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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 07/13/15

Guests: Stuart Stevens, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Charles Cook, John Nichols,E.J. Dionne, Steve Clemons

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: O`Malley, former Maryland governor -- News to talk about how terrible a left wing the Democratic Party is, but Rubio- Webb, I mean, can`t you see it? That brings me to some great news tomorrow night, we`re going to have as our special guest, Martin O`Malley, former Maryland governor, current Democratic contender for president. We`d love to have all of the presidential contenders on this show, particularly Jim Gilmore called me. But Martin O`Malley will be here on this show tomorrow night, you do not want to miss it. 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: OK, Rachel, I think I followed that. So you say that, you know, Jim Webb may be running for vice president and others may be running for vice president. And then you say, we have Martin O`Malley tomorrow night, is the Rachel Maddow show saying that Martin O`Malley is running for vice president? MADDOW: More than that, I am saying that Jim Webb, I think wants to be a Joe Lieberman-style cross over bipartisan vice presidential choice for a Republican nominee, but I`m making it up entirely -- O`DONNELL: You know, I`ve been playing this, who is running for vice president game, but that is the best who is running for vice president theory of the year. MADDOW: Thank you very much. O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: The man who run Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign four years ago is with us tonight, let`s see if he can explain Donald Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody loves me. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Donald holding steady at number two behind Jeb Bush. TRUMP: He`s terrible, he`s terrible. (LAUGHTER) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party with the Hispanic community. TRUMP: Charge Mexico $100,000 for every person they send up. (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: And I was content, and then a couple of days ago Donald Trump said that he is running for president. (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: I`m, like, a really smart person -- GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are running to serve as your president of the United States of America. (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are running for president. I love that royal "we". WALKER: Tonette and I like to shop at Kohl`s. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scott Walker is a little too boring to be president. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton unveiling her economic road map for America, and she took a direct shot at Jeb Bush over his recent comments about Americans needing to work longer hours. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They don`t need a lecture, they need a raise. (APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is going to be a horrible president. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All that anybody wants to talk about -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Donald Trump. LETTERMAN: Trump is pissing off so many Mexicans, he`s starring in a new movie entitled "No Amigos". (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: No one, and I mean no one, explains Donald Trump better than Donald Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I always want to be loved, you know? (LAUGHTER) Like when I went on dates, if a woman dropped me -- which happened often. (LAUGHTER) I would always like to say or at least in my own mind that I dropped her, does that make sense? Does that -- (LAUGHTER) So what happened makes me feel better. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was Saturday in Phoenix where Donald Trump attracted about 5,000 people to listen to him discuss whatever passed through his mind while he was on stage, including a new idea about Mexico. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: So, I had an idea. I think it`s good. Every time Mexico really intelligently sends people over, we charge Mexico $100,000 for every person they send over. (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Trump seems to know better than his audience that he will never be president, but he seems to want to make sure that no one named Bush will be president either. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The poll just came out, and I`m tied with Jeb Bush and I said, oh, that`s too bad. How can I be tied with this guy? He`s terrible. He`s terrible. I don`t see him as a factor, and I know it`s the Bush name, which you know, I got it, it sends a lot of words, I mean, in all fairness, not the greatest. But Jeb Bush, I don`t get it. So with Bush, if you people go with Bush, you`re going to lose. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: In a new national poll by Monmouth University released today, Jeb Bush is at the top of the poll of Republicans at 15 percent, Donald Trump is second at 13 percent in the same poll taken a month ago. Donald Trump was at 2 percent with Republican voters. Joining us now, Stuart Stevens, columnist for "The Daily Beast" and the former chief strategist for Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign. Also with us, Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the "Cook Political Report" and an "Nbc News" political analyst, and Caitlin Huey-Burns, political reporter for RealClearPolitics. Stuart, so explain what`s happening within the Republican Party, we feel like we`ve seen versions of this before. Four years ago, in some of those bubbles that occurred for some of those minor candidates who suddenly found themselves riding up in the polls. What do you make of this, the Trump situation in the polls? STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST & FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR MITT ROMNEY: Well, Lawrence, I think you and I both are fans of bulwark, we just never thought -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- STEVENS: We`d get the lizard -- O`DONNELL: That`s right. STEVENS: I -- listen, I can`t explain Donald Trump, but I don`t think we really need to. He is someone who is enjoying himself, he`s running for president. Four years ago he was leading, he`s actually lost votes as opposed to four years ago. I still remain skeptical that he`s actually going to be on the ballot, come Iowa, come New Hampshire. But I`m pretty confident that when we`re waiting for the votes to be counted in Iowa and New Hampshire, we won`t be talking about Donald Trump. O`DONNELL: Caitlin, we`re watching the Herman Cain of this campaign? CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right, I mean, he could go up and down, but we`re seeing some consistency here and we`re seeing him rising in these early states. I am wondering though whether he will hit a wall at some point. I mean, I`m wondering how long it takes for the voters to start to get offended by what he`s saying. You have the chairman of RNC call him and say to kind of tone it down, you have his rivals trying to get him to tone it down, and he`s kind of just enjoying himself out there and not really showing any signs of slowing. O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, I`m wondering if he`s hit the wall already in the polls. He seems to be -- since the announcement speech and since he got, you know, all of his talking points out there, he seems to be coming in kind of consistently around 12 percent in these polls. CHARLES COOK, EDITOR & PUBLISHER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT & POLITICAL ANALYST, NBC NEWS: I think the longer we go, the more this -- his act wears thin, and I do not believe we will be talking much about Donald Trump in November, December, January. I really don`t. It`s interesting to me -- is the Republican establishment, the leadership are very nervous about this huge field. The Republican voters actually love it. I mean, they`re like walking into Baskin-Robbins and seeing 31 flavors. They`ve never had the -- it`s been choices, and they`re just taking a taste here and there, but when things start getting serious, they`re not going to be thinking, they`re not going to be telling pollsters they`re for Donald Trump. O`DONNELL: So, there he was in Arizona, let`s listen to what he said about Arizona`s Republican Senator John McCain. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We have a situation that`s absolutely out of control. We have incompetent politicians, not only the president -- (CHEERS) I mean, right here in your own state you have John McCain. (BOOING) For some reason, some people don`t get it, and I don`t think they`ll be in office much longer. I really mean -- (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: So Stuart, how many minutes will Donald Trump be given on the convention stage to give his speech, endorsing a Republican nominee? STEVENS: All right, I`d predict that I would -- that he does speak at the convention, actually. He didn`t speak at the last convention. I know, I think that, look, protest candidates like Charlie was saying, tend to do well to the degree that people think that they`re not going to win. And once they begin to get to a point where people think they might actually win, they hit a ceiling and they drop down. Trump is a candidate of anger. And you`ve seen this before. I mean, you are from Massachusetts, you saw it with John Silver when he run in 1990, and there was this famous saying about John Silver(ph), what if he`s not just mad at them. What if he`s mad at us? And I think that`s the sort of thing that starts to happen with someone like Trump. He`s not just -- anger is not -- it`s an emotion, it`s not a strategy. And he seems to be angry at the world, and I just don`t think that, that has a very broad appeal. O`DONNELL: And Caitlin, these attacks that he is doing against Bush, you could imagine the Democrats using that in the general election. If it came from a more credible source, you know, that`s the problem, it`s -- HUEY-BURNS: Yes -- O`DONNELL: I mean, when you think about the things that Newt Gingrich and others were saying about Mitt Romney the last time around, that was usable in -- HUEY-BURNS: Right -- O`DONNELL: The general election. But I don`t see how, you know, a nominee, you know, Secretary Clinton or someone like that would be using Donald Trump clips against Bush. HUEY-BURNS: Right, especially since the main point of attack is on immigration. I do think though for Jeb Bush, this can kind of be a blessing as long as it`s existing right now. I mean it makes him look presidential. It makes him look like the serious guy in the room, and he can kind of use that as a contrast. The question becomes whether his Republican rivals start to -- those who have not yet denounced Trump, whether they pile on in any kind of way. Whether -- you know, Donald Trump is talking about immigration and some of his Republican rivals take that and go with it. You know, we`ll see, but again, I mean, it looks -- from where he is sitting, it shows a good contrast for him. O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, what do you make of Jeb Bush`s consistency coming out at the top of these polls? COOK: Well, I mean, I think it comes -- I mean -- he`s a -- as Stuart -- as Stuart said -- or he`s a brand, he`s a good brand. He`s not as good a brand as it was maybe when his dad had it or even when his brother became president, but it`s a brand. It`s worth something, there is a certain or it`s historically been a certain deference towards the establishment, the Republican establishment in the Republican Party. I think it`s less than it used to. But the thing is, if somebody told any of us a year and a half ago, Jeb Bush is running for president, we would be putting the odds of him winning the Republican nomination at 60, 70, 75 percent. And the fact is, he`s going to have to -- he`ll fight for it, and he may or may not get it. But it`s, you know, it`s still a brand even if it`s not what it used to be. O`DONNELL: Stuart, when you were sitting there in the Romney campaign and you were watching these polls come in and Herman Cain is rocketing up in the polls. And you got to know as I think we all did when we were watching it -- well, wait, I mean, Herman Cain is not going to get the nomination. He`s not going to be president, what are these voters saying -- what are they thinking when they are saying this to pollsters? Are they playing a game with pollsters? Because they obviously retreated from Herman Cain -- STEVENS: I think it`s the easiest -- O`DONNELL: Pretty quickly -- STEVENS: You know, I think it`s the easiest thing in the world to tell somebody you`d like this person to be for president. I mean, that`s a -- that`s a -- there is no penalty to that. You can express an emotion, you can say whatever is on your mind. It doesn`t even require going down to the ballot box, which is a much more active process. It`s -- there`s no consequence to these polls, and I think that`s why they bounce around so much. O`DONNELL: And Stuart, when -- quick, when you were -- STEVENS: And I think -- O`DONNELL: In the campaign, when you were in the Romney campaign and you guys were the -- you knew that, you -- in all the fundamentals, you were the frontrunner. And you would see these weird bubbles occur for other candidates, how did you read that? Did you read that as this temporary weather condition? STEVENS: We didn`t want to be a frontrunner, because the frontrunner was someone who is just going to be attacked. And early, you know, Mitt Romney never really was a traditional frontrunner. He didn`t have a geographic or a classic ideological base in the Republican Party. So, you know, our feeling was, look, this is going to -- to win, you have to win. And I think that`s the key here for all of these candidates. Where are they going to win? And I think that whoever is going to be the nominee will win one of the first four states. I think you almost have to. So that comes down to which of these four states is one of these candidates going to win? O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to take a break there, Caitlin Huey-Burns, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Coming up, only one thing could get David Letterman to come out of retirement -- Donald Trump. Dave just couldn`t take it anymore, he had to say something about Donald. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, I got to ask you a quick question that everyone in this audience is wondering about, and that is, of course, what were you thinking at the Republican National Convention when you invited Clint Eastwood on the stage to do this? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: I`ve got Mr. Obama sitting here, and he is -- I just was going to ask him a couple of questions. But -- (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Stuart, how did that happen? STEVENS: Lawrence, well, you know, Clint Eastwood is a great American icon and he offered to speak at the convention, and that wasn`t exactly what he was planning to say, but as they say, things happen, and that happened. O`DONNELL: Stuart, we got to thank you for one of the most memorable -- STEVENS: It`s live television. O`DONNELL: One of the most memorable convention moments ever. That was -- that was really something we have to all be grateful for. Going to take a quick break, we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: After a great deal of thought, and a whole lot of prayer, we are - - we are so honored to have you join with us here today as we officially announce that we are running to serve as your president of the United States of America! (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Scott Walker became the latest Republican to officially declare his candidacy for president today, and he plans to run on his record as governor of Wisconsin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: Since I`ve been governor, we`ve passed lawsuit reform and regulatory reform. We defunded planned parenthood and passed full life legislation. We enacted Castle Doctrine and concealed carry so we can protect ourselves, our families and our properties. (CHEERS) And we now require a photo ID to vote in this state. (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) If our reforms can work in a blue state like Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in America. (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Scott Walker was welcomed to the campaign today by Hillary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers` rights. And practically all of the Republican candidates hope to do the same as president. I will fight back against these mean-spirited, misguided attacks. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now from Wisconsin is John Nichols, Washington correspondent for "The Nation" who attended Scott Walker`s speech this evening. John Nichols, Scott Walker clearly intends to take his record into this Republican campaign, which may serve him well in the Republican campaign. JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION & ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE CAPITAL TIMES: I think you`re right about that. And it`s a very interesting thing with Scott Walker. He is someone who a lot of the national media sees as sort of a more mainstream Republican candidate. Somebody who will be competing with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio for kind of the mainstream Republicans, not just the more right wing folks. And yet, at his heart, Scott Walker is a very conservative Republican. And you heard that in his speech today. His great pivot point in the speech after some introductory remarks was roughly, we took on the unions and we won. That was a big applause line. Then he went into that whole line of remarks that you heard there, and it`s notable that the loudest applause, at least to my ear, was for voter ID. Now, in a Republican primary, maybe that`s a big issue, but I`m not sure that`s a very big November issue. O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, what did you hear in the Walker agenda today that you expect to help him in the polls? COOK: Well, I mean, I`ll agree with John on one thing, he`s a very conservative guy running in a very conservative Republican Party. And, you know, take voter ID did what -- you know, is what he said popular among Republicans? Yes. Is it popular among Democrats? No. Do swing voters care? No. I mean, but the thing is -- I mean, Hillary Clinton is running for a Democratic nomination and saying the appropriate things and Scott Walker is running for a Republican nomination. But you know, the themes that he is talking about are the themes that you need to be talking about to win a Republican nomination. I mean, to me, I would put him at sort of the most conservative end of the mainstream, and then when you move over a little bit further to the right from Scott Walker, you start getting into exotic territory. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, whenever we watch one of these governors go national for the first time, it`s always that question, you know, is he ready for prime time? Is he ready for the big stage? When you see that announcement today and it actually comes down to him saying "we" are running for president. Things like that -- aren`t there -- isn`t that one of those moments where you just cringe and you say, you know, where would the speech writers -- how come they didn`t get that right? STEVENS: Listen, I think, you never know how these people are going to turn out until they actually go through this process. And it`s a long process, there`s going to be a lot of moments here, and I think the debates are going to be very important as they were four years ago. And we`ll see who Scott Walker, Governor Walker turns out to be as he goes through this process. I mean, the announcement is, I don`t think any race has ever been decided by announcement. I thought it was -- he carried that speech off without a teleprompter, I thought it was an impressive speech. You know, there`s some reasonably -- if he`s a conservative, and as Charlie says, he`s conservative running in a conservative party. O`DONNELL: John Nichols, Hillary Clinton seems to be happy to be able to talk about Scott Walker and happy that he was now relevant in this dialogue, and I think it`s because of that record. She wants to use the Scott Walker record in speeches as much as Scott Walker does. NICHOLS: I think you`re probably right. Look, and Scott Walker is an incredibly divisive figure. And it is absolutely true, as Charlie says, that running in a Republican primary, if he emphasizes who he is and what he`s done, that`s going to get him traction. Because he likes to talk about not just the issues, but taking on the left, that`s a big theme of his. And similarly, for Hillary Clinton, she has to appeal to her party base, being against Scott Walker is going to count for something. I do think though that there`s an interesting element here, that unspoken or not as discussed here, and that is that in this speech, Scott Walker did his longest soliloquy on foreign policy. And he really positioned himself as a very hawkish candidate on foreign policy. You were hearing -- I think he`d like you to think it was a Ronald Reagan speech, it sounded a lot like a Dick Cheney speech. And that`s a place where I do think the Democrats are going to perhaps enjoy highlighting their differences with Scott Walker. O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, at this point, Scott Walker is not assured a place in that first Republican debate. How important is that to a candidacy like this where most of the nation doesn`t really know his name and not that familiar with him. If he doesn`t make the main stage in that first debate, what happens to that campaign? COOK: Well, the averages that I have looked at, and not so much I`m on the poll, but the averages don`t look like -- look at, he`s pretty, you know, he`s pretty easily going to make the top ten. And the Donald Trump may bump somebody off the -- off the stage, but it may be a John Kasich or someone like that. But, you know, the thing is, to me, what Scott Walker is trying to get across is, I`m not a gas bag from Washington, I`ve actually done stuff. And I have won fights. And there is this push and pull in the Republican Party. There is a widespread feeling that they convinced themselves and said back in 2008 that we shouldn`t elect freshmen senators president of the United States. And there is, you know, some credence to that. And the governors, the skill set of governors is a more important skill set for president of the United States. But on the other hand, if you ask Republican voters, what`s the most important topic? They will say terrorism, national security, foreign policy. You know, and so, there is this dilemma that Republican voters are facing. Do they go with an executive that`s done stuff or do they go with someone who`s got more exposure in foreign policy? And you know, obviously Walker is trying to kind of edge over and show that he knows something too. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, I want to get your advice, tactical advice on that first Republican debate. Would you advise as a -- I don`t mean Bush or the people at the top of the polls, but the candidates who are running down at the lower end of the polls who do make it on that stage. Would you advise them to try to take a shot at Donald Trump as their best possible way of getting noticed and moving up in these polls? STEVENS: I think it depends on what Donald Trump says. As Governor Christie says, Donald Trump will be taken as seriously as he wants to be. I think if he says something outrageous, offensive, I think you absolutely should take -- call him out on it -- absolutely. I don`t think that`s -- should be a centerpiece of a debate strategy. The main thing voters are going to want to hear in that first debate is why you`re running for president? What`s your rationale for running for president? And that rationale shouldn`t be because Donald Trump is running for president, but you shouldn`t let something go, that he says offensive without calling him out. O`DONNELL: All right, that will be it for this segment, we`re going to be right back, John Nichols, thanks for joining us. Coming up, Hillary Clinton`s war of words today with Jeb Bush. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GENE SPERLING, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I`ve been on a lot of campaigns. The worst thing is when a president just lobs in 15 policies at once and nobody can understand them. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was Hillary Clinton`s economic adviser, Gene Sperling, explaining on Msnbc today while Hillary Clinton file Hillary Clinton`s 45- minute speech today on economic policy had very few specifics in it. In fact, I will now quote all of these specific policy proposals in the 45- minute speech in less than a minute. Quote, "Closing those loopholes that reward companies for sending jobs and profits overseas." Quote, "Let us fund in scientific and medical research responds innovative companies and creates entire new industries." Quote, "I have called for closing the carried interest loophole that lets wealthy financiers pay an artificially low rate." Quote, "I am committed to seeing every 4-year-old in America have access to high-quality pre-school in the next 10 years. Quote, "We also have to go beyond Dodd Frank. Too many of our major financial institution are still too complex and too risky." The rest of the speech consisted of attacks on republicans and boilerplates speechwriting that could be shoe horned into any speech by any politician of any party. Here is a sample of that boilerplate that could have been any democrats or any republican speech. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: We must raise incomes for hard-working Americans, so they can afford a middle class life. We must drive strong and steady income growth that lifts up families and lifts up our country. And that -- [ APPLAUSE ] And that will be my mission. From the first day I am president to the last. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And here is a sample of the economic attacks on republican candidates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON: You may have heart Governor Bush say last week that Americans just need to work longer hours. Well, he must not have met very many American workers. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the teacher who is in that classroom or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They do not need a lecture. They need a raise. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, E.J. Dionne, opinion writer for the "Washington Post," also with us Stuart Stevens and Charlie Cook. E.j., Hillary Clinton went on for 45 minutes today. And then Gene Sperling came on this network and did a fantastic job in a few minutes of trying to say, "Yes, there was real substance in there,. But it was pretty thin, especially when you compare it to the way Bernie Sanders talks, very bluntly, and very specifically whenever he is asked anything about this stuff. E.J. DIONNE, OP-ED COLUMNIST FOR "WASHINGTON POST" : Right. Well, first of all, I think Hillary Clinton is thinking of a general election. And, Bernie, right now, is thinking of the primaries. Secondly, there were more specifics in there. I mean a couple interesting things, she put a heavy emphasis on profit sharing, She talked about overtime. She talked about giving people more control of their schedule. She talked about family leave. I think what she was doing is trying to say that the republicans want to make this about growth. I am for growth, too, but I am for fairer growth, sustainable growth. And, I think she is challenging them on the basic issue of stagnating wages. And, so I think if she has her way, she wants this to be a bidding war for the votes of working class and middle class voters. And, the interesting thing is, so many of the problems she seems to have had in the campaign are about image, and, you know, the server and all that. And, she seems to be taking a leaf out of her husband is book, that she is going to give a whole bunch of policy speeches. This is the first of like, ten rollout events in the next couple months, and she will bank on the fact that voters care more about their pocket books than any of this other stuff and we will learn if she is right. O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, does she run the risk of having those speeches be just too boring? I mean, she went on for 45 minutes today, and most of it was a drone. And, when you are running against somebody like Bernie Sanders who is so colorful and he is so extemporaneous and he is so blunt, at some point might you want to shave that 45-minute speech down to a 15- minute speech. COOK: Well, Lawrence, no normal person is watching a 45-minute speech by any politician. O`DONNELL: Thank you, Charlie. Thank you for what you just said about me today. (LAUGHING) COOK: And, the thing is, in terms of the specificity, there is nothing that a campaign manager, a media consultant likes better than their opponent being very, very specific. I mean, specificity, I think, is vastly overrated in politics. It only gets you into trouble, but I think, she was talking about income and inequality. And, they think about it as you look at the polling, and that is not exactly a dangerous place to go, and it does reach beyond the democratic base. . O`DONNELL: All right, let us listen to the way Bernie Sanders talks about these same things. For example when he was asked, "Are you talking about increasing taxes?" (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, we have to raise individual tax rates substantially higher than they are today, because almost all of the new income is going to the top 1 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Stuart, do you agree with Charlie Cook that -- and I guess with E.J. that, that is the way you talk when you do not think you are really going to be in a general election campaign, and the candidate who is aiming for the general election campaign just has to kind of suffer a little bit by comparison in terms of who is the more exciting or more straight-talking candidate. STEVENS: The main thing I carry away from Hillary Clinton is she seems to be the most joyless candidate to run for president. I have never seen anybody who seemed to enjoy this less. I mean it is like someone made her go out there and say these things. O`DONNELL: Hold on. Wait. That is what Trump says about Jeb Bush. That Jeb Bush is the joyless candidate. (LAUGHING) STEVENS: Well, Jeb seems to be having the time of his life compared to Hillary. He seems to be like on a rollercoaster with his hands up. I mean just watch her. Turn off the sound and watch her. She is tight. There is no glimmer in her eyes. O`DONNELL: Stuart, let me -- let me -- let us focus on that for a second. Is not what you are seeing there the tension of being the front runner? The thing that you did not want to be with the Romney campaign? The front runner where all you can really do up there in a certain way is to do damage for yourself. You know, right now you are polling great, and you are way ahead, and you can say something that pulls you down, and you do not want to do that, and there is just a tremendous amount of pressure to be cautious and careful when you are this kind of front runner? STEVENS: Well, I think there is something to that. Since January, she has done nothing but lose votes. I mean she had more votes in January. She had more votes last month. She had more votes last week. Politics is about trend. She got to reverse this trend. But I think it is deeper than that. When Howard Dean was a front runner, he seemed to be having the time of his life. I just think it is her. It is sort of like, you know, someone that keeps looking at their feet while they are dancing and not sort of enjoying it. Maybe this will change. I think it can change. It does not seem to be something that has to happen. But this is just -- it reminds me of when Bush was running against McCain in 2000, and I was one of the, you know, part of the brain trust. We took a 65-point lead in new Hampshire and lost by 19. McCain had a lot more fun. And, I think Bernie Sanders is having a lot more fun. O`DONNELL: E.J., you have watched more of these candidates out there on the trail than any of us in both parties. What do you think you are seeing when you watch Hillary Clinton campaigning? DIONNE: I think you are seeing somebody who is extremely careful and to some degree more careful than she probably should be. I think there are moments of joy that I have seen. I saw it in the announcement she made in New York, particularly , when she talked about her family. But, I do think she needs to show more of that. I think she is too caution with the press to say the least. And, while she got plenty of reason to mistrust the press, that does not do you much good. But, I think she is a policy walk. And, she has put enormous amount of time -- has put enormous amount of time in all these policies that you are going to hear the next 10 weeks. And she is banking on the voters wanting that even if there is a little less joy in her step. O`DONNELL: All right, quick break here. Charlie Cook, thank you very much for joining the group tonight. I really appreciate it. O`DONNELL: Up next, what David Letterman had to say about Donald Trump when Dave came out of retirement this weekend? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: In San Antonio, Texas, Friday night, an audience who came out to see Steve Martin and Martin Short were treated to a surprise on stage, the retired David Letterman. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARTIN SHORT, CANADIAN-AMERICAN ACTOR/COMEDIAN: What is this, Dave? DAVID LETTERMAN, AMERICAN TELEVISION HOST: Well, every suit I own comes with a top ten list. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] A lot of people think that we would know everything by now about a man, Donald Trump, high profile fellow. But take a look at the list I have here tonight. Interesting facts about Donald Trump. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] OK, here we go. Number 10, that thing on his head was the gopher in caddy shack. Number 9, during sex, Donald Trump calls out his own name. Number 7, he wants to build a wall, how about building wall around that thing on his head. Two jokes about the thing on his head. Number 2, Donald Trump has pissed off so many Mexicans, he is starring in a new movie entitled, "No Amigos." [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And the number 1 interesting fact about Donald Trump, thanks to Donald Trump, the republican mascot is also an ass. There you go. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And, thank you, Dave. Up next, the Obama administration may be just hours away from a deal with Iran. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: It was almost 5:00 A.M. in Vienna wherein a historic agreement to contain Iran`s nuclear program could be announced in just hours. Negotiators worked through the deadline of midnight Vienna time tonight. A major point of contention is continuing in the United States -- the United Nations arms ban on the sale or purchase of conventional weapons by Iran. But, the "New York Times" reports tonight the nuclear issues, at the heart of the agreement, nuclear research and development, amount of low and rich Iranian, the number of centrifuges Iran can keep among others appear to have been settled. Joining us now is Steve Clemons, Washington Editor at Large for the Atlantic and an MSNBC Analyst. Steve, we had an outline, the Obama administration released an outline of what this agreement was months ago, and now they are negotiating the details that could make it a final agreement. Are there any significant variances between that outline that we got months ago and what we think the situation is now for the final agreement? STEVE CLEMONS, "THE ATLANTIC": On almost everything that you can think about, there has been a tilt towards the U.S. position that was pretty well outlined in Luzon in April. The one exception was there was one potential mistake that I think in my view we probably made, which is -- And I think the media has been misreporting it is that element of an arms embargo on ballistic missile research and arms trade that Iran can do with the rest of the world is in a package of resolutions that was imposed by United Nations Security Council and all of that would be lifted. The United States inserted language in April that said that ongoing restrictions would need to be made, need to be maintained and need to be kept. I think that there was not a consensus of view among the P5+1 negotiators about what that exactly meant. Iran men took advantage of that and split the delegation. And, we have been wrapped around that issue and around the language of a new United Nations resolution that would specify those restrictions ever since. That is the 900-pound gorilla that we have been wrestling with. It is not the nuclear program. It is basically about its conventional arms programs. O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, it is often forgotten in the analysis here that there are five other countries involved, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China. And, anyone one of them can start pulling on a thread here that makes it difficult for the United States. It were not just a negotiation across the table with Iran. DIONNE: Right. And on the arms embargo, Russia and China seem to be siding with Iran. The Russians would love nothing better than to sell lots of weapons to Iran. And, if the sanctions are lifted, Iran is suddenly going to have a whole lot of money, and so they are going to be able to buy arms. And, at this point, because that issue has become so public in such a sticking point, I think the administration is going to have to stick to something like a hard line and try to get it, because otherwise, people who want to sabotage the treaty will use that as a key reason for undercutting it, even if their objections are to other parts of the treaty. The other thing I think you are going to see is a classic argument. The anti-treaty people are going to say, they are going to be able to get the weapons in ten years. This is not good enough. They may argue about the inspections. And, the alternative view will say, do you honestly think there is a better alternative than keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran`s hands for the next decade or so. I think that will be the broad argument. And, polls suggest public opinion is on the side of a deal. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, when the framework was announced months ago, a number of republicans, including Brent Scowcroft and others from the Reagan era, the Foreign Policy Specialist signed a letter saying, this looks like a very good deal, and they were very, very supportive of it. But the republican congress is in a completely different matter. STEVENS: Yes, look, you know, I hope that what happens here is that we can have a discussion about this without it being in the parameters that if you have questions about whatever deal emerges or have doubts about it, it is not framed that that means you are for war. And, I think it is unfortunate that that is often been the way that the administration has posed this, we should be able to raise questions, have a discussion and have good faith, get grant, good faith assumptions on both sides. It is, we will see what the agreement is, because obviously, the details are going to be essential here. O`DONNELL: All right, we are going to take a quick break and we are going to discuss how this will affect the presidential campaign. But, also, up next, the city of New York agrees to a final payment for the wrongful death of Eric Garner. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The family of Eric Garner says tonight that the New York City has agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve the claim over his wrongful death at the hands of police. Cell phone video showed the chokehold that caused Eric Garner`s death last July, according to the autopsy report in the case. New York Police Department has not yet reached any decision about disciplining any of the officers involved in Eric Garner`s death. Up next, the implications of a deal with Iran and the presidential campaign. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BREAKING NEWS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Kevin was the youngest of the hostages, a marine who just been assigned to serve at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Kevin Hermening is here today with us. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Kevin knows that Iran is not a place to do business with. You see, Iran has not changed much since the day he and the other hostages were released on President Reagan`s first day in office. Looking ahead, we need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on the very first day in office. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] O`DONNELL (on screen): Steve Clemons, that is going to be some of the rhetoric that this deal, if the president reaches a deal with Iran, that is some of the rhetoric that they will hear in congress. CLEMONS: Well, I got to say, I wish Stuart Stevens was running for president because he is more reasonable than most of the people in the field. Most of the people in the GOP who have state out claims do not know a darn thing about what is in the agreement. They have not looked at it. And, one of the reasons why they are tilting into this de facto defense that, you know, if you do not do this deal we are going to have, you know, Iran weaponizing this nuclear capacity down the road. That is going to put us on a road to conflict because that is the reality of what is going to happen. This is an important inflection point in American history. And a lot of people are opposed to Obama getting that win in this. But, I think that they are fear mongering in very reckless ways. They are not behaving like a Chuck Hagel would have or a Richard Lugar even a Mitt Romney. And, so, I think that, you know, my comment to Stuart is a friendly one, which is most of his party is not ready to look at the details of the deal and make a reasonable, have a reasonable conversation about it. O`DONNELL: And Stuart, I agree with your point about a criticism of the deal does not necessarily mean advocacy for war. But one of the responses to a criticism of the deal is, OK, what deal do you think you can get? STEVENS: Well, I bet that is, I think, a question, one can answer. They have just spent months negotiating it. It presupposed as if you were sitting at the table. It presupposes a president predilection of action and a whole administration that is proven that it will walk away from red lines and non-act. There is really no way to answer that question. Look, I think in a political sense here, Iran is going to have a large voice in how the American public is going to react to this. If there is a deal signed here, and there is a great celebration in Iran and burning of American flags or worse, I think the American public will react very badly to that. O`DONNELL: E.J., if the deal slows or inhibits Iran`s progress in nuclear weaponry, what -- why would not one go for that, no matter what else it does or fails to do? DIONNE: Well, you just expressed, basically, what I think about the deal. What the critics are going to say is that the deal eventually keeps a very big, sort of industrial nuclear program in place that it is a matter of time before Iran gets there. And, also, that even if the deal sticks, they are going to argue that getting rid of the sanctions will give Iran suddenly an awful lot of money, which they can use to cause problems in the Middle East. The problem with all those arguments goes back to what you said at the beginning is compared to what? O`DONNELL: Yes. Compared to what? DIONNE: And, the reason people raise the war issue is because it is not clear how else you can get Iran to slow down or stop its nuclear program except through negotiations. O`DONNELL: We are going to have to leave it there for tonight. Steve Clemons, E.J. Dionne, thanks for joining me. And Stuart Stevens, great to see you again. Thanks for coming back. And ,when your new book comes out, we are going to have you back then. STEVENS: Look forward to it. O`DONNELL: Thank you all. DIONNE: Thank you. O`DONNLL: Chris Hayes is up next. END