IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 05/28/15

Guests: Jeffrey Sachs, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, David Corn, Russell Sullivan,Ezra Klein, Don Valdez, Sid Goodfriend

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. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: There are now eight official candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, but the newest entry will only have a chance if he can find a Republican billionaire crazy enough to back him. Luckily for that candidate, we`ve got some pretty crazy billionaires. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Looks to me like they`re going to jail for all the money they stole! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FIFA scandal -- SEPP BLATTER, PRESIDENT, FIFA: Many people hold me ultimately responsible -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gee, I wonder why people would hold him ultimately responsible. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The buck doesn`t stop here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Payments were carried out by U.S. banks. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A global story bringing together sports politics and business -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s like three thousand people -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for the Republican nomination. GEORGE PATAKI, FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: This morning, I announce I am a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. (CHEERS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have too many MCs and not enough mics. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve got so many Republicans dividing up the money. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elections are bought and sold now by billionaires. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: They stay in the ear of enough of the folks in Washington -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans, Democrats, it`s all green in the dark. You know what I`m talking about. WARREN: Has made it almost impossible to get any kind of change. STEWART: Americans may not watch soccer, in fact, we will gladly finance them longer, it`s dirty money. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Of all the long shot candidacies for president this year, none so far is a longer shot than former New York Governor George Pataki who is a fading memory in New York and a virtual unknown in the rest of the country. He made his candidacy official today in an announcement in New Hampshire. Now, this is normally the spot where we would show you video of the candidate`s announcement, but this segment isn`t about George Pataki. We will probably never do a segment on George Pataki as he languishes on the bottom of every poll. But what if George Pataki can convince some New York billionaire he knows to back his candidacy? What if? Money changes everything in politics, and today politics is all about money. We have what Nicholas Kristof calls in his "New York Times" column today "a disgraceful money-based political system." In that system, all it takes is one billionaire to turn an irrelevant candidacy into at least briefly a real candidacy. Four years ago, Newt Gingrich said everything that billionaire Sheldon Adelson wanted to hear. So the Gingrich candidacy was able to last long enough to have its moment of surging in the polls before surrendering the nomination to Mitt Romney. But the Gingrich candidacy would have flamed out much earlier and would have always been irrelevant, were it not for that one billionaire. If you`re thinking a billionaire would have to be crazy to back George Pataki, I wish I could tell you, but none of our billionaires are crazy. There are now eight officially, Republican candidates for president. There they are, they are the announced ones right up there. Joining us now is Jeffrey Sachs, he is a professor of economics and the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. David Corn is the Washington Bureau chief of "Mother Jones", Msnbc political analyst and Katrina Vanden Heuvel is the editor and publisher of "The Nation" magazine. Professor Sachs, I go to you as an economist to try to put this whole ugly money around the world picture together, from bribery in the World Cup which I feel is surprising no one, to this gigantic money mess that we are seeing in our politics now. JEFFREY SACHS, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS & DIRECTOR, EARTH INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, I think there`re two things to say. One is, there is so much money at the top, 1,826 billionaires at last count around the world with $7.1 trillion, trillion dollars of net worth. And the second word I would use is impunity. We live in a period of such unbelievable cynicism. We laugh, we cry, but basically, you look at this Sepp Blatter beast of an irresponsible, corrupt guy and he`s likely as we read in the papers, to win, you know, re-election tomorrow in an utterly corrupt organization. But you don`t have to go to FIFA for that, just go to Wall Street. We have CEOs of our top Wall Street firms that have paid tens of billions of dollars of fines for financial malfeasance and they`re seated(ph) at the White House. They keep their top positions, they take home massive pay. This is an age of impunity, it`s a disgrace. And eventually, it`s going to lead to an explosion. The question is when? O`DONNELL: And Katrina, we`re watching this game being played by Jeb Bush now, which is just a mockery of these campaign finance laws. He is pretending he`s not yet officially a candidate for president, simply so he can raise more money very directly with the Super PAC that he would not be able to officially coordinate with if he was a declared candidate. KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, PUBLISHER & EDITOR, THE NATION: It`s a disgrace, Larry. I mean, you said it at the top of the program. I mean, the question is, are we a government of by, for the people or are we one of these oligarchical countries which we issue human rights reports around. The Super PACS have redefined the systemic corruption that already existed. Ari Berman in "The Nation" this week writes about how the wealth primary is undermining voting rights. Fifty years ago, African-Americans were discriminated against by poll taxes, literacy tests, today, the skyrocketing costs of campaigns, including the Super PACS, you mentioned these billionaires have made everyday Americans rightful vote mean not enough, mean too little. And the other thing I`d say is, it`s not just about access and influence, it`s about the ability to shape the debate that goes on in this country. That is why there is a striking disconnect between what is going on inside the beltway in Washington and the views of everyday Americans. Whether it`s on job creation, on higher minimum wage, on affordable college -- SACHS: Taxes of the rich -- HEUVEL: Taxes, progressive taxation and finally, to pick up on what Jeffrey said, we live in an age of impunity. There is an inequality of accountability. Why is it that those who took us into war in Iraq or the bankers are not held accountable, while someone in Louisiana has life without parole for stealing a $149 coat? I mean, all of this just doesn`t make sense, we need to find a new way. And there are solutions -- I`ll let David speak, he is my long time colleague. But there are solutions, whether it`s President Obama issuing an executive order to force federal contractors to disclose their contributions. Public financing, which this city of New York has and it has changed the political landscape, and there are bills -- one -- with only one Republican co-sponsor, so don`t let people tell you there are no difference between the parties. They both are in hoc to the systemic corruption. O`DONNELL: And David Corn, so far in this campaign season, the easiest thing I`ve heard candidates say about what to do about this is, oh, we`ll push for a constitutional amendment to change citizens united, which they know is never going to happen. The constitutional -- DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Amendment process isn`t going to get them there. CORN: You know, in some ways, I mean, we`ve been talking about this in one form or another for a couple of decades now. Every couple -- you know, every couple of years, there is some reform and then a Supreme Court decision comes along or a new way to scrap the rules and we`re back to the races with money having outside influence. It seems to me that until there is, you know, enough of a scandal or enough of a persistent, you know, wheel of corruption that is -- that is accepted by 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent of the public and they care about it, things won`t change. Because, you know, you can poll this again and again and again and everyone thinks that the system is corrupt, but they don`t make voting decisions based on this. They don`t give money to common -- you know, to public interest groups and so on, to fight the stuff. They kind of -- you know, the public kind of accepts this. You know, unfortunately, and there can be a great Kristof column, a great piece in "The Nation" magazine, "Mother Jones", professor Sachs can come out with a great analysis. But at the end of the day, if American voters and American people decide that -- you know, unless they decide they care about this enough, the people with the money who have a strong investment in this stuff are still going to have the upper hand. And -- HEUVEL: But the people -- the people have -- people have an interest, too, David, and I think -- CORN: Well, they do -- HEUVEL: We`re at a risk of being too cynical about this, because this is going to feed the view that -- government, let it go, any government views. We got to take back government and clean it up, not say it doesn`t work. And by the way, we`ve moved from a discussion of campaign finance, not blocking money, but small donors, public finance. Look at Bernie Sanders, in 24 hours, he raised $1.5 million, the median amount was $42. There are people around this country, if you have public financing -- small donors, who can make a difference? CORN: All this is -- SACHS: I think that`s why -- I think that`s a very -- (CROSSTALK) Important point that one way that we`re going to make a break through, I think, in the end, it`s not going to be starting with the legislation much less an amendment, but a candidate saying I am not bought. I am not taking big money, I`m taking small money and then free media, social media -- HEUVEL: Yes -- SACHS: The public being -- you know, having all the revulsion that the public really does say, I`m for that person. HEUVEL: And break that TV consultant industry, just as you want to break the lobbying industry. It`s a disgrace that there are five lobbyist for every member of the house or seven lobbyists. But the TV consultants are turning around and putting money in their pockets as they get money from the campaigns. We need, as Jeffrey said, social media internet. It will make campaigns -- and by the way -- CORN: The interesting -- HEUVEL: The other thing, look at the U.K. election, our former colleague, David`s and mine, Edward Miliband, former intern of "The Nation" didn`t quite make it, but -- (LAUGHTER) CORN: I don`t know -- HEUVEL: It was a two-month campaign -- CORN: Say that -- HEUVEL: And it cost so little. SACHS: That was -- yes -- HEUVEL: We can take lessons -- (CROSSTALK) CORN: But we know, we know the reforms that are needed. We know -- HEUVEL: I know -- CORN: There are lots of good ideas out there and we`ve seen some candidates, remember when Barack Obama run in 2008, you know, he set a record in terms of small donors -- SACHS: And big donors. CORN: And big -- and big donors, too. But people -- but people did flock to this small donor message. Now, the question I really have is, will there come a time when a candidate on a statewide level or a national level really can, you know, can use social media and use these small, you know, donor delivery mechanisms through social media to outdo and show this can be done in a way that other people will repeat. (CROSSTALK) HEUVEL: It may take city by city, David. Again, I was sitting in New York City -- CORN: Yes -- HEUVEL: Mayor de Blasio credits the small donor public financing system to -- CORN: Yes -- HEUVEL: With his election. The city council in this city has changed, the landscape has changed, issues that were off the radar, paid sick leave, living wage, these are all issues that can move forward. But you know, the rules are rigged right now. Elizabeth Warren says it is as good as anyone. CORN: Yes, I know -- HEUVEL: And until that shifts, and that`s the money, and then making the connection, but I agree with you, though Jeffrey and I looked at you when you said we need more scandal. How much more scandal do we need? What`s the tipping point? CORN: Well, yes, that is a -- that is a good question. Remember like, we didn`t get the last, you know, the dose of reform until after we had Keating Five and yet John McCain and others -- HEUVEL: That`s true -- CORN: Became Feingold being, you know, the reformers out there. And then, you know, the Supreme Court came along and basically undid all that reform work. But the history of American political reform going back to the 1900s is that people respond when there is a very identifiable individual scandal and the corrupt institutional scandal -- I mean, Jeffrey knows this better than anyone, is the stuff that they`re able to get away with on a day-to- day level. You know, sort of under the radar, even though -- HEUVEL: Yes -- CORN: It`s in plain sight. O`DONNELL: And the Watergate scandal helped give us our first big wave of campaign finance reform, so the question of a candidate leading this movement. The question is, is Bernie Sanders that candidate? Katrina, so far, he is the guy who is raising the money in that straight up, you know -- HEUVEL: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Small donor way. HEUVEL: And it`s not just the way he is raising the money now, Larry. He has a long track record of speaking out against the corrosion, the corruption of our country by these oligarchs. I think the fact that there will be six debates, that`s what, you know, we`ve seen, very important. Because Bernie Sanders is not going to run an anti Hillary campaign as much as an issues campaign. And to drive those issues into this campaign could lift it up. And he has allies. Again, you know, in the -- in the house, there is a very good bill, government by the people, 146 co-sponsors, one of them Walter Jones, a Republican. If people can know their ways to get involved and do something and mobilize around candidates, around these issues, then it will be a move. SACHS: And I think we have to say the Clintons are not a pretty picture in this story. They are the ultimate schmoozers. Bill Clinton is the one that opened the Democratic Party to Wall Street. Really wrecked the party in ideological terms I would say, and created a lot of mischief that led here, and now we see just how frankly, you know, in utter pursuit of money they are all the time. So this is a -- they`re vulnerable -- HEUVEL: Damn it -- SACHS: Now, where is the candidate? Maybe it is Bernie Sanders -- HEUVEL: Bernie Sanders -- CORN: Well -- SACHS: But somebody can stand up and make this point and get a -- CORN: Well, the issue -- SACHS: Quite far down the road on this. CORN: An interesting thing -- O`DONNELL: Quickly David, the last word -- CORN: Just an interesting thing is that, I don`t disagree with anything that Jeffrey just said, but one of the four issues that Hillary -- (CROSSTALK) CORN: Identified is, the thing, you know, going after big money. She knows she is vulnerable and I think she`s going to try to address that. SACHS: Yes -- O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break here, David Corn, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, thank you both -- HEUVEL: Thank you -- O`DONNELL: For joining me tonight. Professor Sachs, please stay with us, I need a -- SACHS: Oh, man -- O`DONNELL: Tutorial from you later on something else. Coming up, in the rewrite tonight, what Bill O`Reilly got wrong last night in his so-called "Truth Serum" segment, that`s what he calls it, a "Truth Serum" segment. He apparently forgot to drink the truth serum. And later, Jon Stewart has an idea that he really wants you to steal. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: A former Republican speaker of the United States house of Representatives Denny Hastert was indicted today for banking crimes and lying to the FBI. According to the indictment in 2010, Hastert agreed to pay someone more than $3 million to keep quiet about some prior misconduct. To get that money, the FBI says Hastert withdrew less than $10,000 at a time which is just under the amount that has to be reported to the FBI. Hastert was the longest serving Republican speaker in history from 1999 to 2007. Coming up next, the man who supervised the writing of the Affordable Care Act will explain how that -- the specifics of that writing is -- ended up in the Supreme Court and is now being decided by those justices. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Next month, the United States Supreme Court will make a decision about the meaning of one line in the 900-page Affordable Care Act. At stake is health insurance for eight million people, that line says that subsidies for people who cannot afford insurance will be available to people who purchase their insurance in, "an exchange established by the state." The Obama administration has argued that, that phrase should be interpreted to mean an exchange established by the state or the federal government since it was the federal government that established the exchanges in most of the states because most of the states decided not to establish exchanges. People who had got their health insurance through those federal exchanges could lose it if the Supreme Court reads that sentence to mean only the words contained there. Joining us now, the person who supervised the writing of that law, Russ Sullivan, former staff director for the Senate Finance Committee and Ezra Klein, the editor-in-chief for and an Msnbc policy analyst. Russ, what happened here? We got -- we got ourselves a legislative language mess here. RUSSELL SULLIVAN, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR, SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: Well, it`s a complicated statute, Lawrence. And it was a big bill and what happened, I believe was that when we merged two different versions of the bill, the bill from the finance committee and the bill from what`s called the health committee. That we took different pieces and when we decided that the tax credits should be available, but that was the finance committee version. And we added that to the health committee version which gave the states the option to establish their own exchange or to rely on the federal government. We failed to bring over a -- a small piece of language that would have clarified that when there is a federal exchange operating in the state, that the tax credits are available for all the citizens in that state as well. O`DONNELL: Yes, and Ezra, this kind of thing happens a lot, as you know, and when you`re dealing with a massive bill like this, with a lot of moving parts, the likelihood of a little flaw like this showing up is very high. Which is why they always used to -- a few months after the big bill passed, maybe a year later sometime, they would pass the so-called technical corrections bill where you`d go in and you would say, oh, well, this is what this part here meant to say. But in this Congress, there was no real chance of passing any kind of technical corrections. So, the Supreme Court is basically deciding whether they`re going to do a technical corrections bill. EZRA KLEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, VOX.COM: Right, and I think a different way of putting this is that, there is one version of this that is about the law and clarity within the statute, and another version of this which is about sort of sabotage, right? There`s one version of this which I think is a probably possible reading of what`s going on here. Which is that you have unclear language in section 1311. If you read it in context, it`s perfectly clear what`s going on. If you read it in context of everything else in the bill, everything legislative history and the Supreme Court is not going to gut Obamacare over a reasonable interpretation of that section. They gave too much deference to the other branches of government to do that. And so you`ve developed or watched Republicans develop this sort of other argument which is that, in fact, that section of the bill is not unclearly worded. That section of the bill is not a grammatical mistake, but in fact, that is exactly what Congress meant to do. That Congress gave states an option to let the federal government build their insurance market place. But if states took that option, the federal government would then basically work that state`s insurance market. And then the federal government didn`t tell, Congress didn`t tell itself it was doing this, and it didn`t tell the Obama administration and nobody told the states. And that side of it, which is the argument that is being made because they want the Supreme Court to actually gut the bill and in order to convince them to do that, they need the Supreme Court to believe it is respecting congressional intent. That is a ridiculous argument that is almost acting more like a Jedi mind trick than like a literal reasonable interpretation of what happened in this bill. O`DONNELL: And Russ, the only support for that, that anyone has been able to find is Jonathan Gruber speaking at a Washington -- to Washington group one time saying, oh, yes, this was absolutely deliberate. It was to make an incentive for the states to create their own exchanges. He has since said he was wrong about that. But in all of the staff, the people who really know are you and the staff people who really wrote this bill; Republicans and Democrats. And in Robert Pear`s report in the "New York Times" the other day interviewing all of you, he couldn`t find anyone on the Republican side, on any side, who said there was ever a moment where we contemplated the possibility of not giving subsidies to people who got their insurance in the federal exchange. SULLIVAN: And that`s right, and the reason is because it did not happen. I mean, I was there for virtually all the discussions leading up to the Senate passage. Many of them with Republicans in the room, most of those discussions not public and so are not on the record. And there was a lot of discussion about how these tax credits were going to work. Who was going to benefit, what income levels, how big the tax credit would be and what kinds of insurance product, be it high deductible plans, catastrophic plans or more basic plans would be eligible under the exchange. But everyone assumed and knew that these tax credits going to be available for all Americans. O`DONNELL: And Russ, you were in a lot of closed-door private conversations in which Republican senators would easily, comfortably have said to you, what`s going to happen in my state if my Republican governor declines to create an exchange? What`s going to happen to those subsidies? If there was ever a whiff of the possibility that this kind of interpretation was available. SULLIVAN: Well, and it was not just the Republicans who might say that. The Democrats in the room, including the chairman that I reported to, Max Baucus of Montana would have had the same concern. Look, when the -- when the senators ask how this is going to work, we explained it to them that this is like you`re going to and you`re going to purchase an airline ticket or you`re going to reserve a rental car. You`re going to have a variety of choices, like categories, compare the price and make your selection. Now, when we explained that to them as we moved down the line, they ultimately said well, but we`re going to have states set up these exchanges, right? And we explained to them that, well, yes, this is going to be like the college savings plans under section 529 of the code. Each state can establish an exchange but everyone is eligible for the tax advantages under that provision. And the senators said, great, yes, we understand this. O`DONNELL: OK, Russ, before we go, you don`t have to name me the names, but how many of the senators knew what you were talking about when you mentioned Expedia? SULLIVAN: They all know what we are talking about, Expedia. This was 2009. (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: OK, Russ Sullivan, Ezra Klein, thank you both for joining us tonight. KLEIN: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, what is the worst possible threat facing the Middle East in the long term? It might not be what you`re thinking. And Jon Stewart has one idea that he really wants people to steal. Now, comedians are very protective of their ideas, but not this time. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The Middle East may be torn by uprisings and terrorism led by the Islamic State and other groups. But, in the longer term, possibly the most extreme challenge to life in that residential could be something much more basic -- water. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEFFREY SACHS, ECONOMIST: When you look at a world map of drought, lo and behold, the Middle East, which is already dry, it`s been drying. And so, places like Syria, like Iraq, the hot zones in the world from the point of view of violence and conflict, those are also drought-stricken places. And it`s not a coincidence. Drought is one of the factors that`s leading to instability already. And we are just playing with unbelievable danger to think, "Oh, that can just go one and the world will remain safe." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Back with us, economist, Jeffrey Sachs, author of the book, "The Age of Sustainable Development." Professor Sachs, does this drought in the Middle East, does it offer the possibility of more cooperation because of this desperate need to get water and to transport it across borders. SACHS: Possibly, but probably not. And, in fact, what happened in Syria already is showing how these things roll out. The whole decade from around 2000 to 2010 was a very bad drought decade. And the years from 2006 to 2010 were the worst drought in Syria`s modern history, devastating. People fled the drought-stricken places, farmers abandoned their farms to go to the cities, food prices spiked. That led to unrest. The government then responded, being a very brutal government with a sharp crackdown, that led to an insurrection. That led to a flood of arms flowing in from all the regional powers, from us through the CIA, and so forth. And you have a bloodbath. I wouldn`t say the drought was the only cause, the miserable governance, all of the other reasons for fighting prevail in Syria. But you get deep instability when people are hungry, when places become unviable. We see it, as that clip pointed out, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- not only in Syria. We see it in Yemen today. We see it in Somalia. I see it all over the world, as I`m traveling on behalf the United Nations, how much instability there is -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- because people can`t be secure in their homes and communities. And we`re weeing it in the United States, in the terrible tragedy in -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- Texas right now. We have created, and are creating all over the world, major climate disruptions because we haven`t gotten on top of this reality of human-made climate change and done something about it, which we could do. And we could do it quite low cost, actually. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what President Obama said about that today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The best climate scientists in the world are telling us that extreme weather events like hurricanes are likely to become more powerful. When you combine stronger storms with rising seas, that`s a recipe for more devastating floods. Climate change didn`t cause Hurricane Sandy but it might have made it stronger. The fact that the sea level in New York Harbor is about a foot higher than a century ago certainly made the storm surge worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Now, Professor Sachs, you said that, this year, 2015, could be a crucial turning point on this issue. Tell us about that. SACHS: Well, first, it`s going to be the hottest year in the instrument record. That means going back to around 1880. We`re going to have a blowout hot year -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- this year. Because, on top of the ongoing trend of human-made warming, we ave a big El Nino that is shaping up. And this is going to add to the Earth`s average temperature. But, at the same time, we have kind of a make-or-break summit in Paris at the end of November, beginning of December. When, after 23 years of failure to implement a climate treaty that was adopted back in 1992, we`re going to have what is, in effect, our last chance to implement this treaty. So, that meeting is called COP21, Conference of the Parties 21st -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- Session, of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. It`s a mouthful, but what it means is that, back in Rio, at the Earth Summit 23 years ago, the world said, "We`ve got to get on top of this." Twenty-three years later, we still have not been effective in doing so because of the powerful interests of oil, gas and coal, because of the difficulties of getting global agreements, because of the opposition we face in the United States -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- from the right to taking this issue seriously. And, now, our backs are to the wall because, if we don`t have an effective agreement reached in December, we`re going to breach all conceivable measures of safety, we`re going to reach temperatures that are absolutely dangerous planetwide. O`DONNELL: Professor Jeffrey Sachs, thank you very much for joining us tonight. (END VIDEO CLIP) SACHS: Thanks for having me. O`DONNELL: The book is entitled "The Age of Sustainable Development." Coming up, Bill O`Reilly has a segment on the show that he calls -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- "The Truth Serum" segment. Now, the reason I don`t have a segment called "The Truth Serum" segment is I am just a little too afraid that, what if, in that segment, I said something that wasn`t exactly -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- totally, completely true. Bill O`Reilly is not afraid of that. It`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) North Carolina`s Republican Governor says he will veto a bill, letting court officials recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same- sex couples based on their religious beliefs. Governor Pat McCrory issued this statement -- "Whether it is the President, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office, should be exempt from upholding that oath." Coming up, Jon Stewart doing push-ups. Seriously, we`ve got the video. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) In tonight`s "Rewrite," "Truth Serum." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: "Truth Serum" segment tonight, proposal to ban members of Congress from using first class air fare will not -- will not get a vote in the House, which shouldn`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: So, if you`re going to call a segment the "Truth Serum" segment, one of the essential ingredients, if not the only ingredient, has to be truth. Let`s see how true last night`s "Truth Serum" segment was. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Bill, your members, elected to the House or Senate, can fly first class anytime they want. They get an allotment of money through the budget that`s passed every year. And this year, this Legislative Operations branch got $3.3 billion. And, essentially, it`s divvied up among the different members. They get different amounts based on how far away they live from Washington. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: OK. So far, so good. All true. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: It`s a lot of money. And then, therefore, the Senators and Congress people, they lay out, and usually through their chief-of-staff who they have to pay, you know, $200,000 a year or whatever -- these people don`t come cheap -- all right, how the money is being allocated. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: OK. Well, you have to listen a little more carefully when that guy is talking because the truth suffers a little bit, especially if numbers are involved. No chiefs-of-staff in the House or Senate, none of them, get paid $200,000 a year. Senators and members of Congress don`t make that much money. Senators and House members are paid -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- $174,000 and their chiefs-of-staff are all paid less than that. Members of Congress and -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- senators wouldn`t be paid much more if they simply got cost of living increases like they used to. But, in the age of O`Reilly, members of Congress have tried to profit politically by voting to, in effect, cut their own salaries by ending cost of living increases. And because members of Congress don`t want the likes of Bill O`Reilly to think they are living large, they have gone without a pay increase for six years. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: Wouldn`t it be interesting to see how many of them are living large because that`s always the accusation, -- BREAM: Right. O`REILLY: -- that not only do they make a decent salary, and then we don`t begrudge them that, but they have perks, they have parking, free gym membership, cafeteria perks, cheap food, whatever it may be, and how many of them fly first class. I bet you, most of them do. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Well, since we don`t actually know how many of them have flown first class at government expense -- and it`s really just a matter of betting -- I`m going to bet that most of them don`t do that on a regular basis. A lot of their flying is paid for by campaign funds, not taxpayer money, because they are to campaign events. More of that campaign-paid flying is likely to be first class than the government-paid flying, especially if they`re flying to raise money for the party, not their own campaigns. And then, of course, a certain amount of first class seating is due to free upgrades that frequent flyers get. And all members of Congress are very, very frequent flyers. And, surely, some of the government-paid first class flying members of the Congress do is because the only seat available on that plane was in first class, and they had to get back to Washington for an important vote, or they had to get back to their districts or state for what they considered an important event. Members of Congress tend to make those flight reservations at the very last minute because they never know until that last minute when the Congressional schedule will allow them to travel. So, it`s not all about Washington fat cats living large. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: there`s really no oversight on how they spend the money. They just give them a block of money. But if you run out, that`s it, you don`t get any more, right. BREAM: Yes. And heaven forbid that you`d have too much and have to give some back. I don`t think that happened. O`REILLY: They always -- well, can`t they use that money though if they don`t spend it all for their campaigns and stuff. BREAM: Well, you could use it on office supplies. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: OK. Now, they`re both wrong. Bill O`Reilly actually thinks that they can use money from their government office budget for their campaigns. He doesn`t know that that would be a federal crime. The maestro of the "Truth Serum" segment, who talks about politics and government every day, talks about money in politics and government every day, complains about the use of money in government is offended -- offended at the idea that members of Congress or senators would ever sit in first class. That guy actually thinks that members of Congress and senators can use their government office money on their campaigns. They can`t even use their government office telephones for their campaigns. And then, the bit about giving some of the money back? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BREAM: Heaven forbid that you`d have too much and have to give some back. I don`t think that happened. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Now, that sort of thing would never happen on Fox News but it does happen in reality. And the politicians who do it make a big deal of it, as if they`ve done something significant to reduce the federal deficits. Senator Rand Paul gave back half a million dollars of his Senate office budget last year. He has given back almost $2 million of that budget since he`s been in the Senate. And Rand Paul is not the only one who gives back money to the government every year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BREAM: Heaven forbid that you`d have too much and have to give some back. I don`t think that happened. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Well, at least she admitted she wasn`t absolutely sure of what she was saying, "I don`t think that happens." But admitting that you might not know what you`re talking about is not Bill O`Reilly`s style. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BREAM: I have seen it many times myself. I fly in and out of D.C. all the time. But, do I know if they`re traveling on their own dollar, which they can do over and above what they spend in public -- public spending -- O`REILLY: No, they`re not. I can tell you they`re not. BREAM: -- or if it`s their own money. But we`ve all seen them in first class. That`s not where I`m sitting. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Well, you knew it was bound to come to that. Any discussion of air travel always gets down to where you sit on the plane. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROSE BYRNE, ACTRESS: Here. She can have my seat, OK. Everyone should experience first class at least once in their lives. And Annie shouldn`t miss out just because she can`t afford it. UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: No, ma`am, I`m afraid that`s not allowed. KRISTEN WIIG, ACTRESS: Help me, I`m poor. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: OK, now, we`ve got to roll the "Truth Serum," take back just a bit, because we were just about to learn where Bill O`Reilly sits on planes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BREAM: We`ve all seen him in first class. That`s not where I`m sitting. O`REILLY: OK, all right. So, right now, the system is going to stay the same. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: So, we never did learn that. I guess, the idea of the "Truth Serum" segment is that the guest takes the truth serum and the host just continues to drink water because, at no moment at last night`s "Truth Serum" segment did we learn where Bill O`Reilly actually sits on airplanes himself. Of course, there`s no reason to discuss that unless you`re doing a segment complaining about people living large in first class. And, yes, there is a huge difference between government-paid flying and privately-paid flying. But when you`re doing a "Truth Serum" segment about members of Congress flying first class, if you have just an ounce of truth serum in your system or just an ounce of self-awareness, you`d probably say something, something about your own experience on airplanes, just as Bill`s guest did. I`ve never seen Bill O`Reilly in an airport. But, if I do, I do not expect to see him standing at the gate, staring at his name on that upgrade waiting list, just hoping that this is his lucky day. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Coming up, Jon Stewart as you have never seen him, doing something you`ve never seen him do, something I wasn`t sure that he could do. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Jon Stewart`s last "Daily Show" will be on Thursday, August 6th. In his 16-year -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPL) -- run with the show, he has shown himself to be a singular presence on television. And as he leaves the stage, he is doing something that no stand-up comedian has done before. He is urging people to steal his idea. "The New York Times" reports that Jon Stewart has been running a boot camp to help military veterans break into the film and television industry. "The Daily Show" Veterans Immersion Team began two years ago with the help from American corporate partners. Jon Stewart has also accepted the -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- "Give Them 20 Challenge," 20 push-ups in a salute to veterans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JON STEWART, COMEDY CENTRAL HOST: Here we go, here we go, here we go. My name is Jon Stewart. I`m giving 20 for "The Daily Show" Veterans Immersion Team. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Here we go. (LAUGHTER) I`m giving 20. (LAUGHTER) I hope you have slow motion capabilities. (LAUGHTER) Here we go. You guys have got to count me through. UNIDENTIFIED MALE AND FEMALE: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) STEWART: Thank you, guys. I`m calling out Nate and Maggie Stewart. I`m calling out young John Oliver. And I`m calling out my beloved New York metropolitans. "Give Them 20." (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Sid Goodfriend, the Founder and Chairman of American Corporate Partners, and Don Valdez, an Iraq War veteran and participant in "The Daily Show" Veterans Immersion Program. Don, tell us how you found out about the program and how has it worked for you. DON VALDEZ, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: So, I was searching online and I saw an ambiguous posting about an immersion program for veterans. And, at the time, I was working at Simon and Schuster and I thought -- in a business function -- and I thought that it`d be a nice step away from, you know, the daily spreadsheets and whatnot. So, they said that it was geared towards veterans and I decided to sign up for the program, and you had to write a necessary -- apparently, there were thousands of people that signed up for this program and I happened to be chosen for it. O`DONNELL: And, Side, Jon Stewart has said, "This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea." You helped him get this started. How would people steal this idea. SID GOODFRIEND, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CORPORATE PARTNERS: The Veteran Immersion Program could be used in wide variety of companies, different industries. Jon started it for the media industry in part because we didn`t have a lot of media mentors in our mentoring program. But it could be used by banks, it could be used by energy companies, big companies, small companies. And if they like help, all they have to do is reach out to us and we`ll do our best to teach them what Jon taught us. O`DONNELL: And, Don, what was it like in the boot camp in those -- is it classes, is it a classroom environment. How does it work. VALDEZ: Well, it`s over several weeks, about five weeks. And, the first week, you get a whole day at "The Daily Show," from like 7:30 in the morning to the end of taping. And you get to see a holistic approach about -- into how the show is actually taped. In the remaining weeks, you have access to Jon`s staff and he brings in executives from, you know, different entertainment companies. You get to ask the writers, the production, the crew questions of anything that caught your interest. And the culminating event was a job fair where the program invited few -- more than 20 companies that you could either interview with or you could inquire about job opportunities. O`DONNELL: Boy, I wish I could have gone to that boot camp before I started this show. Sid, what is this "Give Them 20" campaign that we saw Jon Stewart participating in there on the video. GOODFRIEND: We launched the program over Memorial Day. Jon`s video was played on Monday. It`s received -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- almost a million views in the last couple of days. Al Schorzi, the Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, launched his effort. (END VIDEO CLIP) I nominated the two of them. J&J launched theirs yesterday. What we`re trying to do is ask Americans to use this period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, really focusing on July Fourth, to spend a moment and think about those who serve the country, "Give Them 20." Our tagline is to thank them, salute them and give them 20. O`DONNELL: Sid Goodfriend and Don Valdez, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. GOODFRIEND: Lawrence, let me ask you a question before we go. O`DONNELL: We`re so out of time. (LAUGHTER) Go ahead, quickly. GOODFRIEND: Will you give them 20 for the troops? O`DONNELL: Do they have to be consecutive, these push-ups? All right, I`ll give them -- I`ll give them close to 20. I`ll do what I can. GOODFRIEND: They can be sit-ups if you like but just do your 20. O`DONNELL: All right. We`ll give them 20-something. OK. Chris Hayes is up next. END