The Last Word | April 19, 2012
O'DONNELL: Mitt Romney , man from Mars , has struck again.
ROMNEY: I'm not sure about these cookies. They don't look like you made them. Did you make those cookies? You didn't, did you? No, no. they came from the local 7-11 bakery or wherever.
O'DONNELL: That was Mitt 's man from Mars reaction on Tuesday outside of the Bethel Park Community Center near Pittsburgh . He was there doing, you know, what we all do whenever our hosts present us with snacks or food of any kind. He immediately insulted their offering. On what planet is that an acceptable practice? Joining me now, the insulted baker who baked those cookies, John Walsh , owner of Bethel Bakery in Bethel Park , Pennsylvania . John , I've read the Tweets and the Facebook postings saying things like "there is no cookie or cake more delicious than yours." So I am taking it for granted that these are absolutely fabulous baked products that were on that table. How shocked were you when you heard this presidential candidate say this?
JOHN WALSH, BETHEL BAKERY OWNER: I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I just was dumbfounded, because we were all excited that he was coming to town and made sure got the cookies, got up there. And, you know, I'm sure that they were well-received by all the guests, but we were definitely surprised.
O'DONNELL: And John , you're a Republican, a small businessman. He's talking about you in every one of his speeches he's reading in that teleprompter. He's celebrating you. You are the American hero , the small businessman. What do you make of how sincere that talk sounds to you now?
WALSH: Well, I think that the comment he made was really a simple naive -- an icebreaker.
O'DONNELL: No but, John , in what -- in what place in the world do you break the ice by insulting what has been presented to you by your host? That's the part I don't get. I have never heard of anyone doing that.
WALSH: Well, certainly he was -- made a mistake. And we would like to have him come back so he can really have the best taste of Bethel Bakery again.
O'DONNELL: Would you make him something special if he came back?
WALSH: Oh, absolutely. Any size, any shape.
O'DONNELL: What happens --
WALSH: Covered with fondant or not, covered with our famous French butter cream or not. We would love for him to come back.
O'DONNELL: All right. John , thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate it. And looks like great stuff behind you there at the bakery.
WALSH: We have had the customers coming in by the troves today just in support of our Cookie-Gate special.
O'DONNELL: Yes, you're doing a Cookie-Gate special, exactly the way to react. Let's hope it's a boom for business. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. And joining us now, John Heilemann . John , it's this weird thing. The guy's trying to relate. He's trying to say the thing that will ingratiate himself to these people, and he insults what they've put in front of you.
JOHN HEILEMANN, "THE NEW YORKER": First of all, Lawrence , I wanted to bring you in a box of Entemanns , but my local artisinal Brooklyn bakery was closed, so I couldn't do that. He is not comfortable, in many cases, around human beings. That's a little bit --
O'DONNELL: That's a problem.
HEILEMANN: It's a small problem.
O'DONNELL: And that's what's in this poll that's saying he's got a 20-point gap on likability. That's -- we're seeing this in real poll numbers.
HEILEMANN: It's a problem for him. It's -- there's -- and if this was one thing, we wouldn't -- who would care? Really, frankly, you know, it's a mistake. But he's made mistakes like this over and over again, especially when you get him in a small setting with ordinary folks.
O'DONNELL: But, you know, rich guys bet 10,000 dollars. I get that context. This thing is really weird to me. Who says this kind of thing?
HEILEMANN: Someone who doesn't understand --
O'DONNELL: Explain him to me.
HEILEMANN: Someone who clearly has not internalized the fundamental law of politics and food.
O'DONNELL: Basic human politeness.
HEILEMANN: Look, you get handed a lot of bad food and a lot of local food , a lot of -- you get handed a lot of food on the campaign trail. The fundamental rule of politics about food is that everything you eat is wonderful. It's great. It's fabulous. It's delightful. You might not eat a lot of it. You take just one bite so you don't turn into a Hindenberg . But you love it. You can't ever diss the food that someone hands you, because you never know where it came from.
O'DONNELL: Yes, it could have been baked by one of those people. He obviously doesn't know anything about baked goods , because that was the good stuff.
HEILEMANN: Well, apparently. And maybe this is why Mitt Romney 's so trim, because he doesn't partake in those kind of indulgences and doesn't know a good cookie from a bad cookie.
O'DONNELL: And if it was Barack Obama , they would have accused him of being an elitist, not knowing a good cookie when he saw one. John Heilemann gets tonight's LAST WORD .