The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 05/26/15

Steve Kornacki, Nicholas Confessore, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Jerri Ann Henry

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, you know, I think
Bernie Sanders did that announcement just for me.

Because last week on this show, I made a reference to Hillary Clinton being
the only announced Democratic candidate for president, and I got attacked
on Twitter.


Just by Bernie Sanders people saying he already announced, and so I think -
- I think he had to go and do it again today –

MADDOW: He had –

O`DONNELL: Just for me –

MADDOW: Announced it, he just hadn`t pronounced it.


O`DONNELL: OK, whatever.


O`DONNELL: Yes, now, I get it –


O`DONNELL: I finally get it.

MADDOW: We`re all on board, thanks man –

O`DONNELL: Thanks –

MADDOW: Good night –

O`DONNELL: Rachel. Well, if you don`t think Hillary Clinton is worried
about Bernie Sanders tonight, then you don`t know enough about what can
happen in presidential campaigns.

And Hillary Clinton knows all about what can happen in presidential
campaigns, especially when a Democratic front-runner gets challenged from
the left.


SANDERS: I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United
States of America.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he give Hillary Clinton a hard time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And smart with me (INAUDIBLE), he is kind of the truth
teller in the public square.

SANDERS: There`s a billionaire class, I say that your greed has got to

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got that sort of rumpled professor look.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: What do you do? Go to the barber
and say, give me the dark brown, I mean, come on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders is the ultimate anti-politician.

SANDERS: This campaign is about the needs of the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Among the good people. That`s your game, it`s an old

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far can Bernie Sanders go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do the Republicans do now, is go behind Ireland –

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: If you do not support same-sex marriage,
you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what a warning sign is that for Republicans here

JONATHAN CAPEHART, JOURNALIST: The candidates themselves had to come
around on this –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who should have done it first?

CAPEHART: I`m not sure –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But not anymore –

CAPEHART: But you know, I –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not anymore – excuse me, I interrupted you –

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I think they`re probably waiting
for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not the supreme branch, and
for God`s sake, it isn`t the supreme being.




O`DONNELL: Tonight, Hillary Clinton`s campaign staff must be asking
themselves, is Bernie Sanders the new Gene McCarthy?

The last time a prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic presidential
nomination was challenged by an uprising on the left, the challenger came -
- challenge came from a gray-haired Senator from a Canadian border state.

That was 1968, when Minnesota`s Eugene McCarthy did the unthinkable and
challenged the incumbent Democratic president for the nomination.


Democratic primaries in four states, Wisconsin, Oregon, California and

The decision with reference to Massachusetts and also New Hampshire will be
made within the next two or three weeks.


O`DONNELL: Gene McCarthy run on the issue of the day, the moral issue of
the day, the Vietnam War. And if elected president, he would simply end

McCarthy rocked the political world by winning the New Hampshire primary,
well, it was as if he had won.

The media treated it as a huge victory for Senator McCarthy, simply because
he achieved 42 percent of the vote against incumbent President Lyndon

President Johnson was stunned by the New Hampshire vote, and with Gene
McCarthy showing how weak Lyndon Johnson was, another Democratic senator
saw an opening.


presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies.

I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and
because I have such strong feelings about what must be done and I feel that
I`m obliged to do all that I can.

I run to seek new policies, policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in
our cities. Policies to close the gaps that now exists between black and
white, between rich and poor, between young and old in this country and
around the rest of the world.


O`DONNELL: Together, those two senators, Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy
knocked the front-runner out of the race for the Democratic presidential

Two weeks after Bobby Kennedy announced his candidacy, President Lyndon
Johnson surrendered.


seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as
your president.


O`DONNELL: Things got tragically complicated after that, Bobby Kennedy was
assassinated after winning the California primary, and Vice President
Hubert Humphrey ended up with the Democratic nomination and lost the
presidency to Richard Nixon.

But since then, heavily favored Democratic party front-runners are always
at least a bit worried about a McCarthy-like uprising on their left.

Such an uprising needs a galvanizing moral issue such as ending the Vietnam
War. Bernie Sanders believes he has such an issue now.


SANDERS: In America, we now have more income and wealth inequality than
any other major country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and
everyone else is growing wider and wider.

The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our
time. It is the great economic issue of our time. It is the great
political issue of our time, and we will address it!



O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Steve Kornacki, host of Msnbc`s “UP With STEVE
KORNACKI”, he is in Vermont on this day in presidential politics history.

Also joining us, Nicholas Confessore, “New York Times” and Caitlin Huey-
Burns, a political reporter for “RealClearPolitics”.

Steve Kornacki, I was watching that crowd up there with Bernie Sanders
today, and I think a lot of them remembered Gene McCarthy.

an interesting comparison, absolutely.

I mean, you look at the overwhelming nature of the front-runner that
Hillary Clinton is, and the potential for Bernie Sanders.

Obviously, you look at the issues that he is stressing and there`s new
resonance on income inequality, on wealth concentration, even climate
change for that matter.

Issues that Bernie Sanders has been talking about for so long, but now
finally at this sort of late stage of his career are at the fore of the
national debate.

But when you look at the potential for Bernie Sanders, I think to cause
trouble, to cause headaches, maybe even worse for Hillary Clinton, I think
you got to look at those first two states that are on the calendar, Iowa
and New Hampshire.

And I mean, outside of Vermont in his home state, you really can`t think of
two better states for Bernie Sanders to start the presidential race in.

I mean, Iowa, it`s a caucus state, it`s an activist oriented electorate,
this is a place where Hillary Clinton had problems in 2008, she came in
third place in the caucuses out there in New Hampshire of course.

Like Iowa, small, rural state, very similar to Vermont and New Hampshire.

A next door neighbor, you know, state for Bernie Sanders. So, the voters
in Iowa, the voters in New Hampshire, these are the types of voters he is
accustomed to appealing to in his campaigns.

He has a message that resonates to sort of lower income rural voters. So,
again, the path of Bernie Sanders to the nomination, that`s very difficult
to see.

Maybe it`s impossible to see. The path of Bernie Sanders causing some –
making some serious noise in Iowa and New Hampshire, and causing some
serious headaches for Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, that`s not
as hard to see.

O`DONNELL: The – Bernie Sanders faces a similar challenge that Robert
Kennedy faced when he run, and Gene McCarthy faced within the party which -
- they didn`t want to in any personal kind of way attack President Johnson.

Bernie Sanders took a page right out of Bobby Kennedy`s playbook today,
saying this is not about Hillary Clinton and it`s not about anyone else in
the race.

Let`s listen to the way Bobby Kennedy said this about President Johnson
back when he made his announcement.


KENNEDY: My decision reflects no personal animosity or disrespect toward
President Johnson. He served President Kennedy with the utmost loyalty and
was extremely kind to me and members of my family in the difficult months
which followed the events of November of 1963.

I have often commended his efforts in health and education and in many
other areas. And I have the deepest sympathy for the burden that he
carries today.

But the issue is not personal. It is our profound differences over where
we are heading and what we want to accomplish.


O`DONNELL: And Nick Confessore, that was a guy who was planning to run
hard against Lyndon Johnson, just as Bernie Sanders intends to run hard in
this race.

He is just not going to personalize it to Hillary Clinton.

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, NEW YORK TIMES: You were saying their profound
differences, Lawrence. I think, look, there`s obviously going to be a
clear choice here.

Bernie Sanders is not an off the shelf candidate. On the other hand, you
can`t hang income inequality on Hillary Clinton, it`s not her policy, it`s
not her fault.

And she can`t be tied to it in the way that Johnson could be tied to the
Vietnam War. I still don`t think that there is the right kind of
galvanizing issue as you described it.

That he could have ride to an insurgency. I think the bigger danger for
Clinton is all the ways in which he presents a study in contrast.

This is not a guy who is worried about offending the sensibilities of Wall
Street or people in finance or wealthy people.

This is not a guy who is afraid to roll out ten policy proposals on the day
he announces. You know, Clinton has kind of convinced us that it`s normal
to be in office for 30 years and announce and not have any proposals lined

He came out of the box with a bunch of them today.

O`DONNELL: And Caitlin, the – let`s remember the McCarthy example. The
McCarthy example is that he opened up the field, he showed the opening and
Bobby Kennedy, a more famous, more popular Senator came running in.

There is a more famous, more popular Democratic Senator out there,
Elizabeth Warren, who could run into this thing conceivably, if we started
to see Hillary Clinton falling.

now, she is staying on the sidelines, and I think she`s having a bigger
influence on this debate by staying there and keeping these candidates on
their toes.

I mean, in 2012, Republicans were really craving a conservative alternative
to Mitt Romney. We saw that in – by virtue of the primary going as long
as we did.

I don`t think that, that is the same situation we`re seeing with Democrats.
However, I do think that some Democrats are really craving this debate on
these issues that they haven`t been able to have for a while.

Because this is an open election and they feel like this is the time to
really do that.

O`DONNELL: And Steve, the calendar of 1968 and other years shows you just
how late you can make a move here. If there is a faltering front-runner,
and so without that, of course, everyone is going to stay in place.

And certainly, Hillary Clinton is not going to give an LBJ speech and say,
I have decided not to accept the nomination.

But Bernie Sanders as that guy who is getting in here willing to say
whatever he thinks on a given day, that`s a very dangerous force for
Hillary Clinton to have to contend with.

KORNACKI: You know, I think it is, and there`s a couple ways to look at
the Sanders candidacy.

I think, first of all, you look at all the other Democrats who are out
there, several of them potentially to run against Hillary Clinton, Martin
O`Malley, Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb.

And I think right now, the only one who`s demonstrated any real traction
against Hillary Clinton already is Bernie Sanders. So, he`s already sort
of separated himself from them.

We`ll see if he can continue that separation and make that more permanent
and really get a one-on-one race.

Now, the other interesting thing I think to keep in mind, too, is, we talk
about Hillary Clinton being the overwhelming front-runner, 40, 50 points

And all of that is true, so it might sound strange to say this, but I also
think Hillary Clinton in a lot of ways is the ideal opponent for Bernie

Because when you –


KORNACKI: Look at how Bernie Sanders defines himself, he defines himself
as the anti-politician, the ultimate outsider, the guy who is willing to
stand against all of the powerful interests and his opponent is going to
have more money than any Democrat who ever run for president before.

Her husband is an ex president, close to Wall Street, we know all of these
things, so she represents in so many ways the forces that Bernie Sanders
defines himself in opposition to.

O`DONNELL: And Steve, there`s nothing more dangerous on a debate stage
than a well-vexed candidate who`s got nothing to lose.

KORNACKI: Absolutely. And I mean, you saw – you can think back to the
2008 campaign, a lot of people think the moment that it started to fall
apart for Hillary Clinton, it wasn`t – it wasn`t just coming in third
place in Iowa.

It was in a debate in October of 2007 when she was pressed specifically on
the issue of driver`s licenses for illegal immigrants.

And she was pressed on that issue, did not come across very well, and a lot
of people think that is when her candidacy started to fall apart.

And you can think there`s going to be six Democratic debates now. Bernie
Sanders is going to have six opportunities at least to stand up there on
stage with Hillary Clinton.

You look at those issue positions that he staked out today, like a $15
minimum wage, being very clear, very emphatic on that.

And there is going to be opportunities for him in those debates to press
her for specific answers and see how she responds.

O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, thanks very much for joining us from Vermont
tonight. We`re going to –

KORNACKI: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: Take a break here and when we come back, with the world
changing around them, Republican presidential candidates are still clinging
to the wreckage of their hopeless position on marriage equality.

And today, a shock, a truly shocking thing, something that never happens in
Washington – a former State Department official says he has changed his
mind, changed his mind about Edward Snowden.


O`DONNELL: The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed an amendment
that would allow veterans administration doctors to recommend medical
marijuana to patients suffering from post traumatic stress and chronic

The amendment was introduced by a Republican, Republican Senator Steve
Daines of Montana. He says the VA policy that forbids doctors and patients
from even talking about medical marijuana violates their first amendment

Coming up next, Ireland votes for marriage equality and here in the United
States, the number of people who say they are socially liberal is the
highest in 15 years and Republican candidates for president do not know
what to do about that.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four hundred and sixty seven thousand, three hundred
and seven.



O`DONNELL: This weekend, the Republic of Ireland became the first country
in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Sixty two percent voted in favor of it. Here at home, a new Gallop poll
shows that 60 percent of Americans now support marriage equality, including
76 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents and 37 percent of

America`s shift toward marriage equality presents a challenge for some
Republican presidential candidates who oppose it. Groups of young
conservatives are working to reform the party`s platform by removing anti-
gay language.

Today, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio who has previously
said that he would attend a same-sex wedding said this.


RUBIO: We`ve reached the point now where – look, if you think about it,
we are at the water`s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian
teaching is hate speech.

Because today we`ve reached a point in our society where if you do not
support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.

The next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity,
the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech. And that`s a –
that`s a real and present danger.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Jerri Ann Henry, Campaign Manager for Young
Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. Jerri Ann, how is it going?

I don`t hear any Republican presidential campaigners using your talking
points yet.

MARRY: Well, they`re not using them yet, but we`re confident that they
will come around.

A lot of what we`re talking about is really focused on inclusion, so that
those who have – regardless of what opinion people have, they have a place
on this issue, they have a place in the Republican Party.

And I think after the Supreme Court rules, you will see a lot of shifts on
this issue.

O`DONNELL: And Jerri Ann, when you have conversations inside the party, in
Republican Party on this, and you show them this polling data, that
information on independent voters, for example, what is their reaction to

HENRY: I think it`s – there`s two different things that we see, one, we
often go to different states and we meet with local Republican leaders and
party leadership.

And they often are surprised and pleased to find out that they`re not –
they`re not the only person that thinks that we can come around on this

So you`re going to, I think, see a ground swell and growing support around
inclusion of gay people and support for same-sex marriage among

But we also see people who are legitimately worried about growing the
party`s base and they want to focus on a lot of other issues. And this one
keeps coming up, and over time, they`re going to have to get right on the
issue if they want a victory in 2016.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Mike Huckabee talking about maybe not following
Supreme Court on this.


HUCKABEE: Judicial review is exactly what we`ve operated under. We have
not operated under judicial supremacy.

Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Jackson, presidents have understood that the
Supreme Court cannot make a law. They cannot make it.

The legislature has to make it, the executive branch has to sign it and
enforce it. And the notion that the Supreme Court comes up with the ruling
and that automatically subjects the two other branches to following it
defies everything there is about the three equal branches of government.

Chris, the Supreme Court is not the supreme branch, and for God`s sake, it
isn`t the supreme being.


O`DONNELL: Caitlin, it sounds like Jerri Ann is going to have a long
struggle getting Mike Huckabee to make sense of any of this.

HUEY-BURNS: Right, well, it`s been interesting to watch, you know, a lot
of Republicans running for office this year.

Where, looking at the Supreme Court case as a way to take this issue off
the table and move on to things they want to talk about, things they think
can appeal to younger voters.

Things like the economy and jobs. But this issue keeps coming up and it`s
interesting, the Supreme Court will also be deciding the healthcare debate
later this Summer as well.

So, it will be interesting to see how they react to that compared to this.
But I do think it`s something that, you know, as they`re competing in
conservative primary states.

Like Iowa, for example, we saw it at a summit recently, virtually all the
candidates talked about, you know, traditional – what they see as
traditional marriage.

But then I have – I have seen some of these candidates in New Hampshire
and they were asked about it and they quickly want to move on to other

So, I think it`s going to be interesting to watch how they react to this
question in the first two early states.

O`DONNELL: And Nick Confessore, we see Marco Rubio moving into the war on
Christians notion of what`s going on here.

CONFESSORE: Look, the first candidate on the GOP side who says he`s for
same-sex marriage is the first candidate to doom his candidacy, and that`s
the problem.

This is a powerful and real constituency in their party. They care deeply
about this, they feel they`re on the defensive if they`re fighting a real
court action against a hostile mainstream culture.

And to sort of defy that and go against them is extremely difficult. So –
and so, what you have here is a competition between – you know, kind of
the grassroots world and the faith world in the GOP and the donor world.

Which for the most part is pushing these guys to just stop talking about it
if they can`t agree to be for it.

O`DONNELL: Jerri Ann, all right, can you show a Republican presidential
candidate the path to the nomination? What position do you – let me put it
this – another way.

What position on this marriage issue do you think a Republican can have and
get the nomination?

HENRY: I think the most straightforward path for presidential candidate is
to recognize that there`s diversity within the Republican Party.

There are going to be a lot of people who are for same-sex marriage and
want to see that in their states, and those people should have a place in
the Republican Party.

And a presidential candidate needs to embrace that, while also recognizing
that there are those who will oppose that, and they also have an equal spot
in that party.

Now, that does kind of sound like splitting hairs, but they`re going to
have to move forward with their very inclusive message.

One that recognizes that ultimately families and two people coming together
in a loving, committed way, that is what`s at the cornerstone of our
society and we should do everything that we can to make families stronger.

O`DONNELL: Nick, do you think a Republican could get the nomination by
going back to the old state`s rights position and saying, look, I think
marriage is an issue for the states, and just leave it at that.

CONFESSORE: I think it`s hard to get through without – you know, an
affirmative declaration that they think that gay marriage is
unconstitutional or at least that there`s no right to it in the

It`s just a litmus test. I think it`s very hard. We saw Rand Paul for a
little bit, you know, try and play with some of the states` rights language
and then move off of that into a more conventional position against it.

There are just powerful pressures, you know, you`re pushing against these
candidates and pushing them away from taking that stance.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Scott Walker said about it.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Marriage is a decision that should be
defined by our state governments, not at the federal level.

And in Wisconsin and other places across the country, marriage is defined
between one man and one woman and states should be the ones that make that


O`DONNELL: Caitlin, he`s running up there pretty high in the polls, do you
think he can just stay with that line the rest of the way?

HUEY-BURNS: Well, Scott Walker is trying to court more conservative
members of his party, while also trying to appeal to the establishment

He is trying to position himself as someone who is electable in that way.
But it is interesting as several of his rivals do want to kind of remove
this issue from the table.

I do think that Scott Walker does bring it up because he has that Wisconsin
experience and that`s something from his record that he can point to
specifically when he`s out on a trail.

Things that he`s done when he is trying to court an appeal to those kinds
of constituencies.

O`DONNELL: OK, we got to take a break here, Nicholas Confessore, Caitlin
Huey-Burns and Jerri Ann Henry, thank you all for joining us tonight.

HENRY: Thank you –

CONFESSORE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, the most amazing possible thing has happened.
Someone has changed his mind about Edward Snowden. No one in politics
changes minds.

Well, did happen. Also coming up, how Michelle Obama is trying to inspire
a generation known for selfies to become activists.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight, breaking Washington news about
something that would really not be news outside of our culture of politics
in this country, which allows very little space for civil discussion,
including explorations of possible areas of agreement once the political
battle lines are drawn.

And absolutely no room at all for changing one`s mind about anything once
those battle lines are drawn. Edward Snowden instantly became a battle
line as soon as we learned his name.

Strong opinions were expressed in favor of his unauthorized release of NSA
secrets and strong opinions were offered in support of Edward Snowden,
whose strongest public advocate became Glenn Greenwald.

Tonight`s breaking news is that someone has changed his mind about Edward
Snowden. Hodding Carter, who was Assistant Secretary of State for Public
Affairs in Jimmy Carter`s administration, published a piece in “Salon,”
entitled, –

TEXT: “Glenn Greenwald, I`m sorry: Why I changed my mind on Edward

Joining us now is Hodding Carter, now a professor at UNC Chapel Hill and
contributor to the new book, “After Snowden, Privacy, Secrecy and Security
in the Information Age.”

And here to accept that apology, Glenn Greenwald, Co-Founding Editor of
“The Intercept.” Mr. Carter, thank you for joining us tonight. Glenn is
going to be on a little bit of a delay, coming to us from South America.

Tell us how you did this most remarkable of things for Washington
creatures, changing your mind. I have a suspicion that living outside
Washington had something to do with it.

it. But, actually, just sitting back for a moment and saying, “Wait a
minute, what did the man actually do.”

Yes, yes, yes, he released some material. It was material which the
government had no business –


– having. And that becomes clear. And, second, it was material the
government had been assembling in ways which no one outside of the inner
reaches of government had any idea was going on.

The combination was sort of overwhelming. This was the last statement of a
national security state gone crazy.

And there he was, Edward Snowden, saying things which, just to be blunt
about it, any good patriot ought to have been saying.

O`DONNELL: Take us through your emotional –


– reaction when you First learned about this from Glenn Greenwald – the
whole – whatever Snowden had done. You talk in your piece about being an
ex-Marine and you had a real Marine`s reaction to it.

CARTER: I had a Marine`s reaction, I had a child of the World War reaction
to it, I had the reaction of a man who believed your first order of
business when the flag goes up is to salute.

And, therefore, to believe that it was acceptable for someone to
unilaterally, as it seemed, endanger national security was not within the
realm of my emotional-intellectual possibility.

And bingo. Again, it`s required that you step back one from your own deep-
felt prejudices or convictions, or from your experience. In my experience,
the Lord knows, has taken me in and out of government.

And I thought, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. This is a very large extension of
some very bad tendencies in government for some time.”

So, along comes Mr. Snowden, along comes Mr. Greenwald, and a couple of
others, and lay out for us exactly what has been going on without the
assent of the people.

And I thought, “Thank God. Thank God.”

O`DONNELL: Glenn Greenwald, I`ve been watching this fairly carefully. And
I don`t have a big stack of public apologies to you –


– or to Edward Snowden here. Is this the only one. Is this the first
one. Have I missed a few.

hard, not just in politics but as a human being, to do what Mr. Carter did,
to first re-evaluate strongly-held opinions and then publicly admit that
your original opinions weren`t accurate.

I think that`s hard for all of us to do. There have been some people who
have done it.

Richard Cohen, in “The Washington Post,” wrote a pretty vicious column
about Snowden earlier on and a few months later said, “You know what, I
thought about it. And everything I thought about, it was wrong.”

He wasn`t in it for money. He wasn`t in it for fame. He was in it because
he believed that the public had the right know.

Juan Williams actually just wrote a column in “The Hill,” saying,
essentially, he was wrong about Mr. Snowden, that in light of the court
case that said this program was illegal, in light of the ongoing debate in
Washington where there`s clearly going to be reform, that what he did was
clearly strengthening for democracy and ought to be brought back home.

And I think that`s how it often is with whistleblowers. I remember Daniel
Ellsberg told me early on, he had almost no support when he did what he did
in the beginning.

And it took years for basically it to be a consensus, that what he did was
heroic. And he told me, he thinks it`s going to be the same pattern for
Mr. Snowden.

O`DONNELL: Hodding Carter, when I first saw that headline, I thought, “Oh,
well.” You know, the court made that ruling and then, you know, Hodding
Carter reconsidered that from the court ruling.

But you clearly had come to this view before that recent court ruling.

CARTER: Yes, I was thinking about the examples that were just being cited,
and thinking, at the time, that most of us were writing our renditions or
chapters for this new book.

That was not being said by people. And this was, for some of us, a step
over a line, which seemed to be very clear.

When they weren`t busy attacking Mr. Snowden, they were busy attacking Mr.
Greenwald or his associates, or others in that field. This has been a much
faster falling-off-the-cliff than in past instances.

It has been less than a year since we wrote our chapters. And in that
time, well, hell, you had the editor of “The New York Times” saying he
wished he could have redone it, that he was wrong on some of the basics.

A fine man but he just said that within the last month.

O`DONNELL: Glenn Greenwald, what`s your reaction to the changes or the
adjustments being considered now in the Congress on the Patriot Act.

GREENWALD: Well, I think they`re definitely woefully inadequate. If I had
my choice, I would actually hope that the Patriot Act, those key
provisions, expire completely, not that reform but just expire.

They were intended to be temporary at the time they were enacted in this
sort of, you know, really strong emotion after 9/11.

But that`s – Lawrence, I think it`s critical to realize, this will be the
very first time in the post-9/11 era that the Congress takes away power, in
the name of terrorism, from the Intelligence community in the Pentagon,
rather than giving them more.

And even though it is milder than I would like, I think it`s an incredibly
important course correction for the excesses that we`ve seen in the post-
9/11 era.

O`DONNELL: Hodding Carter and Glenn Greenwald, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

Coming up, it`s that time of year –


– when Republicans attack Michelle Obama for giving commencement
addresses. That`s next.



First Lady Michelle Obama is continuing her annual college commencement
tour. Yesterday, she spoke to the graduates of Oberlin College in Ohio.


that if you truly wish to carry on the Oberlin legacy of service and social
justice, then you need to run to and not away from the noise.

You see, it`s wonderful to volunteer at your local homeless shelter.
Please do that. But you also need to attend the city council meetings and
make sure the zoning laws don`t shut that shelter down.


Are you thinking of teaching in an under-served school. If so, I`m glad to
hear that. So many kids need you.

But you also have to elect good people to your school board and state
legislature because they decide whether you have the resources you need to
inspire and empower your students.


Are you planning to rally for marriage equality on the steps of the Supreme
Court. I certainly hope so.


But I also hope you will knock on doors and make some calls to elect a
president who shares your values. Because that president will ultimately
choose the justices who decide those cases in the first place.



O`DONNELL: More from Michelle Obama after the break.



OBAMA: Follow what`s happening in your city hall, your state house in
Washington, D.C. Better yet, run for office yourself.

Get in there, shake things up. Don`t be afraid.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Peter Slevin, the author of “Michelle Obama, a
Life.” He`s also an associate professor at Northwestern University`s
Medill School of Journalism.

So, Peter, Michelle Obama goes out there every year. She gets attacked
every year for some things she says in commencement addresses.

She knows that`s coming, doesn`t she.

PETER SLEVIN, AUTHOR, “MICHELLE OBAMA, A LIFE”: She certainly knows it`s
coming. And she talks about being true to herself, true to the message
that she wants to deliver. She does not lacks confidence in these
situations, but she`s also got a very clear sense of purpose when she gives
these speeches.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what she said about democracy.


OBAMA: It is loud and messy, and it`s not particularly warm and fuzzy.
And, believe me, I know this from personal experience.


Over the years, I`ve occasionally run into the noise myself. But I`ve come
to realize that most of that clamor is really coming from just a handful of
very loud folks out on the fringes.


O`DONNELL: Peter, we learned from her commencement address at Tuskegee,
and some other public comments at different times, that she does take some
of that criticism, some of the attacks against her, especially during the
first presidential campaign, she does take some of them personally.

SLEVIN: That`s right. She talked in Tuskegee two weeks ago about those
moments –


– early in the first campaign in 2008, when critics were questioning who
she was, what she stood for, what she believed in. And she said it.

It really set her back. She has gotten a lot more used to it. She just
figured out, just as she said at Overland yesterday, that she still got a
message to deliver, and there are going to be some people who would just
keep coming at her, keep coming at the President.

But she has decided that this is a message she wants to keep giving,
especially to the young people.

O`DONNELL: These speeches, which she delivers brilliantly, –


– always raise the question of what is she going to do next.


O`DONNELL: What is she going to do in her post-White House years.

SLEVIN: That`s right. Well, she – politics is definitely not her
favorite activity. She`s made no secret of that. Barack Obama talks about
how little she likes –


– doing some of what you have to do in politics. But I`ll defer to him on
the question of whether she would get into politics.

He was asked, “Chief, what would you think, if you were told 10 years from
now, that your wife had gotten involved in politics.” And he said, “I
think she would have been probably abducted by aliens.”


She has talked about – she has talked about how she wants to keep working
on education, which she describes as the greatest Civil Rights challenge of
the future, of this generation.

She is clearly going to keep speaking out. She will always be a mentor.
She`s a mentor to her bones.

And I think you can see that in these speeches to young people. She has
made clear that she fully intends to stay involved, though running for
office may not quite be her thing.

O`DONNELL: So, are we looking at something like the Rosalynn Carter, –


– post-presidential years public service.

SLEVIN: I think it`s clear that she will do public service. I think she
herself not quite know what form that will take.

I mean, she has about every option you could ever want. She`ll certainly
do some writing, she`ll do –


– some speaking. They clearly will have the Obama Foundation, they will
have the library.

I think, too, we`re seeing in the second term, that she is more and more
outspoken about the issues she cares about, particularly about the lack of
opportunity in this country.

She`ll talk about disadvantage. And I think that that conversation is one
that she fully plans to continue after 2017, you know. She`ll only be 53
years old.


O`DONNELL: Peter Slevin, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SLEVIN: Pleasure to be here.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, important comedy, comedy that changes our
understanding of the possible.


The city of Houston confirmed today that a fourth person died in flooding
and dozens are missing across Texas. Storms have killed –


– at least 17 people in Texas and Oklahoma. And authorities say they have
no idea how many people could be missing in submerged cars.

As many as 2,500 vehicles have been abandoned. Eleven inches of rain fell
in parts of Houston over the last 24 hours.



Computer dating services have been with us longer than you think. Much
longer. Here`s the legendary comedy team of “Stiller and Meara” on Johnny
Carson`s “Tonight Show” way back in the days of black and white TV.


ANNE MEARA, COMEDIAN: Thank you very much. Recently, there`s been a lot
of talk about computers in the newspapers.

They`ve even managed to date people with the help of computers. So, Jerry
and I would like you to meet a couple who have been ideally matched by a
computer. And they meet for the very first time.


MEARA: How do you do.

STILLER: I`m Hershey Horowitz.


MEARA: I`m Mary Elizabeth Doyle.



O`DONNELL: So, what`s so funny about the name, Mary Elizabeth Doyle. Why
the big laugh just for that name.

It was comedy of the impossible. In those days, –


– it was virtually impossible to imagine a beautiful Irish Catholic girl,
or any Irish Catholic girl named Mary Elizabeth Doyle, marrying a Jewish
man, any Jewish man.

And audiences in those days were hyper-alert to the ethnic meanings of
every name.

Stiller and Meara`s computer dating bit turned on the idea that no one had
told the computer how to tell an Irish Catholic name from a Jewish name,
and that Catholics and Jews should never be thrown into the same dating

And the fact that all of us in the audience knew that Stiller and Meara
really were that impossible couple, that the Irish Catholic Anne Meara was
married to the Jewish man she was performing with, lifted that bit into the
realm of important comedy – comedy that teaches an important lesson in a
way that nothing else can.

And I can tell you, as little –


– Irish Catholic boy growing up in Boston then and still a long way from
dating, watching –


– Stiller and Meara opened my eyes to possibilities that I never saw in my

Anne Meara was a serious actress doing Shakespeare in the Park and such
things when her husband, Jerry Stiller, lured her into working as a comedy
team with him.

Fame as a comedy team brought them both many, many more acting offers.
They had two children, Amy and Ben Stiller. Anne and Jerry kept working
throughout parenthood and grandparenthood.

Anne Meara was nominated for four Emmys and she won a Writers Guild Award
as a co-writer of the 1983 TV movie, “The Other Women.”

Here are Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller in a video produced by their son, Ben
Stiller, explaining how Anne`s dad helped them with babysitting when they
were working parents, and how they played a little trick on “The New York
Times” about an obituary.

MEARA: Do you know that Jerry fought to get my father, Eddie Meara`s,
obituary into “The New York Times.”

STILLER: That`s right, I did.

MEARA: And they said, “Well, what does your father-in-law do.”

STILLER: They needed a –


STILLER: – like something to –

MEARA: And he said, “Well, he babysits. He babysits for our kids.

STILLER: That`s right. Amy and Ben.

MEARA: They said, “That`s nothing. Is that all.”


MEARA: And, finally, they pushed him. And he said, “Well, yes, he writes
our material.”

STILLER: He wrote all my material. And so, that got us into “The New York

MEARA: And at the wake, –


MEARA: – his friends, his old poker playing buddies said, “That Eddie
Meara, he never let on.”

O`DONNELL: No one had to fight to get Anne Meara`s obituary in “The New
York Times” this weekend. She died on Saturday in Manhattan at the age of


We will all remember Anne Meara in different ways. Some of you will
remember her from “Sex in the City,” where she –


– played Cynthia Nixon`s mother-in-law, or for countless other TV and film
appearances. But I will always remember her the way I –


– first saw her, on stage with Jerry. I always think of them together.
Even when I see Anne or Jerry working alone, I always think of them
together, “Stiller and Meara,” –


– full of fun, full of love and wisdom, doing important comedy –


– that helped open our eyes to the world around us.


MEARA: I`m Mary Elizabeth Doyle.



MEARA: Horowitz?

STILLER: Horowitz – h, o, r, o, w, i, t, z. Hershey. My friends call me


MEARA: Doyle – d, o, y, l, e. My friends call me Mary Elizabeth.


STILLER: Is Doyle your real name>

MEARA: Sure. Why wouldn`t it be my real name.

STILLER: I don`t know. I mean, I was just hoping –

MEARA: No, we`re Doyles. We`re Dempseys on my mother`s side.

STILLER: Dempsey.

MEARA: Horowitz.

STILLER: Shmolowitz on my mother`s side.


This computer is a very good thing.

MEARA: Oh, it`s terrific. Listen, I mean –

STILLER: I was reading all about it, you know.

MEARA: – it takes all the guesswork out of meeting someone.





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