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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 08/31/15

Guests: Jonathan Chait, Howard Dean, David Frum, Jonathan Allen, LeonardCampanello, Frank Greenagel

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Up on covering these stumps, but your uncle -- but if you were looking to place that in the next thing that right-wing- talk radio and Republican TV is going to go crazy about, you can set your watch for 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. This is it. The mainstream press is mostly given up on covering these stumps(ph), but your uncle who watches "Fox News" all day is due to send you an all capital-letters e-mail about this one in three, two, one -- that does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD, Alex Wagner sitting in for Lawrence tonight, good to see you, Alex. ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: You too, thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Absolutely. WAGNER: Republicans holding their breath and waiting for the Trump bubble to burst are going to have to wait a little longer to exhale. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I`m president -- (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) We`re going to have so many victories. You know, right now we don`t have victories anymore, do we agree? And we`re going to have victories, so many victories they`re going to be coming out of your ears. You may get tired of winning so much, is that possible? We will win on healthcare. We will win on everything. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump`s favorability is surging. CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: He`s been dominating all the polls in every state, and it turns out he`s getting into the heads of his opponents as well. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now is not the time to put in place someone who hasn`t been tested. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a big difference between Donald Trump and me. I`m a proven conservative with a record. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what do you do if you`re trying to get attention and Donald Trump is taking all of the oxygen? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie talked over the weekend of tracking undocumented immigrants. CHRISTIE: We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stumping people, I guess with bar codes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all, we`re bored, this is pandering -- TODD: What happened to Scott Walker? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walker has been swept away these days by the Trump storm. GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a lot of work that goes into these races. For us, I think the biggest spark for us is getting the message out. TRUMP: I`m going to win. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump! You had my vote, but now Kanye West! KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: I have decided in 2020 to run for president! (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Every day of this Summer of Trump, the Republican establishment has hoped for the bursting of the Trump bubble, the ending of his carnival candidacy. And passage of Trump`s White House ambitions into the night like those of Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. And tonight, there is a new poll that shows Donald Trump losing, but unfortunately for the Republican establishment, he is losing to Dr. Ben Carson. Public Policy Polling did head-to-head matchups of Donald Trump versus his Republican rivals, Republican primary voters preferred Trump to Senator Marco Rubio by eight points. They preferred Trump to Governor Scott Walker by 14 points, and they preferred Trump to Jeb Bush by 25 points. But they prefer Dr. Ben Carson to Donald Trump, 49 percent to 43 percent. What might explain Carson`s edge? Evangelical Republicans. Donald Trump gets more support from evangelical Republicans than Rubio, Walker or Bush. But he loses evangelicals when pitted against Dr. Ben Carson. Tonight`s poll comes after a new Iowa poll showing Trump tied with Carson at the top with 23 percent. Carly Fiorina is at 10 percent and everyone else is in single digits. So, if the Summer of Trump becomes the Autumn of Carson, what`s the Donald`s next move? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Of course, third-parties concerned, the Republican Party has been treating me very fairly. All I ask is fairness. And I`m leading in every poll by a lot. We`re leading in every state by a lot and a lot of things are really happening in terms of victory that would certainly be the best path to victory and we`re going to make a decision very soon. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: "New York Magazine`s" Jonathan Chait has a solid bet on what that decision might be, "add it all up", he writes, "an egomaniacal candidate who refuses to accept the role of a loser. A party justifiably weary of sucking up to him in a public way, what do you get? One very strong possibility is that you get Trump declaring a third- party run. Remember, we are gaining at the scenario where Trump entered the race without much planning, more as a way to keep the media circus going from one day to the next than as a long-term strategy. And the most logical end-point of that assumption is that he bolts the party, claiming some slight and keeps the circus going all through November." Jonathan Chait joins us. Now also with us, Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and former chair of the Democratic National Committee and David Frum, senior editor at "The Atlantic". Jonathan Chait, Trump going all through November, those are chilling words for any Republican who has watched this race. JONATHAN CHAIT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It`s pretty terrifying for them because Donald Trump`s third-party candidacy would eliminate any chance they have of winning the presidential election. So, that`s absolutely the atom bomb that Trump has his finger on. And they`ve got to figure out a way to defuse that without accepting the slower placing of being associated with Donald Trump in a way that makes it impossible for them to make any in-roads at all among the Latino vote. Which has just been growing as a share of the electorate and becoming more Democratic. So, they`re caught between this vice of these two unpalatable options and Trump has two different ways of killing them. And I don`t know how they can avoid both of them. WAGNER: And then Governor Dean, you look at the man who is climbing up and maybe eroding a little bit of Trump`s lead, Dr. Ben Carson, he has the highest favorable and lowest unfavorable of any Republican candidate. Seventy nine percent favorable to 8 percent unfavorable. Are you surprised about Dr. Carson`s staying power and his ascendance? HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: I`m a little surprised because I don`t see much of him. He doesn`t -- he`s not a big player in the debates. He doesn`t get in the press of visiting Iowa and New Hampshire and all these places. Nearly, I mean, the oxygen has been sucked out of his room just like it has been about everybody else by Trump. Here`s the really -- the interesting thing for me though is, as far as I know, Ben Carson has no organization whatsoever, neither does Carly Fiorina, neither these -- a whole lot of the other -- these other candidates. You cannot win in Iowa, I don`t care what your numbers are. You cannot win in Iowa without an organization. Now, we don`t even know if Trump has an organization. We do know that he has the means to put one together if he wants to. So, I -- you know, this is -- this poll, I mean, I`m sure it`s a true poll, an accurate poll, but it really is -- doesn`t reflect anything about anything. And we`re really not going to know what`s going to happen in this race until February 1st. WAGNER: David, it feels like if you`re trying to unpack the popularity of Dr. Carson, he seems like a conservative folk hero and so far, as he is the most potent weapon against Obamacare. He is a doctor who`s spoken out vociferously against it and continues to. I want to play a little bit of sound right after Dr. Carson criticized President Obama to his face at a national prayer breakfast. This was the reaction from the right. Let`s take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Dr. Carson, I got to tell you, that speech moved me deeply, very well done. What`s with the -- the reaction been so far? BEN CARSON, NEUROSURGEON: The reaction has been overwhelming. We`ve been just deluged with e-mails, with calls. HANNITY: Would you ever run for president, sir? CARSON: If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would. (LAUGHTER) It`s not my intention. HANNITY: I wouldn`t wish that on you, but I think that I would vote for you in a heartbeat. CARSON: Well, thank you. I have so many e-mails from people saying that I could probably finance my campaign if each one gave me a nickel. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: So David, here we are, and now we`re talking about Ben Carson as a legitimate, viable candidate for the Republican nomination. You know, what do you think his staying power is in this? Is it going to be an Autumn of Carson? DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, somebody has to speak for the conventional wisdom and I`m not afraid to do it. (LAUGHTER) I think -- I think both Trump and Carson will deflate. I think as the governor said, organization matters. That`s why every winning candidate builds them. I think also they`ll discover and people who have been in politics know this, when you run for a big-time office, every day you have an opportunity, dozens of opportunities to commit a lethal mistake. And people who have not been through a lot of elections to other offices usually avail themselves for the opportunity to make that lethal mistake and some -- and things go wrong. That said, I think particularly this Summer of Trump has been for all these many difficulties on balance, a positive thing for the Republican Party. Because it has been a cold mackerel in the face of reality to the whole Republican Party that an economic agenda that the party offered in 2012 and is on the verge of offering again in 2016, it doesn`t offer much to ordinary Republican voters. I mean, never mind the country as a whole, to most of the people who make up the Republican Party, that agenda is being rejected and this is a reality check. And it`s an opportunity to learn and to do better and to say, you know, Donald Trump has not made removing healthcare subsidies the center of his campaign. And if the Republican Party in 2016 advances on the proposition that vote for us and we`ll take away health coverage for millions of people, that is not a successful formula. WAGNER: Well -- FRUM: And this is maybe an opportunity to rethink. WAGNER: And to that point, Governor Dean, I mean, there`s a "New York Times" headline today talking about Republican fears over Donald Trump`s ideas that he wants to raise taxes on hedge fund managers. That Donald Trump wants to raise taxes which we have been told is an anathema to the Republican Party. He has figured out a brand of economic populism that seems to be working well with the grassroots that is not at all what the establishment has been proposing, and in a weird way has some real through lines with occupy and the Tea Party movement of 2007. DEAN: Well, Trump is nothing if not a master showman, and he`s pretty insightful. We all at the beginning all thought this was a blowhard, it was going to fall apart. He survived error after error that would have killed anybody else in the -- in the field. So -- and he gets -- he gets what populace economics is about. The numbers are incredible on both sides of the aisle in terms of people who feel like they`ve been left behind in this economy. So, I think he`s on to something. Now, you know, I expect him to blow himself up too, but I have been expecting that for a long time and I haven`t seen it. And he`s pretty -- he`s pretty damn good on this stump, I have to say. WAGNER: Pretty damn good on the stump, says Governor Dean. But in the words of the indomitable David Frum, Jonathan Chait, a cold mackerel to the face to Jeb Bush. I mean, Trump has been -- CHAIT: Yes -- WAGNER: Unrelenting in his criticism of the presumed Republican establishment frontrunner -- CHAIT: Right -- WAGNER: He released a video on Instagram today, criticizing Trump`s comments from 2014 where he called illegal immigration or parts of it an act of love. Let`s look at that short video. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: Yes, they broke the law, but it`s not a felony. It`s kind of a -- it`s a -- it`s a -- it`s an act of love. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: OK, so Jonathan, on the issue of immigration, I don`t understand - - CHAIT: Yes -- WAGNER: How the Republican, sort of, narrative is rehabilitated post Trump even if he splinters off to become a third-party candidate. CHAIT: You`re right, it doesn`t -- so, for the first thing we have to say is that ad is just a lie, because Jeb Bush there is talking about people immigrating to United States as an act of love. He`s not saying that murdering people is an act of love. So Trump is just completely misrepresenting what Jeb Bush was saying there. But the problem for the party from that perspective is that Donald Trump has almost broken through popular culture and out of the -- out of the political debate into popular culture as the symbol of anti-Latino racism. He`s not making sophisticated points about immigration reform or saying that maybe we should cut back on levels or enforce the laws better. He`s just making bigoted and nasty comments about people who came to this country in violation of immigration laws, but they did it for a noble reason of giving their family a better life. And I don`t see how Republicans are going to win back those communities if they have this man as their face. WAGNER: And David Frum, what if Jeb Bush -- I mean, Steve Schmidt, presidential soothsayer for many Republican candidates or a few, said every day Donald Trump is emasculating Jeb Bush. And Republican primary voters are not going to default to the establishment -- FRUM: Right -- WAGNER: Candidate who`s been weakened by these attacks. I mean, what do you do if you are Jeb Bush? FRUM: You don`t respond. Jeb Bush -- I wrote an article of this a few days ago in "The Atlantic", though what happens when a campaign is in trouble, your supporters call you up and they have always the same advice. Take off the gloves. And Jeb Bush who is -- raised 125 million people, he has a lot of donors to -- whose calls he has to take. And eventually, enough people telling you to take off the gloves, you take off the gloves. Which means that Jeb Bush is now drawing into an insult contest with America`s all-time -- not all the time, but current reigning insult champion. You don`t want to be in that contest. You want to leave that contest to other people if you`re Jeb Bush. The $125 million is supposed to give you the staying power to keep ignoring Trump until Trump blows up on his own. But the next Trump ad will be even worse. Because it will talk about Jeb Bush who is on record as saying this may be a distortion too that he wanted to phase-out Medicare at least for people under 55. WAGNER: Cold mackerels all around. And in the indomitable words of Darrell Issa, step away from the Trump. That`s paraphrasing him. David Frum, always good to see you, thanks for your time. FRUM: Thank you. WAGNER: Coming up, Donald Trump`s latest line of attack has nothing to do with China or Mexico and everything to do with these so-called perverts and his access to classified information. And if Kanye West actually runs for president -- I just said that sentence -- what should be his campaign slogan? The Twitter-burst responds, it`s just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: Oh, yes -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to build a wall north of the border? It bothers you -- WALKER: Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me in one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So, that is a legitimate issue for us to look at. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Governor Scott Walker`s campaign is trying to do damage control after he caused an international incident this weekend. A Walker spokeswoman told "POLITICO", "despite the attempts of some to put words in his mouth, Governor Walker wasn`t advocating for a wall along our northern border." But it seems to have been a little too late, candidates. Defense Minister Jason Kenney responded, "as you know, we often find there are some American political actors who are not aware of the progress that has been made on continental security. Frankly, I can tell you as the former minister of immigration that Canada has a much greater legitimate concern about the northward flow of illegal migration than the United States does of a southward flow of illegal migration." Senator Rand Paul said a northern wall was a "dumb idea" while Twitter had much fun at Walker`s expense. Scott Lyle(ph) tweeted, "I wonder if Scott Walker`s Canada wall will have a beautiful door. Will Trump and Scottie have a door off?" Haden Black tweeted, "Scott Walker wants to build a wall on the Canadian-U.S. border to keep Americans from escaping if he`s made president." And "Politics USA" used the headlines, "Scott Walker`s wall along the Canadian border, too late to keep out Ted Cruz." Up next, Donald Trump versus Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: Just over an hour ago, the State Department released its biggest trove yet of Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. More than 7,000 pages from the former secretary of state`s private e-mail account have now been made public. Earlier today, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner estimated that about 150 of those e-mails contained classified information. However, none of the e-mails were classified at the time Hillary Clinton sent or received them. It is still unclear what will come out of this latest release, but that doesn`t matter to Donald Trump, who is already sounding the alarm on one of Hillary Clinton`s staff members. In a speech on Friday, Trump targeted Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary Clinton for her alleged role in the controversy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: OK, here`s the story. So Huma now is one of the people -- that it all sort of came through Huma. Who is Huma married to? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anthony Weiner! TRUMP: One of the great sleazebags of our time. (LAUGHTER) Anthony Weiner, do you know that? She`s married to Anthony Weiner; you know, the little bing-bing, bong-bong. I love you very much. (APPLAUSE) (CHEERS) So, think of it. So Huma is getting classified secrets, she`s married to Anthony Weiner, who is a perv -- do you think there`s even a 5 percent chance that she`s not telling Anthony Weiner, now of a public relations firm, what the hell is coming across? Do you think there`s even a little bit of a chance? I don`t think so. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: The following day Donald Trump defended those attacks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you too hard on Huma Abedin, Mr. Trump? TRUMP: No, not at all, no. I think it`s a very dangerous thing when she is the receiver of so much of this very important information, and she`s married to a guy who obviously is psychologically disturbed. I think it is a very fair statement that I made and a lot of people have congratulated me. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: As if that is not enough, the Donald reconfirmed his position today, tweeting "Huma Abedin, the top aide to Hillary Clinton and the wife of perv, sleazebag Anthony Weiner was a major security risk as a collector of info." Joining us now is Jonathan Allen, chief political correspondent for "Vox", and back with us are Jonathan Chait and Governor Howard Dean. Jonathan, this seems to be an excuse to A, mispronounce Huma Abedin`s name, but also to keep -- to -- so that Donald Trump can keep saying the phrase, wife of perv, sleazebag Anthony Weiner. And therefore associate the Clinton brand with that of so-called perv, sleazebag Anthony Weiner. JONATHAN ALLEN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, VOX: You know, it`s a -- (CROSSTALK) WAGNER: Go ahead Jonathan Chait. CHAIT: Yes, there`s two of us. There`s so many bizarre things about this episode that you could have showed. One of them is that this was a political speech by a candidate for president who`s just kind of rambling on and on about, you know, inside Washington politics in a way you just don`t see presidential candidates do. And the second thing that you almost may not have noticed because the first thing was so weird, is that Donald Trump is running on the theme of marital and sexual propriety. I mean, no one expected this to be one of his themes. WAGNER: Yes -- ALLEN: I mean, this is a guy who -- WAGNER: Jonathan Allen -- yes, let me ask you, for -- I mean, to Jonathan Chait`s point, Huma Abedin is known inside the beltway, but Donald Trump has -- in this sort of fashion elevated her. And I guess I wonder what you think of that strategy. ALLEN: Well, I think there`re a couple of things involved here. Number one, obviously as Jonathan suggested, definitely wants to tie her and Hillary Clinton to Anthony Weiner in that scandal, which isn`t that difficult to do, obviously. Look, I think Donald Trump also likes going after anybody who is foreign or whose parents are foreign. We`ve seen that in a lot of venues, part of his protectionism. We heard -- even before this goes back a long time, there were allegations against Huma Abedin from Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, that she was, you know, somehow in with bad guys overseas. I mean, this is a long time sort of slur against Huma Abedin. Now, it may turn out that she had some classified material in her e-mail, what that has to do with her telling Anthony Weiner about it, something completely different. Nobody`s accused her of that happening. And from Donald Trump`s perspective, calling people a perv, I mean, this is a guy that once joked that he would have dated his own daughter were she not his daughter. WAGNER: And joked that apparently recently, Jon Allen. ALLEN: Yes, I mean, so, Donald Trump is living in a big, fat glass house on a lot of this stuff including his psychological analysis of other people. WAGNER: Howard Dean, no, you know, the news of this particular hour is also that there`s a new trove of Clinton e-mails being released. And I want to call your attention to a "Washington Post" report on Saturday that said, "inside the Clinton team, there is an acknowledgement that the issue has been badly handled and that it has given rise to broader worries about Clinton`s trustworthiness and sense of entitlement." I mean, how much do you think it is of concern that we continue to have to talk about this. DEAN: Look, we`re going to have to talk about it until the press gets something more than Donald Trump to talk about. I mean, this is -- there is -- I`ve had the position that there`s no "there-there" in e-mail stuff that -- which she said on the very first day, was completely accurate. There were no classified information sent or received by her because at the time, they either weren`t marked classified or if they were classified -- or the State Department as it often does, its standard operating procedure to classify stuff after the fact, which is what`s going on right now. So, I don`t think, you know, in the long run, I don`t think it`s going to hurt Hillary, but it`s hurt her some because the Republican talking points are pretty good. And the press corps not as a -- not as up to speed as they ought to be. I mean, the "New York Times" just acknowledged to be one of the best papers in the country has printed two stories that were completely wrong. But one about the e-mails and one about the financial donations, that`s pretty bad. These guys just to make -- need to get a life and when the campaign gets more life than Donald Trump`s nonsense, perhaps these issues will be more seriously -- taken more seriously. WAGNER: What -- Jon, the -- ALLEN: To cover the Inspectors General of the State Department and the intelligence communities were concerned enough that there was a breach of national security to recommend that the FBI open an investigation into it. Not a criminal one, a security one, but they obviously concerned about the way that this e-mail was handled. I mean, that`s not -- DEAN: Yes, but -- ALLEN: Something the reporter should just ignore, is it? DEAN: I don`t think reporters should ignore, but I think they ought to put down the facts when they -- know the facts and they ought to find what the facts are. The facts are that Hillary Clinton had very little to do with anything that the FBI is investigating. The FBI is wondering if somebody divulge classified information. It was -- it`s been pretty clear that Hillary Clinton has not been accused of that other than partisans and reporters that are too lazy to get it straight; the facts straight. WAGNER: Jon Chait, there`s also another X factor here which is the rise of Bernie Sanders. And we have new polling, show that he`s eroding her lead in a "Des Moine Register"-"Bloomberg" politics poll of Iowa -- like the Iowa Democratic caucus, caucus goers, I mean. If you look at support for Clinton and Sanders, her support is -- we look at a Bernie Sanders lead that`s increasing, and I guess I wonder, do you think that has anything to do with the e-mails? Is that about economic populism? And is there some concern that Bernie Sanders is a real threat, especially in early states like Iowa? CHAIT: I don`t think he`s got the chops to go all the way, and I don`t think anybody does. You know, I don`t think that Bernie Sanders is really running to be the nominee. He is running because he has ideas he cares about. He wants to use the forum of the presidential race to get people to talk about those ideas and maybe push the eventual nominees who he probably knows is going to be Hillary Clinton, his way. The fact that he`s having more success is probably going to make that easier for him to do, to get more attention. But I don`t think he`s really built to hold up to frontrunner-type scrutiny. And if he gets into that position, then you know, he may not be talking about the things he really wants to be talking about. Then maybe he`ll be getting examined as a person, and, you know, throughout his whole history in a way he doesn`t necessarily want. I`m not saying there`s any scandals. I`m not trying to imply anything. But where he wants to be is the guy who is talking about ideas. He doesn`t want to be examined as a person and scrutinized as a frontrunner. WAGNER: Everyone wants to be an insurgent. Howard Dean -- CHAIT: Yes -- WAGNER: And Jonathan Allen, thanks for your time. ALLEN: Thank you. WAGNER: Coming up -- CHAIT: Thank you -- WAGNER: Your suggestions, your suggestions for Kanye West`s 2020 presidential campaign slogan. And later, President Obama versus President McKinley, a battle 114 years in the making. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Last night, in a 12-minute speech filled with growls and profanities and in the middle of it, he had just smoked something to take the edge off. America got its newest candidate for president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KANYE WEST, AMERICAN RAPPER AND RECORD PRODUCER: Yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president. (AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING) (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: In fact, nobody had guessed it by that moment. Nobody. But in just 24 hours since the announcement, Kanye West for president 2020 has seen a wave of support. Several websites dedicated to the candidate have popped up, including which features a countdown to the election, only 1,653 days away. Proving West already has his party loyalty. The Democratic Party tweeted last night, "@KanyeWest declared his candidacy for president in 2020. Welcome to the race, Mr. West. Glad to have you." And, today paperwork was filed for the ready for Kanye political action committee. According to the Associated Press, "The White House is thinking the same thing as rest of us. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says at the announcement that he looks forward to seeing what slogan Mr. West chooses to embroider on his campaign hat. We asked you guys at home for your suggestions on the West 2020 slogan, and you certainly delivered. Joe tweeted, "Yesus we can." Debbie suggestion for the slogan was, "Beyonce deserves to run for president." Karen tweeted, "Yes, we Kanye." And, our very own producer, Casey Dolan, "For the win. No one man should have all that power except me." Coming up, President Obama, reality T.V. star. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What is happening in Alaska is not just a preview of what will happen to the rest of us if we do not take action. It is our wakeup call. The alarm bells are ringing. And, as long as I am president, America will lead the world to meet this threat before it is too late. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: President Obama began a three-day trip to Alaska today as part of his administration`s effort to draw attention to the effects of climate change. On top of meeting with native Alaskans and touring melting glaciers, President Obama will use an unorthodox method to spread his climate message. He is going into the Alaskan wilderness with Bear Grylls, star of NBC`s "Running Wild with Bear Grylls." President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. President to star in a reality T.V. show with Bear Grylls, in case you were wondering. According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, "It is just sort of an admittedly unorthodox but legitimately interesting way for the President to reach an audience that obviously cares about this conversation." The president is also stirring controversy by changing the name of Alaska`s Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. Interior Secretary Sally Jewel signed a secretarial order on Sunday making that change official. Earlier today, @Podest tweeted, "Today, we are returning, "Mt. McKinley to its native name, Denali. A step to reflect the heritage of Alaskan natives." Joining us now is Josh Barro, Reporter for the "New York Times" and an MSNBC Contributor. All right, Josh, where is the silent majority? Is it the McKinleyites or is it people looking for more of a return to native heritage? JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in Alaska, the clear majority is on the Denali side. There was a video message released by republican Senator Lisa Murkowski thanking the president for making this name changed. Alaska has wanted this change for about 40 years, and it has been blocked successfully by members of congress from Ohio, which is President McKinley`s home state. I think in the other 49 states, almost nobody cares. Like elected officials from Ohio get all indignant about this and how it is offensive to the memory of President McKinley and whatever. But, the idea that anybody actually really cares that much about McKinley especially to the point that they might say vote on an election on this issue of whether this should be named after McKinley I think is about zero. But, it does feed into this broader narrative from republicans, that how the president oversteps his bounds and uses executive authority, where he opted in front of the congress. It is not a made up narrative. There have been a number of Supreme Court decisions actually striking down generally, relatively minor actions by the president, but still, he has been slapped back a few times on that. But, I think this is sort of a clever way for the president to draw out that reaction on an issue that seems so silly, that republicans look ridiculous attacking him for his executive overreach in renaming a mountain that most people around the mountain wanted renamed anyway. WAGNER: Right. William McKinley is not usually uses as political football Dante, but Josh does bring up two, I think, interesting pieces of subtext here. One is the fact that the president is circumventing congress and issuing secretarial order of the secretarial of interior is. And, the other issue, I think that is kind of interesting is, we are going into an election season, and here is the president sort of taking a risk as far as his popularity in the state of Ohio, which is not something you usually see, given Ohio`s electoral importance. CHAIT: Right. Well, I am from Michigan originally. So, anytime you can stick it to Ohio, I am in favor of it, regardless of the ground which are sticking it to Ohio. (LAUGHING) But, the bigger risk he is taking is with his climate initiatives where he really is making aggressive, unilateral regulatory moves that are probably going to be the most important thing he ends up doing as president, if he can pull off this international agreement later in the year. And, that is what he is trying to build support for. So, if he actually does it, you know, there are the republicans will be right. They will be right legally, because I think he really does have the authority. But, they will be right, that he went completely around them and did something huge and lasting, which is going to really leave an imprint not only on the United States but on the whole world. WAGNER: Yes. You know -- I mean and that is sort of "The" thing for us to talk about, vis-a-vis Alaska, Josh. President Obama is the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Alaskan arctic, right? And, it is again, to draw attention to the climate and -- the changing climate up there and to encourage action on it one way or the other. At the same time, this administration has come under some criticism for issuing permits to arctic drilling. It is something that environmental movement has not been happy with. They have pointed that out at the beginning of this trip and will likely continue to point it out. And, I guess I wonder, is that all, are those criticisms sort of way laid by the broader inroads that he is making as Jonathan Chait`s point? BARRO: I mean -- Yes. I mean if you have an effective regime for limiting carbon emissions then you should sort of be able to go issue as many drilling permits as you want. The key issue is how much carbon gets released into the atmosphere. And, if there is regulatory scheme is effective and basically causing power utilities to move away from coal toward natural gas and toward renewables and other things that reduce the output, then there is no particular need to regulate the input. And, I think that is what the administration would say is we have an effective regime around the input. I think also the politics of this are complicated even within Alaska. I mean you have these villages along the coast that are very seriously impacted by climate change. You also have an immense number of people who work in the oil extraction industry in Alaska. Most people in Alaska do not live in the Arctic. Half of them live in the Anchorage Metropolitan area, which is very heavily dependent on the oil industry for its economy. So, I think the message to be sent in Alaska is mixed. It is that we are going to have a national strategy toward climate change that focuses on restricting emissions without particularly aiming at Alaska by say, preventing the expansion of the oil extraction industry there. WAGNER: Josh Barro and Jonathan Chait, always good to see you both. Thanks for your time. Coming up, the surprising issue that both democratic and republican candidates are talking about on the campaign trail. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: The war on drugs is not working. An estimated $51 billion is spent on that so-called war every year. And, the latest statistics from the FBI show that more than 1.5 million arrests were made for drug abuse crimes making drug abuse the number one reason for an arrest in the United States. But the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts is trying to change all of that with an innovative new program that will offer a chance at rehab, instead of prison to those who were addicted to drugs. And, today, the White House announced that September will be national addiction recovery month. In a video that MSNBC produced in partnership with, this is one town story of how it is trying to fight the war on drugs. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC PLAYING) CHIEF LEONARD CAMPANELLO, GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS POLICE DEPARTMENT: When you spend enough time with people who are addicted, especially in the capacity of law enforcement, at first, you know, you feel like you are doing a great job by cutting off the supply. After a while, you realized a complete helplessness of the person that is suffering from addiction and how arrest is not the answer. We wanted to make a bold and provocative statement and push that statement further up the ladder to the legislature and say as a police department, we are simply not going to arrest for the possession of this drug if the person presents to the police department and asks for help. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAMPANELLO: No matter what happens with you, from today on, the Gloucester Police Department is here. And, that means that today is the first day of your last recovery, ever. There is no way we are going to arrest our way out of the addiction crisis in this country. (END VIDEO CLIP) ALLYSON LAMOTHE, MOTHER OF NATHAN LAMOTHE: The hardest part about having a family member with a heroin addiction is watching -- watching my son die right before my eyes. And, I was watching him die. He denied that he was using any kind of drugs. But there was a moment that he came and said, "I think I need help." (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NATHAN LAMOTHE, PROGRAM PARTICIPANT: The way I was living, I was trying to kill myself. And, I told myself, if the Gloucester Police Station did not get me help that night, then I was just, I was going to take care of it. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALLYSON LAMOTHE: You sound mentally stronger than I have heard you sound in probably the last five-plus years. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NATHAN LAMOTHE: Ma, I mean, I owe you a lot. You have helped me when nobody else would. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NATHAN LAMOTHE: And, when I first walked through the door, I felt like I was going to jail. I was just really nervous. I had a lot of anxiety. I thought for sure I was going to get arrested for a crime that I did not even commit, but when I walked through the door, it was the complete opposite. They asked if I was hungry. They asked if I was thirsty. I mean Chief Campenello, I went in probably at 8:00 at night. He came in at 9:00 at night from home. I mean, that was so empowering. I say it all the time. I got the strength to go to the Gloucester Police Station from my mother, but I got the hope to stay clean from the Gloucester Police Station while I was there. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAMPENELLO: This is not an unsolvable issue. If law enforcement is willing to change how we view this, then other entities had better step up to the plate. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Chief Campenello joins me next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: The Supreme Court has ruled against the Kentucky County clerk who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. There will be no question when Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis arrives at work tomorrow that the federal court has mandated she issue the licenses. If Davis continues to turn them away, the couple`s attorney can ask a judge to hold her in contempt of court, which can carry fines or jail time. We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The criminal justice system has not worked the same for everybody. You know, if one of your kids gets caught with drugs, you get them a lawyer, and you are not going to let them spend time in prison, hopefully. But you know what happens if you are poor? Particularly, if you are poor and black? You get arrested at a higher incidence and you spend more time in prison. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hear this all the time, the heroin challenge that exists. The first time I started hearing about it was here in New Hampshire, but it is all over the country now. Look, I have some personal experience in this just as a dad, and it is the most heartbreaking thing in the world to have to go through. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to confess I was surprised. And, I did not expect that I would hear about drug abuse and substance abuse and other such challenges everywhere I went. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: 2016 presidential candidates are finally realizing what much of America already knows. That drug abuse is a problem that can affect any family anywhere, especially when it comes to heroin. Perhaps, because the problem is hitting those in the rust belt and in the northeast, including in the state of New Hampshire, hitting those places the hardest. And, perhaps that is why addiction is finally getting the attention it deserves. Joining us now is Leonard Campenello, the Police Chief of Gloucester, Massachusetts, who has developed an innovative new program that offers drug rehab to anyone who asked for help. A program that has resulted in help for more than 130 people so far. And, Frank Greenagel, the chairman of the New Jersey Task Force on Heroin and other opiates. Chief Campanello, let me just start with you in terms of the regional effects this epidemic is having. Why -- you are from the northeast. Why is heroin getting a foothold in these parts of the country? CHIEF LEONARD CAMPANELLO, GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS POLICE DEPARTMENT: I think it is getting a foothold all over the country. I think the northeast has typically been in the forefront of discussing the problem openly. And, I think that is why we are poised here in the northeast to make strides against it. WAGNER: Frank, give us a sense of how this has happened. I mean, if you look at the numbers on the ferocity and the depth of the heroin epidemic, two out of every 1,000 Americans are addicted to heroin. That is a number that I think is staggering and completely under discussed. FRANK GREENAGEL, CHAIRMAN OF THE NEW JERSEY TASK FORCE ON HEROIN AND OTHER OPIATES: So, I am a fourth generation English teacher, and words are very important to me. And, so, I do not like hyperbole, but I think this is a case where epidemic absolutely makes a lot of sense. So, when we were holding our task force hearings, there was a man from Philadelphia who gave some testimony. And, he said that in 2011, more people died from overdose deaths in America than from car crashes. So, we are looking at 35,500 in 2011 versus 35,000 car crashes on highways. And, this is really the result of prescription drugs. People get on prescription drugs. I think it has safely gone peer. They start doing it. You know -- her grandmother had it from a hip replacement. Maybe they get introduced to Percocet or Percodan through their dentist. And, then their prescription runs out or the money runs out. And, so, they find something that is 20 percent the cost, and that is heroin. And, so people who never would do heroin now do it because they got introduced to it through training wheels, which is prescription drugs. WAGNER: So, let us talk about how we are changing the way we combat this epidemic. Chief Campanello, I mean incarceration, up until a certain point has been this sort of default position. What do you do with these people? You throw them in jail, and perhaps hope for the best. Talk to us a little bit how your department has changed the thinking on that, on that mode of treatment or dealing with the issue by throwing people in jail. CAMPANELLO: Well, where has it gotten us historically? You know, incarceration has gotten us nowhere in this so-called war on drugs. So, I did a plain-clothes narcotics work for years, arrested everybody who crossed our path. And, we saw the spin dry cycle, back on the street with no help and back in the system. The figures we get are telling us that for every $1 we are spending in treatment, we are spending $7 in incarcerating people. And, in order to make a statement, you know, the Gloucester Police decided that we would refuse to arrest, someone who came in to the station and look for help for this addiction. And if we are changing the way we do things, we expect others to do the same. And, that includes the health providers, health care plans and pharmaceuticals. WAGNERS: OK. So, the other piece of this that is hard to sort of fathom to your point, is that the gateway for this -- the gateway for heroin addiction seems to be prescribed painkillers, which are legal, right? GREENAGEL: Yes, ma`am. WAGNER: And, so I guess I wonder when we are talking about how to stanch this epidemic, I mean do we need to rethink the way we are prescribing pain killers and is there a momentum afoot to stop the over prescription of pain killers? GREENAGEL: There absolutely is. So, 49 of 50 states in America, not Missouri, has prescription drug monitoring programs. And 20 percent of those programs are mandated, which means that if you are a doctor or nurse- practitioner and you prescribe, you have to enter it into a database system, and the pharmacist has to check that. And, then each time someone comes in, you have to check to see if they have gotten too many prescriptions before, have they gotten too many lately, how long has it been going on for. And, we have seen some curbing of the prescribing practices. And, so that has been good. We need more education of nurses, pharmacist, doctors, nurse practitioners and you know, we are doing that. Some states are doing better than others. And, so, I think we have made some head way. And, we have seen a transition from larger abuse prescription drugs and now we are seeing heroin surging, partly because of the crackdown, but also really it is driven by economics. It is 20 percent of the cost. WAGNER: Yes. Let us talk a little bit about the socioeconomic piece of this, Chief Campanello. Tell us a little bit about whether class place into this at all, whether you have seen any sort of change in the general picture we have about opiate addiction. CAMPANELLO: Well, I think that is part of the problem is we are dealing with 2015 problems with a 1955 mind-set. We think that, you know, there is still a stigma attached to addiction. That it is the crazy old guy under the bridge with the needle in his arm. It is not. This is a drug that crosses every socioeconomic boundary we know of. It has no regard for race or ethnicity. It crosses every boundary we know. And it is in everybody`s home or in the home of somebody they know. And, I think that is why it is getting the attention that it gets. And, law enforcement can definitely be a voice to further the conversation about what we are doing as this reaches that epidemic level. WAGNER: Frank, real quick. 8,200 heroin-related overdose deaths every year. Is that number going to go down next year? GREENAGEL: No, it is going to continue going up until we do more about this. You know, I just want to say I am so pleased and proud of what the chief is doing. We need that local law enforcement to act. We do not have enough time. But chief, you know, you also have done a lot of great stuff with the Narcan. And so, I just hope other people copy and you get celebrated more so. Thank you for what you have been doing. WAGNER: Important changes. Chief Leonard Campanello and Frank Greenagel, thank you both. Chris Hayes is coming up next. END