The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 05/14/15

Eugene Robinson, Steve Clemons, Ivy Ziedrich, Maria Teresa Kumar, John Goglia, James Lipton

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again
tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good
evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey, Rachel, great report on the
river keepers –

MADDOW: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: But if you can just stay for a second, I have a question for
you, it`s kind of a – kind of a complex question, it`s – and take as long
as you need to answer this.

If you were president in 2003, knowing what you know now, would you invade

MADDOW: Is hamana(ph) an appropriate answer? Could I then –


MADDOW: Run for president?

O`DONNELL: It`s whatever you got, and if you need to rehearse the answer -


You know, maybe for several days and get back to me next week, that`s OK,

MADDOW: I`m going to go ask my top Middle East adviser –

O`DONNELL: OK, you can do that –

MADDOW: Whose name is George W. Bush.

O`DONNELL: You can do that.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Well, another day, another answer from Jeb Bush on the question
of the week, would he have invaded Iraq knowing what we know now?

And a college student told Jeb Bush that his brother created ISIS. We`ll
show you that video and the student who said that to Jeb Bush will join us
for an exclusive interview.

And later, the longest running animated TV series in history might have to
kill off a whole lot of characters. If “The Simpsons” really does kill off
Harry Shearer from their cast.


JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Knowing what we know now –

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Would you have authorized the invasion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three different answers in three different days.

BUSH: I would have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was kind of a challenge to keep track.

BUSH: I interpreted the question wrong, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying boo or Boo-urns?

BUSH: Yes, I don`t know what that decision would have been. That`s a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was saying Boo-urns.

BUSH: I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tough week for Jeb Bush.

IVY ZIEDRICH, STUDENT: Your brother created ISIS.

BUSH: We respect –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The flip-flop speaking to reporters.

BUSH: I`m running for president in 2016.


BUSH: If I run –


SEAN HANNITY, TELEVISION HOST: Who do you like for president?

COULTER: I would like Mitt Romney.



COULTER: I think he is going to jump back in.

ROMNEY: You may recognize me from television or the news or –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such nature films as Iwicks(ph) –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney is set to square off against boxing great
Evander Holyfield.

ROMNEY: I`m taking this very seriously – hello –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So who are we? –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why “Simpson” fans are saying –


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry Shearer tweeted that he is quitting the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? You can`t quit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could we be saying good-bye to Mr. Burns and Ned

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I guess there`s nothing left to do but kiss my
sorry-ass good-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right(ph) sir –


O`DONNELL: And on the fourth day of dealing with the question that could
crush Jeb Bush`s presidential campaign, Jeb Bush finally found his way to
the right answer.


BUSH: I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.


O`DONNELL: Jeb Bush said that at a town hall this morning in Tempe,
Arizona. He is in Arizona for the RNC Spring meeting with donors where he
is expected to speak at a reception that starts in about 30 minutes.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke to that same audience
this afternoon and said this about the campaign question of the week,
knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?


anyone could look at that question and not – I mean, his brother even said
in his own book that he would have done something differently.

I don`t know how that was a hard question. That`s sort of the interesting
thing there.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now from that RNC Spring meeting in Arizona is Kasie
Hunt, also with us, Msnbc contributors Eugene Robinson, columnist for
“Washington Post” and Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large for “The

Kasie, we`re coming towards the end of a tough week for Jeb Bush, certainly
his toughest week of the campaign.

Does the campaign feel like they now finally have settled on the right
answer and that they can calm the waters now?

is Jeb Bush`s final answer to this question after four days of stretching
this out.

We had a brief press availability with him earlier today and he essentially
said as much and there was no further pushing for him to clarify this.

Instead, he answered a question about whether there was a problem answering
this question because of loyalty to his brother, which he acknowledged.

He said I don`t go out of my way to disagree with my brother, I am loyal to
him. And I think we`ve seen him over the course of the past months during
this campaign – non-campaign, I guess, essentially having trouble talking
about his brother.

It`s the one thing that seems to get under his skin, even as he dispatches
questions about almost any other subject, this is one that`s really hard
for him.

And it`s obviously the most obvious question that he was going to have to
ask – or answer, excuse me, about his brother.

So I think this one is going to go on and on, we`ll see if he gets any
better at handling it going forward.

O`DONNELL: Kasie, have you heard anything from inside the Bush campaign
about why he wasn`t ready for this question?

Like you say, you would think in the very first meeting of campaign staff,
of advisers, the very first meeting, the first thing brought up is, OK, so
what is our answer on the question of would he have invaded Iraq?

HUNT: Well, one thing I would say about the Jeb Bush campaign generally,
Lawrence, is that this is a team that trusts their candidate.

Jeb Bush is somebody who for many years as Governor of Florida has
interacted with the press easily, freely.

He is somebody who up until this point has always seemed supremely in
control of every encounter that he has with the press.

He seems to kind of get the game, if you will. He understands what the
press is looking for, he understands how far he wants to go.

And I think that this is something that took a lot of people inside the
campaign and maybe even Bush himself a little bit by surprise.

We heard him joking a little bit on camera today about how – oh, everyone
is listening as though this was something that had just occurred to him.

Which I don`t think that that`s the case. This isn`t – but something that
just occurred to him, but this is his first real test out there in the fire
that is the presidential campaign and it`s just different.

And even when your father and brother have done it, it`s clearly something
he`s realized over the past couple of days.

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, it is one thing to trust your candidate with
the press, when the press is the Florida press.

When it`s just one state-wide press, that`s a whole different level of the
game than facing Kasie Hunt and all the other national correspondents who
are out there.

That presidential campaign press is a whole other test.

different thing. And look, how could he not have been ready for this?

How could he not have written out the talking points, committed them to
memory, practiced them in front of a mirror until they were just reflex?


I mean, seriously. This was –


ROBINSON: Going to be, and this was bound to come up, if not in his first
encounter with the press, and certainly in his second or his third. And it
was going to – it was going to come up until he came up with a coherent

And the fact that he stretched this out for a full week before coming to
what he obviously had to say just amazes me. And I think raises questions
about how ready this campaign is for what it`s – and what it`s trying to

O`DONNELL: Well, Kasie is telling us that Jeb Bush gets anxious when asked
about his brother, it sounds like Rick Santorum is going to try to bring up
the question of his father.

Let`s listen to what Rick Santorum said about the first President Bush.


SANTORUM: When I run for Congress the first time, I was running against a
14-year incumbent and a 60 percent Democratic district in a year that was
right after George Bush forgot how to read his lips – 1990.

And it was a bad year for Republicans.


O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, every Republican in that room knew what he was
talking about. That time when President Bush, the first President Bush
agreed to raise taxes and break his promise not to.


I mean and I think that right now when you hear about Hillary Clinton,
Hillary Clinton is compared to Bill Clinton and Jeb Bush is going to be
compared to both Bushs.

I mean it`s a historic thing to have a third member of the same family
running for president of the United States.

I think that the funniest thing this week is, that hasn`t really come up in
the media about Jeb Bush`s comments on Iraq.

Is that he`s probably pretty afraid of Dick Cheney because Dick Cheney is
unrepentant in his support for the Iraq war. Absolutely has no regrets.

So, it may have been that vote in the Dick Cheney wing of the Republican
party that had more sway with Jeb Bush than people are giving credit to in

O`DONNELL: And Kasie, do you get any sense that the Bush campaign is
anticipating having to get into a defensive mode about his father, about
that read my lips, broken tax promise?

HUNT: I mean, Lawrence, I think at this point, it`s pretty far off. I
think the reality is that most Americans today remember George H.W. Bush
pretty fondly.

He`s somebody that they`ve seen parachuting, you know, skydiving to mark
his 90th birthday and all of these other things. So, I think that he`s so
firmly rooted at this point in history that there`s less of a concern

But, you know, sometimes we forget that George W. Bush had to run against
his own father in many ways. He was constantly asked on the campaign
trail, would he have gone to Baghdad?

So this is not a new thing. The idea that a Bush has to answer to his
father`s perceived sins, if you will, even though, of course, the third
generation is new.

So I think the question for Jeb Bush going forward is going to be – I had
somebody here at this meeting tell me, you know, every single one of these
candidates is going to have a near-death moment over the course of the next
18 months.

I think the question is how many more of those near-death moments does Jeb
Bush have or is this the one and done?

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to how Marco Rubio handled the big question of the
week with Charlie Rose at the Council on Foreign Relations?


there were no weapons of mass destruction, would you, if you knew that,
have been in favor of the Iraq invasion?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, not only would I not have been in
favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it, and he said

Ultimately though, I do not believe that if the – that if the intelligence
– if the intelligence have said Iraq is not having a weapon of mass
destruction capability, I don`t believe President Bush would have
authorized to move forward.


O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, I think Steve Clemons made a great point about
the fear of Cheney out there. But –


O`DONNELL: We`ve got a bunch of Republican candidates now who are giving
that answer just like Marco Rubio and they don`t sound afraid of Dick

ROBINSON: No, they don`t sound afraid of Dick Cheney. And I think their
reading of the party, and certainly their reading of the party faithful is
that if they had to do over again, certainly they wouldn`t have wanted us
to go into Iraq.

And they probably wonder just, you know, how many votes in the – in the –
in the Iowa caucuses does the Cheney wing represent?

I do think that point that Steve Clemons raised about the elder Bush and
the whole sense of the Bush clan as kind of tax and spend Republicans is
potentially damaging for Jeb Bush, however.

I think that`s – you know, that`s – it`s kind of a sleeper issue out
there. But that sort of atmosphere could be damaging in a state like Iowa.

O`DONNELL: And Steve, the money crowd that Santorum was saying that to,
they remember that vividly.

CLEMONS: Well, I think that they remember the war that – you know, when I
would go out to places very conservative in the country, like Oklahoma.

They saw George W. Bush as someone who had brought back big government,
incredible spending and big brother watching everyone and that had undone
the real ethic of what classic conservatism meant in the country.

And I think, you know, Jeb Bush today, particularly on the tax fund has
said, he hasn`t promised that he won`t raise taxes. He hasn`t gone down
the Grover Norquist oath line.

And I think that is another part of this. I think the other part B on the
national security side in Iraq that we haven`t discussed yet is, Jeb Bush
also said that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein.

And I think that is an interesting and challenging question, because when
you look at the Middle East today, you look at ISIS, you look at places
like Libya, you look at the sectarian middle breakdown.

You look at the fact that a lot of the Baptist generals that were working
with Saddam Hussein are now leading ISIS, there`re just no doubt that the
world is a lot less safe than before that invasion.

And that will be the – that will be the next part of this to fall forward.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt and Steve Clemons, thanks for joining us tonight.

CLEMONS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up –

HUNT: Thanks –

O`DONNELL: James Lipton is here to discuss the unthinkable, the brilliant
Harry Shearer leaving “The Simpsons” after 26 years of being the voice of
Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, principal skinner and like an unbelievable long
list of characters.

And an exclusive interview with the college student who confronted Jeb Bush
this week.


O`DONNELL: The number two ranking agent on President Obama`s Secret
Service detail notified the agency this week that he plans to retire.

“The Washington Post” reports that Mark Connolly`s decision came ahead of
the public release of a report concluding that he and a colleague were,
“more likely than not impaired by alcohol after five hours of drinking at a
downtown Washington bar on March 4th.”

Later that night, they drove into a barricade on the White House premises.
Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy placed both agents on administrative
leave last week.

Up next, the student who confronted Jeb Bush about the Islamic State.


O`DONNELL: Yesterday in Nevada, 19-year-old college student Ivy Ziedrich
confronted Jeb Bush about blaming President Obama for the rise of the
Islamic State.


ZIEDRICH: Your brother created ISIS.

BUSH: Is that a question?

ZIEDRICH: Through the Iraq (INAUDIBLE) Authority. You don`t need to be
(INAUDIBLE) – you can just answer my question which is –

BUSH: What is your question?

ZIEDRICH: My question is why are you saying that ISIS was created by us
not having a (INAUDIBLE) –

BUSH: Because by the time we went –

ZIEDRICH: (INAUDIBLE), when we sent young men to die for the idea of
American exceptionalism.

BUSH: Yes –

ZIEDRICH: (INAUDIBLE) why are you spouting nationalistic rhetoric just to
get us involved in more wars? (INAUDIBLE) –

BUSH: We respectfully disagree, that (INAUDIBLE), we had an agreement that
the President could have signed, that would have kept two thousand troops
less than what we have in Korea.

Could have created the stability that would allow for Iraq (INAUDIBLE). We
can rewrite history all we want, but the simple fact is that we`re in a
much more stable place because America pulled back. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is that student who you just saw in that video,
Ivy Ziedrich, she is a member of the young Democrats and at the – and a
student at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Ivy, did you know you were going to get a chance to be that close to Jeb
Bush when that happened?

ZIEDRICH: I certainly did not. It was not something that I anticipated at
all, actually. I wasn`t even sure if I was planning on asking a question.

O`DONNELL: And so how did that question come up about the creation of the
Islamic State?

ZIEDRICH: The reason why I wanted to ask that question was because
throughout the speech that he was giving and throughout the question and
answer period that followed, he repeatedly reiterated not only that
President Obama`s foreign policy was to blame for the rise of the Islamic

But he also like repeated more than once about how the United States is the
greatest nation on earth, and how in order to prevent future conflicts, we
need to have a greater military presence abroad.

And I was even sitting next to a war veteran who was not taken quite so
kindly to that sort of rhetoric, I suppose.

So between that and just the blatant untruths that he was spouting, I felt
the need to talk to him afterwards. I felt the need to hold him
accountable for the lies that he was – that he was saying.

O`DONNELL: Now, how did his talk go over generally with that larger
audience? Was he getting some support, some applause, some agreement with
the audience?

ZIEDRICH: Well, he was getting a lot of support with the audience, because
it was an audience that was picked for him. I mean, it wasn`t – it wasn`t
a large public event.

It was a small ticketed event that was put on, I believe, by the right to
rise PAC. And so it wasn`t something that most people who weren`t already
ideologically aligned with him, not something that most people had known

And that I think is unfortunate.

O`DONNELL: And so, did you have any trouble getting a ticket to it since
you`re a member of college Democrats?

ZIEDRICH: No, I mean, you just had to – it was a free ticket that you
just reserved online. But obviously, that makes it a little bit more
difficult for people to hear about the event and for people to go
throughout the process of coming to the event.

I mean, it was – even one of the questioners during the question and
answer segment actually mentioned that it was a very white audience.



O`DONNELL: You – he kind of walked away from you. He just said, you
know, we`ll agree to disagree and he walked away. If you –


O`DONNELL: Had more time with him, what else would you – what more would
you have liked to discuss with him?

ZIEDRICH: I actually really wanted to ask a follow-up question about how
he felt about our relationships and our support of the Kurdish forces
fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria.

I really wanted to know if he was supportive of strengthening our
relationship with the Kurdish YPG and the YPJ forces, and the Kurdish
Peshmerga forces who have been on the front line in the fight against ISIS.

O`DONNELL: OK, Ivy, you`re just going to have to moderate one of these
debates coming up. We got to – you got – well, you got to get your
questions in front of them, that`s – those were all great questions.

Ivy Ziedrich, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate

ZIEDRICH: Thank you very much for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, Ann Coulter of all people has another
crazy prediction about Mitt Romney and it has nothing to do with Mitt
Romney`s charity boxing match tomorrow night against former heavyweight
champ Evander Holyfield.

And later, the latest on the Amtrak crash investigation in Philadelphia,
and why we aren`t talking about the safety systems that are already in
place on that train.

Some of the overlooked safety factors, that`s coming up.


O`DONNELL: The number one rule of life for politicians is, they are always
more likable when they lose.

Some of us remember how much fun Bob Dole was on late-night talk shows
after he lost his campaign for the presidency in 1996.

Now, it`s Mitt Romney`s turn to lighten up. And his new vehicle for that
is a charity fund-raising boxing match with the former five-time
heavyweight champion of the world, Evander Holyfield.

The fight is tomorrow night in Salt Lake City, and the weigh-in was


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, square off, gentlemen. This is


Romney versus Holyfield.


O`DONNELL: Charity vision, the sponsors of the big bout released this


ROMNEY: Hi, I`m Mitt Romney and you may recognize me from television or
the news or just around town. You`ve heard my critics say that I`m out of
touch, that I`m stiff, that I just don`t relate to people.

For years, I`ve been listening to garbage like that. And I decided to
fight back, how do you do that? By taking on the former heavyweight
champion of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, everybody (INAUDIBLE) does he even work out?

ROMNEY: You may think this is just a joke, but I`m taking this very
seriously – hello? I don`t have much of a right hook, but when I get
somebody`s ear, I can be pretty formidable.

EVANDER HOLYFIELD, PROFESSIONAL BOXER: You don`t throw punches, but I`m
too quick, too agile for him. Mitt, you can`t run, you can`t hide. Come
and get your whooping.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Maria Teresa Kumar, President of Voto Latino
and host of “CHANGING AMERICA” on shift by Msnbc.

OK, I`ve got the weigh-in results right here. Evander Holyfield weighed in
at 236.5 pounds and Mitt Romney weighed in at 179 pounds.

OK, Maria Teresa, who are you betting on?

hate to say this, but I`m going to go with Evander Holyfield, I`m not quite
sure why, but I think he might have – a step ahead of Mitt Romney.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s so risky.

KUMAR: Very –

O`DONNELL: Eugene, I`ve never liked Mitt Romney better than in that video.
It`s that – it`s that thing that comes over them once they`re relieved of
this, you know, life-time burden of trying to get to the next high office.

ROBINSON: Yes, they can kind of have fun, and be themselves. And you
know, we were always told during the campaign that actually Mitt Romney was
a nice guy.

O`DONNELL: Right –

ROBINSON: Was fun to be around, it never – it didn`t really come through
during the campaign, but apparently it seems to be true.

One hopes he survives this fight. But shouldn`t really hope – generally,
hope he`s around a day after tomorrow. But we`ll – you know, we`ll see,
good luck, Mitt.

KUMAR: You know, as you fight – you know what, Lawrence? I would have
actually liked him to be in the ring with a binder full of women. I think
that would have been a good of a fight.



O`DONNELL: I love that, there you go, that could be – maybe that could be
the fundraiser he does for Voto Latino. Maybe, that`s what that can be.

So Ann Coulter has another crazy prediction about Mitt Romney and it does
not involve the boxing match.

Ann Coulter cannot take no for an answer, especially from men who say they
will not run for president. Let`s listen to this.


HANNITY: Who do you like for president?

COULTER: I would like Mitt Romney with Scott Walker –


HANNITY: Mitt Romney is not running. Keep going –

COULTER: I think he is going to jump back in when he –

HANNITY: He is not going to jump –

COULTER: When people realize –

HANNITY: Back in –

COULTER: The only possible candidate –


HANNITY: He is not going to jump back in –

COULTER: A joke right now is Scott Walker, and I would rather have Mitt
Romney answering questions about the Fed and trade with China and you will

Ann is going to be right –

HANNITY: What is this –

COULTER: You will apologize –


COULTER: If it`s not Scott Walker, Mitt Romney, I think we lose and
welcome President Hillary.


O`DONNELL: Well, there was Sean Hannity doing his level best to talk sense
to Ann Coulter. And Eugene, I –

ROBINSON: Yes, well –

O`DONNELL: But I don`t think he got through. I think she thinks Mitt is
going to run.

ROBINSON: I think she thinks that. I mean, I think she`s wrong, I don`t
think he is going to run. But I think – I think she does have a point
about the Republican feel which isn`t exactly shooting the lights out.

I mean it`s not –

KUMAR: Right –

ROBINSON: Probably not striking fear into Hillary Clinton`s heart right

And she`s got to look at these guys and say, Okay, who can beat me?

And it`s not clear that there – that any of these guys can or Carly
Fiorina. They`re not all guys but – so, you know, so she`s kind of half-
crazy and half-right.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well I thought – I appreciate the
fact that she was talking to herself in the third person. I find that


But she conceded, basically, – Eugene, what you said was absolutely true,
that she conceded that Hillary is the – is basically the –


– frontrunner across both parties. I think that the problem is is that, I
think, Scott Walker is also someone that is quite formidable on his own.

He`s been able to show that he can go toe-to-toe with the unions, and that
he can go ahead and galvanize and mobilize and get a lot of –


– funding from the Koch Brothers. And I think that that, right now, is, I
think, the one that is – although he hasn`t declared, he`s actually the
front candidate.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: And, Eugene, it`s a good week for Scott
Walker when he doesn`t have to say anything and just watch Jeb Bush
struggle with an answer to the easiest question that he could possibly have
been asked.

ROBINSON: Yes, it was a good week for Scott Walker. It was a good week
for Marco Rubio.

You know, Scott Walker kind of spent the week trying to shore up his
credentials with –


– social conservatives, of all people, who have – some of whom have
doubts about him. And he still – you know, he`s great in Wisconsin but
untested –


– still on the national stage. Can you go the distance? And, I think,
that`s an open question.

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, the Republicans will say that Jeb Bush, Marco
Rubio, they have a really good shot at increasing the Republican share of
Latino vote. What`s your analysis of that.

KUMAR: I think that, of the two, believe it or not, I actually think Jeb
Bush has a stronger chance. And part of this is because he`s espoused
immigration. He believes in a pathway to citizenship.


And he actually doesn`t have to demonstrate how un-Latino he isn`t. And
what I mean by that is that Marco Rubio has constantly – has to remind the
extreme right that he`s not Latino enough.

And I think that`s actually going to be a burden for Marco Rubio,
especially during the primary. If he gets past the primary and he`s the
candidate, that will be, actually, a complete different ball game.

But I think that`s going to be really difficult for him.


O`DONNELL: Eugene, that`s sounding a little bit like what people perceived
a Barack Obama issue to be, that whole complex issue, especially at the
beginning, in the Democratic primaries, about how black can he come across
as as a candidate.

ROBINSON: Yes. That`s going to be a very complicated question for Marco
Rubio as he goes forward and, I imagine, for Ted Cruz as well, if they hope
to gain any Latino support.

I`m kind of with Maria Teresa on that. I`m a little skeptical. Jeb Bush,
on the other hands, checks “Latino” on forms –


– when he fills them out. So, –


– you know, he uses his identity, in a way –

KUMAR: It must be true.

ROBINSON: – that the other two sometimes don`t.

O`DONNELL: So, I guess, there`s such a thing as going too far. Eugene
Robinson and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both very much for joining me

KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, by now, you`ve all heard about the positive train
control, –


– the new system that could have prevented this week`s Amtrak crash if it
was installed on those tracks. But there`s an old system, a much older
system that no one has been talking about, that also could have prevented
that crash.

Why hasn`t that system been used correctly? That`s coming up.

And, later, with “The Simpsons” in crisis tonight over the departure of
Harry Shearer from the cast, we turn to James Lipton to calm the nation.




Earlier today, cadaver dogs found the body of one more passenger buried in
the wreckage of Amtrak Train 188, bringing the death toll to eight.

Officials now say that all 243 have been accounted for. The lawyer for
Brandon Bostian, the engineer of that train, told NBC News that Bostian
has, quote, “absolutely no recollection of the crash or of deploying the
brake because he, apparently, got a concussion during the crash.”

National Transportation Safety Board says that the engineer has agreed to
meet with their investigators in the next few days. There is a new –


– report tonight in “Wall Street Journal” about safety systems that could
have been used to stop that train. “The Journal” reports, –


– “People familiar with Amtrak`s signal system say, the Speed Monitoring
Enhancement to the existing set-up could have prevented the scenario that
appears to have played out this week.”

“The existing technology called `Automatic Train Control,` used for decades
by many railroads to keep trains safe distances apart, can send information
to a train about the speed limit for a section of track.”

“Equipment inside the locomotive can sense when a train is exceeding the
speed limit and set off an alarm. If the engineer fails to respond, the
system triggers the train`s emergency brakes.”


Last night, on this program, Robert Pottroff, an attorney who specializes
in train safety, said this –


trains with an override switch where you could turn off the cab signals.
That had to be what happened in this case – that the engineer, and it`s a
common practice, when there`s a problem that they don`t want to be bothered
by the cab signals, has another toggle switch available to them.

They simply pull out the little seal that protects that toggle switch, turn
it off, and you`re not bothered by any of these signals that were there to
warn you.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, John Goglia, Former NTSB Board Member. John,
we`ve been talking about this this week and I was really surprised last
night when I heard Robert Pottroff talk about this other system, this older
technology –


– that`s there, the so-called “cab signals.” What can you tell us about

JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER NTSB BOARD MEMBER: Well, yes, there are signals in the
cab that require the operator to respond to when he goes through the
signals, the red and green lights that are on the side of the tracks, when
they go through to acknowledge that they have seen them.

And they can be overridden by the engineer. But the question really here
goes a lot deeper than just that.

This train just left the station. And the reason why the Amtrak hasn`t put
the same control system on the northbound track that they have on the
southbound track is because, the southbound track, you have a long lead-in
to it and you can come into it very fast.

It was believed, because the train is coming out of the station, that you
wouldn`t yet, if you operated the train normally, you wouldn`t get that
high speed coming into the turn.

So, that begs the question that we`ve been asking all day, “What were the
actions of this train operator?”

And, if he`s not going to talk, if he has amnesia and it`s very possible
that he does, then the NTSB is going to have to go through the train, thank
God it wasn`t burned, and see if they can recover some of the physical
evidence in the form of memory chips or, rather, other physical pieces of
the train that would indicate whether or not there was a mechanical problem
or what the train was doing.

So, it`s going to complicate the investigation, but it can be accomplished.

O`DONNELL: The speed records that they revealed today indicated that a
minute and five seconds before –


– the crash, the train was at 70 miles an hour. And then, 50 seconds,
less than a minute after that, 50 seconds later, –


– it had gone from 70 up to a hundred. With that kind of weight on that
kind of train, John, that seems like really quick acceleration, unless
there`s some kind of downgrade there that the train is going slightly

GOGLIA: Well, there`s two answers to that question. The first is, this
was a relatively new locomotive. And it may have added performance, it may
be an upgrade because we`re going to be running these high-speed trains in
this corridor.

So, it may be that it had plenty of power to do that. And, also, the
weight of the cars behind it. It was of – not a lot of passengers on the
train compared to what it could carry.

So, they may have been light enough that the performance of the train was
such that he could get that speed. That is also going to be high on the
NTSB`s agenda – “What was the capabilities of the locomotive? Could it,
in fact, do that?”

And then, there`s also some speculation that`s going to occur on why he
would want to go into that track so fast. “Was this his last run for the

“Was he going to be finished at the end of the day?” “What was his work
schedule for that day and the three previous days?” “Are we setting up a
fatigue scenario here.”

There`s lots of questions that we have not talked about that will be asked
and answered over the next few days.

O`DONNELL: Well, a Philadelphia Police official at that press conference,
at noontime today, with the mayor, very clearly said that this was a
criminal investigation –


– that they were doing. And then they got a little bit nervous about the
way they phrased that later in the day.

But this is obviously where they`d be going with this when you`re looking
at that kind of acceleration.

I want to listen to what Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation
Safety Board said today about this – and tell me if what we`re hearing
here is the cab signals issue that my guest in the program was discussing
last night and, now, “The Wall Street Journal” has started writing about.

Let`s listen to this.


ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: They have the system of an alerter, so
that can tell if the engineer has not made any inputs to the train over a
certain period of time, that alerter will sound an aural message as well as
a visual message.

So, we will – we`ll be seeing if that did activate. But the engineers,
what we have seen in other accidents – I`m not saying that that happened
here – if you ever heard your alarm clock and you reached over and
reflexively turned your alarm clock off, we have seen cases where people
have done that.

They can be, you know, in a sleepy state and they keep popping something on
the train to satisfy the alerter. I`m not saying that happened here, but
it`s because of that that we`ve – that you can do that.

But we think the positive train train control is the best answer.


O`DONNELL: So, John, it sounds to me like, one of the reasons he`s saying
positive train control is a better answer is that the engineer can`t
override it.

And these cab signals that we`re talking about, the engineer can just
override them.

GOGLIA: Yes, he`s correct. It`s just like the alarm clock. You just give
it a whack and you silence it, you hit the switch.

So, yes, that`s exactly what he`s talking about there. And, in a positive
train control, it isn`t hitting the alerter. It`s going to stop the train
from being automatically taken over.

It`s going to be reducing the throttle. In the case of an overspeed, you
then have to reduce the throttle. If you don`t reduce it, then the system
will take over the train and do it for you.

O`DONNELL: Now, the engineer – his lawyer seems to be, you know, giving
different levels of detail about what the engineer remembers, including the
notion that he remembers right up before the crash, and he remembers
noticing, at some point, a higher speed.

But he does not remember braking, and then –


– doesn`t remember the actual accident itself, you know, because of the
concussion. And so, it seems like the lawyer came close today to saying
that the engineer remembers that very controversial minute of acceleration
on the train.

And if he remembers that, he should be able to explain that.

GOGLIA: Well, it`s going to be interesting to see what he has to say.
It`s still a free country. You`re innocent until proven guilty. But,
sometimes, your actions speak louder than words.


O`DONNELL: John Goglia, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.
Really appreciate your time.

GOGLIA: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, in the Senate today, it was round two of
President Obama –


– versus Senator Elizabeth Warren. And, this time, the winner had kind
words for the loser.

And if anyone can make peace in “The Simpsons`” feud with departing cast
member, Harry Shearer, it is the most diplomatic figure in the history of
show business, the one and only James Lipton who will join me to discuss
Harry Shearer`s contribution to the longest-running half-hour comedy in



After 13 Democrats joined with Republicans in the Senate today and voted to
start debate on Trade Promotion Authority, commonly known as Fast Track
Authority for the President, President Obama said in a press conference
tonight, he has no problems with the Senate Democrats who opposed him on
Trade Promotion Authority, including the leader of those Democrats,
Elizabeth Warren.


respect to myself and Elizabeth, has never been personal. I mean, I think
it`s fun for, you know, the press to see if we can poke around at it when
you see two close allies who have a disagreement on a policy issue.

But there are a whole bunch of some of my bestfriends in the Senate, as
well in the House, some of my earlier supporters who disagree with me on
this. And I understand.


O`DONNELL: My next guest is a man who would never call Senator Elizabeth
Warren by her first name, the honorable James Lipton.


Hey, listen up. Now, I know this is really hard for you because you now
have a shorter attention span than a gold fish. That`s what a new
Microsoft study found about the effects of an increasingly electronic
lifestyle on the brain.

According to the study, people now generally lose concentration after,
count them, eight seconds. That is one second shorter than a gold fish.

Up next, James Lipton joins me to discuss the unthinkable – Harry Shearer,
the voice of Mr. Burns and so many other characters, leaving “The



HARRY SHEARER AS MR. BURNS IN “THE SIMPSONS”: Smithers, are they booing

HARRY SHEARER AS SMITHERS IN “THE SIMPSONS”: Uh, no, they`re saying, “Boo-
urns, Boo-urns.”

MR. BURNS: Are you saying “Boo” or “Boo-urns.”




O`DONNELL: For 26 whole years, the full series run of “The Simpsons,” the
brilliant Harry Shearer has been the voice of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders,
Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman –


– and many, many others. Then, last night, Harry Shearer tweeted that the
show will be moving on to the 27th season without him.

“Simpson`s” show runner, Al Jean, told “The New York Times” today, –

TEXT: “Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast
accepted, and passed. The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie
took it hard.”

But “The Simpsons`” co-creator, James L. Brooks tweeted this today, –

TEXT: “Hey, we tried. We`re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let`s


Joining us now is the Host of “Inside the Actor`s Studio,” James Lipton,
who was recently nominated for Critics` Choice Award for Best Reality
Series Host.

James Lipton, there`s hope with James L. Brooks tweeting this “Let`s talk”
to Harry Shearer. We have hope.

toward this show. I`m sure you are, too. I think it may be the greatest
comedy series in the history of television.

I love the show. You know, for the record, they have the second most Emmy-
nominated primetime series in the history of broadcast television.

“American Masters” is first, “Tonight`s Show” with Johnny Carson is the
third, “SNL” is the fourth. You know who the fifth is, most nominated in
the history of television.

O`DONNELL: I don`t.

LIPTON: “Inside the Actors Studio.”

O`DONNELL: I should have known.



LIPTON: Oh, that was cool.

O`DONNELL: Now, speaking of that, let`s look at you playing yourself on
“The Simpsons.”


Actors Studio.” We`ve met Rainier Wolfcastle, actor, novelist, barbecue
sauce spokesman. Now, can we meet McBain.

character. OK, I`m McBain.


All right, Mendoza, I`ll give the Maxwell circuit if you put down my


LIPTON: It was a pleasure to eat your lead, good sir.

O`DONNELL: James, you`re scene partner there was Harry Shearer. Now, how
did you do that. Did you work together or did you each do your parts

LIPTON: No, with animation, you work separately as a rule. I did it in
New York, in front of the camera and a – so they could get my facial
expressions, and a microphone, and then they incorporated it in California.

O`DONNELL: All right, let`s take a look at this amazing moment on your
show with Harry Shearer suddenly sliding into a bunch of these characters.

LIPTON: Mr. Burns.



LIPTON: What is your occupation.

MR. BURNS: Mogul.


LIPTON: Mr. Smithers.

SHEARER AS SMITHERS: Yes, call me Waylon.

LIPTON: Hi there, Mr. Flanders.


SHEARER AS FLANDERS: Hello. How are you.

LIPTON: Who is Propane Elaine.

FLANDERS: That`s a woman in Vegas. Oh, –


– you`re talking about my barbecue, Propane Elaine.


FLANDERS: Sure, yes. Of course, yes. My backyard buddy.

LIPTON: Principal of Springfield Elementary, Seymour Skinner.



PRINCIPAL SKINNER: Let`s hold that down, please. Let`s hold that down.
Let`s keep this in order. And will you please sit down, sir.


O`DONNELL: James, what was it like to be on that stage with that group and
especially watching Harry fly through so many of them.

LIPTON: Well, it just shows you the genius of the man and the genius of
the show. When they do the show, they get together.

They actually all get together. And they get together for like two hours a

And they go right straight to it as if it were a play, curtain up to
curtain down. They don`t take meal breaks.

If you have to go to the bathroom, you have to wait until you`re not in the
scene, and get back before the scene begins. That`s the way they do it.

They are the most remarkable people doing the most remarkable things. You
know, I`m very proud to be, by the way, to be a Simpson. Once you`re on
the show, you`re a Simpson forever.

And, I mean, with my yellow skin and my three fingers on each hand, –


– right. And I once asked – in a severe underbite, by the way – I once
asked Yeardley Smith, who plays Lisa, “Why are you all yellow.”

She said, she had asked Groening. And Groening said that when he started
the show, he wanted people to pay attention.

So, he made the skin yellow, so they will all go to their sets and try to
adjust the color. And people will be crowded around the television set,
watching “The Simpsons” before everybody knew that they were maybe the best
comedy show of all time.


O`DONNELL: Oh, wow, so many details to the birth of genius that are “The

James Lipton, the Host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” thank you very, very
much for joining us tonight.

LIPTON: Thank you, Lawrence. I brought peace. I hope Fox will discover.

O`DONNELL: I hope you can bring peace to “The Simpsons.” That would be so

LIPTON: Fox, vobiscum.

O`DONNELL: Yes. “Inside the Actors Studio” returns in June with guests –


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