The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 09/16/15

Howard Dean, Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Nicolle Wallace, April Ryan

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: The top concern of this hour, globally is
whether this quake could generate a tsunami. Authorities in Chile have
ordered residents out of low-lying coastal areas.

We`re getting some reports of buoys at sea registering a rise in the water
of several feet, the fact of a quake off a coast doesn`t mean a deadly
tsunami is imminent or certainty.

Tonight, they`re continuing to keep watching Chile to get people away from
areas where there might be danger, I should mention though.

As we mentioned at the top of the show, here in the U.S., officials in
Hawaii did issue a tsunami advisory, but those officials now say they do
not expect a major event in Hawaii.

These things can take hours to develop after a major quake, and so we`ll
keep you posted as we learn more tonight here on Msnbc.

That does it for us tonight, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I beg your forgiveness tonight, I
didn`t watch your show. I spent the last hour watching the Republican
debate, which is my job tonight, I`m sorry.

MADDOW: I was watching it inside my mouth –


MADDOW: I understand –

O`DONNELL: Right, thanks –

MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: Rachel. Well, the Republican presidential candidates have
completed their first two hours of debating at the Reagan Library.

Republican Rick Wilson who advised GOP candidates today to attack Donald
Trump tonight will join us along with Steve Schmidt and April Ryan.

Steve Kornacki will also be here, he`s monitoring the debate for us now.
And joining us now, Chuck Todd, moderator of Nbc`s “Meet the Press” and
“Nbc News” political director.

Also Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and a former chairman of the
Democratic National Committee, he`s also an Msnbc political analyst.

And Nicolle Wallace, former White House Communications Director, adviser
for President George W. Bush`s re-election campaign and adviser for John
McCain`s presidential campaign.

Chuck Todd, your score card so far?

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Big night for Carly Fiorina. I
mean, there`s no doubt, I – you had a feeling that no matter what she was
going to sort of have a good night just by being there and getting that
moment with –


TODD: Trump on that –

O`DONNELL: Right –

TODD: Horrible – and that horrible thing that he said about her. But
she`s done more than that. She`s made – she`s – look, everybody comes
with prepared one liners and I don`t criticize candidates for doing that.

That`s what – she has deployed hers without looking like she`s deploying a
one-liner. It`s just been on point after point, she never feels as if
she`s been left out of the conversation.

A lot of the other candidates, they`ll go 20, 30 minutes at a time and
suddenly they speak and you go, oh, my God, where have they been?

O`DONNELL: Right –

WALLACE: Yes, that`s right –

TODD: She`s been consistent –

WALLACE: Todd is right –

TODD: I think all night –

WALLACE: That`s right –

TODD: And had a –

WALLACE: That`s right –

TODD: I think she`s had an excellent night. In contrast, I think Trump`s
had an awful night. I think he`s been exposed –

WALLACE: He did –

TODD: On –

WALLACE: He did –

TODD: A number of issues, but I have no idea whether that`s going to
impact him.

WALLACE: Right –

O`DONNELL: Nicolle, there have been some long silence from Donald Trump,
but I think in fact, the longest recorded silence ever in –


Fifteen minutes I think in his life.

TODD: The end timer, quick –

O`DONNELL: But the debate has – as Chuck said, it keeps coming back to
Carly. They – many of these candidates keep referring to her and
according to the rules of the debate, if you say my name, I get to respond
and so she`s been in this a lot.

WALLACE: In addition, she`s inserted herself into every –


WALLACE: Single conversation that`s gone on, and she`s made some segues
that I don`t think any of the others would have the audacity to try to pull

But that`s what this is a game of. It`s a game of audacity and she has
shown that she has it. I think the story tonight for me is sort of the
resurgence of the establishment candidates.

I thought that Chris Christie had the best opening line, he asked that the
cameras be turned on the audience, and he asked a question, he said are any
of your lives – do you believe that your children`s lives would be better
than yours was?

No one raised their hand. I thought he did the smartest thing you can ever
do in politics. He said this isn`t about me, it`s about you.

So, I thought he had the best opening line. I thought Jeb Bush for the
first time really got tough on Trump, accused him of trying to – of
actually being a special interest and trying to buy his favor with the Bush
administration when Jeb Bush was governor of Florida.

And I thought – I thought – I think Kasich sort of – he is the new
tortoise in this race, he walks, he doesn`t run, he`s not afraid to couch
himself in establishment terms.

He`s not afraid to talk about his experience. He turned around at one
point and said I think I flew on Air Force 1, obviously that is an Air
Force 1 that now hangs in the museum.

He`s been in politics for a very long time, but the establishment pack sort
of embraced their establishmentism and they made the most of it. They are
who they are.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton has not played a big role in this
debate tonight since they` been talking about each other so much.

But just about in the last few minutes before 10:00, Chris Christie brought
her up and Chris Christie said, he wants to – used this word, prosecute
her in that general election debate.

Here`s a guy who has prosecutors closing in on him who uses this phrase,
that he wants to prosecute Hillary Clinton –


O`DONNELL: In a debate –

DEAN: Here`s the interesting thing. I think, you know, I agree with Chuck
and Nicolle that, Carly has had a great night in terms of getting herself
up in front of everybody.

The problem is, she`s basically running an incredibly negative campaign.
As far as I can tell, she has nothing positive to say. Now, I don`t
actually believe that about her.

But I actually don`t think she`s done herself as many favors as she could

O`DONNELL: But with Republican voters, doesn`t it sound like what she has
to say is working with Republican voters?

DEAN: Well, it does and it doesn`t. You know, Trump is funny, he`s there
because he`s an anti-establishment candidate, but he has some ideas and
some of them are negative.

She`s all negative all the time. I`m trying to think they were positive
idea that she`s had. Now, I agree, she`s gotten tremendous amount of air
time, I think she`s going to do well as a result of this debate.

But I`m looking at this from a general election point of view. If she
should happen to win the nomination, she comes in as Mrs. negative.

O`DONNELL: And Chuck, just as this hour was closing, Donald Trump, there
he was on the stage saying – insisting that he will know about the
problems of the world as he puts it, when he becomes president and when he
has advisors in the White House finally explaining those things to him.

TODD: And that`s what I`m going to be curious to see how voters respond to
that. Because – and Ben Carson had a similar moment, just not as
bombastic when he basically said, I haven`t decided on a tax plan yet and
you`re sitting –


TODD: You`re going –

O`DONNELL: It was a little weirder than that –

TODD: This is the second debate, you know, he –

O`DONNELL: He has a tax plan and then his opponents tax plan would suggest
that –

TODD: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Well, I mean, he said, well, yes, maybe that one, too.

TODD: Right, you –


TODD: What are you doing here? Like what are you – and it is part of Dr.
Carson`s charm, is that, he is sort of this – I think he does – he`s a
very thoughtful guy and he does what it – if somebody has an argument and
he wants to process it and kind of played it.

It`s tough to have that presented at a debate like this. But going back to
Trump, I just, again – and Nicolle has said this, we were talking about
this earlier, if possible, he can do himself no damage, right?

No matter what he says or does. But he seems smaller tonight, physically
he did, he was slouching a little bit more, being next to Jeb who towers
over him by a couple of two or three inches.

It doesn`t help that. But he also – he just – in the opening of the
debate, he sort of – he took this cheap shot at Rand Paul who didn`t ask
for it at the time.

Like it didn`t – it came sort of about –

O`DONNELL: Had nothing to do with that –

TODD: Had nothing to do with anything and it sort of derailed –

O`DONNELL: Rand Paul doesn`t deserve to be –

TODD: It actually derailed – right, derailed the debate for about 10 or
15 –


TODD: Minutes. Only derailed it, just like –

DEAN: Yes, everybody, it was just an odd way –

WALLACE: Weird way –

DEAN: To start it –

WALLACE: I give Jake credit, he got control back. He lost it there, but
he –


WALLACE: Got it back –

O`DONNELL: Nicolle, atmospherically –

TODD: The fact to Trump –

O`DONNELL: This is a totally different debate, much smaller audience than
the first –


O`DONNELL: Debate, and Trump seems to thrive on that coliseum-feel of –

TODD: Sure –

O`DONNELL: An audience, a giant audience –

TODD: Gladiator –

O`DONNELL: That he can play with. This also seems based on some of the
shots I`ve seen, like a fairly sophisticated audience invited to the Reagan
Library –


O`DONNELL: Some pretty sophisticated players –


O`DONNELL: In that audience who don`t fall for a lot of the Trump-cheering

WALLACE: Right, Trump will not, I think, take a hit in his poll numbers
tomorrow or the next day or the next day. But if he is not our – my
party`s nominee, the work of unseating him as our frontrunner began

So I think – my dad is a huge Trump fan, I called him today, I said are
you going to watch? He said yes, and if they pile up on him, you know, that
won`t be fair, they`re just jealous.

Well, you know, the Trump supporters will feel – and I saw this with Sarah
Palin, too, when the establishment media sit around tables and say, oh, she
did a terrible job.

Their supporters are so passionate, they`re the best kind of political
supporters and you would know this because of their intensity.

And the Trump supporters are very intense and they`re not going to hold one
debate where in their view, the entire field ganged up against him.

You`re not going to see a dent in his numbers in the near term, but I think
– I think, again, if he doesn`t make it to the end –

DEAN: So –

WALLACE: That work all started tonight –

DEAN: There`s two points to be made here though. First of all, we are the
establishment, right?

WALLACE: Of course –

O`DONNELL: Speak for yourself.

DEAN: No, I mean, I never –


Want to cap this (INAUDIBLE), but we – you know, we think of issues and we


DEAN: Want a more sophisticated approach. So, we have a possibly a
different emotional reaction to this –

O`DONNELL: Right –

DEAN: On the other hand, second of all, this is the second phase of the
campaign. The Summer is the fun part where everybody does whatever they
want, and at some point, the voters actually want more substance.

And you saw more substance tonight than you did on the previous in the Fox
debate. So, I think it`s fascinating – I don`t – I mean, I`ve thought
for a long time that Chuck was right.

That we`re – of course, he`s going to fall off his chair and every –

WALLACE: He keeps going up –

DEAN: Yes, he`s in every –

TODD: Right –

DEAN: Time I think –


DEAN: He`s really –

WALLACE: Every –

DEAN: Screwed himself –


I think goes again –


DEAN: So –

WALLACE: Up he goes –

DEAN: It`s – but I think Nicolle is also right, we`re getting ready to
make the turn here into serious issues where it matters and whether it`s
right now or whether it`s in November, it`s going to happen before the

TODD: Well, let`s not talk about this is going to be a candidate, remember
I do think that the party is split in two. The base – the Republican
Party vote is split in two.

You have your establishment wing, which, by the way, you point out the
audience – that is an invited guest.

DEAN: Yes –

TODD: We`ve been out there –

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes –

TODD: We did the last two breaking debates –

DEAN: Right –

TODD: I can say, you get – who gets invited there? It`s the establishment

DEAN: Right –

TODD: That`s why they cheered Carly when she trashed Trump and why they
didn`t cheer Trump at all. But those people – half the party is against
the establishment.

DEAN: Right –

TODD: And I think the question tonight as I`ve looked at this debate and
sort of – you had a few candidates trying to be anti-establishment.

Rubio tried, I think it`s tough being a senator, Cruz is trying, Walker is
trying. But if you look at it, as Carly, Carson and Trump, well, then,
Carly had the best night of those three.

WALLACE: Right –

DEAN: Right –

TODD: And Carly could end up being –


WALLACE: That`s right –

TODD: Could end up being suddenly the anti-establishment flavor for a
while –

O`DONNELL: What about John Kasich –

TODD: And that`s a –

O`DONNELL: Moving into the Jeb positions, the former Jeb position in this

TODD: Look, I get the whole general election aspect of Kasich, and I buy
it. But he`s – you`re right, in a year where the Republican voters are
saying we don`t want any establishment, we don`t – he`s bragging about his
time in Washington.


TODD: He`s talking about his time –

WALLACE: Little toned up –

TODD: It is really good message for New Hampshire –


TODD: And as New Hampshire goes, so goes New Hampshire. I mean –

WALLACE: Right –

TODD: I just don`t buy that the rest of the –


O`DONNELL: But he`s talking about –

TODD: Republican electorate –


O`DONNELL: The budget –


O`DONNELL: And leaving a surplus when he was in Washington. I mean, he`s
saying things that used to work.

WALLACE: Yes – no, we still like that.


WALLACE: We still like – he`s giving you the –

O`DONNELL: By the way, we are going to focus-group your father –


O`DONNELL: Get him on the phone –

WALLACE: Listen, he`s not –

O`DONNELL: During the commercial –

WALLACE: I was – I was out in California –

O`DONNELL: On a focus-group your father –

WALLACE: This Summer –

O`DONNELL: Right now –

WALLACE: Pot-smoking liberals from Santa Cruz, right-wing business nuts.
I mean, Trump has a huge following.

It may not be here in Manhattan, although he talks about a lot of New York
friends. But Trump should not be underestimated.

And until tonight, Trump had been getting much better, Trump had some
really good performances where I was –

TODD: He looked tired, by the way, it was something about – I actually –

WALLACE: I mean –

TODD: Thought he was tired –

WALLACE: They mean – I am tired –

TODD: Yes –

WALLACE: I go to –

TODD: I don`t know, I thought he was tired –

WALLACE: And so, I`m tired sometimes, but you know, he has been getting
better, and none of these men or women is going to be ruled out because of
one bad night.

Now, if this is more than one bad night, if they succeeded in finally
getting under his skin, we may see the beginning of more moments like what
we saw tonight, where he seemed peevish.

You know, the attack on Rand Paul who – I mean, the actual attack
engendered seemed to be for Rand Paul.

DEAN: And how did that –

WALLACE: He was so far behind, you –


WALLACE: Basically, you loser, what are you doing here? I actually in the
– in the back and forth, I felt bad for Rand Paul.

O`DONNELL: I also think there are many different dynamics in this debate
tonight. The questions are less focused, the “Fox News” debate, the way
they went through from moderator to moderator, they were all specifically

And this has –

TODD: So, they were interviewed –

O`DONNELL: Right, and –

TODD: Those were the last – the “Fox” debate was ten interviews –

O`DONNELL: There`s much more –

WALLACE: Correct –

O`DONNELL: Reform here, meaning this response is bouncing off of that
candidate`s –

TODD: Right –

O`DONNELL: Which doesn`t seem to work for Trump. He actually seems to be
better off in a straight back and forth on a very specific question.

DEAN: I`m – yes, I`m still puzzling, Trump always puzzles me –


DEAN: I – it takes me about three days to sort out and of course by that
time –


O`DONNELL: Why we need Nicolle`s father –

DEAN: Right –

O`DONNELL: We`re going to get him on the phone –

DEAN: Right –


O`DONNELL: We can get our Trump –


WALLACE: But there`s lots of –

O`DONNELL: I think –

WALLACE: There`s lots of –

O`DONNELL: I think –

WALLACE: Tom Brady has endorsed him today, he`s got –

O`DONNELL: Right –

WALLACE: Lots of fans –

TODD: That true?

WALLACE: That is –

TODD: Yes –


O`DONNELL: Tom Brady –

WALLACE: Breaking news –

TODD: Oh, it is winning –


O`DONNELL: Tom Brady –

TODD: That`s right –

O`DONNELL: Tom Brady needed the headache –

TODD: All right –


O`DONNELL: Of carrying the Trump campaign all along with his other

DEAN: So now we know who really deflated –


DEAN: Those –


Anyway, I – look, Trump was a different person, I`m not convinced he did a
lot of harm to himself, but he was out of character, the character we`ve
gotten to know, which is this bombastic guy who always has a blowmo(ph) for
everybody and is willing to lay waste to people.

Which I actually think is his attraction to the wing of the Republican
Party that likes him. First of all, he doesn`t know substance.

And that`s just a fact. He –


And this is a very – Jake has done a great job. I mean, if you ask me who
the winner of the debate is, it`s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash of the “Cnn”

I mean, they`ve really focused on facts. They`ve wanted to know specific
programs. And most of the – most of the players have avoided it.

But people like Kasich and Walker at least know the jargon, and Rubio know
the jargon. So, I think Trump is a little at sea here. He doesn`t do

O`DONNELL: You know, I think he is the most audience-sensitive performer
up there.

DEAN: That`s also true –


O`DONNELL: He`s the guy who`s worked –


The biggest audiences –

DEAN: That`s right –

O`DONNELL: When he`s up there. He knows and a standup comedian like him
knows the first time a joke falls flat, he knows he doesn`t have this
audience. I think he picked up early, this isn`t my audience –

TODD: Maybe why he did –

O`DONNELL: In the room –

TODD: By the way, and maybe that`s why he disappeared for a while.


TODD: I mean, which he never inserted himself when the moderators had made
it clear, if you – if you basically just say –


TODD: Jake –


TODD: You know, you get in –


You get in, and Trump hasn`t done it.

DEAN: Right –

WALLACE: When – and you know where he was brutalized from –

O`DONNELL: We got – sorry –


O`DONNELL: Nicolle, we have to take a quick –


O`DONNELL: Break here –

WALLACE: I`m sorry –

O`DONNELL: When we`re going to call your father during this break –


Find out what his reaction is. Chuck Todd, thanks for joining us –

TODD: Yes, brother –

O`DONNELL: I know, you got to go. Coming up, the Republican establishment
has now decided it`s time to go after Trump, let`s see how that works.

And Joe Biden tells Latinos not to worry about the things Republicans like
Trump are saying on the campaign trail.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Ronald Reagan did a couple of
really big things that we should all remember. He sat down with Tip
O`Neill; the most liberal guy in the entire house, they started drinking

That`s the first thing I`m going to do as president, we`re going to drink



O`DONNELL: I don`t know why he`s not in the top-tier. So, Nicolle, you
got in touch –


O`DONNELL: With your father, what does he –

WALLACE: All right –

O`DONNELL: Say? How is Trump doing tonight? –

WALLACE: So, what I said, you know, I talked to him earlier and he says I
predicted – he said, “Trump didn`t move up, he didn`t move down, stays the
same. Carly, Christie, Kasich can move up, Bush stays the same.

Carson goes down” and you said he just had a bad moment on (INAUDIBLE)
Afghanistan –

STATES REPUBLICAN PARTY: Yes, that`s what it looked like there, talking
about after the September 11th attacks, that he would not have invaded
Afghanistan –


SCHMIDT: He would not have gone –


SCHMIDT: To war, of course, I think that`s a deadly admission and I –

O`DONNELL: Right –

SCHMIDT: Republican primary –

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take another quick break, we`ll be
back and you`re going to fill us into what we just missed.


O`DONNELL: We`re back with our debate coverage, Steve Kornacki has been
keeping track of the debate while we`ve been talking about it here.

Steve, what`s the latest?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Well, I guess, the biggest thing in the last
20 minutes maybe was there was an interesting exchange over Iraq and of
course Donald Trump has been the most outspoken, basically the only
outspoken person in this field opposing.

Going back and saying the Iraq war was a big mistake, George W. Bush
bumbled it. He made that case again, Jeb Bush then got into the midst to
defend his brother, to defend George W. Bush and said my brother kept the
country safe.

Donald Trump looked around and said, does everybody here feel safe right
now? Does everybody feel safer right now?

And then an interesting moment happened as well where Ben Carson spoke up
and Ben Carson pointed out that he liked Donald Trump, had also opposed the
Iraq war from very early on.

I think he said back in 2003, so at that point Ben Carson and Donald Trump
exchanged a high five, and it is interesting to note that if you add their
poll numbers up right now, Trump and Carson, that takes you to about 50

That means you got candidates representing about 50 percent, both saying
they were against Iraq.

O`DONNELL: We`re also joined now by Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist
and an Msnbc political analyst. And Steve, you were telling us that Ben
Carson said he would not have invaded Afghanistan after 9/11?

SCHMIDT: It looked as if we were getting mic`d up and getting ready to
come on, it looked like what the conversation was taking place, there was
an interesting exchange between Carson and Chris Christie on that point.

But we`ll have to go back and I can –


SCHMIDT: See the highlights a little bit disadvantaged on it. But I do
think one thing that`s interesting tonight is – and I don`t think Donald
Trump had a – had a great night tonight.

And it seemed like he shrunk during the debate, and the backdrop of this,
of course is one of the penultimate symbols of American power, Air Force 1.

It`s the first time that Donald Trump has been in the shadow of one of the
trappings of the office of president of the United States.

And he seemed to shrink in front of it. And so, I think as we watch now
the aftermath of this debate, I think it`s entirely unclear whether Donald
Trump, the laws of normal political gravity apply to him.

But I wonder if he`s not like a boxer who just had his eye cut open –

O`DONNELL: But this –

SCHMIDT: In a fight – in a –


SCHMIDT: Fight –


SCHMIDT: For the first time –

O`DONNELL: Steve, in polling, how patient do we have to be? Is this – is
this ten days from now where we will see a reaction in polling or how long
will it take?

SCHMIDT: Those are Wednesday night debate, I think you`ll start to see
movement in the numbers clearly by Sunday, Monday, Tuesday of next week.

A poll that starts on Sunday, I think would give you the first complete
picture in the aftermath of the news coverage. And Carly Fiorina tonight
has had some incredible moments.

Some of the exchanges that she`s had with Donald Trump are going to be on
the highlight reel, they`ll be dominating the news coverage tomorrow.

Chris Christie in an incredible exchange with both Donald Trump and Carly
Fiorina. Chris Christie has had a big night tonight, you know, you`ve seen
all the talent and potential of Marco Rubio, of John Kasich didn`t have a
lot of opportunities tonight, but you saw the potential there.

And it will be interesting to see what the reaction is to Jeb Bush. He had
some good exchanges with Donald Trump, he wasn`t low in energy tonight.

And he physically dominated the space next to Donald Trump in a way that I
think is very much reputational to these low energy attacks that have stung
Jeb Bush.

DEAN: Let me make a point about this though because Steve just touched on
something we`ve not talked about. And that is the highlight reels. And
truth is –


DEAN: The highlights are much more influential than the actual debate –


DEAN: Many more people – that – so, that`s why the poll numbers don`t
start to turn until Sunday because that`s when you see highlights. I think
Trump is going to be in all the highlights because he`s the target.

So, even though he didn`t have a great night, he`s still going to be in the
center of attention oddly enough, simply because the media is going to make
him that in the highlights.

O`DONNELL: And my guess is, this debate is going to have maybe half the
audience of the first debate. It just doesn`t have that energy, it just
doesn`t have that –

SCHMIDT: Right –

O`DONNELL: Excitement, it`s not a first time and –

WALLACE: I could have watched it six nights a week. I thought it was
riveting and I watched –

DEAN: There was more substance –

WALLACE: And I watched the first debate –

DEAN: That`s why you liked that –

WALLACE: You know, when I started to say – and I may be doing it again.
Am I scrolling up your –

O`DONNELL: You know what? I want to go over to Steve Kornacki because the
debate right now is in a commercial break and Steve, you can update us on
the very latest that they`ve been saying.

KORNACKI: Yes, they just – they switched over to an extended discussion
there of the Supreme Court. Ted Cruz was then sort of piling on against
Jeb Bush.

The legacy of the Bush family; talking about George Bush, the first George
Bush, President George Bush appointed David Souter to the court, taking in
the task for that.

Saying that John Robertson, in light of some of the recent rulings on
Obamacare had been a disappointment as well. So, that`s where they sort of
wrapped up in this – in this last section here, too.

And I just say, one of the things that`s really jumped out at me, looking
at this debate night, as obviously you were talking about it earlier, I
think, at least from what I could hear over the debate, I`m listening to
two different conversations.

This is an interesting experience. But Carly Fiorina really seems to have
had a very strong night tonight and Ben Carson, we watched a little bit of
this in the first debate, Ben Carson has really kind of faded into the

What I`m watching for here in the last half-hour or so of this debate is
that, Ben Carson, his entire polling surge he`s had over the last month
really stems from his closing statement in that first debate.

He was very quiet for almost the entire two hours in that first debate, he
had a strong closing statement, he surged, he`s not had any really strong
moments tonight.

Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina has. So, at this point, I`m looking at this and
I`m saying unless Ben Carson can sort of pull a rabbit out of the hat
again, my guess – and watch me be proven wrong though.

But my guess is that Carly Fiorina could be in for a sizable surge coming
out of this debate and it may well be at the expense of Ben Carson.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and
contributor to the “Daily Beast” and “POLITICO”. He`s also the founder of
Intrepid Media.

Rick, you are the author of two kind of amazing pieces in the last – what
is it, 24 or 48 hours? One of them –

I guess.

O`DONNELL: Twenty four. One of them advocating and both very well
written, well thought out, advocating that Republican candidates go after
Trump tonight in this debate. Did you see what you wanted to see?

WILSON: Boy, I sure did and especially in the – in the – especially in
the form of Carly Fiorina who beat Donald Trump like a rented mule. I
mean, this –



WILSON: She had absolutely no mercy on him, she knew that the question was
coming, that it was so brilliantly delivered – and you saw him processing

It was like the slap was so hard, it took him a second to further catch up
with his – with his lower – with his hind brain.

O`DONNELL: And Rick, you`re talking –

WILSON: And so –

O`DONNELL: About the –

WILSON: Yes, they went after him with a bunch of different ways.

O`DONNELL: The thing about the insult that Trump had said about Carly
Fiorina`s looks in that interview and then that was brought out in the
debate, is that the moment you`re talking about?

WILSON: Yes, for her, that was the moment. I also think that, you saw
other people get under his skin, both Carly and Jeb went after him on the
casino stuff, which he gets very squirrely about.

Because you know, as I wrote today, casinos are engineered to take money
from stupid people. He should be able to do this easily.

And he had – you know, his casinos have this very checkered past, they`re
piling on debt and going bankrupt.

So, they went after some of the business questions that really make Trump
get very – a lot of that in his life about examining his business dealings
and background.

And none of them – none of them on the stage tonight had this – and like
– when Trump was talking and Marco was interrupting and playing the revs
during the interchange with them.

None of these guys came to the stage tonight with this sort of like rabbit
in the headlights-feel that I think a lot of the Trump people expected
would be the Trump mojo.

You know, the Trump guys are beating their chest the last few days on this
theme of well, Rick Perry attacked us and he`s gone now.

Anyone who attacks us is destroyed. You know, those folks on the stage
tonight, except for Ted Cruz, who is still a lot like something like the
pilot fish to Donald Trump`s shark –


None of those folks on that stage tonight were intimidated by Donald Trump.
He seemed smaller, he seemed less poised, he let out with a joke that went
over – went over terribly attacking Rand Paul and then George Pataki.

I mean, first rule of politics, don`t punch down. Just he was – he seemed
very petty.

O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson, I got to say, for anyone who read your article
about how to handle Trump and watch this debate, you knew that the smart
candidates had read your article.

We were watching that playbook throughout the debate. We got to take a
quick break here, Steve Schmidt, thanks for joining us, you`re going to be
joining Chris Matthews in the – in the coverage after the debate, right?

So, we`ll hear the rest of what you`re thinking about it. Coming up, how
the party of Reagan is becoming the party of Trump. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: Priorities USA, a Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton released
a web ad just hours before tonight`s debate. The ad seeks to demonstrate
how little the 2016 GOP candidates have in common with Ronald Reagan.


morning again in America.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sadly, the American dream is

REAGAN: Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our
country`s history.

JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People need to work longer hours.

minimum wage law works.

lame ideas, things like the minimum wage.

REAGAN: This afternoon, 6,500 young men and women will be married.

the word gay rights.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Do you think being gay is a choice?


CUOMO: Why do you say that?

CARSON: Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight
and when they come out, they are gay.

REAGAN: And with inflation at less than half what it was just four years
ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future.

the retirement age.

BUSH: We need to figure out a way to phase out this program.

RUBIO: These programs actually weakened us as a people.

REAGAN: It is morning again in America.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You called women you do not like fat pigs,
dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.

BUSH: Well, I am not sure we need $ 500 million for women`s health issues.

KELLY: You do not favor a rape and incest exception our country is prouder

RUBIO: I have never said that. And, I have never advocated that.

REAGAN: Our country prouder.

TRUMP: They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I am for profiling. I am a lot more concerned
about checking people out that make me nervous.

REAGAN: Why would we ever want to return to where we were?


O`DONNELL: Again, that is an ad by Hillary Clinton`s Super PAC. We are
going to have more of our debate analysis next.



O`DONNELL: We are back with Howard Dean, Nicolle Wallace and Rick Wilson.
Rick Wilson, you wrote a piece analyzing the Trump supporters and the
various categories of them. Can you give us a quick summary of that? How
you see it? Who these people are?

WILSON: Well, Lawrence, I think what we got right now is a real split
inside the movement. And a lot of the folks that are supporting Donald
Trump want nothing to do with limited government conservatism.

They are frankly nationalists. They are driven by this kind of personality
cult and this overwhelming anger with every institutional element of
politics. And, so, they find Trump`s appeal particularly compelling. But,
unfortunately, for them, it is sort of corrupted what the Tea Party started
out as, where some of those folks come from.

And, there is a faction inside of the Trump movement that is comprised of
people that are so far out of the wilderness politically. It is insane. I
mean I have had reactions with these people who are actual Nazis, who are
actual white supremacists, who are shameless about it.

And, they – and Donald Trump, you know, for the same way that the
conservatives went after Barack Obama for associations with the Bill Ayers,
The Black Panthers and all the other crazy people that endorsed him, these
folks are like, “So what, David Duke? Whatever. He is part of the

It is just really – I mean the folks underneath the Trump – there are
plenty of folks who are not racists, who are not horrible people, but there
are – you know, my grandmother had a phrase that, “One-third ruins the
whole punch bowl.” And, these people are just – you know, he got a
coalition that has some really ugly elements in it.

O`DONNELL: Nicolle Wallace in Rick`s piece, one of the things he mentioned
says that there is no reality of government that matters to these people.
And, we saw that in the earlier debate with the lower tier candidates
tonight, where Lindsay Graham was trying to explain what it means when the
president can veto what you do.

If the president is going to veto it, then it is probably a waste of time
to try to do it or to spend a lot of time on it. And, that is the kind of
comment, apparently, that the typical Trump voter does not care about.
They think you should shut down the government, even if it is over
something that the president would veto.

WALLACE: Yes, the trump base is – I agree with Rick. I read both pieces
and they were excellent, but the –

O`DONNELL: And, I just want to emphasize, Rick is a Republican strategist

WALLACE: No. I know.

O`DONNELL: – and I want you to know he is analyzing the Trump situation
from a Republican perspective and these are brilliant pieces.

WALLACE: But, listen, because this is in my household, the Trump
supporters are so disgusted with Washington that they do not think Trump
can make it worse. There point is not that government is the enemy. It
said the government has been so corrupted by career politicians that
someone that can shake it up.

And, let me tell you something, if Trump wants advice on the next move,
pledge to serve only one term. You know, I mean they want a change agent,
and they are willing to set – my dad is not for any of the policies Trump
espouses on the stump because they are not the same from day to day.

I think that point is made by Rick more articulately than I just did. You
know, my dad is pro-immigration. He is not an ideologue. I do not think
he knows anyone that represents those elements. But, he is so disgusted
with Washington, with politicians in both parties, that Trump is a roll of
the dice he is willing to make.

O`DONNELL: And, Howard Dean, there was this other element that developed
in both debates tonight. And, that is the Supreme Court and the role of
the Supreme Court, and there was a real argument in the earlier debate
tonight -

WALLACE: Exactly.

O`DONNELL: – that Rick Santorum insisting that, “No, no. The Supreme
Court does not get the final word on what is constitutional.”

DEAN: I know. I mean that was actually one of the questions. I was going
to oppose to Nicolle, because she is a Republican, right? What happened to
Santorum? Santorum came in second last time.

WALLACE: Those days, yes.

DEAN: Yes. How did this happen?

WALLACE: I think the party is new. Then, you know, he is part of the

DEAN: He is very conservative, though.

WALLACE: He is very conservative – He is not losing because he is not
conservative enough. I think he is not getting traction because there are
plenty of people in that states who are also outsiders. I mean if you like
Santorum last time, I think you like Ben Carson this time.

O`DONNELL: Or Ted Cruz. And, Rick Wilson, talk about this – how do you
recommend trying to communicate with these voters, who absolutely do not
care about the truth of whether the Supreme Court actually is the final
arbiter of what is constitutional, or they do not care about the
president`s veto power, and all of these things that are realities of

WILSON: Well, Lawrence, it is a real – it is a real departure where we
had – you know, when the Tea Party emerged, you know, there was a very
salutary effect about it. These were folks who espouse limited government
and constitutional filthy.

Now, it is, “Yeah, constitution. We will just take it like a Chinese menu,
the amendments we do not like, because Trump does not like them” or “We
will just treat the Supreme Court differently because we have decided to.”
You know, there is a great difficulty in reaching these folks right now,
because they have also been promised by a sort of separate media silo that
they live in most of the time now.

That the realities of the world are not actually there. They are just
because an evil rhino conspiracy against them, that is why things do not
work out the way they want. You know, the laws of political physics here,
you know, they exist whether we like them or not. And, they want to
believe that they do not. Wile E. Coyote always falls over the canyon even
though he does not believe in the law of gravity.

HOWARD: This is actually a serious point, the Supreme Court has lost a
tremendous amount of prestige. 72 percent of the people on the poll couple
of years ago thought that the Supreme Court as just a political
organization. That is really dangerous for the country.

O`DONNELL: What if the Clinton –

HOWARD: It is on both sides of the aisles.

O`DONNELL: What if the Clinton Administration had decided not to accept
the Supreme Court`s ruling in Bush V. Gore, what about that? And,
according to the Republican debate tonight, that was an option. You can
just decide which ones you want.

HOWARD: Right.

O`DONNELL: We got to leave it there for a quick break. Rick Wilson, thank
you very much for joining us tonight. Thanks for those articles.

WILSON: Sure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We are going to link to them on our website. And, we are going
to tweet them, people should read what Rick Wilson has to say about all of
this. We are going to be right back.



O`DONNELL: We are back with our debate coverage. Steve Kornacki has been
watching. Steve what is the latest?

KORNACKI: Well, there is an interesting and extended discussion there
about marijuana based on the legalization of recreational marijuana in
Colorado. Chris Christie has pledged it as president, he said, you know,
“Enjoy it while you can, Colorado, because when I become president you are
going to lose legalized marijuana in the state.”

And, then there was a long back and forth there between Chris Christie and
Rand Paul. And, Rand Paul, basically, saying, “Look, this is a tenth
amendment issue on the one hand.” He said, “State individual states have
the right, should have the right to make their own laws on drugs. The
federal government should not be coming in, should not be intervening.”

He also started to make an argument you do not hear necessarily that much
in a Republican debate about the sort of unfairness in prosecution of drug
crimes, basically, saying that “Look, if you are a privileged rich kid like
Jeb Bush,” bringing Jeb Bush into this, “you can use marijuana as a kid and
you can get away with it. But if you are poor, if you are black and you
use marijuana as a kid, you pay a price for it.”

And, then Carly Fiorina, herself, entered into the discussion as well. She
told a very emotional personal story about losing her daughter to drugs.
Her daughter passed away in 2009. I believe in Carly Fiorina`s book she
cited, “Alcohol dependency, prescription drugs” as part of that, but she
did bring that into this discussion of marijuana as well, obviously a
poignant moment.

O`DONNELL: And, we are joined now by April Ryan, the White House
Correspondent, Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Networks.
April, your reactions. You have seen more of this debate than I have at
this point. So, what does your scorecard look like?

URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, I am along with all of you. Carly Fiorina is
– she is giving it what she got. I mean I am amazed that her – She has
come out, just knocking the walls down. She talked about how Donald Trump
– she started out talking about how Donald Trump is a wonderful

She gave back to him about her looks. And, she also – she was very
emotional and passionate when she talked about the graphic nature of the
issue of planned parenthood. I mean, she is talking about foreign policy.
What is really shocking to me is that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are not
going at it head to head. Just before the debate, we saw Ben Carson
talking about Donald Trump`s religion.

And, then he has been in Texas and wherever else, talking about he is a
protestant, and his religious believes. But, we have not seen those two go
at each other. We are seeing everyone else go at each other. And, I see
that Jeb Bush is now stepping up into the semi-dynasty presidential role, I
guess you would say. I do not know.


O`DONNELL: And, on the Carly Fiorina looks moment, what struck me, April,
was Donald Trump definitely tried to disown and basically lie about what he
had said about her face.

APRIL: He said she looked beautiful. She was beautiful.

O`DONNELL: Well, he tried to do that thing about – Oh, no, no I was
talking about her aura. And, then Carly Fiorina said that every woman in
America knows exactly what Donald Trump was talking about. And, that was a
huge applause line in that room.

RYAN: It really was. He was shocked. If you saw his face, he could not
believe that there were people, who were actually against him again. You
know, because we saw some of that, you know, in the first debate when he
raised his hand. People were very angry, booing him for the fact that he
could possibly think about going to a third party.

He actually felt a little bit of the sting of some of the discontent that
there is in this nation about him. And, then, he came back, saying I think
you are beautiful. And, her face was just – when he said that to her, she
was just – she was done with him, but she is holding her own, and it is
amazing to watch her.

O`DONNELL: And, for some reason, they did not discuss the looks of any
other of the candidates up there.

RYAN: No. Donald Trump did say something about Rand Paul. He said –

TRUMP: Right. Sorry. Yes, of course. He did say – he said, you know, I
have never attacked your looks, but standing here, I could do that.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He did. He did. He threatens to.


RYAN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: All right. Another quick break. We will be back with more
after this.


O`DONNELL: We are back with our debate coverage. Steve Konacki, you have
been watching it for us. What is the latest, last few minutes?

KORNACKI: Well, I guess the interesting thing here is they got to the
issue of vaccines and Donald Trump seemed to suggest maybe that there was a
link there between vaccine and some childhood illnesses like autism.

You think back to 2011, Michele Bachmann made that claim in a debate and it
cost her dearly especially when she double down in that claim after the
debate. Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon, who is standing on stage
right next to Donald Trump is sort of politely but firmly said he did not
agree with Donald Trump on that.

So, I guess it is a question. We are always looking for these moments that
could hurt Donald Trump, is taking a position like this going to cause any
blowback that might hurt him at all.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Trump versus Dr. Carson. We will see how that works out.
All right, we are going to be back with more, right after this.




JIMMY FALLON, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Is trump going to make it? Is he
going to last the whole way out? How long do you think he will last? I
mean do you feel like he is going to go, are you just maybe waiting back
like rope-a-dope style until he just gets tired” And, then he is tired and
you go, “All right, out of the way, buddy.” Yes.


is going to go as long as he wants to go.


CLINTON: And, more power to him. I mean that is one of the great things
about this country.

FALLON: Sure, yes, yes, yes.

CLINTON: If you are over 35 and you are eligible as an American citizen,
you can actually run for president. And, so, he is making the most out of
it. I am having a good time watching it.



O`DONNELL: That is part of the Hillary Clinton`s appearance on “The
Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon tonight. That will be broadcast on NBC
later tonight. So, we have a verdict on the most tweeted moments in the
CNN debate, the top two go to Carly Fiorina.

They are the moments we have been talking about when she responds to Donald
Trump about on her looks. And, then also, April Ryan, you mentioned this,
Carly Fiorina`s response on planned parenthood.

RYAN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: That is the second most tweeted. And, if you share that
Republican view on planned parenthood, you can see why that would be one of
the most tweeted moments, because it was the most clearly, sharply
articulated version of that in the whole debate.

RYAN: It was very graphic.

O`DONNELL: Graphic.

RYAN: It was very graphic. Yes. I have never heard things like that
before, and for her to say it the way she did openly, it was very graphic.

O`DONNELL: And, Howard Dean, that moment about Planned Parenthood is one
that every one of those candidates wanted to have, because this is a
subject that they all agree on. That Planned Parenthood should be
defunded. What they are doing with fetal tissue in their view is immoral
and criminal.

DEAN: Well, most of what they said, a whole bunch of things were not true.

O`DONNELL: There is that. Yes.

DEAN: Most of what they said about fetal tissue is just was not true.


DEAN: This is actually an interesting one. Planned Parenthood actually
polls very well in the country, especially among women. And, so, this is
one of those ones that who every gets the nomination, so that is the one
that is going to come back and bite them in the butt for that.

WALLACE: But, you know what? Polls even better is not doing the thing
that the videos reveal that Planned Parnenthood was doing, however, legal
they may be. I mean –

O`DONNELL: It turns out that they are not true. They are not doing a

WALLACE: Well, the Planned Parenthood polls well as a health care

O`DONNELL: Rigtht.

WALLACE: But abortions and the graphic description of them, actually
polls very well among independents Democrats and Republicans. And, I think
there is not going to be a lot of tolerance for this team too sharply
political, but you know, I think what Carly did, while graphic, was you
know a fact-based – I do not even know if it was a fact.

O`DONNELL: There was a fact. There was a lot of stuff. She said in there
that was not so. It was inserted into the videos or edited out of the

WALLACE: This debate will live well beyond whatever you and I are talking
about, but I think that the Republican base feels like this issue has
largely been ignored by the media. And, I think that she will get even
more credit not just for raising it, but for raising it with courage and
for being willing to sort of speak things that are too graphic for a lot of
us to say.

O`DONNELL: But, April Ryan, I think – I mean I agree with Dr. Dean that
it is a mischaracterization of what is going on, but I think all of the
Republicans candidates do that. What I would say is, what that response
showed is that Carly Fiorina is better at extemporaneous phrasings of the
Republican issue. She phrased it as straight into the target as you could
target as you could possibly expect one of those candidates to do.

RYAN: She owned that issue tonight, not just being a woman, but because
she had a breadth of an understanding of it, even though that some of it
may not have been true. But, one of the facts that they did leave out was
the fact that Planned Parenthood – 3 percent of the Planned Parenthood is

And, then you had other, you know, candidates to include Chris Christie
talking about how he is defunded Planned Parenthood in his state for the
years that he has been there as governor and other candidates. But she –
she owned that moment.

She was the one who really brought the attention to what happened on this
debate, this controversial debate that could actually cause the problem,
cause a shutdown issue in Washington.

O`DONNELL: And, Steve Kornacki, if the most tweeted moment of the debate
is Carly Fiorina responding to a Trump insult, that is not a good moment
for Donald Trump.

KORNACKI: No. And, here is the interesting thing that just happened at
the very end here. They are asking the candidates to go down the line
here. What would you want your secret service code name to be? They got
to Jeb Bush.


And, Jeb Bush, he was ready with this one. He said “Ever Ready. You got a
lot of energy.” And, then Donald Trump interrupts him and then Trump gives
him a high five. And, then they asked Donald Trump what do you want your
nickname to be. Donald Trump does not miss a beat. He says, “Humble.”


RYAN: Never, never, never, never. That is not Trump.

O`DONNELL: Yes. That is not what it is going to be. Nicolle Wallace, the
overall tonight for the Republican Party, is this a more serious step
towards the nomination than the first debate was?

WALLACE: Yes, and you take the first and the second debate together, and I
think in that whole evening of commentary and back and forth, you have the
Kasich against Trump, Pataki, Carly, Jeb, others have delivered it. And,
so, you know, it is up to the voters. But, I think you saw a lot of
substance tonight.

O`DONNELL: All right, now time for analysis from people who have actually
seen the whole debate. Steve Kornacki, April Ryan, Nicolle Wallace and
Howard Dean, thank you all for joining us. A live “Hardball with Chris
Matthews” is next.


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