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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  April 1, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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collective bargaining rights for public employees and for unions. this is going to be one of those things where the messaging is going to make all the difference. if this is about whether government employee benefits have gotten out of control, then the governor out there has a chance to win but i don't think -- >> all i know is as a political junkie junkie, come on, we all kind of want to see this election. it's going to be a big fight. >> don't bet against john kasich. >> todd harris and steve mcmahon. thank you for being with us. that's "hardball" for now. "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell starts right now. today nato taught us how to name a military operation. "odyssey dawn" is now "unified protector." and house speaker john boehner wishes someone, nato, anyone, could protect him from the sheer madness of eric cantor. >> the senate's got to act prior to the expiration of cr. if it does not act, hr-1 becomes the law of the land. >> the misunderstanding of the constitution by these people is profound. >> after i devoted last night's show to teaching eric cantor how wrong he was, eric cantor gets it right today. >> the problem is the president's in the white house.
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it is up to harry reid. >> we can't impose our will on the senate. >> so that means the republicans have to compromise with senate democrats. democrats say there's a deal. republicans say no deal. >> a deal is in sight. >> and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to. >> compromise numbers reportedly around $33 billion. >> the government is set to run out of money a week from tomorrow, april 8th. >> democrats are rooting for a government shutdown. >> are you rooting for a government shutdown? >> that's absolute nonsense. >> boehner's like a girlfriend who's been proposed to, who really wants to say yes. >> and why won't republicans admit there's a deal in the works? >> hundreds of members of the tea party are demanding that republicans refuse to compromise. >> the goals of the tea party sound pretty reasonable. >> i feel like it's a family reunion. i feel like we're going to the state fair.
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you guys don't even leave litter afterwards. >> michele bachmann thinks that half of massachusetts is in new hampshire. >> and donald trump can't even get taken seriously by bill o'reilly. >> if he wasn't born in this country, it's one of the great scams ever -- >> absolutely. but i don't think that's the case. >> why doesn't he issue his birth certificate? >> he did. >> he did. >> good evening from new york. tomorrow the republicans in the house are expected to vote on a lie. they are expected to vote on the government shutdown prevention act as foreshadowed by house majority leader eric cantor. >> on friday we will bring to the floor the government prevention of -- excuse me, the prevention of government shutdown act. and that will say to the american people the senate's got to act prior to the expiration of cr. if it does not act, hr-1 becomes the law of the land. >> the government shutdown prevention act says, "if the senate fails to pass a measure before april 6, 2011, providing
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for the appropriations of the departments and agencies of the government for the remainder of the fiscal year 2011 hr 1 as passed by the house on february 19, 2011 becomes law." everyone in congress except eric cantor knows that the mere passage of a bill in the house never becomes law. never. today house speaker john boehner had to restate reality, without ever saying how far beyond idiotic eric cantor's idea of how to make a law is. >> we can't impose our will on another body. we can't impose our will on the senate. all we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to and the spending limitations as well. >> john boehner is obviously embarrassed for eric cantor. someone else has to be embarrassed for eric cantor because he's obviously not alert enough to be embarrassed for himself. as congressman barney frank put it last night here, he's one of those people who sometimes inhabit cloud cuckoo land. and let us never forget, this is
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the same eric cantor who introduced the constitutional authority requirement for legislation into the 112th congress. it was his idea that every bill introduced in the house of representatives include specific citations for its constitutional authority. it's right here, on cantor's website. "a bill or joint resolution may not be introduced unless the sponsor has submitted for printing in the congressional record a statement citing as specifically as practicable the specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to the constitution on the floor of the house on the first day of
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the new congress. he read article 1 section 2, which explains the requirements which explains the requirements for being a u.s. representative. of article 1 section 7, which explains that the senate must ng pass an identical bill to the house before it can be offered to the president for his signature and become law. the other lie in the government shutdown prevention act is its title. there is absolutely nothing in the bill that can prevent a government shutdown. despite eric cantor's absurdist stunts, beneath the legislative dignity of any previous leader of the house of representatives, more responsible members of congress are moving toward a compromise. reports indicate that democrats and republicans have agreed on a $33 billion cut package, approximately half the amount of cuts house republicans have been seeking. but in an interview in the last
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hour, congressman cantor shot down that number to cnbc's larry kudlow. >> nobody is rallying around that 33. that number is not a number that i ascribe to. >> the tea party members of the republican caucus literally did rally today, and it was a rally around a number. >> 61.5 billion. that's where the fight came down on hr 1. the first cr. all right. so let's fight on that, then. that's ground we've taken. let's hold it. >> this is a defining moment for the new majority in congress. not that $61 billion in cuts is anything to write home about. >> cutting 61 billion in my opinion is a starting point. it is not the goal. >> joining me now is a tea party republican lawmaker who spoke at that rally today. congressman joe walsh of illinois. thanks for joining us tonight, congressman. >> lawrence, good to be here. >> congressman, did you realize as soon as you heard eric cantor
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say it yesterday that it is of course impossible for what you will vote on tomorrow to become law without the senate taking action? >> look, i think what our leader put forward yesterday and what we will put forward tomorrow is a one -- we're making a wonderful point, lawrence. look, it's been 40 days since we passed a continuing resolution that cuts spending and funded government for the rest of the year. and the senate has given us nothing in response to that. so here we're going to go again, lawrence, and we're going to put it in front of them again. because the american people want us to do that. and the american people, lawrence, want the senate to respond with something. >> and you know that the senate has to respond, congressman. you know that it's impossible for your body to pass a bill and have it become law? >> absolutely. here's the broader point,
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though. again, we want a response. you can agree or disagree with this, lawrence, but the only ones who've been talking for the last 40 days are the house republicans. the president of the united states should be ashamed of himself because he sat back and has just let this play out. the senate democrats are in denial. lawrence -- this is their only play here. look, their only play here is to shut down the government to make republicans look like the bad guys. howard dean said it. chuck schumer said it. harry reid said it. >> did speaker boehner and your fellow republicans and tea party members tell eric cantor how horrifyingly embarrassing it was for him to misstate constitutional process the way he did? that any high school student in america knows that what eric cantor said last -- yesterday was laughably impossible and stupid? >> not at all, lawrence. >> why not? >> the entire -- >> why would you let him say that and not tell him he's embarrassing his party?
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>> lawrence, here's why. because there's a bigger point that you don't get and there's a bigger point the senate democrats don't get. we are falling off a financial cliff. our kids and our grandkids are going to be bankrupted. the american people realize that. the house republicans do as well. and our leader, eric cantor, realizes it, which is why once again he's going to lead us in putting something in front of the senate democrats so as you said in your opening we can come together on something and move to what really are the bigger fights when we look at the budget battle. >> has eric cantor ever led the republicans to any legislative victory? and how can you have a leader who thinks that the house of representatives is capable of passing a bill alone and having it become law? >> because again, lawrence, eric cantor gets it like the -- >> he's never led you to any success in the past, has he? >> eric -- i've been in congress three months. he's been leading me since day one -- >> he's been there a lot longer than that. did you see him win anything before you got there? >> hey, lawrence, yeah. but i'm going to speak for my time here as a freshman member of congress. the entire republican leadership
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has been firm in where we need to go. it's like we've been talking to ourselves. again, the president hasn't even been involved. that's been embarrassing. the senate democrats have been in denial. the american people aren't, lawrence. they understand how serious this situation is. >> well, the democrats are involved, and the president has been involved, and the vice president, joe biden's been involved. and they have negotiated -- >> oh, come on. >> they've negotiated, as you know, they've negotiated behind closed doors with john boehner and other people in the republican side a cut package of $33 billion. is that something that you could vote for? >> you know, first of all, lawrence, again, just look at the symbolism. a while back president obama appoints joe biden as his guy to lead the negotiations. that next day he went out of the country. they have not been involved. >> they are involved, congressman. we know they're involved. joe biden has been involved.
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>> hey, lawrence -- >> joe biden negotiated the tax deal package with the republicans in december. he's negotiating on this. harry reid's negotiating on this. zblat long last, lawrence. >> and they have a proposal on the table for $33 billion. john boehner is working with them on that proposal. will you be able to vote for that proposal, or will you vote against that proposal if it comes to you? >> i was with john boehner three hours ago, and john boehner said he wasn't working with them on that number. i don't know where you get this $33 billion number from. >> all right, congressman. it's what they're discussing in the back rooms that apparently you're not allowed in. >> what they're discussing is how we're going to get the senate democrats to finally sit down -- >> they have sat down. they've sat down. they've been talking for over a week. they're down to 33 billion. you're at 61 billion. >> lawrence, let's see if they're serious. >> are you stuck on the 61 billion? >> let's see if they're serious. >> will you pledge right now that you will vote against the $33 billion cut package if it's proposed to you? >> i can pledge to you right now that tomorrow we are going to
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put the 61 billion and all of those amendments that the american people wanted us to vote on to defund obamacare and the epa, we are going to put that back in front of the senate. >> okay. >> and then i'm hoping the senate responds with something. >> and congressman, when you vote for it, no matter what eric cantor tells you, you know that just the house vote on it and passing it duns mean it passing it does not mean it becomes law, right? >> oh, man, all we want is the senate to come to the table and understand what we're going through right now. that's all. >> congressman joe walsh of illinois. thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. thank you, lawrence. >> joining me now is howard fineman, an msnbc political analyst and senior political editor of the huffington post. thanks for joining me tonight, howard. >> lawrence, that was worth the price of admission. >> well, last night when i heard what eric cantor said, howard, i absolutely couldn't believe it. one of the most stunning things about it was no one in the press was bothered by it. i think they all knew that they were hearing something crazy. but they've been worn down by the craziness in eric cantor world to the point where they didn't even ask him a follow-up question about it. >> well, let me offer a slightly
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different interpretation. first of all, all the people in cantor's office send their greetings. i think they're watching tonight. i talked to a couple of them. look, they say, interestingly, well, of course we know you that need the senate to pass a piece of legislation and the president to act on it and sign it, we know that. but what they said is something even more, shall we say, machiavellian or spin doctorish, which is that they want to make the point as if the house could act on its own to try to make the point that congressman walsh was talking about. in other words, it wasn't that eric cantor doesn't understand how a bill becomes a law. i think he does. it's that he doesn't particularly want to explain that to the tea party people or his supporters or the voters they're trying to reach. in other words, he's dumbing it down to try to make the sale to his people. even while you know there's negotiations going on for a deal. >> i think that is far too
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forgiving, howard. this may be our sharpest disagreement in our debating history here. i think cantor genuinely did not know what he was talking about and only because of what we did here last night did he correct his position today and today he is saying it's up to harry reid where yesterday, since he has never actually been involved in real legislating, he did not know how the process worked and thought and is used to getting away with saying anything he wants to. but i'm going to let you hold to your view of this -- >> no, no. but what i'm saying is the explanation they gave me today is in a way much more cynical. >> okay. i get that. let's listen to what newt gingrich had to say about this and good the possibility of a government shutdown today. >> i said that in my view that their goal should be to avoid a shutdown while not giving in on their core principles. they can't walk into a room and have president obama think that
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they can be blackmailed by yelling the word "shutdown." i think they should try to find ways to pass continuing resolutions that can be signed, but i don't think they can allow president obama to reject the outcome of the 2010 election and dictate in his terms what he'll do. >> howard, i found this surprising. newt gingrich i expected to go up there and tell them go ahead, shut it down if you have to. i expected him to talk really tough. he was talking to house republican freshmen, and he told them to avoid a shutdown. >> oh, newt, where art thou? it was very interesting at the congressional dinner here in town last night, lawrence. a lot of the republican jokes at that dinner were about newt gingrich. i don't know if you noticed that. about the fact that he seems to be all over the lot issuewise. you know, newt gingrich used to be clear if controversial. now he's neither. and i think that was the wafflingest statement i've heard newt make in a whole series of
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waffling statements in recent months. that's of no help to the republicans up there whatsoever. >> yeah, you know you're in trouble as a republican when dan quayle's son feels free to stand up in washington, as he did last night -- >> that's right. >> -- and make fun of you, make fun of newt gingrich. how much power does the tea party have and the threat of tea party wrath have in this particular cycle of tea party drama on capitol hill? >> i'm not sure they control this right now. what you're seeing is a sort of sliding scale here. you have the tea party people who are out rallying today and there weren't really very many of them out there. and you had michele bachmann and steve king from iowa playing to them. now, that's the iowa wing, which really refers to the 2012 presidential campaign. that's michele bachmann already campaigning for caucus votes in iowa in 2012. then you have jim demint who's from south carolina, another key presidential primary state, who's also banging his fist on the table saying you've got to get the 61 billion. meanwhile, the presidential
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candidates are for the most part staying silent. but i don't know how much pressure demint and bachmann really have on john boehner or even eric cantor in the end. boehner's going to cut the deal. eric cantor's going to squawk but he's probably going to go along with it in the end even as he tells the tea party people that he's sorry. >> howard fineman of the huffington post and msnbc, thanks for joining us tonight, howard. >> thank you, lawrence. michele bachmann called the tea party to action at the capitol today to rally in favor of drastic spending cuts. exactly how many people have to show up to call something a rally? slate's dave weigel was there, and he joins us. plus, a critical look at the man who will run president obama's re-election campaign. look, we've all dealt with the itching of athlete's foot.
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the tea party marched on washington today and rallied at the capitol hanging on michele bachmann's every word. they were there to scare
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congress into voting for the tea party budget. dave weigel was there and joins us with his official crowd estimate. plus, what you and i missed last night at the radio television correspondents dinner in washington as congressman anthony weiner calls on speaker john boehner to give up and embrace the correct phonetic pronunciation of his last name. john b-o-e -- oh, wait, i can't say that on tv.
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tea partiers may be sunshine patriots. literally. on a gray and damp day in washington the queen of the tea party, michele bachmann, called on her followers to show up at
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the capitol to fight for the first tea party budget ever to co f aotinoness. no moment in tea party history could be more impoanth toy'ray the cit. this is the moment for the tea rttooar, tsh i strength, to show the depth and permanence of its commitment to change, to budget cutting, to killing planned parenthood and national broadcasting and every other socialist thing like med sxair social security that crowd who showed up today to witness history and to make history at around 100 people. here's some wt osbre 100 heard. >> take off your lace panties. stop being noodlebacks. take a strong, bold, unwavering stand for and with the american people. our republic depends on you. >> and if liberals in the senate small down payment on fiscal
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discipline and reform, i say shut it down. >> nwonder they're so afid of you. they're afraid of you because you're powerful. government. we won't change our principles. we're going to say no to another de cli iree. wee t gointhe. >> joining me now, msnbc contributor dave weigel, >> dave, you were there. your official crowd estimate, please. and what does it tell us about the momentum and power of the tea party in washington? >> well, politico said 100. i would go as high as maybe 201, 203. but i might have counted the media that was there. i felt like there were a lot of
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dithe. ovhed representive jeff duncan who's a freshman from south carolina, saying there put it was there were more press than patriots. what does it mean in the scheme of thi way. i think democrats discovered this in 2009, 2010, when their crowds vanished and were completely overwhelmed by tea partiers. and tea parties are pretty active in other parts of the country. armey's group. they've been having events in indiana and pennsylvania and tryinggemont f a the state battles that are really important. there were a couple of reasons this was small. i'm not too worried for the tea party that this wasn't a huge hit. >> rally as much as anything seemed to be a rally over a number. 61 billion. the deal seems to be taking shape at 33 billion. in the last segment i couldn't
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thghitou bea f him to say i'll vote against anything less than the 61 billion. he seems to be leaving the door open himself for a possible compromise on this number. >> yeah, he's not the only one. labrador from idaho is another tea party candidate who's in there and he just said he wants the biggest cut he can get. john boehner said today not quite the samehing, but they're getting the tea party ready to take what it can get this time and have another fight on the debt ceiling, have another fight on the budget. and it's not popular to say that at rly. you played mike pence's moment where he was one of the few speakers to bring up the shutdown as something they might be interested in. or shut it," which didn't -- i think that last bd three cheers before they realized it sounded more like a sugar hill gang record than a good slogan. but they're not fighting as hard
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on this because they know there's two other big chances to win these -- to win these economic fights if they wait on it. it might be surprising. this is a movement that fought really hard to take back congress, and this rally they said was about stiffening their backbone, but i didn't find a lot of people saying they were going to bail on it if the republicans failed to do this. >> dave weigel of slate and our tea party watcher, thank y very much for joining us tonight, dave. >> thank you. coming up -- donald trump tries his obama birth certificate shtick on fox news and gets laughed at by bill o'reilly. plus, the man running president obama's re-election campaign isn't a favorite of progressives. "the nation's" ari berman takes us behind the scenes for a critical look at the obama re-election campaign. let me tl you about a very important phone call i made. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses.
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and in tonight's "page 6" story we want to be true, oprah winfrey and one of donald trump's most precious possessions. his hair. oprah winfrey wants to end her iconic show by getting her hands on donald trump's iconic hair. we hear the queen of daytime talk reached out to the "the apprentice" creator along with a series of other big names to come on for a makeover by top stylists on one of her last oprah installments. according to sources, the e-mail invitation to trump's office said the eyes of the world will be upon these episodes. given that oprah will end its 25-year run in may. sources told us that the production team promised to let
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the real estate mogul promote "celebrity apprentice" and talk about his presidential bid." oprah producers also promised to treat trump's makeover with integrity and not let it become those historical television moments that will become iconic. donald's hair may be the only thing he hasn't changed for his current 15 minutes in the political spotlight. on october 31st, 1999 he told fox news, "i'm totally pro choice. i want to see the abortion issue removed from politics." on february 14th of this year he told fox news, "i'm pro life. i think that's a big social issue." on october 7th, 1999, he told larry king, "i'm very liberal when it comes to health care. i believe in universal health care." last month he said, "i do not think it's constitutional." and now he says he thinks the health care reform legislation should be repealed. donald is smart enough to know with a regard of flip-flops like
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that he couldn't survive an hour on a republican primary debate stage. he's not going to run for president. and he's not going to let oprah touch his hair. still to come -- donald trump cannot imagine how a hippie mother and a kenyan father could afford a birth announcement for barack obama in hawaii newspapers. guess how much these birth announcements cost. quick, tweet me your best guess right now,@lawrence. i'll tell you when we come back. and congressman anthony weiner owns the "rewrite" tonight after his performance at last night's radio and television correspondents dinner in washington. >> it is true, it's difficult having this name. i admit it. it is something that caused me a lot of ridicule and hardship. it is simply in my neighborhood not easy to be named anthony. ugh, my feet are killin' me.
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in the spotlight tonight, donald trump continues to successfully beg for attention to his fake presidential campaign designed to pump up the ratings of his nbc tv show, which like most americans and like most nbc shows i have never seen. trump's favorite trick remains fanning the flames of hatred of muslims. he does this, of course, while saying something along the lines of some of his best friends are muslims, the mandatory disclaimer racists and other haters have been using for most of trump's lifetime. >> he may have one, but there's something on that birth -- it may be religion. maybe it says he's a muslim. i don't know. >> of course he doesn't know. how much time do you think donald has for reading or fact checking when he's got to spend that much time on his hair? now, i have a team working on my hair, and i have a team working on fact checking.
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so i actually do have the time to read the fact checking that my team does while my team's working on my hair. so i can tell you this. the long form birth certificate in use in hawaii at the time barack obama was born does not include a space for the parents to indicate their or their child's religion. that issue has been settled since 2009, when the honolulu advertiser published a version of the long form birth certificate issued at that time. trump talks out of every side of his mouth about the announcement of barack obama's birth that appeared in at least two hawaii newspapers. >> two poor people, a man and a woman with no money to have a baby, there's announcements in the newspaper? >> the grandparents did it. >> the grandparents. nelson rockefeller doesn't put announcements -- >> sure, there are birth announcements all the time. >> i've never seen one. >> really? >> i've never seen one. >> no, they're common. >> i've never seen one.
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>> trump's never seen one. o'reilly's seen a lot of them. and i've seen a lot of them. o'reilly has never seen -- o'reilly has never been so gentle with someone who he knew was lying. and that was what he said -- what was that, he said about the rockefellers. >> two poor people, a man and a woman with no money to have a baby, there's announcements in the newspaper? >> the grandparents did it. >> the grandparents. nelson rockefeller doesn't put announcements -- >> who knows more about what poor people are capable of than donald trump? nelson rockefeller doesn't make announcements of births. okay. he may have thought he was safe citing a dead person who couldn't argue with him. but it turns out nelson rockefeller did make birth announcements. the associated press reports on april 23rd, 1936 that mr. and mrs. nelson aldrich rockefeller announced the name of their
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third child, steven rockefeller. as for barack obama, the birth announcements trump refers to appeared in honolulu's two major newspapers on august 13th and 14th and those announcements are not published by the hippie parents, as trump calls them, or by the grandparents, as o'reilly imagined. they are received directly from hawaii's state health bureau as en okwonfmeinhe "advertiser" two years ago. so for the last two years there has been absolutely no reason to guess how the obama birth announcement appeared in the newspaper. barack obama's parents or grandparents could not have simply called the paper and had barack obama's birth announced in that section of those newspapers. impossible. and there's another lie trump has mentioned repeatedly and insisted upon again today on msnbc. >> we all agree he was born.
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okay? we're all so happy that he was born. now, the ad was put in -- >> it's not an ad. wait a minute. birth notices -- >> excuse me, chuck. >> -- and death notices are standard. >> it was three days later. three days after the fact. >> the birth announcements were not published three days after the fact. they were published nine days after the fact in one paper, ten days in the other. that's because those newspapers don't publish birth announcements every day. so the august 14th "star bulletin" would include birth announcements for children who were born as far back as july 30th, five days before barack obama. joining me now, huffington post reporter and msnbc analyst alex wagner. thanks for joining us tonight, alex. >> thanks for having me, lawrence. >> when was your birth
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announcement published? in what newspapers? >> it was actually announced with a flock of doves and a fleet of hot air balloons. my parents don't know anything about this newspaper thing. >> yeah. let's listen to what karl rove had to say about trump's use of the birther movement. >> this is a mistake. it will marginalize him. and he's fallen for barack obama's trap. barack obama wants republicans to fall into this trap because he knows it discredits us with the vast majority of the american people when we do. >> now, karl rove knows a little something about campaigning for republican presidential nominations. so if he's using his analysis based on the notion that trump is campaigning for the republican presidential nomination, he may be right that it's a bad trump is campaigning for higher rating for his tv show before he later announces he's not running for president. so this is the way to go, isn't it? >> for trump it is.
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but i think karl rove spaekds to the larger gop concern, which i think is something we've spoken about, which is the people like sarah palin and michele bachmann and donald trump take the gop further and further to the right. and now you have candidates who are ostensibly feasible, you know, gop 2012 presidential nominees like tim pawlenty having to address this with sean hannity on fox news last night. this is a controversy that isn't going away because donald trump is keeping it alive. >> let's listen to what trump said last night about muslims and the muslim problem. >> is there a muslim problem in the world? >> absolutely. absolutely. i don't notice swedish people knocking down the world trade center. >> why? >> there's something out there that brings a level of hostility that i've never seen in any religion. i mean, you can say what you want about the koran. you can say what you want. there's something there. >> i don't get to vegas or atlantic city much but i take it that muslims are not big gamblers at trump casinos and he doesn't need their business. >> they're not his key demo.
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on one hand it's funny to talk about this. but at the same time i think that there is some truth to this being a very disturbing trend and that donald trump is fueling really negative conversation around multiracialism and muslim, the islam religion. and i think, you know, i love talking about the census figures, lawrence, but we look at between 2000 and 2010 there were a 50% increase in multiracial youth born in this country. and here's someone that is purportedly running for president in 2012 and is casting aspersions on the nation's first biracial president. and i think that that is a disturbing thing. >> and he does it with the sleaziest of possible amendments like oh, there are some really nice muslims out there. >> i know fabulous muslims i think was the quote. >> fabulous. >> which is, as you said, a classic avoidance strategy. and i think it is time to hold ice r ate geerg vio ptsf e uny. pdomeortrglg keheanerus, t u' aolelrit. iin gutr polics now and doing something very, very ugly. >> he is indeed. >> huffington post reporter and
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msnbc analyst alex wagner, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, the man behind president obama's re-election campaign, and why he makes progressives nervous. and last night at the congressional correspondents dinner in washington, new york congressman anthony weiner stole the show with jabs at everyone. that's in tonight's rewrite.
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last week congressman anthony weiner said he would be interested in running for mayor of new york city in 2013. last night he showed he has the first thing you need to win in the big city, a sense of humor. and later, a critical look at the man who is in charge of president obama's re-election campaign. that's coming up. risk for heart attack or stroke but if you've been diagnosed with p.a.d., or have pain or heaviness in your legs, i want to ta to you. you may have heard of poor leg circulation, which could be peripheral artery disease, or p.a.d. with p.a.d., if you have poor circulation in your legs,
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the risk is real. take the next step. call today. time for tonight's "rewrite." last night the radio and tv association's congressional correspondents dinner was held in washington. it's a chance for the power players on capitol hill to get together with the media who cover them and have a few laughs. the master of this form is friend of the show congressman anthony weiner. >> a huge thrill for me, this is all being broadcast on c-span 3. so tens of americans will see this. down at the cnn table they're saying tens? what's their secret? it is true, it's difficult having this name. i admit it. it is something that caused me a lot of ridicule and hardship. it is simply in my neighborhood
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not easy to be named anthony. by the way, i do the weiner jokes around here, guys. and really, like who is boehner fooling? what, am i like anthony "wayner"? i'm serious, brother. just embrace it. you know? and michele bachmann, if she's here i want to welcome her. probably not. she's campaigning in iowa and organizing in that important caucus state because she's running for president. that's really all i have for that joke. >> congressman weiner went on to offer some advice, in particular for the newcomers to congress. a rewrite of sorts to the congressional rule book on dealing with the media. backing up his advice with plenty of examples, anthony weiner's clearly figured out exactly how this tv thing is done. >> i have some tips i want to offer to my colleagues as they're doing these interviews. first is listen carefully to the interviewer.
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you always want to communicate you care about what they say, that you respect what they have to say. take a deep breath, and then answer the question. here. let me show you what i mean. >> was she or was she not the solicitor general of the united states? >> that was not the part that i'm taking answer to if you let me -- >> i thought i heard that. >> i'm not really sure what goes on at fox is actually coverage but we'll get back to another conversation. >> okay. >> specific question. >> hold on, before we go on -- >> in the four years -- let me ask the question. >> number two -- >> i asked you -- >> we are -- we have a disagreement. >> what should you be -- congressman, what should be the tax rate? >> you've characterized for me -- >> another tip that i would give to my colleagues is one that might sound intuitive but you have to make sure it happens, is and that's to maintain eye contact with the interviewer or the camera. >> ask wesley snipes. you can't tell me the irs isn't the enforcement arm here.
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it is. >> i'll ask the question. you're not answering. just tell me how is it fair? >> ready? >> on the last tip i'd like to offer is a little bit of a signature thing of mine. so i'm letting my colleagues in on a little bit of a secret. the reporters and interviewers love a little positive reinforcement when you're done with your interview. so here's a little trick that i started. >> go ahead. >> what's the question? >> you gave a speech. what's the question? >> i've got to go, congress. thank you so much for coming on. >> great interview. aces. >> okay, congressman weiner. now i know your tricks. and don't ever try that turn away move thing with me. never. because if you try that turn away move with me, when you turn back, to your face i'm going to call you anthony.
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while republicans try to figure out who's going to run for -- in 2012 as their nominee for president from their list of flawed candidates, one man is already hard at work laying the foundation for president obama as his re-election campaign manager. referred to as the most powerful person in washington that you haven't heard of, jim messina was also candidate obama's 2008 campaign chief of staff. but it's the other titles on messina's resume as former white house deputy chief of staff under rahm emanuel and former chief of staff to montana senator max baucus that have progressives fearful of what the president's 2012 campaign will look like. joining me now, the man whose article today in "the nation" gives us a profile of jim messina, ari berman.
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thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me, lawrence. >> your article is thorough on jim messina. i don't know him. i never worked with him when i was in the senate. and it seems to have this strong sense of suspicion that there's something wrong with him from the perspective of to the left of him. what's the smoking gun? what's the thing that readers would come away with saying a-ha, this is the thing that scares me most? >> what was striking to me in terms of reporting this piece was just his clashes with obama supporters on issues like health care, on issues like gay rights. i mean, this is now the man who will be the top liaison to obama supporters, will really need to gin them up for the 2012 campaign, but he's had this history of clashing with them on all these issues and it really does make you wonder, is this going to be obama '08, a grassroots bottom up campaign or is this going to be very much a top down conventional centrist campaign and where will the obama supporters of '08 fit in that strategy? >> and you also seem to be concerned and others that he worked as -- for senator max baucus, who's a moderate democrat in the senate.
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and even though he started according to some of your sources in his political life as a flaming liberal, max baucus is not that. and people worry that jim messina thinks too much like max baucus. >> when messina worked pour balk es was very much thought of as the enforcer. you could say he was just doing his job but -- >> i would say oh, he's doing his job. >> absolutely. but then he went and worked for rahm in the white house. there's a reason why he worked for rahm, why rahm wanted him to work for him. and you see when he was deputized as a liaison to the progressive groups, for example, which was a major part of his which was a major part of his portfolio, he had a lot of clashes with them on health care, on gay rights, and that's all we can do, is look at what has he done and in his time at the white house, in his time working for baucus he's clashed with democratic activists, with grassroots organizers over and over and over again and that's a pattern to his career i found in this article. >> on don't ask, don't tell you have complaints about how long it took and -- but they succeeded. >> absolutely.
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>> so when you succeed, in my experience working in the senate there's all sorts of tensions and negativity within the party as you're moving toward a goal. and then when you succeed everybody forgets it. they go hey, we did it. >> well, clearly people haven't forgotten it because they're still upset about it. now, with messina as the top liaison don't ask, don't tell was reluctant to make this a priority and really didn't have a strategy for a very long time. and one gay rights activist described it as a hail mary pass with ten seconds to go in the fourth quarter. yes, it worked but it wasn't very reassuring in terms of how it all went down. >> let's take a look at a tv commercial from baucus's 2002 re-election campaign that you also refer to in your article. >> state senator mike taylor once ran a beauty salon and a hair care school. until the department of education uncovered taylor's hair care scam for abusing the student loan program and diverting money to himself.
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los.e en usth ct xper thousands and lined taylor's own pockets. mike taylor. not the way we do business here in montana. >> now, messina and you can baaus run a tv ad against their republican opponent showing him abusing the student loan campaign, drives the republican candidate out of the race. why isn't that a model for what all democrats should -- >> well, if you saw the ad, it wasn't very subtle. i think the implication of the ad was this guy wasn't only abusing the student loan program, he was also gay -- >> whoa, whoa, whoa, where is that? >> look at it, the '70s leisure suit and fonlding the head of the lient. >> fondling? >> i'm just saying at the time this ad happened it was criticized by gay rights groups as anti-guy gay. but this really made jim messina's career. >> people can watch that ad on the website, try to find out


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