The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 4/18/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: April 18, 2016
Guest: Debbie Dooley, Bob Barr, Ken Vogel, Ed Goeas, Barney Frank, Nina
Turner, Ritchie Torres
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Two hundred and sixty five parts per – house
tested, three parts per billion, in February, it was for parts per billion.
Again, on March 2nd, it was four parts per billion, but then two weeks
later, in the middle of March, it was 265 parts per billion.
Way above the federal threshold, more than 10 times above the federal
threshold. Then at the end of the month, it was back down to 6 parts per
billion, which is OK.
But that one day, wow, 265 parts per billion, that`s terrible. So careful,
governor, hope it was a good Lead Day at that house today.
When you filled up those jugs, you know the filters are only good up to 150
parts per billion, right? Technically?
That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow at 8:00 for
tomorrow`s special coverage of the New York primary.
Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, you know, I saw your
report on that last week and he drank the water.
It sure didn`t look like he was going to drink the water last week.
MADDOW: No, he did drink the water, he says he`s going to drink it for
another month. I have news for him about the threshold lead levels for
those filters, but –
O`DONNELL: Wow –
MADDOW: Yes, you know? Anyway –
O`DONNELL: Well –
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence –
O`DONNELL: So that`s part of that job now, drinking the water –
MADDOW: Yes, seriously –
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel –
MADDOW: Thanks, man, yes –
O`DONNELL: Barney Frank and Nina Turner are here for another Democratic
debate on the support of their presidential candidates.
Basically, it`s a mini Hillary versus Bernie debate. And last week, we
urged all of the presidential candidates to visit public housing in New
None of the Republicans did that. Both of the Democrats did that. And the
New York City politician who issued that invitation is now ready to endorse
a presidential candidate.
Richard Torres(ph) will join us. But first, the battle over Republican
delegates got even more intense this weekend in Georgia.
We will be joined by one winner in that battle who is supporting Ted Cruz
and will be a Georgia delegate.
And one loser in that battle, who is supporting Donald Trump and lost her
bid to become a Georgia delegate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP
ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: You`re going to have a rough July at that
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: There`s no room
for threatening the delegates or the convention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ain`t getting close to 1,237.
TRUMP: Look, nobody has better toys than I do.
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: I met him once and he went on “Larry King” and told
everybody I was very short. I said, get away(ph), I met you sitting down.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: If it works for me, then I will say it was a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kasich was like the guy in the romantic comedy,
you know, the guy who`s been there all along.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s called “just in Kasich” –
TRUMP: It`s a rigged and it`s a corrupt system.
CARLY FIORINA, FORMER BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: He will not challenge the
system, he is the system.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: People are waking up and help is on the way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A woman voting for Ted Cruz is like a chicken voting
for Colonel Sanders.
TRUMP: We`re going to beat crooked Hillary so badly that your head will
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He can say whatever he wants
to say about me. I really could care less.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: This is a political revolution sweeping
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It`s all over. There is nothing left for the candidates to do
before the polls in New York open just hours from now at 6:00 a.m.
According to the polls, the frontrunners in both parties, both New Yorkers,
will have good night tomorrow night.
But the problem for the Trump campaign is that Donald Trump is better at
winning voters than he is at winning delegates and winning delegates is how
you win the Republican presidential nomination.
It was another great weekend for the “Stop Trump” movement and for Ted Cruz
on the delegate side of the campaign.
On Saturday, Wyoming completed its delegate selection process and it was a
huge win for Ted Cruz.
Huge loss for Donald Trump. Wyoming delegation will go to the Republican
convention with 23 delegates pledged to Ted Cruz, one pledged to Donald
One pledged to Marco Rubio. One who is uncommitted, but allowed to pledge
support to any candidate.
And three who are uncommitted and not allowed to pledge support to any
candidate. Also on Saturday, Ted Cruz was a big delegate winner in
Georgia, even though Donald Trump won the Georgia primary on March 1st.
In the primary, Donald Trump won 39 percent of the vote, Ted Cruz and Marco
Rubio tied at 24 percent.
But on Saturday, Ted Cruz supporters won 32 Georgia delegate slots to
Donald Trump supporters who won 12.
Georgia will choose another 31 delegates at its state convention in June.
Here`s how Donald Trump reacted to his weekend of losses in the delegate
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a system that`s absolutely rigged. It`s rigged. We have a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: David Plouffe, who managed the brilliantly-run campaign that
won the White House for Barack Obama in 2008 said this about the delegate
battle this weekend in a tweet.
“Trump hemorrhaging delegates all over the map. Epic political
malpractice, just epic.”
So, who`s right? Donald Trump or David Plouffe? Is the system rigged or is
the Trump campaign guilty of epic political malpractice?
Joining us now, two people involved in Saturday`s delegate battle in
Georgia, one winner, one loser.
We`re joined by Debbie Dooley, a Trump supporter who did not win her bid to
become a delegate.
She`s also a co-founder of the National Tea Party. We`re also joined by
former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, a Ted Cruz supporter, who won his
bid to become a delegate.
And Debbie Dooley, I`d like to start with you, you –
DEBBIE DOOLEY, CO-FOUNDER, NATIONAL TEA PARTY: OK –
O`DONNELL: You were defeated in your attempt to become a delegate and
after that, in the – in the place where you were meeting –
DOOLEY: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Some Trump supporters apparently walked out, and in walking
out, they took the American flag that was there with them.
And I just want to show the audience the video we have of this, which is
kind of shaky video, so we can get an impression of it, we`ll talk about it
after we look at that.
DOOLEY: OK –
O`DONNELL: And it`s hard to see exactly what was going on there. We`re
running the video now, but the flag is kind of marched out the –
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) proud to be American! (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Debbie Dooley, give us your –
DOOLEY: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Story of what happened in your attempt to become a delegate and
what provoked that walkout and taking the American flag, I assume, that`s a
kind of symbolic protest of, this is an Un-American process.
DOOLEY: It absolutely was a protest. And it was that gentleman, that was
his American flag that he took with us.
We got up to protest the disenfranchisement of all the Georgians that voted
for Donald Trump on March the 1st.
There were zero Trump supporters that were elected as delegates at the
seventh congressional district.
The 7th Republican Party Congressional District leadership supported me
because they felt like the voters wishes should be honored.
The nominating committee supported me, and the Cruz supporters
systematically voted to exclude any Trump supporters from being elected as
This happened in every district, almost state-wide. A systematic exclusion
of Trump supporters and Ted Cruz himself and the Cruz campaign were behind
Mr. Barr that was actually elected in the 11th district, he is a Cruz
supporter. He is not a Trump supporter.
In the 11th district, Mr. Cruz was not allocated delegate March the 1st.
So, this is a travesty.
This is something that voters, the 502,000 Georgians that cast their vote
for Mr. Trump on March the 1st should be appalled about and they should be
up in arms and rightfully so.
O`DONNELL: All right, let`s go to Bob Barr, and I just want to clarify one
point, and correct me if I`m wrong about this –
DOOLEY: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Congressman Barr, these delegates will all, on the first
ballot, vote for Donald Trump.
And you, Bob Barr, on the first ballot are pledged to vote for Donald
What we`re talking about here, in terms of loyalties, and your loyalty to
Ted Cruz, will only become relevant if there is a second ballot, is that
BOB BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: That`s absolutely correct.
And you know, in my point –
O`DONNELL: So, just to – just to pause –
BARR: Part –
O`DONNELL: Over it, Bob –
BARR: Sure –
O`DONNELL: For one more second. You are going to vote for Donald Trump on
the first ballot?
BARR: No, it isn`t a – it isn`t a one-on-one vote where somebody casts a
vote, Bob Barr or John Doe for Senator – for Ted Cruz or for Donald Trump.
It`s simply the numbers that at the time the Georgian delegation casts its
vote on the first ballot, you know, that number of delegates that were won
and by the winning candidate will be cast for the winning candidate.
So, it isn`t a one-on-one vote per person.
O`DONNELL: Yes, you know, it`s not a call of the roll where your name is
called, but basically, all of the delegates will – the Georgia delegation
will rise and say, you know, all of our delegates go to Donald Trump.
And then –
BARR: Well –
O`DONNELL: If he doesn`t – is that correct?
BARR: It`s not precisely correct –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead –
BARR: But close enough for government –
O`DONNELL: All right, good enough for now, OK. And then when we get to
the second ballot, the fact that you are loyal to Ted Cruz, does that mean
that on the second ballot, you will vote for Ted Cruz?
BARR: Actually, under Georgia law, the candidate in this case, Mr. Trump,
would have – would have the majority of the delegates through the second
ballot, more than likely.
It`s very complex –
O`DONNELL: OK –
BARR: When you get –
DOOLEU: But –
BARR: To the national convention. But after the second ballot in Georgia,
yes, my intention would be and other delegates who support Senator Cruz
will be supporting Senator Cruz very clearly.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to David Dooley for a second. Debbie,
observers have said David Plouffe and others who have been through this
presidential campaigns are saying, this was malpractice on the part of the
Because the Trump campaign had months just like the Cruz campaign had to
assemble the people like Bob Barr and others who would go into these rooms
for Donald Trump, and like you, Debbie Dooley, have legitimate standing in
those rooms over this weekend.
Have the right to vote, and the Trump campaign did not get enough people
involved in this, in Georgia, in order to win those slots.
DOOLEY: Well, let me interject there. Number one, delegates, Mr. Barr is
The delegates are only bound for one round. I spoke to Republican National
Committee man, Randy Evans, Friday night.
He said delegates are only bound for one round. What`s important is that
the delegates will also vote on the rules of the convention.
So, a Cruz supporter could vote for rule changes that would negatively
impact Donald Trump.
And, yes, the Trump team was late to the game, but they were probably like
me. They incorrectly assumed that a candidate that is running as a
constitutional conservative would not try to undermine one of the rights
given under the constitution, and that`s a right to vote.
This was a public election. It was paid for by Georgia tax dollars,
taxpayer money. And yet, at district conventions across the state, they
systematically disenfranchised voters that voted for Donald Trump.
It is a travesty.
O`DONNELL: Let me get –
DOOLEY: Why bother having an election if you`re going to let the elitist
within the Republican Party overturn it.
O`DONNELL: Let`s let Bob Barr respond to that. Go ahead.
BARR: It`s hard to know where to start. I mean, it`s just such babbling
The fact of the matter is that the election process for the Georgia
Republican Party has not changed dramatically, significantly, in the nearly
40 years that I have been involved with it.
Debbie`s been involved with it for many years. Everybody has an
opportunity to begin participating in February, with our local caucuses and
last month, with our county conventions.
It is an entirely open process. There`s nothing new about it. There`s
nothing rigged about it, there`s nothing that suppresses anything.
The fact of the matter is, and Debbie deliberately did not answer your
The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump and his organization focuses on one
thing and one thing only, and that is Mr. Trump.
Whereas Senator Cruz focuses not only on the issues, but also on reaching
at the grassroots level, urging people, getting people, convincing them to
come out in the Democratic process, which the Republican Party is very much
a part of and vote for him.
And that`s what happened. And all of this other nonsense is just sour
O`DONNELL: Debbie Dooley, a quick last word. We`re out of time here for
this segment, go ahead –
DOOLEY: Well, the only babbling I hear is coming from former Congressman
Barr. This is about disenfranchising voters.
This is wrong. And he hit the nail on the head. He said it was a 40-year
system. That is why it needs to be reformed.
And this is something that is rigged towards political insiders.
O`DONNELL: OK, a quick – can I get a quick one-word answer from each of
you coming out of this.
Will you support whoever comes out of the Republican nomination – the
Republican convention with the nomination? Debbie Dooley, yes or no on
O`DONNELL: And Bob Barr?
DOOLEY: I`ll take the Fifth right now, Larry.
O`DONNELL: OK, so you might be in the “Never Trump” slot?
BARR: I`ll take the Fifth.
O`DONNELL: OK, we`ll try to get you back, see if you want to be more open
BARR: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: About it. Thank you both very much, really appreciate you
coming on. Thank you.
DOOLEY: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have some breaking news about a big, and I mean
big shakeup in the Trump campaign.
The reporter who broke that story will join us. And after our report last
week on New York City public housing, both of the Democratic candidates
accepted that invitation to visit public housing and the city council
member who started it all has finally made up his mind about who he will
endorse for president.
He will join us tonight.
O`DONNELL: Some protesters against Donald Trump were dragged out of a
Trump rally tonight, in Buffalo, New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get them out! Get them out!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Minutes into Donald Trump`s speech, about 20 protesters started
chanting, “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.”
The protesters linked arms, sat on the floor, continued chanting. Some of
the protesters were dragged out.
Up next, breaking news, big shake up in the Trump campaign tonight. Looks
like no one will be taking orders from Corey Lewandowski anymore.
O`DONNELL: Ken Vogel in “POLITICO” is reporting a big shake up tonight in
the Trump campaign.
The report comes after a day when Donald Trump tried to shrug off what
David Plouffe called the epic political malpractice of the Trump campaign
staff in losing delegate battles this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You can take them out to hotels, the delegates. You can take them
on planes. You can do whatever you want to do. You know what?
I said, no way because we`re going to get there. We don`t need it, we`re
going to get there.
It`s a rigged and it`s a corrupt system. But we`re going to get there, and
I believe we`re going to do it much more easily than people think.
And we`re going to do it on the first ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The “Washington Examiner” reported this weekend that the Trump
campaign is now ready to offer free stuff to potential delegates.
Donald Trump`s campaign is going all-out to win delegates in Nevada,
offering to cover transportation and lodging costs for Nevada supporters
who travel to Reno in mid-May to participate in delegate elections.
Joining us now, Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter for “POLITICO”.
Also joining us is Ed Goeas, he`s the president and CEO of the Tarrance
Group, a Republican research and strategy team.
He`s also a pollster for the “Stop Trump” PAC Our Principles. Ken Vogel,
give us the lineup now inside the Trump campaign.
You`re reporting tonight about the big shake up. What is the
organizational chart look like now?
KEN VOGEL, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, it looks like
Paul Manafort, whose technical title is convention manager, has the keys to
And not only does he have the keys to the campaign, he has been given what
we understand to be a fuller access to the purse strings of the campaign,
that the Trump campaign has authorized a budget for the coming month of $20
That`s a lot more than we`ve seen them spend in any previous month. We
understand it`s going to be going to staffing.
That Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Wiley, whose title is political
director are going to be bringing in their own staff, both in the states,
California, critically the June 7th primary that could really decide
whether Trump is able to get over the hump, that 1,237 delegates.
And then also, advertising. That they`re going to spend a lot more on
advertising in the run-up to California, which is of course, a media-heavy
state, where it`s hard to campaign on the ground across the state, on the
sort of lost side of this reorganization.
Corey Lewandowski, who you mentioned, technical title, still campaign
manager, and Michael Glassner, who is the deputy campaign manager working
In fact, the people who were loyal to Corey were so disappointed by the
shakeup which came down on a Saturday meeting of senior staff at Trump
tower that one of them, the field director, Stuart Jolly, a long time Corey
Lewandowski friend and loyalist from their days working together the Koch
brothers back organization, AFP, quit.
Stuart Jolly put in his letter of resignation today, basically took a shot
across the bow of Paul Manafort, expressed his loyalty to Corey
All this may be too little, too late. You`re going to reorganize a
campaign that is, you know, still focusing on winning these big primaries
when as you mentioned, Ted Cruz and the “Never Trump” people are working
the local delegate selection process much more effectively than Trump.
O`DONNELL: Well, Ken, on the field director, Stuart Jolly, he had never
worked in a presidential campaign before anywhere, right?
I mean, so there`s no – there`s no big loss off the team there.
VOGEL: Yes, and that`s a –
O`DONNELL: And the field director, how responsible was he or who was
responsible within this campaign for these massive failures in Georgia and
Wyoming this weekend?
VOGEL: I mean, the short answer is nobody. And Donald Trump has admitted
as much by saying that he`s not going to play in this system, even as we
see reporting suggesting that he is playing in this system.
Nonetheless, though, the real big picture focus of the campaign remains on
winning these battles.
And you know, that`s probably the right approach. They`ve sort of dropped
the ball to some extent on these delegate fights at the – at the county
and state convention level.
But there are bigger prizes in New York, in California, in Indiana, and
some of the states that vote next Tuesday like Pennsylvania.
And so, it`s still possible though the odds are diminishing greatly, that
Trump could lock up those 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination,
just through these primaries, these remaining primaries.
O`DONNELL: Ed, how much of what we saw this weekend in the delegate battle
was the Cruz campaign operating effectively?
And how much was it – you guys, how much was it the “Stop Trump” movement?
ED GOEAS, PRESIDENT, TARRANCE GROUP: Well, with Our Principles PAC, our
goal has been to be out there, talking about Trump`s record, and bringing
some reality to it.
And really keep that ceiling on his vote. I mean, up to now, he has only
gotten 38 percent of the votes cast, he has 45 percent of the delegates.
But going back to this issue, particularly. I mean, I was hearing back in
October of last year that Cruz was working, beginning to work the delegates
and get into the delegates.
And this kind of temper tantrum that Trump is putting on right now, it kind
of reminds me of my 7-year-old son that sometimes when we`re playing
checkers, we get about halfway through the game, and if it looks like he`s
going to lose, he tries to change the rules of the game.
And if that doesn`t work, then he takes all the pieces of the board and
throws it. That`s what Trump is doing at this point.
O`DONNELL: Ed –
I think – I think David was right in what he said, David Plouffe, that
quite frankly, it was malpractice for them not to be watching this.
This is all part of the process. And while voters vote in terms of state-
by-state, and the rules are different in the different states, at the end
of the day, it`s the delegates who pick the nominee for the party.
VOGEL: You know, guys, I think –
GOEAS: And that –
VOGEL: I think it might be a little more strategic than your – than your
7-year-old trying to change the rules.
It is true that they dropped the ball. But I think it`s an element of
working the refs here.
You know, you already hear the Trump folks talking about potentially filing
protest in some of these states, and you –
GOEAS: Right –
VOGEL: See it having an impact, where Reince Priebus has suspended any
possible rules changes or consideration thereof by the rules committee,
And so, there`s some evidence that this is actually having a little bit of
an impact. It`s unclear to what extent –
GOEAS: Well –
VOGEL: It`s supposed to be the big fight will come at the convention.
GOEAS: In fairness to the chairman, I mean, what the chairman was saying
today is, look, we shouldn`t change the rules.
The best thing to do is keep going with the rules the way they are. Let`s
not be perceived as we`re changing the rules in the middle of the game and
that`s what he should be saying quite frankly.
O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to leave it there for tonight,
I`m sorry, Ed Goeas, Ken Vogel, thank you very much.
Ken, thanks for bringing us that breaking news tonight, really appreciate
VOGEL: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, Nina Turner and Barney Frank, they`re
back for another one of our mini Hillary versus Bernie debates.
O`DONNELL: Barney Frank and Nina Turner will get in their “Last Word” of
support for their candidates before New Yorkers go to the polls tomorrow.
But first, here is the way it looks today on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Turning now to
tomorrow`s primary here in New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: The margins are going to be so critical
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because
this is about turnout.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Amen.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I need your help tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Recent polls show Clinton with a double-digit
lead on Sanders in New York.
CLINTON: I never count any chickens before they hatch.
SANDERS: You all look like you want a political revolution.
(AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Normally, when he comes into a state, he
holds these big rallies. He has moved the numbers more significantly, and
that just has not happened here.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC HOST OF THE TODAY SHOW: You have said that she
accepts this money from Wall Street –
GUTHRIE: – or from big banks or from fossil fuels.
SANDERS: Secretary Clinton has given a number of speeches on Wall Street.
GUTHRIE: And, that that affects her judgment.
SANDERS: Well, of course it does.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nominating Donald Trump
hands the election to Hillary Clinton.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Crooked Hillary Clinton.
CRUZ: We are looking at a Walter Mondale-level bloodbath across the
TRUMP: Lying Ted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Donald Trump was on Twitter bright and early
TRUMP: Make America great again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: He says that, “Lying Ted Cruz cannot win.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: This has become one of the main talking
points for Donald Trump that the system is rigged. That it is unfair to an
TRUMP: It is a rigged system.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R-OH) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are the rules, you
know? I mean, it is just the way it works.
CRUZ: Donald Trump has been supporting liberal democrats for 40 years.
KASICH: It is a truly race to the bottom, the bottom of a bottomless pit.
TRUMP: Get him out. Get him out. Go home to mommy. Bye.
KASICH: That is a good quote right there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: What about the greed and recklessness of the gun manufacturers
(AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
I could not believe it when Senator Sanders said the parents of the Sandy
Hook children did not deserve their day in court.
Largely because he voted for the bill that gave special protections,
immunity from liability to the gun makers and sellers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is Hillary Clinton`s final appeal today to New York voters
before they go to the polls tomorrow. Here was some of Bernie Sanders`
last word to New York voters tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: This is a campaign on the move. This is a political revolution
sweeping America. This is a movement getting the establishment very, very
nervous. Secretary Clinton has chosen to raise her money for her campaign
in a very different way. She has established a number of Super PACs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: MSNBC`s Danny Freeman was at tonight`s Sanders event. Danny.
DANNY FREEMAN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lawrence. Well, after a
jam-packed day of primary eve campaigning for Senator Bernie Sanders, he
finally landed here in Queens, in Long Island City, where he held a massive
rally right on the beautiful Manhattan skyline. So, the question is,
though, what does Senator Sanders have to say in his final pitch to New
York voters tonight?
Well, he gave his supporters pretty much his greatest hits with a bit of a
New York twist, if you will. So, for example, he speaks a lot about income
inequality all the time, we all know this. But, today he focused on public
housing, and the need to invest in infrastructure for public housing,
especially all over New York City, in the Bronx and in Brooklyn.
He of course, also, emphasized his Brooklyn roots during his speech tonight
in front of what the campaign says is over 8,000 people. Now, the
environment here before the sun came down, just a few hours before Senator
Sanders actually took the stage was very fun and festive. People were
drinking beers, families were out.
And, one thing I would like to note, Lawrence, is that I have actually seen
a number of these people at past Bernie Sanders events across the city
before. So, these are local fans, who come out to see Bernie Sanders
sometimes time and time again, but without a doubt, I know that they would
say that they are feeling the burn for this primary eve rally. Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Danny. The latest New York poll shows Hillary Clinton
ahead 55-40. But in the latest NBC National Poll, Bernie Sanders has
tightened the race to a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton. She is at 50
percent, he is at 48 percent.
And that same poll, that same NBC Poll of voters shows 56 percent hold a
negative opinion of Hillary Clinton and 32 percent hold a positive opinion,
while 36 percent hold a negative opinion of Bernie Sanders, and 45 percent
have a positive opinion of him. That is a national poll, national voters,
both parties, independents.
Joining us now, Barney Frank, former congressman from Massachusetts,
Hillary Clinton supporter, and Nina Turner, former Ohio State Senator and a
Bernie Sanders supporter. Barney Frank, I want to start with you tonight.
And, I do not normally talk about polls. I prefer to talk about issues,
but there is the electability issue, which has been argued throughout this
campaign. And, the Clinton campaign has argued that she is basically more
electable in the general election than Bernie Sanders. The polls do not
But that was the argument that was made by the Clinton campaign against the
Obama Campaign in 2008. They were wrong then. Do you think that is an
important argument for the Clinton campaign to be leaning on or is it just
something that they should ignore and stay with issues?
BARNEY FRANK, SUPPORTS HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT: It is a factor. I
admire your desire to talk about issues. I hope you get back to it. –
The only one who thinks that she would have a better chance in November as
things evolve, so do the republicans. You will notice and this is one of
the reasons why her negatives are high.
The republicans have focused on her. They have been trying to weaken her,
and they would love to have Senator Sanders. Senator Sanders legitimately
complained early on he was not getting enough attention. but there is a
flip side to that for him, in that the negatives against him that the
republicans will be able to use – and let me say, if he is the nominee, I
will be an enthusiastic campaigner for him.
But on the other hand, there are negatives they can use. But I also am
troubled by senator Sanders` increasing negative turn in this campaign,
including not just on the issues, but suggesting – not suggesting, saying
that Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted. In the first place, the arguments
he used would apply to Barack Obama, obviously. They would have applied to
senator Ted Kennedy.
I cannot think of a liberal leader, a democratic who is fighting hard for
chance, Nancy Pelosi, John Lewis, any who would not be disqualified in that
same argument. And, here is the reason, I think, he may be raising in the
polls. If you ask the Clinton people, overwhelmingly, they would tell you,
they are going to vote for Sanders and they approve of Sanders.
I am disappointed and “The New York Times” mentioned this. I think there
has been a turn in the Sanders` rhetoric away from the issue differences
more to claiming that somehow she is going to be soft and not prosecute,
because she has been corrupted by money, for which she has no evidence.
And, so a lot of the Sanders` people are saying that they would not vote
for Clinton. In other words – and I think that will turn over. I think,
while people are angry now, when you get to November, that is going to
Hillary Clinton, to her credit, made very sure in 2008 that women who were
disappointed that she did not get nomination voted for Barack Obama. And,
if Hillary Clinton is nominated, I am hoping Senator Sanders will do the
same, but he is making it harder for himself by the sharp edge of his
O`DONNELL: Nina Turner, go ahead.
NINA TURNER, SUPPORTS BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT: Well, Lawrence, I
mean, most – some of what the democratic party has to realize, what we all
have to realize is that this is a disruption election. That people on both
the left and the right are start – are tired of the status quo. They are
tired of establishment-type politics.
And, the fact that some of Senator Sanders` supporters are saying
overwhelmingly that they will not support the secretary has more to do with
their commitment and loyalty to Senator Bernie Sanders and not a commitment
and loyalty to a political party. People are fed up with it and parties
exist to support the people.
Senator Bernie Sanders has been honest and he has been consistent
throughout his career. He has been a champion. And, he has not changed
his mind based on convenience. So, there is nothing to be confused or
concerned about. Every single vote must be earned.
So, whether it is Senator Sanders who is the victor or whether it is
Secretary Clinton, they both have to earn the other people`s votes. And,
the Democratic Party would be wise to not just assume that people are just
going to come one person`s way or another, just because of a party
O`DONNELL: Barney Frank –
FRANK: Well, I am surprised –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Barney.
FRANK: I am surprised at that comment. We are not talking about party
TURNER: Well, do not be surprised.
FRANK: Please let me respond. I am not just talking about party
allegiance. I am talking about who gets to name the Supreme Court justice.
If a democrat wins, whether it is Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, we
will get citizens united overturned. We will get – campaign finance. We
have to get the Supreme Court. Will the minimum wage be raised?
The fact is, there are real differences between the parties. And I – and
you say the establishment. No, John Lewis is not the establishment,
Congressman John lewis. And, remember, every gay and lesbian member is for
Overwhelmingly, the congressional black caucus and the congressional
Hispanic caucus are for Hillary Clinton. Planned Parenthood – no, we will
all vote for Sanders. But the point is we believe she has been and will be
a more effective change agent.
O`DONNELL: We are going to squeeze in a quick break here and Nina we will
come back with your response right after this. More with Barney Frank and
Nina Turner after this break.
O`DONNELL: We are back with Hillary Clinton supporter, Barney Frank, and
Bernie Sanders` supporter, Nina Turner. And Nina Turner, you were in mid-
sentence when we went to that commercial. Go ahead.
TURNER: I was, Lawrence. I just find it amazing that the congressman
continues to bring up the black caucus. This is the same black caucus who
in 2008, most of the members did not support then Senator Barack Obama.
They did not believe he had the experience or the momentum, but momentum
won in the end.
These are the same folks now who are now riding the coattails of now
President Barack Obama. Let us talk about what can be accomplished and
what Senator Bernie Sanders has accomplished throughout his career. It is
really quite shameful that the Clinton campaign is trying to disqualify him
based on the fact of the matter is, is that as Mayor of Burlington, he got
a lot done.
As a congressman, he got a lot done. We know that he was considered the
amendment king from 1995 to 2000, because he had more floor amendments than
any other member of congress, getting things done. And, let us talk about,
again, that veterans bill that he worked hand in hand with Senator John
McCain. So, Senator Bernie Sanders can get things done.
What he is refusing to do is settle for incremental progress. When people
are poor, when they are down and out, when they need help, when they need
uplift, they want somebody who is not going to equivocate. They want
somebody who is going to be a champion. And, that champion is Senator
And, we have to understand that in today`s environment, with a corrupt
campaign finance system, with a rigged economy, that people are looking for
that kind of leader that says, yes on 15, not yes on 12 and then stand up
next to the governor of New York to sign one for 15. Somebody that is
going to go out on the picket line, but also knows how to get things done
in their official capacity. And, that is senator Bernie Sanders. There is
no doubt about it.
And, that is why nationally going head to head against every single
republican, Senator Bernie Sanders beats, beats every republican, leaps and
bounds ahead of secretary Clinton. So, if democrats want to win in
November, they need to make sure that the nominee is Senator Bernie
O`DONNELL: Barney Frank, you mentioned earlier that when Bernie Sanders
criticizes Hillary Clinton`s fund-raising methods for her campaign, those
are the same methods used by honorable politicians, like Ted Kennedy,
Barack Obama, John Lewis, Nancy Pelosi, those are the names you mentioned.
But not one of them ever took $1 in a speaking fee from Goldman Sachs,
never mind $22 million in speaking fees over a two-year period, because, as
you know, for every one of them, that would have been illegal. That would
have got them expelled from the House of Representatives or expelled from
Why is it, if this money is so innocent – if it is so innocent to make
more in one hour than a senator`s yearly Saturday in a speech to Goldman
Sachs, if that is innocent, why cannot senators do it? Why cannot
congressmen do it?
FRANK: The notion that you have the freedom to earn money outside of
congress, that is surprisingly, Lawrence. I think you have posed the
question you know the answer to. There are very strict rules and limits on
what you can do as a member of congress. And, by the way –
O`DONNELL: But Bernie, what I am asking you is –
FRANK: I am sorry, Lawrence, I want to respond to you!
O`DONNELL: Why do we have those limits and why would not Hillary Clinton
have observed them for herself?
FRANK: She did observe them for herself. This is more of a suggestion
that somehow she did something wrong. Yes, she did observe them for
herself. She did not take a penny. She abided by the rules when she was
there. Many members of congressmen do things that they are legally allowed
The rule is you do not want the actual decision making being influenced.
By the way, on the question, and I thought Dana Bash asked a very good
question to Senator Sanders. Point to one example where Hillary Clinton is
having taken money, campaign or otherwise, influenced her policy and he
could not come up with one. He had no answer to that.
In fact, there is an ad that he has, which really troubles me, because it
is McCarthyite. It says Goldman Sachs was not sufficiently punished, and
then it says, in effect, no wonder, people get speaking fees from Goldman
Sachs. There is zero connection there.
Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, well, before she took speaking
fees, had no control over that. That is an attack on the Obama
administration. And, while we are at it, I want to respond how disappoint
TURNER: That is not an attack on the Obama Administration –
FRANK: I am sorry! It was the – please do not interrupt me! Lawrence,
can I continue? Lawrence, what are the rules?
FRANK: Lawrence, what are the rules?!
TURNER: – the United States of America again. He is not running.
FRANK: Lawrence, what are the rules here.
O`DONNELL: All right. Go ahead, Barney. Take 30 seconds, if you can.
FRANK: Obviously, a vulnerability that Ms. Turner feels, because she was
trying to bring in Obama. The point is this. If you attack the people who
did not bring charges against Goldman Sachs or any other or did not do them
sufficiently, you are attacking the Obama administration.
They were in charge of this. The president had a point to the attorney
general. That was the Obama administration. And, I was very sorry to hear
her denigrate the congressional black caucus. And frankly, I am troubled -
TURNER: I did not denigrate the congressional black caucus.
FRANK: Please, you just – please, Lawrence, what are the rules about the
TURNER: Oh my God!
FRANK: I wish you would not do that. I heard you would denigrate the
black caucus. You said, “Oh, they were just riding the coattails.” You
just said that. Go back and look at your transcript. What I am afraid of,
and this is part of the problems, that the Sanders` campaign and their
And, by the way, Hillary Clinton got many more votes than Senator Sanders,
up to date. She will get more tomorrow. I hope Senator Sanders does not
evolve into Ralph Nader and that people do not forget what happened in
2000. And, we will again lose the chance to take over the Supreme Court
and make social progress because of this kind of absolutism.
O`DONNELL: All right. We are out of time for tonight. I just want to
clarify. Barney, we kind of talked past each other for a moment there.
When we come back to this subject again, I do want to talk about the
speaking fees. And, what I am saying about it, what I am questioning –
FRANK: Lawrence, why would you bring that up when I cannot answer it –
TURNER: Lawrence, and I in no way denigrated –
O`DONNELL: All right. All right. I am going to say good night to the
guests, Nina Turner and Barney Frank. Thank you both very much for joining
TURNER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it.
FRANK: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We will continue this conversation on another night. The point
that I was making about the speaking fees was simply this. If they are a
completely innocent exercise, if you can go and easily give speeches to big
banks and corporate interests and all of that, and it is a totally innocent
exercise to do that, and no one should ever be suspect or questioning what
is involved in that, then why, why did we ever make it against the rules
for senators and congressmen and presidents or any federal official to do
That was my simple point. I think it is a larger discussion that we do not
have time for tonight. It is not particularly relevant to where this
discussion is right now in the campaign, but it is a larger discussion we
will have at another time.
Up next, both of those democratic candidates finally did visit public
housing in New York.
O`DONNELL: Here is Bernie Sanders visiting a New York City public housing
development yesterday with city council member Ritchie Torres.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RITCHIE TORRES, (D) NYC COUNCIL MEMBER, BRONX: Here in Brownsville,
Brooklyn. If you live in Brownsville, you have a life expectancy that is
11 years lower than the life expectancy in the upper east side of Manhattan
or Chelsea. So, it is truly a tale of two cities.
SANDERS: You said the life expectancy here is 11 years less?
TORRES: Eleven years lower than the Manhattan –
SANDERS: Poverty means a death sentence (INAUDIBLE)
TORRES: That is exactly right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, both of the democratic presidential candidates finally
accepted Ritchie Torres` invitation to visit public housing in New York and
now he is ready to endorse. Ritchie Torres joins us next.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, New York City Council Member, Ritchie Torres,
who escorted Bernie Sanders yesterday in Brooklyn. So, Ritchie, it finally
happened. At first, the letter went out in February inviting candidates to
visit public housing. They ignored it. Letter went out two weeks ago,
they ignored it. You came on this program and talked about it and they
RITCHIE TORRES, (D) NYC COUNCIL MEMBER, BRONX: Yes.
O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton went on Friday. Bernie Sanders got back from
Rome and he looked like it was the first thing he wanted to do. And,
Bernie Sanders came back today, right?
TORRES: He did. He did.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday –
TORRES: Not once, but twice.
O`DONNELL: And, today he went to where you and I were last week.
TORRES: That is correct.
O`DONNELL: And, so you had not endorsed anyone in this campaign.
O`DONNELL: And, now that you have had this opportunity, what is your
TORRES: So, I have made a decision to endorse Bernie Sanders, even though
I have immense respect for both candidates, I do believe he represents a
singular phenomenon in progressive politics. He has made inequality, urban
poverty the centerpiece of progressive politics of the presidential
He is energizing young people to an extent I have never seen before at a
time when our country has a real crisis of political and civic
disengagement. When he held a rally in St. Mary`s Park, he turned out
19,000 people. In Washington Square Park, 27,000 people. In Prospect
Park, 28,000 people. There is something powerful going on here and I want
to be a part of it.
O`DONNELL: But, New York politicians, democratic politicians like
yourself, overwhelmingly backing Hillary Clinton. Was this tough for you?
TORRES: It was a decision based on values. And, you know, for me, the
story of public housing tells a larger story about the social contract.
You know, the federal government – public housing is a social contract.
It is based on the belief that every American, whether you are rich or
poor, should have an access to a decent life. Access to safe, decent, and
And for decades, the federal government has been violating that covenant
with the urban poor. And, I believe the candidate who speaks most
powerfully to that and most compellingly is Bernie Sanders.
O`DONNELL: Ritchie Torres gets tonight`s “Last Word.” Ritchie, you really
had an effect on these campaign schedules. I have to change things for you
in the last few days –
TORRES: As you know, Lawrence, a few tenant leaders and a 28-year-old kid
from the Bronx can reshape a presidential race.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Thank you very much.
TORRES: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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