The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 05/26/15

Guests: Steve Kornacki, Nicholas Confessore, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Jerri AnnHenry

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Rachel, you know, I think Bernie Sanders did that announcement just for me. Because last week on this show, I made a reference to Hillary Clinton being the only announced Democratic candidate for president, and I got attacked on Twitter. (LAUGHTER) Just by Bernie Sanders people saying he already announced, and so I think - - I think he had to go and do it again today -- MADDOW: He had -- O`DONNELL: Just for me -- MADDOW: Announced it, he just hadn`t pronounced it. (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: OK, whatever. MADDOW: So -- O`DONNELL: Yes, now, I get it -- MADDOW: Now -- O`DONNELL: I finally get it. MADDOW: We`re all on board, thanks man -- O`DONNELL: Thanks -- MADDOW: Good night -- O`DONNELL: Rachel. Well, if you don`t think Hillary Clinton is worried about Bernie Sanders tonight, then you don`t know enough about what can happen in presidential campaigns. And Hillary Clinton knows all about what can happen in presidential campaigns, especially when a Democratic front-runner gets challenged from the left. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America. (CHEERS) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he give Hillary Clinton a hard time? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And smart with me (INAUDIBLE), he is kind of the truth teller in the public square. SANDERS: There`s a billionaire class, I say that your greed has got to end. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got that sort of rumpled professor look. JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: What do you do? Go to the barber and say, give me the dark brown, I mean, come on. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders is the ultimate anti-politician. SANDERS: This campaign is about the needs of the American people. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Among the good people. That`s your game, it`s an old game. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far can Bernie Sanders go? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do the Republicans do now, is go behind Ireland -- SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: If you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what a warning sign is that for Republicans here -- JONATHAN CAPEHART, JOURNALIST: The candidates themselves had to come around on this -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who should have done it first? CAPEHART: I`m not sure -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But not anymore -- CAPEHART: But you know, I -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not anymore -- excuse me, I interrupted you -- MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I think they`re probably waiting for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not the supreme branch, and for God`s sake, it isn`t the supreme being. LARRY WILMORE, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: OK, be laying it down. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Tonight, Hillary Clinton`s campaign staff must be asking themselves, is Bernie Sanders the new Gene McCarthy? The last time a prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination was challenged by an uprising on the left, the challenger came - - challenge came from a gray-haired Senator from a Canadian border state. That was 1968, when Minnesota`s Eugene McCarthy did the unthinkable and challenged the incumbent Democratic president for the nomination. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EUGENE MCCARTHY, LATE FORMER MINNESOTA SENATOR: I intend to enter the Democratic primaries in four states, Wisconsin, Oregon, California and Nebraska. The decision with reference to Massachusetts and also New Hampshire will be made within the next two or three weeks. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Gene McCarthy run on the issue of the day, the moral issue of the day, the Vietnam War. And if elected president, he would simply end it. McCarthy rocked the political world by winning the New Hampshire primary, well, it was as if he had won. The media treated it as a huge victory for Senator McCarthy, simply because he achieved 42 percent of the vote against incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. President Johnson was stunned by the New Hampshire vote, and with Gene McCarthy showing how weak Lyndon Johnson was, another Democratic senator saw an opening. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, LATE FORMER NEW YORK SENATOR: I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done and I feel that I`m obliged to do all that I can. I run to seek new policies, policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities. Policies to close the gaps that now exists between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old in this country and around the rest of the world. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Together, those two senators, Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy knocked the front-runner out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Two weeks after Bobby Kennedy announced his candidacy, President Lyndon Johnson surrendered. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LYNDON JOHNSON, LATE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Things got tragically complicated after that, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated after winning the California primary, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey ended up with the Democratic nomination and lost the presidency to Richard Nixon. But since then, heavily favored Democratic party front-runners are always at least a bit worried about a McCarthy-like uprising on their left. Such an uprising needs a galvanizing moral issue such as ending the Vietnam War. Bernie Sanders believes he has such an issue now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: In America, we now have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time. It is the great economic issue of our time. It is the great political issue of our time, and we will address it! (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Steve Kornacki, host of Msnbc`s "UP With STEVE KORNACKI", he is in Vermont on this day in presidential politics history. Also joining us, Nicholas Confessore, "New York Times" and Caitlin Huey- Burns, a political reporter for "RealClearPolitics". Steve Kornacki, I was watching that crowd up there with Bernie Sanders today, and I think a lot of them remembered Gene McCarthy. STEVE KORNACKI, POLITICAL WRTIER, SALON.COM & TELEVISION HOST: Well, it`s an interesting comparison, absolutely. I mean, you look at the overwhelming nature of the front-runner that Hillary Clinton is, and the potential for Bernie Sanders. Obviously, you look at the issues that he is stressing and there`s new resonance on income inequality, on wealth concentration, even climate change for that matter. Issues that Bernie Sanders has been talking about for so long, but now finally at this sort of late stage of his career are at the fore of the national debate. But when you look at the potential for Bernie Sanders, I think to cause trouble, to cause headaches, maybe even worse for Hillary Clinton, I think you got to look at those first two states that are on the calendar, Iowa and New Hampshire. And I mean, outside of Vermont in his home state, you really can`t think of two better states for Bernie Sanders to start the presidential race in. I mean, Iowa, it`s a caucus state, it`s an activist oriented electorate, this is a place where Hillary Clinton had problems in 2008, she came in third place in the caucuses out there in New Hampshire of course. Like Iowa, small, rural state, very similar to Vermont and New Hampshire. A next door neighbor, you know, state for Bernie Sanders. So, the voters in Iowa, the voters in New Hampshire, these are the types of voters he is accustomed to appealing to in his campaigns. He has a message that resonates to sort of lower income rural voters. So, again, the path of Bernie Sanders to the nomination, that`s very difficult to see. Maybe it`s impossible to see. The path of Bernie Sanders causing some -- making some serious noise in Iowa and New Hampshire, and causing some serious headaches for Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, that`s not as hard to see. O`DONNELL: The -- Bernie Sanders faces a similar challenge that Robert Kennedy faced when he run, and Gene McCarthy faced within the party which - - they didn`t want to in any personal kind of way attack President Johnson. Bernie Sanders took a page right out of Bobby Kennedy`s playbook today, saying this is not about Hillary Clinton and it`s not about anyone else in the race. Let`s listen to the way Bobby Kennedy said this about President Johnson back when he made his announcement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENNEDY: My decision reflects no personal animosity or disrespect toward President Johnson. He served President Kennedy with the utmost loyalty and was extremely kind to me and members of my family in the difficult months which followed the events of November of 1963. I have often commended his efforts in health and education and in many other areas. And I have the deepest sympathy for the burden that he carries today. But the issue is not personal. It is our profound differences over where we are heading and what we want to accomplish. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And Nick Confessore, that was a guy who was planning to run hard against Lyndon Johnson, just as Bernie Sanders intends to run hard in this race. He is just not going to personalize it to Hillary Clinton. NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, NEW YORK TIMES: You were saying their profound differences, Lawrence. I think, look, there`s obviously going to be a clear choice here. Bernie Sanders is not an off the shelf candidate. On the other hand, you can`t hang income inequality on Hillary Clinton, it`s not her policy, it`s not her fault. And she can`t be tied to it in the way that Johnson could be tied to the Vietnam War. I still don`t think that there is the right kind of galvanizing issue as you described it. That he could have ride to an insurgency. I think the bigger danger for Clinton is all the ways in which he presents a study in contrast. This is not a guy who is worried about offending the sensibilities of Wall Street or people in finance or wealthy people. This is not a guy who is afraid to roll out ten policy proposals on the day he announces. You know, Clinton has kind of convinced us that it`s normal to be in office for 30 years and announce and not have any proposals lined up. He came out of the box with a bunch of them today. O`DONNELL: And Caitlin, the -- let`s remember the McCarthy example. The McCarthy example is that he opened up the field, he showed the opening and Bobby Kennedy, a more famous, more popular Senator came running in. There is a more famous, more popular Democratic Senator out there, Elizabeth Warren, who could run into this thing conceivably, if we started to see Hillary Clinton falling. CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right, but for now, she is staying on the sidelines, and I think she`s having a bigger influence on this debate by staying there and keeping these candidates on their toes. I mean, in 2012, Republicans were really craving a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. We saw that in -- by virtue of the primary going as long as we did. I don`t think that, that is the same situation we`re seeing with Democrats. However, I do think that some Democrats are really craving this debate on these issues that they haven`t been able to have for a while. Because this is an open election and they feel like this is the time to really do that. O`DONNELL: And Steve, the calendar of 1968 and other years shows you just how late you can make a move here. If there is a faltering front-runner, and so without that, of course, everyone is going to stay in place. And certainly, Hillary Clinton is not going to give an LBJ speech and say, I have decided not to accept the nomination. But Bernie Sanders as that guy who is getting in here willing to say whatever he thinks on a given day, that`s a very dangerous force for Hillary Clinton to have to contend with. KORNACKI: You know, I think it is, and there`s a couple ways to look at the Sanders candidacy. I think, first of all, you look at all the other Democrats who are out there, several of them potentially to run against Hillary Clinton, Martin O`Malley, Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb. And I think right now, the only one who`s demonstrated any real traction against Hillary Clinton already is Bernie Sanders. So, he`s already sort of separated himself from them. We`ll see if he can continue that separation and make that more permanent and really get a one-on-one race. Now, the other interesting thing I think to keep in mind, too, is, we talk about Hillary Clinton being the overwhelming front-runner, 40, 50 points ahead. And all of that is true, so it might sound strange to say this, but I also think Hillary Clinton in a lot of ways is the ideal opponent for Bernie Sanders. Because when you -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- KORNACKI: Look at how Bernie Sanders defines himself, he defines himself as the anti-politician, the ultimate outsider, the guy who is willing to stand against all of the powerful interests and his opponent is going to have more money than any Democrat who ever run for president before. Her husband is an ex president, close to Wall Street, we know all of these things, so she represents in so many ways the forces that Bernie Sanders defines himself in opposition to. O`DONNELL: And Steve, there`s nothing more dangerous on a debate stage than a well-vexed candidate who`s got nothing to lose. KORNACKI: Absolutely. And I mean, you saw -- you can think back to the 2008 campaign, a lot of people think the moment that it started to fall apart for Hillary Clinton, it wasn`t -- it wasn`t just coming in third place in Iowa. It was in a debate in October of 2007 when she was pressed specifically on the issue of driver`s licenses for illegal immigrants. And she was pressed on that issue, did not come across very well, and a lot of people think that is when her candidacy started to fall apart. And you can think there`s going to be six Democratic debates now. Bernie Sanders is going to have six opportunities at least to stand up there on stage with Hillary Clinton. You look at those issue positions that he staked out today, like a $15 minimum wage, being very clear, very emphatic on that. And there is going to be opportunities for him in those debates to press her for specific answers and see how she responds. O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, thanks very much for joining us from Vermont tonight. We`re going to -- KORNACKI: Thank you -- O`DONNELL: Take a break here and when we come back, with the world changing around them, Republican presidential candidates are still clinging to the wreckage of their hopeless position on marriage equality. And today, a shock, a truly shocking thing, something that never happens in Washington -- a former State Department official says he has changed his mind, changed his mind about Edward Snowden. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed an amendment that would allow veterans administration doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from post traumatic stress and chronic pain. The amendment was introduced by a Republican, Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana. He says the VA policy that forbids doctors and patients from even talking about medical marijuana violates their first amendment rights. Coming up next, Ireland votes for marriage equality and here in the United States, the number of people who say they are socially liberal is the highest in 15 years and Republican candidates for president do not know what to do about that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four hundred and sixty seven thousand, three hundred and seven. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: This weekend, the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Sixty two percent voted in favor of it. Here at home, a new Gallop poll shows that 60 percent of Americans now support marriage equality, including 76 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents and 37 percent of Republicans. America`s shift toward marriage equality presents a challenge for some Republican presidential candidates who oppose it. Groups of young conservatives are working to reform the party`s platform by removing anti- gay language. Today, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio who has previously said that he would attend a same-sex wedding said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: We`ve reached the point now where -- look, if you think about it, we are at the water`s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Because today we`ve reached a point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. The next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech. And that`s a -- that`s a real and present danger. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Jerri Ann Henry, Campaign Manager for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. Jerri Ann, how is it going? I don`t hear any Republican presidential campaigners using your talking points yet. JERRI ANN HENRY, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, YOUNG CONSERVATIVES FOR THE FREEDOM TO MARRY: Well, they`re not using them yet, but we`re confident that they will come around. A lot of what we`re talking about is really focused on inclusion, so that those who have -- regardless of what opinion people have, they have a place on this issue, they have a place in the Republican Party. And I think after the Supreme Court rules, you will see a lot of shifts on this issue. O`DONNELL: And Jerri Ann, when you have conversations inside the party, in Republican Party on this, and you show them this polling data, that information on independent voters, for example, what is their reaction to that? HENRY: I think it`s -- there`s two different things that we see, one, we often go to different states and we meet with local Republican leaders and party leadership. And they often are surprised and pleased to find out that they`re not -- they`re not the only person that thinks that we can come around on this issue. So you`re going to, I think, see a ground swell and growing support around inclusion of gay people and support for same-sex marriage among Republicans. But we also see people who are legitimately worried about growing the party`s base and they want to focus on a lot of other issues. And this one keeps coming up, and over time, they`re going to have to get right on the issue if they want a victory in 2016. O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Mike Huckabee talking about maybe not following Supreme Court on this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HUCKABEE: Judicial review is exactly what we`ve operated under. We have not operated under judicial supremacy. Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Jackson, presidents have understood that the Supreme Court cannot make a law. They cannot make it. The legislature has to make it, the executive branch has to sign it and enforce it. And the notion that the Supreme Court comes up with the ruling and that automatically subjects the two other branches to following it defies everything there is about the three equal branches of government. Chris, the Supreme Court is not the supreme branch, and for God`s sake, it isn`t the supreme being. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Caitlin, it sounds like Jerri Ann is going to have a long struggle getting Mike Huckabee to make sense of any of this. HUEY-BURNS: Right, well, it`s been interesting to watch, you know, a lot of Republicans running for office this year. Where, looking at the Supreme Court case as a way to take this issue off the table and move on to things they want to talk about, things they think can appeal to younger voters. Things like the economy and jobs. But this issue keeps coming up and it`s interesting, the Supreme Court will also be deciding the healthcare debate later this Summer as well. So, it will be interesting to see how they react to that compared to this. But I do think it`s something that, you know, as they`re competing in conservative primary states. Like Iowa, for example, we saw it at a summit recently, virtually all the candidates talked about, you know, traditional -- what they see as traditional marriage. But then I have -- I have seen some of these candidates in New Hampshire and they were asked about it and they quickly want to move on to other things. So, I think it`s going to be interesting to watch how they react to this question in the first two early states. O`DONNELL: And Nick Confessore, we see Marco Rubio moving into the war on Christians notion of what`s going on here. CONFESSORE: Look, the first candidate on the GOP side who says he`s for same-sex marriage is the first candidate to doom his candidacy, and that`s the problem. This is a powerful and real constituency in their party. They care deeply about this, they feel they`re on the defensive if they`re fighting a real court action against a hostile mainstream culture. And to sort of defy that and go against them is extremely difficult. So -- and so, what you have here is a competition between -- you know, kind of the grassroots world and the faith world in the GOP and the donor world. Which for the most part is pushing these guys to just stop talking about it if they can`t agree to be for it. O`DONNELL: Jerri Ann, all right, can you show a Republican presidential candidate the path to the nomination? What position do you -- let me put it this -- another way. What position on this marriage issue do you think a Republican can have and get the nomination? HENRY: I think the most straightforward path for presidential candidate is to recognize that there`s diversity within the Republican Party. There are going to be a lot of people who are for same-sex marriage and want to see that in their states, and those people should have a place in the Republican Party. And a presidential candidate needs to embrace that, while also recognizing that there are those who will oppose that, and they also have an equal spot in that party. Now, that does kind of sound like splitting hairs, but they`re going to have to move forward with their very inclusive message. One that recognizes that ultimately families and two people coming together in a loving, committed way, that is what`s at the cornerstone of our society and we should do everything that we can to make families stronger. O`DONNELL: Nick, do you think a Republican could get the nomination by going back to the old state`s rights position and saying, look, I think marriage is an issue for the states, and just leave it at that. CONFESSORE: I think it`s hard to get through without -- you know, an affirmative declaration that they think that gay marriage is unconstitutional or at least that there`s no right to it in the constitution. It`s just a litmus test. I think it`s very hard. We saw Rand Paul for a little bit, you know, try and play with some of the states` rights language and then move off of that into a more conventional position against it. There are just powerful pressures, you know, you`re pushing against these candidates and pushing them away from taking that stance. O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Scott Walker said about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Marriage is a decision that should be defined by our state governments, not at the federal level. And in Wisconsin and other places across the country, marriage is defined between one man and one woman and states should be the ones that make that decision. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Caitlin, he`s running up there pretty high in the polls, do you think he can just stay with that line the rest of the way? HUEY-BURNS: Well, Scott Walker is trying to court more conservative members of his party, while also trying to appeal to the establishment lane. He is trying to position himself as someone who is electable in that way. But it is interesting as several of his rivals do want to kind of remove this issue from the table. I do think that Scott Walker does bring it up because he has that Wisconsin experience and that`s something from his record that he can point to specifically when he`s out on a trail. Things that he`s done when he is trying to court an appeal to those kinds of constituencies. O`DONNELL: OK, we got to take a break here, Nicholas Confessore, Caitlin Huey-Burns and Jerri Ann Henry, thank you all for joining us tonight. HENRY: Thank you -- CONFESSORE: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up next, the most amazing possible thing has happened. Someone has changed his mind about Edward Snowden. No one in politics changes minds. Well, did happen. Also coming up, how Michelle Obama is trying to inspire a generation known for selfies to become activists. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight, breaking Washington news about something that would really not be news outside of our culture of politics in this country, which allows very little space for civil discussion, including explorations of possible areas of agreement once the political battle lines are drawn. And absolutely no room at all for changing one`s mind about anything once those battle lines are drawn. Edward Snowden instantly became a battle line as soon as we learned his name. Strong opinions were expressed in favor of his unauthorized release of NSA secrets and strong opinions were offered in support of Edward Snowden, whose strongest public advocate became Glenn Greenwald. Tonight`s breaking news is that someone has changed his mind about Edward Snowden. Hodding Carter, who was Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in Jimmy Carter`s administration, published a piece in "Salon," entitled, -- TEXT: "Glenn Greenwald, I`m sorry: Why I changed my mind on Edward Snowden." Joining us now is Hodding Carter, now a professor at UNC Chapel Hill and contributor to the new book, "After Snowden, Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age." And here to accept that apology, Glenn Greenwald, Co-Founding Editor of "The Intercept." Mr. Carter, thank you for joining us tonight. Glenn is going to be on a little bit of a delay, coming to us from South America. Tell us how you did this most remarkable of things for Washington creatures, changing your mind. I have a suspicion that living outside Washington had something to do with it. HODDING CARTER, CONTRIBUTOR, "AFTER SNOWDEN": It had something to do with it. But, actually, just sitting back for a moment and saying, "Wait a minute, what did the man actually do." Yes, yes, yes, he released some material. It was material which the government had no business -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- having. And that becomes clear. And, second, it was material the government had been assembling in ways which no one outside of the inner reaches of government had any idea was going on. The combination was sort of overwhelming. This was the last statement of a national security state gone crazy. And there he was, Edward Snowden, saying things which, just to be blunt about it, any good patriot ought to have been saying. O`DONNELL: Take us through your emotional -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- reaction when you First learned about this from Glenn Greenwald -- the whole -- whatever Snowden had done. You talk in your piece about being an ex-Marine and you had a real Marine`s reaction to it. CARTER: I had a Marine`s reaction, I had a child of the World War reaction to it, I had the reaction of a man who believed your first order of business when the flag goes up is to salute. And, therefore, to believe that it was acceptable for someone to unilaterally, as it seemed, endanger national security was not within the realm of my emotional-intellectual possibility. And bingo. Again, it`s required that you step back one from your own deep- felt prejudices or convictions, or from your experience. In my experience, the Lord knows, has taken me in and out of government. And I thought, "Wait, wait, wait, wait. This is a very large extension of some very bad tendencies in government for some time." So, along comes Mr. Snowden, along comes Mr. Greenwald, and a couple of others, and lay out for us exactly what has been going on without the assent of the people. And I thought, "Thank God. Thank God." O`DONNELL: Glenn Greenwald, I`ve been watching this fairly carefully. And I don`t have a big stack of public apologies to you -- (LAUGHTER) -- or to Edward Snowden here. Is this the only one. Is this the first one. Have I missed a few. GLENN GREENWALD, CO-FOUNDING EDITOR, "THE INTERCEPT": No, I think it`s hard, not just in politics but as a human being, to do what Mr. Carter did, to first re-evaluate strongly-held opinions and then publicly admit that your original opinions weren`t accurate. I think that`s hard for all of us to do. There have been some people who have done it. Richard Cohen, in "The Washington Post," wrote a pretty vicious column about Snowden earlier on and a few months later said, "You know what, I thought about it. And everything I thought about, it was wrong." He wasn`t in it for money. He wasn`t in it for fame. He was in it because he believed that the public had the right know. Juan Williams actually just wrote a column in "The Hill," saying, essentially, he was wrong about Mr. Snowden, that in light of the court case that said this program was illegal, in light of the ongoing debate in Washington where there`s clearly going to be reform, that what he did was clearly strengthening for democracy and ought to be brought back home. And I think that`s how it often is with whistleblowers. I remember Daniel Ellsberg told me early on, he had almost no support when he did what he did in the beginning. And it took years for basically it to be a consensus, that what he did was heroic. And he told me, he thinks it`s going to be the same pattern for Mr. Snowden. O`DONNELL: Hodding Carter, when I first saw that headline, I thought, "Oh, well." You know, the court made that ruling and then, you know, Hodding Carter reconsidered that from the court ruling. But you clearly had come to this view before that recent court ruling. CARTER: Yes, I was thinking about the examples that were just being cited, and thinking, at the time, that most of us were writing our renditions or chapters for this new book. That was not being said by people. And this was, for some of us, a step over a line, which seemed to be very clear. When they weren`t busy attacking Mr. Snowden, they were busy attacking Mr. Greenwald or his associates, or others in that field. This has been a much faster falling-off-the-cliff than in past instances. It has been less than a year since we wrote our chapters. And in that time, well, hell, you had the editor of "The New York Times" saying he wished he could have redone it, that he was wrong on some of the basics. A fine man but he just said that within the last month. O`DONNELL: Glenn Greenwald, what`s your reaction to the changes or the adjustments being considered now in the Congress on the Patriot Act. GREENWALD: Well, I think they`re definitely woefully inadequate. If I had my choice, I would actually hope that the Patriot Act, those key provisions, expire completely, not that reform but just expire. They were intended to be temporary at the time they were enacted in this sort of, you know, really strong emotion after 9/11. But that`s -- Lawrence, I think it`s critical to realize, this will be the very first time in the post-9/11 era that the Congress takes away power, in the name of terrorism, from the Intelligence community in the Pentagon, rather than giving them more. And even though it is milder than I would like, I think it`s an incredibly important course correction for the excesses that we`ve seen in the post- 9/11 era. O`DONNELL: Hodding Carter and Glenn Greenwald, thank you both for joining me tonight. Coming up, it`s that time of year -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- when Republicans attack Michelle Obama for giving commencement addresses. That`s next. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) First Lady Michelle Obama is continuing her annual college commencement tour. Yesterday, she spoke to the graduates of Oberlin College in Ohio. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I want to suggest that if you truly wish to carry on the Oberlin legacy of service and social justice, then you need to run to and not away from the noise. You see, it`s wonderful to volunteer at your local homeless shelter. Please do that. But you also need to attend the city council meetings and make sure the zoning laws don`t shut that shelter down. (APPLAUSE) Are you thinking of teaching in an under-served school. If so, I`m glad to hear that. So many kids need you. But you also have to elect good people to your school board and state legislature because they decide whether you have the resources you need to inspire and empower your students. (APPLAUSE) Are you planning to rally for marriage equality on the steps of the Supreme Court. I certainly hope so. (APPLAUSE) But I also hope you will knock on doors and make some calls to elect a president who shares your values. Because that president will ultimately choose the justices who decide those cases in the first place. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: More from Michelle Obama after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Follow what`s happening in your city hall, your state house in Washington, D.C. Better yet, run for office yourself. Get in there, shake things up. Don`t be afraid. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Peter Slevin, the author of "Michelle Obama, a Life." He`s also an associate professor at Northwestern University`s Medill School of Journalism. So, Peter, Michelle Obama goes out there every year. She gets attacked every year for some things she says in commencement addresses. She knows that`s coming, doesn`t she. PETER SLEVIN, AUTHOR, "MICHELLE OBAMA, A LIFE": She certainly knows it`s coming. And she talks about being true to herself, true to the message that she wants to deliver. She does not lacks confidence in these situations, but she`s also got a very clear sense of purpose when she gives these speeches. O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what she said about democracy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: It is loud and messy, and it`s not particularly warm and fuzzy. And, believe me, I know this from personal experience. (LAUGHTER) Over the years, I`ve occasionally run into the noise myself. But I`ve come to realize that most of that clamor is really coming from just a handful of very loud folks out on the fringes. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Peter, we learned from her commencement address at Tuskegee, and some other public comments at different times, that she does take some of that criticism, some of the attacks against her, especially during the first presidential campaign, she does take some of them personally. SLEVIN: That`s right. She talked in Tuskegee two weeks ago about those moments -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- early in the first campaign in 2008, when critics were questioning who she was, what she stood for, what she believed in. And she said it. It really set her back. She has gotten a lot more used to it. She just figured out, just as she said at Overland yesterday, that she still got a message to deliver, and there are going to be some people who would just keep coming at her, keep coming at the President. But she has decided that this is a message she wants to keep giving, especially to the young people. O`DONNELL: These speeches, which she delivers brilliantly, -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- always raise the question of what is she going to do next. SLEVIN: Yes. O`DONNELL: What is she going to do in her post-White House years. SLEVIN: That`s right. Well, she -- politics is definitely not her favorite activity. She`s made no secret of that. Barack Obama talks about how little she likes -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- doing some of what you have to do in politics. But I`ll defer to him on the question of whether she would get into politics. He was asked, "Chief, what would you think, if you were told 10 years from now, that your wife had gotten involved in politics." And he said, "I think she would have been probably abducted by aliens." (LAUGHTER) She has talked about -- she has talked about how she wants to keep working on education, which she describes as the greatest Civil Rights challenge of the future, of this generation. She is clearly going to keep speaking out. She will always be a mentor. She`s a mentor to her bones. And I think you can see that in these speeches to young people. She has made clear that she fully intends to stay involved, though running for office may not quite be her thing. O`DONNELL: So, are we looking at something like the Rosalynn Carter, -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- post-presidential years public service. SLEVIN: I think it`s clear that she will do public service. I think she herself not quite know what form that will take. I mean, she has about every option you could ever want. She`ll certainly do some writing, she`ll do -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- some speaking. They clearly will have the Obama Foundation, they will have the library. I think, too, we`re seeing in the second term, that she is more and more outspoken about the issues she cares about, particularly about the lack of opportunity in this country. She`ll talk about disadvantage. And I think that that conversation is one that she fully plans to continue after 2017, you know. She`ll only be 53 years old. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Peter Slevin, thank you very much for joining us tonight. SLEVIN: Pleasure to be here. O`DONNELL: Coming up, important comedy, comedy that changes our understanding of the possible. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) The city of Houston confirmed today that a fourth person died in flooding and dozens are missing across Texas. Storms have killed -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- at least 17 people in Texas and Oklahoma. And authorities say they have no idea how many people could be missing in submerged cars. As many as 2,500 vehicles have been abandoned. Eleven inches of rain fell in parts of Houston over the last 24 hours. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Computer dating services have been with us longer than you think. Much longer. Here`s the legendary comedy team of "Stiller and Meara" on Johnny Carson`s "Tonight Show" way back in the days of black and white TV. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNE MEARA, COMEDIAN: Thank you very much. Recently, there`s been a lot of talk about computers in the newspapers. They`ve even managed to date people with the help of computers. So, Jerry and I would like you to meet a couple who have been ideally matched by a computer. And they meet for the very first time. JERRY STILLER, COMEDIAN: How do you do. MEARA: How do you do. STILLER: I`m Hershey Horowitz. (LAUGHTER) MEARA: I`m Mary Elizabeth Doyle. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: So, what`s so funny about the name, Mary Elizabeth Doyle. Why the big laugh just for that name. It was comedy of the impossible. In those days, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- it was virtually impossible to imagine a beautiful Irish Catholic girl, or any Irish Catholic girl named Mary Elizabeth Doyle, marrying a Jewish man, any Jewish man. And audiences in those days were hyper-alert to the ethnic meanings of every name. Stiller and Meara`s computer dating bit turned on the idea that no one had told the computer how to tell an Irish Catholic name from a Jewish name, and that Catholics and Jews should never be thrown into the same dating pool. And the fact that all of us in the audience knew that Stiller and Meara really were that impossible couple, that the Irish Catholic Anne Meara was married to the Jewish man she was performing with, lifted that bit into the realm of important comedy -- comedy that teaches an important lesson in a way that nothing else can. And I can tell you, as little -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- Irish Catholic boy growing up in Boston then and still a long way from dating, watching -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- Stiller and Meara opened my eyes to possibilities that I never saw in my neighborhood. Anne Meara was a serious actress doing Shakespeare in the Park and such things when her husband, Jerry Stiller, lured her into working as a comedy team with him. Fame as a comedy team brought them both many, many more acting offers. They had two children, Amy and Ben Stiller. Anne and Jerry kept working throughout parenthood and grandparenthood. Anne Meara was nominated for four Emmys and she won a Writers Guild Award as a co-writer of the 1983 TV movie, "The Other Women." Here are Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller in a video produced by their son, Ben Stiller, explaining how Anne`s dad helped them with babysitting when they were working parents, and how they played a little trick on "The New York Times" about an obituary. MEARA: Do you know that Jerry fought to get my father, Eddie Meara`s, obituary into "The New York Times." STILLER: That`s right, I did. MEARA: And they said, "Well, what does your father-in-law do." STILLER: They needed a -- MEARA: Yes. STILLER: -- like something to -- MEARA: And he said, "Well, he babysits. He babysits for our kids. STILLER: That`s right. Amy and Ben. MEARA: They said, "That`s nothing. Is that all." STILLER: No. MEARA: And, finally, they pushed him. And he said, "Well, yes, he writes our material." STILLER: He wrote all my material. And so, that got us into "The New York Times." MEARA: And at the wake, -- STILLER: Yes. MEARA: -- his friends, his old poker playing buddies said, "That Eddie Meara, he never let on." O`DONNELL: No one had to fight to get Anne Meara`s obituary in "The New York Times" this weekend. She died on Saturday in Manhattan at the age of 85. (END VIDEO CLIP) We will all remember Anne Meara in different ways. Some of you will remember her from "Sex in the City," where she -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- played Cynthia Nixon`s mother-in-law, or for countless other TV and film appearances. But I will always remember her the way I -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- first saw her, on stage with Jerry. I always think of them together. Even when I see Anne or Jerry working alone, I always think of them together, "Stiller and Meara," -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- full of fun, full of love and wisdom, doing important comedy -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- that helped open our eyes to the world around us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEARA: I`m Mary Elizabeth Doyle. (LAUGHTER) STILLER: Doyle? MEARA: Horowitz? STILLER: Horowitz -- h, o, r, o, w, i, t, z. Hershey. My friends call me Hesh. (LAUGHTER) MEARA: Doyle -- d, o, y, l, e. My friends call me Mary Elizabeth. (LAUGHTER) STILLER: Is Doyle your real name> MEARA: Sure. Why wouldn`t it be my real name. STILLER: I don`t know. I mean, I was just hoping -- MEARA: No, we`re Doyles. We`re Dempseys on my mother`s side. STILLER: Dempsey. MEARA: Horowitz. STILLER: Shmolowitz on my mother`s side. (LAUGHTER) This computer is a very good thing. MEARA: Oh, it`s terrific. Listen, I mean -- STILLER: I was reading all about it, you know. MEARA: -- it takes all the guesswork out of meeting someone. (LAUGHTER) STILLER: Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP) END