The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 10/19/15

Charlie Cook, April Ryan, Kurt Andersen, Tim Pawlenty, Dennis Ross, Abraham Riesman

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we will 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: Rachel, you know, in just a few
minutes, there might be a new best new thing in the world that you might
want to stick around for.

MADDOW: Oh, really?

O`DONNELL: It`s very important to you, I know it is – the “Star Wars”
trailer is coming up tonight. And we`re going to show it right here on
this show.

MADDOW: My inner Ewok is –


MADDOW: Already there –

O`DONNELL: I know how important it is to you –

MADDOW: Yes, exactly, thank you, Lawrence.


O`DONNELL: Don`t – stay right by your TV.


O`DONNELL: You do not want to miss this.


O`DONNELL: All right –


O`DONNELL: We also have more on the chaos in the House of Representatives
which took another turn today with one Republican member of the house
saying that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, then they are ready to
impeach her on the first day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the week of Benghazi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton set to testify before the house
Benghazi Committee.

Credibility is the key thing right now and they don`t have much of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, Mo Brooks of Alabama said that if Hillary Clinton
won the White House, she would immediately be subject to impeachment.

REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: The mishandling of these classified documents
that put American lives at risk, absolutely.

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I have told my own Republican
colleagues and friends, shut up talking about things that you don`t know
anything about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Joe Biden in or is he out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should know within the next 48 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is his last chance, it`s now or never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He understands the time and pressure that he`s under.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he gets into the race, it would be a shake-up,
that`s a dramatic understatement, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s Donald Trump`s best poll numbers yet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shows he has more support than ever before.

TRUMP: Let`s have this election immediately.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: He is the worst nominee that we can possibly
think of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump himself may be more closely connected to a Super
PAC that is collecting big sums of cash on his behalf than he`s led on.

TRUMP: This great dishonesty in the media, unbelievable.

LARRY DAVID, COMEDIAN: I don`t have a Super PAC, I don`t even have a


I carry my stuff around loose in my arms like a professor!



O`DONNELL: Chaos in the Republican-led house of Representatives will
probably not hurt house Republicans in their next election.

But it is bound to hurt the Republican nominee for president. A new
“Washington Post”-“Abc News” poll shows that 61 percent of voters believe
that the house Republican majority is dysfunctional.

If Republican governance is dysfunctional, then why would those voters want
to hand the White House to a Republican?

Into that chaos this week steps Hillary Clinton as the star witness at the
Benghazi Committee`s public hearing on Thursday.

Her appearance there has been heralded now by a total of three Republicans
including Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, saying that the Benghazi
Committee`s objective has been to harm Hillary Clinton`s presidential

Republican Congressman Mo Brooks raised the ante on Clinton hysteria in the
house of Representatives by saying this.


BROOKS: It`s not about e-mails. It`s about national security and how many
lives she put at risk by violating all rules of law that are designed to
protect America`s top secret and classified information from falling into
the hands of our geopolitical foes who then might use that information to
result in the deaths of Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s talk about that –

BROOKS: It`s national security issue. And in my judgment, with respect to
Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the
public next November.

Because the day she`s sworn in is the day that she`s subject to impeachment
because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.


O`DONNELL: After listening to a week of public and private pleading by
Republicans, Congressman Paul Ryan is considering the house speaker job
according to a “Cbs” report.

“Ryan`s confidant say he will not horse trade with the House Freedom
Caucus; a group of 40 or so, deeply conservative members who have been
demanding changes to house rules and other very specific promises from
candidates for speaker in an exchange for their support.

Ryan`s confidant say he is not going to negotiate for a job he never sought
and that he has a record of conservative leadership that should be clear to
every member of the GOP conference.”

A new “Nbc News”-Wall Street Journal” poll out tonight asked Republican
primary voters how they feel about Paul Ryan as speaker.

Sixty three percent say they are comfortable and positive, 28 percent say
they are skeptical and uncertain.

To put that in context, the House Freedom Caucus makes up only 16 percent
of Republican house members.

The share of Republican primary voters skeptical about a Paul Ryan
speakership is larger than the share of house Republicans who are skeptical
about that.

Here`s what Republican primary voters say they want from the next house
speaker. Fifty six percent want the next speaker to stand up for
principles, 40 percent want the next speaker to seek compromises.

Joining us now are Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of “The Cook
Political Report” and an “Nbc News” political analyst.

Also with us, Kurt Andersen, host of awarding-winning public radio program
“Studio 360”, and April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington
Bureau chief for “American Urban Radio Networks”.

Charlie Cook, that 61 percent number saying that house Republicans are
dysfunctional as manifest by their inability to select a speaker, do you
know any polling precedent for that in the – in the house?

it very encouraging.

It means that people are paying attention to the news because, you know, I
think even a lot of house Republicans I know would tell you that right now
it`s dysfunctional there.

But, no, I – no – it`s – we – you know, Congress is always held in low
regard, but, you know, we`re at probably at peak period right now.

O`DONNELL: All right, Steve Kornacki spoke to Mo Brooks today about this
impeachment idea that he has for the next president Clinton, if we have
one. Let`s listen to that.


STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: If she is elected president next year, do you
anticipate Republicans wouldn`t take steps to impeach her as soon as she
takes office?

BROOKS: Probably the answer is no. In as much as the President of the
United States Barack Obama has also knowingly violated many laws,
particularly with respect to immigration, but you can name a number of

And there have been no impeachment proceedings initiated against Barack
Obama, nor has there been any kind of trial or conviction proceedings in
the United States Senate.

So, I would anticipate, and keeping in mind that the filing of articles of
impeachment while as a legal process, it is also a political process.

And I suspect that the house of Representatives would not act even if
someone is subject to impeachment because of the commission of high crimes
and misdemeanors.


O`DONNELL: April Ryan, house Republicans managed to find new levels of
hysteria when talking about Hillary Clinton or President Obama.

URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, you know, President Obama was the subject or
the target of a possible Republican impeachment because – and let`s clear
it up, because he allegedly had more executive orders than any other
president and that was not true.

And we understood that if that were to happen, it would totally
disenfranchise the Republican Party and it would cause such division in

So, they decided not to do it. And how are you going to impeach a person
who hasn`t even had a chance to get in office?

You know, you have to give her something, she has to give you something so
you can in turn impeach her.

So, really makes no sense at this point. I mean, I understand that they`re
upset. But at least, wait a while to see what she does if you want to
impeach her.

O`DONNELL: All right, Kurt, it seems to me that, once again, Democrats and
in particular Hillary Clinton are so lucky by who their enemies are.
They`re just hysterical kind of out-of-control statements.

KURT ANDERSEN, NOVELIST & RADIO HOST: Who can`t act on them in any
effective –


ANDERSEN: Way as that – as Congressman Brooks knows. Congressman Brooks,
by the way, is a guy who not long ago became famous for talking about the
war on whites that the Democratic Party is waging and did not back down
from that.

You know, it`s extraordinary. And here`s a guy who, yes, is – came in the
Tea Party wave in 2010, but has been a district attorney and senior member
of the Alabama legislature.

He is not just some yokel from down the street. He is theoretically a
grown-up and saying things like this. We`re going to impeach her on the
first day in office which sounds like a joke.

O`DONNELL: But it also – I think is helpful to Democrats that, well –


O`DONNELL: This is the force that we`re running against. We`re running
against this incredibly unreasonable force; house Republicans.

ANDERSEN: I think it is. But then you`ll also see and you`ll talk about -
- we`ll talk about the new “Nbc” poll later, something like two-thirds of
the Republican voters prefer a Trump or a Carson or people on the Mo Brooks
side of the fence.

So, you know, yes, it`s bad for the Republican Party certainly in terms of
that third of the Republican Party who is still in the realm of sanity and
certainly for swing voters to the degree they exist.

RYAN: And Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, your reaction to the poll indicating that
Republican primary voters are more skeptical of a Paul Ryan speakership
than the actual Republican house membership is.

COOK: Well, I think they`re – I live and breathe by polls. But there are
some poll questions that I tend to say, well, you know, I`m not sure – I`m
not sure that many – I`m not sure that many people know who is the speaker

So, that, to me, I`d kind of blow off that one to be perfectly honest. But
you know, I would say though that there are some very bright talented
members of the house in both parties.

But then you`ve got some people that just say goofy stuff all the time, and
quite frankly, Mo Brooks is one of those guys. You know, this isn`t the
first time he will say something goofy, it`s not the last time.

And you know, they`re just sort of, again, flies in both parties that say

O`DONNELL: All right, well, that`s a perfect setup for Mo Brooks saying
something not goofy, which he actually said on this program last week.

Let`s listen to this. I talked to him about the possibility of a
compromise that could get his vote for Paul Ryan. Let`s listen to what he
said about that.


O`DONNELL: If the speaker candidate said to you, look, I will give you
everything you want in process on issues, we will just have to agree to

Is that the kind of compromise you could live with, that at least, you have
the process that you want so that your view on immigration or taxation or
whatever the issue is, could possibly come to a vote in the committee with
the new process?

BROOKS: Well, it`s a weighing process but the short answer is yes. If we
can make enough headway on process issues, that helps to offset the public
policy issues.

For example, with Kevin McCarthy, I had this kind of discussion. Kevin
McCarthy was in large part in agreement with what I was suggesting on the
process side.

And I probably would have voted for him on the house floor despite some
serious disagreements on the policy side.


O`DONNELL: So, April Ryan, there`s the opening for compromise with the
Freedom Caucus in the house of Representatives. And I got to say, you
know, their demands on process are not completely unreasonable.

They want things to be able to come to a vote. They don`t want the
leadership to control everything that comes to the floor and block them out
of amendments and block Democrats out of amendments, by the way.

And so, he`s just saying, look, they don`t have to actually agree with us
on policy. They just have to open up the legislative process in the house.

RYAN: Yes, but right now I`m wondering how much leverage the Freedom
Caucus actually has with anything.

And one of the reasons why I say that is because Paul Ryan who is far
conservative, he`s not trying to even give them what they want in possible
discussions with them to possibly be speaker of the house.

So, right now, I think – I think the Republican Party is trying to pull
itself together. And I really don`t think the Freedom Caucus or the tea
party as they were formally known really has too much leverage right now.

Just – I mean, this is just an outside observer who is a journalist and
listening to what`s going on in Washington. But I think, really, the ball
is in the court of Paul Ryan who is – who is playing it very well right

And I think the Freedom Caucus better watch out because they don`t look
like they have a lot of leverage because everyone is trying to bring them
in and distance themselves somewhat from them.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, what are the odds that John Boehner remains
speaker for at least the rest of this year?

COOK: Oh, I don`t think he will stay for the rest of the year, but I would
completely disagree with April. I –

O`DONNELL: Right, first of all –

COOK: I would disagree with part of your premise that, you know, one of
these process things they`re talking about is the Hastert rule.

Which basically means that, you know, you know, plurality rule in the house
of Representatives. And I think that the mainstream Republicans, you know,
would not go along with that.

But the thing is, without the – say, 35 to 40 Freedom Caucus or what the
“Wall Street Journal” calls refuseniks. You know, you – a Republican
can`t get to 218.

And so they don`t become speaker. And personally, I think that Ryan is not
going to do it unless he could do it under his own terms, and quite
frankly, I don`t think they`re going to come to terms with him.

But I think there`s a very good chance that, you know, we`re going to have
a choice, Republicans will have a choice between chaos in a coalition and
that you could see them at some point reaching over and recruiting enough
Democrats to –

RYAN: No –

COOK: To get them up to 218. And I –

RYAN: Chaos is right though –

COOK: Think there`s a real chance of that happening.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, April –

RYAN: Chaos is right, chaos is right. The freedom party – I`m going to
keep calling them the tea party. They are some of the reason for the
implosion within the Republican Party.

So, I`m hearing that a large portion of the freedom party will go for Paul
Ryan. And everybody is trying to bring this new sense of unity and trying
to make it look good right now instead of the way it`s looking currently.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and John Boehner has said that he will stay until they get
another speaker, and that could be – that could be a while. April Ryan,
thank you very much for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.

RYAN: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jeb Bush is hitting some new lows in an “Nbc” poll
and he is actually cutting campaign spending including cutting some of the
staff on that campaign.

That`s always a bad sign. And Donald Trump says he doesn`t have a Super
PAC, he would never use that kind of money, except he does have a Super PAC
and he is using that kind of money.

And the “Star Wars” trailer, the new “Star Wars” trailer, we will have it
for you, it just debuted, it`s ready to show you, it`s coming up.


O`DONNELL: Kurt Andersen, do you remember seeing the first trailer for the
first “Star Wars” movie?

ANDERSEN: I don`t think they had trailers back then –

O`DONNELL: They did, they did.

ANDERSEN: No, I certainly remember seeing the first “Star Wars” movie as a
young man, 22-year-old, and being absolutely blown away by it.

It amazes me, completely amazes me that 38 years later, it`s still a big
deal and we are still caring. And I find myself caring about this one,
partly, because it is bringing back the actor, the elderly actors who were
in the original.

O`DONNELL: Well, I remember exactly what theater I was in, in Dorchester
when I saw the first trailer for the first “Star Wars” movie.

I will tell you my reaction to that first trailer later in the show when we
show you the new trailer. We`ll be right back.


O`DONNELL: New “Nbc News”-“Wall Street Journal” poll finds 25 percent of
Republican primary voters say they would vote for Donald Trump.

That`s up four points from last month`s poll. Ben Carson ends in second
place with 22 percent, Marco Rubio is in third place with 13 percent.

And Republican primary voters are asked who they could imagine themselves
voting for, 74 percent pick Ben Carson, and only 20 percent say they could
not support Ben Carson.

Sixty five percent say they could support Florida Senator Marco Rubio,
Donald Trump comes in third with 59 percent, saying they can support him
and 36 percent saying that they could not support him.

Tonight, Democrats are still awaiting a decision from Vice President Joe
Biden. Multiple sources tell “Nbc News” that his decision could come
sometime this week.

A new Monmouth University poll finds Secretary Hillary Clinton still in a
commanding lead nationally at 41 percent, Bernie Sanders is in second with
21 percent and Joe Biden gets 17 percent.

Without Biden in that poll, Hillary Clinton gets 57 percent and Bernie
Sanders gets 24 percent. Joining us now, Tim Pawlenty; former Republican
governor of Minnesota, who also ran for president in 2012.

He is now the CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable. And back with us,
Charlie Cook and Kurt Andersen.

Tim Pawlenty, this new Republican poll shows a little bit of movement for
Donald Trump within the margin of error, seems to have stabilized in the
mid 20s here.

What do you make of that poll and what do you see coming in the next – in
the next couple of polls? Are we – is it just going to hold in this
plateau for Trump at the top?

FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUNDTABLE: Lawrence, I think those who predicted a
Trump dissipation, you know, those predictions were at least premature.

He`s holding, maybe even growing a little. I think Donald Trump`s support
at this level is basically a placeholder or a proxy for the tea party, plus
an increment for entertainment.

That`s probably got a ceiling in the mid high 20s. So, where he goes from
here is, he`s going to have to carve out some support from somebody else
and that`s going to require the field to collapse, get some other
candidates out of the race.

So, I mean, he can vie for some of those other candidate support that are
going to have to drop out eventually.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, your reading of these new polls on the Republican
side first.

COOK: Well, I think that`s absolutely right that – and that my colleague
at “National Journal” Ron Brownstein had a good piece out today, where he
pointed out that, well, what Trump has done is basically consolidated the
blue-collar Republican vote.

The non-college educated Republican vote, while the white-collar of the
college educated Republican vote is basically split all over the rest of
the field.

And I think that`s – I think – I think – I think Ron`s nailed it on
that. And then Carson has got a little stronger with the evangelicals. I
think – and – but the rest of the Republican vote is just – split all

But I agree with Governor Pawlenty, I think that Trump is sort of pretty
much topped out, it`s all a margin of error stuff, and a lot of other polls
he`s actually dropped down a couple of points. But I think he`s probably
leveled off.

O`DONNELL: And Bill O`Reilly tonight is suggesting that the Republicans
may not find a winner in this field. Let`s listen to the new O`Reilly


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: It is entirely possible that no Republican
contender will lock things up in the early primaries. If that`s the case,
the GOP could turn to Mitt Romney.

The governor received more than 59 million votes last time around. He`s
well-known, has establishment support – something to consider.


O`DONNELL: Kurt, there`s Bill O`Reilly, friend of Donald Trump, by the
way, suggesting that there might have to be an alternative to Trump.

ANDERSEN: Well, you know, we can talk about, as we have talked about now
for four months and counting – oh, he`s going to top out, he`s going to
top out, it`s going to – it`s over, it`s a Summer fling.

Maybe the experts are right and Charlie and Mr. Pawlenty are right that 25
percent is it? We`ll see. But the question is then, who is the person who
gets – picks up all the little 2 percent, 1 percent, 3 percent and amasses

And I have a hard time seeing that. I really have a hard time seeing that.
As much as I love to wish Trump there in part of my desire for him to stay
in the race is sheer wishfulness that he will stay.

I mean, tell me why he won`t win, for instance, Iowa or Iowa and New

O`DONNELL: Yes, Tim Pawlenty, let`s go to that. What – if it`s not going
to be – if Donald Trump is not going to stay out there at the – at the
front end of the polls and actually have that kind of performance in all of
the states.

Who does step in there? I mean, to pick up on the O`Reilly scenario of a –
of a Mitt Romney or who in this field steps in there if it`s not Trump?

PAWLENTY: I think, Lawrence, in my view, it goes like this. If you accept
the premise that Trump is basically a placeholder for tea party-plus an
increment for entertainment and populism and Carson is a placeholder mostly
for faith-base voters.

If they dissipate, and I underline the word, “if”, those two blocks of
voters are going to look to one of two candidates; Ted Cruz, if they look
at purity.

But if they`re going to factor in electability, I think a hybrid candidate
that could touch all of the buttons, touch all of the bases here is Marco

Acceptable to conservatives, maybe not the tea party`s first choice, but
certainly within range to be acceptable, and acceptable to faith-based

So, he`s got a lot of upside if those two current leaders begin to
dissipate and implode.

O`DONNELL: And Charlie Cook, Jeb Bush, let`s not forget him, once the
frontrunner tied with Ted Cruz basically in this “Nbc” poll at 8 percent,
Cruz is at 9 percent.

COOK: I think you`re going to see if Governor Bush doesn`t get some kind
of momentum going in the next two or three weeks, I think you`re going see
his donors start to really freak out.

That you`re seeing a lot of, sort of an uptick of interest on the more
conventional establishment side in Rubio.

And I agree with Governor Pawlenty, I think that Ted Cruz is sort of the
guy to watch on the more exotic side of the Republican Party in terms of –
in terms of – sort of polling together that outsider-angry vote that right
now is going to Trump.

And the polling – because and a certain amount of the Carson as well. I
suspect that we`re going to see Cruz sort of on the exotic side and Rubio
most likely, although I wouldn`t count Bush completely out yet, but he`s
got to get something going quick.

O`DONNELL: OK, up next, Donald Trump says he is funding his own campaign,
doesn`t need a Super PAC, none of that stuff, except he does have a Super



TRUMP: I don`t want anybody`s money, they form all these PACs, people pour
money into PACs, I don`t want them, don`t support them, don`t support them!

I think I have like six PACs where people – I saw on television the other
day, actually two nice young guys, they did a PAC.

I think it was called after one of my books; “The Art of the Deal” PAC,
nice guys, I think it`s probably fine.

But I don`t know who they are. And they form a PAC and maybe they will get
money and they will go out and they`ll take ads – the whole thing is so
ridiculous. It`s ridiculous.


O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump earlier today trying to deal with a story
in the “Washington Post.” He was in Anderson, South Carolina. A new
article in the “Washington Post” says, “Trump is a lot closer to big Super
PAC money than he allows you to believe as statements like that.”

The article says that, “Trump has close ties to the make America great
again PAC. According to the “Washington Post” the article says, “As he
drew close to announcing his candidacy, Trump talked privately with friends
and advisers about the benefits of having an allied Super PAC to help cover

He and his aides were also said to have been worried that unscrupulous
individuals could create scam PACs that would take advantage of Trump
supporters. And, they are said to have talked about the need to have a
reputable entity in place.

Trump`s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told “The Washington Post,”
“We do not have a, quote, unquote, `designated Super PAC` that we tell
people to give money to.” And, in a later interview with “The Washington
Post” Lewandowski, threatened to sue the paper if the paper reported that
Trump had given “The Make America Great Again” Super PAC, the go ahead.

Back with us, Charlie Cook, Kurt Andersen, and Tim Pawlenty. And, Kurt, in
this article, it is a great piece. Lewandowski claims he does not know
Mike Ciletti, who runs the Super PAC. That reclaims in the first part of
the article.

Then he has to admit, “Yes, I do know him.” Absolutely. They work
together. It is a great piece by “The Washington Post.” And, it
completely rips apart this idea that Trump has nothing to do with this kind
of money.

KURT ANDERSEN, HOST OF “STUDIO 360” PROGRAM: And, I could be wrong but if
– as a betting man I will bet that it has no affect on his support. If
saying that, you know, John McCain is not a war hero and the litany of
things he said has done nothing to slow his momentum, yes, this goes to the
core of who he supposedly is.

Why we supposedly those of us who love him love him. Because he is
independent, he does not need anybody`s money, but a fib on a Donald Trump?
And, this only counts in my book and certainly by the standards of Trump as
a fib, by his campaign manager, I do not see it doing him any political

O`DONNELL: But, Tim Pawlenty, this is theone of the central pillars of the
Trump candidacy. “I do not need anybody else`s money. I do not need a
super PAC. I do not need any of that.” It turns out he does.

matter here, Lawrence. So, based on the clips you showed and I had a quick
chance to look at the article. You know, it is unclear for sure, exactly,
what the connections are. But, if there are connections and they, you
know, instigated this and they are promoting it, then it looks a little

But, if they are – it is arm`s length, it is maybe defensible. And, look,
if you are going to have the Trump brand, somebody is going to try to
create scam Trump PAC s because there is a commercialization of the PAC
world now.

It is not the worst thing, you need at least have a reputable one that is
actually, you know, has some professionalism or you know, direct authority
to do what Trump wants it to do or, you know, within the boundaries of the
law rather than having a bunch of scammers out there taking advantage of
his donors.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, your reaction to the super PAC .

CHARLIE COOK, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, I agreed with both Kurt and
Governor Pawlenty. Number one, Trump`s campaign is not about money. And
if, you know, basically as long as the airplane is up in the air and
somebody can schedule events, I mean that is all his campaign runs on. If
there have been any T.V. ads or anything, I have not seen them yet.

So, to me, number one, this is not that important because his campaign is
not about money. And, I think Governor Pawlenty right – or Kurt is right
that his supporters – this is a process story. They do not care. This is
not going to – this will not affect Trump one bit. And, I am not a huge
Donald Trump fan, but I think this is a nothing burger story.

O`DONNELL: But, Kurt, it should give him a difficult question at the next

ANDERSON: It should give him a difficult question. And, we know how he
handles difficult questions that involve byzantine explanations, which is,
“I just wanted, you know, make it legit.” “I did not – I am not working
with them.” And, he will just blow it off and people go, “Yeah, whatever.”

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Tim Pawlenty, the – the Trump phenomenon within the
Republican Party, how much do you see it infecting an overall image of the
Republican Party with the house republicans now having that image of chaos
with 61 percent of the voters? Do you see a connection between these
things, the presidential campaign and how it might affect whoever the
republican presidential nominee is next year?

PAWLENTY: Well, you know, you keep talking about the difficulties within
the Republican Party, but the facts are the republicans control the house
and probably will after this next election. They control the senate and
probably will after the next election.

And, their leading candidates for president in swing states and nationally
are tied. They are beating Hillary Clinton. So, things are not so bad at
the moment notwithstanding the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. I think
Trump, by the way, is trying to trim his sales a little bit and clean up
his act a little bit, because he realizes he might have a shot at this.

And, if he does not, you know, do death by implosion on his know –
political death by implosion on his own, you know, he may try to behave a
little better and try to reach out and be more acceptable to some of the
establishment types in an earnest bid to become the nominee. And, he could
get some upside out of that.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, what are the other republican super PACs waiting
for in terms of attack ads on Donald Trump? Why are they being so patient?

COOK: Well, first of all, I think he is going after a different pool of
voters than the Bushes, Rubios, Kasichs, Christies. I mean, they are going
for – It is a different group of republican voters, more conventional
republican voters.

I think Ted Cruz is, basically, buying his time, that he wants to be the
remainder man. He wants to pick up the pieces when, assuming that Trump
and Carson start to – start to fade as the primaries and caucuses arrive.
So, I do not think it is necessarily been in any candidate`s interest to
spend money on knocking him down when they need to be building themselves

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, Tim Pawlenty, thanks for joining us, tonight. I
really appreciate it.

Coming up, Ambassador Dennis Ross will join us to discuss the deteriorating
situation in Israel.




JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have a longstanding, extremely close,
very important relationship with respect to Israel security. And, security
will be front and center in our discussion.

But, we also share a global interest in seeing the region find a way
forward to avoid this kind of confrontation and senseless loss of life.
So, it is important to have that kind of discussion at the same time.


O`DONNELL: Secretary of State John Kerry will hold meetings with both
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas. This week they will discuss the recent wave of
violence that has killed at least 42 Palestinians and 8 Israelis.

Yesterday, 19-year-old Israeli Sergeant Omri Levi was killed and 11 others
injured in a shooting at a bus station in Beersheba, in Southern Israel.
The shooter, who was killed by police was identified today as Muhand Al-
Okabi, a 21-year-old veteran Arab, who is an Israeli citizen.

An Eritrean national in his 20s, identified as Abtum Zarhum, was also
killed. Police said a security guard mistook Zarhum for an attacker and
shot him. Zarhum was then beaten by a mob and the beating was captured on
graphic cell phone video, which was then posted online.

Today, Israeli police said they are conducting an investigation into the
incident and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We are a law
abiding state. No one should take the law into their own hands.

Joining us now is Ambassador Dennis Ross, fellow at the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy and former special assistant to President
Obama for the Middle East and South Asia.

He is the author of the new book “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel
Relationship, from Truman to Obama.” Ambassador Ross, if you were advising
the president tonight, what would you tell him and what would your advice
be to Secretary Kerry in his meetings this week?

think in his separate meetings with the two sides I think he would focus on
what can we do immediately to somehow calm the atmosphere? What can we do
immediately to correct what are some of the methodologies that are out
there and then I would try to bring together – I understand Netanyahu,
with Mahmoud Abbas, and with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman. I think it
would be easier to get Mahmoud Abbas to go and take part in that.

And, I would want the meeting to come out with a statement where they are
all present, where they would be an unmistakable clarity on there being no
change in the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif or temple mount. One of
the things that has spread like wildfire that has gone viral and a lot of
the Palestinian social media has been at the Israelis intend to change or
share the Alaskan Mosque and create and treat it as if it is like the tomb
of Abraham, or the Abraham Mosque in Hebron. And that has taken on a life
of its own.

Many of those who are carrying out one of these very intimate acts of
terror, the stabbings, are claiming that they are doing it for protecting
the Mosque. So, somehow you have to transform what is a methodology and
make it clear what is not the case. In this particular, where we are right
now, we have to find a way to get this image transformed so that you begin,
I think, to staunch the flow of those who feel that they are going to go
commit an act of terror.

O`DONNELL: In your experience in dealing with the parties, do you think it
is possible to get a cross-cultural agreement there on these methodology
issues, on basically on the truth. Literally, the truth of what happened
yesterday or the truth of what happens in the next event there?

ROSS: Well, I think you are putting your finger on something that is
essential to understanding where we are today. I have worried for the last
several years, even when there was an effort to produce negotiations, that
among the two publics there was an increasing degree of disbelief.

Now, when there is an increasing degree of disbelief about the other, there
is a tendency to believe the worse about the other and that is what we are
seeing. When you have a methodology take root like we are seeing now in
Jerusalem, which is always the last thing you want to see become the focal

Because if it is not a political conflict then it becomes a religious
conflict. It is very hard to turn that around, but you have to start.
And, one of the ways to start is by having the Israeli Prime Minister
appear with the Palestinian leader and also the leader of Jordan with the
Secretary of State.

And, they all can make a collective statement that spells out nothing is
going to change there, and then it can be repeated. It has more of an aura
of credibility if you have Arabs and Israelis together, and not if it is
just a Prime Minister of Israel saying it or even the Secretary of State,
saying it alone.

O`DONNELL: What do you expect to come of President Obama`s meeting with
Benjamin Netanyahu?

ROSS: I think most of it will be an effort to mend fences. I mean,
clearly, the relationship is not a great relationship. You know, in my
book one of the things I point out is, we have had a number of previous
circumstances or cases where American Presidents and Israeli Prime
Ministers did not get along so well.

There were always ways to find a fashion to sort of improve things. Almost
every time when you had a previous episode, there was a tendency to
basically shape the relationship in a more positive direction. And, partly
it stems from the reality that Israel and the United States share values,
they share interests. They are threatened by the same forces.

And, when you look at Israel today even with the problems that we are
seeing right now, when you compare it to the rest of the region, the rest
of the region is going to go through the next – for the next 10 to 20
years. A fundamental struggle over what is identity and who defines,
between tribe and sect and clan.

We are seeing a threat to the state system. When you compare Israel to
that what you see is that Israel really stands apart and it is one of the
reasons that I think the relationship is basically on a sound footing and
it will, I think, this meeting on November 9th will reflect both sides
wanting to find ways to reduce the tensions, the differences between us.

Particularly, in the aftermath of the deal with Iran. We both have an
interest, I think, at this point in showing that there is no wide gap
between us. If you are going to enhance deterrence of Iran, particularly
in the region, I think we are moving the image of difference between the
United States and Israel becomes even more important.

O`DONNELL: Ambassador Dennis Ross, the book is “Doomed to Succeed, The
U.S./Israel relationship, from Truman to Obama.” Ambassador Ross, thank
you very much for joining us tonight.

ROSS: My pleasure. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Up next. The wait is, well, for some people it is already
over. We have the movie trailer from the next “Star Wars.” We are going
to show it to you.



O`DONNELL: The new “Star Wars” trailer for – what is this movie called?
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” is here. Tickets are on sale. Here is the




thing, but I have got nothing to fight for.

in our way. I will finish what you started.

RIDLEY, AS REY: There are stories about what happened.

of it.



FORD, AS HAN: The dark side, the Jedi, they are real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: The force, it is calling to you.

Just let it in.


O`DONNELL: “Star Wars” tickets have gone on sale for a movie that does not
open until Christmas, and it is already crashing websites all over the
place. More next.




BOYEGA, AS FINN: I have got nothing to fight for.

DRIVER, AS REN: Nothing will stand many our way. I will finish what you


O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now Abraham Riesman, Editor at “New
York” magazine. All right, so here is my story about seeing the very first
trailer for the very first “Star Wars,” which is how I pronounced that in
those days in Dorchester.


I see that trailer and I say to my friend, “no one – this is horrible. No
one is going to go see this. No one,” which is why I am not a movie
executive. You guys know much more about this than I do. Talk to each
other about this. Abraham, what is happening here? What is the importance
of this movie because I am not one who gets it.

trailer just debuted on Monday night football at the halftime show. For
somebody, who grew up with “Star Wars” at least feeling like a niche
interest and being managed by a studio that put out the horrible prequel,
trilogy and really did not know how to market this gold mine that it had,
it is insane to see the totalitarian precision that Disney has in the way
that they dribble out information in teeny tiny bits of footage for this
film. Like from an industry standpoint, this is going to be the gold
standard for how you work people into a frenzy. I do not know how they do


ANDERSEN: They have also – why I am interested, more interested I have
been in the last seven or eight to see is they hired a very good, very
smart director in J.J. Abrams –


ANDERSEN: – to do this version. Also, it is a version that has the now
elderly people that we saw in 1977 starring in it back. So, certainly,
that will have the affect of making those of us who are old feel even

But, it adds a sort of adventurous to this whole thing, that this is from
the beginning, it is tied into this whole thing. It is as though Sean
Connery would appear in “James Bond.”

O`DONNELL: But, is this important film making?

ANDERSEN: It is important cultural artifact. It is important – people of
a certain age like Abraham, who were born after it first existed for whom
it was this part of the culture that might as well have always existed,

RIESMAN: Exactly.

ANDERSEN: When you first saw it at 5 or 6.

RIESMAN: Well, it exist outside of time. There is no earth in it. There
is no history of the United States. It has nothing to do with anything
other than itself. So, it was –

O`DONNELL: Which is why it does not interest me in the least.

RIESMAN: Right. Sure.

ANDERSEN: Although there are those who argue that of course it came out
right before Ronald Reagan was elected president and –

RIESMAN: And, assuage the Reagan revolution.

O`DONNELL: And, served the idea –

RIESMAN: Reagan alliances are secretly conservative.

ANDERSEN: There is not. And, my belief is that the force was a perfect –
without the force, “Star Wars” never would have taken off. The force, this
literal – Maybe religious, I think –

O`DONNELL: That scripture –


O`DONNELL: Literally, that phrase, that term?

ANDERSEN: No. The whole idea that it is this spiritual power that you can
somehow have, it was religious but not Christian. It was new age. The new
age thing.

RIESMAN: Very new age.

ANDERSEN: The new age have just started back in 1977. That is why it has
been successful. Plus, the special effects.

O`DONNELL: What is your explanation for the giganticism of it all and the

RIESMAN: I think not to draw too much attention to my own generation, but
I think Kurt is right, we came up in this period where “Star Wars” just
existed. It was, you know, an “A” priority thing.

So, the idea that it is being managed well and being created by somebody
who is of that second generation, who is not George Lucas, who is a fan
like us, I do not know. It has a way of playing with the imagination.
And, it feels weird to be manipulated that much by a major corporation, but
they are doing it very, very.

O`DONNELL: Well, I will not be getting in anyone`s way in the movie lines
to get into the theater.

RIESMAN: You do not want to pay $250 for my ticket?

O`DONNELL: Nah! Nope – Yes, I heard tickets are going to – they are
scalping them already for like a thousand bucks.


O`DONNELL: This is crazy. Abraham Riesman and Kurt Andersen, thank you
both for joining us.

RIESMAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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