tv The Last Word MSNBC May 30, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
not as long as the rockways have been waiting for the a train to come back. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. thanks for being with us. obama and mayor bloomberg are enemies of the constitution, some very crazy people actually believe that. new york mayor michael bloomberg targeted. >> sent two threatening letters. >> a letter containing ricin. >> the bloomberg letters threatened physical harm if the senator's guns were taken away. >> one letter sent to bloomberg at city hall. >> mailed from shreveport, louisiana. >> the other sent to the director of his organization, mayors against illegal guns. >> that just shows there is a lot of fear around this issue. >> our freedom is at risk in this election. >> the gun lobby in this country has done a great job of making people afraid. >> when freedom is at risk, gun owners step up and make a difference.
>> let me read to you what this letter to bloomberg said. >> the right to bear arms is my constitutional, go god-given right. >> without that freedom, we really aren't free at all. >> you have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. >> we will never surrender our guns, never. >> a third ricin laced letter was discovered. >> this one mailed to president obama. >> intended for president obama. >> there is nothing the president will not do to destroy our second amendment. >> the gun lobby in this country has done a great job of making people afraid. >> we will never surrender our guns, never! >> i believe we're going to be able to get this done, sooner or later, we are going to get this right. >> threats and intimidation and bullying will not stop that from happening. 26 days ago, at the national rifle association convention in houston, wayne lapierre said this. >> when it comes to defending the second amendment, we will never sacrifice our freedom on the altar of elitist acceptance. we will never surrender our guns, never!
>> and in that speech, wayne lapierre paid particular attention to two people. >> michael bloomberg. he's gone from mayor in new york to the title of national nanny. now he's joined the president, created his own billionaire super pac, ready to spend hundreds of millions to attack the nra, demonize gun owners, destroy elected officials who won't bow down to his will. and obliterate the second amendment. president obama said this was only round one. round two is on the way. they're coming after us with a vengeance to destroy us. to destroy us and every ounce of our freedom.
today, the united states secret service confirmed that a threatening letter possibly containing the deadly poison ricin was sent to president obama. u.s. secret service can confirm the white house mail screening facility intercepted a letter addressed to the white house that was similar to the letters previously addressed to mayor bloomberg in new york. the letters addressed to mayor bloomberg and his gun control group, mayors against illegal guns, also contain the deadly ricin poison. the threat in that letter to mayor bloomberg echoed wayne lapierre's never surrender battle cry. the letter said, you will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. the right to bear arms is my constitutional, god-given right, and i will exercise that right til the day i die. what's in this letter is nothing compared to what i've got planned for you. joining me now are ej dionne, columnist for "the washington post" and a member of the nra's
enemies list. and joy reid, managing editor of the grio. i have to start with you, you are the only one among us on the nra's enemy list. so you have to be, i guess, these days more careful with your mail than the rest of us do. but when you listen to that language of wayne lapierre saying that, you know, president obama just what an enemy he is to the way of life of members of the nra and then you hear it echoed in this letter, this is getting as ugly as we could possibly expect at this stage. >> that's for sure. i mean, i want to say at the outset, i believe passionately in freedom of speech. and anybody, including wayne lapierre, who wants to attack, go after president obama with words or mike bloomberg, or for that matter, you and me, that is their right.
but our free speech gives us the right to judge their speech. and it gives us the right to ask what kind of effect is this speech happening. is it proportionate. and to say that people like mayor bloomberg or president obama, who want background checks are enemies of freedom, who want to destroy us and destroy our freedom, this is just unacceptably untrue. they can say it if they want. and when you look at the effect it has on some folks, i think you have to take responsibility for that. and i think also our colleague, david corn, made a good point, which is, who is likely to be killed out of this kind of action with the ricin. the person most likely to be killed is the middle class working guy who is sorting that mail. and so we ought to think very hard about how we have debates in this country. i said some pretty tough things about president bush. but i never called him a tyrant
or went in this kind of direction. it's just irresponsible. >> so joy, the nut who wrote the letter says that the right to bear arms is my constitutional, god-given right. so this author believes that god wrote the constitution. >> well, and they also believe that they are aligned with their god in sending poison that could potentially kill or seriously injure another human being. so it's a strange conception of god. >> it's also a god that apparently is very cool with the idea of him shooting in the face. >> correct. >> anyone who comes to his front door. >> yeah. and he's not the first person to employ that kind of rhetoric. there is a certain commentator on the right who was employed by a certain network that isn't this one who said that he would shoot any person that came to his door from the census at one point. we've gotten the rhetoric on the right, has become so paranoid that a true paranoid person could be made crazy by it.
i mean, look, we've gotten asymmetrical warfare out of the national rifle association in response to a nonexistent threat. because nobody has proposed any sort of confiscatory law regarding firearms. nobody has proposed to take away the second amendment, to end it, to take away anybody's right to bear arms. what people are proposing is the mildest, most meager laws for gun control. the toomey/manchin bill that didn't pass is the bare minimum of gun control. but people are sending people like this crazy person over the edge, because in part, you have to look at the rhetoric. war rhetoric. the new president of the nra bringing up the war, quote unquote of northern aggression. saying essentially that barack obama, the president, is an enemy of freedom, enemy of the constitution. this kind of rhetoric can only make crazy people crazier. >> well, ej, one thing that the author of the letters is saying, in effect, is, based on the lies that i have heard from people
like wayne lapierre, this is what i will do in reaction to the lies that i have heard. >> right. i mean, i think joy made an important point, first, that the rhetoric they're using is totally disproportionate. it's basically a straight-out lie to say that a background check bill is going to confiscate anybody's gun, except it will keep it out of the hands of criminals. and secondly, she mentioned the civil war, and how some of that rhetoric is getting in there. i happen to be reading a great old book about the months before the civil war called "and the war came" by a civil war historian, kenneth stamp. and this kind of rhetoric is insurrectionary rhetoric. it sounds exactly like the sort of rhetoric secessionists were using on the eve of the civil war. and so we're a democracy, and the whole point in a democratic
republic is to settle our differences peacefully, to have arguments about real things, to have votes, and then to come back and try to win again if you lose in the first round. that has nothing to do with the kind of violent rhetoric that people are using. >> let's listen to what president obama said about gun control last night. >> we know that if we have some common sense laws that check to see if we're keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, or folks who have significant mental illnesses, we know that that can reduce some deaths. save some kids. doesn't solve the whole problem, but we know that. so -- and we know that 90% of the american people and 80% of gun owners agree with us. why aren't we getting that done. >> and so, joy, that's the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that gets this guy writing a letter to the president, talking about shooting someone in the face.
>> yeah. and how ironic is it that this crazy person has just told us that not only does this crazy person have a gun, but that they intend to shoot people in the face with it. well, i wonder why anybody would want gun control. why would anybody want to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people. who send ricin to the mayor of new york city. you know, fancy that. >> yeah, we want to send this letter-writer his background check right now, to find out. and ej, republican politicians like ted cruz continue to push this kind of paranoia. he did so recently, saying that if manchin and toomey were passed, the next day the argument for the justice department from the obama administration would be this legislation is utterly ineffective. the next day, that's what they would say. so we now need a registry. it's like we've changed the terms of legislative debate in washington now, ej, with the ted cruz world where you say, oh, no, no, it's not the law that we're talking about here that
really bothers me much. it's what they will do, the day after the law that bothers me. that they can't do, because the law doesn't allow it. >> we've always had elements of paranoia in our politics, paranoid style of american politics. but we go through stages, and we are at, i think, a particularly bad stage where you can accuse president obama or liberals of absolutely anything. a lot of this rhetoric is familiar, not only from the precivil war period, but also some of the old john birch society rhetoric that saw conspiracies around every corner. and a paranoid style is not very good in a democracy. in a democracy, we actually have to have some trust in each other, including the people we actually disagree with to know that we have something in common in trying to preserve this democracy of ours. and our friends on the right, some of our friends on the right, have just gone to a place where they should not be as
conservatives. it is not conservative to use this style of rhetoric. >> joy reid and ej dionne, thanks for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> good to be with you. coming up, just how easy is it to buy illegal guns? we will answer that question in tonight's episode of "ask a criminal." a convicted felon will tell us what the illegal gun market is really like. and in new york last night, a bunch of rich republicans paid good money to hear ted cruz insult their intelligence, and they loved it. because they're as crazy as he is. and in the rewrite tonight, how the astonishing success of the tesla car company is rewriting the future of electric cars in this country, thanks to a government loan that tesla has already paid back early. [ male announcer ] this one goes out to all the allergy muddlers.
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johnny depp has dropped out of the film to be based on the book "black mass" yet another take on whitey bulger's life of crime in boston. and so the world may never get to hear johnny depp's version of a boston accent. howard dean and ari melber are up next to talk about president obama's choice for the fbi. [ tires screech ]
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so it's not something i forget. >> okay. were you present when alberto gonzalez visited attorney general ashcroft's bedside? >> yes. >> and am i correct that the conduct of mr. gonzalez and mr. card on that evening troubled you greatly. >> yes. >> remember james comey? he's the republican who served as deputy attorney general in the bush administration. he is now a law professor at columbia university and also the person that sources close to the white house tell nbc news president obama will nominate as the new director of the federal bureau of investigation. in testimony to the senate in 2007, comey explained how in march of 2004, he raced to george washington university hospital in washington, d.c. in order to prevent then white house counsel alberto gonzalez and white house chief of staff, andrew card, from trying to take advantage of a very sick john ashcroft and get him to sign off on a controversial domestic surveillance program.
>> and it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked mr. gonzalez carrying an envelope and mr. card. they came over and stood by the bed, greeted the attorney general very briefly, and then mr. gonzalez began to discuss why they were there, to seek his approval for a matter. and explain what the matter was, which i will not do. and attorney general ashcroft then stunned me. he lifted his head off the pillow, and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me, drawn from the hour-long meeting we had had a week earlier, and in very strong terms expressed himself. and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, "but that doesn't matter, because i'm not the attorney general." i thought i just witnessed an
effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general, because they had been transferred to me. i thought he had conducted himself and i said to the attorney general in a way that demonstrated a strength i had never seen before. but still, i thought it was improper. >> howard dean, that was the most riveting congressional testimony of 2007. and here is the president choosing this republican to be his fbi director. he's going to go have to go through senate confirmation. when he was confirmed as a deputy in the justice department, the vote was unanimous. in your wildest imaginations, which is what it will take, police tell me what ted cruz will say about this nomination, and how it's the worst thing for america. >> this is actually a great test for the republicans. i served with john ashcroft for a long time and he's very conservative, and i didn't agree with very much that john ashcroft believed. but i will tell you that john ashcroft is a principled guy who stood up for what he believed
in. there is some evidence of that. evidently, james comey is similarly principled. here appear to be two principled republicans. and now we're going to see how small the republican party is. because if they go after these guys, because they stood up, with honor and principle, for what they believed was right. then this party doesn't deserve to exist anymore. >> and ari, there is a real professionalism to this choice as fbi director. here is the president, looking at the potential candidates for it, and saying, "i want somebody, you know, who is kind of -- has some real career professional experience in this area. and this one is a republican, and so it adds a kind of politically kind of perfect shape to this particular nomination. >> yeah. especially important now, the fbi reports into doj. doj has faced some criticism that is unfair, some fair. comey, you see a decision by the president to prioritize independence and nonpartisanship.
when you're a president, there is a temptation to pick lackeys for all kinds of positions. to not be a leader. when you pick someone who you know will stand up as comey did, as you just showed. that was a very dramatic and that was over warrantless surveillance and a real debate over terrorism and the limits and the law. those debates continue in a range of areas. what you see in this pic is a president who not only is not afraid, but who welcomes someone who will be enforcing the law that will stand up to the administration, if necessary. >> another important point. this is a ten-year term. so the next president doesn't necessarily get to fill this slot. depending how long they serve. this is a very important appointment. this is the kind of guy or gal, if there were a woman heading the fbi. this is what you want. somebody who is principled, who is not going to say yes or no to any president based on politics. that's what you have to have now as a director of the fbi. >> and ari, what happens to a nomination like this, which would have sailed through the united states senate at any other time, no matter which
better party was in control. but now with the ted cruzes and the rand pauls wandering the floors, what does mean in this senate? >> in essence, a toxic relationship. if you've been in a bad relationship, you know that everything is an opportunity to have a fight, okay? we don't want our government run like a spiteful, toxic relationship. and that's what has happened with elements in the senate. there are, by the way, some senior republicans in the senate who are very concerned about this tendency. but, yes, when you look at judicial nominations, when you look at important posts like atf, labor, epa, what you see is a desire not to vet the person, which is what the constitution requires, but just to use it as another leverage point for a fight. we'll see whether they do that here. >> let's take a look at what this nomination and everything else is up against in the united states senate. we're going to listen to what ted cruz said last night here in new york about the irs. >> and i'll give you the simplest solution to this irs scandal. which is abolish the irs.
>> okay. so this is in new york city, it's ten blocks from here. thousand dollars to get in that room is the minimum, $5,000 if you want to get your picture taken with ted cruz. he says the single stupidest thing you can possibly say about the irs. and, oh, by the way, proposes what is actually the most complex idea offered in government since the invention of the irs, which is just abolish it. he gets wild applause from apparently abject morons with money. and there's a reward for moronism now in that party, and here comes this nomination that seems unopposable to us, but that guy is capable of anything. >> i would actually say none of them are morons. ted cruz is a demagog. >> he knows he's lying. >> but those people are not morons. they're the ones that are going to benefit if you get rid of the irs. >> but to say -- it's like saying we're going get rid of rain.
>> it's silly like rand paul talking about getting rid of the fed. silly idea and if you actually did it, the economy would collapse. this is what you're up against. ted cruz is holding up the budget of the united states of america. senior republicans in the house, in the senate, would like to have a conference committee on the budget. ted cruz and marco rubio and some guy from utah are holding up the budget, because they're right wing nut jobs who fundamentally don't care about the country. what they care about is their own political career, and that is what is wrong with this country today. >> you know, ari, these -- the parties aren't equal in this kind of madness. you cannot go into a democratic party fund-raiser in new york and say something that is absolutely crazy and get anything other than a laugh, because the audience would assume you were joking. you would get a laugh. you would not get, hey, that's a great idea. it doesn't happen. idiocy is applauded as great
ideas by republican audiences. >> exactly. and goes to different ground rules for the party. the far left example would be someone who says we should abolish the military because of mistakes the military has made. >> there is not a united states senator in history who has said anything comparable to what ted cruz has said. no democrat has ever said abolish the military or anything like it. abolish the fbi -- >> it would be someone from a code pink or certain group, and what would happen, all the serious democrats would say, i don't go that fair. governor dean and i were talking in the break how he was perceived to be this far left person, despite being a moderate governor because he opposed the iraq war in the way the rest of the country came around to. there are, unfortunately, different standards here. so the fact that people like cruz can come up here and he also said while he was up here he wants to represent the 47%, but he couldn't even find it in his heart to support the disaster relief funding, which has upset some republicans in new york. so, you know, he's really out there as extremist. not wanting to do anything to serve the public that he's talking about.
he's just doing optics and then just doing campaign slogans. and it's very telling that this is popular -- >> very interesting race. a lot of republicans sort of who drank the kool-aid think he might be a great nominee. and in some ways, he's a very charismatic guy. the problem is, the majority of independents are going to think he's crazy and he's going to scare the hell out of them. so i say, be my guest. >> right. let him step forward. >> yeah. >> but the -- governor, the way the media treats something like that, a comment like that, and i just want to compare it to this moment you had and the presidential campaign where the media came down on you and tried to crush you. because of the volume you chose to speak at over a noisy crowd. not the words you were saying. simply the volume chosen in a noisy crowd. the media decided this man can't be president. >> i actually don't think that's true. i think the reason they went after me, i was taking on the media, as well. my campaign, when you look back on it, was a fight against the democratic party for not standing up for who they are.
and a fight against the media for the bs they sell every day as -- which passes for the truth. and we're having a big fight with the media now. and i believe in the first amendment. i think the media position on the ap stuff is right. but i love watching the media squeal and be sanctimonious because they're the most thin skinned, and now they're a player and they see what it's like to be on the other side. i hope they remember this when they get done. i got taken down because the volume was too high or whatever it was. but i pissed off the establishment, and that's what happens when you miss off the establishment. i also made a lot of mistakes in my campaign. >> well, you know. long time ago. howard dean and ari melber, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. come up, the former campaign aide to michele bachmann who filed the complaint who has her and her campaign staff under fbi investigation tonight. he will join us. we all have something neatly tucked away
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in the spotlight tonight, another episode of "let's ask a criminal." the nra wants you to believe that it's really, really easy to get illegal guns. >> his proposal for a so-called universal background check. at first glance, it sounds like a reasonable, good idea. but there's nothing universal about it at all. think about it. criminals won't be part of that universe. that's common sense. they'll steal their guns or they'll get them at everything else they want on the black market. >> okay. so how easy is it to get guns on the black market? wayne lapierre actually has no idea. for the answer to that, we have to turn to someone who knows. convicted felon, matthew parker, who wrote in "the daily beast." "i challenge any pundit to pocket a few thousand dollars and head out into the streets
alone in any major city, find a shady character and purchase a firearm illegally in the same manner that a psychotic and/or criminal would do if we had effective background checks in place." joining me now, the author of "larceny in my blood," matthew parker. the full title, matthew, of your book is "larceny in my blood: a memoir of heroin, handcuffs and higher education" which i guess has taught you about how hard it is to get illegal guns. >> well, i mean, it would be hard for someone like adam lanza, which was -- or wayne lapierre, or really -- >> or me. i have no idea. i accept your challenge, okay? the pundit to go out and buy a gun. i'm surrendering right now. i'm sitting here telling you, if you give me all the money in the world, i walk out of this building, i don't even know which direction to go. >> right. and, you know, you really have to get through to drug dealers first. and if you get to the arms dealer --
>> meaning, you would start with drug dealers on the assumption that they know somebody who knows somebody. >> that they would know somebody, right. >> and they have to trust you enough. >> right. >> to get to this higher level of crime. >> right. and supposing they don't rob you and you get to the gun dealer, he may rob you. because there's one thing they always leave out. if i sell you a weapon, if i sell you a gun, and you use it to murder somebody, i'm just as culpable as you if it's traced back to me. so there is really a big level of trust there, barring a few crackheads selling a handgun here and there. on the streets, it's not that simple. the streets would eat these people alive. >> and it's a very -- it's a high-risk criminal endeavor, just trying to obtain a gun that way, and that's why so much trust. and i know you and you know me and that's why we're doing it. trust is the currency of gun dealing. >> right. and see, the thing about background checks, it should be hard to buy an illegal weapon. it should be really hard, and,
you know, if you grow up on the streets and you live in those neighborhoods, it's not huh hard to get a weapon. if you're someone like adam lanza, it's really hard. >> you write the price of the illegal weapon is probably ten times higher than getting it over the counter. >> it could be. for a gun like a bushmaster that lanza used, you're going to pay at least twice. i mean, it's -- a couple grand with the six-round -- with the 30-round magazine. >> well, lanza, he basically got his mother's gun. so we're going leave him aside for a moment. when you look at the guy in tucson, he went and got these things over the counter. if he couldn't get them over the counter, what are the chances of a guy like him, who has never been a criminal before, he hasn't spent a lifetime trafficking with criminals and building trust. the nra calls him a criminal, only because of what he did to gabby giffords and killed those people. but the day before that, he wasn't a criminal. >> he wasn't, no. >> and he didn't know how to be one. >> he wouldn't know, no. and they would just take his money. and he would be lucky to get away with his life. >> yeah. first of all, he would have to try to find where in tucson,
arizona can i make this transaction. >> right. >> they look at him, and they go, if we take his money, and we don't give him this gun -- >> right. >> for $5,000, what does he do? nothing. >> nothing. >> so we keep his money. >> they just take -- and they'll be lucky, really, if they don't -- >> this is not like, you know, going to hertz and getting a car. >> no. it's not that easy. >> and so when you hear the nra and others overlooking this degree of difficulty in the obtaining of illegal guns, what does that do to their argument, if they actually -- allowed for the truth of the difficulty of obtaining illegal guns? >> well, i mean, it destroys -- we hear all about demonization. they want to demonization -- they're coming to get your guns, they're coming to get your guns. and we don't need background checks because criminals can get guns real easy. it destroys their argument, really. and if we had better background
checks that would catch people who are mentally disturbed or criminals, then it's even going to be harder. it's going to make it even harder to get it. and if we got rid of the straw purchasers, you know, you could go to arizona and buy 30 assault rifles. and just drive them here to new york. >> matthew parker, the author of "larceny in my blood." this title, i can't get enough of it. a memoir of heroin, handcuffs and higher education. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, how one reviewer called the greatest car ever made is proving that president obama's clean energy investments can be very good business. that's in the rewrite. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but a friend under water is something completely different.
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sadly, 12, 13, 14-year-olds do also. in the real world, 62% of women, ages 20 to 24 who give birth are unmarried. and in the real world, i work and live in and unplanned pregnancy can throw up a road block in a woman's path to escaping the shackles of poverty. what happened to the republican party that i joined? the party where conservative presidential candidate barry goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny. the party where president ronald reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment, regardless of ability to pay. is my thinking too clouded by my experiences in the real world, experiences like having a preacher in the privacy of an exam room say, dock, you've heard me preach against abortion but now my 15-year-old daughter is pregnant, where can i send her? or maybe it was that 17-year-old
foreign exchange student who said, i really made a mistake last night. can you prescribe a morning-after pill for me. i return to my home country pregnant, life as i know it will be over. what happened to the republican party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman's life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her god?" the "rewrite" is next. announcer: where can an investor be a name and not a number? scottrade. ron: i'm never alone with scottrade. i can always call or stop by my local office. they're nearby and ready to help. so when i have questions, i can talk to someone who knows exactly how i trade. because i don't trade like everybody. i trade like me. that's why i'm with scottrade.
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shingles forced me out of the water. the doctor asked me "did you have chickenpox when you were a child?" the pain level was so high, it became unbearable. so, i'm working on a cistern intake valve, and the guy hands me a locknut wrench. no way! i'm like, what is this, a drainpipe slipknot? wherever your business takes you, you can save money with progressive commercial auto. [ sighs ] [ flo speaking japanese ] [ shouting in japanese ] we work wherever you work. now, that's progressive. call or click today. was a record collection. no. there was that fuzzy stuff on the gouda. [ both ] ugh! when it came to our plants... we were so confused. how much is too much water?
too little? until we got miracle-gro moisture control. it does what basic soils don't by absorbing more water, so it's there when plants need it. yeah, they're bigger and more beautiful. guaranteed. in pots. in the ground. in a ukulele. are you kidding me? that was my idea. with the right soil... everyone grows with miracle-gro. elan musk, founder of tesla motors, has often been accused of being too far ahead of his time. last week, musk was proven guilty, given a 12-year, $465 million loan. in 2010, musk got a little bit ahead of himself last week, and repaid the loan, every last penny, nine years early. rewriting the future of electric cars in the process. now some republicans are struggling to figure out how the big, bad government could have possibly guessed right on a clean energy program.
tesla's loan wasn't supposed to be repaid until marco rubio was halfway through his second term as president. but it turns out that if you give a bunch of intelligent innovators the seed money to conduct innovative research, the innovators will sometimes successfully innovate. for nearly a decade now, elan musk has been the golden boy of energy-efficient engineering, driving change across the industry as conventional automakers find themselves forced to keep up with that annoying pest called progress. tesla's new model-s car introduced this year has set new standards for mass production electric vehicles. the model-s is capable of traveling 300 miles on a single charge. it was named automobile of the year by "automobile" magazine and was just rated 99 out of 100 by "consumer reports," the highest rating "consumer reports" has ever given a car. so how did tesla manage to pay
off its government loan nine years early? apparently, when you create one of the best cars ever made, drivers will actually demand it. and with the first run of 23,000 model-s cars immediately sold out, the company's stock skyrocketed. tesla quickly sold some shares, and immediately wired the money raised in the market straight to the department of energy. this was followed by elan musk announcing last night that tesla will be tripling its number of recharge stations by the end of june. some republicans have been quick to declare tesla's success as little more than a stroke of luck for the government, turning their attention back to solyndra, a failed solar panel company, given a $535 million loan under the obama administration, just a slightly larger loan than what tesla received. no matter what solyndra's loan program followed in the
footsteps of the advanced technology vehicles manufacturing loan program, it followed in that legislation passed by republican-controlled congress, which was signed into law by none other than george w. bush. that's the program solyndra was using. so essentially, then, the republican argument against clean energy loan programs is, if any -- if any of the investments ever fail, then the entire program is a failure. now, to the investor out there who has never made a losing investment, i salute you and implore you to let me, the government and the whole rest of the world in on your secrets. yes, some investments succeed, and some investments fail. the most successful investor in history, warren buffett, has made investments that failed. that's kind of how investing works. you just hope your winners
outnumber your losers. the government can certainly try its best to get it right every time. but let's remember that babe ruth had a .342 batting average and muhammad ali last five times in his career. and even if the federal government is not exactly the floyd mayweather of investments, the federal government getting it wrong on energy investments is not quite a new phenomenon. republican president, richard nixon, in 1971 gave out a little loan for the building of an experimental nuclear reactor at clinch river in tennessee. a decade later, the federal government had handed over $4 billion in today's dollars for a reactor that never even got built. making solyndra look like spare change that fell out of the government's pocket. on the other hand, take the tale of motorcycle giant harley-davidson. with the recession of 1982 pushing the company to the verge of bankruptcy, as japanese firms were dumping their motorcycles into the u.s. market, harley-davidson turned to the
government for help. their wish was granted. by a man named ronald reagan, who signed into law a five-year tariff on japanese motorcycles, the most precisely targeted tariff we have ever had. the handout worked so well that in 1986, harley-davidson got back in the saddle, rode into washington, and declared the government's aid could be ended a year early. nearly 30 years later, fortunes have been made on harley-davidson's stock, and harley-davidson is a world leader in motorcycle production. and so, thanks to the federal government, the favorite company of both ronald reagan and the hell's angels is thriving today. it's no coincidence that president obama's success with tesla looks like a page from reagan's playbook, because they both took a practical approach to targeting assistance to specific industries they thought they could help.
republican or democrat, both could agree on one simple principle. innovators can innovate if we give them a chance. of course, a bad egg will find its way into the carton from time to time. and often the great successes won't exactly be fodder for the front page headlines like magnesium alloys improving car batteries or electrical ballasts that produce more efficient bulbs. clean energy loan programs are a bet on the future. and if we won't bet on the future, then soon enough we'll have nothing left to do but fold. >> so how did i do? >> you know, lawrence, you've got the face of an angel on the voice of that same angel. >> there you go. >> not a bad actor. >> make eric brewster, very last night on "the last word", the author of every word. every word you just heard in that rewrite script i was reading off that teleprompter.
senior year in college is going to be easy after this, right? >> if you say so. >> come on, you did it in like an hour and a half. set a world speed record. >> all about procrastinating for the first eight hours and cramming for the last. >> exactly the way we do it here. great job, eric, the greatest intern we have had so far this summer, and actually the only one we've had so far this summer. >> i'll take what i can get. >> you'll take it. we'll be right back. a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪
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inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff. >> michele bachmann and her staff are currently under investigation by the fbi, federal elections commission, office of congressional ethics, iowa senate ethics committee, and even the urbandale, iowa police department for multiple allegations, one that she took money from her super pac to pay her presidential campaign political director for campaign work. if true, a violation of fec rules. a second allegation is that michele bachmann approved under-the-table payments to an iowa state senator for campaign work. if true, that is a violation of iowa senate ethics rules. michele bachmann denies any wrongdoing. those accusations and more are the subject of an fec complaint filed by peter wall driven who served as national field coordinator on bachmann's presidential campaign. peter joins me now. thank you very much for joining me tonight, peter.
>> thank you, lawrence. you did a good job going through that litany of charges. you're absolutely right. >> well, tell me what you think is the most serious charge in all of these complaints that you know about. >> i think the most serious charge within the context of the complaints is that first one, and that is that the political action committee, michele-pac, did fund -- guy short was funded. he happens to be michele's chief fund-raiser and executive director of michele-pac. if you will, he wrote himself checks, totaling $40,000 in 30 days. while serving as the campaign's national political director. so i think that's the most serious. but i think the most serious issue on the horizon that may
have contributed to the candidate's decision to retire is that there was no settlement in the becky v. bachmann lawsuit. that's a real problem. because all of the defendants who were senior advisers to the candidate must now testify under oath, in deposition, and must provide interrogatories and the discovery process. and in that entire process, someone is going to ask each of the defendants, did michelle know, what dhe know, when did she find out -- >> peter, let me ask you that. what did michele bachmann know about that first thing you said, about the $40,000 being paid to guy short? what did she know about that? >> i cannot speak to that specifically. what i do know is that the fec records clearly show a fact that, in fact, he paid himself $40,000.
what i do know is that he has been michele's fund-raiser for several years. and what i do know, he was one of her closest advisers. what he shared with her privately, i am not privy to. but i have every reason to believe that she trusted mr. short's good judgment, and it appears that he may have disappointed her and failed her candidate for sure. >> did you ever see michele bachmann looking at a campaign -- any campaign financial data at all or any spending? >> no, sir. >> at all? >> no, sir. >> go ahead. >> i was simply saying, in my position, i would not have access to her knowledge or her access to the financial reports. certainly, she had to remain current. i know under the tenure of our first campaign manager, ed rollins, he insisted she remain current on what was happening financially.
but he left in august. what happened after august, i have no idea. >> pete waldron gets tonight's "last word." thanks very much for joining us, peter. >> thank you so much. have a great day. choose your weapons. scandals, or jobs? let's play "hardball." good evening. good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. politics is what you're talking about. if you're talking about the national debt, bet on republicans. same with crime. that's another good issue for them. benghazi. better yet, think irs. that will get you votes if you're a republican. or if nothing else is happening, say they're coming to get your guns. this is the conversation in this country right now. they're not talking about the debt, we're talking about benghazi or the irs or here's