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updated 2/6/2013 10:31:44 AM ET 2013-02-06T15:31:44

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
February 5, 2013

Guests: Marielena Hincapie, Ryan Grim, Jonathan Capehart, Sam Stein, Adam Ellick

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The madmen of the Republican Party tried to
brand -- tried to rebrand something that most Americans still aren`t
buying.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: Our House Republican majority stands
ready.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: House Majority Leader Cantor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A major policy address.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cantor appeared to move to the middle.

CANTOR: We`ll advance proposals aimed at producing results.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: Eric Cantor.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Eric Cantor 4.0.

BASHIR: Extreme makeover edition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politics is often about reinventing yourself.

CANTOR: I think we learned a lot of lessons from the last election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some really self-destructive candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They got a shellacking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re tone deaf.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: They`re getting killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some significant candidate quality problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to change our rhetoric a little bit.

JANSING: He is talking about the tone.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: There is no desire for any opposition.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We have to show our ideas are better
at fighting poverty.

CANTOR: How are we going to help people?

RYAN: How are our ideas are better at solving health care.

CANTOR: Health care, education, job growth.

LIMBAUGH: It`s going to get worse even from this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Humane rhetoric? Yes.

JANSING: Is it enough just to tweak talking points?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Humane policies? Question mark.

HALL: Cantor appeared to move to the middle.

CANTOR: Our House Republican majority stands ready.

HALL: Calling for immigration reform.

JANSING: Big day for immigration.

CANTOR: It`s time to provide an opportunity.

LIMBAUGH: It`s going to get worse.

CANTOR: For legal residents and citizenship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Providing citizenship and a path for legalization.

CANTOR: For those who were brought to this country as children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the GOP learning its lesson on immigration?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politics is often about reinventing yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eric Cantor is worried about his own political
future.

LIMBAUGH: That epitomizes how lost they all feel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s where he`s trying to make over the
Republican Party.

LIMBAUGH: It`s going to get worse even from this point.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The first thing we do, let`s kill all the lawyers. So
said Shakespeare in Henry VI.

Today, Shakespeare would surely turn his wrath away from the lawyers,
who actually sometimes do some good and indeed some great things sometimes
for justice. Today, Shakespeare would surely aim all his homicidal rage at
marketers, at madmen, on the self-proclaimed advertising and marketing
geniuses who spend their days convincing companies with something to sell
that they will tell the most seductive lies about their products, in order
to sell more and more of them.

And when the marketers` lies to consumers don`t work, they then tell
the companies their biggest lie -- all you have to do is rebrand yourself.

Today, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fell for the
marketer`s big lie and tried to re-brand the Republican Party. The new
Republican brand is health, happiness and prosperity party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: Our House majority will pursue an agenda that is based on a
shared vision of creating the conditions of health, happiness and
prosperity, will advance proposals aimed at producing results, in areas
like education, health care, innovation, and job growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Later, on the health, happiness and prosperity channel,
Eric Cantor explained what convinced him that it was time to re-brand the
Republican Party and that what convinced him was the last election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: What I think is we can learn a lot from the last election.
You know? And, you know, the last election, we -- really spoke a lot about
the macro-fiscal situation in this country, which is not good for people.
But it`s almost as if we didn`t complete the sentence. We`ve got to
demonstrate why we`re doing it and explain why we`re doing what we`re
doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A few minutes later on the health, happiness and
prosperity channel, Republican Bill Kristol did not sound exactly thrilled
about the new health, happiness and prosperity party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: They should worry less about how they
look and they should just act according to conservative principles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll answer your question, they left it out. They
lost a lot of Senate races.

KRISTOL: And who were most of the people who lost?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were --

KRISTOL: Establishment candidates, now the establishment is going to
come in, right, two Tea Party candidates last, about seven establishment
candidates lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Todd Akin branded the whole party --

KRISTOL: Oh, is that right? The Republicans were running ahead --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eric Cantor who has studied the issues carefully,
at least I hope he got his money`s worth, is doing important things in this
speech. He`s saying --

KRISTOL: And the Republican establishment, they`re coming to the
rescue --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe to talk about --

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And former Republican leader Rush Limbaugh, who now seems
largely ignored by the health, happiness and prosperity Republican Party,
believes poor Eric Cantor is a lost soul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: There is no resistance to Obama anywhere. And it`s going
to get worse even from this point. There is no political impetus. There
is no perceived upside for Republicans for standing in the way of Obama.

It is because of who Obama is and what his policies are. And the
perception that the American people massively support it all. And that`s
why Cantor is saying we`re going to have to do a better job of explaining
who we are. We need to do a better job of explaining why we are doing what
we`re doing.

That`s -- I think -- that epitomizes of how lost they all feel. And,
right now, folks, there is no fight. There is no desire for any opposition
of any kind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, wouldn`t you like to live in Rush Limbaugh`s
world, where I quote, "There is not any resistance to Obama anywhere."
Rush Limbaugh world.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Yes. I like sad Rush. He`s kind of loveable.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Sad Rush.

REID: He is sad. You know, it`s funny. I think they should just
rename the party the peace, love and puppy`s party and have everybody over
and have a slumber, because it is hilarious to watch the despair on the
right. You know, even --

O`DONNELL: Rush seems to think that just because they oppose pretty
much all of President Obama`s policies --

REID: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- there is no opposition if they`re not questioning where
he was born every day and attacking him.

REID: Right. Because substantively, all they`ve been doing the last
four years is opposing everything that Obama wants to do, even if it`s
things they wanted to do. They`ve just been opposing them. That hasn`t
worked out well.

The last election preferred Barack Obama`s policies and prefer him
quite frankly as a character to them. So, now, I guess, they`re going to
try to be a different version of him, only slightly more conservative, I
don`t get it.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Rush Limbaugh said about the new
marketing plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: It seems like every day, a new Republican goes to the
microphones to offer an opinion about what they need to do, in order to
reverse their fortunes. And I think it`s time they stopped telling
everybody what they need to do and just do it. But you never tell people
what the marketing plan is, because then you give people a chance to resist
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, I am too pure of soul, as you know, to
analyze a marketing plan, because a marketing plan is a cynical thing. And
so, Richard, I turn to you.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you so much. I`ll
take it in the spirit in which it was meant.

O`DONNELL: T interpret for us the new Republican marketing plan.

WOLFFE: So I like Rush, lament people going to the microphones, like
the big golden thing in front of his face, voicing their opinions about
what the party should do, because, you know, whose part is it anyway?
There is at the heart of the philosopher Rush`s analysis is what he said in
that first byte, he said, the perception that the majority of people
supported this president.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

WOLFFE: I think in the reality-based world, I never thought I would
say this, but Eric Cantor is in the reality-based world. He understands
that they lost the election, because it wasn`t the perception of the
majority of the people, it was actually the majority of the voters who said
that the president was on the right track and they like his policies, thank
you very much.

This marketing thing that we`re talking about, at the most shallow,
it`s the slogans, it`s the small furry animals and motherhood and apple
pie, and happiness and everything else. But actually doing stuff is
politics. That`s what it is.

So, Rush Limbaugh could say, with this party should just go and do
stuff. You can only get to do stuff if you win elections, you can only get
to win election if you can tell people what you stand for. It has to be
something more than happiness, but that is what a political debate is, and
maybe Rush needs to get closer to his microphone or take some more
medication.

O`DONNELL: And marketers apparently are not exactly the most original
people in the world. They seem to want to go with what works.

And as my plane was landing tonight at Newark airport, by the way, for
a change, which is why the show was so different. They had Direct TV on
the plane, and I actually saw on Al Sharpton`s hour that they came up with
a way of putting together two speeches that sound very similar. Let`s
listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it starts by
making sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success.

CANTOR: Our goal is to ensure that every American has a fair shot to
earn success.

OBAMA: That`s why immigrants from around the world historically have
flocked to our shores.

CANTOR: That hope led generation of immigrants to risk everything, to
endure a tough journey to come to our shores.

OBAMA: We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and
training.

CANTOR: As job markets are changing, more skills, training and
education are needed.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

O`DONNELL: Joy, President Obama and the speech writers are the best
speechwriters of my lifetime. But I resist stealing their stuff all the
time because I think -- I feel like I`d get caught. I mean, come on!

REID: Yes, but they don`t, it is funny you picked out the part of the
speech --

O`DONNELL: No, I didn`t. The Sharpton team found that. Did a great
work on that.

REID: Well, because the fair line really stuck out to me, too. I
read the speech over here at the car, and I was like, wait a minute, if you
just close your mind off and forget this is a Republican, that this is the
guy whose House of Representatives has been doing nothing but passing anti-
abortion bills and trying to cut nothing but PBS and food stamps and trying
to get rid of meals on wheels for the last four years, and just read this
speech, you would think this came out of the White House.

So, the really cynical fact is they`re trying to take Obama`s
rhetoric, but substantively what it`s covering is the exact same policies
they always had. They still want to cut food stamps. They still want to
cut Medicaid. It`s very cleverly disguised in the speech. But, really,
they are borrowing Barack Obama`s lines.

O`DONNELL: Now, the most cynical of all Republican marketers, Karl
Rove, I save it admiringly. No, I mean, Rove is about winning. He doesn`t
care about policies. He believes the tax rate should be whatever is in the
winning tax rate in the campaign. He is now getting attacked by the Tea
Party side because he is trying to form a new PAC the so-called reasonable
Republicans against the nuts.

Rove was just attacking on "Hannity" talking about the people who are
attacking him. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The groups that have most gone out
with their little e-mails and their fundraising pitches are groups that are
not like Crossroads, in that they are fundraising entities where most of
the money get sucked into overhead and go to the pocket of the person who
owns the Web site or owns the political action committee. Remember, I`m a
volunteer. I don`t take a dime from Crossroads.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Richard, this is the fascinating current civil war in
Republican world, Rove versus the Tea Party.

WOLFFE: Yes, it is. Although I think Rove has done pretty well being
a political consultant. I`m just going to be a little skeptical, even if
he was sitting in what looked like the lobby of the holiday inn in Newark
actually, look, there is -- this is a fascinating debate, not just because
we`re seeing these personal rivalries, but this is what a party looks like
when it has gone to an extreme, people realized it doesn`t not work and
they`re trying to tact back.

Now, for the president, for the White House and Democrats, in general,
that offers up a whole range of opportunities that didn`t exist before.
When they were marching in lockstep, when the policy was no defectors, no
splitting of any votes, no sense of giving the president any sense of
bipartisanship -- this is healthy for Republicans. It`s healthy for
politics in general.

The question is can they resolve it? Whether or not it`s Karl Rove or
any other outside group, can they resolve this difference and find a more
mainstream tact in the next two years, because that`s all they`ve got. If
they lose in the next mid-terms, they`re going to be in a whole world of
pain going into the next presidential election. We just don`t know, but
it`s going to be fascinating to watch.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, Richard Wolffe, thank you both for joining me
tonight.

Coming up, Eric Cantor`s big policy flip-flop, and there was one in
the speech today.

And who has better comedy writers -- David Letterman or Chris
Christie? We`ll show the Republican, the only I guess, who is not afraid
of Dave.

And in the rewrite tonight, FOX News is re-writing its roster of
pundits and getting rid of the people who have never been right about
anything ever. We`ll give you the greatest hits of FOX News biggest
losers, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: First, FOX News dumped Sarah Palin. And tonight, they
fired another one of their pundits just because he was always wrong about
everything. The latest to follow Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin out the door
at FOX News is coming up in tonight`s rewriter.

And Malala Yousufzai records her first video since the 15-year-old
girl was shot in the head by the Taliban. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: God said I need somebody willing to get up before dawn,
milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go
to town and stay past midnight at the meeting at the school board -- so God
made a farmer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: If you had nothing better to do on Sunday, you may have
seen that ad for Dodge trucks which provoked this reaction from a Latino
rights group.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: God said I need somebody willing to get up before dawn,
milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go
to town and stay past midnight at the meeting at the school board -- so God
made a farmer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today in his re-branding speech, Eric Cantor did his first
big post-election policy flip-flop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: A good place to start is with kids. One of the great
founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished
for the mistakes of their parents. And it is time to provide an
opportunity for legal residents and citizenship for those who are brought
to this country as children and who know no other home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Two years ago, Eric Cantor had the chance to vote for a
path to citizenship for millions of people brought to this country
illegally by their parents, it was called the DREAM Act. Eric Cantor voted
against it.

And so why does Eric Cantor believe in punishing those children?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: As I stated before, the elections, the
elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic
citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama, who won 71 percent of the Latino vote met
with immigration reform supporters at the White House. After the meeting,
Marielena Hincapie of the National Immigration Law Center said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIELENA HINCAPIE, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER: What we are
demanding is a road to citizenship that is clear, that is direct, not
depending at all on additional enforcement, whether it is border security,
or any other types of enforcement. We believe that -- this administration
has done more on border enforcement and on interior enforcement than any
other administration. That is not the starting point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Marielena Hincapie, and Ryan Grim of "The
Huffington Post".

Marielena, what did you learn at your meeting today with the
president?

HINCAPIE: Well, it was a very candid conversation, very productive.
We learned that the president is leaning into it. He is aligned with us.
He believes as well that the path to citizenship has to be a real one, and
a direct one that I think it will show whether the Republicans are legit or
not about whether or not they want a path to citizenship or whether it`s
just politics.

O`DONNELL: Did he indicate to you that he sees a legislative strategy
for getting this through both bodies, House and Senate?

HINCAPIE: I mean, I think he expressed that he is optimistic, I
think, that we all believe that the Senate, it needs to lead first. And
that with the momentum that we have, the political power, I think as
Senator John McCain said, it`s the elections, elections, elections, that
John Boehner will see, as well, that there is a need to pass immigration
reform. We didn`t get into the logistics of what the House strategy would
be.

O`DONNELL: Ryan Grim is the momentum building with Cantor`s flip-
flop, does that create more momentum?

RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Sure, I mean, it certainly moves one
end of the debate. Republicans now more or less have to be for the DREAM
Act or they`re considered not part of it, anywhere near the reasonable
conversation. But you know, look, if they want to put the dream act up
alone and push it forward, I imagine that Democrats would say, OK, fine.
We`ll do the DREAM Act if that`s all we can get.

But, you know, Republicans are fooling themselves if they think that
the DREAM Act is going to be enough to get comprehensive immigration
reform.

You know, Democrats are going to want legalization for everyone who is
here, who hasn`t committed a crime, et cetera, et cetera, in order to give
the Republicans what they want in the comprehensive bill. So just the
DREAM Act is not going to be enough, but it is a step in the Democratic
direction.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what some of this issue is going to be up
again in the House of Representatives. Steve King -- Congressman Steve
King at a hearing today in the House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: We have about what, 6.3 billion people on
the planet. So that would be a universe that you addressed, I think. But
do you believe that there should be a limit to the number of people brought
into the United States?

MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO (D), SAN ANTONIO, TX: I do think that the answer
is to increase the number of high-skilled immigrants that we have. But
also to put the folks who are already here --

KING: But Mayor Castro, what I`m hearing here is that you wouldn`t
put a limit on any of those groups, you would just fill up the categories
essentially by demand. And that demand is potentially the entire
population of the planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What do you say to someone who worries about the entire
planet coming to the 50 states, as a result of immigration reform?

HINCAPIE: I think if he is worried about the entire planet, he should
support climate change efforts. But that said, this is really about --
this shows today`s judiciary hearing in the House shows how out of touch
some of our elected officials are in the House, and unfortunately, I think
in the Senate, as well.

And really, the election showed that demographics are destiny. If the
Republican Party and, in fact, as a Democratic Party, both parties need to
know that their faith is tied to the demographic changes in the country.
The Latino vote at 71 percent, the Asia-Pacific American vote at 75
percent, the majority of African-Americans, majority of women, majority of
young people voted for Obama.

And there is a clear majority in this country that is saying it is
time we fixed the system. Immigration reform has to happen, it has to be
common sense, and a road to citizenship is an essential component to that.

O`DONNELL: Ryan Grim, where is John Boehner on this? Is he is in a
kind of noncommittal straddle between Steve King world and where Eric
Cantor now is?

GRIM: Yes. Like he often does, he is playing it kind of smart, he`s
just kind of standing back and waiting to see what happens. You know, he
realizes that House Republicans are not going to drive this. John McCain,
Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, the other Republicans in the Senate are going
to hammer something out with Democrats over the course of the next several
weeks. And if that blows up, then the House is off the hook.

So why expend any capital, you know, ticking off his far right base if
they`re not going to have to do anything? He can just continue to say I
encourage people to compromise and be reasonable. And that is really his
best play at this spot.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of that hearing today with the House
judiciary chairman questioning the mayor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Question is,
what to do about the 10 million or more people who are not lawfully here?
Are you and do you think others are open to finding some ground between a
pathway to citizenship and the current law, which would be to require the
deportation? Many circumstances, whether that is being enforced today or
not?

CASTRO: In terms of the 11 million folks who are here, certainly
putting them on a path to citizenship, ensuring that after they pay taxes,
they pay a fine, they learn English, they get to the back of the line,
that`s the best option.

O`DONNELL: What about some possible middle ground? That is going to
come up in the legislative compromising?

HINCAPIE: I think the Senate bipartisan committee has already -- the
gang of 8 in the Senate has already talked about immediate, temporary
status which would give people work authorization. And then the question
is, does the road to citizenship, is that a clear and direct road to what
President Obama is saying, what we are saying, the Senate bipartisan
committee is saying is contingent on more border security?

That`s the piece we feel is a nonstarter.

O`DONNELL: Marielena, thank you for coming straight from the White
House driveway to THE LAST WORD. Thank you very much for doing that.

HINCAPIE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And Ryan Grim, thanks for joining us tonight.

HINCAPIE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Republican who isn`t afraid of Dave.
There`s one, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie`s appearance on
David Letterman last night. That`s coming up.

And in the rewrite tonight, breaking news, FOX News just fired one of
their primetime players, just because he was wrong all the time, about
everything. What`s up with that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": I have got many fat Christie jokes. So
governor, come on our show. I`ve got hundreds more that you can read.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, "THE VIEW: And we have a better chair for you.

BEHAR: Yeah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the politics of late night. New
Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on "The Late Show" with David
Letterman last night. Governor Christie`s first order of business with
Dave addressed the obvious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW": I have made jokes about you, not
just one or two, not just ongoing, here or there, intermittent, but --

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: I do have a couple that you did that actually are some of
my personal favorites. Celebrity birthday today, Chris Christie turned 50.
He blew out the candles on his cake, and he wished for another cake.

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: A billion will be spent on potato chips for Super Bowl
Sunday. And that is just at Governor Christie`s house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Dave got a little more specific.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: How is your cholesterol?

CHRISTIE: Actually, you know, Dave, my cholesterol is normal, believe
it or not.

LETTERMAN: That is pretty good.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

LETTERMAN: And what about your blood sugar?

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: Blood sugar also normal.

LETTERMAN: Also normal.,

CHRISTIE: I am basically the healthiest fat guy you have ever seen in
your life.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Governor Christie did have some criticisms, but not for
Letterman, for Congress. Here is what he had to say about the delay in
getting federal relief money for Hurricane Sandy victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: They have to explain what the holdup was. Because they
promised me it was going to get done and it didn`t. And then when I tried
to get an explanation, they wouldn`t answer the phone. And that is not a
good to do with me. Then I start getting more and more pissed off. Then
you know -- just you know, answer the phone.

Unfortunately it is a different atmosphere there now. People aren`t
working with each other the way they should. They`re not talking to each
other the way they should.

LETTERMAN: Was it John Boehner? Was it -- was that who it was?

CHRISTIE: Listen, he ultimately made the decision not to have the
vote on January 2nd, as it had been promised to have. It was -- when I
spoke to him finally, he told me, it was his decision. I made my thoughts
known clearly to him. And I was actually less gentle privately than I was
publicly.

LETTERMAN: Good for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In New Jersey, Governor Christie now enjoys a 74 percent
approval rating, his highest job approval ever.

Joining me now, Jonathan Capehart, "Washington Post" opinion writer
and MSNBC analyst, and Sam Stein, "Huffington Post" White House
correspondent and political editor, and an MSNBC contributor.

Jonathan Capehart, as we all know, as any political scientist now
knows, the road to the White House passes through David Letterman`s show.
John McCain refused to go on Letterman, lost the presidency. Mitt Romney
refused to go on Letterman, lost the presidency. There is Chris Christie
going on Letterman. Next stop where?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Next stop -- well, next
stop he is going to run for re-election as governor. But you know, the
good thing about what Chris Christie is doing is, one, we`re all talking
about him. We`ve been watching the clip of him eat that donut since 6:00
this morning. And I laugh every time.

The other thing it does is it shows that he has a sense of humor, that
he is listening to all of these jokes. He knows what people are saying
about him and his weight. And he is willing to laugh at himself, which --
not that he needed to humanize himself anymore, but it humanizes him to a
national audience, who might see him as just the guy who yells and screams
at Republicans or at the president when -- you know, in the middle of the
presidential campaign or in other situations.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to another exchange with Dave talking about
his political future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: If you were reelected and then you had to run a campaign
for 2016, would you do that to the people of New Jersey? Would they let
you do that?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I think everybody understands that if you see
something you think you can do and you can do it well, then people give you
a fair opportunity to do it. I`m nowhere near making that decision yet, at
all. I mean, I think anybody who tries to plan in politics that far in
advance is crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So Sam Stein, I take that as a yes, I`m running for
president in 2016?

SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Yes. I mean, it is crazy not to
plan that far in advance in politics. Plus, as you noted correctly, now
that he has been on Letterman, you might as well throw out Nate Silver`s
projections and all that stuff because he is a shoe-in, right? There`s
nothing else to it.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He did a press conference today in which this weight
issue came up again. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: The idea that somehow, you know, I don`t care about this,
of course I care about it. And I`m making the best effort I can. And
sometimes I`m successful. And other times I`m not. And sometimes periods
of great success are followed by periods of great failure.

And so you know, that is just the way it has worked for me for
probably the last 30 years of my life. My doctor continues to warn me that
my luck is going to run out relatively soon. So believe me, it is
something that I`m very conscious of.

But in terms of people in the state being concerned about whether or
not it prevents me from being able to do my job effectively, I think they
have seen the results of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, speaking as somebody who had a -- as
Chris Christie would put it, a period of great failure with my diet this
weekend, I can completely understand, not on the scale of Chris Christie.
But I can completely understand the way he is talking about that. And I
think everyone out there can.

CAPEHART: Well, right. Again, he is talking not like a politician,
but like an everyday person who struggles with his or her weight, the ups
and the downs. You know, I never had to struggle with it before, but now
since crossing the tender barrier of now being in my 40s, I now see -- like
holy smokes, I can`t eat and I have to exercise and I have to do all of
these things. It is just hard.

So I think, you know, give Chris Christie, you know, great points for
just being willing to entertain -- not just entertain the questions, but to
answer them truthfully and honestly.

STEIN: John, first of all, you don`t look a day over 39. Secondly,
just to add to your point -- because I do think there is something
legitimate about it. But to humanize a politician is very rare.
Oftentimes they present something that is, you know, an image that they
want you to see. But with Chris Christie, obviously his weight is an
issue. It`s a personal failing that he acknowledges, that he struggles
with.

And in some respects, it`s almost akin to how President Obama admitted
to struggling with smoking. It is a problem he has to deal with
continuously, I guess up until a few years ago. But it made us understand
that these aren`t projections. These are people. I think from a political
standpoint, that is a valuable thing to do.

O`DONNELL: But Jonathan, there is a huge difference between smoking
and this issue. We never saw the president smoke. It is something you can
do kind of secretly, if you must. And apparently he didn`t do it all that
much anyway. And Chris Christie`s problem is quite visible. We all
recognize it. And, you don`t have to actually see him do the joke of
eating the donut to get what this problem is.

CAPEHART: Right. And you know, there was something in that clip that
you showed that struck -- that stood out for me. It was when he said his
doctor warned him that his luck is going to run out relatively soon.

O`DONNELL: That is dramatic language.

CAPEHART: Yeah. And so I`m thinking, well, wait a minute, when is
relatively soon? Is that at the end of your first term. So the people of
New Jersey give you a second term? How soon is relatively soon? So
clearly, this is -- he might be the healthiest fat man we`ve ever seen, but
I wonder where on the scale of healthy is he really? Is he here? If this
is healthy? Or is he here?

O`DONNELL: Well, I guess, Sam, my interpretation of that line is
Chris Christie plans to do something significant and noticeable about his
weight if he is going to run for president. It sounds to me like that line
about his doctor indicates he knows he has to take some kind of step
physically with this in order to run for president.

STEIN: Yeah. And remember when his name was being floated as a
potential candidate in 2012, there were a slew of stories written about
whether his weight would pose a problem for his political ambitions. I
tend to think that these stories, these questions are perfectly fair game.
You`re elected -- you`re in elected office. You`re accountable to the
people.

We wrote a story about, for instance, Sonya Sotomayor having Diabetes.
We thought that was perfection fair game, because these are questions that
need to be answered. Obviously, John McCain had his own health issues when
he was running. And the age issues, of course, have been raised for
McCain, and will be if Joe Biden runs.

So, you know, it remains to be seen. Maybe he will end up losing
weight in anticipation of a run. Or maybe it will just be a life-style
change that he will encounter in the next coming months.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart and Sam Stein, MSNBC`s senior and junior
diet analysts. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

CAPEHART: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Not saying which is senior and which is junior. You guys
decide that.

STEIN: Oh, we know that.

O`DONNELL: OK. Thank you, guys.

Next in the Rewrite, the new standards at Fox News. Tonight`s firing
of Dick Morris seems to indicate it is no longer cool for Fox News pundits
to just always be wrong about everything.

And Malala speaks. Malala Yousufzai has made her first speaking
videos since she was shot by the Taliban. And she has been nominated for a
Nobel Prize. All that is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: First Sarah Palin, now big Dick Morris. Fox News is
Rewriting its roster of pundits, and in the process getting rid of its most
ridiculous players. "Politico" reports that Fox News has decided not to
renew Dick Morris` contract. Dick Morris, who first achieved fame as an
adviser to Bill Clinton and then desperately clung to fame as an attacker
of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and all Democrats, at Fox News. He will
surely resurface somewhere, somehow.

In the meantime, we`ll always have our memories of Dick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This was an unbelievable win for
Sarah Palin. In fact, I think that it unveils a level of skill in
communication that I really have not seen since Ronald Reagan. She is a
superstar. Her ability to bypass the conventional wisdom of Washington,
her ability to speak in a tone and a genre, a style that was so authentic
and so outside of the mainstream was just unbelievable.

Barack Obama might be -- might be the first anti-American president we
have ever had.

You cannot count out at this point Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann.

I guarantee you, Sean, based on what I have heard from third parties
or I have spoken to, that William Jefferson Clinton is going to cast his
ballot for Mitt Romney,

I can`t account for those two differences because there are so many
factors that go into it. My general comment about these polls is that they
understate the Romney vote and overstate the Obama vote because they`re
using a 2008 model of turnout.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you still confident Mitt Romney
is going to win the election?

MORRIS: Absolutely, by a good bit.

O`REILLY: All right, Dick Morris everybody.

MORRIS: I believe if the election were held today, Romney would win
by four or five points. I believe he would carry Florida, Ohio, Virginia.
I believe he would carry Nevada. I believe he would carry Pennsylvania.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Oh, come on.

MORRIS: Pennsylvania. And I believe he would be competitive in
Michigan.

We`re going to win by -- Romney will win by a very large margin, a
landslide, if you will. I believe he will win by more than five points in
the popular vote. I think he`ll get 325 electoral votes.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening, Dick. All right,
Dick, what do you think?

MORRIS: We`re going to win by a landslide. The -- it will be the
biggest surprise in recent American political history.

Hi, I thought Obama would be buried in a landslide. Instead, I`ve
been in a bit of a mud slide on my face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALALA YOUSUFZAI, NOBEL PRIZE NOMINEE: Today you can see that I am
alive. I can speak. I can see you. I can see everyone. And today I can
-- I can speak, and I`m getting better day by day.

It is just because of the prayers of people. Because all the people,
men, women, children, all of them, all of them have prayed for me. And
because of these prayers -- and because of these prayers, God has given me
this new life. And this is a second life. This is a new life.

And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. And I want every
girl, every child to be educated. And for that reason, we have organized
Malala Fund.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai speaking on camera
for the first time since the Taliban tried to assassinate her in October.
The Taliban wanted the young Pakistani student dead because she believed
that every girl has a right to an education.

Now, Malala is working with the nonprofit women`s organization Vital
Voices to raise money to educate girls around the world. And last week,
the brave young activist was officially nominated for a Nobel Prize by
members of the Norwegian parliament.

Shortly after recording that video that you just saw, Malala had two
more surgeries on Saturday. Doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in England
put a titanium plate in her skull to cover the area damaged by the bullet.
They also fitted her with a cochlear implant to restore hearing in her left
ear.

Yesterday, Malala recorded this new video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOUSUFZAI: I am feeling more right. And I`m happy that the
operations -- both the operations are successful. And you know, it was
that kind of success that now they have removed everything from me. And I
can also walk a little bit. I can talk. And I`m feeling better.

And the thing is that my mission is the same, to help people. And I
will do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And what do you think of the treatment so
far? Can you remember that?

YOUSUFZAI: If I try to speak about my whole treatment, it started in
Pakistan. And it was very successful and a very good operation of me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, indeed.

YOUSUFZAI: And God gave me a new life. Because of the prayers of
people and because of the talent of doctors. And here in Birmingham, in
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, here, they did the operation of my nerves. So
after four or five months, my left side of the face will work, Inshallah.
And they took care -- a lot of care of me, intensive care.

And I think I`m really inspired from the doctors and nurses. They are
like my mother and father. Because for 10 days, my mother and father were
not with me. But I had a lot of doctors and nurses who took care of me as
if they were my parents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is "New York Times" video and print
journalist Adam Ellick, whose now famous 2009 documentary about Malala is
actually nominated as a finalist for the Peace Justice Award by Cinema for
Peace Foundation.

Adam, thank you for joining us again tonight. We have been tracking
Malala`s progress from the start. I have to say, I just find it stunning
to see the way she is speaking, both in the first video, and then after
more surgeries in the second video. And I think a lot of us are now
comparing a little bit here Gabby Giffords` situation to this situation.
And watching her recovery is absolutely miraculous.

You have been in contact with her and her father. Is there any secret
to this? Or was she just lucky in terms of where the bullets went and how
quickly she got treatment?

ADAM ELLICK, "NEW YORK TIMES": It is really astonishing. I mean, I
think we`ve lost sight of exactly what has happened. I mean, this is a
young girl who was shot literally at point blank range, perhaps just a foot
away from the gun. And she survived. So it is a combination of tremendous
urgent care during those critical few days, and now she is in that long-
term care battle with some reconstruction.

But yeah, it is a tremendous victory for her, her family and the cause
that she fights for.

O`DONNELL: And Adam, leaving aside everything she has been through,
she is a remarkably articulate 15-year-old, by any standard, anywhere in
the world, including the most sophisticated possible standard. Is that the
kid that you met? Has she been this way from the start of her public
discussions of these things?

ELLICK: She is incredibly articulate. I was enamored with her
presence from -- I still remember the first day I met her and her father.
Her father is a poet, a man who loves literature. He is incredibly
inspirational. And she is so deeply influenced by his idealism and his
quixotic nature. And being around them even in 2009 -- when I first met
them, women were banned from shopping in her hometown. It was a very tense
time.

People were being murdered in the main square. And yet they were able
to not just have the courage to let a foreign journalist such as myself in
their life to document them, but they were able to take a step back on the
balcony and reflect so eloquently about their situation.

O`DONNELL: And Adam, how worried is Malala and her father about her
future? Surely she is still threatened?

ELLICK: Well, yeah. There have been several threats directed towards
her and her father. But this is old news. When I was with them in 2009,
during the war and when the Taliban ruled the Swathe Valley, her father`s
name was announced on the FM airways, and death threats were issued against
him. So now Malala, of course, is part of that equation, but this is
nothing new to the family.

O`DONNELL: Adam Ellick, thank you very much for the latest update.

ELLICK: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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