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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 09/25/15

Guests: Jennifer Granholm, Chris Van Hollen, Michael Tomasky, NormOrnstein, Maxine Waters

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Alex Wagner, in for Chris Hayes. Right now, all eyes are on Pope Francis, who has just concluded mass at Madison Garden in Midtown Manhattan, where he presided over a massive gathering of the faithful with 20,000 people in attendance. He is making his way through crowds of well wishers to the Vatican`s diplomatic residence on New York`s Upper East Side. It has been a full day for the 78-year-old pontiff, a day that started off with an address to the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited ground zero and met with schoolchildren in East Harlem. This is the pope`s second and final night in New York City, the second leg of his historic three-city tour of the United States. Tomorrow, he heads to Philadelphia where he is expected to have another jam-packed day, which will include a speech at Independence Hall. Joining us now from outside Madison Square Garden is Anne Thompson. Anne, tell us about what you`re seeing on the streets over there. ANNE THOMPSON, NBC NEWS: Well, Alex, there are -- when the pope`s little Fiat pulled away, some people here at 34th and 8th who`ve been waiting very, very patiently, they could get a long-distance view and a big cheer went up. But then he is gone. So, now, we`re all frozen in this location until the police say we can move again. So -- and this is what happens after the pope leaves. But I think what really struck me about this mass was at the end and was the extensive standing ovation that the pope got as the mass ended and Cardinal Dolan addressed him. I mean, he heads to Philly with the sound of 20,000 people cheering and applauding in a way that Madison Square Garden I don`t think has heard in decades. It was an extraordinary thing to see and to hear. New York showed everyone how much they love Pope Francis with that ovation. WAGNER: Anne, tell us a little bit about the folks who were on the street awaiting Pope Francis`s passage through the city. How big were those crowds, and did you get a sense of where folks were coming from? Was it mostly folks in New York? Were we talking about folks that had come in from other parts of the East Coast? THOMPSON: It was a little bit of everything, Alex. There were some people who just decided, especially down here around Madison Square Garden when they finished work, to take advantage and try to get a glimpse of Pope Francis. Some people just did it because honestly, you couldn`t move. I mean, I will tell you, 34th Street was crowded like I`ve never seen it ever. It was really hard to even move on the street. And I think some of it`s curiosity, some of it comes from people who are genuinely touched and moved by this pope. Some of the people there are Catholic. Some are fallen away Catholic. But I think that`s the other extraordinary thing about the appeal of Pope Francis, is that you don`t have to be Catholic to be touched by his message or to be moved by his message. His message is very, very basic. And that is, as he said yesterday in his speech, you know, follow the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And when you start from that, that`s something I think we can all agree on. And you put it in practice in your life. And I think that`s what people are drawn, to that and the fact that this man walks the talk. He lives humbly. He always stops to bless or talk to any person that he sees in need. In fact, I think he likes that better. That`s where he really -- you can see him just get energized by people because he feels that is such a crucial part of his ministry -- Alex. WAGNER: Anne, thanks for that update. I want to go now to NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis, who is outside the Vatican`s diplomatic residence on Manhattan`s Upper East Side, where the pope is staying the night tonight. Rehema, what are you seeing? REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: What we just saw was about a half a dozen or so of police cars with lights flashing that came down 72nd Street passing the residence. This was the prelude, if you will, to the pope`s arrival. We saw this earlier in the day when he came from the United Nations. First, we see the police cars, and then we will see about 12 to 14 motorcycles just before you see the SUVs and then you see that tiny little Fiat that the pope is riding in. So, I suspect that he will be here at any minute, where he will spend the night after a very busy day. His schedule is rigorous. I`ve said before that it would be daunting for a person half his age. And yet this pope, 78 years old, he starts very early in the morning and he`s going now into the evening. He had guests here at 6:00 this morning who had an opportunity to see him, to be blessed by him. And then as you know very busy schedule, now with the mass, and even when he came here for lunch this afternoon, which I`m told was just fish and rice because he`s on a bit of a diet, and now we see some more of the lights flashing behind me. Again, the pope is on his way. But he didn`t have much down time because he got here at 12:58, if you will. By 1:58, there were more guests coming into the residence. And now, he may have an opportunity to rest a little bit after a very long day as part of that 39-hour whirlwind visit to New York City where he`s been from the lower part of Manhattan all the way up to Harlem, greeting people along the way. I mentioned earlier that while this is an area where people are not invited to come and stand unlike Madison Square Garden and Central Park, the pope did invite people in in this afternoon including children and their families from Ronald McDonald house, children who are suffering from cancer. And he invited them in giving them an opportunity to see him, to be blessed by him. And later, we were told he asked these families and children to pray for him, the similar message that he offered people at Madison Square Garden tonight. So, he ended his day much the way he began his day. Here are the motorcycles I told you about that often are the real signal that the pope is right behind them. And now, we`re about to see the vehicles with the SUVs. WAGNER: Rehema, what can you tell us about the Vatican residence, for those people who are familiar and not familiar with New York City? ELLIS: Well, this is a residence here in a very upscale part of New York, Madison Avenue on the East Side, 72nd Street. It is a five-story building. And I`m told that they did an update on the wiring and the plumbing. They spruced it up a little bit, even more than it already was. But this building was constructed in the late 1800s. So, there`s a lot of old features about it, but it`s a lovely structure, I`m told, and from what I read. And again, it got some fixing up in advance of the pope. WAGNER: And, Rehema, for our viewers who are watching right now, we`re getting a little glimpse. You can almost see the pontiff in the Popemobile exiting -- the Fiat pulling up. I think that`s one of the -- that was Cardinal Dolan exiting the vehicle. And I believe the pope is closely behind him in another vehicle. Rehema, give us a sense of who`s on the street at this moment and how close onlookers can get to this motorcade. ELLIS: There are hundreds and hundreds of police on the street, and actually right in front of me there are no pedestrians. They have been kept away from this area. What you see out here are reporters, camera crews, and police officers. And for all the hundreds of police officers you can see who are in uniform, I would venture to guess there are a number of those that are in plain clothes so you don`t know about the officers. But they`re not pedestrians. This is an area that is heavily guarded, heavily secured. So tonight the pope will rest and get a good night`s sleep and be very safe as he ends a very long and tiring but very uplifting day, I hope for him, but it certainly was for the thousands of people who came out in New York City to see him. But this is a fortress area, Alex. This is all about guarding the pope and keeping him safe tonight. WAGNER: Rehema, do we know who else has been traveling in the pope`s entourage while he`s been touring New York City and making these many stops? ELLIS: Well, one of the things we do know is that Cardinal Dolan, who is the cardinal here in New York City, we saw him here with the pope, there have been a number of other religious leaders who have been with him throughout his journey today. There was also some lay people who had an opportunity to travel with him, but oftentimes when we have seen him come out of the residence, there have been priests who have been with the cardinal -- I`m sorry, with the pope, traveling with. And of course he`s always traveling with his interpreter. WAGNER: I want to bring in now George Weigel, our resident in-house Vatican scholar at NBC. George, talk to us a little about the sort of magnitude of this trip. First of all, the whirlwind nature but also the scope of the trip insofar as the pontiff has delivered mass to 20,000 faithful in Madison Square Garden this evening, but also spent time in a one-on-one capacity at a school in East Harlem. He`s going from the very, very big stage to the very small intimate stage. GEORGE WEIGEL, NBC NEWS SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: I thought the school visit was just marvelous because one of the things the Catholic Church has done in the United States for almost 200 years now is educate poor kids, educate kids who might not otherwise have a chance. And to lift that up was a great thing for the Holy Father to do. And I think he enjoyed it. He looked like he was having a good time too. The event at Ground Zero today I thought was really quite striking. In a world that is continually being torn apart by violence and wickedness of the worst sort, here was this remarkable coming together of people of faith, different convictions, and it somehow helped heal the remaining hurt from 14 years ago. I said on a broadcast earlier today that one of the unknown jobs of the pope is to try to help people deal with their pain. He`s a pain absorber for people, and to see him meet with those families of first responder deaths. WAGNER: 9/11. WEIGEL: Really embodied that role of the pope which Christ said to Peter, you are to strengthen your brethren. So that was very important as well. The centerpiece of this whole day is what happened at Madison Square Garden. Everything the Catholic Church does only makes sense in terms of its celebration of the Holy Eucharist, its celebration of mass. And, you know, the Second Vatican Council said the liturgy is where the church really begins and goes. And that`s the engine that makes all of this go. And I thought it was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony. When Annie Thompson just mentioned the applause, I`m sure a few people thought there hasn`t been anything like this since Willis Reed came out on the seventh day of the `78 NBA finals limping on that bad leg -- WAGNER: It was a big night for the Garden, as Catholics in America. I want to bring another Catholic in America, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Governor Granholm, you were writing in "The Huffington Post" this week about the importance of Pope Francis`s words in the context of where we are as a country politically. And I guess I wonder sitting as we are ahead of the 2016 presidential elections, how much do you think the pope`s message about immigration or climate change will maybe affect the dynamics of this race? JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: From your mouth to God`s ears. I mean, today, actually, there`s the start of this Values Voters Summit. And you know, I`ll be curious to see. I mean, here the pope is talking about the people who are not seen, the people who are at the margins. And you know, for us lowly politicians the way we try to live up to our faith, right, is to enact laws that exhort, you know, that take care of the things that our faith is exhorting us to do like the pope. So how does that manifest itself? It manifests itself in making sure that for us -- now, I`m a Catholic Democrat. So, how I see this is OK, we`ve got to have a strong safety net for those -- for the rest for our common family, for our human family, we have to make sure that we have Social Security and we`ve got health care for children and all of that. And so I`m curious this weekend that this values voters summit, is any of this going to translate? This welcoming in the stranger. Will there be some -- will there not be a tin ear to people who are immigrants? Can we see some action, some opening? Can it soften the ground on climate change? Those things I just would so be grateful if the pope`s message goes beyond just the Catholic faith, beyond just the Christian faith, but really transcends political parties. That would be awesome. WAGNER: Jennifer, I mean, in terms of American progressive Catholics, I guess I wonder what the pope`s effect would be looking forward on those Catholics who may not feel like they had a place in the church for years. Do you think this is a turning point? GRANHOLM: Oh, it is so -- Alex, I`m just saying, I`m a governor who was protested because of my position on whether the government should have a role in a woman`s medical decisions. And when this pope came in and said -- and started to stress the things that we could do something about related to poor people and all of that, that he emphasized not just the cultural issues but the issues related to people who we are serving. I was just like, Lord, this is -- this is like manna from heaven for those of us who are trying to serve in our own humble way. I`m just saying, I think that for so many people like me and like others who have felt closed out, people who may be gay, people who have fallen away, people who may be divorced, they feel like oh, my gosh, there`s an opening now. I`ll be curious to see whether more people are actually attending church and whether his message goes beyond just the church walls but goes, you know -- goes out. WAGNER: The exuberance, I can feel and hear the exuberance from over here, Jennifer Granholm. Governor, it`s great to see you. Thanks for your time. GRANHOLM: Good to see you, too. WAGNER: Thanks as always for your time. When we come back, the other humongous story of this day, the shocking resignation of Speaker of the House John Boehner. The one and only Chris Matthews will join me on that amazing news, coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: Up next, the other huge news story today. Speaker of the House John Boehner abruptly announces that he is stepping down and leaving Congress. Chris Matthews joins us coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: Now the other major news story of today, House Speaker John Boehner`s bombshell decision to resign from leadership and from Congress at the end of October. He made the announcement at a meeting with the House Republican Caucus this morning and by all accounts almost no one saw it coming. I`m joined now by our very own Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC`s "HARDBALL." Chris, it is great to see you as always. Huge news stories today. We`re learning from politico that Speaker Boehner was looking at November 17th as a possible resignation date. But that the pope`s visit seemed to have somehow pushed all of this up to the immediate. CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL: Well, I was taken the other day by his desire to meet alone with the pope, just he and him, obviously a spiritual moment. And he wanted to talk to him. He wanted his counsel, his prayers, or something. And I thought this was interesting. I don`t know if he ever had that chance. He said he did. But there were a bunch of other cardinals in the room. I don`t know if they ruined that chance for that entre nous moment. But I think he`s been under a lot of stress. We all know that. There`s this push, this mutiny on the right to knock him as -- to declare his speaker`s chair vacant and all kinds of threats that if he uses the Democrats to save his seat as speaker, that they would really go in rebellion against both the Democrats and Republicans. So, he`s got very much a revolutionary caucus and he is not a revolutionary. He`s a traditional Republican conservative from the Midwest, the kind that I grew up with. The kind that has usually been the Republican Party establishment. But he doesn`t fit anymore. He doesn`t fit with these people or the Republican Party out there because if you look at the three people -- you know this, Alex, the three people leading in the polls, Trump and Dr. Carson and Carly Fiorina, if you add up their votes, it`s well over 50 percent of the polling right now. So, the party is being led by the revolutionary crowd right now and he doesn`t represent them at all. WAGNER: Chris, I wonder if you`re Mitch McConnell, right, another establishment Republican known kind of as a dealmaker on the Hill, how do you greet this news? I mean, I`m reminded of the old adage, the devil you know versus the devil you don`t, and I wonder how Senate Republicans in particular think about this decision. MATTHEWS: Well, the problem with the Senate is it`s been overrun by so many House members. If you think about the decorum and the bipartisan nature of the Senate, it basically was killed when all those House members from the Republican side went over to the Senate and they brought the values of the house with them, which is very partisan, that values system, very partisan. The Senate didn`t seem to operate like that. I still -- I don`t think it`s as bad as the House yet, Alex, in terms of zealous partisanship. WAGNER: What do you think, Chris, about how house Democrats are greeting this news? We spoke with Maxine Waters earlier today and we`ll be playing that interview later on in the hour. But Boehner talked about bipartisanship in what will probably be seen as his farewell press conference, and he talked about his relationship with Democrats, which is not something that we talk about frequently in terms of Washington. And I wonder what you think the Democratic reaction can and should be in this moment. MATTHEWS: Well, I`m not Nancy Pelosi, and she has her own political stresses and pressures on her and aspirations, but I hope they don`t press too high a price to Boehner in trying to get a continuing resolution to go -- to get 218 votes. I hope they give him enough votes to get the thing through and not use this as a chance, but I understand they`re going to ask for more defense spending and more domestic spending as the price for even a short-term continuing resolution. My hope, call me crazy, but if Boehner`s going out, why not go out with a bang? WAGNER: Yes. MATTHEWS: Find a way to bring to the floor the Senate immigration bill. It`s a good bill. It`s not a left-wing bill -- WAGNER: But do you think he`ll do that? MATTHEWS: Look, I`m praying he will because this will put this hell behind us. It`s a good bill. It provides for ultimately being able to become a citizen after a lot of obstacles, a lot of hurdles. But you can get there. Secondly, it really does have an enforcement mechanism. We all know walls aren`t going to keep a guy or a woman from coming to America if they need a job. It will stop people from illegal hiring. This is the kind of thing that would really work if they pass it and really mean to enforce it and we wouldn`t have Donald Trumps running around demagoguing the issue. What I am afraid of is that both sides want the issue -- the demagogues want it to run against immigration and the Democrats want it to keep the Hispanic vote 100 percent or 89 percent Democrat. If they just pass the bill, so Pelosi, if I were her, and I`m not her and I`m not in her position, go to Boehner and say, you know what , let`s get that rules committee to bring this to the floor. Special procedures. WAGNER: It would be -- MATTHEWS: It would be wonderful. It would kill Trump. It would kill Trump. WAGNER: And, look, and I`ll say, Chris, you know this well, a lot gets done in a lame duck session of Congress. A lot is getting done in a lame duck moment of this president`s final term. And maybe a lot will get done in the lame duck moment of John Boehner`s speakership. Chris Matthews, it is always good to see you. Thanks for your time. MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Alex. WAGNER: Much more on John Boehner`s resignation coming up. Representatives Chris Van Hollen, Maxine Waters and the man known as junior, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Luke Russert. Don`t go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This morning, I woke up, and walked up to Starbucks as usual and got my coffee and came back and read, walked up to Pete`s Diner and saw everybody at Pete`s. And got home and thought, yes, I think today`s the day. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: And with that, House Speaker John Boehner dropped his bombshell decision to resign from Congress. It certainly seems to have put a spring in his step at a press conference today to explain the decision the speaker walked into the room singing a song. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOEHNER: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-a. My oh my, what a wonderful day. I used to sing that on my way to work in the morning. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: The announcement comes just days before the federal government runs out of money on September 30th. With House conservatives threatening to shut the government down in a ploy to defund Planned Parenthood and to challenge Boehner`s speakership if he stands in a way. At his press conference, Boehner suggested the potential battle was a major factor in his decision. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOEHNER: It`s become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution. As you`ve often heard me say, this isn`t about me. It`s about the people. It`s about the institution. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Boehner now joins Eric Cantor on the House list of republican leaders effectively forced out by the party`s right wing. Despite Boehner`s strong opposition to this administration, the speaker drew widespread praise from across the aisle including from the president himself. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We have obviously had a lot of disagreements and politically we`re at different ends of the spectrum, but I will tell you, he has always conducted himself with courtesy and civility with me. Maybe most importantly, he`s somebody who understands that in government, in governance you don`t get 100 percent of what you want, but you have to work with people who you disagree with, sometimes strongly, in order to do the people`s business. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: But Boehner`s resignation got a very different reaction when Senator Marco Rubio brought it up at the Values Voters Summit today in Washington. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: Just a few minutes ago, Speaker Boehner announced that he will be resigning. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Joining me now, NBC News congressional correspondent Luke Russert, known to Speaker Boehner and now the world as junior. The man who was at the speaker`s press conference today, got the first question. Luke, you are our in-house Boehner whisperer. What`s going on and what`s going to happen to House Republicans in the near-term with the government shutdown and in the long-term in terms of leadership? LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So what`s going on? Well, we have heard rumblings that John Boehner was considering retirement and most all of us who cover him on a day to day pretty much knew he would retire at the end of this congress barring Jeb Bush winning the presidency and begging him to stay. The question was not if, but when. I think that was moved up because of Pope Francis`s visit, honestly. And I asked that to Boehner. He said no, not necessarily. But Pope Francis`s visit definitely put it in perspective. So that`s why this came out today. Now, what happens next? I have it on good sourcing that Kevin McCarthy is all set to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives. He should not face a real serious challenge. So he becomes speaker. In the near-term next week by Boehner doing this, essentially falling on the sword, the government will be funded. A clean bill that funds Planned Parenthood will come through the Senate. It will then be put on the House floor probably Wednesday, the last day possible by Boehner. It will get maybe 35, 40 Republican votes and pass with Democratic support. That averts that fight. Then you have to raise the debt limit. You have to fund the government again more likely than not in December. And oh, by the way, export-import bank needs to be figured out as well as funding the highway. So the next speaker has a lot to do. Could Boehner try to get all this done in the month of October if the Senate was willing to play ball? Sure. But I don`t necessarily know if they would be willing to do that or if McConnell thinks that that`s wise for his own future considering how many of his members dislike him. In our own NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing 72 percent of Republicans dissatisfied with the congressional leadership. I think that sort of perhaps showed Boehner that while he could win the fight it`s not a good one on the horizon for him or McConnell. WAGNER: Well, Luke, before we let you go, in terms of the man himself. I mean, this is a speaker that you have interacted with a lot. You know the man well. Yesterday there were tears. He was incredibly publicly emotional. Today he literally walked into this press conference singing zip-a-dee-doo-dah. To say he was light of heart would not be an understatement. This seemed like a decision he made easily. RUSSERT: You know, he`s relieved, Alex, because I think the pressure on him has just grown so much over the last six months. And you have to remember I`ve seen where John Boehner grew up. He grew up on the side of a small hill in Reading, Ohio one of 12 children, four kids to a room. His parents slept on a pullout couch. He had to sweep a bar every morning at 5:00 a.m. before he went to school. It took seven years to finish college, never thought that he would amount to being a college graduate and successful businessman, much less get elected to congress and become speaker. So to have the Holy Father there yesterday, that was the pinnacle of his life. I have it on good authority that it`s bigger than almost his wife getting married to him or his children. So I think that`s really what happened is that he`s comfortable. He knows that`s he`s accomplished as much as he can and he`ll go on in the future. I don`t think he`ll have a leadership symposium or anything. I think he`ll be on the golf course thinking my gosh, what a run I had. WAGNER: And he`s given a gift to all of us here at NBC and MSNBC. And so far we can call you junior officially on the air. RUSSERT: I know, 30 years old and I`m junior. I love that. I just turned 30 in August and I can still be junior. WAGNER: It`s your new nickname, buddy. RUSSERT: Hey, I saw your mom outside the Nunciore (ph). She looked great. WAGNER: Thanks, Luke, for sharing that with America. Thank you, Luke Russert, as always, my friend. I`m joined by Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from Maryland. Congressman Van Hollen, thanks for joining us on this Friday night. How did you hear the news that John Boehner was going to be stepping down? REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D) MARYLAND: Well, I was surprised as well. Like Luke I figured it was a matter of when, but I didn`t think it would be this soon. And I`m sure the speaker`s very relieved. He was clearly relieved at his press conference. But this is a very bad sign for the future of the House and the prospects of actually getting things done because what this means, Alex, is that the 40 Tea Party folks, the most extreme folks in the Republican caucus at the end of the day had their way. They`re emboldened now. And whoever becomes the next speaker, they will hold a hammer over whoever that speaker is. And anytime the speaker gets out of line with that right-wing Tea Party agenda they can bring it down. WAGNER: So is there going to be a government shutdown, congressman? VAN HOLLEN: Well, we`re going to work very hard to avoid a government shutdown. And the clock is ticking. We`re going to work very hard to do that. If we are able to avoid it, this does mean even bigger trouble, though, just months from now because the folks who are going to be upset about the failure to shut down the government -- if we`re able to keep the government funded, if we`re able to keep women`s health programs and Planned Parenthood funded for the short period of time so we can buy some negotiating space, which is what I hope happens, then the question is what next? What happens just a few months from now? WAGNER: Well, and let me ask you on that front, are House Democrats excited by the prospect of Kevin McCarthy taking the gavel? VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think Kevin McCarthy, I mean, he wasn`t trying to push the speaker out. He`s been a team player with the speaker. But I`ve got to believe he`s thinking tonight, you know, what just landed in my hand here? Because there`s no reason to believe that Kevin McCarthy is going to be able to deal with this 40 Tea Party member caucus any better than Speaker Boehner did. In fact, they`re going to be emboldened. They`re going to be making demands on Kevin McCarthy and constantly threatening to bring him down. In fact, there are some Republican radio hosts right now who are already talking about bringing down Kevin McCarthy so they can keep going here. So this is a bad, bad sign for those of us who would like at least something to happen in the House to keep the government open, to keep it funded over the rest of the year at the kind of levels that are necessary to maintain our priorities in this country. WAGNER: Congressman, do you think there`s even the shade of expectation that Speaker Boehner might do something on immigration or try and do something big in his remaining days as Speaker of the House? VAN HOLLEN: Well, I hoped that he would go out with something bold as well. It seemed to me that if you`re going to resign as speaker you might as well resign when you`re getting some big thing done for the country. The problem of course on the immigration reform bill is that it went away at the end of the last congress. I mean, the bill that came out of the Senate went away with the new congress. You`d have to start from scratch. And at this point in time, the senators, the Republican -- the senate is now in Republican control... WAGNER: Like Marco Rubio. VAN HOLLEN: Marco Rubio, who helped pass it out the first time is now against it. So that`s not something the speaker`s going to be able to do. I`d love it if he tried. But it would die in the Senate now. There are other things he could do on budget issues and make sure that we funded the government at adequate levels to invest in places like the National Institutes of Health and Head Start and education. He could do that. But it didn`t sound to me at the press conference today that that was what was on his mind. It was like he just wants to get out of here. WAGNER: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. Congressman Chris Van Hollen. VAN HOLLEN: Unfortunately, it`s going to leave quite a mess for the next couple months. WAGNER: Indeed it sounds like it will. Thanks for your time as always, congressman. VAN HOLLEN: Thank you. WAGNER: Up next, I`ll talk with Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters who joined congress the same year as John Boehner, about what could still be in store. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: House Speaker John Boehner, who today made the surprise announcement that he is leaving congress, started his congressional career in 1991 in the same freshman class as a politician with a very different political stripe: California Democrat Maxine Waters. During an emotional press conference discussing his decision earlier today, Boehner was asked what he is going to miss when he leaves congress. He pointed to the camaraderie he has with his colleagues and then specifically cited a conversation he had with Waters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOEHNER: Now, you know, there`s nothing about my politics and Maxine Waters` politics that`s even anywhere close. But yesterday, about 5:30, she called my office. I got a note that she called. So I called her back. And she said, you know, I`ve watched you for 25 years here. We came here together and watched your career. And watched you today. And she says, I just want to tell you something, I`m really proud of you. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: A short time ago I had a chance to speak to Congresswoman Waters about that phone call. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: I called him after watching him with the pope, and I watched him because he was absolutely very vulnerable at that moment. He was emotional. And I knew what it meant to him to have the pope here in the House of Representatives addressing the joint session of Congress. I knew that this was something that he had wanted to happen for a long time. And so I said to him, you know, we came here together and you`ve done very well. You`ve been successful. You have become the Speaker of the House of Representatives and that`s not an easy thing to do. You have to really, really work very hard and get the support of a lot of members of your conference in order to do that and you`ve achieved that. Not only have you achieved that, you are now realizing this historical moment in the history of the congress of the United States. You got the pope to come and do this address to the joint session. And so I just want to tell you, I`m proud of you. And I think, you know, he might have been a little surprised, but we have a relationship. And I think there are other people who will learn about this, will be a lot more surprised than certainly John Boehner because they don`t know about these kinds of relationships. They get snippets of us in the press, and I am described as this very left-wing liberal, you know, congresswoman and he`s described as this very conservative leader who can`t get things done, and they don`t know that we`re working oftentimes behind the scenes and we`re able to help get some things done even though we disagree on some very basic issues. And so that was the call. And that`s what I said to him. And I think he was very appreciative of it. He`s come to the conclusion that he`s going to retire. But I think he can be proud of his success. He may not have been able to do everything that he`s wanted to do because I know he`s wanted to do some things where there was disagreement in his conference and he wasn`t able to get it done. Just like now, we are trying to work on, you know, reauthorization of the export-import bank. He wants to get that done. But he`s being resisted by the right wing in his caucus, in his conference, and he can`t get it done. So you know... WAGNER: Congressman, do you think that he will get it done? Do you think that the so-called -- what you could perhaps term the lame duck session of his speakership will be filled with the things that he would have liked to do prior to this period? WATERS: I don`t know. But I sure would like him to try. I would like him to get this Ex-Im(ph) bank authorized. I would like him to help move this highway bill. I would like him to do everything he can to keep the right wing from shutting down this congress over Planned Parenthood. So I don`t know how much he will try to do in this lame duck. WAGNER: Congresswoman, let me ask you one more question. Who would you like -- who would House Democrats like to see take over the speaker`s gavel? WATERS: We`re not saying. We`re not going to get in it. We`re not going to identify anybody that we think would be the best. As a matter of fact, that might hurt them. We`re going to let them fight it out. They`re going to have to have a struggle inside that conference. They have been at odds with each other inside that conference for a long time now. And so I don`t think anything is going to happen easily. It`s going to be a little struggle over there and we don`t know who it`s going to be. We`re not saying anything about it. This is their fight. Let them fight it out. WAGNER: And they certainly will. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, great to see you. Thanks so much for your time. WATERS: And thank you so much. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Still to come, a look back at just what kind of legacy John Boehner leaves behind. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: Up next, what does a John Boehner-free Republican congress look like? And what about the legacy of the 61st Speaker of the House? We`ll talk about that coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOEHNER: We should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal. We`ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: John Boehner is earning widespread praise for his leadership in the House of Representatives, but his nearly five-year term as speaker may go down as one of the least productive periods in House history. Characterized by unprecedented obstructionism and gridlock with repeated budget crises, a stalled vote on comprehensive immigration reform, and over 60 failed votes to repeal or restrict Obamacare. Boehner is leaving behind a complicated legacy and an uncertain path forward for the House Republican caucus. I`m joined by Michael Thomasky, columnist for The Daily Beast and Norm Orenstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co- author of "It`s even worse than it looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism." Michael, let me start with you. I want to ask you a question that one would think we would know the answer to, which is -- what do you think John Boehner`s politics truly are? Jonathan Chait posits that effectively Boehner`s differences with the radical Republican base are more tactical than philosophical. Molly Ball in The Atlantic says, no, effectively John Boehner is the front man for the GOP`s business-oriented wing. Where do you think he actually is in terms of his ideology? MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: I think he`s what we would have called 20 or 30 years ago a rock-ribbed conservative. I don`t think there`s much question about that. But these days a rock-ribbed conservative who`s possibly willing to compromise and legislate is a sellout and a quisling to the more extreme wing of his party. So, gets tagged as a moderate. But he`s not a moderate at all ideologically. He`s a conservative. He just believes, or once believed or tried to believe or something like that, in the idea of legislation and compromise, but then he caved as speaker repeatedly. Repeatedly, repeatedly, time and time again he caved to his extremists. So, you know, the ideological differences between him and Tim Huelskamp doesn`t really make any difference. What makes a difference is that they led him around rather than the other way. WAGNER: Norm, how do you read this in terms of the path forward? Is it effectively the end of what some people would call a blue state Republican Party and a red state Democratic Party or representatives from those respective wings? Are we going to see those people elected to congress ever again? NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUE: Not for a very long time, Alex. I mean, we have seen not just the sharp polarization and the regional divide take place the way it has, but it`s turned into tribalism and we`re not going back from it anytime soon, and if we`re looking ahead the Republican Party is characterized by basically a struggle between radical crazies and right-wing realists. And Boehner was a realist. And the fact is anybody coming into the speakership, Kevin McCarthy coming in now, is not going to have any Republicans, or many Republicans, who are going to be eager to go along with the notion that, well, we`ve got to govern, which is what McCarthy himself said after the Republicans took the majority in the Senate. So nothing seriously changes except the deck chairs right now. WAGNER: Michael there, seems to be a thesis that show the base it can`t be done, let them walk to the cliff, let them incite a shutdown and they`ll learn. And in fact the people that seem to be taking the lessons the hardest, the people that are really paying the price, are the establishment. Time and time again we see them being the sort of sacrificial lambs in this process, and I guess I wonder what price do you think the base will extract now that Boehner is departing? TOMASKY: I don`t know. But it`s a good question because they`ll think of something new, I`m sure. And to people on the radical end of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives I don`t think they feel - - excuse me -- that there is much of a price to be paid for a government shutdown, certainly not with respect to their own re-elections because they come from districts where the vast majority of their voters or a majority anyway of their voters are going to think that a shutdown is fine, that they stood up to Obama and they stood up to the Democrats. And even nationally for the last shutdown that Ted Cruz led they didn`t pay much of a price. You know, other events took precedence, and they didn`t pay any price for that. So I think if the establishment wants them to walk to the cliff they`ll walk to the cliff and they`ll take the establishment over the cliff and the establishment might think that they`re going to pay a price and the Republican Party might pay a little bit of a price in a presidential election but these individual members will pay no price. WAGNER: Norm, how much longer can these two wings of the party co- exist under the same roof? ORNSTEIN: this is going to be a really difficult struggle and I think it`s almost an existential one for the Republican Party now. It`s been building for a long time. And you know, Alex, I was saying to Mike before we began that when Tom and I did our book "It`s Even Worse Than it Looks" there were plenty of establishment Republicans who were really upset and said oh, that`s ridiculous, we haven`t gone that far off in a different direction, they ignored the warning signals, and of course the fact is the young guns, including McCarthy, the now departed Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan incited and really inflicted a lot of the anger out there on the Tea Party people and now they`re paying a price and it`s not going away and the establishment is losing at the moment and they`re losing on the presidential side as well. WAGNER: They should have read the book. Michael Tomasky and Norm Ornstein, thank you guys both. ORNSTEIN: Thanks a lot. TOMASKY: Thank you, Alex. WAGNER: Coming up next, if you don`t have plans yet for tomorrow, allow me to make a suggestion. Don`t go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: It is another big day here in New York tomorrow as dozens of celebrities and world leaders and 60,000 other people gather in Central Park for the fourth annual global citizen festival, an event to help the fight to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. The festival features performances by Pearl Jam, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, and I will be out there as well as I usually am with those folks hosting the event on MSNBC with my colleagues Thomas Roberts, Janet Mock, and Willie Geist. And we will be simulcasting the whole thing right here on MSNBC and starting at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. You do not want to miss it. Trust me on that. That is us -- that is it for us this evening. I`m Alex Wagner. Chris will be back on Monday. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END