The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 4/72016

Jeffrey Goldberg, Jacob Soboroff, Ben Ginsberg, Susan Del Percio, Maria Teresa Kumar, Eugene Robinson, Frank Rich

Date: April 7, 2016
Guest: Jeffrey Goldberg, Jacob Soboroff, Ben Ginsberg, Susan Del Percio,
Maria Teresa Kumar, Eugene Robinson, Frank Rich

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: This is usually the time when I`d say, hey,
we`ve got tons more to get to tonight, but turns out though, you can tell

So, we`ll see you again tomorrow night, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD
with Lawrence O`Donnell.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: At this hour last night, the
Democratic campaign for president looked like it was about to explode, but
the candidates seemed to take a step back from the brink today.

And Donald Trump is running scared, which is why he decided to stop running
around the country and stay in New York to defend his home turf.

And we have video tonight showing that Donald Trump`s problem with women
disappears if the woman is actually a man dressed as a woman.


ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: Well, I`m on a very friendly territory, it`s New


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Everybody now knows we`re going to a

TRUMP: I am going to have great relationships with everybody when it`s

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you sleeping?

started pouring baileys in my cereal yet, but –


I really am.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: If you want to question my
qualifications, maybe the American people might wonder about your

thing to say.

SANDERS: This campaign will fight back.

qualified person to be president for several reasons.


For several reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long has it been since you rode the subway, madam

CLINTON: You know, a year, a year and a half, something like that. I love
it because it`s so convenient. It is just the best way to get around.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has a problem with women, but he doesn`t have a
problem with men dressed as women if the man is also the mayor of New York


TRUMP: You know, you`re really beautiful. And a woman that looks like
that has to have her own special scent.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Oh, thank you. Maybe, you could
tell me what you think of this scent.

TRUMP: I like that.

GIULIANI: This may be the best of all – oh, you dirty boy, you fool, oh,
Donald, I thought you were a gentleman.

TRUMP: You can`t say I didn`t try.


O`DONNELL: That was Rudy Giuliani in his last year as mayor when Donald
Trump found him so attractive.

Giuliani has been saying nice things about Donald Trump during the campaign
and he spent last new year`s eve at Trump`s Florida home and happily
collected campaign contributions for Donald Trump.

So, it came as a surprise last night, a big one, when “POLITICO” reported
that Rudy Giuliani was going to meet with Ted Cruz to discuss the New York

This morning, Ted Cruz spokesman Jason Miller said, we`ve been working to
line up a meeting, but there`s nothing scheduled for today.

Such a meeting would be a gross violation of Donald Trump`s understanding
of politics. Donald Trump believes that when he gives a politician money,
he owns that politician.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: You said recently, “when you give they do whatever
the hell you want them to do.”

TRUMP: You better believe it.

BAIER: So what specifically –

TRUMP: That`s true –

BAIER: Did they do?

TRUMP: If I ask them – if I need them – you know, most of the people on
this stage I have given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.


O`DONNELL: It didn`t take Donald Trump long this morning to get the Rudy
Giuliani-Ted Cruz meeting canceled forever.

A couple of hours after the Cruz campaign said they were working on
scheduling that meeting, Rudy Giuliani told the “New York Post”, “I support
Trump. I`m going to vote for Trump.”

He said Cruz`s dumping on New York values to score political points rankled
him. Here is the way Ted Cruz is explaining to New Yorkers now what he
means about New York values.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Let`s be clear. The people of New York know
exactly what those values are.

They`re the values of liberal Democratic politicians like Andrew Cuomo,
like Anthony Weiner, like Eliot Spitzer, like Charlie Rangel.

All of whom Donald Trump has supported, given tens of thousands of dollars
throughout the years.


O`DONNELL: John Kasich who is polling ahead of Ted Cruz in second place
behind Donald Trump in New York made New York values the theme of his first
TV ad in New York.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Iowa, Ted Cruz sneered at our New York values.

CRUZ: You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are,
and I`ve got to say they`re not our values and they`re not New Hampshire

Everyone knows what New York values are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ted Cruz divides to get a vote. John Kasich unites
to get things done.

Kasich delivered on his word and turned his state around with grit and
determination, something New Yorkers should appreciate – John Kasich for


O`DONNELL: The Trump campaign suddenly canceled a trip to Colorado today
and California tomorrow.

Joining us now, Eugene Robinson; Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for
“The Washington Post” and an Msnbc political analyst.

Maria Teresa Kumar; president and CEO of Voto Latino and an Msnbc
contributor. And Susan Del Percio; a Republican strategist who served in
the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Susan, how disappointed are you that Giuliani went on the Trump train?

Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have had a relationship for a long time.

And I will say this New York values thing, really does matter because
that`s also a big part of Rudy Giuliani`s brand, is New York.

So, it will be – it will definitely play especially in some of the
districts that perhaps Ted Cruz was thinking he could get in like – within
Manhattan and then the Bronx.

O`DONNELL: But John Kasich is sitting there as a Rudy Giuliani-style

DEL PERCIO: He came out, the ad that he did today, the tour that he did in
the Bronx was fantastic.

He said I love New York – that`s the first rule. If you want to do
something here, you`ve got to show that you – you may not be a New Yorker,
but you love New York.

And that`s exactly what he did. And again, he faces the same problem as
Ted Cruz. How am I going to pick off a couple of delegates or at least
stop Trump from getting to 50.

With this message, he made a very good impression on New Yorkers, unlike
Ted Cruz.

O`DONNELL: And Maria Teresa, when you look at that poll with John Kasich
in second place at 25 percent, if you imagine this New York race without
him, Donald Trump might be up over 60 percent, 65 percent.

He might really be running away with it.

lot of conversations that Ted Cruz is asking Kasich to jump out.

And this may be actually a saving grace for him because New York values may
not actually be aligned with Ted Cruz at all, especially because he is so

So, if Kasich wasn`t in the race, it would actually fortify the lead for
Trump. So, in some ways, he`s actually helping the Republican

Ensuring that there`s a firewall between the 1,237 that he – delegates
that Trump needs and the Republican Party brokered convention that`s coming

O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, for strong frontrunners, when the presidential -


O`DONNELL: Primaries come to their state, they get to leave town. They
get to play down the road.

They get to play in Colorado. They get to play in California when they
know they`ve got their own state locked up.

Donald Trump is looking at that 52 percent and obviously is not confident
in it.

ROBINSON: Right, well, he`s coming off a loss in Wisconsin. He`s way
ahead in the polls, but he really – I mean, he really has to win New York,

And if Trump were somehow to lose his home state, the state that is
identified with his whole persona, which I don`t think will happen.

And I don`t think he`ll lose it. But if he were to lose it, it would just
be catastrophic for his campaign.

So, he`s got to assure, and he`s got to – you know, and this is what`s in
front of him. He`s got to go after it.

I think his saving grace is, I don`t think New York is ever going to be in
a Ted Cruz state of mind. I just don`t think so.

O`DONNELL: No, but they are. You know, there`s John Kasich and John
Kasich is on TV. John Kasich did well in New Hampshire.

And then we have this new “Associated Press” poll today, and this is a
national poll on Donald Trump favorability.

He has a 69 percent unfavorable, a 26 percent favorable. And Susan, it
just seems inconceivable that the Republicans would send that guy into a
general election.

DEL PERCIO: I couldn`t agree with you more, especially when you start
looking at what the convention is about.

We keep talking about this 1,237 number as if –


DEL PERCIO: It`s just some arbitrary number, it`s 50 plus one.

KUMAR: Right –

DEL PERCIO: But what they`re basically saying is, if you can`t win more
than half of the Republicans, how could you possibly think you could win
the county –

O`DONNELL: Right –

DEL PERCIO: And that`s what it`s really about, and that`s –

O`DONNELL: Right –

DEL PERCIO: A narrative that I think you`re going to hear more about.

Donald Trump cannot win 50 percent of Republicans, well then, he probably
shouldn`t be the party`s nominee, either should anybody else who can`t get
50 percent of the Republicans.

O`DONNELL: So, where do they go from that? When they`re looking at – and
let me just put up one more from this “Associated Press”, would you vote
for Donald Trump? Definitely no.

Definitely no, won`t vote for Donald Trump. They know it right now
tonight. Sixty three percent of voters will not vote for him, would
consider him 19, definitely yes, 16.

And Gene, you have to wonder, I mean when you`re heading to a convention,
they`re –


O`DONNELL: Going to be – those delegates are going to be staring at those
numbers. Sixty three percent definitely won`t vote for him.

And let`s say he doesn`t have the nomination locked in. Why would any more
delegates go in his direction? The polls are going to be better –


O`DONNELL: For every other Republican that they can think about.

ROBINSON: Well, but just – so tell that to the Trump people. Tell that -


ROBINSON: To the Trump delegates, there`s going to be a whole lot of Trump
delegates there.

He`s going to have more than anybody else probably. He may be close to
1,237 if he hasn`t already achieved it.

And then what? I mean then, does the party make an argument that, sure, you
know, well, Donald Trump couldn`t get half the Republican delegates.

So, we`re going to give it to somebody who did less well than Donald Trump
and couldn`t get a third or couldn`t get a fourth of the Republican

I mean, it`s – I think that`s a heavy lift for the delegates, even as
they`re staring down the barrel of a general election.

That could be just historically bad for them.

O`DONNELL: But Maria Teresa, it`s a less heavy lift every time Donald
Trump says something alienating, you know, and something scary to people.

And he`s had a bad couple of weeks on that front.

DEL PERCIO: Well, and I think it`s one of the reasons why he`s grinding
less one-on-ones. I mean, what he basically surfaced was his position of
how he felt about women.

And it`s not just women that got turned off by that statement. But you
have fathers and folks that actually like women and their partners, saying,
not this guy.

And the more that he`s out there and feels that he has basically a free
pass is when he starts to basically really disclosing how he fundamentally

And that`s one of the reasons why he`s starting to surround himself by a
different type of adviser, that is much more politically in tuned to what
he needs to say in order to possibly not lose for example, California, and
so on, and so forth.

So, I think that he`s trying to be – he`s becoming much – he`s trying,
perhaps a little too late, trying to be more polished when it comes to the
political discourse.

But it`s because he really stuck his foot in his mouth.

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, if not Trump, some people continue to say, Paul
Ryan, speaker of the house.

Susan, you worked on an effort to – how would you describe it? –

DEL PERCIO: Well, it was – it was an online petition effort to try and
get a million people to say, yes, we would support Paul Ryan, should he
decide or –

O`DONNELL: And he asked you to shut at that?


O`DONNELL: And then – and then today, Paul Ryan, who asked you to shut
that down basically released a commercial for himself. Let`s look at this.


What really bothers me the most in politics these days is this notion of
identity politics.

That we`re going to win an election by dividing people, rather than
inspiring people on our common humanity and our common ideals and our
common culture on the things that should unify us.

We all want to be prospers, we all want to be healthy, we want everybody to
succeed. We want people to reach their potential in their lives.

Now liberals and conservatives are going to disagree with one another on
that, no problem.

That`s what this is all about. So, let`s have a battle of ideas. Let`s
have a contest of whose ideas are better and why our ideas are better.


O`DONNELL: That`s from a speech that he made a couple of weeks ago that we
covered the night he did it.

What is he doing? He knows that everybody thinks – or everybody. There`s
a lot of talk out there, saying they might try to go to him for the

You don`t put that out if – and now in this climate if you`re not trying
to fan that talk.

DEL PERCIO: Well, unless you`re also trying to be the grown up in the room
within the Republican Party, which it desperately needs.

He`s also – has to start – he now potentially may worry about losing
seats in the house – Republican seats.

He`s got a lot of work to continue to do. This is saying, I`m the grown up
in the room.


And he said it, he didn`t –


DEL PERCIO: You know what? –

O`DONNELL: Couple of weeks ago –

DEL PERCIO: But you know what? I have to –


O`DONNELL: Why does it look like a commercial for a campaign? –

DEL PERCIO: It`s a very nice video, I –

KUMAR: Note the lines –

DEL PERCIO: Sometimes they do that.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Maria –

KUMAR: In other words, I actually – I mean, if you listen to what he`s
saying, it sounds very much about Barack Obama saying that we are all
Americans at the end of the day.

It sounds very presidential, and it just reminds me so much of when he
said, oh, no, I don`t want to be speaker –

ROBINSON: Exactly –

KUMAR: And all of a sudden he became speaker. So, I think he`s still
pretty stirring the water and saying, look, if we do need an alternative
and nobody`s behind the three current frontrunners in the Republican – in
the current Republican scenarios, no one is really behind Donald Trump,
Cruz or Kasich.

So, he`s like, you know what? If we`re going to broker it, it could just be

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, Maria Teresa Kumar and Susan Del Percio, thank
you all for joining me tonight, really appreciate it.

KUMAR: Thanks, Lawrence –

DEL PERCIO: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jeffrey Goldberg is here with his extraordinary look
inside President Obama`s foreign policy decision-making as told to him
directly by President Obama.

And Frank Rich is here to discuss the latest in the campaign and how Bernie
Sanders and Hillary Clinton today stepped back at least, temporarily from
the brink.


O`DONNELL: Professor Larry Sabato and the Center for Politics at the
University of Virginia are now predicting that both Donald Trump and Ted
Cruz could hurt Republican candidates in other races if either of them wins
the Republican presidential nomination.

Professor Sabato says the following Republican senators are already a bit
less likely to win their Senate races.

Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania or Rob Portman in Ohio, (INAUDIBLE) of Missouri,
Richard Byrd, North Carolina and Chuck Grassley in Iowa.

Also in North Carolina, Republican Governor Pat McCrory`s race is now
called a toss-up after the reaction to that new anti-LGBT law there.

Up next, Hillary Clinton responds this morning to Bernie Sanders saying
that she is not qualified to be president.


O`DONNELL: Bernie Sanders threw a big shock into the Democratic campaign
for president last night when he said the thing you are never supposed to
say about your opponent in a campaign for the party`s nomination.


SANDERS: She thinks that I am “not qualified” to be president.


Let me – let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton. I don`t
believe that she is qualified if she is –



If she is through her Super PAC taking tens of millions of dollars in
special interest funds.

I don`t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall
Street through your Super PAC.

I don`t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in


O`DONNELL: So, the reason candidates in the same party never say that the
other one is not qualified unless they`re running against Donald Trump, is
that it is deeply alienating to all those Clinton supporters in this case
who Bernie Sanders is going to need in a general election if he is the
Democratic nominee.

And it makes it almost verbally impossible for Bernie Sanders to endorse
Hillary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee.

How can Bernie Sanders endorse someone who he has said is not qualified to
be president.

So, as tempting as it is to say it, candidates resist it as Hillary Clinton
did when she was invited to say Bernie Sanders is not qualified.

She didn`t say Bernie Sanders is qualified, but she did not say he is not
qualified. That`s the way the game is usually played.

It would not be unfair to infer that she thinks that Bernie Sanders is not
qualified, but she was very careful not to say it.

You know the way a Secretary of State would be very careful in her choice
of words.

The Democratic campaign could have gone off the rails this morning in New
York if Hillary Clinton said Bernie Sanders is not qualified to be

Or if she went in to (INAUDIBLE) and demanded an apology and turned the
issue of the New York campaign into will Bernie apologize?

She could have done that, instead she chose to laugh it off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders seems to think you`re not qualified.

CLINTON: Well, it`s kind of a silly thing to say, but I`m going to trust -
- yes, voters of New York who know me and have voted for me three times,
twice for Senate, once in the presidential primary.

Look, I didn`t – I don`t know why he`s saying that, but I will take Bernie
Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time.


O`DONNELL: And Bernie Sanders took a step back this morning, too, turning
the question of Hillary Clinton`s qualification for the presidency back
into a maybe, instead of a definitive statement.


SANDERS: But when you have headlines from “The Washington Post”, “Clinton
questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president”.

My response is, well, you know, if you want to question my qualifications,
let me suggest this that maybe the American people might wonder about your
qualifications, madam secretary.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Msnbc`s Kasie Hunt who has been covering the
Sanders campaign.

Kasie, they diffused the bomb today.



HUNT: About that. Lawrence, I think – I think – look, I think you also
heard Bernie Sanders lay down the law a little bit, you know, when he kept
going in that press conference.

He went on to say, you know, I will not be dismissed just because I`m from
a small state doesn`t mean that I don`t know what it`s like to play
political hardball.

Doesn`t mean I can`t figure this out. And if you`re going to do this to
me, I`ll learn how to do it right back. I think it was a little bit of a
warning shot in a way.

And he was reacting to that “Washington Post” headline as well as to some
reporting that the Clinton campaign was going to try and “disqualify” him
in the course of running in this New York primary.

And I think what you saw was really Sanders` own personal frustration. The
quickest way to get Bernie Sanders to essentially shut down a line of
argument or a conversation or anything along those lines is to suggest that
he doesn`t have a right to be there or that he is not – you know,
shouldn`t be part of this presidential conversation.

And I think that`s what you saw. I mean, people around him have been
urging him to go further against Hillary Clinton for months now.

And he never has, he`s resisted it. He`s incrementally ratcheted it up the

But this is the first we`ve seen of this, and that`s really the candidate
himself essentially deciding to put his foot down and say, you know what?
I`m going to – I`m going to try to put a stop to this.

O`DONNELL: Kasie, what would going further be?

HUNT: Well, you know, I think that you have seen over the years quite a
few very personal attacks leveled at the Clintons.

I mean, you`ve seen Donald Trump do some of it, that is not part of the
Democratic nomination fight conversation right now.

So, and I don`t see any world in which Bernie Sanders goes there. I mean,
even this version of it is essentially his stump speech with this
particularly criticism, you know, added on to it.

Those are the things he always says in every stump speech.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, thanks for joining us, really appreciate it.

HUNT: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Frank Rich; writer-at-large for “New York
Magazine”, and an executive producer of “Hbo`s” “Veep”.

Frank, I want to show you how Hillary Clinton`s TV day is going to start
tomorrow morning because it already happened in a pre-tape for “Today
Show”. Let`s watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Came right out and say he doesn`t think you`re
qualified to be president.

CLINTON: Well, that will be up to the voters of New York and the other
states that will be passing judgment in the weeks ahead.

I think it`s kind of a silly statement, but he`s free to say whatever he
chooses –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he qualified to be president?

CLINTON: Well, here`s what I believe. I believe that voters will be
looking at both of us, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or
Ted Cruz any time.


O`DONNELL: I thought she handled it brilliantly from the provocation right
through to now.

Well, she has her story now and she`s sticking to it –


RICH: Since we have the sound bite, finally owned. I agree, laughing it
off was the best way to go.

Also, the campaign is unfolding in New York, it`s kind of a New York thing
to do to say – or whatever and keep on moving.

And the whole thing was a manufactured event to begin with, because Bernie
Sanders was wrong.

She never said that he was “unqualified”. A “Washington Post” headline
writer did, which is an entirely different –

O`DONNELL: Right –

RICH: Thing, so, it`s really about nothing. It`s for (INAUDIBLE) in that
way and –

O`DONNELL: But – and also she knows the way this equation works. She
knows that if she gets the nomination, she needs Bernie Sanders supporters
who aren`t feeling great about her right now, so she wants this thing to

RICH: Exactly, and you know, she was showing signs in the past week or so
of being really exasperated with Sanders and his campaign.

She sort of had a moment of, you know, you know, stop lying about my record
kind of moment a week or so ago.

But she`s gotten past it and she does need them because they`re a very
energized and very large segment of the Democratic base.

And if they sit home and she doesn`t have the turnout, it`s a problem even
perhaps running against a clown.

O`DONNELL: And she`s got a very rough general election coming if she is
the nominee.

I mean in the history of the FBI and in the history of presidential
campaigning, there is exactly one presidential candidate who`s been under
investigation during the presidential campaign. Exactly one.

You would never know that if you listened to the Bernie Sanders campaign.
You will know it if you listen to the Republican campaign against Hillary
Clinton as the nominee.

RICH: Absolutely. And we also don`t know where that investigation is

And even assuming it`s relatively benign, it can – whatever the FBI says
or does can be framed by someone like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in a way
that`s very damning to people who don`t look at the fine print and don`t
really get the legal lease of what`s going on.

So, it`s a big issue.

O`DONNELL: There`s no question in that –

RICH: So, she compared her anticipated version of running against Donald
Trump to be – to be similar to her experience almost running against Rudy
Giuliani for Senate in 2000.

Let`s listen to this.


CLINTON: He would go into being a – from being a tough decision maker
into really being a bully. I think I said something like I`m just not
going to respond to his tantrums.


CLINTON: And I felt like that was the best way to deal with an opponent
who would try to drag you on to his turf, and then –


CLINTON: Use every advantage he had to, you know, really –


CLINTON: Knock you down. There certainly are similarities if I`m the
Democratic nominee –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what? I think that –

CLINTON: And Trump is the Republican nominee.


O`DONNELL: So, she never actually ran against Giuliani. He dropped out
for health reasons and if you think that Rudy Giuliani was as rough as
Donald Trump is going to be if he`s the nominee, we`ve got – we`ve got
something – we`ve got news for you.

RICH: Yes – no, I mean, exactly. Also, Giuliani, if it had happened was
so vulnerable on the kind of issues that Trump will – that really below
the belt issues that Trump will go after the –

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes –

RICH: Clintons on.


RICH: And Trump – everyone – his marital life and sex life is an open
book, however shabby or something that it may be.

And so, he`s sort of inoculated against that –

O`DONNELL: Yes, he has –

RICH: In a way that Rudy was not. And so, there`s certain superficial
similarities, but Trump is something else all over again.

O`DONNELL: And so, what is your view of what will happen on the Republican

Do you think if Trump doesn`t have the number going into the nomination
that they will get it – they`ll get that nomination delivered to someone

RICH: I don`t understand how this works, because the base – 70 percent of
the base wants some version of Trump or Cruz. Whatever the percentage –


RICH: Each of them are. So, how are you going to tell that 70 percent to
not have the guys that they voted for who represent their views?

Are you really – is the establishment really going to bring in a Paul
Ryan? And what`s in it for Paul Ryan to have the whole base hate him?

O`DONNELL: Well, you know how? The establishment is actually going to be
here later in the show.

Ben Ginsberg; the Republican lawyer who runs a lot of these conventions,
he`s going to tell me how they`re going to do it.

RICH: He will, but he won`t –


RICH: He won`t tell you how it`s going to go down –

O`DONNELL: Yes, I don`t –

RICH: If they do it –


RICH: He can`t do it –

O`DONNELL: He won`t give me the name of the nominee, but he`ll tell me –
he`s going to tell me who it is.

Frank Rich, thank you very much –

RICH: Great to see you –

O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. Coming up, Donald Trump versus
President Obama on foreign policy.



O`DONNELL: Here is the way it looked today on the campaign trail in New
York and Pennsylvania.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Now, let us have a serious



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: The gloves are coming off because there is
such a fierce fight right now in New York.



qualifications, let me suggest this.



HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to have to unify



SANDERS: Maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications,
madam secretary.



CLINTON: I do not know why he is saying that.



SANDERS: Are you qualified to be president?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (1): She did not actually ever say he was not
qualified, although she did walk right up to the line.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (2): The fact that Sanders went where he went
with this attack tells you a lot about where his head is.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (3): Of course, Hillary Clinton is qualified.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: There is no plausibility to any argument that
she is not qualified.



SANDERS: I am not going to get beaten up. I am not going to lied about.



TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The democratic field consists of a
wild socialist with ideas that are dangerous for America and the world and
Bernie Sanders.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, they are still
locked in a battle here in New York.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Donald Trump wants the ticket all here.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Is this Trump country where we are?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I would have to say yes.



KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Governor, the results in Wisconsin
were very tough for you not getting any delegates. Does that undercut your
argument about going forward to the convention?

more than they were pro-Ted Cruz votes. Here in New York we are now
running in second.



SANDERS: Anybody really want to ask me a question of importance to the
American working people.



CLINTON: I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any



SANDERS: This is an unusual election. Would you admit that?



up NATO. Now, would not you rather in a circumstance have Japan have
nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons.



TRUMP: Today, we have a radical Islamic terrorism threat, a term that our
present does not want to mention.


O`DONNELL: President Obama said this recently. “I believe that we have to
avoid being simplistic. I think we have to build resilience and make sure
that our political debates are grounded in reality. It is not that I do
not appreciate the value of theatre and political communications.

It is that the habits we have, the media, politicians have gotten into and
how we talk about these issues are so detached so often from what we need
to be doing that for me to satisfy the cable news hype fest would lead to
us making worse and worse decisions over time.”

Joining me now is Jeffrey Goldberg, the National Correspondent for “The
Atlantic.” Jeffrey, as you know, that comes from your piece, this
extraordinary piece you have written with extraordinary access to President
Obama telling you things like that.

And, I just want quick note to viewers, if you read one foreign policy
article in your life, let it be this one. Jeffrey, it is beautifully
written. It reads like a book. But I want to get into some of these
details here.

You cannot hold it in your hands and read it and not feel even more
revulsion for some of what is being said especially in the republican
campaign for president, Donald Trump about foreign policy. Also, Ted Cruz
talk talking about carpet bombing. Talk about what the president was just
talking about and I, quote, “About how simplistic these candidates are
making all of this sounds.”

know, it was kind of an odd experience for me because I was reporting this
out as the campaign was reaching full throttle. And, so I will be having
these conversations with the president, which are pretty – as you can tell
from that quote, pretty nuance conversations and reason the thought for
conversations, you might disagree with the conclusions that he reaches
after reasoning through these issues.

But it is a very – it is a very mature conversation that I think he is
trying to have with the country and then on – then you have kind of a
circus-like atmosphere where you are talking about destroying NATO and
handing nuclear weapons out and building walls and building bigger walls.

You know, all this sort of – and has no bearing on reality. I am not
making a partisan point by the way. Because most republicans foreign
policy analysts would say that the things that in particular Mr. Trump is
saying, that these do not have any bearing on the complicated interplay
between states that exists today. It does not make any sense.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, when you read it, you also have this horrible
feeling of how can this thoughtful eloquent in most passages analysis of
where America is in the world, where it is going in the world, how can it
possibly compete with these sound bites and what the president talks about
the hyping of this kind of stuff that happens on cable news.

GOLDBERG: Right. Well, I mean, the shame of it is that this would be an
interesting moment because, again, I want to make this point very clearly.
The president reaches certain conclusions about the way the world is
organized and about the America`s role in the world and you might disagree
with those conclusions. That is fine, but you can see the process of how
he has gotten there.

What would be interesting in this moment would be to have a similar debate,
a similar kind of discourse on the republican side, so you can match these
things up. But, again, you have one person doing it seriously and then
sort of this caricature of a foreign policy national security debate. Who
could torture the most number of people, you know – Or things that are
just not grounded in our reality.

O`DONNELL: And, you talked through with him one of the most controversial
moments in his foreign policy in the second term, which was this motion of
a red line in Syria that he pronounced at a certain point involving
chemical weapons. Then Assad crossed that red line, although for the
president he was getting some intelligence indicating we are not sure
whether he crossed the red line.

GOLDBERG: They are pretty sure that he did cross the red line.

O`DONNELL: But, ultimately the president – that line having been crossed
came very close – very, very close to ordering a military response to that
and then went for that hour long walk on the White House grounds. I mean
very dramatic description of this, where he changed his mind. Tell us
about how that happened and how he worked his thinking through that.

GOLBERG: Right. I think by the time of that walk, which was on a Friday
afternoon August 30, 2013, I think he had realized by then that he did not
want to do this thing. He did not want to bomb Syria. He did not want to
bomb these sites in Syria.

And, the reason – and this is sort of the moment that I described – I do
not know if he would see it this way, I think he would, as king of a hinge
moment in his presidency, where he decided that he was not going to do the
thing that people expected him to do based on what he calls the Washington
play book.

The set of steps that a president is supposed to take if he is provoked by
another country, by a rogue state. And, what he basically said to himself
was if I continue to go down this path, if I continue to go down this path
of direct confrontation with the Assad regime, A. This is all I am going to
be doing for the entire second term, and I do not want that.

I do not want to get consumed by the Middle East the way my predecessor was
consumed by the Middle East. And, also I am not sure it is going to work.
I mean, by that point, he had come to the conclusion that there is very
limited – that America has very limited ability to shape outcomes in the
Middle East.

And, so, he saw himself at that moment as sort of saying to the world, “I
am not stepping on the slippery slope.” And, of course, this was extremely
controversial and we will be debating this, you know, for years if not
decades. But, that was the moment when he said, “You know what? I am not
going down a path that – I do not see a good outcome down this path.”

O`DONNELL: And, the key elements of the decision was that if he took that
action, it actually would not get rid of the chemical weapons. He ended up
getting rid of the chemical weapons.


O`DONNELL: Right. He was quite lucky in that sense that Vladimir Putin
who comes in within a week or two, they engineer something that people
thought would be impossible, the removal of the chemical weapons from
Syria. So, from the critics` perspective, and this is a fair criticism,
the critics think of it, “You made a promise. You vowed to enforce a red
line and you did not, so our credibility was hurt.

From his perspective, he got rid of chemical weapons from a country, from a
dangerous country without going to war, which of course you could flip that
and say George W. Bush went into Iraq, looking for WMD (ph) that were not
there and had a war. So, Obama thinks that he comes out ahead.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Hillary Clinton sharply disagreed with him on this
and wanted military action and I urge everyone to read this article and you
can make your own decision in there about who was right, President Obama or
Hillary Clinton. Jeffrey Goldberg, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Trump campaign has been doing a terrible job of
chasing delegates and you do have to chase them. Cruz campaign has been
doing a great job. Ben Ginsberg will take us on a tour of the delegate
rules at the republican convention, the first rule being there are no




PRES. BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: We cannot bring back the 29 men we
lost. They are with the Lord now. Our task here on Earth is to save lives
from being lost in another such tragedy.


O`DONNELL: Six years ago, 29 coal miners in West Virginia were killed in a
mine explosion. The CEO of the company that owned that mine was sentenced
Wednesday for conspiring to wilfully violate federal mine safety standards.
Don Blankenship, formerly of Massive Energy was sentenced to one year in
prison and ordered to pay $250,000 in a fine.

Coming up, the capacity for intrigue at the republican convention is
officially limitless.



O`DONNELL: Donald Trump cancelled a rally in Colorado today where
republicans were in the process of selecting delegates for the republican
national convention. Ted Cruz`s campaign has a strong field operation in
Colorado trying to get as many of those delegates as possible. MSNBC
delegate hunter, Jacob Soboroff joins us from Colorado. Jacob, where are
you and what is going on there?

Lawrence. And, in extraordinary way, this is essentially the center of
American politics. Tonight, albeit incredibly under the radar and that is
because the Ted Cruz campaign is fighting tooth and nail for three unbound
delegates coming out of this congressional district convention.

You know about this because of your conversations with Carly Heflin (ph)
from North Dakota, the unbound delegate there. Ted Cruz is fighting for
these to stop Trump from hitting the 1,237 delegates that will take to win
the republican nomination on the first ballot.

I cannot tell you the last time that there was national attention on the
congressional district convention in a church in Arvada, Colorado. But we
are seeing it here tonight. They will be at the multidistrict conventions
tomorrow at Colorado Springs. And, then when 6,000 get together in a
hockey arena in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

Again, the reason this is so important and controversial is because unbound
delegates are not bound to the will of any voters. In fact, there are no
popular votes in the great state of Colorado. There used to be a beauty
contest in this state. And, Rick Santorum won it essentially in the last
presidential election, but they got rid of it.

What the party is doing here now is assigning delegates that will go to the
national convention. Again, if Trump gets to 1,237 on that first ballot,
he will not have to worry about that. But, the issue is here, the Cruz
campaign is coming in. They are putting down slates of delegates for
people to vote for. Here tonight, the Trump campaign is trying to do the
same and even Kasich is here as well. Lawrence, back to you.

O`DONNELL: Jacob Soboroff from Colorado. Thank you very much. Appreciate

Up next, Ben Ginsburg will explain the republican rules and how they just
might work against Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: One of Donald Trump`s long-time political advisors, Roger Stone
is telling Trump supporters that republicans plan to steal the nomination
from Donald Trump. Here is what he said earlier this week. “We are
looking at a very narrow path in which the king makers go all out to cheat,
to steal and to snatch this nomination from the candidate who is
overwhelmingly selected by the voters.

I have urged Trump supporters, come to Cleveland, march on Cleveland. We
are going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels
and the room numbers of those delegates, who are directly involved in the
steal.” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus responded
last night.


the line. And, we are going to have $50 million in security. We will make
sure that every delegate is safe.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ben Ginsberg, Political Analyst for MSNBC and a
partner at the law form Jones Day. He specializes in election law. And,
Ben, what is your reaction to Roger Stone`s incitements for Trump
supporters to come to Cleveland. March on Cleveland and attack those
hotels that the republican delegates are in.


BEN GINSBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I have known Roger and I have
seen his work for a number of years. It is in keeping with his past
pattern and practices. But, really I think the Chairman Priebus is right
and that threatening delegates is probably over the line. And, I am not
sure why it is helpful to his candidate.

O`DONNELL: And, you see Donald Trump cancelling his trip to the Colorado,
where they need delegates. They are staying In New York where they are
worried apparently about how strongly they are going to show in New York.
They seem like a campaign that has been unable to do both, unable to deal
with the voters and campaign for voters the way Ted Cruz does and work the
delegate side of this.

GINSBERG: Well, look, he has been very successful at winning voters and
winning states. He does have more votes than any other candidate and I
think they now realize with the naming of Paul Mannafort that this is a
two-step process where delegate selection, so I think the people who will
actually be in the seats in Cleveland is an important part. So, sometimes
in a campaign if you need the planning time to be able to execute down the
road, that is what you do.

PINSKY: And, Ben, this cannot be repeated enough. And, you have said it
many times, there are no rules for the 2016 republican convention. Those
rules will be written and adopted by that convention. That is their first
order of business.

GINSBERG: Correct. As a matter of fundamental parliamentary law, a
convention needs to pass rules for itself. The 2016 convention can say,
“We want the 2012 rules and we are not going to change a word.” But they
do have to have an affirmative vote that, that is what they are going to

PINSKY: And, you mentioned something the other night about the way a
delegate actually – what they have to do through in actually approving
that they are with a candidate to the point where every delegate has to
actually sign something saying I am voting for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or
whoever it is on that first ballot.

GINSBERG: Well, what the first ballot is especially – they are votes will
be recorded by the secretary according to the results of the state. What
we were referring to and what really is an important part of the process is
how a candidate gets put in nomination.

In past conventions, they have had to actually sign a petition that says I
want this person to be put in nomination. That is the majority of
delegates in eight states rule from 2012. And, while a delegate may be
bound to a candidate for the vote on the first ballot, they are not bound
to sign that candidate`s nomination petition.

O`DONNELL: And, which creates an absolutely fascinating scenario because
the signature is in effect the vote, but the rules simply as it is
currently written simply says you must vote, says nothing about you must
sign this.

GINSBERG: That is correct. The nominating petitions do not have to be
signed by delegates, who are bound. What makes it more interesting is that
as a just a practical matter. It is really tough to get delegates to sign
those things before the convention starts, because they are spread out all
over a state.

So, by tradition those nominating petitions get circulated the night before
the convention starts. So, it is usually been a pro-forma process, the
leading candidates gotten probably twice as many states has needed to sign
them. This time it is going be a little bit more of a tension-inducing
process for the rally political operatives.

O`DONNELL: There would be some great drama there. Ben Ginsberg gets
tonight`s “Last Word.” Thanks, Ben.

GINSBERG: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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