The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 11/10/15

Jonathan Alter, Stuart Stevens, Steve Jarding, Andrea Bernstein, Matthew Futterman, Olga Oliker

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You, Senator Lindsey Graham for instance feel
like maybe you deserve some equal time with Donald Trump, well, you are
officially on the clock.

Now, of course, I`m not suggesting you do this, I would never dream of
ordering Senator Graham to do anything or suggesting anything to anyone.

But 12 minutes and 5 seconds, I`m just saying Senator Graham, if you want
12 minutes and 5 seconds of interview time right here, call me.

That does it for us tonight, thank you very much for being with us, now
it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. We`ve just watched
the first hour of the debate, so we`re going to start the analysis right

MADDOW: I can`t hear you, I`m sorry.



Good night, Rachel.

MADDOW: Sorry, Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: It is halftime at this debate in Milwaukee. We`re going to get
the score cards from Jonathan Alter, Stuart Stevens and Steve Jarding.

Jonathan Alter, what do you make of that first hour?

calmer than in the “Cnbc” debate. It was more substantive, that they were
living in cloud coo-coo land when you actually looked at the economics.

They`re talking about trillions of dollars in tax cuts. Just a few moments
ago, Ted Cruz was talking about dynamic scoring. Now, the translation of
that is, it`s made up.

Basically, he`s saying that it won`t blow a trillion, $2 trillion hole in
the deficit because of some kind of magic – it`s not even supply side of

It`s right-wing coo-coo economics. And they`re all essentially talking
about economics in ways that are out of touch, not only with political
reality, but with what would happen to this country if their plans were

We would have massive deficits as far as the eye can see. The moderators
are trying to bring some of that sanity into the debate without much

O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, your scorecard at this point?

having a good night being Ted Cruz. He`s someone who knows how to debate,
and he knows his market and is going after it.

And I think that John Kasich is smart to go after Donald Trump. I think
people should do it more. I think Donald Trump, when you attack him, he
looks small when he responds, and he should attack him for his smallness.

O`DONNELL: But Stuart, he`s going after him as did Jeb Bush a little bit
over this deporting of, you know, the Mexican immigrants, sending 11
million back and how that`s inhumane.

But I got to say to that audience, this is not what they want to hear. I
mean, am I – you tell us from the – from the inside Republican

How that`s playing, let`s say, outside of the theater where they`re doing
this debate, because you`re not going to get any cheers in that audience by
going against Trump on that immigration.

STEVENS: Well, first, I think, it`s one of the dangers of audiences. You
make a very good point there in debates. You can start playing to the

And whenever you do that, it`s why the first hit of crack is free. It`s
addicting and it`s a terrible thing to let yourself fall into in a debate.

Listen, I think you`ve got to dance with the one that brung(ph) you. And
if you`re against this idea of deporting 11 million people, which every
reasonable politician and person should be, and it`s never going to happen.

You ought to – you know, I think you ought to go after it and point out
why it`s absurd. I mean, look, if that passes, you should all buy – we
should all buy stock in Bloomberg buses, because it`s going to take a lot
of buses to deport 11 million people.

O`DONNELL: A 100,000 buses, Stuart.

STEVENS: Yes, it`s –

O`DONNELL: A 100,000 buses –

STEVENS: It`s absurd. And if you really look at the data on this, nobody
believes it`s going to happen. And I think when people say things that
they know aren`t going to happen, I don`t think you can get credit for
calling them out on absurdity of it.

O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, how do you see it after that first hour?

GOVERNMENT: Well, it`s – I agree kind of with both assessments.

I mean, you look at this and you say it`s kind of Aesop`s fables, it`s a
little crazy, you listen to this and all these guys wrap themselves in a
flag and say we`re great Americans.

And yet they ignore the fact that America is a land of immigrants. They
get applause in that audience by saying we`re going to ship people home and
rip families apart while they claim to be family-value people.

They claim that they want to help people because we need jobs in America
and people are suffering.

But then they say, well, God knows, we can`t raise minimum wage or some of
them even suggest that we ought to lower it, for God`s sake.

You raise the minimum wage to $15, you know what, Lawrence? It`s going to
cost – it`s going to cost about 5 cents to double that, 5 cents on goods
and services if it`s passed entirely onto the consumer.

Five cents for a big Mac, I don`t know what a big Mac costs. Is it 5
bucks? I can afford $5.05. But that`s nothing to me, but to those people,
$15,000 in their pockets? This is America.

These guys are talking about the American dream, but apparently it`s only
for the – for the richest of the rich. If you`re poor, Ben Carson said,
well, just work harder.

You just work harder, you will be fine. It`s not about immigration in so
many ways, Lawrence, it`s about pay people a wage that works. It will
create jobs.

Those people will take that money, they`ll go out and they`ll buy big Macs
and they`ll buy shoes and they`ll get the economy moving again.

But we don`t care about – what`s strange in the first hour is it`s just
surreal. These guys, they talk about family values, they talk about, we`re
America, we`ve got to do – and everything then they spew seems to be anti-
American –

O`DONNELL: You know –

JARDING: Where did this country come from?

ALTER: Ben Carson twice mentioned 1913. That was when the Federal Reserve
was created, when the federal income tax was put in. And he wants to turn
the clock back to pre-1913.


ALTER: And that`s just pre-new deal, but pre a federal income tax. And it
struck me that, it`s really kind of crazy that we call this a conservative
political party.

There`s nothing conservative about it. Big C conservative, small C
conservative, they shouldn`t be called conservatives anymore. They are
radicals who want, you know, radical change in the American system.

And I wish that the press and the public would see this more for what it

O`DONNELL: Stuart, Jeb Bush to my money had his first solid round in any
of the debates so far. His first answer coming out of the gate, clearly
was prepared.

And I mean that in a positive way. He had obviously done some real debate
prep, and he had his talking points down, and he turned it into an economic
attack on both President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

And for the first time, he sounded like he was actually ready to play this

STEVENS: Listen, I think the biggest mistake that Jeb Bush can make in a
debate like this, given where we are, is trying to do too much.

He ought to be about getting on base with singles and doubles and being Jeb
Bush. Candidates can come back and he should do it.

I think if he – if he tries too hard, it would seem disingenuous. Look, I
think there`s one thing that`s really important here. And that is that,
there`s 28 percent of the – of the country thinks that we`re going in the
right direction.

So, they`re operating in a wrong track environment. And you know, Jonathan
and Steve don`t like what they`re saying, that`s fine.

But it`s argument that I think it`s going to be really how to decide this
election. Are we going to be one in which a third term of Barack Obama can
be successfully argued a year from now or can we not?

And we don`t know the answer to that yet, but these guys are definitely
digging into the wrong track argument.

O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, you mentioned the minimum wage, it was – it was
a real softball question at the Republican debate. Would you raise the
minimum wage?

They all said no, including Ben Carson. Let`s listen to what Ben Carson
said about the minimum wage just a few months ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what about minimum wage?

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it probably should be
higher than now.


O`DONNELL: So Steve, exact opposite answer tonight. A few months ago, he
thinks the minimum wage should have been higher. Tonight, Ben Carson goes
with the chorus, absolutely no increase in the minimum wage.

JARDING: Yes, I mean, it is kind of the weathervane team out there. It`s
– I`m going to say whatever I think will get me votes. And the problem
is, the American public, that`s what they`re tired of.

Why do we think we have two outsiders; Trump and Carson that are leading
the fold? It`s not so much what they`ve said, it`s that people are saying
enough already.

We`re hurting out here. College tuition is up 1,800 percent since 1978,
1,800 percent. Only 1 out of 4, Lawrence, 1 out of 4 high school graduates
in America is headed now to graduate from college.

You cannot be a great nation anymore if 3 out of 4 of your young people
only have a high school degree. That`s what people worry about.

They do worry about jobs. They do worry about wages. They do worry about
healthcare. These guys stand up there and say, well, people aren`t better
under Obamacare.

Ask the 17 million people who got healthcare under Obamacare what they
think. The arrogance of these governors and these folks that live high and
somehow sit out there and say well, I`m fighting for the poor person, but I
don`t want you to have healthcare.

I`m fighting for it, but God knows we`re not going to raise your wages.
I`m fighting to get you more jobs, but just get another one, get two or

That`s the problem. You look at these guys and you say, it really is a
weathervane. And you – they say what they think their voters want to
hear, while they claim that they`re patriotic and they`re fighting for

And they`re only fighting for a sliver of Americans.

ALTER: Can we –

JARDING: That`s been the problem and every American knows it out there.
That`s why they`re upset, that`s why they`re looking for an outsider.

And I think if I were these guys, I`d be very careful – say what you want
in a primary, you get in a general election though, these words are going
to come back to haunt you.

And then when you get to flip-flop, I`m for minimum wage before I was
against it or I`m against it before I`m for it. These guys are going to
have to live with what they do in these primaries.

And it`s not going to serve them well.

ALTER: So, it`s interesting that we have Stuart Stevens on tonight who was

O`DONNELL: It`s always interesting –


ALTER: At least – was chief strategist –

O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens on –

ALTER: Steve, chief strategist for Mitt Romney, I`m interested in what
Stuart thinks of this immigration argument. So, Kasich and Bush said, you
know, you can`t deport 11 million –


ALTER: People. That makes it harder –


O`DONNELL: They try to say the reasonable thing to an unreasonable
audience –

ALTER: They – it makes it harder for them to win the nomination, but
easier for them to win the White House.

STEVENS: Actually, listen, I –

ALTER: Do you agree with that, Stuart, that you can`t win –

STEVENS: Listen, I think –

ALTER: You`ve got to get 28 percent of the Latino vote. You can`t get
elected president with 28 percent of the – of the Latino vote.

If Donald Trump was nominated, he`d get less than 10 percent Latino vote
and is unelectable. So, don`t they –


ALTER: Have to take on the Trump orthodoxy in order to have any chance of
actually winning the presidency?

STEVENS: I think there`s variations here. I think you have to break down
the argument. What no one believes is that we`re going to deport 11
million people.

So the idea of being against something that no one believes is actually
pretty easy. And you ought to take that battle and you ought to point it
out as absurd.

Because it reflects a sort of illegitimacy of thought that someone is
presenting exactly as you say, to appeal to an audience.

Now, the idea that you`re going to have limits on illegal immigration, that
resonates with people, and that makes sense. There`s two different

ALTER: But how do you – or how do you get past the 29 percent of the
Latino vote that your guy got the last time? And if you can`t, can you be
elected president of the United States?

STEVENS: Listen, the great problem with Republicans is with non-white
voters. You`ve got to expand that. Immigration is one – yes, so we`ll
talk about it more.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a quick break here. Coming up
in tonight`s LAST WORD, the one brave candidate who has said the right
thing about God and politics.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news from Missouri tonight. Police at the
University of Missouri have increased security after a threat was called

One day after the university system president resigned in the midst of
protests, that threat comes the same day that the university system
appointed an interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity.

“Nbc`s” Sarah Dallof joins us by phone from Columbia, Missouri. Sarah,
what`s the situation there tonight?

SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS: Well, Lawrence, the crowd was called into the
black culture center on campus. There was a meeting there between the
Missouri legislative black caucus and a group of concerned students.

There was a member of the caucus who actually took that phone call where
the threat was called in. Police, the university police locked down the
building, they did a sweep of the buildings.

There was nothing found and there have been no arrests right now. You
know, there`s also been some blasts on social media, specifically the
anonymous app (INAUDIBLE).

One of the threats says that some of you are all right, don`t come to
school tomorrow. University security says they are aware of these social
media threats.

They say they are increasing security to the campus. Now, security already
very tight. There`s a number of sit-ins and demonstrations on campus as
well as its media presence about the last two days.

Ever since the football team announced they would not practice or play
until the then university system president stepped down following what some
described as an inadequate response to sort of racist incidents on campus.

Now, yesterday, the President did step down, followed by the chancellor.
The team resumed their practices, but those student activists are still on
campus raising awareness, they`re seizing upon this momentum to (INAUDIBLE)
change, they were at one of those meetings tonight, Lawrence, when that
threat was called in.

O`DONNELL: Sarah Dallof, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Up
next, Hillary Clinton versus Marco Rubio.


O`DONNELL: John Jordan, the owner of Jordan Winery and a Republican donor
is now formally backing Florida Senator Marco Rubio with a new Super PAC
named “Baby got PAC”.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A world gone out of control and getting worse. A shaky
economy leaves millions behind, while Washington D.C. and Wall Street are
doing just fine.

And they wonder why we`re angry. So, when we started to make this ad, we
had to decide which conservative candidate for president to support.

Ted Cruz; the bold and brilliant conservative mind? Donald Trump; a leader
in business and media? Ben Carson; world renowned neurosurgeon and faithful

It`s a tough choice, so you know who we asked? Hillary Clinton and the
Democrats. For once, they told the truth. They admitted there`s one
candidate who scares Hillary Clinton and that`s Senator Marco Rubio.

Democrats say he is the one they don`t want to face. Bill Clinton even
calls him the biggest threat. When the media and the Democrats tell
Republicans who they`re afraid to run against, that tells us all we need to

Baby got PAC is responsible for the content of this message.


O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, it looks like Rubio wants to go against

ALTER: Yes, and it`s interesting because the money is moving to Rubio for
the reasons that, that Super PAC ad indicated the big money on Wall Street
and elsewhere believes that he has the best shot of beating Hillary

And it maybe that in this era where, you know, every “Fox News” viewer is
an armchair pundit, that message kind of goes down to the voters to some
extent, to primary voters.

And that they – and that Rubio gets some support for that reason. But
remember, Trump and Carson are between 16 and 18 points ahead right now.

This is not a close race in the – in the polls. These other candidates
have a lot of ground to make up before they really become competitive.

O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, what about that, that the Democrats and Hillary
Clinton most fear Marco Rubio among all those candidates?

JARDING: Yes, I`m not certain of that. I mean, clearly there`s been some
e-mail traffic, the DNC, the Clinton campaign has gone after Rubio a little

My guess is that, they are not real certain what`s going to happen. I
mean, a couple of months still, Lawrence, we – none of us probably would
sit here and say, boy, the Trump balloon and the Carson balloon is going to

Everyone kind of thought it would – it would explode and fade away, it`s
not done that. And to Jonathan`s point, the gap is so large right now,
Rubio has got a long way to go.

And I`m just not sure that, that will happen. I think the voters on the
Republican side are so disillusioned with kind of a mainstream candidates,
they`re so uncertain about the outsider candidates.

They kind of like Carson, he has his troubles, they`re a little afraid of
Trump. So, it`s kind of natural that they would gravitate to others in the

I think the real test will be how Marco Rubio responds. If indeed, it`s
kind of his day to shine or his week or whatever it is, he`s going to have
to step up to the plate.

Personally, I wonder that he`s ready, but we`ll find out. I don`t think,
though, that when the spotlight comes on him, there`s a part of me that
says, he has to be ready to take that gauntlet and run with it.

Because the time is so short now between where we go on Iowa and New
Hampshire and he`s got to have the resources.

As Jonathan pointed out, he`s getting more money, but I – that vote is so
spread out, where is he going to get all his votes? That would be my
concern if I am – if I am sitting in Marco Rubio`s camp.

O`DONNELL: Well, he certainly had a very sharp debate performance in the
first hour that we saw. But Stuart Stevens, you have long predicted that
the Trump bubble will burst, that Donald Trump won`t make it very far into
the actual casting of votes once we get into next year and the primaries.

Is Marco Rubio currently positioned to move into the gap that you predict
Donald Trump will eventually open up.

STEVENS: I`m sticking with that Trump prediction until –


STEVENS: It`s not true. Look, I look at this a bit differently. I just
look at states. I think it`s all about who`s going to win these first four

I think that they function basically as a playoff. And I think you can
make a scenario where you cannot win one of the first four and then come

But it`s never happened and I think it`s never happened for a reason. If
you`re in second or third place in Florida and you lose the first four, I
don`t see why that advances you to first.

So, who`s going to win Iowa? Who`s going to win New Hampshire? Who`s going
to win South Carolina? Who`s going to win Nevada? I really think that`s the
only thing that matters here.

These national polls I think are interesting, you know, I pick them apart
like everybody, but as far as the people that are going to vote, it tells
you about who is going to win the Louisiana governor`s race by polling in
Mississippi, which doesn`t tell you very much.

O`DONNELL: But Jonathan, might this be the time when the first four don`t
tell the story. Where you get – say, a Carson win in Iowa, a Trump win in
New Hampshire, a Carson win in South Carolina and then maybe someone else
in Florida.

Maybe Marco Rubio in Florida, something like that. And maybe it will take
you six or eight before you get to the candidates you`re really dealing

ALTER: Yes, so, you know, Karl Rove says that there could be what is, you
know, every reporter`s dream, a brokered convention.

Because the primaries up until March 15th are all proportional voting. In
other words, they`re not winner take all.

So they could split the vote and then you could get into a situation where
something like the Trump-Cruz alliance, they have a detente.

If you`ve noticed, they haven`t been –


ALTER: Criticizing each other at all. That could become very significant.
So, if, you know, if Cruz is leading and you know, Trump wants to leave
without being totally humiliated, he could maybe play kingmaker and give
his support to Cruz or conceivably vice versa.

And all of these things could come into play in the way they could be just
absolutely fascinating for all of us watching. Not very helpful to the
Republican Party.

O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, how about that, a brokered convention?

STEVENS: Listen, I love the game of risks and I love the alliances, but I
think it works better in the game of risks and in politics. I think when
candidates lose, they lose their voters.

And they end up not having anybody to trade. There`s a – you know, what I
would call a hunger game scenario here, where if a different person won
each of those four primaries, and if those – particularly if those winners
were people who would not do well in a general election.

So, if Trump did stay in and Trump won, say, New Hampshire, which I think
were to stay in, is a more likely bet for him than Iowa.

Carson won Iowa, Cruz won South Carolina, Rand Paul won Nevada. You know,
then I think –


We`d be off to – we`d be off to the hunger games, and I think that
theoretically –

JARDING: Yes, well, I`ll say that –

STEVENS: A good candidate could emerge post. But I don`t think that`s
going to happen –

ALTER: Would be great.

JARDING: Wouldn`t it be –



O`DONNELL: Go ahead, go ahead –

JARDING: Can I say something? –

O`DONNELL: Steve, go ahead –

JARDING: I generally agree with what Stu is saying. Although, I really do
think – and this is where I agree. I think Iowa and New Hampshire really
do winnow.

And if you don`t come in first or second or you`re marginalized there, it`s
really going to be difficult to come back. And that`s where if Marco
Rubio, I think doesn`t come in first or second, he may never get to

It`s – remember Rudy Giuliani said, I`m going to forgive the first one,
and I`m going to plant my flag in Florida, he never quite got there. I
really do think the power of this coalescing of the field that people want
to winnow this thing down.

Voters do, I think reporters do. And so, you better come in first or
second or at least be somewhere close enough to be credible now in New
Hampshire or I don`t think you necessarily get a door price to go to a next
South Carolina and beyond –

ALTER: I don`t actually agree with that. Because what`s different this
time are the Super PACs. It used to be that the only reason anybody
dropped out was they didn`t have any money left.

Now a lot of them are going to have their Super PAC money and they`re going
to be able to go on for another few weeks and see if they do well in what
they call the SCC primary or some of the other primaries.

Try their luck again, maybe hope for a change with the debate. So, I`m not
sure that you`re going to see all these guys dropping out early.

JARDING: Oh, I`m not sure either, but if I could, Jonathan, with respect,
I really do think, though, the free media that you get or like earned
media, that`s worth millions of dollars.

You win Iowa, New Hampshire, you`re on the cover of the news magazines, you
lead the news. The Super PAC better have a ton of money – and remember,
now the Super PAC is supporting a loser.

It`s harder to run the ad that says Steve lost the first three primaries,
but by God, let`s stick with him. I just think, history would suggest, you
better do well early or the system flushes you out.

I would still bet on that. Even though I agree with you, Super PACs have
changed the dynamic of our political system in a bad way, I believe.

But I still think the power of, you got to – you got to do well early or
you get marginalized really quickly in this game.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter and Stuart Stevens, thanks for joining us
tonight. Coming up, President Obama makes history, this time it`s magazine


O`DONNELL: President Obama is now the first president to pose for a
photograph for the cover of “Out” magazine. That cover was revealed today,
showing the president as the ally of the year for the LGBT community today.

The president formally endorsed the equality act, which was introduced in
the Senate in July by Democratic Senators Cory Booker, Tammy Baldwin and
Jeff Merkley. The bill would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a
ban of discrimination on the basis sexual orientation or gender identity.


legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of
Americans. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the
legislative process produces a result, that balances both the bedrock
principles of civil rights like those I have just described with the
religious liberty that we hold dear in this country.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Andrea Bernstein, Senior Editor for Politics
and Policy at WNYC Radio, and back with us, Steve Jarding. And, Andrea,
congratulations. You are in the magazine too as one of the top 100 allies,
I guess, we call them. What is the significance of this? It is a
magazine. Let us talk about the cultural significance of it. We will get
to the politics in a second.

sense, it is a landmark shift, but in another sense, it is sort of a
natural progression, if you look at what has happened in this country over,
say, the last 20 years.

20 years ago, fewer than a third of Americans supported gay marriage. Now,
more than 2/3 of Americans support gay marriage. So, there has been a real
flip. And, when, for example, the Supreme Court said gay marriage was
legal in all 50 states back in June, the president, or his staff, lit up
the White House in rainbow colors.

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh.

BERNSTEIN: So, that is sort of where the country is now. And, it does
telegraph a possible issue in the general election, because all of the
Republican candidates are opposed to same-sex marriage. The Democrats are

But as the population ages, there are fewer and fewer opponents that are
very active in Republican primaries. But, then the candidate who comes out
of this bloody process then has to face a general electorate, which is more
moderate in its views.

O`DONNELL: So, coincidence that the White House and the President comes
out in favor of the equality act today on the same day the magazine cover
is revealed?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I mean, you know, none of this is ever coincidence
exactly. I mean, I do think that it is still consistent with what the
president has articulated, that he supports equality in employment. But
again, I mean this is something that the majority of the public does, too.

It plays out differently in different places. Like in Houston last week,
there was a ballot measure, where people thought it was about allowing men
into women is bathrooms and it was defeated. So there is a resistance in
the American populous to supporting something they perceive as a special

But, you know, what it is going to be up to, all the proponents of these
bills to argue is that, this is something that is consistent with what, in
fact, people already think is on the books.

O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, this bill is introduced in a Republican-
controlled Senate. There is a Republican-controlled house. It has to
somehow get hearings in both of those chambers. It has to get votes in the
judiciary committee and the house judiciary committee in the Senate. And,
that has to pass votes of those bodies, which seems impossible under
Republican control.

What is the President and what are the Democrats doing here, other than –
and this is a perfectly legitimate thing to do with legislation – setting
their objectives, stating their objectives in legislation that they know
cannot get anywhere right now, but they will have it there and in the hopes
that they can get it somewhere after the next election.

JARDING: Yes. And, I think it is right. I mean this whole argument has
always kind of confounded me. What do we fear with sexual orientation? We
should fear discrimination, Lawrence, a whole lot more in this country,
because discrimination has done a whole lot more harm to this nation than
his sexual orientation.

So, for the President and Democrats to say, “Listen, we are going to put
that out there. It is wrong what Houston did. It is wrong that they said,
we can allow discrimination.” This is our children, for God`s sakes. You
know, I said before, these people that wrapped themselves in the old
testament and say, “Well, the old testament says homosexuality is wrong.”

But, the in the new testament, Jesus said over 40 times, “If you believe,
you are in heaven. He did not say, “If you believe and you are straight”
or “If you believe and you are not a transgender.” He just said, if you
believe. I think Democrats are right. Go after this.

Discrimination has no place in this country. And, if we can with an open
heart and an open mind fight that battle and say, “If it is discrimination
today against gays or transgender, what is it tomorrow? Stop it, what do
we fear?” All people are equal. We take pride in that in this country.
We got to get back to that. We got to have that battle.

I understand it might not win, but have at it. And, take their arguments
against them. When they throw religion at you and Kim Davis said, “Well, I
had to adhere to the bible.” Well, the bible said, “Do not do it.” What
are you saying about Jesus, what was Jesus saying when he said, “If you
believe you are in?” I think we have to have that argument with them, so I
am all for it. I think it is the right thing to do.

O`DONNELL: Andrea, some interesting elements in these poles that you are
eluding to there. 69 percent are in favor of this kind of
nondiscrimination protection. 75 percent believe we already have it in

BERNSTEIN: Right. Right. Right.

O`DONNELL: And, that 75 percent believing we already have it creates
certain complications. That is not an entirely positive polling result –

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.

O`DONNELL: – for people who want this.

BERNSTEIN: Right. And, I am going to say, in the last decade, you may
remember, for example, George W. Bush in 200 4, there were a lot of ballot
measures around the country involving same-sex marriage in what opponents
described as special rights for lesbians and gays.

And , having these measures on the ballots drew conservative votes, and it
helped George W. Bush. I think what is interesting is that Americans have
moved so far from that position. So, you know, I think it will be
interesting to see how it does play out. But, the Supreme Court settled
the issue of same-sex marriage, and I think that, that in itself changed a
lot of minds.

O`DONNELL: But, when 75 percent believe we already have these protections.
Does not that in a certain way possibly undermine the drive to get these
protections, because it will then sound like, “Oh, you are getting
something extra special.”

BERNSTEIN: Right. Right. It certainly is a challenge to that. But, as a
lot of people pointed out, after the Supreme Court decision, in America,
you can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday and both can be legal.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Andrea Bernstein and Steve Jarding, thank you both for
joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

JARDING: Thanks, Lawrence.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Russian sports doping scandal.


O`DONNELL: As Andrea Bernstein just mentioned, the night the Supreme Court
ruled 5-4 in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples, the Obama
Administration lit the White House with rainbow colors to celebrate. And,
the president tweeted, “Today is a big step in our march towards equality.
Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone

But those lights almost did not happen. The “Out” Magazine with the
president on the cover has the big scoop of what actually happened that
night. And , according to “Out” magazine, the White House tested lights
earlier in June, trying colors in random orders on an exterior wall so as
to not attract attention.

But, then the gear boxes that contained the lights were accidentally soaked
in the rain. And, at the last minute backup lights had to be used at 6 to
2 p.m. The switch was flipped and luckily the lights blazed on.

Coming up, Vladimir Putin`s latest problem, the Russian doping scandal that
could keep some of his athletes out of the Olympics.




RICHARD POUND, FORMER WADA PRESIDENT: For 2016, our recommendation is that
the Russian federation be suspended. One of our hopes is that they will
volunteer that, so they can undertake the remedial work in time to make
sure that Russian athletes can compete. If they do not, then it has to
play itself out and the outcome may be that there are no Russian track and
field athletes in Rio.


O`DONNELL: Russia`s track and field team could face a band from the 2016
Olympics and the loss of medals after independent commission set up by the
world anti-doping agency found Russian athletes participated in state-
sponsored, state-organized doping.

According to the commission`s report, the acceptance of cheating at all
levels is widespread and of long standing. Examples of the cheating found
include Russian athletes used false identities to evade testing,
intentional and malicious destruction of more than 1,400 samples by a
Moscow lab; responsible for testing athletes and visits by Russian security
agents and direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state at the
Moscow lab.

Today, the head of the Russian Athletics Federation said, “The corruption
you have mentioned have taken place several years ago. In any case,
currently, it does not exist.” The Russian sports minister said this


VITALY MUTKO, RUSSIAN SPORTS MINISTER: (Translated to English) So, these
allegations really sound unbased and really fictional, since Russia`s Anti-
Doping Agencies today are very independent.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Matthew Futterman, Senior Special Writer for
Sports at the “Wall Street Journal” and Olga Oliker, Director of the Russia
and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Matthew, first of all to the sports, your article today says things like
this are going on all over the world in different sports organizations.
The Russian version is particularly heavy handed involving state agents and
all that sort of thing. But, you for one are not surprised.

JOURNAL”: No, I am not surprised at all. But, I do think it is a mistake
if we look at this and say this is a Russian problem. You know, this is
like the Soviet era, Russians back to what they have always been doing and
back to, you know, the East Germans of the 1970s.

You know, Americans have proven themselves to be pretty good cheaters, too.
It happens all over the world. It happens in Kenya. It happens in
Jamaica. And, you know, this is not just specific to Russia. That is not
to let the Russians off the hook, because a lot of the stuff in this report
is explosive. It is sort of unbelievable. It is not something that
happened in the past.

There were doping control officers in June at the race walking camp. That
uncovered a bunch of, you know, faulty tests. And, you know, this is not
something that the Russians can just sort of sweep away by their

O`DONNELL: Olga there does seem to be, possibly, a uniquely Russian
quality to the style of this. One of the athlete, actually, thought his
life was in danger. He said if he tried to do anything about it, he might
accidentally get in a car accident. Those were his words. And, this
involves the Russian government`s complete involvement in the doping
scandal, something you do not certainly find in any of the American
versions of this.

You do not find – to be the equivalent of the FBI going into the testing
labs here in the United States and basically seizing the samples and
helping destroy them and conspiring and all that. And, so it brings me to
the question of what you might see in this as being peculiarly Russian.

peculiarly Russian. I do think there is a huge difference between the Tour
De France, where it is about individuals, it is about team.

And, this situation where the report documents is government involvement in
a system that is designed to dope athlete, to use performance-enhancing
drugs, to destroy evidence.

And, yes, people do this all over the world, but to have the government
involved in this, to have the FSB, as you said, the equivalent of the FBI
showing up actively involved, that is, you know, that is a different sort
of beast.

I am not going to say there is anything particularly Russian about it. I
can imagine that it is possible for another country to do something
similar, but in this case, it does seem to be Russia that is doing it.

O`DONNELL: Olga, when I look at Vladimir Putin in his stage and kind of
fake hockey games, where is everyone on the other team just gets out of his
way and lets him score goals, and then I see this kind of rigging, there
seems to be something in Putin`s view of these kinds of things that we can
never lose. We can never be perceived as losing at anything.

OLIKER: Well, and there is a strong and generally very proud tradition of
athletics in Russia. And, I think that there is a lot of Russian pride
that gets tied up in sports and athletic contests. And, you know, there
have been stories of Russian government – soviet government involvement in

Now, you are seeing Russian government involvement. And, again, the sort
of systemic approach, which some people do think harkens back to these
things that you saw in the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact.

O`DONNELL: Matthew, I learned in your article that this is a completely
untrustworthy system around the world. We leave the testing to the
individual countries and they get to set up their own individual apparatus
for this.

FUTTERMAN: Yes. It is completely absurd. I mean what you need is you
need an independent, international, third party with no stake in the game
that just wants to catch the bad guys.

O`DONNELL: And, nobody is ready to pay for that.

FUTTERMAN: That is the problem. Everyone says, “Oh, this would be a great
idea” and then nobody puts up the money for it. And, the money is there.
It is just a matter of having the willpower to actually write the checks
and fund this system. I mean taxpayers pay for the police. There is no
reason why sports leagues and federations should not pay for the people to
keep them honest.

O`DONNELL: Matthew Futterman and Olga Oliker, thank you both for joining
us tonight. I really appreciate it.

Coming up, the bravest thing that any presidential candidate has said this
year. Hint, the candidate`s first game begins with a “B” and it is not
about socialism.



O`DONNELL: Up next, Bernie Sanders gets tonight`s “Last Word.”




SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any president who does not
begin every day on his knees is not fit to be commander in chief of this




O`DONNELL: Unfortunately, for Ted Cruz, the founding fathers forgot to put
that in the constitution. The constitution says that the qualifications
for being president are a natural born citizen at least 35 years old,
resident of the United States for at least the last 14 years.

Nothing in there about the president must believe in and get on his or her
knees to pray to a God of any kind. There is no religious test for holding
office in this country, although politicians and the media act as if there


Presbyterian and I go to church and I love God and I love my church.



birth and by choice. I was born into a Methodist family. Parents,
grandparents, great grandparents claiming to go all the way back to the
coal fields hearing the Wesley`s preach.



JEB BUSH , (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I started reading the bible and I
think it was like Romans, got about to their and I realized that Jesus was
my savior. And, I accepted h him.



extraordinarily blessed, and we have honored that blessing and that is why
God has continued to bless us.



BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Now, are you really a creationist. Do you
subscribe to Adam and Eve, and the garden of Eve and that is where we came


O`DONNELL: At tonight`s debate, the candidates were actually asked which
tax plan would God endorse. Even liberal Democrats who profess a belief in
the importance of separation of church and state do not believe in the
separation of church and politics. They frequently invoke God in speeches
and they will answer any question about their religious beliefs at length
if it is somehow relevant to governing.

President Obama in his now famous cover interview for “Out” magazine, which
we talked about earlier tonight, he actually felt compelled in that
interview about LGBT rights to say, and I quote, “I am a man of faith.”
They all do it, all the time. Democrat and Republican, all except one.

As polls have shown there is nothing braver in American politics than
refusing to talk about religion, refusing to talk about your belief or
disbelief in God. That bravery was displayed by one of the presidential
candidates in the most unlikely of venues, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show.”

When the candidate was asked if he believes in God, he did not say, “It is
none of your business,” but he did not say, “Yes” or “No.” He acknowledged
the frame of the question in his first few words but then did not answer it
and used it instead as another launching pad into the basic message of his

It was the bravest moment thus far in the presidential campaign. A
candidate offered a chance on national television to pander on religion,
and the candidate refuses to do that. That candidate gets tonight`s “Last


forbid. You say you are culturally Jewish. You do not feel religious. Do
you believe in God and do you think that is important to the people of the
United States?

know, I am who I am and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about
is that we are all in this together. And, I think it is not a good thing
to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of
other people. That we should not be living –


And this is not Judaism. This is what Pope Francis is talking about, that
we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money.
Life is more than that. We are living in a nation today, which has seen a
proliferation of millionaires and billionaires, massive income and wealth

And, you know what? We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any
major country on Earth. We are the only major country on Earth that does
not guarantee health care to all people as a right. The only country that
does not have paid family and medical leave. Many other countries are
providing free tuition in their public colleges and universities.

So, essentially, what I think is we do best as human beings. We fulfill
our lives when we work together rather than say, “Hey, I want it all, and I
do not care about the hungry kid down the street.” I do not think that is
what America should be about.


O`DONNELL: Special live coverage of the Republican presidential debate
with Chris Matthews is next.


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