The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 1/19/2016

Sam Stein, David Frum, E.J. Dionne, Ezra Klein, Mayor Virg Bernero, Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog

Date: January 19, 2016
Guest: Sam Stein, David Frum, E.J. Dionne, Ezra Klein, Mayor Virg Bernero,
Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: It`s just amazing. Cruz can`t have – guns bill was
vetoed by Chris Christie.

This is a bill that had zero opposition, it was (AUDIO GAP 00:00:08-19)
from the carjackers league of New Hampshire or something.

It`s just amazing. Congratulations New Jersey, you want your next governor
to run for president too?

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: Good evening Rachel. Hey, you`ve
had a lot of big guests lately.

You had Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and then Hillary Clinton again
and then Bernie Sanders again and again and again.


Well, have you noticed that Triumph, the insult comic dog is back on the
campaign trail?

MADDOW: No, do you mean –


MADDOW: The actual Triumph? –

O`DONNELL: Triumph is on the campaign trail and the big get for THE LAST
WORD tonight. Why?


From New Hampshire where he`s been chasing Ted Cruz all day.

MADDOW: Oh, wow –

O`DONNELL: Triumph –

MADDOW: Do you have a bleep button in your control room? –

O`DONNELL: I don`t (AUDIO GAP 00:01:08-11) probably smoking a Cuban cigar.

MADDOW: Fair enough, that`s awesome, well done.

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel –

MADDOW: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Well, tonight, Donald Trump was the one who was forced to
endure listening to a Trump-like incoherent political speech.

And this one was from one of American politics biggest losers and certainly
the biggest quitter.




ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: I`ve never been a huge fan of endorsements.

PALIN: Thank you so much, it`s so great to be in Iowa.

TRUMP: I`m a big fan of Sarah Palin.

PALIN: This is going to be so much fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have triumph of reality television.

PALIN: You betcha.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Palin was a Cruz gal before she was a Trump gal.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Oh, listen, I love Sarah Palin.

PALIN: Heads are spinning. Media heads are spinning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ll see more of these sort of odd endorsements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He picked up the endorsement of John Wayne`s family.

TRUMP: I love John Wayne.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is fun for Trump, and people can tell.

TRUMP: Ted is worried about his temperament and people are talking about
his temperament.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like two tarantulas in a bowl there in Iowa.

TRUMP: I haven`t talked about his temperament.

CRUZ: It is no surprise that the establishment is in full panic mode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad – Ted Cruz nomination
would be damaging.

GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA: I believe that would be a big mistake for
Iowa to support him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only one of them is going to come out alive.

PALIN: No, next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump!


O`DONNELL: Ask yourself this. What would you do the day after your 26-
year-old son who lives at home with you is arrested in your home after
assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to commit suicide using one of

An AR-15 assault rifle that is kept in your home? And, yes, he was drunk.
What would you do?

You`d have your arms around him right now, right? You`d be getting him all
the help he needs right now, right?

Well, according to police reports, all of that happened at Sarah Palin`s
home last night in Wasilla, Alaska.

But Sarah Palin wasn`t home. She and her husband Todd were on their way to
a big event in Iowa.

On nights like this, it`s worth pausing to (AUDIO GAP 00:03:37-41) that he
did in 2008 and won the presidency.

Sarah Palin might tonight still be serving as the Vice President of the
United States of America instead of Joe Biden.

And what happened in her home last night might have instead happened in the
Vice President`s residence.

Here`s why Todd and Sarah Palin are not home tonight, given their troubled
26-year-old son, who is the divorced father of a 4-year-old daughter, the
loving parental guidance that he so obviously needs now, as much as he ever
has. (AUDIO GAP 00:04:23-25).


PALIN: Will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS ass!


PALIN: Ready for someone who will secure our borders, to secure our jobs
and to secure our homes?

Ready to make America great again? Are you ready to stump for Trump? I`m
here to support the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: There were actually very few applause lines like that in Sarah
Palin`s 20-minute speech.

It was the quietest audience reaction we have seen at any Trump event, for
both Donald Trump`s soft spoken and rumbling introduction of Sarah Palin
and Sarah Palin`s speech.

If Sarah Palin is supposed to add energy to the Trump campaign, it didn`t
happen in that room tonight.

Here was her answer to Ted Cruz saying that Donald Trump is not a real


PALIN: Now, what they`re doing is wailing, well, Trump and his Trumpeters,
well, they`re not conservative enough.

Oh, my goodness, gracious. What the heck would the establishment know
about conservatism?

Tell me, is this conservative? GOP majorities handing Obama a blank check
to fund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood and illegal immigration that
competes for your jobs?

How about the rest of us, right-wing and bitter clinging proud clingers of
our guns, our God and our religion and our constitution.

Tell us that we`re not red enough. Yes, coming from the establishment,


O`DONNELL: As she clings to the wreckage of her political career and her
unsuccessful attempts at reality TV stardom, Sarah Palin, not surprisingly
delivered her endorsement to the candidate who could guarantee her the
biggest audience.

The candidate who could best stoke the dying embers of her fame. Joining
us now are David Frum, senior editor for “The Atlantic”, Ezra Klein,
editor-in-chief of

And Sam Stein, senior politics editor at “The Huffington Post” and an Msnbc

He is also the co-host of the new podcast “Candidate Confessional”. Sam
Stein, are there –


O`DONNELL: Any – are there any Sarah Palin true believers who are not
already Donald Trump true believers?

STEIN: Are there any still Sarah Palin true believers is a good question,
it`s all right –

O`DONNELL: Well, you can start there then.


STEIN: Obviously, her star power has greatly diminished. I think they
came when her reality TV show fell by the wayside.

And I just don`t get the sense that the draw is there like it was in the
early Obama years.

I do think you`re right. I think there`s a strategic reason she attached
herself to Donald Trump.

And that he is the brightest star in the GOP field, and she craves that
type of attention.

But I guess I was struck when I watched her said how much the rhetoric has
changed. I remember in 2008 when she was this unknown governor stumping
for John McCain.

And we were all very alarmed at what was happening at her specific rallies.

And I look back at that, and then I look at what`s happening at the Trump
rallies, and I look and I think that is almost quant.

That some of the stuff that we witnessed in 2007-2008 – sorry, 2008
specifically, really wasn`t as alarming as what we`re seeing now.

And I think that`s a little bit frightening.

O`DONNELL: Well, she did also venture into foreign policy tonight, and I
think highlighted something that has so far been, I think under analyzed in

Trumpism has trumped Cheneyism. When was the last time we had –

STEIN: Yes –

O`DONNELL: Dick Cheney come out and tell us how to think about foreign
policy and instruct Republicans about how to think about foreign policy.

Let`s listen to Palin on foreign policy tonight.


PALIN: Let me say something really positive about one of those individuals
– Rand Paul.


PALIN: I`m going to tell you about that libertarian streak in him that is
healthy, because he knows, you only go to war if you`re determined to win
the war!


PALIN: And you quit footing the bill for these nations who are oil rich
we`re paying for some of their skirmishes that have been going on for

Where they`re fighting each other and yelling al-akhbar, calling Jihad on
each other`s heads forever and ever.

Like I`ve said before, let him do get out and let Allah sort it out.


O`DONNELL: Now, you don`t have to rewind, she did say skirmishes. David
Frum, Cheneyism has disappeared under this cloud of Trumpism which is now
being combined with some form of Palinism.

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: What the Palin endorsement it
seems to me is about, and the choice of Donald Trump over Ted Cruz is a
contest between what is conservatism anyway.

Ted Cruz is an ideology. It`s a set of answers to political questions.
And Donald Trump has offered conservatism as an identity.

And Sarah Palin is one of the great pioneers of that idea that conservatism
is an identity.

It`s not what you are, it`s not a set of – it`s not what you think, it`s
not a set of answers. It`s who you are.

And that is why what she did was important. And although as Sam said and
as you have said, her star has diminished.

Must remember that in 2012, the first and second place in Iowa were
separated by 34 votes.

So, if Sarah Palin can move a few hundred or a couple of thousand even
votes from the Cruz column into the Trump column, where some undecided.

That could potentially mean a Trump win in Iowa. And given that everyone
was expecting him not to win Iowa, but to win New Hampshire and for this
race to be unsettled.

To back to back wins, a week to pack(ph), that could be kind of a seismic

O`DONNELL: Now that we have two frontrunners, policy is actually finding
its way into the campaign, especially for Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz now going after Donald Trump on policy. Let`s listen to what Ted
Cruz had to say about that today.


CRUZ: Mr. Trump enthusiastically supported the TARP big bank bailouts. I
disagree with him, we should have no bailouts of Wall Street banks.



Mr. Trump enthusiastically supported President Obama`s stimulus plan and
said the only problem was it should have been bigger.

I don`t think we should have a massive payoff to lobbyists from taxpayers.
And if you want to turn around the debt, you`ve got to demonstrate that you
are willing to stand up to that cronyism.


O`DONNELL: And Ezra Klein, Trump`s response was basically Ted Cruz is
mean. He`s not engaged yet on the policy debate with Ted Cruz.

But it looks like policy may finally be ripening in the Republican

EZRA KLEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, VOX.COM: We`ll see. But I do think there`s a
fascinating difference between the two of them.

And I think David said something really worth taking seriously, that the
Republican Party`s conservatism as right now is two dimensional.

And I don`t think we`re quite sure which dimension is dominant. There`s
the dimension of ideology, right? What do they believe?

And that includes on policy, but it`s also philosophical question. And
when it comes to ideology, there`s no one more purely conservative than Ted

Then there`s what David called identity, I might call (INAUDIBLE). It`s a
kind of an approach to the establishment, a level of confrontational –
what kind of – how confrontational are your politics.

How willing are you to compromise? And that`s where Donald Trump is
genuinely dominant.

Cruz is pretty far along that as well. But nobody is more confrontational
than Trump.

And the reason I think it ends up being interesting is, GOP establishment
begins to decide if they might need to decide whether they prefer Trump or

Is Cruz has a lot of policies in his – in his program and they are fairly
spelled out at this point.

But are incredibly unpopular. His tax plan for instance is pretty unique
among Republican candidates and putting down what`s essentially a national
value-added tax, or a huge sales – or a huge sales tax.

It would mean the lower and middle class pay much higher taxes than they
are now.

Donald Trump because he doesn`t care that much about policy, he squirms his
way to whatever he thinks is popular at that time.

And so in that way, he is much more willing to try to target the median
voter than Cruz is.

In that way, might end up actually being more electable than Cruz if
Republicans end up caring about that more than they care about keeping
Trump off of the top of their ticket.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I can`t wait to hear Trump going after the value-added tax
once he finds out that –

KLEIN: Right –

O`DONNELL: That is –


Cruz`s position. Right now, today was temperament day for Trump. Let`s
listen to, you know, the calmest guy in the field talking about that
temperamental Ted Cruz.


TRUMP: When you talk about temperament, Ted has got a rough temperament,
that I know. He – you can`t – you know, you can`t call people liars on
the Senate floor when they`re your leader.

It`s not a good thing to do if you want to sort of carry favor and get the
positive votes later on down.

So, Ted is worried about his temperament and people are talking about his
temperament. I haven`t talked about his temperament.

But he`s got to be careful because his temperament is, you know, has been
questioned a lot.


O`DONNELL: In the middle of that paragraph of Donald Trump talking about
Ted Cruz`s temperament, yes, you did hear the sentence, I haven`t talked
about his temperament.

In fact, it was at the end of the paragraph. Sam Stein, I haven`t talked
about his temperament either –

STEIN: Right –

O`DONNELL: We`re even –

STEIN: He`s a terrible person, not that I say that, not that I say that,
but I`ve heard.

But this is again, to take you back on what my two esteemed co-panels have
said, this is sort of quintessentially identity politics.

It`s very visceral reaction from Donald Trump. And I would add one thing.

When you talk to people who are in the establishment, whatever you want to
call the establishment – let`s say they`re party insiders among

It`s part of the reason why you`re starting to get a sense of they`re a
little bit more comfortable with the idea of Donald Trump winning this
thing than they are of Ted Cruz.

Because they think Donald Trump is more ideologically malleable. They
think that a lot of this – he`ll just flip back on when it comes to the
general election.

And that he can in fact play (INAUDIBLE), to use that term, whatever that
means. Because he`s basically worked in Washington as a businessman
before, so he knows how it gets done.

And so you`re starting to see a few – a bit of chatter, I would say from
establishment types saying, OK, if it comes down to these two – we would
probably prefer Trump over Cruz for precisely those reasons.

O`DONNELL: David Frum, we had two Republican establishment columnists
today saying that Cruz and Trump are the worst thing that could happen to
the Republican Party.

But are you hearing what Sam is hearing, that if they were forced to choose
more Washington Republican types would go with Trump because he doesn`t
actually believe anything.

FRUM: Well, yes, I want to be careful, the word establishment, I don`t
know what that means –


FRUM: Anymore. I think probably because people in Washington know Cruz
better. There are some – there are some personal animosities that are
maybe blinding them about what is the better choice.

Notice something Cruz did in that statement you quoted a minute ago. And I
think this gets to the problem.

Ted Cruz attacked President Obama`s stimulus and TARP, he didn`t vote any
(INAUDIBLE) in front of TARP.

What Washington Republicans remember is that TARP was a President Bush
measure. Now, only about a third of Americans know that.

About half of Americans identify TARP as an Obama measure, but it was a
Bush measure. And it was one of the most difficult votes that many
Republicans cast in their career, and many were unhappy about it.

But it was something that they were leaned on to do, that they felt was
necessary and that probably did save the world from much more terrible
recession than even the one that was experienced.

They were on the line then. And here is Ted Cruz arriving from Texas after
it`s all over, condemning them and not even giving them the courtesy of
acknowledging that this was a Republican vote that was done for Republican

O`DONNELL: Quick break here. Sam Stein, thank you for joining us tonight
for the return of Sarah Palin –

STEIN: Thanks –

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Sam.

STEIN: Gladly.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, a new poll shows how Republican
presidential candidates are hurting the Republican Party.

And in the rewrite tonight, how a dead man endorsed Donald Trump today.
What John Wayne and Donald Trump really have in common.

And later, Triumph, the insult comic dog is back on the campaign trail –
there he is in New Hampshire today, he`s following Ted Cruz.

Triumph will join us live from the campaign trail in New Hampshire.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump doesn`t seem to know this. But we have U.S.
Marines with names like Amir Hekmati.

And Amir spoke to reporters today, he`s a former U.S. Marine, he spoke to
reporters today for the first time since being released as a prisoner from

He said he had resigned himself to spending ten years in an Iranian prison
and his release was a stunning surprise.


AMIR HEKMATI, FORMER UNITED STATES MARINE: I feel very lucky, like I said,
I feel alive for the first time.

It`s like being born again and I just really feel proud to be an American.

I just know that everyone, from the President, the Congress, even the
Iranian officials who were our captors essentially were amazed.

And had asked us why is it that they`re, you know, working so hard for you?
And I just said, oh, that`s America and they love their citizens.


O`DONNELL: Up next, how the Republican Party has according to one
Republican, accepted its own self destruction.



PALIN: He`s got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about
and debated on his sleeve.

Where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted
to duck and hide.

They didn`t want to talk about these issues until he brought them up. In
fact, they`ve been wearing this political correctness, kind of like a
suicide vest.

And enough is enough. These issues that Donald Trump talks about had to be

And he brought them to the forefront, and that`s why we are where we are
today, with good discussion, a good, heated and very competitive primary
is where we are.


O`DONNELL: That was the point in the speech where Donald Trump was getting
really tired up there.

A new poll shows the Trump agenda is not helping the Republican Party,
unlike what Sarah Palin just said.

Forty two percent of registered voters say that what they have seen, read
and heard during the Republican nominating process has made them feel less
favorable toward the Republican Party compared with 19 percent.

Only 19 percent have said it made them feel more favorable toward the
Republican Party.

Joining us now, E.J. Dionne, an opinion writer for “The Washington Post”
and an Msnbc political analyst.

He is the author of the timely new book, “Why the Right Went Wrong”. And
back with us, Ezra Klein and David Frum.

E.J., this just happens to be what your book is about, that little section
of Sarah Palin`s speech.

And that poll tonight showing that this isn`t working for Republicans.

We have David Brooks in the “New York Times” today, in his column saying he
rarely has a party so passively accepted its own self-destruction.

He said nominating either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump would lead to a party
decimating general election, just a wipe out for Republicans.

E.J., how did it come to this? And I know you took several hundred pages to
explain how it came to this.

You know I have 30 seconds.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: OK, well, somebody tweeted
tonight that I had arranged Palin`s endorsement of Trump as a brilliant
marketing ploy from the launch of my new book.

And I just want to categorically deny that, although, I wish I had thought
of it. I think that what you`re seeing are a couple of things.

One is that the Republican Party since Goldwater has shed all of the
elements of who might have stood up against this tide towards Trump and

That first, although liberals loved it, and there used to be a lot of
liberal Republicans, as you remember.

And now most of the moderates have left the Republican primary electorate.
That was a very long process.

And so now, when these so-called establishment types – and I agree with
David, it`s not clear what that means anymore.

When they`re looking around for votes to stop this, those voters aren`t in
the party anymore.

And I think the other thing that you`re seeing is a kind of embrace of, you
know, rationalism back, particularly in the tea party period.

And so a lot of Republicans are now complaining correctly that Trump or
Cruz would be a disaster for the party.

But this started happening a while back, and to his credit by the way,
David Frum, and I quoted him back in my book, wrote back in 2014.

That over the past five years, he said the American right had veered toward
a reactionary radicalism unlike anything you`ve seen in America in many

And now you`re seeing that fully play out.

O`DONNELL: David Frum, is this the way you expected it to play out?

FRUM: It`s although more spectacular than I expected. But yes, it is sort
of what I expected.

I`ve been writing about this for a while. That we have extraordinary
economic distress and we have had extraordinary neglect by the former
leadership of the Republican Party of the distress in its own ranks.

And the autopsy that was done after the 2012 election, that said there was
nothing wrong with the Republican platform in 2012.

Nothing wrong with taking more of the Medicare guarantee when people are
under 55. Nothing wrong with not having a wage agenda.

The only thing that was wrong was the party needed to be – to undo the one
thing that the big donors have never liked anyway.

Which is Mitt Romney`s noises about immigration. So, what was set in
motion was a dynastic succession.

You know, we hear you rank-and-file, you want something new, how about
another Bush. And that unsurprisingly triggered a rebellion.

O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein, do you agree with E.J.`s tracing of this over the
arc of time that has led to where we are now?

KLEIN: I basically do. And I think watching Donald Trump and Sarah Palin
on that stage and seeing Ted Cruz where he is in the polls is a reminder of
how much the Republican Party establishment brought this on themselves.

They`ve been in the cycle for years now, where they keep trying to take
control of these forces and indulge with them just enough.

So, they let Sarah Palin in but (INAUDIBLE) the vice presidency. Of
course, she can`t do any harm there, and then she becomes a few radical in
the party.

They`d be – they sort of indulge the tea party and tried to cop the tea
party into the establishment and then overruns the establishment.

And John Boehner`s gone and Ted Cruz is leading in the polls.

And folks, remember, Mitt Romney flying to accept Donald Trump`s
endorsement during the 2012 campaign, and he was another guy of celebrity,
rich, can donate money, he can get some attention in the media.

They thought they could bring him just enough into the party and once
again, he was able to storm through the gates.

And they`ve done this enough times with enough different factions and
forces and celebrities and individuals.

Now, they actually don`t have any defenses left. The sort of – the
insurgents are too deep into the city center.

And now there`s really no establishment left to fight. You mentioned David
Brooks` column earlier today about what the Republican Party should do.

But I don`t know that there is an establishment within the Republican Party
that has the power, discipline or the credibility to really do anything at
all, even if they were capable of mobilizing.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I found the diagnosis in David Brooks column correct. But
then the recommendation that there was somehow an establishment that could
– that could bend together and do something about this.

E.J., did you find that establishment in going out there and researching
this book?

DIONNE: In fact, what I concluded is what a couple of conservative writers
Ramesh Penur(ph) and Rinch Lawry(ph) concluded in “National Review” back in

They wrote a very important piece called “Establishment Tea”. And
essentially, what they argued is that, in order to hold power in the party,
the establishment had essentially gone over to the tea party`s views, was
parodying their views.

Now, they were kind of celebrating it as a kind of party unity, but I think
you`re seeing the cost now.

One of my favorite John F. Kennedy quotes is from his inaugural address
where he said, “he who rides to power on the back of the tiger usually ends
up inside.”

And that is exactly what`s happened to the Republican leadership now.

The funny thing is, if you will go all the way back to the Goldwater
period, there were people after Goldwater won the nomination and
conservatives essentially took over the Republican Party.

Who asked the same questions David Brooks asked in his column. Why aren`t
they fighting? Why didn`t we do anything?

This has been a moderate, conservative refrain for 50 years.

O`DONNELL: And no less an establishmentarian than Bill Kristol(ph) tweeted
mockingly today about the return of Sarah Palin.

But Bill Kristol(ph) was one of the Republican talent scouts who went up to
Alaska and discovered her.

And David Frum came back with this very positive report, she`s a star,
we`ve got to elevate her –

FRUM: Right –

O`DONNELL: He pushed her toward where we are now.

FRUM: Look, I remember 2008 when I got the rumor, I watched the then three
hours of Sarah Palin video available on YouTube.

I watched them and I was alarmed and wrote about it in 2008. But you know,
David Brooks is a good friend, a wise person.

But what could the establishment do? I don`t know. Could they raise a $115
million in campaign funds to try to work their will in the Republican

That`s just what they did. That was astonishing. It was an astonishing
display of economic muscle, it just didn`t work.

And I don`t think it`s hard to say that it wasn`t tried, I think it`s been
tried on a spectacular scale and it failed.

The problem is not effort, the problem is thinking. And the core problem
is that the donor lead of the Republican Party is not willing to make
substantial concessions to the economic concerns of Republican rank-and-
file members.

And so, what choice do they have? Because what are they being offered by
the people with the $115 million to give.

O`DONNELL: E.J., this book takes us right up to the current presidential
campaign, the Donald Trump campaign. Did you finish writing this last
night? How do you get a book out now that has yesterday`s news in it?

DIONNE: God bless you for saying that. Well, unfortunately, for me as a
Trump phenomenon was growing, it actually fit in to the broader argument of
the book. And, to underscore something David said that was already an
argument in my book before the Trump phenomenon started.

What you are seeing here is the revenge of the republican working class.
You got a very rich guy leading a class war. Because for election after
election, republicans relied heavily on the votes of white working class
voters and delivered absolutely no economic benefits to them. And, so,
now, they are using Donald Trump to say we have had enough.

O`DONNELL: E.J.`s book is once again “Why The Right Went Wrong.” I will
be reading it during the commercials. Ezra Klein and David Frum, thank you
all for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

Coming up in tonight`s rewrite, everything you really want to know and need
to know about Hollywood legend John Wayne, who endorsed Donald Trump today,
even though he died in 1979. But, first, the water crisis in Flint,
Michigan. The governor apologized tonight and took full responsibility.
Hmm, sort of.




governor knew about this. The governor, his office`s people, his so-called
environmental office, all packed with cronies, not real scientists or real
environmentalists. They did this to the people of Flint.

And, I have been calling for Attorney General Lynch to investigate, arrest,
prosecute him for a crime that was committee. A crime of both fraud, of
covering up, and of polluting the water. There has been no big movement to
do anything about this. They have had a few state police handing out these
bottles. This is all PR. The speech tonight he gave was PR.


O`DONNELL: That was Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore with
Chris Hayes tonight reacting to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder`s state of
the state address tonight.


RICK SNYDER, (R) MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: To you, the people of Flint, I say
tonight, as I have before, I am sorry and I will fix it. No citizen of
this great state should endure this kind of catastrophe. Government failed
you. Federal, state and local leaders by breaking the trust you placed in

I am sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve better. You
deserve accountability. You deserve to know that the buck stops here with
me. I know apologies will not make up for the mistakes that were made.
Nothing will. But, I take full responsibility to fix the problem, so it
will never happen again.


O`DONNELL: During the governor`s speech, demonstrators protested outside
the Michigan State House, demanding the governor`s resignation.

Joining us now, Lansing, Michigan Mayor Virg Bernero. He ran against
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in 2010. Mr. Mayor, what was your reaction
to the governor`s speech tonight.

MAYOR VIRG BERNERO, (D) LANSING, MICHIGAN: Well, Lawrence, it was good to
hear him say that the buck stopped there. It, certainly, began with him,
with the emergency manager law. When the governor removes a mayor and
essentially takes over that city in a hostile takeover, he is substituting
his judgment and his leadership for that mayor. And, it is a very
important job. Huge mistakes were made. This is a massive debacle. It is
going to take millions and millions to fix.

But most importantly, lives are at stake. So, it is sobering to hear that
he is taking it seriously. We are talking about the basics of human life.
And, it is great that they handing out bottles of water. But you know, you
cannot shower with this. And, it is hard to cook with these bottles of

There is so much work that needs to be done to fix the infrastructure, and
that of course to fix the psyche and to fix the economic development, to
encourage people to come to Lansing, all the things that a mayor does that
local leadership does that has been supplanted by the emergency manager.

So, this is an indictment really of the entire emergency manager system,
which he fought for. He got a new powerful emergency manager law. And,
Lawrence, I will tell you, they say power corrupts, and absolute power
corrupts absolutely. And, These emergency managers have absolute power and
that, I believe, is some of the root of the problem here.

O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, I heard him spread the blame around. He is saying
on one hand the buck stops here and then spreading the blame around to, as
he put it, federal, state and local. Now, after he took over basically the
mayor`s office there, what did the federal government – how can he hand
off some blame here to the federal government.

MAYOR BERNERO: I cannot imagine how. I mean, that happen sometimes when a
disaster – you know, they say success has a million authors and failure is
an orphan. And, so, I am not entirely surprised by that, but there is no
question that the governor through the emergency manager act took over,
supplanted. It was a hostile takeover and it has happened in other cities
as well.

And, when you do that, you are taking full responsibility. And, so, the
governor needs to be watching very carefully what those emergency managers
do. And, I do not believe that has happened. And, he used the word
accountability, Lawrence. We do need accountability. We need standards.

And, I am going to be discussing that here in Washington with the U.S.
Conference of Mayors. We need to look at all these emergency manager laws
and demand accountability and standards and protocol in place and
protections, by the way, and appeals process for the emergency manager.
There is no accountability.

And by the way, speaking of accountability, he is talking about
accountability for state, local and federal. What about the guy, who made
this happen. What about the emergency manager, who is still in power now?
He has been promoted and given a pay raise and is in charge of the Detroit
public schools. So, maybe, he can do for the children of Detroit what he
has done for the people of Flint?

O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, when these gubernatorial powers were enacted such
that a governor can take over a mayoralty like that. I heard a lot of talk
at this distance about how it violated democratic principles of democracy
representative government. But, what I did not hear were really practical
predictions about how this could go wrong. Was this the kind of thing that
was predicted that could possibly go wrong under this kind of system?

MAYOR BERNERO: Well, I certainly did not predict this. And, I do not
think anybody predicted this level of catastrophe. But, this shows you,
Lawrence, what can happen. The saying is famous for a reason or infamous,
that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. These
emergency managers have too much power. They have no accountability.
And, this is a governor who ran unaccountability. His big thing was
talking about dash boards and measuring and metrics.

Where were the metrics? Where is the measuring? Where is the
accountability? When the guy who is in charge of all of this, who is
responsible for it got a raise, a promotion and a new assignment. And, the
folks of Detroit are justifiably concerned about that leadership. The
governor, it is great that he is accepting responsibility. I do not see
accountability up and down the food change. And, we need to see that
accountability and people held responsible for what has happened.

O`DONNELL: Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing, Michigan, thank you very much
for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

MAYOR BERNERO: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

MAYOR BERNERO: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, in the rewrite, Donald Trump and John Wayne and what
they really do have in common. And, later, “Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog”
is back in the campaign trail. He will join me live from New Hampshire.


know that there are people who do not like me out of the gate, whether it
is political –


PENN: Not without controversy. Fair enough. Again, journalists who want
to say that I am not a journalist. Well, I want to see the license that
says that they are a journalist.


O`DONNELL: OK. I got my license right here. Well, OK. It is not exactly
a license. It is an NBC I.D. with a bad picture of me on it. It gets me
in the elevator. It works for that, anyway.

Up next, how a dead man endorsed Donald Trump today. It really happened.



DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John Wayne represented strength.
He represented power. He represented what the people are looking at today,
because we have exactly the opposite from John Wayne right now in this
country. And, he represented real strength and an inner strength that you
do not see very often. And, that is why with this endorsement it meant so
much to me.


O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump today at the John Wayne Museum in
Winterset, Iowa, where a Hollywood cowboy movie star, John Wayne, was born.
There is no record of John Wayne being born there because John Wayne was
fake. I mean, the name John Wayne was a fake name. John Wayne`s real name
was Marion Morrison.

Marion Morrison rewrote his name, so he could have a career playing fake
tough guys in movies with a name that sounded just a little tougher than
Marion Morrison. Today, the fake tough guy with the fake name in effect
endorsed the fake tough guy candidate, who built his tough guy image by
pretending to fire people on T.V.

John Wayne`s daughter endorsed Donald Trump today at the John Wayne Museum,
saying that if her father was still around, he would be doing the same
thing. If you can see only one John Wayne movie, it should be “Trumbo”
starring Bryan Cranston as Hollywood blacklisted screenwriter, “Dalton
Trumbo,” who had a few run-ins with John Wayne, who has played brilliantly
in the movie by David James Elliott.

Bryan Cranston is nominated for an Oscar for his role this year as “Dalton
Trumbo.” The movie reminds us that John Wayne, the real John Wayne
supported the 1950`s witch hunt in Hollywood that led to the blacklisting
or writers and actors and directors for their political belief. Some of
them like “Dalton Trumbo” were jailed for those believes. Lives were

The real John Wayne, Marion Morrison, is actually a mirror image of Donald
Trump in one respect. Each of these fake tough guys completely ducked
military service during wartime. Donald Trump during Vietnam and Marion
Morrison during World War II. But, that did not give John Wayne any pause
at all about playing tough combat soldier in World War II movies, an irony
that Dalton Trumbo relished.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: you better wake up because it is a new day. A
new day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: And maybe it is not for your kind.

CRANSTON AS TRUMBO: My kind? What kind is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: The kind that has no idea why we just won a war.

CRANSTON AS TRUMBO: That is curious. That is the second time you
mentioned that. See, I was a war correspondent in Okinawa. Eddie`s son
was stationed in the Philippines. Eddie was in Europe with the office of
war information. Where did you serve again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: You trying to say something?



CRANSTON, AS TRUMBO: If you are going to talk about World War II as if you
personally won it, let us be clear where you were stationed. On a film
set, shooting blanks, wearing makeup. And, if you are going to hit me, I
would like to take off my glasses.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump was right today when he said this –


TRUMP: John Wayne represented strength. He represented power.


O`DONNELL: That is right. He represented strength, just represented it.
He was not actually strong. Like Donald Trump, John Wayne did not know
what strength really is. So, yes – John Wayne would have no problem
endorsing Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: I have seen an awful lot of young people in their 20`s enter
politics, enter government, work in the United States senate, working with
campaigns. Every one that I have seen at that age begin, at least, as an
idealist, and maybe stays an idealist for years. Braden Joplin did not get
that chance.

A 25-year-old Braden Joplin was in the Ben Carson campaign. He was killed
today in Nebraska in a car accident. Ben Carson just spoke to reporters at
the hospital a few minutes ago.


BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had an opportunity to get to
know him. And, the thing that impressed me the most was how compassionate
he was. How caring he was about the feelings of other people.



O`DONNELL: “Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog” is back on the campaign trail.
There he is Sunday night in the spin room in South Carolina at the
Democratic Presidential Debate on NBC, and he was in New Hampshire today
following Ted Cruz, who spotted him in the audience there. That is the Ted
Cruz audience.

We had some video of Cruz spotting him, but we do not have that – Oh,
there we are. Watch Cruz now, he sees him – and turns away as quickly as
he can. Joining us now from New Hampshire, live from New Hampshire from
the campaign trail, Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog.


O`DONNELL: Triumph, Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

TRIUMPH: Thank you. You should be thanking me. I am freezing whatever is
left of my nuts out here.


O`DONNELL: I am worried about you. It is very cold up there, is not it?

TRIUMP: It is. Look at this effect. I have got smoke coming out of my
mouth like a real dog.

O`DONNELL: I have never seen that with you before, Triumph. That is
really cold.

TRIUMPH: I know. Pretty impressive for MSNBC. See your budget really
skyrocketed once all that Ed Shultz money freed up.


O`DONNELL: Triumph of – go ahead. I do not want to interrupt.

TRIUMPH: No, no. I am just saying I am actually using the same humidifier
that Debbie Wasserman Shultz uses for her hair. Beautiful hair. Let us
go, come on.

O`DONNELL: So, you are getting in from the cold at least when you go to
these campaign events, do they let you inside. .

TRIUMPH: Yes, I am able to go inside the Ted Cruz events, but I am not to
talk to Senator Cruz. You know, I was there with a media pass like a
legitimate press person. You know what legitimate press is like, you know,
before MSNBC days. No, seriously, I went – all I had was questions, you


TRIUMPH: Simple questions.


TRIUMPH: The world needs to hear for Ted Cruz. Questions like, you know,
ted, now that – wait – your wife works for Goldman Sachs, Ted. We all
want to punish Wall Street, but is not sharing a bed with you a little
extreme? You know, simple questions like that.


O`DONNELL: That is –

TRIUMPH: Ted, you are against – sorry.

O`DONNELL: What did it feel like when Ted Cruz spotted you in the audience
today, did you think you were going to get your moment?

TRIUMPH: No, no. I had fear in my eyes.



TRIUMPH: That is a very scary glare, that Ted Cruz glare.


O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes, I can imagine.

TRIUMPH: You know, John Wayne`s daughter endorsed Trump and Cruz, I
understand, got the endorsement of the daughter of John Wayne Gacy.


O`DONNELL: Now, what about the big endorsement, Sarah Palin endorsing
Donald Trump today.

TRIUMPH: You know, no one really gives a crap except the media about them,
do they? At this point –

O`DONNELL: We spent 15 minutes on it here.

TRIUMPH: Exactly. She is, you know, news nip. Now, I guess she likes –
you know why she voted – she is choosing Trump because he is against
background checks and so is she, because if John McCain had conducted one,
she would never have been on the ticket.


O`DONNELL: Now, do you think you have a chance of getting a question in
with Donald Trump? Are you afraid of his crowds? That his crowds would
turn on you?

TRIUMPH: Oh, you know, I think it has really been misrepresented. There
is quite a diverse group of individuals, who show up at Donald Trump`s
events and get the crap beaten out of them.


O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.

TRIUMPH: People of all races and creeds get around and dejected.

O`DONNELL: I hope that does not happen to you. Triumph, The Insult Comic
Dog, thank you very much for braving the cold tonight and for joining us.

TRIUMP: Thank you, Lawrence. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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