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

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just go away. now it is time for the last word. have a great night. >> today after the wash post broke a story about mitt romney bullying a gay student in high school, mitt romney announces he is now in favor of something gay. >> the president clarified his position on same sex marriage. >> i think same sex couples should get married. >> joe biden. >> i am vice president. >> did the vice president really set this policy. >> the president sets the policy. >> i think biden helped him here. >> everyone is trying to figure out what the political consequences will be. >> reaction has been coming in fast and furious. >> marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
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>> i don't favor civil union or gay marriage. >> this is the boy that i knew. >> mitt romney is treading lightly. >> when he was playing in high school. >> a student who later came out as gay says romney would taunt him. >> i did some dumb things. >> when he spoke out in class he would say attagirl. >> prep school bully. >> it's not. >> foes of gay marriage are 32-0. >> people in california voted to ban gay marriage. >> you mentioned north carolina. >> if you're gay you want to get married in north carolina. you'll just have to pretend your cousins. >> vast majority of the american public really question his character. >> a gutsy move. >> i think he responded very strongly. >> same sex couples should be able to get married. >> a dream come true right now.
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>> joining me now alex wagner the host of msnbc's now and chris hayes the host of up with chris hayes. it was a difficult news day for mitt romney with that report about high school bullying, in particular, bullying of a gay student. let's listen what mitt romney said later in the day today on fox news about something gay that he actually approves of. >> my preference would be to have a national standard that defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. that would then allow states to determine what rights would be provided for people of the same gender that wanted to have a relationship.
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if two people the same gender wants to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even want to adopt a child in my tate, individuals of the same sex with able to adopt children. in my view, that's something people have the right to do. >> alex wagner, gay adoption okay with mitt romney. >> lawrence, let the threading of the needle begin. mitt romney -- first of all, mitt romney in 1994 said he was going to be better on civil unions and gay marriage than ted kennedy. he has come a long way since then. this is about being on the right side of history. there is also poll numbers that show among independent voters the support for gay marriage the spread is like 16%. this is going to be something the white house brings up again and again and again and again. you hear the white house talking about mitt romney being a severe conservative. here is your evidence. >> i am so struck by the fact. it was just eight years ago. the entire campaign was run with
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this as tz key wedge issue. with conservatives prosecuting the cultural war both because it amped up their face. they had to essentially choose their own base, the preferences of independent voters. what i have been struck by all this is the tentativeness and the defensiveness of mitt romney. this is something the other side, the republican party and conservatives saw as something to lead with just eight years ago. >> they are on the defensive now. it is really remarkable to me in terms of the body language, the facial expression, the way mitt romney looked answering these questions. he has manifested these questions. >> his manifest has come from this. >> correct. >> republican establishment in large portions of the gop now kind of understand that gay marriage is going to be a
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reality in the united states of america. but you still have folks like franklin graham out there who say this is a sad day in america. this is a fire and brimstone prescription we have brought to the country by recognizing that two people of the same sex who are in love should be able to get married. >> the clip of romney talking to the colorado reporter where they asked about gay marriage and undocumented students getting tuition. there was a time if you were a republican candidate you would love those three softballs being lobbed to you so you could crush them out of park with cultural war ferocity. instead he got ticked at the reporter because the worm has turned. they want this election to be everyday about what the unemployment rate is and about the economy and barack obama. any time they are not talking about that they think they are losing. you can see it in the reaction to them. >> let's listen to one of the
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romney tacticians today to your point about how hot a campaignish shaw this used to be for republicans. chuck todd asked ed gillespie is this a campaign issue for you guys. let's listen to this. >> i think it is an important issue issue for people. strong feelings on both sides. he will actively push for a constitutional amendment. >> his view is given the nature of the states sanctions gay marriage and the clause in the constitution and a federal marriage amendment should be enacted. >> alex, they don't sound too eager about it. >> the climate in america is one of acceptance of gay marriage. the problem for the republican is a host of different issue pps at the state level people don't want to let this guy. if north carolina hasn't proposed amendment one there would be a lotless mag anytism to the issue of gay marriage.
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this is something that at the state level republican s can not -- it is a dog with a bone. it is like that on immigration and with gay rights. >> i don't think we should get too far ahead of the polling here. there is the threshold being crossed. >> we will see where it goes. might be a backlash effect. the other thing, i saw ohio polling today that was pretty bad. 35% in favor, 50% opposed, something around there. this still might bring with it political risk. i don't think we should understate that in this election cycle there are foreseeable political down sizing consquengss. >> let's listen to what president obama said about how this cuts for him politically. >> i think it would be hard to argue that somehow this is
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something that i would be doing for political advantage because frankly, you know, the politics, it's not clear how they are cut. >> alex, i agree, it is not clear. >> it isn't clear how they are cut. to say there was a political calculus here is perhaps not being totally genuine. certainly the president sent out a fundraising message last night with subject line marriage. they are going to make a lot of money in this. one in six of obama's top donors are gay. 18 to 24-year-olds wanted to see this. this is a civil rights issue for them. it could potentially increase voter turnout at the polls. at the end of the day nothing changes gay rights. it is effectively kicked back to the state. >> the one thing i would add to that is what this does i think puts light on is if you look at it on gay rights, it is by quite
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a bit. a lot of concrete accomplishments. >> don't ask don't tell. >> don't ask don't tell. also puts highlight on one of the most significant they have done which is to choose not to defend the defensive marriage act. they actually enunciate a substantive view of what the limitations are constitutionally on what is acceptable. that is a pretty intense view they have, a pretty pro-gay view they have. that dove tails with the statement today, puts together a total vision of the president's perspective on this. this is pretty robust. >> and it is an insight what he might do given a second term. >> and chris, to alex's point that the president is out there politically on this and this
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whole question of which way it goes, there is something -- and the point about nothing really happens in law. this is a very odd thing because here is a president, not just a candidate, but a president who makes a statement, and as alex said it doesn't legally change anything, but it does say something larger about each one of these candidates. what i am seeing is the obama campaign seems happy with what it is saying about them because they keep pushing it publicly. the romney campaign is surprisingly quiet and muted about this. they seem a little bit more uncomfortable, a little bit more unsure about how this plays for them. >> that's exactly right. in some sense that is the most
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striking political fallout of this. and that might give you a sure sense of which way, quote, the politics cut as the polling. there is a bunch of very savvy. their instincts about who this benefits, if you just look at this would seem to indicate it is the president. i was more unsure about the way the politics of this would cut even though it was obviously substantively the right thing to do. i was more unsure about the way of the politics of this was cut bv i saw romney's action. romney's action has convinced me that actually this benefits. >> what will be interesting to see is if we are looking at the broader case for gay marriage, which is more effective. a state by state measures or supreme court decision in terms of getting the american public to really wrap its arms around gay rights. >> i think they think this is ultimately going to be decided by the court because there are certain states it is extremely difficult to envision. >> when it comes down it is key.
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row v. wade i don't think it ends the debate. >> that ends our debate there segment of the show. chris hayes and alex wagner, thank you both very much for joining me. it really wasn't a debate. it was more of a discussion. thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, the president actually said it. he said the magic words. etch-a-sketch. former ohio governor will join us on mitt romney's claim of credit on saving the auto industry. and, conservatives are claiming the institution of marriage has always been between a man and a woman. that is, of course, contradicted by the bible that they don't seem to read and by 250,000 years of marital history. that's in tonight's rewrite. and rush limbaugh is campaigning for women's support for his attacks on women. krystal ball versus rush limbaugh is coming up.
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the washington post broke the disturbing story about mitt romney being not just the wild and crazy guy that ann romney has described in high school but also being a bully and attacking a gay student. jonathan k. park joins me with the latest on what we have learned about mitt romney's high school days today. and, conservatives are trying to rewrite the history of marriage. they say it has always been the union of one man and one woman. that line will be destroyed in tonight's rewrite. now he is asking him to help him do it. krystal ball joins me on rush limbaugh, later. [ male announcer ] if you think any battery will do...
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the volkswagen passat. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease the 2012 passat for $209 a month. i still look at him as the boy that i met in high school when he was playing all the jokes and really just being crazy, pretty crazy. so, there is a wild and crazy man inside of here. >> [ laughter ] >> we now know that that comment about romney in high school which seemed to come out of no where was actually ann romney very, very deliberately pre-spinning the washington post story that came out today about mitt romney's high school days. it was nine days ago that ann romney said that. the washington post has been working on this story for weeks and the romney campaign has known that. ann romney's wild and crazy line was meant to excuse mitt
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romney's reported today in the washington post. romney taunted a male classmate with the phrase at a girl and harassed a soft spoken boy with bleached blond hair seen here at the very back of the photo. the post reports that romney led his frbout their plan to cut his hair, tackled him and pinned him to the ground as lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help. romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. 30 years later a witness saw lauber saw him at an airport and apologized for not doing anything to stop it. lauber, says one of the
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participants helped hold him down while mitt romney cut his hair told the post it was, quote, senseless, stupid, idiotic. another participant said it was, quote, vicious. according to the post report the parties pan's memory of this bullying that the victim remembered as horrible is still vivid. the romney campaign responds to the story today a rather obvious lie that mitt romney alone, the only one among the participants doesn't remember it. as the story gained more heat this morning, the romney campaign went into damage control delivering romney to a friendly radio talk show interview and, where else, to fox news, to deliver an apology on something he still claims he doesn't remember.
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>> i had no idea what that individual's sexual orientation might be. going back to the 1960s, that one something we all discussed or considered. so that simply is not accurate. i don't recall the incident myself but i have seen the reports. not going to argue with that. there is no question but that i did some stupid things when i was in high school and obviously if i hurt anyone by vir which you of that i would be very sorry for it and apologize for it. >> john lauber, mitt romney's victim, will never hear his apology. he died in 2004. >> jonathan, let's adjudicate as fair minded observers having read this story, watched mitt romney's response. do you think he is lying about remembering all of this.
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>> when you have five people who go -- i think four went on the record and one of the people went on background. when you have those five people willing to talk about what happened and they individually talked about this story. not like they all got together in a room and told him this story. they individually have memories of what happened. and, what happened as you described at the opening of the segment was an emotionally and physically violent act that was led by mitt romney on this poor kid at the time whose only sin, if you will, was to look different than everyone else at kron brook. for mitt romney to lead a gang, if you will, of five guys with himself, scissors in hand to go after this kid like that is reprehensible. and, let's keep something else
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in mind, lawrence. this is bullying and we're talking about bullying that happened 50 years ago, but this is the kind of bullying that is still happening today. this is the kind of thing that millions of kids, boys and girls, straight, gay, or perceived to be gay go through everyday in schools, in their neighborhoods who some of whom the bullying has been so horrendous that they have unfortunately taken their own lives. you have had adults and schools in other places who don't take these things seriously who believe this is a phase, that this is a boys will be boys situation. when what you're talking about is something that's emotion untilly and physically violent and damaging to people. and for mitt romney to say i don't recall, but if i offended anyone or hurt anyone, well then maybe i'll apologize. that's unacceptable. >> jonathan, george w. bush said
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memorably when i was young and irresponsible, i was young and irresponsible. and i gotta say, i want to be able to accept answers like that from candidates. i don't want people to have to answer to what they were doing in high school. >> sure. >> in a normal situation. but i have a real problem with this on many levels. one is two whom much is given much is expected. here is mitt romney. every single thing in life was given to him, but before he got to high school. everything. wealth was given to him. everything was given to him. he didn't grow up in some rough and tumble neighborhood where there was a lot of thuggery going around like a lot of us did or maybe fell into that kind of spirit. that's not what this is about. this is a whole different thing. this is someone whose father was governor. this is someone who should have been presenting himself from the world very differently from this story's account.
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>> well, sure. and again, that, we're talking 50 years ago. he was a kid who did dumb and stupid things, as he said, as he admitted to, as ann romney said there at cbs this morning. but now the onnous is on him today where bullying is still a topic of today, something that has the attention of the obama administration and the white house in terms of something that needs to be addressed. this was an opportunity for mitt romney to rise above it if he could, acknowledge the pain that he caused and to acknowledge the fact that that sort of pain that he perpetuated 50 years ago is something that is happening today and something that as president he would continue to address, something that the
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obama administration, something that he agrees the obama administration. but he didn't do that. instead he tried to duck and weave, bob his way out of it and was unsuccessful. >> why didn't he get in trouble for this at his fancy private school that has things about all these things? maybe because his old man was governor. maybe because it was favoritism shown to him everyday of his life as he was proceeding through high school. oh, an ugly won. jonathan k. park, thank you very much. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, president obama uses a new politically powerful phrase, etch-a-sketch in response to mitt romney's unbelievable claim of credit for saving the auto industry. and, conservatives are lying about the history of marriage, that it has always been for thousands of years a union between one man and one woman. the only way they can say that is they have never read their bibles. that is in tonight's rewrite. i'm michael bazinet,
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mitt romney was opposed to saving the auto industry and now mitt romney wants credit from president obama for saving the auto industry. that is provoking obama's words etch a sketch. marriage is one man and one woman even though their own bibles tell them that is not true.
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that is in tonight's rewrite. and, rush limbaugh's attacks on women has costs millions of dollars. now he is trying to fight back on what he is calling the national organization for rush babes. krystal ball who helped create will join us. i went to a small high school. the teacher that comes to mind for me is my high school math teacher, dr. gilmore. i mean he could teach. he was there for us, even if we needed him in college. you could call him, you had his phone number. he was just focused on making sure we were gonna be successful.
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was the right thing to do because it wasn't just the million jobs that were at stake. it was also part of what built our middle class, creating products, stamped with those words made in america. >> the auto industry was crashing down. i was scared to death. i had a newborn baby, wife, house and i got laid off. i wasn't sure what i was gonna do. >> obama stuck his neck out for us, the auto industry. he wasn't gone that let it just die. i'm driving in this morning because of that. >> joining me now, joe cline, a columnist. and former ohio governor ted strickland. gentlemen, the 2008 auto bailout. if general motors, ford and chrysler get the bail out, you can kiss it good-bye.
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won't go overnight but its demise will be virtually guaranteed. detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. then, this week, romney gave the infamous statement where he tried to claim credit for saving the auto industry. let's listen to that. >> the auto companies needed to go through bankrupt before the government helped. finally the president took them through bankruptcy. i pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy. finally when that was done and help was given the companies got back on their feet. so i'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back. >> he wants a lot of credit, and finally, let's catch up with ha he said today. >> the president termed it etch-a-sketch. you were dead set against that.
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>> here is what i said, and it is written down where you can take a good look at it. i said don't write them a check. they need to go through a managed bankruptcy. they have to get rid of the excess cost of the uaw and other excess cost and then the government can help support. the president finally came around and they went through a managed bankruptcy. now they are back on their feet. >> governor strickland, how much credit is ohio giving to mitt romney for saving their auto industry? >> none. zip, zero. he deserves none. and he should be embarrassed to say what he's saying. i mean, does this man have no shame? it's just laughable, almost unbelievable, but it's consistent, i think, with his approach to nearly every serious issue. you know, i don't know what to say about this other than he ought to be ashamed. >> yeah.
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i agree. it is really astounding. joe, 20 years ago in american politics, this would be inconceivable. i can't think of a politician who would be able to do this without crushing embarrassment. >> he probably would have been better off going with the issue he went with with on bullying. i just don't remember -- >> yeah. >> but what he is saying is this. and rereally should watch this. he is saying that because he was in favor of a structured bailout and that there eventually was a structured bailout that he proposed the structured bailout. there is one small problem with this, which is there could not have been a structured bailout if the government hadn't written the check in advance. that was the only way they could go through this process as mitt romney full well knows. >> and governor strickland, every al tern tifr was explored at the time, every private
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sector alternative and possibility of keeping general motors alive was explored. >> absolutely. what this says above and beyond the auto industry itself, it says something about mitt romney's character. he knows what he is saying is not accurate. yet, he continues to say it. that is consistent with how he has dealt with multiple other issues. so, i think that's the issue here. it is a character problem. this man simply is incapable of being straight up and factual and telling the truth, expressing an honest opinion. he lacks authenticity. it is evident day after day, comment after comment. >> joe cline,ed to marks the first time that the president is seen publicly using the magic words etch-a-sketch. >> will not be the last. >> yeah.
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tell us, joe, where do you think etch-a-sketch is going in the obama campaign? >> i think that what the governor said is right. this is a fundamental problem for romney in this campaign. you take any issue. you take the gay rights issue. he was going to run to the left of ted kennedy on gay marriage. and new he is opposed to it. you take any issue out there except for firing people and he's had multiple positions on it. >> governor and yes, we have a new ap poll out today showing national poll showing president obama with an 8 point lead, 50-42 among registered voters. let's listen to what the president said this morning on abc about what would have happened if we had followed mitt romney's advice on the auto industry. >> had we followed his advice at
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that time gm and chrysler would have gone under and we would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the midwest. >> how does that sound to you? >> well, in ohio we think about one out of every eight jobs, is at least related to the auto industry. today gm is building the chevy cruise in young ohio and ford is bringing a light truck production back from mexico to cleveland. chrysler is investing multiple millions in the toledo area. ohio doesn't produce as many cars and trucks as does michigan but we produce more auto parts. so the entire supply chain which is so critical to so many communities throughout ohio, i believe would have collapsed, even honda which is a nonunion company located in marriesville ohio came to me when i was in the governor's office. said governor please do whatever
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you can to get help for the big three. any percent of our suppliers supply the big three and they were afraid this supply chain would collapse. it has been saved and the president deserves the credit for it. >> darn it. i was going to tell -- remind you that you told me that story last time we were together which is on my first road trip. they are running multiple shifts now. they have added thousands and thousands of jobs. the parts manufacturers, really important. ohio is traditionally a tretty conservative state. the president's polling has been very poignant there for this one reason. this is one obama policy that really is tangible. they don't know what is in dodd frank. they have mixed feelings about the stimulus. the auto bailout really paid off for them. >> joe klein, thank you for being here.
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the first presidential use of etch-a-sketch. and former governor strickland, thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, lies that conservatives are telling about marriage. the biggest one being it has always been the union of one man and one woman. that is in tonight's rewrite. and, rush limbaugh tries to fix his problems with women by recruiting women on facebook to help him attack women. krystal ball versus rush limbaugh is coming up. all at 1, there's definitely a temptations for you. unless you're one of those people who doesn't like delicious stuff. temptations. it's the first jell-o that's just for adults.
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that's the power of german engineering. right now lease the 2012 passat for $209 a month. opponents of marriage equality are trying to rewrite the history of marriage. >> interracial marriage is now legal. that happened as recently as 1967. it was illegal when my parents got married. my mom is white. my dad is black. marriage has always been defined what is legal and under the law. >> marriage has always been the union of a man and woman. that definition never changed over 5,000 years of human history. we are talking about changing the very core definition of marriage. >> that definition has never changed for over 5,000 years of human history. okay. let's start with the 5,000 years. that is not a randomly picked number. that is what tony perkins
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believes is the entirety of human history. there is no human history beyond 5,000 years because tony perkins believes there was no planet earth. there was no universe. tony perkins believes that 5,000 years ago adam and eve began wandering through the garden of eden 5,000 years ago. that is what christian fundamentalists believe. it is what mitt romney appears to believe when he says marriage is 3,000 years old. human history is much more than 5,000 years. human history, that is to say the history of people who look like us, who walk like us, who talk like us, run like us, throw things like us, get angry like us, smile like us, and love like us, that history is at least at a minimum 250,000 years old.
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stephanie coonts told us today what mitt romney and tony perkins say about the history of marriage is, quote, particularly amusing to an historian. she has found that marriage has existed since man's earliest days at least 250,000 years ago and she says in those good ol days, quote, very frequently these marriages were arranged. the modern idea of marriage for love and the possible defiance of parental arranged marriages is only about 200 years old. as far as the definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman throughout human history, before the 1700s the most popular and most proven marriage type was one man and
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many women, many women. in human history one man and one woman is a very recent behavioral evolution. tony perkins would know this if he would just read his beloved bible more closely. exodus chapter 21. if a man marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. if he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free without any payment of money. see, the bible thought of everything. first kings chapter 11. king solomon had -- i will say this slowly -- 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines.
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fen, this is something that tony perkins does not know because it is hidden every where called the old testament. the profit mohammed had several wives and polygamy is still practiced today and legal in some islamic countries. and, in possibly the hippest place on earth, tibet, there were even some instances of women marrying many men from medieval times right up to the 20th century. and if, as tony perkins and mitt romney insist marriage has always been one man and one woman, why did the federal government find it necessary to outlaw polygamy twice, once in 1862 with a moral anti-bigamy act and then again in 1882 with the edmonds anti-polygamy act.
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if they insist it was one man and one woman, why was utah required to outlaw polygamy in order to become a state. and if marriage has always been the union of one man and one woman, why was mitt romney ever forced to answer a question about polygamy? >> i can't imagine anything more awful than polygamy. >> and that's from a man whose great grandfather had five wives. now, it seems mitt romney can imagine something more awful than polygamy, and that something is opening up what we have just shown to be the highly changeable institution of marriage. to my two guests from last night, lenny herbar and pearl who have enjoyed 45 years of a
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loving life together. >> nothing will change the 45 year bond that we have. >> no. >> we have had -- we have the most remarkable bond. we think in part it's because -- as she was saying to me the last day or two, she said our core values are so much the same. we have never done a ceremony and we're not going to until we can do one legally and hopefully here with a family and community. >> okay. i'll buy that. [ donovan ] i hit a wall.
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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. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. devry university, proud to support the education what happens when classroom teachers get the training... ...and support they need? schools flourish and students blossom. that's why programs like... ...the mickelson exxonmobil teachers academy... ...and astronaut sally ride's science academy are helping our educators improve student success in math and science. let's shoot for the stars. let's invest in our teachers and inspire our students. let's solve this.
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rush babe is not demeaning or insulting of women in any way. it is an acknowledgement, ladies and gentlemen, that a proud conservative woman is inately attractive for independence or intellect and doesn't mind being called a babe. >> joining me now krystal ball. krystal, he is coming after you. you started and so he has now started -- he calls i rush babes for america. >> well, one clarification.
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i was one of the original founders and had part of the idea for but stop rush has been a tremendous success because of hundreds of volunteers nationwide who have been logging reports and tracking sponsors. so, he was coming after a nationwide movement against him that has been very, very damaging to his business and to the business of clear channel radio. >> yeah. we have the ceo of the company saying they have lost millions of dollars because of what you and what the national reaction has been to his attacks. >> right. they came out to say they had lost millions. they only carry rush on 38 channels. so you can imagine if you multiply that by a factor of several factors what clear channel is losing. now, rush will have you believe that all of these efforts have
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had no effect, that things are just like they always have been, his ratings are up etc., etc. but his actions tell us something different. he as a communications manager to deal with this. he has obviously launched this babes for rush or whatever it is to push back against the efforts against him. and, in order stoke up flames on twitter he was actually offering free ipads to people who would retweet him. so, he's definitely concerned i think by his actions that this has been very effective. >> i have the quote here from lou dicky, the ceo as you mentioned. he said this has hit us pretty hard. couple million bucks. his words. krystal, i have been listening to rush and in effect watching rush for many, many years. >> poor thing. >> i think i know when he is running scared. he's running scared now. you have gotten to him. he has never tried to defend
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himself in any way beyond his ability to do that just with his radio audience and his raid yes listeners. >> that's exactly right. if you will remember shortly before glen beck went off the air he made the same sort of protest. everything is fine. we have plenty of revenue. it is not having any impact. made fun of those who were leading the efforts against him. if rush was really not feeling the pinch then he wouldn't be talking about this at all, let alone watching babes for rush in an attempt to show he does have supportive women. i just have to go to this. of course a guy who would call women sluts and prostitutes an lard asses and dogs, etc., etc. would launch an organization for women calling it babes and put some like mud flap imagery as the icon for it. it is a very, very strange set of circumstances. >> krystal ball, i know you're ready for what rush is going to


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