The Last Word | May 29, 2012
O'DONNELL: The Romney campaign gets to celebrate their victory in the Texas primary tonight and they're clinching of the Republican nomination, officially. They get to celebrate that tonight in Las Vegas , where the Romney campaign collided with the bloviating ignoramus, permanently publicity tour that is the life of Donald Trump . Here is the bloviating ignoramus on today. Now, you have one second to guess what he's going to talk about. Time's up .
TRUMP: Nothing's changed my mind. His mother was never in the hospital. They don't even know which hospital it was. His grandmother said he was born in Kenya . I've been known as being a very smart guy for a long time. I don't consider myself a birther or not birther. But there are some major questions here. A lot of people don't think it was an authentic certificate. Many people put this announcement in because they wanted to get the benefit of being so-called born in this country .
O'DONNELL: Some of the bloviating ignoramus's previously willing servants of his self-promotion have grown a bit frustrated with him.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: You're beginning to sound a little ridiculous.
O'DONNELL: Beginning to sound a little ridiculous. Well, on CNN , maybe, but not if you listen a word Donald Trump has said for the last three years our so. The man has been ridiculous since America first learned his name. Wolf Blitzer took Trump 's argument about the president's birth certificate on its own terms and wonderfully and relentlessly confronted him on his assertions that make absolutely no sense. Trump tried to insist, to Wolf Blitzer that many, many, many people simply don't believe President Obama 's birth certificate is authentic and Wolf Blitzer simply wanted to know who those people are.
BLITZER: Give me a name.
TRUMP: There are many people -- I don't give names.
O'DONNELL: Of course Trump has no names, as the interview made absolutely plain. Wolf Blitzer asked a follow-up question that I've been dying to ask, since the day Trump lied and said he sent investigators to Hawaii to investigate the president's birth certificate .
BLITZER: Tell us with your people who were investigating in Hawaii , what they found?
TRUMP: We don't have to go into old news. That's old news.
O'DONNELL: As to Mitt Romney 's reaction to Trump 's madness and his definition of old news, he told reporters this last night.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't agree with all the people that support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in. But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.
O'DONNELL: Joining me now is Democratic strategist Krystal Ball and " Washington Post " opinion writer Jonathan Capehart . Thank you both for joining me. I think -- I think you both and other close observers of this show have figured out by now that I like and respect George Will , although I disagree with him on most things. But, you know, there are actually times, there are some times when I really, really love George Will , just love him, like this Sunday when he said this.
WILL: I do not understand the cost-benefit here. The costs are clear, the benefits -- what voter is going to vote for him because he's seen with Donald Trump ? The cost of appearing this with bloviating ignoramus is obvious it seems to me.
O'DONNELL: Now, I rarely get to explain something about Republican politics to someone as smart as George Will . But, Krystal and Jonathan , my view is very simple here. The Republicans and Mitt Romney have made the cold calculation that they may win with 50.1 percent of the vote, but they want 100 percent of the racist vote in America . They don't want a single racist to stay home. And so, they got the pied piper of American racism and that is now Donald Trump to do his tune about hatred of the president and the birth certificate . And, Krystal , I think George Will is too noble a Republican to ever have had down and strategized how to get the racist vote, which is something, in fact, Nixon and other Republicans since then have strategized of.
KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I think you're right about that, and Donald Trump -- I mean, certainly embracing Donald Trump and his ridiculous continued assertions that the president was not -- he said clearly he was born in Kenya , like he is not even -- there was no doubt in his mind that the president was born in the United States . Of course he doesn't actually believe that, but it's a great way for him to promote himself. And other thing, we talk so much about the Joe Ricketts plan, to attack the president based on Reverend Wright. And everybody came out against that and said that'd be a terrible idea and it's not in a proper spirit of the campaign . Well, what they decided to do instead, instead of using the racial Jeremiah Wright attacks, they have decided to finance a film calling the Obama ideology anti-colonial Luo tribesmen based on a Dinesh D'Souza book that created such a controversy last year. So, clearly, this is a strategy that at least some in the Republican Party believe will be effective. And to your point, Lawrence , I mean, Mitt Romney at some point can't say oh, well I don't agree with everything my supporters say. Donald Trump is not some supporter, he is a surrogate. He tapes robocalls for Mitt Romney in Michigan . He's doing a very prominent fundraiser. He's been asked by the Romney campaign to go and do some of these interviews. So this is not just some guy. You also think about someone like Ted Nugent who Mitt Romney actually courted his endorsement and he said about the President Obama , he's a piece of et cetera, and I told him to go such on my machine gun. These are serious questions and Romney at some point if he is going to have the character to lead this country , is going to have to say this is not acceptable and it's not what I'm about. So far, he has not done that.
O'DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart , absolutely no surprise in what Donald Trump said today, the Romney campaign knows that this is the liturgy of Donald Trump . This is what he loves to talk about. They know that he has race-based analysis and demands, that he issues about President Obama 's birth certificate and President Obama 's college transcripts, President Obama 's law school grades, he doesn't believe there's anything legitimate that President Obama has learned in his lifetime. And the campaign knows he's going to say this. They cannot have entered into this honeymoon with Donald Trump without full knowledge.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Without full knowledge. But, you know, Lawrence , on a night like tonight, a night when Governor Romney has clinched the Republican nomination by winning the Texas primary to get the 1,144 delegates that he needs to become the Republican nominee. On the night that this happens, we're now mixed up in the birther nonsense, which is something that, you know, I have argued for a very long time that even though Mitt Romney is a presumptive nominee , and by this count, officially the nominee, was still trying to convince the base of the party, which is increasingly far right and a lot of -- I won't say a lot -- many folks of the far right, on the extremist ring of the Republican Party are clinging to these birther notions, he's still trying to convince these folks, Romney is, that he's one of them. That he is a conservative, that he is someone that can be their standard bearer and go after the president in the way they want him to. As Krystal was saying, if he's not going to criticize Ted Nugent and he's not going to criticize Rush Limbaugh , and he's not going to criticize Donald Trump , at what point does Governor Romney show himself to be not just the Republican nominee for the president of the United States , but a leader in this country ? At some point, someone is going to have to convince him and tell him to stand up in the way that Senator McCain did in 2008 , when as we have seen many times in the video, the woman at that town hall forum, saying that Barack Obama , she didn't like him, she didn't trust him because she was an Arab, and he grabbed the microphone from her and said, "No, ma'am, no, ma'am." That was leadership. That was statesmanship. And so far, time and time again , during this campaign , we have not seen it from Mitt Romney .
O'DONNELL: Well, it's now time to ask Mitt Romney -- do you think that -- do you agree with Donald Trump , do you think that George Will is really dumb, the dumbest? This George Will , this man with a Princeton PhD is really dumb. Oh, by the way, while we're at it, do you agree with George Will that Trump is a bloviating ignoramus? I mean, this fight with George Will is serious business. He is a revered figure within a Republican thinking and within the Republican Party . He is not a man that Trump should be fooling with in this way. Krystal , I think there's a spot here where Romney , just in terms of the George Will factor, is going to have to do something.
BALL: Yes. I think you're right about that, you know, Lawrence , I'm sure George Will is doing a lot of soul searching tonight in response to Donald Trump 's criticisms, I'm sure he's going to be up late trying to figure out where he went astray. But, no, you're absolutely right, at some point, Romney is going to have to respond to these things. He can't keep saying as he did with Rush Limbaugh , it's not the language or the words I would have chosen. He can't keep saying that I don't agree with everything my supporters say. At some point, if the American people are going to see him as president of the United States , he is going to have to take an actual, courageous real stand.
O'DONNELL: Well, the Romney campaign is determined not to leave a single racist vote behind. Jonathan Capehart and Krystal Ball , thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence .
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence .
O'DONNELL: Birtherism is now way out of control in Florida . A 91 - year-old decorated World War II veteran who was born in Brooklyn now has to go find his birth certificate to prove that he should continue to be able to be allowed to vote in Florida . Florida Democrats say that that is the Republican birther movement and that is all about winning the state for Romney . That's coming up. Also ahead, the real money men of the Romney campaign are real billionaires. We have the author of the " Rolling Stone " page showing who Romney's billionaires are and what exactly do they want from Mitt Romney ? And political TV today includes Michelle Obama 's appearance on " The View ." TV wizard Andy Cohen is here to analyze the first lady's interview and to make her an offer she cannot refuse. And in tonight's rewrite, 65-year-old Mitt Romney is now lecturing us on civil rights . That's right , the same Mitt Romney , who sat out the civil rights movement. The man who does not know that the civil rights issue of his era was civil