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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 08/20/15

Guests: Rick Tyler, David Frum, Walter Shapiro, April Ryan, Joy Reid,Eugene Robinson, Steve Schale

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Are you beginning to wonder why you have never seen Trump, the insult candidate in the same room with Triumph, the insult dog? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: Our country is going down. We have to get back our country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rise of Trump would suggest that the party is looking for, at least right now, people who are more emotion driven. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump is featured on the cover of this week`s "Time Magazine" with the words "deal with it". TRUMP: We are run by people that either are not smart, perhaps they`re incompetent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems that Donald Trump has sort of moved the party to the right. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the Republicans struggling to figure out what to do next. TRUMP: One of the great honors is that everybody that attacks me seems to go down. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They kind of have a whiplash going from -- oh, he`s a flash in a pan, he`s not a serious candidate to -- he`s a threat. TRUMP: I don`t think I`m mean-spirited, we have to get back our country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is who he was on TV, on "Nbc", on "The Apprentice" and he called the rest of the politicians phony. TRUMP: Mitt Romney let us down, he should have won that election, he failed. He choked. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Schieffer, he`s now telling the -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crowds to turn off their cellphones because they might interfere with Mitt Romney`s circuitry. TRUMP: Mitt Romney should have won that election. I said why aren`t you doing more television? Why -- Obama is on every show -- where are you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, everyone, excuse me, just trying to ruin the shot, it took me a second. (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: I`m on "Fox News!". (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Trump, the insult candidate never insults one candidate. There is just one candidate who has escaped Donald Trump`s triumph-like machine gun of insults. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald Trump. I think he`s terrific, I think he`s brash, I think he speaks the truth. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That`s what Ted Cruz says every time Trump, the insult candidate insults his way into trouble. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: But Frank, let me -- FRANK LUNTZ, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: He`s a war hero -- TRUMP: Get to it. He hit me -- LUNTZ: He`s a war hero -- TRUMP: He`s not a war hero. LUNTZ: He`s a war hero. TRUMP: He is a war hero -- LUNTZ: Five and a half years in a -- (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: He`s a war hero because -- LUNTZ: Yes -- TRUMP: He was captured. I like people that weren`t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions and -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure it was -- TRUMP: You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Between Trump`s insults to John McCain a month ago and his insults to Megyn Kelly a couple of weeks ago, every Republican candidate has found something to criticize in what Donald Trump has said except Ted Cruz. "Bloomberg`s" Al Hunt writes, "Ted Cruz is a man with a plan." And according to Al Hunt`s article, the plan is to pick up Trump supporters when the Trump novelty wears off. In "The Daily Beast", Tim Mak reports a Trump insider saying, "Cruz is playing the long game and hopes that if he survives and Trump doesn`t, the billionaire will swing to him. He`s the second choice for a lot of Trump voters." That`s a source familiar with the inner workings of the Trump campaign. This is the poll that the Cruz campaign is staring at as their route to victory when Ben Carson inevitably drops out and Mike Huckabee inevitably drops out and when Donald Trump finally drops out. Ted Cruz believes those voters will come to him, giving him 53 percent of the Republican primary vote. But why would Donald Trump, the frontrunner ever drop out? The reason is, every serious analysis of the polls shows that Trump is a weak frontrunner as is common for Republicans at this stage of the campaign. As Philip Klein points out in the "Washington Examiner" piece headline, "Donald Trump has already peaked". "On August 20th, 2007, Rudy Giuliani led the Republican pack with 28.2 percent of the national vote and a surging Fred Thompson was closing in with 17 percent. When the dust settled, Giuliani didn`t claim a single delegate and Thompson dropped out of the race even before Giuliani did." Klein points out that 75 percent of Republican voters consistently refuse to support Trump. And in this week`s "Cnn" poll, "respondents had an overwhelmingly unfavorable view of him, 59 percent to 36 percent in contrast to 37 percent never heard of Scott Walker, meaning he has room to grow whereas Trump does not. When Republican voters were asked whether they had a better or worse chance of winning the presidency with Trump as the nominee, 58 percent said the party would have a better chance with someone else. The bottom line, Trump has nowhere to go but down. Joining us now to consider the question, has Trump peaked and is Al Hunt correct that Ted Cruz is the most underrated candidate in the field? Are Rick Tyler, national spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, Joy Reid, Msnbc national correspondent, Eugene Robinson, opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an Msnbc political analyst. And April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for "American Urban Radio". Rick Tyler, I`ve spent the last hour still trying to figure out how to come up with a trick question that gets you to say something critical of Donald Trump. And I`m giving up right off the bat. But to Al Hunt`s point about what is the long range plan of the Cruz campaign? The consolidation of those other voting groups in that poll when the other candidates drop out. Is that what the 50 million Super PAC is there to support? Holding Ted Cruz in there long enough for the drop out of other candidates to consolidate to him? RICK TYLER, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN FOR TED CRUZ: Well, let me first say, Lawrence, I was fascinated with your analysis and that was pretty good. I`m pretty impressed, I don`t know how much to add to that. But I will say, Cruz is in it for the long haul. We are funded -- through March 1st, we are organized through March 1st, a lot of the other candidates are. We`ve raised the most hard dollars, even more hard dollars than Jeb Bush. And so -- and we just came off a seven-day, seven-state, 20-stop bus tour through the SEC, through the south, this so-called SEC primary and we are organizing those states for March 1st. I`m here in Iowa because we`re paying attention to Iowa, we`ll be in New Hampshire this month, we`ll be in South Carolina this month, so we`re paying attention to early states, but we are built for the long haul. And I would say that our strategy with Trump is really not unique to Trump. Although he has most of the voters that we will like to come over to Ted Cruz as you stated. But I would like Mike Huckabee voters to come over to Ted Cruz, I`d like Rand Paul voters to come over to Ted Cruz, I`d like Ben Carson`s voters to come over to Ted Cruz. And I think a lot of those candidates, what we look at, is a lot of those candidates, should they drop out -- and I`m not making predictions whether they will or they won`t, but I think Ted Cruz would be a good second choice for a lot of those candidates. If we can consolidate the broad spectrum conservative, we`ll wait it out to see who`s going to win the establishment bracket. Remember, the establishment bracket is rather crowded this time. It usually is all by itself and funded. George -- sorry, Jeb Bush is now almost relegated to second tier and he`s competing with Chris Christie and John Kasich and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio. So, we`ll see who comes out of that. Our task now is to consolidate the conservative vote, we hope to do that and will match up with the -- with the establishment candidate. O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, when I read Al Hunt`s analysis of where the Cruz campaign is and what their strategy is, and he has that quick line in there that he`s the most underrated candidate in the field. I realized, I think he is now and I think I`ve been doing the underrating, the Al Hunt`s scenario which is in effect confirmed by Rick Tyler now is a very compelling one. JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, with the caveat that I do not see Ted Cruz as the both underrated candidate, only in the sense that I don`t think that he to my mind has a clear shot to the path of the nomination either. I do think that the insider-outsider game that Rick Tyler is talking about, that is the game, right? So, you have the establishment candidate, the Romneys of the world, right? And then you have the people like Rick Santorum, and Rick Santorum played the game almost to a win. If you can be the last person standing among the authentic base candidate, and go head-to-head with the establishment candidate, that`s a decent place to be to try to get the nomination. And to Rick`s point you have a pretty crowded establishment field whereas Jeb Bush thought that he could throw lots of money at it and consolidate that early. You still have other establishment types hanging around. A lot of them probably won`t last very much longer, and I can see the Chris Christie voters, the Rick Perry voters going basically in Jeb`s direction. So, it`s not a bad idea to try to be there when and if the Trump phenomenon ends. O`DONNELL: And Gene, we`re seeing more than one analysis in print, and that was where -- as you stare at these polls and Trump keeps hitting 25, 25, 25. That that`s probably a ceiling, a lot of people looking at that. Stuart Stevens who ran Mitt Romney`s campaign is going beyond that in an article in "Daily Beast" today, saying that he believes Trump will drop out before any votes are cast. Stuart Stevens wrote, "Donald Trump believes losing makes you a loser and he will do anything to avoid that label. He will exit when polls still show he can win and forever he will be able to argue that he could have won and in doing so, he will have won by Trump rules." EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, you know, now, let`s not get carried away, right, because remember, the track record of sort of Republican professionals in predicting this primary campaign is exactly zero. They`re betting zero at this point. Nobody saw Trump coming, nobody saw Trump getting to where he is. So now, everybody is saying, well, this is his ceiling because of this high negatives. I am not convinced because I`m not sure past this prologue here, I am not convinced that this is his ceiling, he does have a ceiling because he has very high negatives. But you know, just this past weekend, I e-mailed Rick Tyler and said, I like where your guy is. Because I think there are essentially two Republican primaries. There is the establishment primary, there`s the outsider primary. The outsider primary is really outside of this time, more than it usually is. And if, you know, Trump hits the ceiling and Carson drops out and Fiorina doesn`t make it and you know, who`s over there with credibility to be the outsider candidate? I think Cruz is in a good position. O`DONNELL: All right, let`s listen to what Ted Cruz said yesterday to Michael Medved about birthright citizenship. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO HOST: Would you support a change in the 14th amendment if necessary to achieve that? CRUZ: Absolutely. We should end granting automatic birthright citizenship to the children of those who are here illegally. Look, I would note that has been my position from my very first days running for the Senate. I was advocating for this back in 2011. And so I welcome Donald Trump articulating this view, it`s a view I have long held. (END AUDIO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And we just happen to have what he was advocating in 2011 ready to go and it was of course exactly the opposite of what he just said. (LAUGHTER) It was -- let`s listen to Ted Cruz in 2011 on birthright citizenship. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: The 14th amendment provides for birthright citizenship. I`ve looked at the legal arguments against it and I will tell you as a Supreme Court litigator, those arguments are not very good. As much as someone may dislike the policy of birthright citizenship, it`s in the U.S. constitution. I think it`s a mistake for conservatives to be focusing on trying to fight what the constitution says on birthright citizenship. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: April Ryan, such are the contortions that some candidates are willing to go through to get into the Trump camp. APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT & WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO: Well, you know, Lawrence, you hit it squarely on the head. This is showing how much Donald Trump is a factor. Whether you like it or not and what "Time" is saying, deal with it. For Ted Cruz who seems to be trying to play this traditional run for the Oval Office. You know, being underrated, I could consider that being the underdog, you know, that traditional term, the underdog where you get sympathy and he`s also staying above the fray, not attacking Trump and trying to be presidential in this. But he has changed his decision on this -- the constitutionality of birthrights. And it`s just showing how much Donald Trump is a factor. And I don`t believe Donald Trump is going to throw the towel in anytime soon. Because what I`m hearing from his camp, they`re looking at the long game and they`re watching everyone, particularly the smaller percentile candidates, watch them fall along the wayside. So, once they don`t have money or enough money to go up against his money, he`s spending like $6 to $7 to their $1. So, if they`re watching this, they are strategically trying to make moves and it`s working it looks like. O`DONNELL: Rick Tyler, do you have any kind of straight-faced explanation as to why your candidate Ted Cruz in 2011 -- TYLER: Actually -- O`DONNELL: A Supreme Court -- TYLER: Actually -- O`DONNELL: Litigator -- TYLER: Actually, I do -- O`DONNELL: A former Supreme Court clerk -- TYLER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Would say -- TYLER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: He thinks it`s a -- TYLER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Mistake for conservatives -- TYLER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: To be focusing on trying to change that and now he`s saying, oh, yes, sure, let`s just change the constitution. TYLER: Well, it`s just what you said. It`s a matter -- it`s a matter of focus. First of all, we produced today a survey in 2011 on whether he supported birthright citizenship or not. And from 2011, he said he did not. What you didn`t hear the question in the YouTube, and anybody can go and look up that YouTube and listen to it very carefully. And what he is saying is, in terms of border security and immigration, should we -- should we be focusing on today securing the border or some constitutional amendment that will take years, decades, one took a 100 years. And so what`s the most effective thing to do? Birthright citizenship is a problem, Ted Cruz has consistently been against it, but how are we going to focus our energies on illegal immigration? And his answer to that was focus on border security. Now, he also said that he -- the arguments that he saw for legislation to effectively make the 14th amendment loophole problem moot were weak. Now, there could be other arguments. So, it`s not a static -- it`s not a static equation. If there are -- if there are good arguments about legislation to make the 14th amendment loophole weak. That is, people will come here, give birth and those children are American citizens, then let`s hear them. His only point was, if you`re going to deal with the illegal immigration, why would you focus all your energy on a constitutional amendment that takes two-thirds of the house and Senate three-quarters of the state. And it`s a years-long process, when we have to deal with this problem now. That -- and so, these two -- what you just heard and both those things are entirely consistent. You just -- RYAN: Let them mark that -- TYLER: Turned two different arguments, but they`re entirely consistent. O`DONNELL: All right -- RYAN: Let them mark -- O`DONNELL: Well, we`re going to let everyone rewind their DVRs to decide how consistent they are. TYLER: Please do -- O`DONNELL: Rick Tyler, Ted Cruz is lucky to have you, we`re lucky to have you here tonight, thank you very much for joining us tonight, Rick -- TYLER: Thank you, Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: Thank you -- TYLER: Appreciate being on. O`DONNELL: Coming up, now it`s Republican versus Republican on birthright citizenship, and later how presidential politics has evolved from the humility and dignity of Jimmy Carter to the relentless vulgarity of Donald Trump. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Thousand people have signed a petition calling for Jon Stewart to be chosen as a moderator for one of the 2016 presidential debates. The petition says that John Stewart is qualified because he has interviewed heads of states, foreign dignitaries and members of Congress as the host of "The Daily Show". Up next, Jeb Bush calls them anchor babies, Hillary Clinton calls them babies. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: If people are here illegally, they have a legal -- they have a visa and they have a child who`s born here, I think that they ought to be American citizens. People like Marco Rubio, by the way, that`s how he came. You know, so to suggest that we -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right -- BUSH: Make it impossible for a talented person like that not to -- not to be a candidate for president. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And with that Jeb Bush forced the issue of birthright citizenship into Marco Rubio`s campaign today. Marco Rubio was born in Miami in 1971, his parents did not become American citizens until 1975. Today, "Cnbc`s" John Howard asked Rubio about being a beneficiary of birthright citizenship. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN HOWARD, CNBC: Isn`t birthright citizenship without which you would not be a citizen or you would not have been at the time you were born. Is not that one of the foundations of what American exceptionalism is? SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, let me correct the -- my parents were legal residents of the United States. They were -- (CROSSTALK) HOWARD: They were not citizens -- RUBIO: No, but no one -- none of the candidates running are talking -- they`re talking about people that are illegally in this country, not having access to citizenship. Not people that are legally here like my -- HOWARD: Right -- RUBIO: Parents -- HOWARD: Be that as it may -- RUBIO: But let`s put that aside for a moment -- HOWARD: Is that birthright citizenship one of the things that makes America exceptional? RUBIO: Yes -- yes, and that`s why I`m not in favor of repealing the 14th amendment. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now is David Frum, naturalized citizen and senior editor for "The Atlantic". David, your perspective as both a naturalized citizen and a Republican on this argument? DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Why has this issue suddenly become so explosive? And it seems to me, it has a lot to do with the midway President Obama`s deferred action program has taken effect. The President has deferred action, he`s very large numbers of people who are not in the United States with authorization. And among the categories trying to benefit are people who are parents of children who are born on U.S. soil. The parents themselves in the country illegally and that raises the question that by having this element in U.S. law, and of course, Ted Cruz vintage 2011 was correct, you`re not taking it away, it`s not going anywhere. But it makes -- it makes possible big new categories of illegal immigration. And that`s been true only in the past couple of years and it`s one of the reasons Republicans are so revved up about this issue. O`DONNELL: But Joy, this phenomenon has always -- has always been available. And the term anchor baby that they`re throwing around has been with us for many years. There is nothing new about this -- the dimensions of this in the Obama administration. REID: Yes, and not -- and there`s nothing new about it, even within the Republican Party. Chris Christie has advocated altering the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th amendment in the past. John Kasich, when he was in Congress was an advocate of this, Rick Santorum has been on this bandwagon. It`s not as if even some of the people running for president haven`t stumped on this before. And if it`s not because President Obama did ducker, it is because President Obama, period. Because he exist with the birther sort of movement that started because President Obama exists. You did have this revving up of this nativism and this idea that we have to start checking for every candidate that might want to run for president whether or not they`re a natural born citizen. Which by the way, Canadian-born Ted Cruz had to get to the side of when he was first contemplating a run. So, I think the thing disproves is not that birthright citizenship is some new phenomenon that conservatives are catching on to. It proves that Donald Trump understands the base of the -- of his adopted party more than the other Republicans running, who have been lifelong Republicans. He took an issue they run on -- they`ve talked about before for years and he is the one who lit a fire under it because he`s on a roll, he`s on a tear with anti-immigrant rhetoric. He`s just on a roll. O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Jeb Bush in New Hampshire today with reporters asking him about the use of this term anchor baby. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the term anchor baby is offensive? BUSH: No, if there is another term that I -- come up with, I`m happy to hear it. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you regret using the term anchor babies yesterday on the radio? BUSH: No, I didn`t. (CROSSTALK) No, I don`t regret it -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t regret it? BUSH: No, do you have a better term? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I`m asking you -- BUSH: OK -- (CROSSTALK) You give me a better term and I`ll use it, OK? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor -- BUSH: Tell me your (INAUDIBLE) among though you though -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re angry with anchor baby, is that not bombastic? BUSH: No, it isn`t, give me another line, give me another word. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to have another question -- (CROSSTALK) BUSH: That`s like a seven -- that`s not another word, that`s a seven -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hard note -- BUSH: What? -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question -- BUSH: Here`s the deal. What I said was it`s commonly referred to that, that`s what I said, I didn`t use it as it is my own language. What we ought to do is protect the 14th. You want to get to the policy for a second? I think that people born in this country ought to be American citizens, OK, now we got that over with. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: April Ryan, yesterday, after Jeb Bush started talking about this term anchor baby, Hillary Clinton tweeted, "they`re called babies." And then today when we kept asking for a better term to use, Hillary Clinton tweeted, "how about babies, children or American citizens." RYAN: How about that? I mean, when you start using terms, derogatory terms for anyone, babies, older people, middle-aged people, you start using terms for other people as well. I mean, when did we start losing our political correctness? I mean, just because Donald Trump is here, you know, and he doesn`t like being politically correct or PC, it doesn`t mean it`s right. And when you start going down that road, you get into a very slippery slope. What we have to remember, too, we -- when you talk about babies born here in America who are from illegal parents coming across the border or from wherever, it`s not just Mexico. We have people here from other countries that have babies here, China, Africa -- I mean so many other places and we just continue to think that it`s just about Mexicans coming across the border. We have an immigration problem that`s not just about Mexico, it`s about -- it`s a global issue and a lot of people are coming here. And now I find it interesting still though, that, you know, the Republican Party likes to talk about the constitution, standing up with the constitution for the constitution and now they`re ready to change it. And they want to use a derogatory term to make the point. So, I just find it all very interesting. O`DONNELL: Let`s hear more of what Marco Rubio said to John Howard in that discussion where John Howard brought up that autopsy that the Republican Party did -- where they were going to change their tone about this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOWARD: After the last presidential election, your party did an autopsy and said, number one priority is to repair the breach with Latino voters. As you sit here in a campaign that`s got a decent shot to win, aren`t you thinking that right now the Republican Party is dropping a giant homemade bomb on itself and its chances in 2016? RUBIO: But these are not -- it`s not the Republican Party. These are individual candidates who are responsible for their own rhetoric no matter -- HOWARD: But that`s the face -- RUBIO: What they say -- HOWARD: Of the Republican -- RUBIO: Well -- HOWARD: Party to the country right now -- RUBIO: Well, the face of the Republican Party is going to be our nominee. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: David Frum, do you agree with Marco Rubio on that? FRUM: The face of the Republican Party certainly will be the nominee. But I don`t agree with him about this autopsy. It seems to me that after 2012, the Republican Party at least tried to do exactly the wrong thing. The party made the decision, we are going to go full steam ahead with our Paul Ryan economic program, that is not very beneficial to middle-class voters. We`re going to make our left turn, our rethink, our turn to the center on the issue of immigration. And that got a lot of a claim in media circles because immigration going to have -- if there is one issue on which American media types do tend to be unanimous, that`s the issue above all others. But meanwhile, the correct answer was to have done the opposite. The correct answer was to have moderated the party`s economic program to make it more inclusionary. And also to understand that immigration speaks to the economic anxieties of middle-class Americans who -- there`s now a recovery. The economy is growing, employment is rising, wages are not. And immigration and past immigration policies are an important factor weighing down the wages of ordinary Americans. The autopsy was completely inside out. O`DONNELL: David, if that had been done, if that was the Republican strategy, what would you have suggested to them by way of economic policy compromise with the Democrats moving in that direction? FRUM: Well, I take a lot of kick into the head, but this I say the same thing over and over again. The Republican Party has to recognize that universal healthcare coverage is here to stay. You don`t have to like Obamacare, you don`t have to like every detail of the ACA, but that`s the law. And it`s -- millions of people receiving coverage under that law right now. And unless you have something terrific and some detail to propose -- to use Donald Trump`s language, you`re going to have to work with the structure of the law now. So, that`s what I would recommend. Nobody listens to that but that`s my advice. But if you`re going to have this tremendous expansion in healthcare coverage to say at the same time, we`re going to legalize as Americans, full Americans, millions, tens of millions potentially of people who enter the country illegally. That is a big -- that is an impossible thing to swallow, fiscally and politically. O`DONNELL: David Frum, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, a significant development in the draft Biden movement. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Your strength can compensate for my weakness and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I went to the Wharton school of finance. You know, like really smart people go to the Wharton School of Finance, I would say. (END VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST OF "THE LAST WORD" PROGRAM: It took 38 years to go from Jimmy Carter`s inaugural address marked by humility and decency to a Front Runner for a presidential nomination, who has no humility and virtually no decency. Watching Jimmy Carter`s press conference today in which the former president dignified and humane as ever described his planned cancer treatment. Journalist Walter Shapiro tweeted, "This is a moment to contrast the grace of Jimmy Carter with the grotesque egoism of a real estate developer who thinks he is up for the job. Joining us now is Walter Shapiro, fellow at the Brandon Center for Justice and a former speechwriter for President Carter. Walter, please expand on that point. You have the floor. WALTER SHAPIRO, FMR, SPEECHWRITER FOR PRES. CARTER: Well, first of all, jimmy carter when he ran in `76 promised the American people a government as good as its people. The way Donald Trump is running, he is promising the American people a government as good as the worst elements and a shallow as the worst elements of the American people. The thing that gets me -- forget his positions on immigration. The thing that just got me was with Chuck Tothd on Sunday when Trump was asked, "Who are your military advisers." And, what he said is, "Oh, I just watch the Sunday shows. That is all I need." That, more than anything, is such a profound disrespect for the office. And, the whole Trump circus is more than anything scarily -- he either sees the White House as a branding opportunity or he is totally oblivious to a job that Harry Truman decided as "The sun, the moon and the stars all falling on you." I ca not figure out which is worse. O`DONNELL: And, April Ryan, when we think about Jimmy Carter, where he got his military advise. He is a graduate of Annapolis. APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Annapolis. O`DONNELL: And a submarine commander, studied nuclear physics in relation to the submarine program. And, then, very humbly, as Walter can tell us, took his military advice in the situation room and elsewhere from the professionals. RYAN: Right. I mean here, you had someone who served in the military, and then you have -- I mean there is no similarity at all. They are total opposites. You have Donald Trump, a man who is talking very negatively -- and I am saying it in the best terms I can, about a war hero, John McCain. And, then here you had someone who served and someone who believed in peace. He received a Nobel Peace Prize, because he was trying to work out peace throughout the world. But, one thing also, that is blaring for me with Trump versus Jimmy Carter. You had Jimmy Carter, who was someone who came from the South, Georgia, with steep still in racial problems in the `70s, and he took the high road. He tried to stay away from that. And, he tried to build on integration, not segregation. And, then here you have Donald Trump, talking about minorities the way he does. Particularly, Mexicans, but one thing that really is blaring to me. What happened in Boston and how this homeless person was beaten up, urinated on and they are blaming it on Donald Trump. And, I will tell you this, Amos Brown, Dr. Amos Brown, a board member of the National Board of the nAacp said, "You know, rhetoric like this is what started the situation in Charleston, where that man went in and shot up nine people, shot them dead in that that church. So, we have to be careful. And, you had Jimmy Carter who is a man of peace and you have this man who is not politically correct. We need some kind of help in this time right now. O`DONNELL: Listen to what Jimmy Carter said today when asked if he would have done anything differently. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARTER: I wish I sent one more helicopter to get the hostages, and we would have rescued them and I would have been re-elected. But that may have interfered with the foundation of the Carter Center. And, if I had to choose between four more years and the Carter Center, I think I would choose the carter center. It could have been both. (LAUGHING) O`DONNELL: Gene, I think he could have had both if he sent that extra helicopter. EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST" EDITORIAL WRITER: If he sent that extra helicopter and also if he appointed Paul Volker a couple of years earlier and had time to get -- you know, let him get inflation under control get through a quick recession, had the economy gone back up again. Then maybe he could have gotten that second term. O`DONNELL: Joy, the carter presidency is -- in America, we are I think as a culture bought in to a Trumpian concept of winners and losers and you are utterly worthless as soon as you lose an election in this country. Jimmy Carter, certainly, has suffered that kind of imagery since losing the presidential election. JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, and I think it does say something profoundly about who we are as a people that Carter`s decency and goodness was taken for weakness and had to be remedied with the sort of bluster of a Ronald Reagan. And, that the idea that we needed a cowboy to replace what people viewed as a man, who was not cowboy enough to be president, that he was too nice. I remember growing up one of the things my mother would say was maybe he was just too good of a man to be the president of the United States, and he was just too nice. And, I think it is a bit sad that we, as a country, take a cerebral man, a gentleman, a kind man for a weak man, because that is not necessarily the case. O`DONNELL: Walter, how did it feel inside the administration as you were approaching that re-election. SHAPIRO: Well, I did not get all the way through the re-election because I did the smartest thing in the entire world. I believe, the Gallup polls -- ROBINSON: Yes. SHAPIRO: And, I got out in `79 and went to a place called the "Washington Post." ROBINSON: Right. SHAPIRO: But the truth is, I have been thinking a lot about the Carter years. And, part of it is the things he does not get credit for. Number one, bringing human rights in to the entire vocabulary of foreign policy. Number two, basically being pressing it beyond belief about energy. You could read Carter energy speeches including the misnamed speech from `79 and it reads like a Thomas Friedman column today. And, thirdly of all, 36 years, we have had an enduring peace in the Middle East. And, Israel`s continued existence is the bedrock there. Is it negotiated by Jimmy Carter, peace with Egypt. ROBINSON: People forget how tenuous that was because of Carter. That was a live issue. SHAPIRO: And, it was also -- Bill Clinton to his credit benefitted and helped along the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty, but that was in the works. Jimmy Carter actually negotiated for two weeks at Camp David to bring the two sides together. And, this is so air brushed out of history. But of course, Jimmy Carter never opened a casino. (LAUGHING) RYAN: He taught Sunday school, too. He was a Sunday school teacher -- well, he still is a Sunday schoolteacher. O`DONNELL: And, he talked today about how he will be teaching Sunday school class this Sunday in Georgia. He has stayed anchored in that community. REID: Yes. O`DONNELL: Walter Shapiro, thank you very much for joining us on this day. Coming up, Eugene Robinson found his way into a Hillary Clinton press conference without even being there. How did he do that? And, next, more of your questions for Donald Trump. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I did not like it. And, did not inhale and never tried it again. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAY LENO, AMERICAN COMEDIAN/HOST OF NBC`S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": I have to ask this question again. Remember, senator, you are under oath. Did you inhale? (LAUGHING) BARACK OBAMA, (D) CURRENT U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, I was telling -- Somebody asked this question. I said that was the point. (LAUGHING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Which brings us to tonight`s episode of questions for Donald Trump. Since Bill Clinton answered a question about using marijuana in 1992, presidential candidates have been asked about their use of illegal drugs on the campaign trail. The only answer George W. Bush gave was, "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Jeb Bush has said more than his brother. The Boston Globe, quotes Jeb Bush saying, "I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover. Bush said it was high school years, both of which could have led to expulsion. It was pretty common." And, even Ted Cruz has admitted he used marijuana when he was young and of course President Obama wrote about his drug use in school and college in his memoir before he run for president. So, tonight`s question for Donald Trump is from Ed Watkins, who tweeted, "Question for Trump, have you cocaine, other drugs?" Keep your questions for Trump coming. Use the #questionsfortrump to @Lawrence, @TheLastWord, or on TheLastWord Facebook page, and maybe your question will find its way into the next presidential debate. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson`s Monday "Washington Post" column found its way into a Hillary Clinton press conference on Tuesday without Gene even being there. It came in the form of a question from Fox News Ed Henry. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ED HENRY, FOX NEWS WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Eugene Robinson who is not conservative, a liberal columnist for the "Washington Post" today said that at the very least, you have stonewalled and he said you should tell the American people, "I am sorry, I was wrong." But, instead, in recent days, you have been talking about SnapChat, you have been blaming republican attacks. Is not leadership about taking responsibility? HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I do take -- Look, Ed, I take responsibility. Look, I just told Jeff in retrospect this did not turn out to be convenient at all. And, I regret that this has become such a cause c‚lŠbre. But, that does not change the facts. And, no matter what anybody tries to say, the facts are stubborn. What I did was legally permitted. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Eugene, Secretary Clinton takes responsibility. ROBINSON: Yes. And, as she said the facts are stubborn. One fact is that, if you are saying things like, "What I did was legally permitted," you are not doing as well as you might be doing. You are having to explain something. That does not make a lot of sense to people at the very least. And, one thing that does not make sense to me, and I think does not make sense to many people, is that she would come in to office as Secretary of State and somehow think it was more convenient to run your work e-mails through a server that you set up in your house as opposed to having a state department account. It makes sense you would do that if you want the control, you want the control of your input and output. You want a control of your archive and you want to control who gets to run it through what. That is understandable if you are Hillary Clinton, but that is not what she says. She says, "Oh, it was just more convenient." O`DONNELL: In your column, you say that the problem is that there is an element of -- I do not know -- you correct me if I am wrong on this. But there is an element of insulting your intelligence in some of these responses. ROBINSON: Yes. You know, I just did what prior secretaries of state did. Well, no, they did not have servers in their houses, you know. I mean they did not. A couple of them had private e-mail accounts. I do not know through yahoo or whatever and we are unclear what they did, but it was not the same thing. Private account is not the same thing, because I thought that server -- that you control, you know, the physical machine. And, so I think that is -- just say what it is and what you did and maybe we can move on. But do not tell us, you know, a story that does not -- O`DONNELL: But, April, in Gene`s column he wants to hear the magic words "I am sorry." And, I am wracking my brain trying to think of the frontrunner or the viable candidate on the presidential race, who stopped everything at some point and said, "I am sorry for anything at any point." (LAUGHING) I mean is not that -- that one of the -- is not that maybe the phrase that they just do not feel they can say because it somehow weakens them no matter what the issue is. RYAN: I do not feel they can say it. They should not say it because it makes them look like they were guilty, particularly when you are running for president. That would be a death now for her. She has to go through this, but she does need to explain it better. Gene is right. She got to get this behind her, because her poll numbers are dropping. And, you got, you know, Bernie Sanders and even Joe Biden, who has not thrown his hat into the ring, you know, giving her a run for the money, and then Donald Trump. So, she got to come out and do something, to say something. Gene is right. She got to say something. I do not think she is going to use the words, "I am sorry." But, one thing I had found out from the campaign is that, you know, she feels she did not do anything wrong and she is going to keep ongoing and do what she has to do. And, even in September, we might even start to seeing her on "Saturday Night Live" and on the "Ellen" show and things of that nature. And, she is walking as if, nothing is wrong. She did not do anything wrong. So, we will going to see, you know, how she plays that and then we will see what happens with the investigation. REID: Let us -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Joy. REID: Is not it the case, though, that Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers are very quite well. I mean I think as a media matter, this is the biggest thing to talk about when it comes to Hillary Clinton but then her poll numbers come out and she is still over 50 percent. Again -- RYAN: But, she is dropping , though. REID: Dropping to 51 percent. I would not justify as a crisis, right? And, I think the other issue is that the e-mail story -- I just have to be honest, that when I have been out covering the Clinton campaign on the trail, it is not just something that is spontaneously seems to be on the mind of many voters, other than conservative voters, who already dislike Hillary Clinton or some democrats already dislike her. I do think that Eugene Robinson is just giving me the most sort of interesting angle that I have heard on that story, which is that perhaps -- O`DONNELL: He always does. You can rely on him. (LAUGHING) ROBINSON: We do what we can. REID: it seems to be a Clinton thing that maybe the reason they wanted the server was because they want to protect their forever archives. That is actually kind of interesting. But, I do think with Darryl Isis still out there, claiming that Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton are criminals because of the server, that they need to -- that they committed a crime. I think that we are in typical Clinton vortex. And, they cannot -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: But a judge today -- A judge today told the FBI to specifically look for references to Huma Abedin on the server if they can find any references to her contract on that server.. ROBINSON: I mean the problem is -- O`DONNELL: And, you say this is a problem of Hillary Clinton`s own making. ROBINSON: Yes, I do. I mean I do think it is a problem of her own making. I think the decision was made at the beginning of -- you know, when she took office as Secretary of State to have this sort of control. And, I kind of understand why Hillary Clinton would want to do that given the history because there are unfair and vicious attacks against the Clintons. However, it was a bad decision. And, I think she has to deal more forthrightly and more fully with the fact that it was a really bad decision. Now, you have this investigation. It is going to go in all sorts of directions and you cannot just wish away Darrell Issa or the trade committee or any of that stuff. O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson gets the last word on how the Eugene Robinson column found -- (LAUGHING) Eugene Robinson and April Ryan, thank you both for joining me tonight. I really appreciate it. Coming up, a new development in the draft Biden movement in Florida. (MUSIC PLAYING) O`DONNELL: With 53 percent of democrats saying Joe Biden should run for president, the draft Biden committee has drafted its biggest player yet, Steve Schale who ran then Senator Barack Obama`s Florida campaign in 2008. Steve Schale is now joining the draft Biden movement. And Steve Schale joins us now by phone from Florida. Steve Schale, my personal Florida Political Correspondent Joy Reid tells me, it is a very big deal for the draft Biden campaign to have you. Why have you made this decision? STEVE SCHALE, DRAFT BIDEN COMMITTEE: Well, you know, listen. First of all, Lawrence, Joy Reid, good to be on and I am very proud of Joy. I have known her since she was nobody, and she is really had an amazing run, very talented. I am just happy friend for her. No, I mean -- you know, for me, this is really just a personal choice. You know, frankly, after two big presidential election cycles I was looking forward to a cycle, where I spent more time on the beach than I did in the campaign. And, you know, then the word became more prominent that the vice president was really thinking of doing this. Frankly, I sort of said, "Hey, I would be happy to help. And, so, it happened pretty organically over the last few days that I took on the role with the draft Biden people. But, you know, I think this is really a unique moment in our history and I think Joe Biden is really uniquely qualified to lead at this moment. And, I am happy to be a part of it. REID: You know, Steve -- we worked together before, Steve Schale, it is always great to talk to you, my friend. Do you think that at this stage, Joe Biden would be able to peel off significant parts of the demographic base that Hillary Clinton has put in together. You are after the numbers. And, that is one of the advantages Hillary has for instance over Bernie Sanders. Can Biden eat in to that. And, particularly the Ethnic voting base. SCHALE: Well, I mean, I think -- it is sort of early to say. I think, again, Joe has unique appeal obviously. He is comfortable working class background. He has done sort of a remarkable job in his life at never really losing his connection to where he came from. And, you know, in a lot of these races, you know, Joy, I mean it really is about sort of getting off the ground in the early states. He has I think a very strong network of friends in places like South Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, which are critical. So, you know, I think that, you know, we look at our role here at draft Biden, you know, my role here for the last 12 hours is beginning to really think through, you know, how can we help engage activists and volunteers, and people who want to help. So, if the vice president makes his decision in the next coming weeks, he has a good foundation to jump off and go run. O`DONNELL: Steve, what about drafting Biden. What communication have you had with the vice president about this? SCHALE: Absolutely none. Again, this was just purely organic. I got talking to one of your colleagues in the media and next thing I know it made the "New York Times" and 15 minutes later I got a phone call from the draft Biden people and here we are today. So, this really is just a case of me raising my hand and saying, "Hey, I respect the man a lot and if I can play a little bit of a role to help build a foundation, so that if he decides to run and he is in a little better shape, then I am honored and happy to do it. O`DONNELL: Steve Schale, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And, Joy Reid, thanks for sticking with us for the whole show. REID: Sure. Thanks. O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next. END