-leaning constituents for a party that's in its last gasp. >> and no i.d. necessary if you vote absentee. the inconsistencies are crazy here. >> it's easier to buy an assault weapon than to register to vote in many places. >> dorian warren, thank you very