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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 07/06/15

Guests: Howard Dean, Wanda Bailey, Linda Greenhouse, Emily Bazelon, GeorgeTakei

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Country was watching last night -- it`d be every game of the 2014 World Series including game seven, it also beat the prime time average of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. In other words, the whole country was watching last night. (APPLAUSE) Congratulations to Team USA, we`re actually hoping to have a few of the players on the show later this week. I know! 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, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I guess it was the whole country except me. (LAUGHTER) I -- everything I know about that game I just learned from you. MADDOW: I will get under the equator and start running the opposite direction of the world spinning, so you can go back in time and watch it -- O`DONNELL: All right -- MADDOW: It`s worth it -- O`DONNELL: I will do that -- MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel -- (LAUGHTER) Remember Todd Akin? He was very good at losing elections for Republicans. Well, now the Republicans have a new Todd Akin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His views are way out of the mainstream of what Republicans think. RICK SANTORUM(R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t agree with his comments obviously. RICK PERRY(R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is going to have to defend those remarks, I never will. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has a colorful way of speaking, it`s not the way I speak. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is turned into a must, any day focused on Donald Trump is a bad day for the Republican Party. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took him almost three weeks to say anything against Donald Trump. PERRY: I will stand up and say that those were offensive, which they were. BUSH: He is doing this to inflame and to incite -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s made it harder to have a real conversation about immigration reform -- SANTORUM: Does anybody really think that Donald Trump isn`t going to say some outrageous things? CRUZ: I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. SANTORUM: But Donald Trump brings up a very important issue, which is the issue of immigration. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to win, Republicans have to do better among Hispanic voters. BUSH: Politically, we`re going to win when we`re hopeful and optimistic and big and broad rather than -- you know -- just angry all the time. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The smartest conservative in Washington thinks Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to the Republican Party since Todd Akin. You remember Todd Akin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TODD AKIN, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Todd Akin was the Republicans most responsible for keeping Democrats in control of the Senate in 2012, as George Will sees it, Donald Trump is now the new Todd Akin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE WILL, JOURNALIST: If Donald Trump were a Democratic mole placed in the Republican Party to disrupt things, how would his behavior be different? I don`t think it would be. There`s all this loose talk, but there`s something to it about the Republican brand -- picture him on stage in Cleveland. He says something hideously inflammatory, which is all he knows how to say and then what do the other nine people on stage do? They ought to become complicit in what he said by their silence, or do they all have to attack him? The debate gets hijacked, the process gets hijacked. And at the end of the day, he is a one-man Todd Akin. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: This weekend, Jeb Bush started defending himself against Trump`s attacks. He began by reminding Republicans that Donald Trump wasn`t always one of them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: No, look, this is -- this is a guy who was a Democrat for most of the last decade, I don`t think he represents the Republican Party and is -- his views are way out of the mainstream of what Republicans think. No one suggests that we shouldn`t control our borders. I mean, everybody has a belief that we should control our borders. But to make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. Trump is wrong on this. And just -- he is -- he is doing this -- I mean, he`s not a stupid guy, so I don`t assume he`s like -- he thinks that every Mexican crossing the border is a rapist. I mean, so he is doing this to inflame and to incite and to give -- to draw attention which is -- it seems to be his organizing principle of his campaign. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Donald Trump responded to Jeb in writing. "Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people, just like the simple question he asked of Jeb on Iraq where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right. He doesn`t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come out of love." Joining us now, Eugene Robinson, Columnist for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC analyst, Maria Teresa Kumar, the President of Voto Latino and host of "CHANGING AMERICA" on shift by MSNBC, and Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman. I want to look at that video of Jeb Bush just a couple of years ago talking about people crossing the Mexican border illegally and how love factors into that, what Trump was referring to. So, let`s look at that and we can put it all together. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: I`m going to say this and it will be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is, someone who comes to our country because they couldn`t come legally, they come to our country because their families -- you know, a dad who loved their children was worried that their children didn`t have food on the table. And they, you know, wanted to make sure their family was intact. And they cross the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it`s not a felony. It`s kind of a -- it`s a - - it`s an act of love. It`s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that should be -- there should be a price paid, but it shouldn`t be -- it shouldn`t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: It looks like the Republican Party is headed for a real debate on this issue. The -- EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Difference between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump on this, Maria Teresa, it couldn`t be more dramatic. MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: Not only going to be more dramatic, but I think that first when -- look, when Jeb is saying that the Republican Party is out -- is not the Trump party, that would be true except for the fact that his polls are rising with what he -- with -- Trump`s poll numbers are rising with what he is saying. So, that -- if anything, the Republican Party has a real problem and is that they actually left the genie out of the bottle back with the tea party back in 2008 and 2012. And so they are a party that is trying to find their self-identification, but they definitely have a group of individuals that just don`t want immigration reform and they -- unfortunately they use hate, and Donald Trump actually knows how to push that button. O`DONNELL: And Howard Dean, the polls are certainly -- in Iowa any way, the polls are with Trump on this in the Republican Party. HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Well, I think there is some truth to that. I mean, the Republicans are trying desperately to make a transition, sort of from this party that`s very angry and very hateful to a party that actually has a constructive set of plans. I think Jeb Bush to his credit is trying to help make that transition. There is no electoral future in a party that is mostly based on getting people really angry. And Bush knows that, he is no dummy. And you see this changing all over the place. This Confederate flag debate which we`ll talk about later, it`s an incredible in the Senate where vote is -- in the South Carolina voting 37 to 3 to take down the Confederate flag. That`s an unbelievable thing, so there`s a huge battle inside -- ROBINSON: Yes -- DEAN: The Republican Party and Donald Trump represents one wing and he`s got plenty of support and Jeb Bush represents a different wing and who is trying to make some gains. O`DONNELL: And Gene, I don`t think we`re going to hear Jeb Bush talk about this the way he was, felt free to talk about it a couple of years ago. I don`t think that act of love statement is going to come up much more. ROBINSON: Well, I don`t think he will use those words. But I do think -- what choice does he have up against what Trump is saying now? I mean, Bush has come out and defied himself in opposition to that, and I think he`s got to elaborate on that. And you know, you`ve got this kernel of the -- of the Republican Party. This group of people who are just implacable with immigration. Who agree with everything Donald Trump says and just aren`t hearing it. And then you`ve got the people who are with Jeb Bush who want to modernize the party and modernize his position on immigration, who want to attract Latino votes, who actually believe that it is an act of love or whatever. And so you`ve got the rest of the party in the middle, and as you said, in the info, it`s going to be a debate within the Republican Party, it`s going to be very interesting. O`DONNELL: Ugly moment this weekend, Maria Teresa, where Trump tweeted that Jeb just is saying this because of his wife. And Jeb Bush`s wife, of course, being from Mexico, that`s where they met. And then he did the -- what Trump does with those tweets that he reconsiders, there is the tweet -- KUMAR: Someone hacked me -- O`DONNELL: That he put -- that he put out there. And he doesn`t even bother with the hacked thing, he just deleted that tweet as if the news media wasn`t going to be able to grab a tweet he put up there for a while. KUMAR: Well, it`s almost as if he actually doesn`t understand how the internet works, right? O`DONNELL: Yes -- KUMAR: So, I mean, all you have to do is take a -- take a screen shot and the world knows forever. (LAUGHTER) But let`s be serious, I think the fact that he -- Trump is actually onto something. I think that the way Jeb talks about immigration, the way he talks about Latinos, he understands the experience because of the personal experience that he has with his family. And the only person that should be really concerned with that is Hillary Clinton. And what I mean by that is that, she is the one that is right now touting the Latino vote, talking about immigration in all the right ways. But if it`s a Jeb -- between Jeb and Hillary, it`s going to be an incredibly difficult handoff to who is going to win the Latino vote. O`DONNELL: Governor Dean, which brings us back to George Will`s point of, if Donald Trump was a Democratic plant in the Republican campaign, it could not be working better. DEAN: Well, and Todd Akin as well. I mean that was a pretty aphorism, I thought that Todd Akin is the role model, essentially for Donald Trump. But you know, those people exist in the Republican Party and they exist in great numbers in the various primaries, they`re very active. And this is - - this is what this debate is all about. I don`t think Jeb Bush has a lock on this nomination by any stretch of the imagination because this wing of the party that Donald Trump represents is very powerful, particularly in the early states. In South Carolina, in Iowa, not so much in New Hampshire. O`DONNELL: And what George Will said about Trump is setting the terms of the debate -- ROBINSON: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Day-by-day is true -- ROBINSON: Indeed -- O`DONNELL: Obviously, he is doing it now. And George Pataki found one way to get attention is to disagree with Trump and disagree with him vehemently, which he did. Let`s listen to what Ted Cruz says about Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. The Washington cartel doesn`t want to address that. The Washington cartel doesn`t believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty, and I think amnesty is wrong, and I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it. He has a colorful way of speaking, it`s not the way I speak, but I`m not going to engage in the media`s game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans, I`m just not going to do it. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Gene, he`s just going to say I salute Donald Trump as much as he can. I think -- ROBINSON: All right -- O`DONNELL: My guess is the calculation there is, Trump has a relatively short life at this, but Trump supporters are going to be there -- ROBINSON: Exactly -- O`DONNELL: When this is -- ROBINSON: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Over -- KUMAR: Exactly -- ROBINSON: Yes -- O`DONNELL: And Ted Cruz -- ROBINSON: Who is going to -- O`DONNELL: Wants a relationship -- ROBINSON: Right -- O`DONNELL: With those voters -- ROBINSON: Exactly, and he feels that if he can`t just trash Donald Trump because -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- ROBINSON: That would make him lose credibility and lose any sort of attraction for those people. But what is the Washington cartel? (LAUGHTER) I -- just that I`ve lived there for years, I don`t know -- KUMAR: I think -- ROBINSON: About the cartel -- KUMAR: I think that the American voters wish that they were a cartel, things would actually -- ROBINSON: Yes -- KUMAR: Get better in Washington, that`s for recalls, right? -- (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Yes, we`re going to have to take a break here, coming up, Mike Huckabee thinks the very worst thing that ever happened to marriage is love. And the South Carolina Senate voted today to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. The granddaughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond will join us. And Bernie Sanders turned up another huge crowd tonight and the Clinton campaign admits they really are worried about Bernie. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: On Friday, JetBlue became the first American airline to fly the route between New York City and Havana, Cuba, in the last 50 years since relations were normalized in December. The airline now has a weekly charter flight from JFK to Havana which cannot be booked through JetBlue, it can only be booked through Cuba Travel Services. Up next, the GOP`s mixed messages on so many issues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: "The Washington Post" reports that when likely Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality was a grave mistake, it was a hard day for the Walker family. The "Post" quotes Scott Walker`s wife saying, "That was a hard one. Our sons were disappointed and I was torn. I have children who are very passionate in favor of same-sex marriage and Scott was on his side very passionate. It`s hard for me because I have a cousin who I love dearly, she is like a sister to me, who is married to a woman, her partner of 18 years. Scott Walker`s son Alex was the best man at the wedding of those two women last year." Yesterday in Mike Huckabee`s latest attack on the Supreme Court`s marriage equality ruling, he blamed it all on love. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: One of the mistakes we`ve even heard over the course of the same-sex marriage debate is that marriage is all about just love and feeling and sentimentality. And regardless, heterosexual marriage is largely in trouble today because people see it as a selfish means of pleasing self rather than a committed relationship in which the focus is upon meeting the needs of the partner. And that sense of selfishness and the redefinition of love as to something that is purely sentimental and emotional has been destructive. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Ted Cruz doesn`t see what love`s got to do with it, he just wants to talk about the constitution. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: The narrative that`s told in the media is a narrative that suggests somehow that Christians are intolerant when really it`s the extreme left who is persecuting Christians -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that gays are born that way? CRUZ: Look, it`s not a question -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, but I -- CRUZ: OK -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s important one because you hate something that you can`t change -- CRUZ: And -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Therefore -- CRUZ: Can I ask you -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you be discriminating? -- CRUZ: Can I ask you a question Harvey? -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure -- CRUZ: Look, we did this interview to talk about my new book, "A Time for Truth" -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know -- CRUZ: And -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask you that -- CRUZ: And one of the things I am amazed at is the media, with all respect, is obsessed with sex. It`s the only thing you want to -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, good -- CRUZ: Talk about -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But wants to start to talking about this -- CRUZ: No, actually, you raised the topic, and why is it that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve been talking about this, I think you`re being mean to this -- CRUZ: I have been talking about the constitution for over 30 years. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: You get that Gene, Ted Cruz`s book`s title is "A Time for Truth", OK, that`s what the -- ROBINSON: OK -- O`DONNELL: That`s what that interview -- ROBINSON: OK -- O`DONNELL: Is all about -- ROBINSON: Oh, OK -- O`DONNELL: Make sure -- make sure that title is in there. ROBINSON: Whatever. O`DONNELL: But you know -- KUMAR: Yes, right -- O`DONNELL: We`re talking about, you know, Trump alienating general election -- ROBINSON: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Viewers with these -- ROBINSON: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Crazy messages, and then Mike Huckabee comes along -- ROBINSON: Right -- O`DONNELL: And castigates America for getting marriage all mixed up with this thing called love. ROBINSON: See, but Mike Huckabee and Tina Turner, what`s love got -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- ROBINSON: To do with it -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- ROBINSON: Right? And -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- KUMAR: That`s the only time -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- (CROSSTALK) KUMAR: Will ever (INAUDIBLE) together. ROBINSON: Yes, actually tried to pass what he said, it was really ridiculous and convoluted thing he was trying to express. And he got himself all tangled up. He just doesn`t like gay marriage. He should just come out and say, I just don`t like it, it`s icky or -- so whatever he thinks about it, because this -- KUMAR: I mean he kind of backed those -- wife got -- ROBINSON: Good -- KUMAR: Point, right? -- ROBINSON: No, this convoluted talk about how people who love now are not committed to supporting the partner -- and so this is very -- why? How? O`DONNELL: Well, let me -- I want to play something that Rick Santorum said yesterday about this, because I think it actually does help focus why Huckabee zeroed in on love. Let`s listen to Santorum on "Face the Nation". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANTORUM: Marriage is no longer about kids, it`s simply about adults. And I think that now that the United States is still the moral leader of the world, that we`ve now disconnected marriage from children. I think that has profound consequences, it`s not just for America, but for the world. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And there we have it, Maria Teresa, he`s stuck in that crazy notion about marriage being for kids which you can`t explain when couples who can`t have kids get married, even though no matter how hard they try -- KUMAR: Well -- O`DONNELL: Or when, you know, people over 50 get married to each other and they can`t have kids. And so -- ROBINSON: Couples practice -- KUMAR: Right -- ROBINSON: Contraception -- KUMAR: No, but they`re actually -- they were actually recognizing that the majority of Americans minus immigrants are not having children even though they`re married, right? So this idea that he actually doesn`t understand what`s happening, not only within our borders but globally as well, right? O`DONNELL: But -- KUMAR: And I think -- O`DONNELL: Right, but see, I think -- ROBINSON: This is about -- (CROSSTALK) I think what Huckabee did -- Governor -- KUMAR: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Dean, I think what Huckabee did was recognize that you cannot win this thing, this point about marriage being for kids because it`s so demonstrably isn`t for people of a certain age and so forth. And so Huckabee finds himself going after the real villain here which is love. He has to also discount love because the Supreme Court felt that love actually is an important factor here. DEAN: These guys are floundering like crazy -- (LAUGHTER) They are very conservative. They`re really conservative, they`re unhappy with this, there -- you know, they never had to accept gay people and the equal rights under the law. And their huge problem as Scott Walker`s family shows is, this is an issue that is the core of getting to people who are under 30 or under 35. The young people were the essence of the Obama coalition. The Republicans cannot touch them as long as they are perceived to be discriminating against anybody, especially gays. Most young people think that gay rights is the civil rights issue of their time, and they vote accordingly. And they will not throw their friends, especially their gay friends under the bus for any other argument, including economic arguments. So these -- the Republicans are in big trouble on this one because they`ve got to figure out a way to put the car in reverse and they just keep digging themselves a bigger hole. O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to what Chris Christie said about it, at least he focused on the Supreme Court. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: If we have those kind of justices and more of them, we would not have had the same-sex marriage decision that we had last week and we wouldn`t have had the Obamacare decision. So, if the Christie type of judges had been on that court in the majority, we would have won those cases in the Supreme Court rather than lost them. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Well, we will never have the -- ROBINSON: No -- O`DONNELL: Christie kind of judges domestically -- ROBINSON: I think exactly -- O`DONNELL: In the court unfortunately -- DEAN: The interesting question about -- does that -- O`DONNELL: But -- DEAN: Does that mean Chris Christie would not have appointed Kennedy or John Roberts to the court? I don`t think so. O`DONNELL: It means he just would have appointed all Scalias. Gene, that`s the answer they always give, is you know -- ROBINSON: Yes -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: Republican candidates always say -- ROBINSON: Right -- O`DONNELL: Oh, I would like someone like -- ROBINSON: Right -- O`DONNELL: Scalia on the court. ROBINSON: Yes, right, well, you know, find me the Republican who can guarantee that a Supreme Court appointee will always vote the way -- O`DONNELL: Right -- ROBINSON: He wants. I mean, it hasn`t happened, you know, go back to Earl Warren -- nor does it happen with -- for Democratic presidents that their justices always vote the way that -- I mean -- KUMAR: Yes, but I think that what -- ROBINSON: That`s the point of -- KUMAR: But I think what was -- ROBINSON: The Supreme Court -- KUMAR: Actually unsettling coming out from Christie with the fact that he basically pulled the curtain behind for the Republican -- for the American people and said you know what? We actually have to negotiate for these. So, I promise in Jersey, I promise that the Chief Justice in trade for three of mine, that actually is unsettling and it reminds too many people of Bridgegate. So I think that he`s actually not putting -- he`s not positioning himself back to being an honest broker but more of back-pedaling places where people actually don`t find seemly in this current political time right. O`DONNELL: All right, a quick break here, coming up, the historic vote in South Carolina State Senate to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds. And later, a shift in party affiliation for American voters toward Democrats. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: For seven hours today, the South Carolina Senate formally debated removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. Here is Republican Chip Campsen from Charleston speaking about the parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHIP CAMPSEN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: They expressed even charity to the -- to the murderer of their family member during a bond hearing. Forgiveness and even charity and concern for their souls. Amazing people. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right -- CAMPSEN: Utterly amazing. As a member of the Senate, from the town where that occurred, I could not let that go without a response. If they can be peacemakers in those dire circumstances, the circumstances of the worst possible circumstances that any human being can encounter. If they can be peacemakers in the midst of that, I determine I can be a peacemaker when it comes to a flag flying on our statehouse grounds. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: But some members of the Senate were unmoved. Republican Harvey Peeler who voted against removing the flag from the top of the capitol 15 years ago voted against removing it from the statehouse grounds today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARVEY PEELER (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: To remove the flag from the statehouse grounds and thinking it would change history would be like removing a tattoo from the corpse of a loved one and thinking that that would change the loved one`s obituary. That won`t change history. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The final vote was 37 in favor of removing the flag, three opposed. We`re joined now by phone, by Wanda Bailey, she is the granddaughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond. Back with us, of course, Eugene Robinson who is a South Carolina native. Wanda Bailey, I wanted to get your reaction to this vote today, your half brother in the Senate, Senator Paul Thurmond had spoken very passionately about the need to remove this flag. What was your reaction to the vote today? WANDA BAILEY, GRANDDAUGHTER OF STROM THURMOND (via telephone): Oh, I`m excited, and I will say this, in addition to the excitement today, and I always say hopefully a third time is a charm, is that I am proud of Paul Thurmond. I thought he did an outstanding job, it was profound, and I think he led in that position to do in the state what was very important. So you know, I am so grateful and I am just, you know, ecstatic about everything that`s transpired in light of what happened. Unfortunately, nine lives were taken. The accused killer use the flags. I, personally, that served as a congruent for the hate and anger he felt for blacks. You know, this all looks like a malicious plan of attack that allow him -- he thought was going to do some harm or incite a riot when in fact it did not, because the Charlestonians assembled at the scene of the shooting and began singing praise and to denounce his evil act. So I am excited. We have proven that we can take the high road. We have shown love, peace, hope and unity, regardless of happened. And, the unthinkable that had occurred was the families of the victims that voiced their heartfelt act of compassion to forgive the accused killer. I mean such an act of mercy, I mean it is just incredible. So, hopefully tomorrow will be a defining moment that I think South Carolina needs to take the lead in, because where everything began with slavery. You had the Jim Crow Laws. I think it is time that South Carolina takes the lead to create a defining moment in this country that I think will have a great improvement to what needs to transpire. Because as you know, I always believe that racism has always been like an elephant in the room. And, people do not know how to deal with it or they just choose to ignore it. So, I think all of this is going to, the outcome of this will prove to be something good for everyone in this country. O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, we heard it from Senator Campsen in what he just said, that the reaction of forgiveness, by the member of the church, by the members of the families of the victims, had such a profound effect. It seemed as, though, it was virtually the same as them going over to that flagpole and taking the flag down themselves. That seems to be what actually brought -- ROBINSON: Yes. You know, I was in South Carolina for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney`s funeral. And, yes, the parents and those relatives at the court -- at the hearing, where they expressed forgiveness had a profound effect on the city of Charleston and on the state of South Carolina. And, what you heard from the senator, I just hear from so many people in different context in Charleston. It was a shock. It was a moment that I think South Carolina will long remember, you know. I have lots of questions. I grew up in South Carolin. O`DONNELL: Yes. ROBINSON: So, you know, and there are lot of things, that if the spirit continues, people can work on, right? Because there are, you know, Voter I.D. Laws that serve to disenfranchise African-Americans. And, you know, there are lots of other piece of legislation that I think it would be great for the state to work on, but the flag has a symbol and flags are important. Flags denote allegiance. And that is, that flag went up, as we have pointed out in the show in 1961, not in 1861. O`DONNELL: Right. ROBINSON: And, it was put up as sort of a middle finger toward the federal government and its efforts to desegregate schools and public accommodations and everything else in the south and Jim Crow. So, that is what the flag meant. And, to take it down, again, it is a tragedy as Senator Thurmond`s granddaughter said too, that it took nine lives to get to this point, but that was an incredible moment, that moment of forgiveness. O`DONNELL: I want to listen to something that Strom Thurmond`s son Paul Thurmond, State Senator Paul Thurmond, said on the senate floor there, shortly after the massacre. He talked about wondering what his purpose was, working there in the senate, following in his father`s footsteps in effect in politics. Let us listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. PAUL THURMOND, (R) CHARLESTON, SC, STATE SENATOR: I have often wondered, what is my purpose here in the senate. I have asked God to guide me and to strengthen me. And, I have prayed that I will be able to make a difference for this state. I have prayed that I will leave this place better for the future generations. I am proud to take a stand and no longer be silent. I am proud to be on the right side of history, regarding the removal of this symbol of racism and bigotry from the state house. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Wanda Bailey, I can tell you, we all watched your brother`s speech with awe. Here was Strom Thurmond who was a staunch segregationist. Here is his son, the only child of his to follow him in politics, giving this speech, which was against all of the segregationist rhetoric that Strom Thurmond had delivered for decades and decades. What was your personal reaction to it, and tell us a little bit more about your brother Paul and what it was like the first time you met him when it became, it was no longer a secret that Strom Thurmond had you, a child with your mother? BAILEY: Well, actually Paul Thurmond, believe it or not, is my uncle. O`DONNELL: Oh, uncle, OK. BAILEY: He is my mother`s brother. O`DONNELL: I see. BAILEY: Just for clarification. But I will tell you, I will reiterate and say this again. I am proud of Paul Thurmond coming forward. That was a moment for him. When he talked about his forefathers and the legacy of, you know, the victims that had sickened him, I think -- you know, it is an interesting thing. I think the reality hit a lot of white Americans. I think what happened in Charleston, whatever ill feelings they may have had in the past, you know, with the loss of nine lives, I think it really changed a lot of things. And, you know, the, when you talk about, and I think it was mentioned by Mr. Robinson about the flag itself being symbol, I always define that as an inflammatory iconic symbol that continues to promote the hatred and mayhem; but, again, I am proud of Paul. I have met Paul. We talked two months ago, prior to the massacre. And, he mentioned some very interesting -- we had a very interesting conversation as a matter of fact. So, this was something that was intended for him to have happen. Again, he needed to take the role. He needed to take the leading role to do what he was able to speak to. And, I thought he did an excellent job. So I -- again, I, you know, I cannot say enough that I think it was important that he take that step to make a difference. And another point I would like to express is that, there are a lot of call centers out there that are in a dilemma, and I think he is helping them make the decision to step forward to do what is right, and that is to help change America. O`DONNELL: Wanda Bailey, the granddaughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, and the niece of State Senator Paul Thurmond. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. BAILEY: You are welcome. Thank you. O`DONNELL: Thank you. We are going to take a quick break. Coming up, Bernie Sanders, once again, needs to find a bigger place. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: And, now for the good news. One afternoon last week, Rhode Island police got a call about a possible jumper on the Sakonnet Bridge that connects a Aquidneck Island with the mainland. Aquidneck is so big it does not feel like an island. The city of Newport is at the southern end of the island. And, the town of Portsmouth is at the north end, where the Sakonnet bridge is. Portsmouth Police Officer, Patrick O`Neill, who has lived his whole life on Aquidneck Island rushed to the scene. And there on the bridges`s bike path, he spotted a man leaning over the rail. Officer O`Neill said he knew the man, quote, "From previous contact." Meaning, of course, previous police contact. Patrick O`Neill told the Portsmouth Times, "As I got closer to him, I could see he had a noose around his neck, and I said, `Are you OK?` And, he said he was not OK." Patrick O`Neill knew what to do. "`It happened very quick,` he said. I went over and was able to put my arms around him and pull him back. He did not struggle." The Portsmouth Times reports a worker from the Rhode Island Island Turnpike and bridge authority cut the noose from man`s neck. And, the Portsmouth Fire Department brought the man to Newport Hospital for evaluation. "He went willingly," said Officer O`Neill. "He acknowledged he needed to talk to somebody about what was going on in his life." Portsmouth Police Officer Patrick O`Neill, local hero, American Hero. (COMMERCIAL BREAK O`DONNELL: More Americans aligned with democrats than republicans, according to a new Gallup Poll from the last three quarters. Americans have been, almost, equally split between the two parties. But, today, 30 percent say they identify as democrats, and 16 percent of independents say they lean toward the Democratic Party, while 25 percent identify as republicans and 16 percent of Independence say they lean republican. For an example of democrats` rising popularity, look no further than the crowds at Bernie Sanders` events. Tonight, Bernie Sanders` campaign had to once again find a larger space to accommodate the thousands in Portland, Maine who wanted to hear him speak. According to the Bangor Daily News, the Civic Center staff estimates that close to 9,000 people were there tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERNIE SANDERS, (D) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The media people asked me, they say, "Well, you know, Bernie, why are so many people coming out to your events?" And the answer is, I think, pretty obvious. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) From Maine to California, we have friends in Alaska and Hawaii as well. The American people understand that establishment politics and establishment economics is not working for the middle class! (AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Today on "Morning Joe," A Clinton spokesperson was asked if the Clinton campaign is worried about Bernie Sanders. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JERNNIFER PALMIERI, CLINTON CAMPAIGN`S COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: We are worried about him, sure. He is a force. He is going to be -- He will be a serious force for the campaign, and we think that, that probably -- I do not think that will, you know, diminish. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And the "New York Times" headline today said, "Hillary Clinton`s team is wary of Bernie Sanders finds up footing in Iowa to which Bernie Sanders responded. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. SANDERS: Well, they should be wary of it. We are doing very, very well. We have had meetings all over the state of Iowa. The turnout has been great. We are now focusing on how you win the rather complicated caucus process in Iowa. We are getting support from trade unionists. We are getting support from students. We are getting support all across the spectrum and I am feeling very good. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, John Nichols, Washington Correspondent for "The Nation," whose interview with Bernie Sanders is the cover story for this week`s issue of "The Nation." John, you did not just interview Bernie. You are Bernie enthusiast. You introduced him at one of those giant Bernie events recently. What are those crowds like? What is your sense of them? And, what is it that you think they are looking for in this candidate? JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR "THE NATION": That is a very good question. And, yes, I have introduced Bernie Sanders many times over many years, and one of the things that has always struck me is that he has always been able to attract a crowd. This is not necessarily a new phenomenon, but it is one that is getting a lot more attention, and I think that the attention causes the crowds to grow. More people come. There is more media attention to it. And, there is an intensity to it, Lawrence. I am powerfully struck by it. I have seen a lot of rallies in my time and a lot of politics, and I have definitely seen intense moments politically. But, here it is interesting, because there is not a lot of bells and whistles. There is not, you know, musicians and rock stars and celebrities coming out before. It is pretty much just Bernie Sanders. And, when he gets up there, it is a very serious speech, not a lot of jokes. Not a lot of, you know, big soliloquies. And people seem to want that. I think that we may be entering into a very serious moment in our politics where people recognize that some big choices need to be made, and they get very enthusiastic about somebody who is serious with them. O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, you have been watching Bernie Sanders longer than any of us as a Vermonter. In the middle of John Nichols` interview with Bernie Sanders, there is a long part on socialism and on Bernie being a socialist. And, it reminds me of that 1988 moment when Michael Dukakis tried to deny he was a liberal because of course democrats must always runaway from that word liberal. It can never get stuck to it. And, here is Bernie Sanders embracing the term socialism, the fact that he is a socialist. He says it more than once in the article. And then does something that no other candidate would ever do. He actually points to other countries and how he believes other countries do things better than we do, including Scandinavian socialist countries. How has that worked in Vermont? Has Bernie managed to educate Vermonters to the essential truth that we are all socialists now? HOWAR DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: I do not think he has managed to educate people about socialism so much as to say who he is. And, that is a very powerful and very attractive quality for a politician to have. Most politicians are afraid. They do not dare say this. They poll driven. I doubt Bernie Sanders has ever taken up an issue and given a speech in his life based on some poll that one of his people did. So, that is what -- standing up for who you are is an unbelievably attractive quality. It is why we have same-sex marriage today, because the gay community stood up in 1968 and said who they were and stopped -- and started coming out of the shadows. So, being a social is really -- it is just a name. Nobody really knows what a socialist is, except for people in academia. And Bernie just said, "Yeah, I am one, so what?" This is exactly like the candidate we have for governors who is accused of being gay, and he said, "Yeah, I am, so what?" End of story. (LAUGHING) O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, the, news week did a cover so many years ago, I cannot remember., saying we are all socialists now, you know? Medicare is a socialist program. Social Security is a socialist program. No politicians advocate the abolition of social security. Therefore, they embrace socialism at some level. Bernoe much more than others, but he is not afraid of that word. ROBINSON: No. It is hard, as you have said it, it is a word. Right? O`DONNELL: Yes. ROBINSON: Until he embraces the word. He uses the word. You are correct, that we have many socialist programs that are now ingrained in our government. And, so that is, that is the way it is. I mean, and I think Howard Dean is absolutely, right. The authenticity, the lack of hype, the fact that Bernie Sanders may not know what a focus group is. (LAUGHING) MARIA TERESA KUMAR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF VOTO LATINO: I think he does. He just does not care. (LAUGHING) ROBINSON: Yes. I think that is attractive, and it is attractive to a lot of younger voters, but not just younger voters. I do not think that crowd was just young people. O`DONNELL: Right. KUMAR: So, I think there is something that John was saying -- NICHOLS: If I could throw in one thing in here. O`DONNELL: One second. KUMAR: I think there is something, John, that you were saying earlier that is very - I think that at the core, American people can sniff when someone is being authentic or not. And, that is often times when you get turned on to a politician. In this case, he is raw. He is completely raw. You know that he is not in bed with any corporate interests. He knows that he is multi-generational. He is speaking to a generation that remembered when government worked and he also speaking to a generation that heard those when government worked. So, I think that he is actually bringing two generations together and saying, "Look, this is something that we can be great again, because we once were." And people, actually, believe him for a change. O`DONNELL: John Nichols, can I ask you to hold that thought? -- NICHOLS: If I could throw one thing in -- O`DONNELL: John, can I ask you to hold that thought. We are going to take a quick break and come right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The editorial board of the "New York Times" is playing catch up with the "Last Word" once again. They have come out with the notion that a woman should join Alexander Hamilton on the next $10 bill. They do not think a woman should do that. That is the treasury department`s proposal. They believe that a woman should replace Andrew Jackson on the 20, something we have said here for quite a while. And, the "New York Times" suggests the possibilities are Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist, Ida B. Wells, the suffragist, Rosa Parks, Civil Rights hero, Eleanor Roosevelt, the activist first lady diplomat. And of course "Last Word" favorite, Francis Perkins, the first woman appointed to the cabinet. The woman who gave us Social Security, Medicare and so many other programs that derived from Social Security, including Obamacare. Quick break, we will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. SANDERS: The taxpayers of this country bailed out the illegal behavior on Wall Street. It is Wall Street`s time to help the middle class of this country! (AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: John Nichols, you were trying to get a word in about Bernie Sanders as we went to the break. NICHOLS: Well, not to push it too far, but I was so interested in the good comments being made by the other folks. And, as you brought up the word socialism, one of the things I asked Bernie Sanders about in the interview was the word itself, and why he identifies so comfortably, why he uses it. And one of the things that he pointed out is that for so long democrats have runaway from words like liberal and progressive. And, when you say who you are, when you are blunt about it, it is much harder to accuse you of being something. And, I think that is one of the things that has worked for sanders in this race. It does not mean that everybody who is showing up for these rallies identifies as a socialist or a social democrat. What it means is that, I think a lot of folks want to get beyond throwing a label at somebody and get to the core issues. And, frankly, if you talk about the democratic party at this point, and awful lot of the base of the democratic party at this point wants a much more progressive, much more populist message, whether it comes from Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, but they want it. And, I think that is part of what has really connected here. O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, we have frequently now, I guess, seen insurgencies on the left of the Democratic Party and presidential primary campaigning, but that is not who the nominee usually ends up being. DEAN: Well, that is true with both parties. They tend to nominate the more centrist people, because at the end of the day, I think people want somebody they think can win and that can beat the republicans. My own demise was really caused by my own lack of organization both as a candidate and some of the problems in the campaign, but I think the pattern held true. John Kerry was the safe choice, so the voters thought, and that is who got the nomination. So, there is many, many miles to go in this campaign and anybody who would count out Hillary Clinton right now would be a fool. But, it is going to be an interesting campaign. O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, Maria Teresa Kumar, Howard Dean and John Nichols, thank you all very much for joining us tonight. Chris Hayes is up next. END