The Last Word | April 10, 2012
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I publish a book and now the Bush Institute 's publishing a book. They didn't think I could read, much less write a book.
O'DONNELL: Yes, he's back. The man who Mitt Romney tries to pretend doesn't exist appeared in New York , of all places, today, and helped remind the country how he piled budget deficit on top of budget deficit and dramatically increased the national debt.
BUSH: If you raise taxes -- in other words, if you let the -- I wish they weren't called the Bush Tax Cuts . If they were called some other body's tax cuts , they would probably be less likely to be raised. But if you raise -- if you raise taxes, you're taking money out of the pockets of consumers.
O'DONNELL: But they are not called the some other body's tax cuts . And as it happened, former President Bush perfectly teed up the tax issue for President Obama today in Florida .
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got to choose which direction we want this country to go in. Do we want to keep giving those tax breaks to folks like me who don't need them, or to give them to Warren Buffett ? He definitely doesn't need them. Or Bill Gates . He's already said, I don't need them. Or do we want to keep investing in those things that keep our economy growing and keep us secure? That's the choice.
O'DONNELL: Joining me now, Karen Finney , former DNC communications director and an MSNBC political analyst. Karen , you got yourself one lucky president there today.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It's luck of the Irish, Lawrence .
O'DONNELL: Trying to get attention to taxes, which is not America 's favorite subject to hear politicians talk about. And there's President Bush reminding everybody where we got in this fiscal trouble, because I started it, with these gigantic tax cuts , especially the tax cuts at the top end, for the very richest taxpayers. Helps really underline the point President Obama 's trying to make today.
FINNEY: Absolutely. Anytime President Bush is out there, it helps underscore that point. But today, he really did tee it up on a silver platter by even admitting, like, I wish it weren't even named after me. My goodness. You know, the other thing, when you talk about trickle-down economics, who does that make you think of? The other Bush . It sort of makes this point that President Obama has made, that time and again, when we've tried it their way, it didn't work. Now we've got to try something different. When we tried it Bill Clinton 's way, things worked out a little bit better. So why don't we try it this way and things should work out a little bit better.
O'DONNELL: Karen , I want to play for you something that candidate Romney said tonight about the war on women . Let's listen to this.
ROMNEY: There's been some talk about a war on women . The real war on women has been waged by the Obama administration's failure on the economy . If we're going to get women back to work and help women with the really issues that women care about, good jobs, good wages, a bright future for themselves, for their families and for their kids, we're going to have to elect a president who understands how the economy works. And I do.
FINNEY: Oh, Mitt.
O'DONNELL: Karen , I know we've all heard this before. But I've got to play what Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski says in response to that kind of talk. Let's listen to her.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: If you don't view this as an attack on women , then you need to go home and you need to talk to your wives. You need to go talk to your daughters. Ask them if they feel that this is an attack.
O'DONNELL: Karen , I don't see how Mitt Romney -- who's advising him to go out there and take on this phrase, war on women , and think he can somehow win some points with it.
FINNEY: Well, look, as we know, the Crossroads GPS folks yesterday, when that poll about independents came out, admitted, frankly, that President Obama , Team Obama is making some traction on their economic arguments. Obviously, the polls show they're making -- getting some traction on the arguments about the war on women . Again, this feels, though, like another one of these strategies that says, just tell women it's not true. Just tell those little ladies they're just crazy and making it up in their heads. Now, the other piece of this, though, shows -- I mean, if you listen to what he was talking about, I mean, a couple things. Number one, clearly this is the message frame we're going to hear from him, this President Obama doesn't understand the economy and I do. Right? That plays into the, he's a nice guy but he's in over his head. We know that's their theme. But also this idea that he really doesn't understand how women think about the economy . If you threaten my basic health care, you're threatening my family's economy and my economy . So clearly he still doesn't get it
O'DONNELL: Karen Finney , MSNBC political analyst, sorry, we're running out of time tonight, because we had to devote more time to the breaking news on the Trayvon Martin case. Karen , thanks for joining us tonight.
FINNEY: No problem. Got my taxes done.
O'DONNELL: Oh, good. That's why you could come back tonight. We're going to be right back. Stay with us.