The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 5/18/2016

Geoff Garin, Michael Steele, Peter Wehner, John Fund, Steve Clemens, Karine Jean-Pierre, Steve McMahon, Jonathan Alter

Date: May 18, 2016
Guest: Geoff Garin, Michael Steele, Peter Wehner, John Fund, Steve
Clemens, Karine Jean-Pierre, Steve McMahon, Jonathan Alter

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Such a small world, Rachel, such a small


MADDOW: Thanks dear –

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel –

MADDOW: Thanks –

O`DONNELL: Well, millions of Americans have told pollsters that the
possibility of a Trump presidency scares them.

There are new polls tonight that just might terrify them. And in breaking
campaign news tonight, a former Republican governor says he would like to
run for vice president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a new national poll shows Trump leading Hillary
Clinton by three points.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Put an exclamation point here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump released a formal list of 11 potential Supreme
Court nominees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we trust Trump to stick with it?

PHIL ROBERTSON, HUNTER & BUSINESSMAN: I am happily volunteering my
services for Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: You know –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy has a chimpanzee level of understanding of
national security policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Said sure, a President Trump would sit down with
North Korea`s Kim Jong-un.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meeting today with Henry Kissinger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said one stupid reckless thing after another.



TRUMP: Excuse me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s hope we get back to people running that actually
understand policy and can read a book.

TRUMP: I would love to sit down and read a book, but I just don`t have the
time anymore.

will have the opportunity to defeat Donald Trump, we`re going to have to
defeat Secretary Clinton.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Sanders defiant.

SANDERS: State after state, the people have stood up and helped defeat the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a way to deal with frustration over process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been working against Bernie Sanders and there`s
no doubt about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are not going to just sit back and accept
business as usual.

SANDERS: We`re going to take our fight into the convention.



O`DONNELL: According to the latest national poll, America is now closer to
a Trump presidency than it has ever been.

After the Clinton campaign squeaked out a one-point victory in Kentucky
last night, and then lost to Bernie Sanders by 12 points in Oregon, the
Clinton campaign is staring at a shocking new national poll tonight that
shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton.

The “Fox News” poll released tonight shows Donald Trump at 45 percent and
Hillary Clinton at 42 percent with a three-point margin of error.

That poll is a statistical tie. It is a reversal of fortune for Hillary
Clinton from the last “Fox News” poll which showed her at 48 percent and
Donald Trump at 41 percent.

In tonight`s “Fox News” poll, Donald Trump still trails Bernie Sanders as
he always has with Bernie Sanders at 46 percent and Donald Trump at 42

If the “Fox News” poll results are duplicated by other reputable polls, the
Clinton campaign will be in full-on crisis mode because Hillary Clinton as
a candidate has never been able to reverse a polling trend in any of her

In her first Senate campaign in New York, Hillary Clinton polled at 56
percent a year and a half before the election with her opponent Rick Lazio
then polling at 23 percent.

On election day, Hillary Clinton won with 55 percent of the vote and Rick
Lazio had gained 20 points to 43 percent of the vote.

In other words, over a year of campaigning and $30 million spent, it did
not change the minds of more New York voters in favor of Hillary Clinton.

She simply held on to her original large lead as her opponent narrowed that

In her second Senate campaign in New York, Hillary Clinton polled at 67
percent a year before the election, and on the election night she won 67
percent of the vote against a totally unknown Republican named John

A year of campaigning then and $36 million spent did not turn any more
voters in favor of Hillary Clinton.

In the Fall of 2007, Senator Hillary Clinton was polling 33 points ahead of
Senator Barack Obama in the “Abc News”-“Washington Post” poll of the
Democratic presidential campaign.

Senator Clinton`s poll numbers went straight down from there for months,
and by the beginning of January, Hillary Clinton had only a five-point lead
in that “Abc” poll.

By the end of January, she was tied with Barack Obama in a “Cbs” poll, then
during February, Clinton and Obama traded leads in the polls until late
February when Barack Obama opened a small lead over Hillary Clinton which
then became a double-digit lead.

A lead that rose above 20 points in some polls toward the end of the
primary season. The polling history of Hillary Clinton indicates that she
needs an enormous lead in the polls in order to hang on and win in the end.

And 2008 showed that a 33-point lead wasn`t enormous enough against Barack
Obama. Tonight`s “Fox News” poll is just one poll, I`m going to say that
again, just one poll.

But the “Fox News” poll historically does conform to the basic findings of
other major polls.

If the “Fox News” poll is an accurate snapshot of the electorate at this
time, it contained some devastating internal information for the Clinton

On the question of, are the candidates honest and trustworthy? Hillary
Clinton actually does worse than Donald Trump.

Sixty six percent of voters say Hillary Clinton is not honest and
trustworthy, 57 percent say Donald Trump is not honest and trustworthy.

Two years ago, before she was officially a presidential candidate, in that
same “Fox News” poll, 54 percent of voters said Hillary Clinton is honest
and trustworthy.

Only 42 percent then said she was not honest and trustworthy. And in
tonight`s “Fox News” poll, this is the first time that Donald Trump doesn`t
have the highest unfavorability rating.

In tonight`s poll, 61 percent have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton
and 56 percent have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump.

Earlier today, another disturbing poll result for the Clinton campaign,
this one from the state of New Hampshire which Barack Obama won by 10
points in 2008 and 6 points in 2012.

A WBUR poll of New Hampshire voters shows Hillary Clinton at 44 percent and
Donald Trump at 42 percent which is a statistical tie within the margin of

In that same poll, Bernie Sanders, who won the New Hampshire primary beats
Donald Trump by 16 points, 54 to 38.

Four years ago at this time, President Obama held a 12-point lead over Mitt
Romney in New Hampshire.

The President then went on to win New Hampshire by six points. Joining us
now, Michael Steele, former Republican Party Chairman and an Msnbc
political analyst.

Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, he
worked in the Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush

Also with us, Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research, a public opinion
research firm, he`s an adviser for the Priorities USA, the Super PAC
supporting Hillary Clinton.

Geoff Garin, what do you make of tonight`s “Fox News” poll?

GEOFF GARIN, PRESIDENT, HART RESEARCH: Well, we have said for a while now,
for a couple of weeks that this is going to be a close and competitive

We weren`t saying that as spin. It`s because that`s what our polls were
showing us then and there is something structural about this race that
makes it close and competitive.

You know, in some ways, it is a good thing that people are seeing this now.

On the one hand, I think it tells Democrats loudly and clearly that they`re
going to have to work very hard and come together to defeat Donald Trump in

And the other thing it does is – can be – you were alluding to at the
beginning is that Americans are going to have to start reckoning with the
reality that Donald Trump could be president and start to think very
seriously about the consequences of that.

And I think as time goes on and people think more and more about those
consequences, he will be a more difficult choice for voters to accept.

O`DONNELL: Michael Steele, again, just the parentheses, it`s just one


O`DONNELL: But when you look at the way the polls charted in 2007 in
Hillary Clinton`s last presidential campaign, just one poll became many


O`DONNELL: If this is a trend, if we see three of these, what does this
mean to Washington`s reception of Donald Trump?

How does that change Paul Ryan`s calculations and others in Washington?

STEELE: Well, I think it`s already began to change that calculation. I
think a lot of internal polls that are being taken by Super PACs and other
groups out there for and against Donald Trump are showing this very same
trend line.

Now, I think you make very important point, Lawrence, and that is, does
this trend line that we see really mean something nationally as going on,
when other polls confirm that or augment that.

That`s what I think Geoff and others are going to be looking at on the
Clinton side and certainly Paul Manafort is going to be drilling down on
the GOP side with Donald Trump.

But here`s the rub. This is May, OK? And so, I am not one of these after
my years of experience in politics to hang my hat on one poll or even on
trending polls in the months of May, June, and July.

I`m really looking to see where we wind up post-nomination, post-convention
late August, certainly Labor Day.

That window kind of gives you a trend line, to Geoff`s point of how the
voters begin to really settle down on this race.

It`s important now to get everybody geared up for what`s to come.

But I don`t think you`re going to, you know, end or, you know, run away
excited when you see these polls because of what they`re saying right now.

O`DONNELL: Peter Wehner, eight years ago in May, Barack Obama, three
points ahead of John McCain.


O`DONNELL: Four years ago in May, Barack Obama, three points ahead of Mitt
Romney. May, certainly told the story then of what was going to happen in

WEHNER: Yes, it does, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn`t. Remember,
Walter Mondale was ahead of Ronald Reagan at points in 1984 and we`ve had a
whole history of races where they appear to be close.

And not even Jimmy Carter, a week before the election with Reagan was up by
one point in the Gallop poll, they lost 40 states.

It is very early, look, I`d say a couple of things. One is that, there are
real structural advantages I think to the Democratic Party, any Democrat.

Democrats are winning national elections, they have huge demographic
advantages than others.

So, I think that starting out a Democrat is going to be favored against a

Secondly, Donald Trump is a target-rich environment and they really haven`t
turned their guns on him yet.

The third, and this is important. Hillary Clinton is just a very weak
candidate and she seems to be getting weaker.

She`s weaker than she was in 2008. I think she`s mechanical and
uninspiring and viewed as inauthentic as well as that poll number that you
underscored which is the untrustworthy and dishonesty numbers.

I think she`s a kind of ethical wreck. So, I think she`s a very weak and
beatable candidate.

I just think that Donald Trump is in the end more toxic, and so I don`t
think that he is going to pull this out.

But we`ll see. It`s a very weird time and there`s a distemper in this
country politically, unlike anything I have seen and that may play to
Trump`s advantage.

O`DONNELL: Geoff Garin, address – please, address my initial point that I
made about Hillary Clinton`s polling history.

Which in her campaigns shows no ability for her to gain ground. No ability
– she`s never shown an ability in her campaigns to increase support by

GARIN: Well, when you started – I`m not sure that really holds when you
started 67 percent, there`s only so far to go.

O`DONNELL: No, I`ll grant you that on the 67, but what about the 55? –

GARIN: Even the 55 in her first race, I think, that`s, you know, the fact
that she was able to sustain a substantial majority as a first-time
candidate, as a – and, you know, her running as a first lady in New York
was controversial at the time.

To me that represented an accomplishment, not a – not a sign of political
weakness and I`ve worked with Secretary Clinton.

The one thing that I know about her, she is extraordinarily resilient. She
rises to challenges.

I think she`ll rise to this challenge, but it is a real challenge. Let me
just note one thing about the “Fox” poll and other polls said –

O`DONNELL: Can I just ask you one more thing, Geoff? And I want you to
know that –

GARIN: Yes, please.

O`DONNELL: But to continue with the model that I was using. And then what
about the 2008 presidential campaign where she started high, more than a
33-point lead and just went straight down, she never built support.

GARIN: Well, I think that, that – you know, I think, a – she was running
against a phenomenal candidate in Barack Obama, but the reality of that
race is that I believe she won seven of the last nine primaries that she
actually did increase support in the later primaries up until the very last

She won in Ohio, she won in Texas, she won in Pennsylvania. She actually
did very well at the end of the campaign.

So, there in terms of the pattern of the primaries she did better as the
race went on, not less well.

She obviously had a – her greatest problems were, you know, that – you
know, in the month of February and March but as April, May and April and
May, she was a very strong candidate and I think that speaks to the
resilience she has.

She was – I think people admired that about her. She was – she was down,
but not out and she fought – fought back in a way that people really
admired and respected.

And I think that that`s the Hillary Clinton Americans will see. Let me
just make one polling –


GARIN: Note, is that part of what`s happening in this structurally is that
Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination, the party has rallied
around him and he`s not dealing with these negative attacks any longer.

And Hillary – and you know, for better or worse, Bernie Sanders is staying
in the race and the way he is has a consequence.

Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee, and if we`re serious about
electing her in November and I think we ought to be serious about electing
her in November because the consequences are dire.

I think Senator Sanders has an important choices to make in this regard.

GARIN: Yes, let – can I say a couple of things, Lawrence? Look, I think
at the end of the day, that she does have a problem as a – as a
presidential candidate which is the more that people see her, the more they
don`t like her.

That`s just there. You know, this is sometimes the dog just doesn`t like
the dog food. And I just – she may be an impressive person.

I think her record is sketchy, I don`t think she was very successful as a -
- as a Secretary of State and she was the author of Hillarycare.

But look, at the end of the day, she is just not somebody who is, you know,
an overpowering political figure. Even her own campaign people admit that
she is an awful candidate.

O`DONNELL: Michael Steele, I want to get a quick last word from you there.

STEELE: Sure –

O`DONNELL: I got to say, this is not something I understand. I see the
polling numbers –

STEELE: All right –

O`DONNELL: But I cannot see what it is in a Clinton campaign that as Peter
just put it, the more people see her, the more they don`t like.

That is what you`re seeing in the tracking of these numbers, but I don`t
get it. I don`t know what it is that they`re seeing.

STEELE: Well, what they`re seeing is 30 years of Hillary, 30 years of
Hillary and Bill.

They`re seeing a lot of things that has accumulated and it`s not – it`s
not selling for them and it`s going to be a hard sell this year.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to leave it there –

GARIN: Lawrence, I don`t think they`ve really seen her yet, and then –
and when they do see her, they do like her.


WEHNER: They`ve seen her for a lot of years.

O`DONNELL: All right, that`s going to have to be the last word for this
segment. Thank you very much, Michael Steele, Geoff Garin –

STEELE: All right –

O`DONNELL: Peter Wehner, thank you all. Next, coming up, breaking
campaign news. A former Republican governor wants to run for vice
president – just not with Donald Trump.

And Republicans terrified of Donald Trump`s foreign policy ideas are
eagerly awaiting word from their hero Henry Kissinger about what happened
in that conversation today with Donald Trump.




CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Can you tell the Middle East we`re not using a
nuclear weapon on anybody? –

TRUMP: I will never say that.

MATTHEWS: How about Europe? We won`t use it in Europe.

TRUMP: I`m not going to take it off the table, but listen –

MATTHEWS: You might use in Europe?



O`DONNELL: So, did Donald Trump tell Henry Kissinger today that he might
use nuclear weapons in Europe? That`s next.


O`DONNELL: Modern presidents don`t really choose Supreme Court Justices,
the Senate does.

The constitution gives the President the power to choose the justices, and
the Senate, the power to confirm the justices.

But the President lost the power to control the process decades ago.

And so, in the first year of Bill Clinton`s presidency, when a vacancy
opened up on the Supreme Court, New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan,
who I was working for at the time, found himself in the company of the
president on other business when Bill Clinton asked him who he would
recommend for the Supreme Court.

Senator Moynihan had only one suggestion – Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The
President in no doubt consulted at length with Joe Biden who was then the
chairman of the Judiciary Committee in charge of confirmation hearings for
the Supreme Court Justices.

Senator Joe Biden probably also suggested Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I`m not sure
how many other senators might have suggested Ruth Bader Ginsburg or how
many other names were suggested to the president.

But soon enough, the president nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Joe Biden
and Pat Moynihan were not a bit surprised.

That`s the way it usually works. Call it a consultation with the Senate if
you like, but depending on your perspective, it can often look like the
Senate is telling the president what to do.

That is, telling the president who the Senate can confirm and confirm
easily. But to all public appearance, Ruth Bader Ginsburg appears suddenly
as the president`s idea.

Today, Donald Trump made the transaction more transparent than it has ever
been. He announced a list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees.

He is in effect submitting that list to the Senate Majority leader Mitch
McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and all other Republican
senators for their approval.

Chuck Grassley applauded the move, calling it an impressive list today.
And it was a measure of how much Donald Trump is distrusted by Republicans
that his campaign felt compelled to release this list.

Something no other presidential campaign has done. It was in effect Donald
Trump genuflecting in front of the Senate saying, I know you`re in charge,
here is my list.

Which it turns out wasn`t really Donald Trump`s list. It is basically the
same list a Republican think-tank in Washington came up with.

A think-tank that reflects the thinking of Republican senators. Also
today, the candidate who was described on this network last night as being
an ignoramus on foreign policy had an important foreign policy meeting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he is a stunning ignoramus on foreign policy
issues and national security which are the issues I care most about.

Nuclear arming South Korea, pulling out of NATO, the guy has a chimpanzee
level of understanding of national security policy.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump met with former Republican Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger at Kissinger`s home in New York City.

Neither of the men made any comment about the meeting before or after the
meeting. Joining us now, Steve Clemens; Washington editor at-large for
“The Atlantic” and an Msnbc contributor.

Also with us, John Fund; columnist for the “National Review”. John, so,
imagine yourself in the room there with Dr. Kissinger and candidate Trump.

Here is someone who has said could use nuclear weapons in the Middle East,
it`s OK with me if Japan gets nuclear weapons, so we don`t have to spend so
much money defending areas of the world like Japan.

That he`s going to sit down with North Korea and on and on and on. What
would Dr. Kissinger have said?

JOHN FUND, COLUMNIST, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, Dr. Kissinger knows Donald
Trump, and if you know Donald Trump, you know that if you don`t like
something he says, wait five minutes, he`ll say something different.


FUND: And if you do like something he says, wait five minutes, he`ll say
something different.

Donald Trump has now said, for example, on the Muslim ban to the United
States, it was only a suggestion.

I changed my mind, I change my mind all the time. So, I think if Donald
Trump was smart, he`ll just listen to Dr. Kissinger, maybe took some notes.

If he wasn`t smart, he`ll talk a great deal.

O`DONNELL: Steve, give me your – what you would guess, Henry Kissinger in
an hour with Donald Trump would say to him based on everything Henry
Kissinger has heard Donald Trump say already.

probably in the – in the track right now where the distance and gap
between Donald Trump and how he imagines his foreign policy, though he
really needs to go to school and learn from Kissinger, is less than people

Donald Trump is a populist realist, Henry Kissinger is an elite realist.
And where he may say to him, you know, wrecking NATO, wrecking
international institutions across the board really minimizes and reduces
American power and American ability to do things, you need to be more

But Henry Kissinger is no great believer in international institutions. He
is a – he is one of the kingpins of American realism that Donald Trump
tried to outline in a speech at the center for national interest of which
Kissinger is an honorary chairman.

So, while Kissinger has become seen as a mainstream guy who helped found
and build the international order as it is, he`s someone not wed to that.

And I think that he is probably going to – in a humble way and probably a
respectful way, you know, going to see Kissinger as like doing the New
Hampshire primary for GOP candidates, you`ve got to do it.

But I think there`s less distance between them than many people think.

O`DONNELL: And John, on China. Donald Trump`s talk if ever put into
action could easily lead to a trade war with China that could lead to more
than a trade war with China.

Surely, Henry Kissinger who opened our relations with China would have said
something to him about that.

FUND: Well, Trump probably would describe it from his point of view as the
art of a bluff.

He has said, we`ll never –


FUND: Ever trade war with China because I will convince them that I mean
business, and therefore they will make concessions on their currency and
other things and therefore we`ll never get to the trade war.

Now, Henry Kissinger, who is the modern (INAUDIBLE) of American secretaries
of state would probably say if you can get away with that, that would be a
good thing.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Steve, what about that? Do you – do you imagine that
Henry Kissinger gave Donald Trump any personal advice about dealing with
people like Putin actual personal insights to them.

CLEMENS: I think absolutely – I think we`re just – on your China
question, I mean, Henry Kissinger has written a book called “On China”.

And in that book he talked about how vital getting that relationship right,
you know, right is for the United States, the world and for China itself in
which he`s invested so much.

And so, I think he would counsel him on that. That doesn`t mean becoming a
flak or acquiescing to China, but it does mean meeting them robustly and
the same thing with Russia.

And again, in the speech that Trump gave, the only organized speech I`ve
heard him give on foreign policy, the two countries he talked about in a –
in a semi-more respectful way than most of our allies in Europe were China
and Russia.

Where he said, we basically need to look at whether we can square a deal.
And that is at its core somewhat Kissingerian and somewhat part of engaging
foreign leaders that are important in the world that we don`t get along
with and that we have problems.

And I`m not trying to legitimate Trump, I`m not trying to white-wash stuff
that he`s been doing.

But you need to look carefully at what Kissinger has really said over his
life and I think it is that we need to deal with the bad guys, not just the
good guys.

And I think that`s to some degree what he`s trying to counsel Trump.

And trying to also tell Trump don`t be as erratic, don`t be as
unpredictable in the world, you do need to deal with these people, but you
know, I think he`s probably saying dial it down a little bit.

O`DONNELL: John, quickly on the Supreme Court, the list of 11, this – it
seems to me, would calm Republican senators and official Republican
Washington about a Trump presidency, certainly in regards to the court.

FUND: Well, you know, originally, Donald Trump said that Diane Sykes and
Bill Pryor who were two circuit court judges would be top of his list.

He`s added nine other names, this is an outstanding collection of people.
However, back in March when he said, I will produce this list, he said,
this is the list I will choose from.

Per your point, now when the list is out, he says, this is representative
of the kind of people that I would – a big difference.

So, Donald Trump is not surrendering much, he is suggesting, once again,
not policy, suggesting these people not promising these people.

O`DONNELL: We will have to leave it there for tonight. John Fund and
Steve Clemons, thank you both for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.

CLEMONS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Clinton and Trump campaigns, using their
candidates` own words against each other. That is in tonight`s war room.



O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s war room. It is going to be a long night in
the Clinton campaign war room tonight after the release of two disturbing
polls today for the Clinton campaign. The Fox News National Poll that
shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton but within the margin of error
for a statistical tie.

In the New Hampshire poll that shows Hillary Clinton slightly ahead of
Donald Trump, but again still within the margin of error for a statistical
tie. New Hampshire was not supposed to be a battleground state for the

Barack Obama won it twice. Today, Hillary Clinton`s Super Pac launched its
first T.V. ads in the battleground states of Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and
Nevada. The ad`s target Donald Trump`s statements about women.


there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her, wherever.



TRUMP: Does she have a good body, no? Does she have a fat ass,



TRUMP: You like girls that are 5`1”, they come up to you know where.



TRUMP: If Ivanka were not my daughter perhaps I would be dating her.



TRUMP: I view a person who is flat chested is very hard to be a 10.



TRUMP: And, you can tell them to go [EXPLETIVE WORD] themselves.


O`DONNELL: The conservative Super Pac our principles launched a similar ad
in March during the republican primaries that also attacked Donald Trump`s
statements about women.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (1): Real quotes from Donald Trump about
women. A person who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (2): I would look her right in that fat ugly
face of hers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (4): Look at that face. Would anyone vote for

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (5): She had the height. She had the beauty.
She was crazy, but these are minor details.


O`DONNELL: With 174 days left for the campaign war rooms, joining us
tonight in the Last Word War Room, Steve McMahon, a veteran of three
democratic war rooms, most recently Howard Dean`s war room and Karine Jean-
Pierre, a veteran of the Obama war rooms and Martin O`Malley`s war rooms.

Karine, what surprised me about the Clinton Super Pac ad is it was
basically a copy of the republican ad, which means where is there idea?
Where is their own way of approaching this.

well, I think what they were trying to do is they were trying to remind
voters, right?


JEAN-PIERRE: Donald Trump is a wolf in sheep`s clothing, right? They are
trying to remind them, “Hey, this is still a wolf that is dressed in
sheep`s clothing.” And, so, it is really as they try to pivot to the
general election but still have Bernie Sanders in the primary, they are
trying to say, “Hey, let is not forget who this guy really is,” and they
did this ad.

But, I think to remember is that what made it successful against Mitt
Romney in 2012 is that we had one charge, right? All the democrats had one
charge and it stuck and it really worked on Mitt Romney. This time around,
there is so much dirt on Donald Trump that it is harder to find anything to
stick and we have to figure out what to that is?

O`DONNELL: Steve McMahon, the Clinton war room tonight with these two
polls coming out, New Hampshire is now something they are going to have to
fight for and to be behind Donald Trump in a national poll.

You know, only one poll, only one poll. But we heard Geoff Garin polling
for the Clinton Super Pac, basically, say he was not surprised by the Fox
Poll. He is saying we basically kind of saw this coming in our own

on the sample that you draw and the assumptions you make for instance about
the white vote. But when you are in the war room, Lawrence, you are
sitting there and you are saying, OK, if you take the Fox News Poll, for
instance, Donald Trump has a 14 – there is a 36 percent gender gap in the
Fox News Poll, which is much bigger than it was in 2012.

Trump leads among men by 22. Hillary leads among women by 14, which is a
little bit better than President Obama, but she is only at 50. So, when
you are in the war room, you are sitting there saying, “Do we attack our
weakness and try to mitigate it or do we leverage our strength?” “We think
we have a strength with women. We are only at 50. We think we can take
that number up to 56, 57. And, if we can, we put it out of reach.”

So, what they are doing is, they are playing to their strength right here.
They have a 14-point lead in the Fox Poll among women. They are going to
try to drive that lead up to 16, 18, 20 points from 50 percent of the vote,
which is where she is among women to 54, 56.

That makes it very difficult for Donald Trump if they can get that done.
So, that is what they are probably thinking in the war room tonight and
that is why they are going after these attacks on women that Donald Trump
has made over time.

O`DONNELL: Karine, I would expect if there was a Clinton campaign
spokesperson here tonight that kind of dismiss this poll and try to push it
somewhat. But in the war room, do not you take these polls and assume they
are right? Meaning you take – you always want to work from the worst-case

JEAN-PIERRE: Right. Well, look, a poll is a snapshot of what is happening
right now. We are in May, you know, the election is not until November.
So, that, we have to keep that in mind, like things are going to change.
The convention has not happened. We still need to pick a VP nominee, but
you do have to dig in a little bit and take a look at what is going on.

Look, it is not a surprise that Donald Trump is where he is. The
Republican Party has coalesced behind him. They have come home, but he has
not expanded his base. If you look at where African-Americans are in this
poll, there is an 83-point spread, right? And, so, that looks good for
Hillary Clinton. So, she needs to hold on to that. Where I saw there was
the problem there was the Latino vote.


JEAN-PIERRE: Which is she needs to build – continue to build on that.

O`DONNELL: She does not yet have the margin with Latinos took this vote in
that poll that Barack Obama had.

JEAN-PIERRE: Right, where Barack Obama was. And, also with the white
vote, the thing that I thought about, because Bill Clinton did this for
Obama in 2012, she is going to have to put him out there to help her with
the white vote because Donald Trump is certainly commanding that.



O`DONNELL: On this point of – I have always looked at the Clinton –
Hillary Clinton candidacies even when she was running for senate as the
first time as behaving like incumbent candidacies.


O`DONNELL: And, that is why I make the point that her number never goes
up. That is the way it works with the incumbents. If an incumbent starts
off with 55 percent of the vote a year out, it is not surprising if they
end up with 55.

Whereas Barack Obama when he was running against Hillary Clinton, he did
not have that incumbency sense to him. So, his numbers rose while hers
went straight down. And, Jeff made the point in the first block that,
“Well, yeah, but Hillary Clinton won some races at the end of the primary

But in every one of those, her number had gone down from where it started
the first time they did a poll in that state. And, so, how does she deal
with the weight of that. There is an extra weight that comes with that
incumbency sense that is on a campaign, how you make a number go up.

MCMAHON: There is an extra way and you got to deal with it and it has gone
down a little bit. But the way you deal with it is by disqualifying your
opponent, which is the way to take your number up. Because a vote against
Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton and that is what she is going to
do here and you will see a lot of that.

O`DONNELL: That is going to have to be the “Last Word” on tonight. Karine
Jean-Pierre and Steve McMahon, thank you both for joining us tonight.

MCMAHON: Thank you.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, breaking campaign news. Vice president news, a
former republican governor has agreed to run for vice president, just not
as a republican. And, an eyewitness to what happened in Las Vegas will
join us.



O`DONNELL: Senator Bernie Sanders has just taken the stage in California.
Let is listen in.


BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will win at least half or
more of the states in our country.


As of today, we have won over 9 million votes and almost 46 percent of all
of the pledged delegates, the real delegates that were voted on by the


SANDERS: Now, I do not deny for a moment that we have an uphill fight in
order to win a majority of the pledged delegates. But, we are going to
fight in California and the remaining five other states to get every vote
and every delegate we can.


And, let me say something that I think is enormously important and for me
very gratifying and that is that in every state contest that we have been
in, we have won and often by large margins the votes of young people.


And, that tells me and should tell everyone that our vision – an America
of social justice, economic justice, racial justice and environmental


That, that is the vision of the America of the future.


And, let me also mention something to you, and that is that every n every
state pole, and in every national poll that I have seen in the last two
months, we defeat Donald Trump.



O`DONNELL: That is Bernie Sanders in Vallejo, California. That is just
north of San Francisco and Berkeley in the bay area. And, he is certainly
right about that result tonight in the polls that we have been looking at.
He does do better against Donald Trump. We will be right back.


O`DONNELL: We have been struggling to get connected by satellite to Las
Vegas where Angie Morelli, Bernie Sanders` supporter who is going to join
us and explain to us what happened at that democratic convention out there
that got a little bit out of hand, but we have not been able to make that
connection work.

In the meantime, I just want to report breaking news here about a
presidential candidate, whose many of you met on this program recently,
Gary Johnson, libertarian presidential candidate. He is included in the
new Fox Poll, national poll tonight and it shows a surge for Gary Johnson.

Donald Trump at 42, Hillary Clinton at 39. And, with Gary Johnson in
there, he gets 10 percent of the vote. He ran for president four years ago
on the libertarian ticket, got 1 percent of the vote.

Also, in libertarian news tonight, former republican governor of
Massachusetts, two-term governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld says that he
would proudly serve as the vice presidential nominee of the libertarian
party if nominated. That is the latest on libertarian news and the
possible third party alternative that republicans have been looking for.
We will be right back.


O`DONNELL: We are back. Let is listen to more of Bernie Sanders in
Vallejo, California. He is speaking live to a rally audience there now.


SANDERS: – Than anyone in this country who works 40 hours a week should
not be living in poverty.


That means that we are going to raise the living wage in this country to a
living wage, $15 an hour.


And, that means we are going to end sexism which forces –


– which forces women to earn $0.79 on the dollar compared to men.


And, I know that every man here will stand with the women and the fight for
pay equity.


I was in Flint, Michigan, several months ago. And, what I saw there was
hard to believe that it was occurring in the United States of America in
the year, 2016. What I saw where children being poisoned by the lead in
the water they were drinking.


But if anyone thinks Flint, Michigan, is the only community in America,
which has unhealthy drinking water, you would be wrong. Hundreds of
communities in America have, if not to the same degree have serious
problems with their water.


O`DONNELL: That is Bernie Sanders campaigning in California tonight. We
are going to be coming back to it if there is anything more coming up
there. We are joined by Jonathan Alter, political analyst – MSNBC
Political Analyst.

Jonathan, Bernie Sanders made the point earlier in his comments that he
consistently polls better than Hillary Clinton does against Donald Trump.
You have a Fox News Poll out tonight, a rough one for Hillary Clinton with
her behind Donald Trump in a national poll, but Bernie Sanders ahead of
Donald Trump in that poll, polling better than Hillary Clinton.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. You know, it reminds me,
Bill Clinton in 1992 was running third in national polls behind George H.W.
Bush and Ross Perot. So, the polls are not really that material right now.
Hillary Clinton has this nomination won.

It is just a question of letting Bernie Sanders have his people go all the
way through the primaries through the beginning of June. He owes that to
them to stick with it until then, that time they really do have to close

And, Lawrence, you know, a friend reminded me of a bumper sticker in a
campaign that Edwin Edwards was running for governor of Louisiana against
David Duke, the KKK wizard. And, the bumper sticker said “Vote for the
Crook, it is important.”

So, if you are a Bernie Sanders supporter and let is say you think Hillary
Clinton is terrible, you may even think like Donald Trump, that she is a
rcook, it is still extraordinarily important for your country, that you set
aside whatever differences you have with Hillary Clinton and get down to
the business of preventing this man from taking office because he is a
menace. And, it is serious –

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, what about the Sanders supporters whose number one
issue is American jobs and trade. And, I have played on this program
before things that Donald Trump has said about that and Bernie Sanders say
about that and Bernie Sanders says it eloquently. But Donald Trump is
saying the same thing in rough Trump language.

ALTER: On that particular issue, yes, and the politics of trade are very
much in flux and Sanders now has a big group of people who can pressure a
President Clinton on TPP and other trade issues, but trade is not the only

The first question you have to ask is, is Donald Trump a con man? And, if
you believe he is a con man, as I do and I think anybody who has taken a
look at his record does, you have to protect our constitution and our
country from him. So, that is job one. And, it is like that Edwin
Edwards, you know, David Duke race. You got to take the lesser of two
evils if you are a Sanders supporter.

O`DONNELL: We are going to have to leave it there for tonight. Jonathan
alter gets tonight`s last word.


O`DONNELL: Thanks, Jonathan.

ALTER: Thank, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>