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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 01/27/15

Guests: Gary Berntsen, Shane Harris, Alyssa Rosenberg, Courtney Duckworth,Susan Crabtree

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, Rachel, now I`ve seen everything. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" playing with balls in men`s bathrooms. RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Yes, you wouldn`t expect it from everything you heard with this show, would you? (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: I`ve seen everything. MADDOW: Thank you, my dear. O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. I need a recovery minute here. Let`s start with what`s in prompter. With President Obama`s poll numbers steadily increasing, Republicans who thought they could run for president by bashing President Obama have to think again. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama`s at 50 percent on a new poll. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he`s on his way up to 55 percent. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our economy is growing and creating jobs -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He declared that the American economy has recovered. OBAMA: -- at the fastest pace since 1999. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This looks to be a very good year for the Democrats. OBAMA: This is good news, people. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really is around the issue of economic recovery. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president`s prescriptions for dealing with income inequality -- SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Who is benefitting from this? BOEHNER: -- have actually made things worse. MCCONNELL: Top of the income recovery. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very heart-warming to see Mitch McConnell standing up for the little guy. JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: What do you got for us? SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Anybody would be interested. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie is starting a presidential PAC. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There is economic stagnation in this country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republican Governor Scott Walker took his first formal step towards a presidential run. GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We`re going to keep lowering taxes. JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Portfolios are strong, but paychecks are weak. MITT ROMNEY (R), GOP 2012 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The rich have gotten richer. RICK PERRY (R), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: We need to stop strangling small businesses. SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We need to repeal every word of Obamacare. STEWART: Oh, it`s the exact same (EXPLETIVE DELETED) thing. PALIN: Of course. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes? PALIN: I mean, of course. (END VIDEOTAPE) O`DONNELL: President Obama`s approval rating has reached 50 percent in another poll. It is this time the gallop presidential approval poll, the first time the president`s number has been that high in 20 months in that poll. This good news for the president follows a period of stronger economic growth for the country, including falling oil prices, and an increase in consumer confidence. A recent NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows that 49 percent of Americans approve of President Obama`s handling of the economy, that is the highest that has been since he won re-election in 2012. Nate Cohen from "The New York Times" writes, "The modest improvement in Mr. Obama`s standings suggests that the Republicans cannot count on an easy midterm- like victory if the economy continues to grow at a healthy pace." Republicans running for president now face the choice of updating their talking points or denying reality. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality have gotten worse. Their liberal policies are good every four years for a campaign but they don`t get the job done. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: We will never be able to build a strong economy when we punish productivity and reward reckless irresponsibility. BUSH: Obamacare is clearly a job killer. CHRISTIE: There is uncertainty in our country, and it is a product of the failure of leadership and that failure has happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIPS) O`DONNELL: On Friday, Chris Christie launched a political action committee, a standard step in running for president. Today, another Republican governor, Scott Walker, launched his PAC. This weekend, Scott Walker spoke at the Iowa Freedom Summit where he walked on the stage to the tune of "I`m Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC) WALKER: Thanks. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The Dropkick Murphys responded to that moment in a tweet: "Scott Walker, Governor Walker, please stop using our music in any way. We literally hate you. Love, Dropkick Murphys." Joining me now is Washington Post columnist and MSNBC political analyst E.J. Dionne, and co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE", Krystal Ball. So, Krystal, Republicans, they`re never careful enough in choosing the music. There`s a lot of potential problems in there on -- KRYTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: Yes, they have a tough time with this. This is not the first time that a Republican candidate -- O`DONNELL: I literally hate you, they say. BALL: You have to admire that they`re very direct. They just laid it out there, and, you know, they support union rights and maybe should have checked that out before he picked the song. But, you know, Scott Walker, of all the candidates that went to Iowa, seem to have a breakout performance. People talk about Chris Christie being able to kind of win over the crowd, which is a key test in a conservative state. But Scott Walker has, I think, a good talking point for the Republican primary electorate. He can say I won three times in a blue state in four years. I think that`s compelling, and he is kind of an icon in terms of the union-busting stuff that he`s done and the Koch brothers seem to really like him, which doesn`t hurt. O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, we should preface any discussion of Republican presidential primary possibilities with this confession from me, which viewers of this program will remember. I predicted early on that Tim Pawlenty would get the Republican nomination last year, and I did it through a process of elimination showing there was something horribly wrong with every other candidate and nothing particularly wrong with Pawlenty, which made a lot of sense to me, proving that I know nothing about the Republican primary electorate. But I`m starting to suspect, and remember, this is coming from me -- OK, so for what it`s worth -- that Scott Walker may be the Tim Pawlenty of this group, meaning, yes, OK, on paper you can see the case for him. But on a stage, he won`t find a way of rhetorically standing up. E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, I was going to say, until you read that e-mail, that Scott Walker had finally done something I agreed with, which is to pick that Dropkick Murphys song. Theory and practice, I think your theory on Pawlenty is still right. It didn`t work out, but it was an intelligent theory. BALL: Sound theory. DIONNE: I think that is true of Scott Walker. I am actually starting to hear your theory from other Republicans, and that his positioning in the Republican Party may be just about right, because he is to the right of Jeb Bush a little bit. He`s to the right of Chris Christie. And he`s probably -- he can position himself if he wants to the right of Mitt Romney, because you`re never quite sure where Romney is positioned. But there`s a question about him. He has won a lot of campaigns, Krystal`s right about that. But you just wonder what`s the depth there? Does that sort of last? We haven`t -- you know, how do these scandals, sort of scandals that have never quite gotten there in terms of campaign finance, do those heat up? The connection to the Koch brothers, maybe that helps him in Republican primaries. So, I think there are some vulnerabilities there. But, yes, he`s the remainder guy in this race, just like Tim Pawlenty. BALL: If I could. If the ethics stuff, the question marks around that, if that doesn`t heat up more, I don`t think the stuff that`s come out so far is going to be hard for him to overcome. I think there`s a bigger question about how he`s done in terms of jobs in the state of Wisconsin, it`s ranked somewhere around 35th in terms of job creation. So, his record in terms of growth and trying to run on that is not particularly stellar. DIONNE: All right. I`m going to put -- if you compare it to next door in Minnesota, which pursued a very different Democratic policy, there`s already been stuff written about it, I think we`re going to see that comparison a lot, as well as a comparison to the country quite a lot if Scott Walker gets somewhere. O`DONNELL: Next door in Minnesota where Tim Pawlenty was governor. So, Chris Christie, we can be very grateful, is continuing to make every necessary move for his presidential campaign. He`s started the PAC, and I need him to run, because my prediction for Chris Christie is -- and he should take heart that the prediction`s coming from me -- that he`s the Giuliani of this campaign. He`s going to flame out just as quickly as Giuliani. BALL: I agree with that prediction for what it`s worth. I mean, I don`t think the bridgegate stuff in and of itself would be enough for the Republican electorate to kind of write him off, but I think because they already had some question marks about whether he was really one of theirs, there was enough to start of tarnish the brand. I really feel like Christie`s time to run was the last election cycle. He was on the upswing. He was the new, exciting governor, taking it to the people. He was straight talking. Now that style has worn a little thin, and it just feels like him yelling at people rather than being the tough straight shooter, and conservatives do rightly have some questions about exactly where he is on the issues. And we`re talking about Scott Walker with 35th in job production. New Jersey is like 48th, 49th, somewhere in there in terms of job growth. So, not exactly a great record either. O`DONNELL: E.J., the way I look at candidates this bigger group this far out is how are the others going to attack a particular candidate? I don`t care what they`re going to say as their positive campaign, and it`s how they`re going to attack. With Chris Christie, I think the way bridgegate brings him down, the other candidates can run tapes of him saying these words, I delegate enormous authority to my staff and my cabinet. That`s what he said in response to bridgegate. He then also said that staff humiliated him and New Jersey. And so, you don`t have to teach people in Iowans or New Hampshire the details of bridge gate. You just need to hear Chris Christie say that`s how he governs. DIONNE: That`s another one of your longstanding predictions. And I so hope you get to run the footage of that in somebody`s political ad. There`s one extra problem for Christie, which is his big claim on the party is, I`m actually pretty conservative, and I`m really popular in a blue state. Well, guess what? He`s not popular in New Jersey anymore. His numbers are way down, and I think that has an effect on him. If I can take my flyer, if he decides to run and Scott Walker doesn`t prove to be the Tim Pawlenty of this year, the guy I`m watching is Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana. He hasn`t made any moves yet. He says he`s going to wait until after the legislative session in that state. He could be the same guy if Scott Walker doesn`t make it. BALL: He`s the one I think might be the Tim Pawlenty this time. You both forgot the liability for Chris Christie -- O`DONNELL: When we say Tim Pawlenty, do we mean the loser -- BALL: Yes. O`DONNELL: -- or the guy who should win on paper? BALL: Who should win on paper. Got everything lined up on the resume, but doesn`t really do it for the voters. But we did forget the number one liability for Chris Christie, which is that hug with President Obama. That is not going to go away. O`DONNELL: And, Krystal, this thing about, I do well in a blue state. Since when have any Republican primary voters cared about that? BALL: I think there is maybe a moment right now to make the case for this and play devil`s advocate, where Republicans are concerned that they are becoming this regional party, and they want to feel like they can expand their coalition and be able to potentially win over states that weren`t winnable before. And, you know, frankly, they have to think that way, because if they don`t, they`re going to lose. So, I think the electability argument is ultimately the one that Mitt Romney made and was successful for last time around. O`DONNELL: And, E.J., quickly, before we go, the Republicans, lot of them were planning to simply run against President Obama. That was all they figured they were going to have to do. That`s not looking like it`s going to work quite so well. DIONNE: No. If this economy keeps going the way it is, what`s really striking in that Gallup poll is that some of Obama`s biggest gains are among the youngest voters, under 30s. There has been a little bit of weakening in that group. That group may not vote in midterm elections, and now, he`s way up in that group. That group may not vote in midterm elections, but they do vote in presidential elections. And so, that`s good for Obama, but it also could have -- it could be really good for the Democrats. O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne and Krystal Ball, thank you both for joining me tonight. BALL: Thanks, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: Coming up, federal agents uncovered some real Russian spies here in the United States. Not quite the way they`re being portrayed on "The Americans," that TV series about Russian spies. And also coming up, the details about the real American sniper that are not in the big box office movie. And in the "Rewrite" tonight, what I think about during blizzards. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Boston got buried under two feet of snow overnight and today. And the staff at Brigham Women`s Hospital in Boston posted this picture on Instagram. "Our sincerest thanks to all employees who have gone to extraordinary lengths to get to the hospital during the storm." Here`s a photo of pathology technician Vivian Chan who snowshoed into work. And there`s this one. "We love our staff." Dr. Kelly Loughlin of BWH`s department of emergency medicine cross-country skis into work. And also this one. "We are so thankful Boston police officer gets BHW nurse to work safely during the blizzard." Two feet of snow can`t keep heroes like that away from work. Coming up, drunk droning. How President Obama had to respond to a drunk guy landing a drone on the White House lawn. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re running out of time. Why can`t we do this together? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I`m the KGB officer. Don`t understand that? After all these years, I would go to jail, I would die, I would lose everything before I would betray my country. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Life tried to imitate art, that art this week. The U.S. Department of Justice charged three men with running a Russian spy ring in New York City. But the complaint filed last Friday showed that being a Russian spy isn`t always like the brilliant FX series about Russian spies, "The Americans." Two of the Russians charged were recorded complaining about the mundane aspects of their job. The three men are charged with running the spy ring, are accused of trying to gather intelligence on the U.S. sanctions on Russia, and how the New York financial systems work. One of the defendants, who posed as a banker in New York City, appeared in federal court yesterday. Two other men are Russian diplomats who are no longer in the United States. Joining me now is Gary Berntsen, a former CIA operations officer, and Shane Harris, senior correspondent for the "The Daily Beast", and author of the book, "War: The Rise of the Military Internet Complex." Shane, how did these guys get caught? SHANE HARRIS, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, they finally got caught when they saddled up to somebody that they thought was a would-be casino investor, who was an informant for the FBI. They thought they were getting involved with him in some kind of a potential deal in finding some information that would be useful to Russia. In reality, he was feeding them what they thought were official U.S. documents. And he was basically setting them up to finally get pinched. But they`ve been under surveillance for a couple of years before that and the FBI was recording their phone calls and catching them in other illegal acts of espionage on U.S. soil. O`DONNELL: Gary Berntsen, what is your reaction as an intelligence professional to the information that`s been uncovered? GARY BERNTSEN, FORMER SR. CIA OPERATIONS OFFICER: Clearly here, these were not the highest level case officers that the Russians have. This was terrible trade craft on the Russians` part. Usually, their best assets in the U.S. would be illegals. These were not illegals. These were standard case officers under diplomatic cover at the U.N., and they were really sloppy and they got caught. O`DONNELL: Gary, let me stop you, what do you mean by the term illegals? BERNTSEN: An illegal, which was the old sort of term we used is like the Russians would take an individual, they move them out of Russia, they`d live in Brazil for two or three years, they`d get Brazilian passports, they change their identity, and then they would emigrate to the United States and they would burrow deeply into our corporations or the U.S. government to steal secrets. Those were the most dangerous agents that we had inside the United States. Not the ones operating out of the embassies. The illegals were the real dangerous ones. O`DONNELL: There`s a passage in the criminal complaint that has details about some of the things these guys have said to each other. One of them was talking about trying to use college girls somehow. He said, "I have lots of ideas about such girls, but these ideas are not actionable because they don`t allow you to get close enough and in order to be close, you either need to have sex with them or use other levers to influence them, to execute my requests. So when you tell me about girls, in my experience, it`s rare that something workable will come of it." Shane, I guess the question there is, he`s talking about getting them to execute his requests. What kind of requests might he have been made then to these girls if he had been able to recruit them? HARRIS: Well, it`s sort of baffling. The complaint doesn`t go too much into that, why in the world they would want to be recruiting college students, why they thought they would be able to get information about sensitive economic and financial matters, which is what they were after. You know, it`s hard to imagine. Maybe they envisioned themselves as James Bond Lotharios trying to recruit young women sort of into their service and manipulate them. But it`s not clear from the complaint whether they thought maybe they would be working in some capacity, in some company where they might be able to provide information they later found someone who they thought would be useful in that way. But you`re right, they sort of complained about the fact that they can`t get them to do what they want and puff up their own egos talking about how, you know, stupid these college girls are, but in reality, they`re the ones who can`t seem to recruit anybody to do their bidding whatsoever. O`DONNELL: So, Gary Berntsen, we have these guys that don`t appear very professional to you and they`re trying to recruit actual amateurs. BERNTSEN: Lawrence, they sound like morons. The truth is, you recruit people that have access to intelligence that your government needs or you want to collect, or someone you believe had a high chance of seated into an organization. These guys had absolutely no idea what they were doing and it`s almost comical. Like a version of the gang that couldn`t shoot straight. You may recall that movie from 25 years ago. But look, on a more serious note, the Russians have a professional intel service. They run very sophisticated operations. This is the exception, not the rule. O`DONNELL: And, Gary, do you think they run sophisticated operations in the United States? BERNTSEN: Oh, you bet. Look, I bet today 24, 25 Russian agents around the country were stealing intel from companies and people and doing things and weren`t caught today. Count on it. They`re here in large numbers. They would be in this country. They have a great interest. We`re the only country that threatens them, you know, militarily, strategically, financially. They`re here and they`re collecting with a large number of assets on the ground. O`DONNELL: Shane, is there some reason to believe that the two diplomats who were involved got wind at some point, or a sensation that there was a possible investigation or close to a prosecution and that`s why they left the country before this arrest? HARRIS: Yes, there is. And the complaint talks about when this would-be casino investor got close to them, there did seem to be some suspicion about him. There`s a third individual we haven`t talked about who has been arrested. He actually was someone who was here on what`s called an artificial cover. So he would be one of these illegals we`ve been discussing. That individual met with the would-be casino ambassador. And so, it was at that point that these other two guys seemed to get the feeling that something was amiss. They weren`t sure why he was approaching them. That may be the point where they left the country, we don`t know for sure yet. O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Gary. Quickly. BERNTSEN: I would like to add you would never have an illegal in contact with normal case officers. The illegal would be out far away, handled out of country, if you were really using good trade craft. These guys used awful trade craft, and I`m sure they`ll probably be fired when they get home. O`DONNELL: Gary Berntsen, thank you for your experience and expertise. And, Shane Harris, thanks for joining us. Coming up, the Secret Service is trying to figure out how to protect President Obama from drones flying near the White House. Drunk droning is part of that problem. And next, the truth about the movie "American Sniper." (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be surprised if I told you that the Navy has credited you with over 160 kills? Do you ever think that you might have seen things or done some things over there that you wish you hadn`t? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that`s not me, no. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s not you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just was protecting my guys. They were trying to kill our soldiers and I`m willing to meet my Creator and answer for every shot that I took. The thing that haunts me are all the guys that I couldn`t save. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, what "American Sniper" teaches us about war. Joining me now is Alyssa Rosenberg, pop culture writer for "The Washington Post". Also joining us via Skype is Courtney Duckworth, freelance journalist who fact-checked "American Sniper" accuracy for Alyssa, your piece in "The Washington Post" was entitled "American Sniper`s Missing Element, the Man Behind the Gun." What do you -- what is behind that headline? ALYSSA ROSENBERG, CULTURE WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: One of the things that I thought was interesting about "American Sniper" is that, in life, Chris Kyle is -- was very comfortable with who he was. If you read his memoir, you know, he is outspokenly politically conservative, he has very negative views of Iraqis. He, you know, tells all of these stories about getting into bar fights after the war. If you read profiles of him, he claims that he went to Katrina and shot people from the roof of the Superdome. So, he tells all of these larger-than-life stories about himself. He`s very clear and confident in his politics. And yet, much of that didn`t make it into Clint Eastwood`s movie. I may be the only person in the country who thinks that "American Sniper" might have been a more interesting movie if it was more conservative and more specific to who Chris Kyle was, how he wanted to be seen, and what he believed. O`DONNELL: Yes. You know, it`s fascinating. Having seen the movie, there`s a lot of choices there in that screenplay that could have gone in the directions you`re talking about in your article. And it is just -- it`s a more difficult movie to write, and it`s a more difficult movie to make work. I think this movie works very well on its own terms from start to finish. Courtney, I read your piece, studying what`s true in the movie and what isn`t true in the movie. (END VIDEO CLIP) And it seems like some of the essential glue of the screenplay is the stuff that isn`t true. COURTNEY DUCKWORTH, FREELANCE WRITER: Right, exactly. I mean, I feel like, more than any specific detail, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- what isn`t true is -- is like Alyssa was saying, the character of Chris Kyle and that climactic moment where he killed the Iraqi sniper. You know, those moments, sadly, didn`t happen. And much of the emotional way that the movie is based on, on those factual inaccuracies like the character of Mustafa. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Yes. You know, -- ROSENBERG: Well, if I can jump in -- O`DONNELL: -- let me just -- let me just make this point here. I, for one, don`t care ever about these precise historical accuracy of so- called historical films. None of them are perfectly accurate. And all you`re dealing with is, you know, who gets the prize this year for the least accurate one -- (LAUGHTER) -- or for the most accurate one. And what I`m seeing here are a bunch of screenwriting decisions that just hone the drama in the direction that the writer -- and, by the way, we`ve invited the writer and Clint Eastwood, the director, on tonight. They couldn`t make it, which is not surprising in any way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) But it just hones it, Alyssa, and it makes it a smoother road from start to finish in the movie. You have the motivation being 9/11 in this movie, even though he joined the military years before 9/11. (END VIDEO CLIP) But, without that 9/11 moment, you`ve got a much more difficult motivation to write in the script. And then this climatic moment where he gets, you know, from tremendous distance away, this other sniper, the opposing sniper -- which is not true -- is just a kind of book ending and climax stuff that screenplays need. ROSENBERG: But, at the same time, Eastwood doesn`t entirely take advantage of the potential involved in that choice, to set up Kyle and Mustafa as sort of rivals, right. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) It`s common in screenwriting these days to create a double for the main character, who forces you to reflect on the character`s motivations and how his choices are different, you know. And the way that Mustafa is set up in the movie, he shot like a serial killer. You have him lovingly looking at his gun, he`s twirling bullets on the table, you see him putting his headscarf as this, you know, almost a super villain costume. But the movie never really gruffles with whether or not Chris Kyle is like this guy is. He`s presented as a sort of impassive, incredibly impressive killer but maybe with morally dubious motivations. (END VIDEO CLIP) "American Sniper," in part, by taking away some of those other details of Kyle`s wife, doesn`t really explore what`s set up as the movie`s central question -- is Kyle a sheepdog or has he become a wolf? O`DONNELL: You know, my general advice to people involved in these kinds of projects, be it Bradley Cooper or others, is just don`t talk about the real person. Just try to -- in the public presentation of it, just try to -- just try to get away from that because it`s never really what it`s about. I mean, this is a work of inspired fiction, inspired by a lot of non- fiction. ROSENBERG: At the same though, there`s challenge with this movie. And Cooper and Eastwood have talked about it being a character study, in part, to avoid trying to make the movie into a partisan football. Cooper said very specifically, "This is meant to be a nuanced character study of Chris Kyle, not -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- a commentary on the war in Iraq." Eastwood has said that it`s, more broadly, an anti-war film. But I understand the desire to say, "Oh, this is a character study." The problem though is that Eastwood and, you know, -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- his writer, made a number of choices that make this less a specific character study, and turned Chris Kyle more into a stand-in for everyone who fought in Iraq. They -- you know, to promote the movie, they needed to say that it`s a biography, that it`s a character study, that it`s psychological. But to make the movie work at all, they needed to sand off made Chris Kyle unique and turned him into a generic stand-in. O`DONNELL: Courtney, before you go, could you just rattle off some of the major inconsistencies with the known truth that the movie presents. And I invite that not to, in any way, attack the movie but just to let audiences know what they`re seeing. They`re seeing what they might still find to be a highly enjoyable, dramatic experience from start to finish. But there`s a bunch of stuff in it -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- that they should not think as true. DUCKWORTH: I think, well, for one, the opening sequel, in which he killed the woman and the child. The woman was never going to send the child to kill American soldiers with a bomb. So, Kyle doesn`t kill a child, only a woman. Also, he`s never invited in by a family that is actually secretly hiding weapons. I thought that was particularly suspicious of innocent Iraqi families. Mustafa existed but Kyle didn`t kill him. He was killed but someone else did. And the (inaudible) -- that that isn`t a character that Kyle talked about in his Navy days, real life character. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Alyssa Rosenberg and Courtney Duckworth, thank you very much for joining us on this controversial subject. Coming up in the "Rewrite" -- the person whose life was changed by a blizzard. It started him on the road to great success and great fame. Now, tweet me your guesses on who you think that is. The answer will be in the "Rewrite." (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportion. DAVID MARGULIES, ACTOR: What do you mean, biblical. DAN AYKROYD, ACTOR: What he means is Old Testament, -- MURRAY: Yes. AYKROYD: -- Mr. Mayor. Real wrath-of-God type stuff. MURRAY: Exactly. AYKROYD: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. HAROLD RAMIS, ACTOR: Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes. ERNIE HUDSON, ACTOR: The dead rising from the grave. MURRAY: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Breaking show business news -- "The Hollywood Reporter" has revealed the stars of the all-female "Ghostbusters" will be Melissa McCarthy, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- who is already in talks for one of the leads, has signed on for the Paul Fieg-directed reboot. And Sony is now negotiating with Kristen Wiig, as well as "Saturday Night Live" players, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. So, just like the first "Ghostbusters," most of the cast, coming straight out of this building and "Saturday Night Live." (END VIDEO CLIP) Coming up next in the "Rewrite," the man whose life was changed by a blizzard. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Terrible things happen in terrible storms. Lives can be lost, dreams dashed. But wonderful things can happen, too. Nine months after big blizzards, maternity wards always have at least a few more babies than they would have had without that blizzard. Lives can be changed, futures rewritten by the unpredictable effects of wild weather. I always think of Tim Russert during blizzards because Tim had the best blizzard story I ever heard. Tim was in -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- his 17th year of hosting "Meet the Press," with what should have been 17 more years ago, when he died suddenly of heart failure. You might never have heard of Tim Russert were it not for a blizzard. (END VIDEO CLIP) In 1976, Tim Russert got his start in politics in the Buffalo campaign office of Harvard professor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was running for Senate in New York in a crowded field of celebrity Democratic candidates that included former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Congresswoman Bella Abzug. The Moynihan campaign was a risky bet for a young guy in Buffalo, who had just worked his way through law school and has fumed his way around politics. But the bet paid off and, in January of 1977, when Senator Moynihan took the oath of office, Tim Russert took that same oath of office as a Senate staff employee, running the new senator`s Buffalo office. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) Three weeks later -- just three weeks later, Buffalo was hit with the blizzard of `77, which made front-page news all over the country. Snow drifts were as high as 25 feet. The snow was so high at the zoo that three reindeer were able to just step over the fence and wander around Buffalo. The mail delivery was suspended for almost a week. (END VIDEO CLIP) Tim Russert urged the Harvard boys, running the senator`s Washington office to get Senator Moynihan up to Buffalo as fast as possible. Tim started researching the possibilities for emergency federal assistance for Buffalo. When Senator Moynihan arrived in Buffalo, Tim made sure the local media knew it. Federal judge, Richard Eaton, who was then running Senator Moynihan`s other upstate New York office, told me tonight, quote, "Tim did such a great job with the Buffalo press that it sounded like Pat Moynihan was shoveling your sidewalk." When the Senator got on the plane back to Washington, he took Tim with him. Tim got on the plane in his Timberland boots and his parka. He wasn`t dressed for the formality in the Washington Senate office. And, later that day, in the Washington office, for the first time, Tim Russert wrote a letter to the President of the United States that the senator would sign, asking for federal assistance. Tim then went to the White House and hand-delivered the letter to Hamilton Jordan, President Carter`s chief-of-staff. Tim tells what happens next in his book, "Big Russ and Me." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) "I spent the night in a hotel above the Dubliner, a great Irish bar. I took my first shower in days and showed up at Moynihan`s office in the morning, where I called in the Buffalo reporters and helped arranged interviews for Senator Moynihan, with every and television station in Buffalo." "After a day or two, Liz Moynihan turned to me and said, `You know, you`re pretty good at this. Why don`t you stay here and help us out with the press.`" The senator`s wife, Liz Moynihan, was always his best talent scout. And she is still the best political analyst I know. (END VIDEO CLIP) Tim rushed back to Buffalo, packed a bag and drove his 1972 Gremlin down to Washington, where he became Senator Moynihan`s press secretary. Two years later, he was the senator`s chief of staff. Four years after that, in 1982, he ran the senator`s first reelection campaign, winning 66 percent of the vote. By then, everyone in Washington politics knew who Tim Russert was. When Senator Gary Hart`s presidential campaign was struggling in 1984, in a private strategy session, Senator Hart said, "Get me a Russert." That is the line that every political officer (ph) in Washington dreams of, "Get me a Russert." They all want their name at the end of that sentence -- "Get me a Russert." But Tim certainly didn`t think he was on his way to becoming that kind of legendary political figure in his first year in Washington. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) About that first year, he wrote, "My difficult moments came not with the press, but with a few of Moynihan`s other staffers. They were serious, high-powered intellectuals, Ivy League graduates. I was sometimes intimidated in their presence." (END VIDEO CLIP) One day, Tim confessed this to Senator Moynihan, saying that, half the time, he didn`t understand what some of the staff was talking about. The senator burst out laughing. There was no one in his Senate office that he felt closer to than Tim Russert. Pat Moynihan and Tim Russert were a couple of Irish guys, who grew up in cities where no one handed them anything. Tim Russert worked in a garbage truck to pay for his education. Pat Moynihan shined shoes in Times Square. Tim`s father always had a steady job, driving a newspaper delivery truck for "The Buffalo Evening News." Pat Moynihan`s father abandoned the family when Pat was 10 years old. Pat`s mother was a bartender in Hell`s Kitchen. Pat Moynihan appreciated and respected education and expertise. But he also valued political instinct and street smarts -- the stuff that can`t be taught, the stuff you learn shining shoes and tending bar, and earning your own way through life. Senator Moynihan didn`t say any of that to Tim. He just put his arm around Tim and said, "Let me tell you something. What they know, you can learn. But what you know, they will never learn." So, that`s what I think about during blizzards. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) It seems nothing stimulates a dating app quite like a blizzard. The people at a mobile -- a mobile dating app, Hinge, reportedly saw an increase of 22 percent in activity yesterday, including a record number of log-ins per user. According to this chart provided by "The Huffington Post," -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- a significant lift in the Hinge sessions began around 3:00 p.m. and fell off around 10:00 p.m. Aaron Find, Director of Marketing at Hinge said, quote, "Most of our users are young professionals, and New York will be closed on Tuesday. Who wouldn`t want a play date on a snow day?" That`s what she said. Up next, new details about drunk droning in Washington and how a drunk drone landed on the White House lawn. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Well, at least one person in Washington learned a very important lesson this week -- never drink and drone. The drone that landed -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- on the White House lawn in the wee hours of Monday morning was operated by a drunk off-duty National Geospatial Intelligence Agency worker. Investigators say, the worker lost control of the drone while he was playing with it at a nearby apartment. Law enforcement officials say, the two-foot, two-pound drone was too small to be detected by radar at the White House. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency will not -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- identify the worker who turned himself in on Monday, nor will they comment on what kind of action, if any, has been taken. President Obama responded while in India. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve actually asked the F.A.A. and a number of agencies to examine how are we managing this new technology because, the drone that landed at the White House, you buy at RadioShack. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Susan Crabtree, White House Correspondent for the "Washington Examiner." Susan, they were lucky this time, it was just drunk-droning. But that drone you buy at RadioShack could also be carrying something harmful. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUSAN CRABTREE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: That`s right. This is a real game changer for the Secret Service. It`s sort of a nightmare scenario come true. They`ve been planning for this type of issue for many years, and remote controlled IED, explosive devices, too. And they`ve been working on jamming technology, but there are so many different problems -- you know, the jamming technology would kind of present a force field, sort of Batman- like, around the White House grounds. (END VIDEO CLIP) But that would cause problems because a jamming technology, which is military grade, would interrupt tourist phone calls, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- some say 9/11 phone calls for safety purposes. And so, it`s really not quite there yet. And the Secret Service, as you know, Lawrence, has had a very difficult year. And this is just one more thing that they have to deal with now -- how to stop these, you know, would-be drone from coming in over the fence. We`ve already talked about how the fence needs to be raised and higher. And, now -- but you cannot protect -- have a higher fence to protect against this type of drone, dropping in on the White House lawn. O`DONNELL: So, Susan you`ve done a lot of work. (END VIDEO CLIP) And what the Secret Service has been going through this year, and all of their problems -- I`m listening carefully here -- it sounds like they don`t have any idea what to do about this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRABTREE: Well, I think that they`re working with the Military on, like I said, this jamming technology. But they haven`t come into an agreement with other organizations that are concerned about tourists and keeping the White House as open as possible and accessible. You know, it is the people`s White House, and they want to keep it accessible to tourists and not prevent, you know, phones from being jammed when they get near it. So, they haven`t worked it out. And it`s been a difficult situation for the Secret Service. As you know, they`ve had a tumultuous year this year. And they just lost all of their top officials, five of them exactly, just this month when the acting director, Clancy, told them that they needed to leave and be reassigned in the Department of Homeland Security. So, you know, what I had asked the Secret Service, -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- and they haven`t been able to answer me yet, is whether those officials are still remaining in their jobs. And if that`s the case, we have some people who know that they`re not wanted, in charge of making decisions, top level positions for the Secret Service, and are still there but they`re not -- haven`t been replaced yet. So, I just don`t think that`s a good scenario for a long period of time. O`DONNELL: Susan, I can imagine how the First Family feels about this, that there`s not a lot more information that the Secret Service is probably capable of giving them, about how they will be protected from drones. CRABTREE: Well, they know -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- that the motorcade, currently, is protected by a jamming device. We don`t get too much information at the White House Press Corps. We often joke amongst ourselves that we feel like our own cell phones are being jammed by the Secret Service when we get too close to the presidential motorcade or we`re in the motorcade itself and we need to send our full reports in. But, you know, I do think that there`s great concern on Capitol Hill about the security of the President in light of these security lapses. And we`re not talking about fence jumpers anymore. This is a sort of a game-changer. We`re talking about drones going over the White House fence. You know, you have the Park Service that imposed -- recently made a decision and said, "No more drones in the Park Service because they interrupt," you know, "the wildlife and the tourist experience." You had drones dropping on Mt. Rushmore and, you know, I talked to a Park Service official and she said this is a big dilemma among them. But this is -- this, rather than just an experience, a natural experience, we`re dealing with the security of the President of the United States. O`DONNELL: Susan Crabtree, thank you very much for joining us tonight. CRABTREE: Thanks. O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next. END