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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 09/16/15

Guests: Howard Dean, Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Nicolle Wallace, AprilRyan

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: The top concern of this hour, globally is whether this quake could generate a tsunami. Authorities in Chile have ordered residents out of low-lying coastal areas. We`re getting some reports of buoys at sea registering a rise in the water of several feet, the fact of a quake off a coast doesn`t mean a deadly tsunami is imminent or certainty. Tonight, they`re continuing to keep watching Chile to get people away from areas where there might be danger, I should mention though. As we mentioned at the top of the show, here in the U.S., officials in Hawaii did issue a tsunami advisory, but those officials now say they do not expect a major event in Hawaii. These things can take hours to develop after a major quake, and so we`ll keep you posted as we learn more tonight here on Msnbc. That does it for us tonight, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I beg your forgiveness tonight, I didn`t watch your show. I spent the last hour watching the Republican debate, which is my job tonight, I`m sorry. MADDOW: I was watching it inside my mouth -- O`DONNELL: OK -- MADDOW: I understand -- O`DONNELL: Right, thanks -- MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: Rachel. Well, the Republican presidential candidates have completed their first two hours of debating at the Reagan Library. Republican Rick Wilson who advised GOP candidates today to attack Donald Trump tonight will join us along with Steve Schmidt and April Ryan. Steve Kornacki will also be here, he`s monitoring the debate for us now. And joining us now, Chuck Todd, moderator of Nbc`s "Meet the Press" and "Nbc News" political director. Also Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he`s also an Msnbc political analyst. And Nicolle Wallace, former White House Communications Director, adviser for President George W. Bush`s re-election campaign and adviser for John McCain`s presidential campaign. Chuck Todd, your score card so far? CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Big night for Carly Fiorina. I mean, there`s no doubt, I -- you had a feeling that no matter what she was going to sort of have a good night just by being there and getting that moment with -- NICOLLE WALLACE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Thank you -- TODD: Trump on that -- O`DONNELL: Right -- TODD: Horrible -- and that horrible thing that he said about her. But she`s done more than that. She`s made -- she`s -- look, everybody comes with prepared one liners and I don`t criticize candidates for doing that. That`s what -- she has deployed hers without looking like she`s deploying a one-liner. It`s just been on point after point, she never feels as if she`s been left out of the conversation. A lot of the other candidates, they`ll go 20, 30 minutes at a time and suddenly they speak and you go, oh, my God, where have they been? O`DONNELL: Right -- WALLACE: Yes, that`s right -- TODD: She`s been consistent -- WALLACE: Todd is right -- TODD: I think all night -- WALLACE: That`s right -- TODD: And had a -- WALLACE: That`s right -- TODD: I think she`s had an excellent night. In contrast, I think Trump`s had an awful night. I think he`s been exposed -- WALLACE: He did -- TODD: On -- WALLACE: He did -- TODD: A number of issues, but I have no idea whether that`s going to impact him. WALLACE: Right -- O`DONNELL: Nicolle, there have been some long silence from Donald Trump, but I think in fact, the longest recorded silence ever in -- (LAUGHTER) Fifteen minutes I think in his life. TODD: The end timer, quick -- O`DONNELL: But the debate has -- as Chuck said, it keeps coming back to Carly. They -- many of these candidates keep referring to her and according to the rules of the debate, if you say my name, I get to respond and so she`s been in this a lot. WALLACE: In addition, she`s inserted herself into every -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WALLACE: Single conversation that`s gone on, and she`s made some segues that I don`t think any of the others would have the audacity to try to pull off. But that`s what this is a game of. It`s a game of audacity and she has shown that she has it. I think the story tonight for me is sort of the resurgence of the establishment candidates. I thought that Chris Christie had the best opening line, he asked that the cameras be turned on the audience, and he asked a question, he said are any of your lives -- do you believe that your children`s lives would be better than yours was? No one raised their hand. I thought he did the smartest thing you can ever do in politics. He said this isn`t about me, it`s about you. So, I thought he had the best opening line. I thought Jeb Bush for the first time really got tough on Trump, accused him of trying to -- of actually being a special interest and trying to buy his favor with the Bush administration when Jeb Bush was governor of Florida. And I thought -- I thought -- I think Kasich sort of -- he is the new tortoise in this race, he walks, he doesn`t run, he`s not afraid to couch himself in establishment terms. He`s not afraid to talk about his experience. He turned around at one point and said I think I flew on Air Force 1, obviously that is an Air Force 1 that now hangs in the museum. He`s been in politics for a very long time, but the establishment pack sort of embraced their establishmentism and they made the most of it. They are who they are. O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton has not played a big role in this debate tonight since they` been talking about each other so much. But just about in the last few minutes before 10:00, Chris Christie brought her up and Chris Christie said, he wants to -- used this word, prosecute her in that general election debate. Here`s a guy who has prosecutors closing in on him who uses this phrase, that he wants to prosecute Hillary Clinton -- HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Well -- O`DONNELL: In a debate -- DEAN: Here`s the interesting thing. I think, you know, I agree with Chuck and Nicolle that, Carly has had a great night in terms of getting herself up in front of everybody. The problem is, she`s basically running an incredibly negative campaign. As far as I can tell, she has nothing positive to say. Now, I don`t actually believe that about her. But I actually don`t think she`s done herself as many favors as she could have. O`DONNELL: But with Republican voters, doesn`t it sound like what she has to say is working with Republican voters? DEAN: Well, it does and it doesn`t. You know, Trump is funny, he`s there because he`s an anti-establishment candidate, but he has some ideas and some of them are negative. She`s all negative all the time. I`m trying to think they were positive idea that she`s had. Now, I agree, she`s gotten tremendous amount of air time, I think she`s going to do well as a result of this debate. But I`m looking at this from a general election point of view. If she should happen to win the nomination, she comes in as Mrs. negative. O`DONNELL: And Chuck, just as this hour was closing, Donald Trump, there he was on the stage saying -- insisting that he will know about the problems of the world as he puts it, when he becomes president and when he has advisors in the White House finally explaining those things to him. TODD: And that`s what I`m going to be curious to see how voters respond to that. Because -- and Ben Carson had a similar moment, just not as bombastic when he basically said, I haven`t decided on a tax plan yet and you`re sitting -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- TODD: You`re going -- O`DONNELL: It was a little weirder than that -- TODD: This is the second debate, you know, he -- O`DONNELL: He has a tax plan and then his opponents tax plan would suggest that -- TODD: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Well, I mean, he said, well, yes, maybe that one, too. TODD: Right, you -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- TODD: What are you doing here? Like what are you -- and it is part of Dr. Carson`s charm, is that, he is sort of this -- I think he does -- he`s a very thoughtful guy and he does what it -- if somebody has an argument and he wants to process it and kind of played it. It`s tough to have that presented at a debate like this. But going back to Trump, I just, again -- and Nicolle has said this, we were talking about this earlier, if possible, he can do himself no damage, right? No matter what he says or does. But he seems smaller tonight, physically he did, he was slouching a little bit more, being next to Jeb who towers over him by a couple of two or three inches. It doesn`t help that. But he also -- he just -- in the opening of the debate, he sort of -- he took this cheap shot at Rand Paul who didn`t ask for it at the time. Like it didn`t -- it came sort of about -- O`DONNELL: Had nothing to do with that -- TODD: Had nothing to do with anything and it sort of derailed -- O`DONNELL: Rand Paul doesn`t deserve to be -- TODD: It actually derailed -- right, derailed the debate for about 10 or 15 -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- TODD: Minutes. Only derailed it, just like -- DEAN: Yes, everybody, it was just an odd way -- WALLACE: Weird way -- DEAN: To start it -- WALLACE: I give Jake credit, he got control back. He lost it there, but he -- O`DONNELL: But -- WALLACE: Got it back -- O`DONNELL: Nicolle, atmospherically -- TODD: The fact to Trump -- O`DONNELL: This is a totally different debate, much smaller audience than the first -- WALLACE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Debate, and Trump seems to thrive on that coliseum-feel of -- TODD: Sure -- O`DONNELL: An audience, a giant audience -- TODD: Gladiator -- O`DONNELL: That he can play with. This also seems based on some of the shots I`ve seen, like a fairly sophisticated audience invited to the Reagan Library -- WALLACE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Some pretty sophisticated players -- WALLACE: Sure -- O`DONNELL: In that audience who don`t fall for a lot of the Trump-cheering lines. WALLACE: Right, Trump will not, I think, take a hit in his poll numbers tomorrow or the next day or the next day. But if he is not our -- my party`s nominee, the work of unseating him as our frontrunner began tonight. So I think -- my dad is a huge Trump fan, I called him today, I said are you going to watch? He said yes, and if they pile up on him, you know, that won`t be fair, they`re just jealous. Well, you know, the Trump supporters will feel -- and I saw this with Sarah Palin, too, when the establishment media sit around tables and say, oh, she did a terrible job. Their supporters are so passionate, they`re the best kind of political supporters and you would know this because of their intensity. And the Trump supporters are very intense and they`re not going to hold one debate where in their view, the entire field ganged up against him. You`re not going to see a dent in his numbers in the near term, but I think -- I think, again, if he doesn`t make it to the end -- DEAN: So -- WALLACE: That work all started tonight -- DEAN: There`s two points to be made here though. First of all, we are the establishment, right? WALLACE: Of course -- O`DONNELL: Speak for yourself. DEAN: No, I mean, I never -- (LAUGHTER) Want to cap this (INAUDIBLE), but we -- you know, we think of issues and we -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- DEAN: Want a more sophisticated approach. So, we have a possibly a different emotional reaction to this -- O`DONNELL: Right -- DEAN: On the other hand, second of all, this is the second phase of the campaign. The Summer is the fun part where everybody does whatever they want, and at some point, the voters actually want more substance. And you saw more substance tonight than you did on the previous in the Fox debate. So, I think it`s fascinating -- I don`t -- I mean, I`ve thought for a long time that Chuck was right. That we`re -- of course, he`s going to fall off his chair and every -- WALLACE: He keeps going up -- DEAN: Yes, he`s in every -- TODD: Right -- DEAN: Time I think -- WALLACE: Yes -- DEAN: He`s really -- WALLACE: Every -- DEAN: Screwed himself -- (CROSSTALK) I think goes again -- WALLACE: Yes -- DEAN: So -- WALLACE: Up he goes -- DEAN: It`s -- but I think Nicolle is also right, we`re getting ready to make the turn here into serious issues where it matters and whether it`s right now or whether it`s in November, it`s going to happen before the first. TODD: Well, let`s not talk about this is going to be a candidate, remember I do think that the party is split in two. The base -- the Republican Party vote is split in two. You have your establishment wing, which, by the way, you point out the audience -- that is an invited guest. DEAN: Yes -- TODD: We`ve been out there -- O`DONNELL: Oh, yes -- TODD: We did the last two breaking debates -- DEAN: Right -- TODD: I can say, you get -- who gets invited there? It`s the establishment -- DEAN: Right -- TODD: That`s why they cheered Carly when she trashed Trump and why they didn`t cheer Trump at all. But those people -- half the party is against the establishment. DEAN: Right -- TODD: And I think the question tonight as I`ve looked at this debate and sort of -- you had a few candidates trying to be anti-establishment. Rubio tried, I think it`s tough being a senator, Cruz is trying, Walker is trying. But if you look at it, as Carly, Carson and Trump, well, then, Carly had the best night of those three. WALLACE: Right -- DEAN: Right -- TODD: And Carly could end up being -- (CROSSTALK) WALLACE: That`s right -- TODD: Could end up being suddenly the anti-establishment flavor for a while -- O`DONNELL: What about John Kasich -- TODD: And that`s a -- O`DONNELL: Moving into the Jeb positions, the former Jeb position in this field. TODD: Look, I get the whole general election aspect of Kasich, and I buy it. But he`s -- you`re right, in a year where the Republican voters are saying we don`t want any establishment, we don`t -- he`s bragging about his time in Washington. WALLACE: Yes -- TODD: He`s talking about his time -- WALLACE: Little toned up -- TODD: It is really good message for New Hampshire -- WALLACE: Yes -- TODD: And as New Hampshire goes, so goes New Hampshire. I mean -- WALLACE: Right -- TODD: I just don`t buy that the rest of the -- WALLACE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: But he`s talking about -- TODD: Republican electorate -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: The budget -- WALLACE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: And leaving a surplus when he was in Washington. I mean, he`s saying things that used to work. WALLACE: Yes -- no, we still like that. O`DONNELL: OK -- WALLACE: We still like -- he`s giving you the -- O`DONNELL: By the way, we are going to focus-group your father -- WALLACE: Oh -- O`DONNELL: Get him on the phone -- WALLACE: Listen, he`s not -- O`DONNELL: During the commercial -- WALLACE: I was -- I was out in California -- O`DONNELL: On a focus-group your father -- WALLACE: This Summer -- O`DONNELL: Right now -- WALLACE: Pot-smoking liberals from Santa Cruz, right-wing business nuts. I mean, Trump has a huge following. It may not be here in Manhattan, although he talks about a lot of New York friends. But Trump should not be underestimated. And until tonight, Trump had been getting much better, Trump had some really good performances where I was -- TODD: He looked tired, by the way, it was something about -- I actually -- WALLACE: I mean -- TODD: Thought he was tired -- WALLACE: They mean -- I am tired -- TODD: Yes -- WALLACE: I go to -- TODD: I don`t know, I thought he was tired -- WALLACE: And so, I`m tired sometimes, but you know, he has been getting better, and none of these men or women is going to be ruled out because of one bad night. Now, if this is more than one bad night, if they succeeded in finally getting under his skin, we may see the beginning of more moments like what we saw tonight, where he seemed peevish. You know, the attack on Rand Paul who -- I mean, the actual attack engendered seemed to be for Rand Paul. DEAN: And how did that -- WALLACE: He was so far behind, you -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WALLACE: Basically, you loser, what are you doing here? I actually in the -- in the back and forth, I felt bad for Rand Paul. O`DONNELL: I also think there are many different dynamics in this debate tonight. The questions are less focused, the "Fox News" debate, the way they went through from moderator to moderator, they were all specifically focused. And this has -- TODD: So, they were interviewed -- O`DONNELL: Right, and -- TODD: Those were the last -- the "Fox" debate was ten interviews -- O`DONNELL: There`s much more -- WALLACE: Correct -- O`DONNELL: Reform here, meaning this response is bouncing off of that candidate`s -- TODD: Right -- O`DONNELL: Which doesn`t seem to work for Trump. He actually seems to be better off in a straight back and forth on a very specific question. DEAN: I`m -- yes, I`m still puzzling, Trump always puzzles me -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- DEAN: I -- it takes me about three days to sort out and of course by that time -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: Why we need Nicolle`s father -- DEAN: Right -- O`DONNELL: We`re going to get him on the phone -- DEAN: Right -- (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: We can get our Trump -- (CROSSTALK) WALLACE: But there`s lots of -- O`DONNELL: I think -- WALLACE: There`s lots of -- O`DONNELL: I think -- WALLACE: Tom Brady has endorsed him today, he`s got -- O`DONNELL: Right -- WALLACE: Lots of fans -- TODD: That true? WALLACE: That is -- TODD: Yes -- WALLACE: True -- O`DONNELL: Tom Brady -- WALLACE: Breaking news -- TODD: Oh, it is winning -- (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Tom Brady -- TODD: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: Tom Brady needed the headache -- TODD: All right -- (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Of carrying the Trump campaign all along with his other problems. DEAN: So now we know who really deflated -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- DEAN: Those -- (LAUGHTER) Anyway, I -- look, Trump was a different person, I`m not convinced he did a lot of harm to himself, but he was out of character, the character we`ve gotten to know, which is this bombastic guy who always has a blowmo(ph) for everybody and is willing to lay waste to people. Which I actually think is his attraction to the wing of the Republican Party that likes him. First of all, he doesn`t know substance. And that`s just a fact. He -- (CROSSTALK) And this is a very -- Jake has done a great job. I mean, if you ask me who the winner of the debate is, it`s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash of the "Cnn" crew. I mean, they`ve really focused on facts. They`ve wanted to know specific programs. And most of the -- most of the players have avoided it. But people like Kasich and Walker at least know the jargon, and Rubio know the jargon. So, I think Trump is a little at sea here. He doesn`t do facts. O`DONNELL: You know, I think he is the most audience-sensitive performer up there. DEAN: That`s also true -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: He`s the guy who`s worked -- (CROSSTALK) The biggest audiences -- DEAN: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: When he`s up there. He knows and a standup comedian like him knows the first time a joke falls flat, he knows he doesn`t have this audience. I think he picked up early, this isn`t my audience -- TODD: Maybe why he did -- O`DONNELL: In the room -- TODD: By the way, and maybe that`s why he disappeared for a while. O`DONNELL: Yes -- TODD: I mean, which he never inserted himself when the moderators had made it clear, if you -- if you basically just say -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- TODD: Jake -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- TODD: You know, you get in -- (CROSSTALK) You get in, and Trump hasn`t done it. DEAN: Right -- WALLACE: When -- and you know where he was brutalized from -- O`DONNELL: We got -- sorry -- WALLACE: Oh -- O`DONNELL: Nicolle, we have to take a quick -- WALLACE: Oh -- O`DONNELL: Break here -- WALLACE: I`m sorry -- O`DONNELL: When we`re going to call your father during this break -- (LAUGHTER) Find out what his reaction is. Chuck Todd, thanks for joining us -- TODD: Yes, brother -- O`DONNELL: I know, you got to go. Coming up, the Republican establishment has now decided it`s time to go after Trump, let`s see how that works. And Joe Biden tells Latinos not to worry about the things Republicans like Trump are saying on the campaign trail. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Ronald Reagan did a couple of really big things that we should all remember. He sat down with Tip O`Neill; the most liberal guy in the entire house, they started drinking together. That`s the first thing I`m going to do as president, we`re going to drink more. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: I don`t know why he`s not in the top-tier. So, Nicolle, you got in touch -- WALLACE: Yes, OK -- O`DONNELL: With your father, what does he -- WALLACE: All right -- O`DONNELL: Say? How is Trump doing tonight? -- WALLACE: So, what I said, you know, I talked to him earlier and he says I predicted -- he said, "Trump didn`t move up, he didn`t move down, stays the same. Carly, Christie, Kasich can move up, Bush stays the same. Carson goes down" and you said he just had a bad moment on (INAUDIBLE) Afghanistan -- STEVE SCHMIDT, CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST & PUBLIC RELATIONS WORKER FOR THE UNITED STATES REPUBLICAN PARTY: Yes, that`s what it looked like there, talking about after the September 11th attacks, that he would not have invaded Afghanistan -- O`DONNELL: Oh, OK -- SCHMIDT: He would not have gone -- O`DONNELL: We -- SCHMIDT: To war, of course, I think that`s a deadly admission and I -- O`DONNELL: Right -- SCHMIDT: Republican primary -- O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take another quick break, we`ll be back and you`re going to fill us into what we just missed. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We`re back with our debate coverage, Steve Kornacki has been keeping track of the debate while we`ve been talking about it here. Steve, what`s the latest? STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Well, I guess, the biggest thing in the last 20 minutes maybe was there was an interesting exchange over Iraq and of course Donald Trump has been the most outspoken, basically the only outspoken person in this field opposing. Going back and saying the Iraq war was a big mistake, George W. Bush bumbled it. He made that case again, Jeb Bush then got into the midst to defend his brother, to defend George W. Bush and said my brother kept the country safe. Donald Trump looked around and said, does everybody here feel safe right now? Does everybody feel safer right now? And then an interesting moment happened as well where Ben Carson spoke up and Ben Carson pointed out that he liked Donald Trump, had also opposed the Iraq war from very early on. I think he said back in 2003, so at that point Ben Carson and Donald Trump exchanged a high five, and it is interesting to note that if you add their poll numbers up right now, Trump and Carson, that takes you to about 50 percent. That means you got candidates representing about 50 percent, both saying they were against Iraq. O`DONNELL: We`re also joined now by Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist and an Msnbc political analyst. And Steve, you were telling us that Ben Carson said he would not have invaded Afghanistan after 9/11? SCHMIDT: It looked as if we were getting mic`d up and getting ready to come on, it looked like what the conversation was taking place, there was an interesting exchange between Carson and Chris Christie on that point. But we`ll have to go back and I can -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- SCHMIDT: See the highlights a little bit disadvantaged on it. But I do think one thing that`s interesting tonight is -- and I don`t think Donald Trump had a -- had a great night tonight. And it seemed like he shrunk during the debate, and the backdrop of this, of course is one of the penultimate symbols of American power, Air Force 1. It`s the first time that Donald Trump has been in the shadow of one of the trappings of the office of president of the United States. And he seemed to shrink in front of it. And so, I think as we watch now the aftermath of this debate, I think it`s entirely unclear whether Donald Trump, the laws of normal political gravity apply to him. But I wonder if he`s not like a boxer who just had his eye cut open -- O`DONNELL: But this -- SCHMIDT: In a fight -- in a -- O`DONNELL: How -- SCHMIDT: Fight -- O`DONNELL: How -- SCHMIDT: For the first time -- O`DONNELL: Steve, in polling, how patient do we have to be? Is this -- is this ten days from now where we will see a reaction in polling or how long will it take? SCHMIDT: Those are Wednesday night debate, I think you`ll start to see movement in the numbers clearly by Sunday, Monday, Tuesday of next week. A poll that starts on Sunday, I think would give you the first complete picture in the aftermath of the news coverage. And Carly Fiorina tonight has had some incredible moments. Some of the exchanges that she`s had with Donald Trump are going to be on the highlight reel, they`ll be dominating the news coverage tomorrow. Chris Christie in an incredible exchange with both Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. Chris Christie has had a big night tonight, you know, you`ve seen all the talent and potential of Marco Rubio, of John Kasich didn`t have a lot of opportunities tonight, but you saw the potential there. And it will be interesting to see what the reaction is to Jeb Bush. He had some good exchanges with Donald Trump, he wasn`t low in energy tonight. And he physically dominated the space next to Donald Trump in a way that I think is very much reputational to these low energy attacks that have stung Jeb Bush. DEAN: Let me make a point about this though because Steve just touched on something we`ve not talked about. And that is the highlight reels. And truth is -- SCHMIDT: Yes -- DEAN: The highlights are much more influential than the actual debate -- SCHMIDT: Sure -- DEAN: Many more people -- that -- so, that`s why the poll numbers don`t start to turn until Sunday because that`s when you see highlights. I think Trump is going to be in all the highlights because he`s the target. So, even though he didn`t have a great night, he`s still going to be in the center of attention oddly enough, simply because the media is going to make him that in the highlights. O`DONNELL: And my guess is, this debate is going to have maybe half the audience of the first debate. It just doesn`t have that energy, it just doesn`t have that -- SCHMIDT: Right -- O`DONNELL: Excitement, it`s not a first time and -- WALLACE: I could have watched it six nights a week. I thought it was riveting and I watched -- DEAN: There was more substance -- WALLACE: And I watched the first debate -- DEAN: That`s why you liked that -- WALLACE: You know, when I started to say -- and I may be doing it again. Am I scrolling up your -- O`DONNELL: You know what? I want to go over to Steve Kornacki because the debate right now is in a commercial break and Steve, you can update us on the very latest that they`ve been saying. KORNACKI: Yes, they just -- they switched over to an extended discussion there of the Supreme Court. Ted Cruz was then sort of piling on against Jeb Bush. The legacy of the Bush family; talking about George Bush, the first George Bush, President George Bush appointed David Souter to the court, taking in the task for that. Saying that John Robertson, in light of some of the recent rulings on Obamacare had been a disappointment as well. So, that`s where they sort of wrapped up in this -- in this last section here, too. And I just say, one of the things that`s really jumped out at me, looking at this debate night, as obviously you were talking about it earlier, I think, at least from what I could hear over the debate, I`m listening to two different conversations. This is an interesting experience. But Carly Fiorina really seems to have had a very strong night tonight and Ben Carson, we watched a little bit of this in the first debate, Ben Carson has really kind of faded into the background. What I`m watching for here in the last half-hour or so of this debate is that, Ben Carson, his entire polling surge he`s had over the last month really stems from his closing statement in that first debate. He was very quiet for almost the entire two hours in that first debate, he had a strong closing statement, he surged, he`s not had any really strong moments tonight. Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina has. So, at this point, I`m looking at this and I`m saying unless Ben Carson can sort of pull a rabbit out of the hat again, my guess -- and watch me be proven wrong though. But my guess is that Carly Fiorina could be in for a sizable surge coming out of this debate and it may well be at the expense of Ben Carson. O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and contributor to the "Daily Beast" and "POLITICO". He`s also the founder of Intrepid Media. Rick, you are the author of two kind of amazing pieces in the last -- what is it, 24 or 48 hours? One of them -- RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & FOUNDER, INTREPID MEDIA: Twenty four, I guess. O`DONNELL: Twenty four. One of them advocating and both very well written, well thought out, advocating that Republican candidates go after Trump tonight in this debate. Did you see what you wanted to see? WILSON: Boy, I sure did and especially in the -- in the -- especially in the form of Carly Fiorina who beat Donald Trump like a rented mule. I mean, this -- (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Yes -- WILSON: She had absolutely no mercy on him, she knew that the question was coming, that it was so brilliantly delivered -- and you saw him processing that. It was like the slap was so hard, it took him a second to further catch up with his -- with his lower -- with his hind brain. O`DONNELL: And Rick, you`re talking -- WILSON: And so -- O`DONNELL: About the -- WILSON: Yes, they went after him with a bunch of different ways. O`DONNELL: The thing about the insult that Trump had said about Carly Fiorina`s looks in that interview and then that was brought out in the debate, is that the moment you`re talking about? WILSON: Yes, for her, that was the moment. I also think that, you saw other people get under his skin, both Carly and Jeb went after him on the casino stuff, which he gets very squirrely about. Because you know, as I wrote today, casinos are engineered to take money from stupid people. He should be able to do this easily. And he had -- you know, his casinos have this very checkered past, they`re piling on debt and going bankrupt. So, they went after some of the business questions that really make Trump get very -- a lot of that in his life about examining his business dealings and background. And none of them -- none of them on the stage tonight had this -- and like -- when Trump was talking and Marco was interrupting and playing the revs during the interchange with them. None of these guys came to the stage tonight with this sort of like rabbit in the headlights-feel that I think a lot of the Trump people expected would be the Trump mojo. You know, the Trump guys are beating their chest the last few days on this theme of well, Rick Perry attacked us and he`s gone now. Anyone who attacks us is destroyed. You know, those folks on the stage tonight, except for Ted Cruz, who is still a lot like something like the pilot fish to Donald Trump`s shark -- (LAUGHTER) None of those folks on that stage tonight were intimidated by Donald Trump. He seemed smaller, he seemed less poised, he let out with a joke that went over -- went over terribly attacking Rand Paul and then George Pataki. I mean, first rule of politics, don`t punch down. Just he was -- he seemed very petty. O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson, I got to say, for anyone who read your article about how to handle Trump and watch this debate, you knew that the smart candidates had read your article. We were watching that playbook throughout the debate. We got to take a quick break here, Steve Schmidt, thanks for joining us, you`re going to be joining Chris Matthews in the -- in the coverage after the debate, right? So, we`ll hear the rest of what you`re thinking about it. Coming up, how the party of Reagan is becoming the party of Trump. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Priorities USA, a Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton released a web ad just hours before tonight`s debate. The ad seeks to demonstrate how little the 2016 GOP candidates have in common with Ronald Reagan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RONALD REAGAN, FMR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is morning again in America. DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sadly, the American dream is dead. REAGAN: Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country`s history. JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People need to work longer hours. SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not think the minimum wage law works. GOV. SCOTT WALKER, (R-WI) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They just got really lame ideas, things like the minimum wage. REAGAN: This afternoon, 6,500 young men and women will be married. SEN. RAND PAUL, (R-KY) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not think I ever used the word gay rights. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Do you think being gay is a choice? BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. CUOMO: Why do you say that? CARSON: Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they are gay. REAGAN: And with inflation at less than half what it was just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to increase the retirement age. BUSH: We need to figure out a way to phase out this program. RUBIO: These programs actually weakened us as a people. REAGAN: It is morning again in America. MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You called women you do not like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. BUSH: Well, I am not sure we need $ 500 million for women`s health issues. KELLY: You do not favor a rape and incest exception our country is prouder -- RUBIO: I have never said that. And, I have never advocated that. REAGAN: Our country prouder. TRUMP: They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists. UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I am for profiling. I am a lot more concerned about checking people out that make me nervous. REAGAN: Why would we ever want to return to where we were? (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Again, that is an ad by Hillary Clinton`s Super PAC. We are going to have more of our debate analysis next. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We are back with Howard Dean, Nicolle Wallace and Rick Wilson. Rick Wilson, you wrote a piece analyzing the Trump supporters and the various categories of them. Can you give us a quick summary of that? How you see it? Who these people are? WILSON: Well, Lawrence, I think what we got right now is a real split inside the movement. And a lot of the folks that are supporting Donald Trump want nothing to do with limited government conservatism. They are frankly nationalists. They are driven by this kind of personality cult and this overwhelming anger with every institutional element of politics. And, so, they find Trump`s appeal particularly compelling. But, unfortunately, for them, it is sort of corrupted what the Tea Party started out as, where some of those folks come from. And, there is a faction inside of the Trump movement that is comprised of people that are so far out of the wilderness politically. It is insane. I mean I have had reactions with these people who are actual Nazis, who are actual white supremacists, who are shameless about it. And, they -- and Donald Trump, you know, for the same way that the conservatives went after Barack Obama for associations with the Bill Ayers, The Black Panthers and all the other crazy people that endorsed him, these folks are like, "So what, David Duke? Whatever. He is part of the movement." It is just really -- I mean the folks underneath the Trump -- there are plenty of folks who are not racists, who are not horrible people, but there are -- you know, my grandmother had a phrase that, "One-third ruins the whole punch bowl." And, these people are just -- you know, he got a coalition that has some really ugly elements in it. O`DONNELL: Nicolle Wallace in Rick`s piece, one of the things he mentioned says that there is no reality of government that matters to these people. And, we saw that in the earlier debate with the lower tier candidates tonight, where Lindsay Graham was trying to explain what it means when the president can veto what you do. If the president is going to veto it, then it is probably a waste of time to try to do it or to spend a lot of time on it. And, that is the kind of comment, apparently, that the typical Trump voter does not care about. They think you should shut down the government, even if it is over something that the president would veto. WALLACE: Yes, the trump base is -- I agree with Rick. I read both pieces and they were excellent, but the -- O`DONNELL: And, I just want to emphasize, Rick is a Republican strategist -- WALLACE: No. I know. O`DONNELL: -- and I want you to know he is analyzing the Trump situation from a Republican perspective and these are brilliant pieces. WALLACE: But, listen, because this is in my household, the Trump supporters are so disgusted with Washington that they do not think Trump can make it worse. There point is not that government is the enemy. It said the government has been so corrupted by career politicians that someone that can shake it up. And, let me tell you something, if Trump wants advice on the next move, pledge to serve only one term. You know, I mean they want a change agent, and they are willing to set -- my dad is not for any of the policies Trump espouses on the stump because they are not the same from day to day. I think that point is made by Rick more articulately than I just did. You know, my dad is pro-immigration. He is not an ideologue. I do not think he knows anyone that represents those elements. But, he is so disgusted with Washington, with politicians in both parties, that Trump is a roll of the dice he is willing to make. O`DONNELL: And, Howard Dean, there was this other element that developed in both debates tonight. And, that is the Supreme Court and the role of the Supreme Court, and there was a real argument in the earlier debate tonight - WALLACE: Exactly. O`DONNELL: -- that Rick Santorum insisting that, "No, no. The Supreme Court does not get the final word on what is constitutional." DEAN: I know. I mean that was actually one of the questions. I was going to oppose to Nicolle, because she is a Republican, right? What happened to Santorum? Santorum came in second last time. WALLACE: Those days, yes. DEAN: Yes. How did this happen? WALLACE: I think the party is new. Then, you know, he is part of the establishment. DEAN: He is very conservative, though. WALLACE: He is very conservative -- He is not losing because he is not conservative enough. I think he is not getting traction because there are plenty of people in that states who are also outsiders. I mean if you like Santorum last time, I think you like Ben Carson this time. O`DONNELL: Or Ted Cruz. And, Rick Wilson, talk about this -- how do you recommend trying to communicate with these voters, who absolutely do not care about the truth of whether the Supreme Court actually is the final arbiter of what is constitutional, or they do not care about the president`s veto power, and all of these things that are realities of governing? WILSON: Well, Lawrence, it is a real -- it is a real departure where we had -- you know, when the Tea Party emerged, you know, there was a very salutary effect about it. These were folks who espouse limited government and constitutional filthy. Now, it is, "Yeah, constitution. We will just take it like a Chinese menu, the amendments we do not like, because Trump does not like them" or "We will just treat the Supreme Court differently because we have decided to." You know, there is a great difficulty in reaching these folks right now, because they have also been promised by a sort of separate media silo that they live in most of the time now. That the realities of the world are not actually there. They are just because an evil rhino conspiracy against them, that is why things do not work out the way they want. You know, the laws of political physics here, you know, they exist whether we like them or not. And, they want to believe that they do not. Wile E. Coyote always falls over the canyon even though he does not believe in the law of gravity. HOWARD: This is actually a serious point, the Supreme Court has lost a tremendous amount of prestige. 72 percent of the people on the poll couple of years ago thought that the Supreme Court as just a political organization. That is really dangerous for the country. O`DONNELL: What if the Clinton -- HOWARD: It is on both sides of the aisles. O`DONNELL: What if the Clinton Administration had decided not to accept the Supreme Court`s ruling in Bush V. Gore, what about that? And, according to the Republican debate tonight, that was an option. You can just decide which ones you want. HOWARD: Right. O`DONNELL: We got to leave it there for a quick break. Rick Wilson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Thanks for those articles. WILSON: Sure, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: We are going to link to them on our website. And, we are going to tweet them, people should read what Rick Wilson has to say about all of this. We are going to be right back. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We are back with our debate coverage. Steve Kornacki has been watching. Steve what is the latest? KORNACKI: Well, there is an interesting and extended discussion there about marijuana based on the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Chris Christie has pledged it as president, he said, you know, "Enjoy it while you can, Colorado, because when I become president you are going to lose legalized marijuana in the state." And, then there was a long back and forth there between Chris Christie and Rand Paul. And, Rand Paul, basically, saying, "Look, this is a tenth amendment issue on the one hand." He said, "State individual states have the right, should have the right to make their own laws on drugs. The federal government should not be coming in, should not be intervening." He also started to make an argument you do not hear necessarily that much in a Republican debate about the sort of unfairness in prosecution of drug crimes, basically, saying that "Look, if you are a privileged rich kid like Jeb Bush," bringing Jeb Bush into this, "you can use marijuana as a kid and you can get away with it. But if you are poor, if you are black and you use marijuana as a kid, you pay a price for it." And, then Carly Fiorina, herself, entered into the discussion as well. She told a very emotional personal story about losing her daughter to drugs. Her daughter passed away in 2009. I believe in Carly Fiorina`s book she cited, "Alcohol dependency, prescription drugs" as part of that, but she did bring that into this discussion of marijuana as well, obviously a poignant moment. O`DONNELL: And, we are joined now by April Ryan, the White House Correspondent, Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Networks. April, your reactions. You have seen more of this debate than I have at this point. So, what does your scorecard look like? APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, I am along with all of you. Carly Fiorina is -- she is giving it what she got. I mean I am amazed that her -- She has come out, just knocking the walls down. She talked about how Donald Trump -- she started out talking about how Donald Trump is a wonderful entertainer. She gave back to him about her looks. And, she also -- she was very emotional and passionate when she talked about the graphic nature of the issue of planned parenthood. I mean, she is talking about foreign policy. What is really shocking to me is that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are not going at it head to head. Just before the debate, we saw Ben Carson talking about Donald Trump`s religion. And, then he has been in Texas and wherever else, talking about he is a protestant, and his religious believes. But, we have not seen those two go at each other. We are seeing everyone else go at each other. And, I see that Jeb Bush is now stepping up into the semi-dynasty presidential role, I guess you would say. I do not know. (LAUGHING) O`DONNELL: And, on the Carly Fiorina looks moment, what struck me, April, was Donald Trump definitely tried to disown and basically lie about what he had said about her face. APRIL: He said she looked beautiful. She was beautiful. O`DONNELL: Well, he tried to do that thing about -- Oh, no, no I was talking about her aura. And, then Carly Fiorina said that every woman in America knows exactly what Donald Trump was talking about. And, that was a huge applause line in that room. RYAN: It really was. He was shocked. If you saw his face, he could not believe that there were people, who were actually against him again. You know, because we saw some of that, you know, in the first debate when he raised his hand. People were very angry, booing him for the fact that he could possibly think about going to a third party. He actually felt a little bit of the sting of some of the discontent that there is in this nation about him. And, then, he came back, saying I think you are beautiful. And, her face was just -- when he said that to her, she was just -- she was done with him, but she is holding her own, and it is amazing to watch her. O`DONNELL: And, for some reason, they did not discuss the looks of any other of the candidates up there. RYAN: No. Donald Trump did say something about Rand Paul. He said -- TRUMP: Right. Sorry. Yes, of course. He did say -- he said, you know, I have never attacked your looks, but standing here, I could do that. O`DONNELL: Yes. He did. He did. He threatens to. (LAUGHING) RYAN: Yes. O`DONNELL: All right. Another quick break. We will be back with more after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We are back with our debate coverage. Steve Konacki, you have been watching it for us. What is the latest, last few minutes? KORNACKI: Well, I guess the interesting thing here is they got to the issue of vaccines and Donald Trump seemed to suggest maybe that there was a link there between vaccine and some childhood illnesses like autism. You think back to 2011, Michele Bachmann made that claim in a debate and it cost her dearly especially when she double down in that claim after the debate. Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon, who is standing on stage right next to Donald Trump is sort of politely but firmly said he did not agree with Donald Trump on that. So, I guess it is a question. We are always looking for these moments that could hurt Donald Trump, is taking a position like this going to cause any blowback that might hurt him at all. O`DONNELL: Dr. Trump versus Dr. Carson. We will see how that works out. All right, we are going to be back with more, right after this. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY FALLON, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Is trump going to make it? Is he going to last the whole way out? How long do you think he will last? I mean do you feel like he is going to go, are you just maybe waiting back like rope-a-dope style until he just gets tired" And, then he is tired and you go, "All right, out of the way, buddy." Yes. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, look, I think that he is going to go as long as he wants to go. FALLON: Yes. CLINTON: And, more power to him. I mean that is one of the great things about this country. FALLON: Sure, yes, yes, yes. CLINTON: If you are over 35 and you are eligible as an American citizen, you can actually run for president. And, so, he is making the most out of it. I am having a good time watching it. (AUDIENCE LAUGHING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That is part of the Hillary Clinton`s appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon tonight. That will be broadcast on NBC later tonight. So, we have a verdict on the most tweeted moments in the CNN debate, the top two go to Carly Fiorina. They are the moments we have been talking about when she responds to Donald Trump about on her looks. And, then also, April Ryan, you mentioned this, Carly Fiorina`s response on planned parenthood. RYAN: Yes. O`DONNELL: That is the second most tweeted. And, if you share that Republican view on planned parenthood, you can see why that would be one of the most tweeted moments, because it was the most clearly, sharply articulated version of that in the whole debate. RYAN: It was very graphic. O`DONNELL: Graphic. RYAN: It was very graphic. Yes. I have never heard things like that before, and for her to say it the way she did openly, it was very graphic. O`DONNELL: And, Howard Dean, that moment about Planned Parenthood is one that every one of those candidates wanted to have, because this is a subject that they all agree on. That Planned Parenthood should be defunded. What they are doing with fetal tissue in their view is immoral and criminal. DEAN: Well, most of what they said, a whole bunch of things were not true. O`DONNELL: There is that. Yes. DEAN: Most of what they said about fetal tissue is just was not true. O`DONNELL: Yes. DEAN: This is actually an interesting one. Planned Parenthood actually polls very well in the country, especially among women. And, so, this is one of those ones that who every gets the nomination, so that is the one that is going to come back and bite them in the butt for that. WALLACE: But, you know what? Polls even better is not doing the thing that the videos reveal that Planned Parnenthood was doing, however, legal they may be. I mean -- O`DONNELL: It turns out that they are not true. They are not doing a thing. WALLACE: Well, the Planned Parenthood polls well as a health care provider. O`DONNELL: Rigtht. WALLACE: But abortions and the graphic description of them, actually polls very well among independents Democrats and Republicans. And, I think there is not going to be a lot of tolerance for this team too sharply political, but you know, I think what Carly did, while graphic, was you know a fact-based -- I do not even know if it was a fact. O`DONNELL: There was a fact. There was a lot of stuff. She said in there that was not so. It was inserted into the videos or edited out of the videos. WALLACE: This debate will live well beyond whatever you and I are talking about, but I think that the Republican base feels like this issue has largely been ignored by the media. And, I think that she will get even more credit not just for raising it, but for raising it with courage and for being willing to sort of speak things that are too graphic for a lot of us to say. O`DONNELL: But, April Ryan, I think -- I mean I agree with Dr. Dean that it is a mischaracterization of what is going on, but I think all of the Republicans candidates do that. What I would say is, what that response showed is that Carly Fiorina is better at extemporaneous phrasings of the Republican issue. She phrased it as straight into the target as you could target as you could possibly expect one of those candidates to do. RYAN: She owned that issue tonight, not just being a woman, but because she had a breadth of an understanding of it, even though that some of it may not have been true. But, one of the facts that they did leave out was the fact that Planned Parenthood -- 3 percent of the Planned Parenthood is abortions. And, then you had other, you know, candidates to include Chris Christie talking about how he is defunded Planned Parenthood in his state for the years that he has been there as governor and other candidates. But she -- she owned that moment. She was the one who really brought the attention to what happened on this debate, this controversial debate that could actually cause the problem, cause a shutdown issue in Washington. O`DONNELL: And, Steve Kornacki, if the most tweeted moment of the debate is Carly Fiorina responding to a Trump insult, that is not a good moment for Donald Trump. KORNACKI: No. And, here is the interesting thing that just happened at the very end here. They are asking the candidates to go down the line here. What would you want your secret service code name to be? They got to Jeb Bush. (LAUGHING) And, Jeb Bush, he was ready with this one. He said "Ever Ready. You got a lot of energy." And, then Donald Trump interrupts him and then Trump gives him a high five. And, then they asked Donald Trump what do you want your nickname to be. Donald Trump does not miss a beat. He says, "Humble." (LAUGHING) RYAN: Never, never, never, never. That is not Trump. O`DONNELL: Yes. That is not what it is going to be. Nicolle Wallace, the overall tonight for the Republican Party, is this a more serious step towards the nomination than the first debate was? WALLACE: Yes, and you take the first and the second debate together, and I think in that whole evening of commentary and back and forth, you have the Kasich against Trump, Pataki, Carly, Jeb, others have delivered it. And, so, you know, it is up to the voters. But, I think you saw a lot of substance tonight. O`DONNELL: All right, now time for analysis from people who have actually seen the whole debate. Steve Kornacki, April Ryan, Nicolle Wallace and Howard Dean, thank you all for joining us. A live "Hardball with Chris Matthews" is next. END