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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 06/10/15

Guests: Cecile Richards, Barney Frank, Jeremy Peters, Peter Schulte, MarkThompson, Dan French

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Rachel, I can fit them all right here in this studio -- MADDOW: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Whenever they want. (LAUGHTER) We`ve got plenty of room. MADDOW: No arbitrary cut off, they`re all -- O`DONNELL: Right -- MADDOW: Welcome -- O`DONNELL: Right -- MADDOW: Exactly -- O`DONNELL: No problem. MADDOW: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. O`DONNELL: Well, at least he apologized through his lawyer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JANE BISHKIN, ATTORNEY: He apologizes to all who were offended. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt apologized today through his attorney. BISHKIN: Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his department in a negative light. He allowed his emotions to get the better of them. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most abortion clinics in the state of Texas will close at the end of this month. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the goal of the state legislature and of Governor Rick Perry was to end safe and legal abortion completely in the state of Texas. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House said today, hundreds more American troops are heading back. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The president hasn`t outlined a strategy in order to win. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They still don`t know what to say except to attack the President. JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I have -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has not figured out the Iraq answer -- BUSH: Believe that the efforts to date haven`t been strategic. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both the one behind him which is his brother`s war and the one in front of him. (APPLAUSE) JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Don`t even get me started on the tension between me and my sister, Martha. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Every week, Republican presidential candidates are facing a new issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you attend a gay wedding? MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion? CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some are out there like Lindsey Graham saying, we should send ten thousand U.S. ground troops right now to Iraq to help with this fight. Do you favor that? (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham plans to use the United States Senate to change the presidential campaign subject of the week to abortion. Senator Graham plans to introduce a bill banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The Supreme Court`s decision in Roe v. Wade established that a woman has the right to choose to end the pregnancy before the fetus is viable. The 1973 Supreme Court opinion said viability is "usually placed at about seven months, 28 weeks, but may occur earlier even at 24 weeks. In April, Senator Graham spoke at an event for an anti-abortion organization. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We`re going to have one hell of a fight on the floor of the Senate. I can`t promise you we`re going to get 60 votes this year, but I can promise you one day we will. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, "New York Times" political reporter and Msnbc Political Analyst Jeremy Peters, the President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards and former Congressman and an Msnbc contributor Barney Frank, author of "Frank: A Life in Politics". Cecile, there is Lindsey Graham saying, I can`t promise you we`ll get to 60 votes, which is another way of saying, there is -- this is a stunt, I`m going to use the Senate floor because I can. The procedure allows me to go out there when I want to, in this case when convenient for my campaign with no hope of what he is doing becoming law. CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA: Correct, and of course, this is -- we`ve already had 29 actions by this congress to try to limit abortion. It is their obsession. And for Lindsey Graham, this is his effort to pander to the part of the wing of his party that he needs in order to -- I guess could be competitive. But it is really a shame that we are -- continued to be preoccupied by this issue, that`s not what their voters want, it`s not what the -- even the Republican Party wants. And I was really heartened to see the day Senator Susan Collins say this is not the priority and shouldn`t be of this Congress. O`DONNELL: Barney Frank, the priority of the Senate apparently is going to be whatever this week`s presidential candidate in the Senate decides to make it. BARNEY FRANK, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: That`s true, but I think we are getting some indication of what the 2016 election will be about. It`s already clear that it will mean if they win and end any effort to deal with climate change or do any serious financial regulation. I think people should take this abortion thing very seriously. The Supreme Court and many of our courts have been edging closer to the tension of abortion restrictions. I think it`s very clear if -- with Lindsey Graham raising this with the pressures that generates among the Republican primary electorate. I think it`s pretty clear that if you get a Republican president elected in 2016, given the age and the disposition of the Supreme Court Justices, Roe versus Wade will be overturned. I don`t think there`s any question that if a Republican president wins we will see the end of Roe versus Wade. O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, is that what we`re going to hear from Republican candidates next week, promises to select Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe versus Wade? JEREMY PETERS, NEW YORK TIMES: You know, this is always a question that comes up in every presidential election. I think there is a certain wariness among Republicans to get too deep into the weeds on this issue. I have to say, I find it curious as a political strategy because all of the presidential candidates who are in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, they`re all co-sponsors of this bill. So, it`s not really a way for them to differentiate themselves. And you know, what you have here, I think is not so much a campaign tactic as it is Mitch McConnell fulfilling a promise to the anti-abortion groups from 2014 when they helped him in some tight Senate races that the Republicans were trying to win. And he promised to bring a bill like this to the floor, and that`s really what this is. O`DONNELL: Cecile -- FRANK: I -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead, go ahead, Barney -- FRANK: I disagree. In the first place, I don`t think you`re going to see the wariness -- well, things are changing. And this is not the Republican nominating process even of eight years ago or even four. The right wing pressures I think are intensifying and I think you are going to see whatever that wariness is, you just notice all four of them are -- sponsored this bill, they`ll all be sponsors of it. And in addition, you just -- because other people are for it doesn`t mean you can`t make an issue. You could be the one who is the most effective. You can claim that I`m the real leader on this. So, the fact that they`re all together on the issue in substance doesn`t mean they won`t try to make it a basis for differentiating among them depending on who was the most ardent advocate and the most effective. O`DONNELL: Cecile, to Barney`s point, it may have no legislative impact on the Senate floor, but it should, in Barney`s view be taken as a promise. This is what a Republican presidency will try to bring you. RICHARDS: Absolutely, I don`t disagree at all. And in fact, what we`re seeing this year is a repeat of what we saw in the last presidential Republican primary where it was a race to the bottom on women. It resulted in the largest gender gap ever in the history of Gallop polling in a presidential race, and that was because we had a Republican primary that everyone pledged to overturn Roe versus Wade, defund Planned Parenthood. I think the difference this time and why this is so serious is, we`re actually now seeing in states like the state of Texas, they`ve enacted this kind of draconian measures -- the impact on women. So, it`s no longer a theoretical war on women, it`s an actual war on women. O`DONNELL: The Republican primary field is confused about exactly what the debate rules are going to be. "Fox News" wants to limit it on who gets on the stage. New Hampshire Republican sent a letter to "Fox News" about the RNC debate criteria, and they said, "as you know, the first in the nation New Hampshire primary plays a pivotal role in selecting our nominees for president. Historically, it has been the responsibility of early primary in caucus states to closely examine and win all the field of candidates. And it is not in the electorates interest to have TV debate criteria supplant this solemn duty." Barney Frank, is there a way out of this for this very crowded Republican field? Is there a way -- is there a wise way -- FRANK: No -- O`DONNELL: For the party to handle this? FRANK: There is, but what`s interesting is -- and I was struck by this -- watching I think Michael Steele on one of the shows on Msnbc. Essentially, what we have seen is that the Republican party is sort of officially recognized the fact that "Fox News" is their communications division. (LAUGHTER) I mean, seriously. O`DONNELL: Yes. FRANK: Michael Steele, a very sensible former RNC chair said well, you know, we`re going to -- we are going to leave that to "Fox News". And you see this interesting collaboration, unprecedented I think, between one of the two major political parties and the theoretically independent network. Yes, there was an answer, and I think at this point, I have some sympathy with the -- some of the Republican candidates. What this does is show the absolute selfishness and desire for self advancement. There are people who are running, who everyone knows have no serious chance. And for them to insist on full equity, look, obviously, from the Democratic standpoint, a debate of 15, 16 people, is going to be something that`s difficult. And I think they should go ahead and say we`re going to do some restriction, and I think what you see and people ought to start talking about some of these candidates. Carly Fiorina, others who have no serious chance whatsoever and I`m delighted to see them messing up their own party`s procedure. O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, what about other news organizations or other sponsors jumping in and offering debate forums as I have done. They can all come her whenever they want. (LAUGHTER) PETERS: OK, well, I`m sure that Ted Cruz is going to take you up on that, Lawrence. But, no, in all seriousness, what you`re seeing here is two things. A weakening of the national parties. The Republican National Committee doesn`t really have much power over the mechanics of the political process and the debates is one of the few remaining things that they can really control. And when they try to exert control, they found a backlash. They found a backlash from candidates and they found a backlash from local and state parties who felt like they were being cut out of the process. And so what this is all led to is a lot of griping and hard feelings on the part of New Hampshire Republicans, on the part of Iowa Republicans because they feel like the RNC has effectively outsourced the winnowing of the field to the news networks. And they always took very seriously their early place in this presidential selection process, which they now feel has been undermined. FRANK: Not the news networks. "Fox News". I think that`s -- (CROSSTALK) PETERS: No, that`s not true. "Cnn" is hosting the second debate, "Abc News" will be hosting their debate -- FRANK: But they said "Fox" was setting -- but -- PETERS: No, "Fox" -- (CROSSTALK) FRANK: "Fox" was setting the move first -- PETERS: They`ve all set their own criteria. They`ve -- FRANK: Letting "Fox" -- PETERS: They`ve all set their own criteria -- FRANK: Letting "Fox" -- PETERS: So, is not just "Fox News" -- FRANK: Letting "Fox" -- but they let "Fox" go first, and they`re giving them (INAUDIBLE) to "Fox" and "Fox" is the pattern setter by the RNC`s choice. O`DONNELL: Cecile, is it in the Democrat`s interest in your view to have as many Republicans up on the stage as possible? Because it actually increases the idea -- the possibility as it would with any large group of something nutty being said? RICHARDS: Well, I think regardless over how many folks are up on stage, nutty things are already being said. O`DONNELL: Yes -- RICHARDS: And I guess, my point will be, not as a -- not from the Democratic Party point of view, but the women`s point of view, these candidates are indistinguishable. And so, to me, the more daylight we shine on their positions and how extreme they are, the more we are going to see a repeat of the last presidential election and with the gender gap actually determine who the next president was. O`DONNELL: Cecile Richards, Jeremy Peters and Barney Frank, thank you all for joining me tonight. RICHARDS: Good to be here. O`DONNELL: Coming up, the reaction to the apology today from that Texas police officer who was caught on video violating the rights of teenagers after a pool party. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The attorney for that police officer in Texas who was caught on camera out of control in his reaction to kids leaving a pool party, apologized on his behalf today and said, that the problem was what he was doing before he got called to intervene at that pool party. Let`s listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BISHKIN: He does recognize that his emotions got the best of him -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes -- BISHKIN: And that the prior suicide calls put him in an emotional place that he would prefer not to have been in when responding to this call. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: More about those suicide calls and everything else she had to say, that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BISHKIN: It is his hope that his resignation will facilitate the cooperative relationship between the citizens and the police officers of the city of McKinney. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That`s Jane Bishkin, an attorney representing Eric Casebolt who resigned from McKinney police force after video showed what his police chief called indefensible conduct at the scene of a teenagers swimming pool party. Here is that video again, for those few of you who may not have seen it, it does include many disturbing moments. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (SCREAMING) (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call my mama now! (CROSSTALK) (SCREAMING) Call my mama! Call my mama! Oh, God! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Reese(ph)! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes -- (CROSSTALK) ERIC CASEBOLT, POLICE OFFICER: On your face! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey (INAUDIBLE) -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re cool with that? -- (CROSSTALK) (CROSSTALK) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Officer Casebolt`s attorney today explained that he had just responded to two different suicide calls, one in which a man had taken his life and another in which a teenage girl was subdued and then taken to a hospital. His attorney said that those two suicide calls just prior to this event, "took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt." She then described what happened next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BISHKIN: With all that had happened that day, he allowed his emotions to get the better of him. Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his department in a negative light. He never intended to mistreat anyone but was only reacting to a situation and the challenges that it presented. He apologizes to all who were offended. That day was not representative of the ten-year service to the community of McKinney and it is his hope that by his resignation, the community may start to heal. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The attorney said she would take no questions, but then she answered a few questions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You issued an apology, does that apology extend to that 14/15-year-old that`s involved in all of that? BISHKIN: Any who -- yes, anyone who feels -- you know, was offended, yes. Again, he`s -- he is apologizing that his conduct offended -- he recognizes and I think I said this, that he does recognize that his emotions got the best of him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes -- BISHKIN: And that the prior suicide calls put him in an emotional place that he would prefer not to have been in when responding to this call. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Joy Reid, Msnbc national correspondent, Joy attended that press conference today with Eric Casebolt`s lawyer and the lawyer for Dajerria Becton in another press conference. And Peter Schulte is joining us, a defense lawyer based in Dallas, Texas, he is also a former police officer who served with the McKinney Police Department. Peter Schulte, I want to get to this question raised by the lawyer, this issue raised by the lawyer which is commonly raised in these situations defensively for police officers. And that is, what he or she was doing before. And clearly, it`s interesting to know about, but the job of the police officer is to be able to show up at a scene and deal with the situation that`s at that scene without reacting as she put it, under emotional pressures or emotional conditions that he`s bringing with him from a previous scene. PETER SCHULTE, DEFENSE LAWYER & FORMER POLICE OFFICER: Right, Lawrence. And I think it`s interesting that this press conference today kind of opened up more questions than answers. I mean if he wasn`t able to get himself emotionally ready to go to the next call, the bigger question is, why did he even respond? He maybe should have gone back to the police department and kind of cooled down a little bit to try to collect his thoughts more before responding -- O`DONNELL: Peter -- SCHULTE: To the scene -- O`DONNELL: Peter, let me -- let me stop you there and ask you about that. You served in that police department, and I`m sure there`s a -- the police culture around the country would have similar reactions to this. What would happen? What -- an officer is in a car and he is thinking, I don`t want to go respond to this pool party thing because of what I just -- the two suicide calls I`ve just been through. I want to go back to the station, I want to take a break. Isn`t there -- isn`t there a culture, a police cultural pressure to not do that, to not say I`m going to take myself off the street, I`m going to go back to the station? Wouldn`t he be looked at negatively by his colleagues? SCHULTE: You know, that`s obviously a good question. And I -- you know, I had situations when I was a police officer that I`d get to something or something would happen and it wouldn`t turn out as well as I thought it would. O`DONNELL: Yes -- SCHULTE: And then the next call comes in and you just have to go. But I think in this day and age, I mean especially when he had back-to-back suicide calls which nobody knew about until his attorney today decided to, you know, let us know about that. I think there are expectations in the culture of a police department to make sure police officers are able to handle anything they`re dispatched to. And I agree with you, Lawrence. I mean, sometimes it may defeat your manhood, it may defeat your ego to have to say I`ve got to go back and take a break, but that should have happened in this case. I mean, based on Miss Bishkin`s conversation today, he shouldn`t have been at that call. O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, and the police culture has to open up to that option, allowing someone if this is the actual condition to just -- you know, he is not going to go out to this one. Joy Reid, how did the apology go over in McKinney today? JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you that at least from the point of view of Dajerria Becton`s attorney, she said that they certainly welcome the sentiments. She was very quick to say that it doesn`t alter the fundamental facts of course, which is the potential violation of the civil rights of the 15- year-old girl. So, I think that people are certainly sympathetic to anyone who is saying that they were in distress at that time. But I think that a lot of people in this community, at least who were very much focused on activism around what happened to Dajerria Becton really want to keep the focus there. And the first question, in fact, Lawrence, after they started taking questions after they weren`t taking questions was whether any other officers who responded to the scene. Because remember, 12 officers responded. Whether any of the other officers also had responded to the suicide calls, but were able to, you know, behave appropriately at the scene of the pool party. So, that was one of the questions that was I think begged by the answer. O`DONNELL: Yes, they didn`t either didn`t know the answer to it or couldn`t. Peter Schulte, in your experience with the size of that police department and the geography in question. Twelve officers show up, probably within some geographic proximity of the suicide calls. What is the likelihood that of those -- of the others, one, two, three or more of them were also involved in those previous calls? SCHULTE: Pretty substantial likelihood. I mean I would say that at least one or two of them that responded had to have been at one or two of those suicide calls. But I found it interesting today during the press conference with his lawyer that, you know, she tried to make a big deal about that, he is the one who handled those suicide calls. Had to, you know, console the wife of the first one and that he was responsible for talking the second victim, the second suicide suspect off the roof. And I think maybe because he was one of the corporals and one of the supervisors. But it`s a good question. I again, you know, kind of goes back to the culture that we just talked about. I mean there were times that I was at McKinney that we`d get to a rough call, and I`d have a supervisor say, hey, Pete, go back to the station and take a break and then, you know, the minute I`m in Laredo, who the hell -- then we get another high priority call and we`ve got to go. But that`s part of the training and the mindset you have to have to be a successful police officer. O`DONNELL: And Joy Reid, so far -- REID: And Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Joy. REID: Well, I was just going to point out that, you know, I think one of the other things that hasn`t been mentioned all that much is that Eric Casebolt was not just another officer on the scene. He was actually the supervisor. SCHULTE: Right -- REID: So, I think, you know, that -- the other question that it raises for me as to whether or not he was free to go to that scene or not, go to that scene, he was not going to be just one of the junior officers on the scene. He was in charge of that scene. And the other thing that his attorney said was that he actually thought about not going, but actually decided to go when it was -- he thought it was just a mundane, you know, kids at a pool party trespass case. But that he actually made the decision to go any way once it was escalated to a situation that was something greater than just a simple trespass. So, these were affirmative decisions that he was making in that moment. O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there for tonight, Peter Schulte, thank you very much for joining us tonight with your unique perspective on this -- SCHULTE: Thank you -- O`DONNELL: Thanks -- SCHULTE: For having me. O`DONNELL: Coming up, Michelle Obama`s mother reveals the secret of her success in parenting of Michelle`s mother`s success in parenting which Michelle Obama says should surprise no one. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: On January 21st, 2013, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton marched in President Obama`s inaugural parade, eight days later, Hadiya was shot and killed on the south side of Chicago, not far from the Obama family home. First lady Michelle Obama spoke at her funeral. Yesterday should have been Hadiya`s high school graduation day, instead, her classmates presented her family with a class ring and left one seat empty in her honor and once again the first lady addressed Hadiya`s family, friends and classmates at King College Prep High School. Here is part of what she said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: So too often, we hear a skewed story about our communities. A narrative that says that a stable, hard-working family in a neighborhood like Woodlawn or Chatham or Bronzeville is somehow remarkable. That a young person who graduates from high school and goes to college is a beat-the- odds kind of hero. Look, I can`t tell you how many times people have met my mother and asked her, well, how on earth did you ever raise kids like Michelle and Craig in a place like South Shore? And my mom looks at these folks like they are crazy, and she says, Michelle and Craig are nothing special. There are millions of Craigs and Michelles out there. And I did the same thing that all those other parents did. She says, I loved them, I believed in them, and I didn`t take any nonsense from them. And I`m here tonight because I want people across this country to know that story, the real story of the South Side. Maybe you have been tested a lot more and a lot earlier in life than many other young people. Maybe you have more scars than they do. Maybe you have days when you feel more tired than someone your age should ever really feel, but graduates, tonight I want you to understand that every scar that you have is a reminder, not just that you got hurt, but that you survived. (APPLAUSE) If ideas, friends and family could survive the heartbreak and pain, if they could found organizations to honor her unfulfilled dreams, if they can inspire folks across this country to wear orange in protest to gun violence, then I know you all can live your life with the same determination and joy that Hadiya lived her life. I know you all can dig deep and keep on fighting to fulfill your own dreams. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joy Reid is back with us and now joining us Mark Thompson, host of "Make It Plain" on Sirius XM Radio. Joy, it`s such an extraordinary speech. We`ve come to expect this from Michelle Obama. She says things no one else does in ways no one else can. Boy, every parent in America just put up that in an index card with Michelle Obama`s mother`s advice on it. I loved them, I believed in them and I didn`t take any nonsense from them. JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes -- no, absolutely, Lawrence. And it`s interesting, you know, I was thinking and listening back to the speech earlier today that, you know, if Trayvon Martin in a lot of ways sort of fundamentally emotionally shaped Barack Obama in that White House in a lot of ways, and I think he really did. I think Hadiya Pendleton did the same for Michelle Obama. I`ve heard her speak of Hadiya before. And you really can see that she saw herself in the potential that Hadiya had. She saw really Hadiya as almost herself because they were raised in such similar circumstances, the determination of Hadiya`s parents who kept her busy, you know, with the marching band and all of the things that she was involved in, just to keep her constantly occupied and raising her a lot of the same ways that Mary Ann Robinson raised and taught her children. And so she`s really very emotional about that. She, you know, as you said attended the funeral. There is something about the way Michelle Obama is able to speak and communicate that really makes you feel like you know her and she knows you, that she comes from your neighborhood, that she could have lived around the corner. And I think that quality really does make her a very unique and significant first lady. O`DONNELL: Well, she really does come from their neighborhood. Let`s hear a little bit more of what she had to say and why she`s not surprised that every graduate, all 177 of this class, has been accepted in college. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: There is one thing that I`m not feeling right now and that is surprised. I am not at all surprised by how accomplished you all are. I am not at all surprised by the dedication your teachers have shown or by the sacrifices your families have made to carry you to this day. I`m not surprised because I know this community. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson, not surprised. MARK THOMPSON, HOST, "MAKE IT PLAIN": No. And you`re right. She does come from that community. This is the power of Michelle Obama and the president. First of all, the first lady is three for three. Tuskegee, Oberlin, Overland, Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep, Martin the King, college prep. And she`s given some very inspirational and aspirational speeches, charging these young people in terms of what their responsibilities are. And so it`s meaningful for these young people to be endorsed by this first lady. Her saying that she`s not surprised. And for her also to speak to their role in the future in terms of rewriting the history of our own community, which she said later in the speech is a burden that she and the president share every day. They can -- everything they do or say can either confirm the myths about African-Americans or refute them. And it`s timely considering what many of these young people are facing, whether it`s violence in their own community, even violence at the hands of the police. She is speaking about their dignity, their humanity. She is a part of it. And it`s important for the first African-American first lady to speak about dignity and humanity as African-American woman after we have just seen these videos of this young lady in McKinney and her humanity and dignity being attacked by this police officer. This is a very, very meaningful moment. O`DONNELL: Yes. It`s -- let`s listen to what she had to say to these young people about friends of theirs who might not be doing as well as they are right now. Let`s listen to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: There are so many young people who can only dream of the opportunities you`ve had at King College Prep. Young people in troubled parts of the world who never set foot in a classroom. Young people in this community who don`t have anyone to support them. Young people like Hadiya who were taken from us too soon and can never become who they were meant to be. You need to stay hungry for them. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, your reaction? REID: Yes, absolutely. And I think that, you know, that part of it, and you can just hear the emotion in her voice. And I think that both the Obamas have this real sense of -- I wouldn`t call it burden but responsibility to try to speak to the futures and the possibilities of young children of color, of young people of color. I think they feel that really deeply and that that is a part of this process, of being the first family. And Michelle Obama has said as much that it is significant that they are the first black family to live in that White House, and I think they want to impart some kind of what they`ve been able to take from it and some of that sense of responsibility and pass that on in hopes the young -- the next generation will do the same and pass it along, you know, to the next after that. O`DONNELL: That will have to be the LAST WORD on this tonight. Mark Thompson, such a good point about the timing importance of this the speech in the same week that we saw that 15-year-old girl abused on the street like that and the whole world saw. Joy Reid and Mark Thompson, thank you both for joining me tonight. THOMPSON: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, the conscience of the Senate. That`s right. The United States Senate. Which used to have a conscience. And later, police used a new strategy in the hunt for two prison escapees in upstate New York. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The "National Enquirer" has broken a real story. The current headline on the cover of the "National Enquirer" reads, "Michelle and the Secret Service Agent. The "Enquirer`s" Web site describes in a blockbuster world exclusive, the "National Enquirer" has obtained shocking details about how a randy Secret Service agent assigned to the First Lady Michelle Obama`s detail enjoyed steamy sexting. The "Washington Post" investigated that and found that on May 20th, a junior agent on duty at a White House event approached a young woman, an event planner, and asked for her phone number all while on the first lady`s protection detail. According to the "Washington Post," about eight hours later that agent sent the woman some lewd images and suggestive texts from his personal cell phone while he was off duty. The Secret Service, our Secret Service, learned about all this from the "National Enquirer." And then placed the agent on administrative leave while investigating the situation. Up next, "In Her Story," one of the most extraordinary women in the history of the United States Senate was not a senator. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Phil Hart`s name is engraved in history. Not just written in history. There are three Senate office buildings in Washington and one of them is named for Philip Aloysius Hart. It is the only Senate office building that was named for a still living senator. When the vote was taken in the Senate on naming the building, Phil Hart abstained and 99 of his colleagues voted to name the new building after the man they then knew as the conscience of the Senate. A few months later, Phil Hart died. The day after Christmas in 1976. After his death, the legendary columnist Mary McGrory wrote that naming the new Senate office building after Phil Hart was appropriate. Then she said, "If they could build his qualities, he was gentle and just, into the walls we would have a Senate that would astound the world with its civility and enlightenment." When Phil Hart was in the Senate no one in Washington was better at finding the moral center of an issue. When Alabama segregationist Governor George Wallace came to testify against the Civil Rights Bill it was Phil Hart who asked the governor if he thought that heaven would be segregated. I worked in the Senate long after Phil Hart was gone but I worked with senators who loved Phil Hart and never forgot him, and with his name on the building he still had a presence there every day. And so when I met his son, Jim Hart, a brilliant producer and director in Los Angeles, I was in awe. This was the closest I was ever going to get to Phil Hart. I know all about Jim Hart`s father, but I knew nothing about his mother. History is a spotlight, and often right outside the rim of that spotlight, in the darkness, there is a story as captivating as the center of history`s spotlight. And so it is, with Jim Hart`s mother, Senator Phil Hart`s wife. This is her story. Jane Cameron Briggs was born in 1921 in Detroit where her father, Walter O. Briggs, was the owner of the Detroit Tigers. She took flying lessons and got her pilot`s license while she was still a teenager. She married Phil Hart in 1943 while he was serving as an army captain in World War II. Phil Hart was wounded in the war and recovered at the same veterans` hospital that Senator Bob Dole was in after suffering his injuries in World War II. The lasting bond forged in that hospital served the two future senators well when they got to Washington and found ways of working together across party lines. Jane and Phil Hart had eight children. When Phil turned to politics in Michigan, Janie was the pilot flying him to campaign events in a helicopter. Phil Hart`s Senate career began at the dawn of America`s space program and Janie Hart publicly pushed for the inclusion of women in the astronaut program. Twenty years before Sally Ride became America`s first woman in space, in her 40s, Janie Hart passed an astronaut training program with no hope of actually becoming an astronaut, just to make the point that women could do it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think it would be difficult for a woman astronaut to also have a family? JANE HART, WIFE OF PHIL HART: I`ve accomplished the production of eight children and in the process of raising them, and I still have been able to fly 2,000 hours of flying time and considerable aeronautical experience. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Janie Hart opposed America`s involvement in the Vietnam War before her husband did. She participated in public peace demonstrations and even got arrested at the Pentagon during a demonstration. Michael Hart told the "Washington Post" that his father was sometimes asked, can`t you control that wife of yours, and Senator Hart would always reply, why would I? In 1978, Janie Hart made a trip behind enemy lines in Hanoi to meet with American POWs and make her own assessment of the situation there. That same year the "Washington Post" reports Janie Hart stopped paying her federal income taxes, put the money in a special holding fund, and wrote a note to the Internal Revenue Service saying, "I cannot contribute one more dollar toward the purchase of more bombs and bullets." Senator Hart publicly disagreed with his wife`s decision to withhold taxes but no senator understood matters of conscience better than he did. Of Janie Hart`s decision to withhold tax payments, Senator Hart said he was, quote, "proud of a decision that I disagree with." We will not see the likes of Janie and Phil Hart in our politics again, a senator of unquestioned integrity, and a senator`s spouse engaging in her own public life without getting her words and actions approved by political handlers. Our 21st century political media would not know what to make of them. In Phil Hart`s final appearance on "Meet the Press," Janie joined him at the table for a bit of reminiscence and was asked how she managed her family of eight children while supporting her husband`s political career and pursuing her own interests? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HART: It didn`t seem so difficult at the time. I look back at it now and I can`t understand how I ever did it. Even just having the eight children strikes me as an amazing accomplishment now that I see my daughter with her one. But it didn`t seem to be so difficult at the time. And Phil wasn`t away that much obviously. (LAUGHTER) And at the time I was flying quite a bit. And I could get around the state of Michigan and always -- pretty much always be home every afternoon by the time the older ones were back from school. And so we didn`t -- we didn`t get split up as much as we might have. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: When Senator Hart died, the president called Janey Hart, President Gerald Ford. The president asked, as we all do in that situation, if there was anything he could do. Janey Hart`s answer made front page news. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The widow of Senator Philip Hart, whose funeral was held today, received a telephone call yesterday from President Ford. Mr. Ford asked her whether he could do anything for her. She said yes, he could grant amnesty to all Vietnam draft evaders and deserters. President Ford told Mrs. Hart he would consider the matter but there has been some doubt about his actionable intentions. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: On Friday, just before dawn, Janey Hart died. She was 93. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The latest on that prison break in upstate New York is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: At this hour, police in upstate New York have gone to search an area about 1.5 miles away from the maximum security prison where two men escaped Saturday. Earlier today New York asked for Vermont`s help in tracking those prisoners. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: From the point of view of public safety these people are dangerous. They are dangerous to New York residents and they`re dangerous to residents of the state of Vermont. We`ve had an exhaustive effort. As you know it`s not for lack of trying. But we`re going to redouble our efforts and we`re going to keep looking until we find them. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The Vermont State Police are alerting residents near Lake Champlain to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Police in upstate New York continue to search door-to-door in the towns of Dannemora and Willsboro earlier today. Sources close to the investigation also say that the prison employee Joyce Mitchell is still being questioned by authorities. Joining us now is Dan French, he`s the former United States attorney for the northern district of New York. And, Dan, that`s your district where this prison is. And so earlier in the day, there`s the governor with the Vermont governor thinking they could be as far away as the Vermont border. The latest report, within a mile and a half of the prison. And you are not surprised. DAN FRENCH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I`m not surprised. What law enforcement thinks -- if you talk to law enforcement up there is that there was a plan inside the prison and there was a plan outside the prison. What looks like happened, the plan outside the prison didn`t come together. The plan must have been to get away from that tiny town in upstate New York as fast as possible and it looks like that plan fell apart. So now you have two convicted killers on foot in a very densely wooded area, and a very rural area. To put this in perspective, in Clinton County, where this prison is, there are 80 people per square mile in that county. In New York City, there are 26,000 people per square mile. O`DONNELL: Yes. FRENCH: It`s densely forested. And therefore, if you`re on foot, you`re not likely to go far. You`re likely going to get confused. O`DONNELL: Now you told me earlier today about a tactic used by a prisoner who actually escaped twice in upstate New York. FRENCH: Right. There was a serial killer in the 1970s by the name of Robert Darrow who most law students who graduated know of because there`s an ethics case about his lawyer knowing where bodies were buried and not telling law enforcement because of the privilege that he had to his client. That`s -- almost every lawyer in America knows that story. The story of Darrow, though, is when he was on the lam, he stayed within 20 to 30 feet of the roads and the highways because it was so densely populated. No one can see him. And he needed the roads to travel. And so he was very close when most people thought he was very far away. O`DONNELL: And he was actually very close at certain points to the police and able to listen to what their tactics. FRENCH: Correct. One of his tactics was to stay within feet of the New York state compound where all the troopers were and where they were getting their assignments. Because he could hear what they were doing and he could what they -- where they were going to go next. How they finally got him on one of the first escape is they literally had a sense that this is what he was doing and they did a ring and they just walked out and they flushed him out of the bushes. It`s that densely populated up there. You can be within three feet. You and me of this distance, I don`t think I`d see in those woods. O`DONNELL: The vegetation is that dense. Yes. FRENCH: Correct. O`DONNELL: And so this -- the notion that the latest search was taking place within a mile and a half of the prison is one that doesn`t really challenge the mind because you don`t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out. I wonder how they got there, you know, as opposed to if they were way up the Canadian border, the question would be how did they get there? FRENCH: Correct. O`DONNELL: You know, because -- the only thing we know that they can do is move on foot. We don`t know if they have any other method. FRENCH: Correct. I mean, look, we don`t know where they are tonight. The hope is, I think, for law enforcement that they`re there. Because if they found a vehicle, if they have gotten out of that area, then, you know, six hours to Manhattan. So they`re really I think hoping they`re there and they`re going to find them there. O`DONNELL: And at that -- at this point, though, anything`s possible. FRENCH: Anything`s possible. O`DONNELL: Dan French, thank you very much for joining us. FRENCH: Thank you. Thank you. O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next. END