IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 09/24/15

Guests: Joaquin Castro, Simone Campbell, Eugene Joseph Dionne, SteveSchale, Dana Milbank, Liz Mair, Sister Helen Prejean

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I`m so glad you told that story about John Kerry. All of that was going through my head when I saw that moment of the Pope shaking his hand. MADDOW: The one handshake that he took and that he chose -- O`DONNELL: But why? -- MADDOW: Himself, yes, that`s right -- O`DONNELL: Yes, that was great -- MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. O`DONNELL: In his speech to Congress, the Pope honored a woman who had an abortion and was a socialist. And the Pope honored the politicians he was speaking to, comparing their work to Moses, the patriarch, and law giver of the people of Israel. And the Pope reminded everyone there in that chamber and everyone in this country who is not native American that we are all the sons and daughters of immigrants. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the Pope of the Holy See! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first ever papal address before a joint meeting of Congress. JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO, POPE, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH: The land of the free and the home of the brave. (APPLAUSE) LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: For a moment, a law-making body known for partisan feuding came together. BERGOGLIO: Do unto others as you will have them do unto you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was speaking to our common core of humanity. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The issues of refugees and immigration. BERGOGLIO: We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll see if the presidential candidates want to differ with him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was that and yet undecided potential candidate right there on the podium. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Joe Biden is going to decide to run? REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: That I don`t know, just let God`s will be done. BERGOGLIO: The challenges facing us today call for our renewal of that spirit of cooperation. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six days before this place could shut down. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that this message has a shelf life? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, let us -- let us pray. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: In a 50-minute speech to a joint session of Congress this morning, Pope Francis wove the stories of four Americans into his theme of building a better future for all. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO: These men and women, for all their many differences and limitations were able by hard work and self-sacrifice, some at the cost of their lives to build a better future. I would like then to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Only two of them were Catholics, Thomas Merton was a French immigrant to this country, an author, a poet and later in life was ordained a priest and lived in a monastery. And Dorothy Day was an extraordinary woman who lived an adventurous Bohemian life before converting to Catholicism which only increased her commitment to fighting for the rights of workers and improving the lives of poor people. We will tell you her story later in this program. The Pope tried to invoke the spirit of cooperation on a hyperpartisan divided Congress. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO: The challenges facing us today call for our renewal of that spirit of cooperation which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: As expected, the Pope spoke of his concern for protecting the planet against what he called an environmental deterioration without ever using the words climate change. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO: I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I`m convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States and this Congress have an important role to play. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The Pope stressed the sanctity of life without mentioning abortion, but instead stressing his opposition to the death penalty. Sister Helen Prejean, an anti-death penalty activist will join us later to discus that point. The issue the Pope spoke of at greatest length was immigration. And his message could not have been clearer -- follow the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO: We the people of this continent are not fearful of foreigners because most of us -- (APPLAUSE) Because most of us were once foreigners. Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second world war. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, thousands of persons have left to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones. In search of greater opportunity. Is it not what we want for our own children? Let us remember the golden rule: "Do unto others as you -- (APPLAUSE) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now are Representative Joaquin Castro, Democratic Congressman from Texas, also with us, Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network and National Catholic Social Justice Lobby and author of "Nuns on the Bus". And E.J. Dionne, opinion writer for "The Washington Post", Msnbc political analyst and genuine Catholic intellectual. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you -- O`DONNELL: Joaquin Castro, I have to ask you as the only one among us in the room -- what was it like to be in the chamber today, you`ve been there for State of the Union addresses and other addresses. This was something special. REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Yes, I know, it was. It was absolutely both electrifying and very spiritual. The Pope gave a beautiful address, and I was telling folks after his address that these have probably been the most -- two most harmonious days that we`ve had in Congress since I`ve been here. I`m in my third year now, but I thought that people were very respectful. It was only one of these addresses where I`ve seen Republicans and Democrats stand up and applaud at the same time. You know, as you know, in the State of the Union, usually, one side of the chamber gets up and the other one remains seated to make a point. Everybody, I think, received his message well, and hopefully we`ll have a chance to reflect on it in the coming weeks and months. O`DONNELL: Congressman Castro, was there any particular point in the Congressional audience reaction that was surprisingly unifying? Was there any particular line where you saw applause, where you think perhaps if the President had said some version of that, the applause would have been more partisan? CASTRO: Well, I think that his point about the golden rule and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, and also about the value of life. Both of those points, I think, were very well received by everyone. I think folks were a little bit surprised by his statement on the death penalty. You know, the reporters up in the -- in the stands had copies, I believe of his speech, but the members of Congress who usually get a copy of the person`s speech who is speaking in these addresses, we didn`t have one, so nobody was able to follow along. And so, you know, in those two instances, that was especially unifying, but also I think when he spoke about the death penalty, people really were thoughtful and reflective about it. O`DONNELL: I want to listen to something that he just said a short time ago across the street here in Manhattan at Saint Patrick`s Cathedral about nuns. Let`s listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO (through translator): To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say thank you. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Sister Simone Campbell, your reaction to that and also your reaction to his speech at the joint session. SIMONE CAMPBELL, DIRECTOR, NETWORK AND NATIONAL CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE LOBBY & AUTHOR: Well, I`m really touched by his response to women of religious -- and actually it was his speech to Congress, the very last paragraph of his speech really felt like the explanation of our lives. As women of religious -- because like Lincoln, we work for liberty, like Dorothy Day, we work with those who are both poor and vulnerable. Like Dr. King, we work for justice and like Thomas Merton, we have a deep (INAUDIBLE) life. I felt like he summarized my life and I recognize myself in his speech and the hunger for coming together and being our better selves as a nation. It`s been quite a day quite frankly. O`DONNELL: I want to listen to something he said about what it means to be a good political leader. Let`s listen to his definition of good political leader. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO: A good political leader is one who with the interest of all in mind seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, I`m going to have to memorize that one word for word as my answer for the rest of time of what a good political leader is. EUGENE JOSEPH DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Wasn`t that a perfect description of exactly how things are done now? I mean, it was an amazing speech. And want to pick up on something sister Simone said. First, I want to point out in her honor, that in Newark, the loudest applause for the Pope and it was really sustained, is when he praised the nuns. When he praised women religious, he sort of tapped into something in the Catholic people. But on his description, there was this emphasis on the common good and on always pursuing it and also on the need to preserve the dignity of every person. And what`s really striking is, he really is trying to tell people, look, you can do this. You have a better self. You can be your better self on immigration. Politics is a noble profession. I mean, these guys haven`t heard that from anyone in decades. And so, I think there was a radicalness about almost everything he said. And you know, amazingly, he picks two of the most radical Catholics in American history, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton as models. But it was radicalism that was wrapped in a spirit of you can get this done, human beings are capable of this. It was the most remarkable combination of radical critique and hope and encouragement that I think I`ve ever heard from any preacher. O`DONNELL: I want to go back to the immigration components of his speech, because that was the largest single subject in his address to Congress. And, you know, he obviously has advisors here in the United States who were going over his speech word for word. And I thought he came awfully close to actually using the phrase dreamers, which has become politically charged in Washington when he talked about America being the land of dreams. Let`s listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERGOGLIO: I am happy that America continues to be for many a land of dreams. (APPLAUSE) Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people. In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future of freedom. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Congressman Castro, did that sound to you like he was talking about the people we now call dreamers? CASTRO: Yes, I did. It seem -- he seemed to be alluding to them. And he spoke in the first person about his own story, about being a descendant of immigrants. He reminded all of us in Congress and the American people that most of us are descendents of immigrants. And then when he spoke about refugees, he pleaded with us to see them as people and to look at their faces and not just be overwhelmed by their numbers. O`DONNELL: Sister Simone, I just want to get a quick last word from you on your reaction to everything the Pope had to say today? CAMPBELL: Well, I have to say, Lawrence, that I think the biggest message was that piece about we can be our better selves, we can have the dreams, but it requires us to work together for the common good where no one is left out of our care. And that call to be our better selves -- I mean, when he says we the people, I think he was really referencing the constitution and we the people can do this. O`DONNELL: Congressman Joaquin Castro and Sister Simone Campbell, thank you both very much for joining us tonight, thank you. Coming up, the Senate has blocked a bill to defund Planned Parenthood today but a government shutdown could still happen next week. And there are mixed reviews for the Democratic presidential candidates including Joe Biden in a new poll. And suddenly, the world asked today, who is Dorothy Day? After the Pope mentioned her this morning, she was, as I`ve said, an extraordinary woman who some want to make a saint. Something that Dorothy Day herself never wanted to be. Her story is later. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: There`re a bunch of new polls and there`s good news for each Democratic presidential candidate in one of those polls, at least, including Joe Biden. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Vice President Joe Biden had another day in the company of the Pope, a momentous experience for a faithful Roman Catholic like Joe Biden, who appears to be on the verge of another momentous life decision to run for president for the third time. A new Quinnipiac national poll released today shows Hillary Clinton leading the Democrats with 43 percent, Bernie Sanders at 25 percent and Joe Biden at 18 percent. But in the general election matchups, Joe Biden does better against the four Republican frontrunners than Hillary Clinton does. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush come out ahead of Hillary Clinton in that poll one on one while Joe Biden comes out ahead of every Republican in the poll except Ben Carson who polls at a tie with Joe Biden. Joining us now is Steve Schale, a Florida State Director for Barack Obama`s 2008 campaign and an adviser to Draft Biden. Also with us again, E.J. Dionne. Steve Schale, these polls have a mixed message, Hillary Clinton, a very solid lead in national polls. We have other polls in New Hampshire showing Bernie Sanders in a very big lead over all of the candidates there. But it`s in that matchup, one-on-one with the Republicans that Joe Biden will probably be pointing to it to make his case when he`s trying to convince people to back his campaign if he gets in. STEVE SCHALE, ADVISER TO DRAFT BIDEN: Yes, I think part of our argument all along has been that Joe Biden matches up better than really in a Democratic against the Republicans. We`ve seen this over and over and over again for the last month or so. Whether it`s -- you know, against Bush or against Trump. You know, he polls consistently three or four points better than Clinton does and five or six better than Sanders does. So, you know, if he gets in the race, I think it will be one of his better arguments. O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, let`s look at these -- on these one-on-one matchups, Ben Carson is now the strongest Republican matched one-on-one against any Democrat. How did that happen? DIONNE: I will bet you a stack of Thomas Merton books that, that won`t be true a month from now. O`DONNELL: OK -- DIONNE: I just don`t think it`s going to happen, but I was astounded by that. But it seems that for the moment, Ben Carson is almost like the generic candidate in the poll. People know -- at least Republicans know just enough about him to like him. And I assume this poll -- I don`t know if this poll was done before his recent problem on what he said about Muslims. But I think this poll will have some effect on those Democrats who have been very worried about Hillary Clinton`s slide over the last four months. And I think there`s a sense among some Democrats that hey, a Joe Biden challenge might be good if Hillary Clinton can actually beat Joe Biden in the primaries. That will probably prove she is strong enough to be a strong candidate then. If she can`t beat Joe Biden in the Democratic primary, then she might have a problem later on. There`s one person I`m sure who disagrees with that and it`s Hillary Clinton and she would rather prefer him not to get in. And I am still agnostic on this, all the news suggests Biden is moving toward it. And I think he does really believe he`s the right candidate for this moment, but I think he`s being held back by a lot of personal feelings, you know, particularly about his son. But true, the news is sure heading in the direction that he`s running. O`DONNELL: Well, yes, I think he`s in. But he -- DIONNE: OK -- O`DONNELL: In New Hampshire, really important primary, Joe Biden is running well behind Hillary Clinton. Has half the support of Hillary Clinton. The problem for Hillary Clinton is Bernie Sanders running way ahead of her. You know, Bernie Sanders now at 46 percent in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton at 30. That`s basically a reversal of roles for them since June, Joe Biden at 14. And Steve Schale, it`s -- what would be -- what could Joe Biden do coming out of the gate as a candidate to change those numbers in New Hampshire? SCHALE: Well, I tend to think they`re going to change, if he gets in the race, just almost automatically. I mean, here`s a guy who has -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: But let me -- let me just stop you there, what about that theory, a lot of people are throwing around this thing about, hey, your number is usually higher before you get in the race. SCHALE: Well, I mean, I`d point to somebody like Donald Trump. I mean -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- SCHALE: I hate to compare Trump and Biden too much, but I think in this case, what was he? Four or 5 percent, he was tenth guy on the stage and got in the race and shook the whole thing up. I mean, the fact that Joe Biden, you know, got a 100 percent name ID, he`s got basically 80 percent, 85 percent favorable among Democrats, he`s the best liked Democrat potentially in the race. And I think if he gets in, it becomes a real thing for people. You`ll see those numbers move. O`DONNELL: And -- go ahead E.J. DIONNE: Well, yes, I think it`s hard to read the Joe Biden numbers because on the one hand, he is not a candidate and for months, people said he wouldn`t run. So you could imagine that would make people less likely to name Joe Biden in the poll even when he`s listed in it. On the other hand, when you are not a politician, when you are not facing the scrutiny and when the other side, when Republicans or Republican- leaning voters don`t really view you as partisan in a way they would if you were in the race, that kind of helps him in these polls. And I think those two sort of operate against each other and we`ll see what happens if he does get in. Latest Quinnipiac poll on the Republican side shows Donald Trump in what seems to now be a plateau, 25 percent. In this particular poll, that`s down from 28 last time, Ben Carson now second, 17, Carly Fiorina 12, Jeb Bush at 10, Marco Rubio, 9. And E.J., that seems to be now the cement-forming around that kind of polling now on the Republican side. DIONNE: Well, they cemented the top. You feel like Trump may have hit a ceiling, but the rest of the field, I think is completely fluid. You have Fiorina -- first of all, she shows very differently in different polls. But she is clearly having her moment the way many of the other candidates on the Republican side had their moment in 2012. You wonder if she can keep that. I think there`s -- everything is fluid under Trump right now. O`DONNELL: Steve Schale, when is Joe Biden going to announce? SCHALE: Listen, I don`t think I know any more than you do. I think as you indicated, this is really more of a personal decision for him than a political decision. But you know, we`re going to keep building operations in the early states in case he gets in. O`DONNELL: Steve Schale and E.J. Dionne, thanks for joining us tonight. DIONNE: Great to be with you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, eight Republicans including a presidential candidate voted with Democrats trying to stop Republicans like Ted Cruz from shutting down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Tens of thousands greeted Pope Francis in New York City today as he made his way down Fifth Avenue to St. Patrick`s Cathedral. The Pope has retired tonight to his residence on the upper eastside of Manhattan. Tomorrow, Pope Francis will continue his visit to New York with an address to the United Nations General Assembly and a multi-faith service at the September 11 memorial. He will also meet with students at the East Harlem Catholic School, Our Lady Queen of Angels and lead a procession through Central Park. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: He will end his day with a mass to 20,000 at Madison Square Garden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Coming up, if the Pope had told congress everything he actually knows about Dorothy Day today, most of them would have been shocked. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Now that the Pope has encouraged congress to find common ground, they have less than a week to pass a funding bill in order to avoid a government shutdown. Today the senate blocked a temporary funding bill that would have cut federal funds to planned parenthood. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The motion needed 60 votes to advance. The final tally was 47- 52. Eight Republicans, including Presidential candidate, Rand Paul voted with the Democrats. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: On Monday, the senate will hold another procedural vote. This time on a clean resolution that would not defund planned parenthood. If that passes, the senate would hold its final vote on Tuesday, leaving the house one full day to pass a budget bill of its own before the shutdown deadline. Leading the charge for a government shutdown is once again Presidential candidate Ted Cruz who wrote this about Republican leadership`s promise not to shut down the government. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: "On its face, the promise sounds reasonable, except in practice it means that Republicans never stand for anything." In an op-ed for "The Wall Street Journal," Karl Rove writes "a few Presidential hopefuls seem to want a shutdown to burnish their credentials with primary voters but they cannot explain how they will get the votes to pass the defunding measure or overcome a Presidential veto. Without such a plan, this is simply self-promotion. Any Republicans who engineer a shutdown will be unwitting allies of the abortion movement." (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now Liz Mair, Republican Strategist who has worked for Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul. Also with us, Washington post columnist Dana Milbank. Liz Mair, You know these guys. Is Karl Rove`s argument going to carry the day? LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Probably, yes. I think generally my view is that you can reliably bank on Republican leaders more or less running things right up to the wire and then doing pretty much whatever it takes to cave and sort of move the ball over the line in like even the last 30 minutes of the day. I`m not sure that I wholly agree with him, though. While I think that there probably is quite a lot of posturing going on here by Ted Cruz, and often there is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAIR: I do think that there is a valid criticism here that Republicans frequently talk a good game about cutting spending in an array of areas and whenever push comes to shove, we basically just prove that we`re willing to spend just a small bit less than Democrats. (END VIDEO CLIP) MAIR: And I do think that is a problem with a lot of base voters in the Republican party, particularly people who are of even more limited government and libertarian mindset, much like myself and a lot of people who are inclined to support people like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul in a Presidential contest. O`DONNELL: Dana Milbank, you predicted that this collection of Presidential candidates on the senate floor was bound to create situations like this. DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, sure. I mean, it`s an absolute recipe for chaos. I don`t think that while this is going to cause headaches for Mitch McConnell and eventually for John Boehner. I agree with Liz, I don`t think they`re actually going to be zany enough to actually shut down the government over this. And, you know, this is a point, they will run it to the last moment. There`s always the risk that something goes wrong, but this is the time when they will actually go against the conservative rank and file. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MILBANK: It`s particularly dangerous when it gets to John McCain -- John Boehner in the house because he is in a much more vulnerable position in terms of his leadership. There`s already this sort of no-confidence vote floating out there. But when push comes to shove, they will not allow this to go through because they`ve learned their lesson repeatedly before following Ted Cruz off the edge of a cliff. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Liz Mair, what was Rand Paul`s calculation today in joining the Democrats voting with them? MAIR: Well Rand Paul also put out a statement I believe it was after that that made the point, that I don`t think he intends to support the measure that they`re going to next try that will include this funding. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAIR: And I think his criticism is probably very similar to what mine would be. Even if you go ahead and do what we`re now contemplating doing, we`re still adding, I think his calculation is something in the realm of $400 billion to, I believe he`s saying debt as opposed to deficit. Now that may not sound like a phenomenal amount when we`re talking about $18 -$19 trillion in debt, but that is still objectionable and doubling down on the problem. (END VIDEO CLIP) MAIR: And so I don`t think when you look at Rand Paul`s voting, it`s not necessarily fair to say he`s voting like a Democrat, or with Democrats. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAIR: I think he generally is voting against increased spending generally, regardless of whether that includes planned parenthood or not. I think he has a problem with a wide array of government spending, and probably much like many more libertarian-inclined Republicans feels that there`s quite a lot of spending beyond simply that going to planned parenthood that is objectionable. And if we`re going to have a discussion about shutting the government down, gosh we ought to get rid of the rest of it, and not just the planned parenthood stuff. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Dana Milband, quickly before we go, a week from now, what happens? MILBAND: We will have punted the whole thing into December and then we get to do the entire thing all over again, Lawrence, with exactly the same cast of characters. O`DONNELL: A very familiar outcome. Liz Mair, and Dana Milbank, thank you both for joining us tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Coming up, Abby Hoffman called her the first hippie. And today the Pope called her a hero. Her story is next. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POPE FRANCIS: In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention (inaudible) what Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement, her social activism, her fashion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed were inspired by the (inaudible), her prayers and the example of the (inaudible). (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The most famous hippie of the 1960 s and `70s, the most famous hippie in the world, Abby Hoffman said that the original hippie was Dorothy Day, the woman the Pope honored today. And this is her story. Dorothy day was born in Brooklyn Heights in 1897. Her parents were Christian in name only really with no strong connection to organized religion. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: When she was a teenager, the family was living in Chicago and Dorothy was walking down streets, past the actual tenement buildings described in Upton Sinclair`s "The Jungle" the 1906 that brought a new focus to the plight of America`s urban poor. Looking back on those days, Dorothy day once said the sight of poverty was in conflict with religion. Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves but to do away with slavery? In college, Dorothy joined the socialist party. She then returned to New York City and started writing for socialist publications and living the bohemian life in Greenwich Village. She was arrested for the first time in 1917 with a group of women picketing the White House for the right to vote. She kept getting arrested for civil disobedience decade after decade until her last arrest in 1973 in California with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Dorothy got pregnant during her first great love affair, but fearing that her unfaithful man was going to leave her, she decided to have an abortion. She married on the rebound from that relationship and soon divorced. Never remarried. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: She was happily living on Staten Island in an oceanfront cottage in a stable relationship, finally with a man who was a biologist and an atheist when she gave birth to their daughter, Tamar. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Slowly and surely, her new baby turned Dorothy Day toward religion. Dorothy said, no human creature could receive or contain so vast a flood of love and joy as I often felt after the birth of my child. With this came the need to worship, to adore. It was because, through a whole love, both physical and spiritual, I came to know god." (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Dorothy`s increasing religious commitment became alienating to the father of her child, and so they separated, and Dorothy became a single mother, who tried supporting her daughter with various jobs, including screen writing and Hollywood before she created what became the perfect vehicle for her radical advocacy journalism. The first edition of The Catholic Worker was published an May Day, May 1, 1933, at the height of the depression. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DOROTHY DAY: I think it`s the ambition of everybody who`s been in journalism to have their own paper. To start a paper but I was very dubious about the funds. But he said in the Catholic Church, funds were never necessary. You just needed to start. And we found it worked that way. O`DONNELL: Dorothy day became the Catholic leader that no one could possibly have anticipated. She was, first of all, and most importantly, a woman. And all Catholic leaders were men. She was a single mother. She had come late to the religion. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Being a socialist was not a particularly difficult fit among Catholics in New York City in the 1930s, but being a pacifist was. The Catholic church had officially adopted the just war theory, which Dorothy Day loudly opposed. She was a pacifist when being a pacifist was beyond difficult. On December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Dorothy Day said, (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: "We must take a stand, we must renounce war as an instrument of policy. We must affirm that there will be no more war. Never, but never again. War must cease. There are no victories. The world can bear the burden no longer." (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: On that day in that same speech, Dorothy Day accurately predicted the age of nuclear weapons that was almost upon us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: She said, "I will tell you within a decade, we will have weapons capable of ending this world as we have known it." In 1966, New York`s Cardinal Spellman made a Christmas visit to American troops in Vietnam where he reportedly said that the Vietnam war was "a war for civilization." In the very next issue of "Catholic Worker" Dorothy Day wrote a response to her Cardinal. She said, "the works of mercy are the opposite of the works of war. Feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, nursing the sick, visiting the prisoner. But we are destroying crops, setting fire to entire villages, and to the people in them. We are not performing the works of mercy, but the works of war." (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: On August 6, 1976 when Dorothy Day was nearly 80 years old, she made her final speech. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: This time at the Catholic Eucharist congress in Philadelphia, which was attended by Mother Teresa. Dorothy day noted that she was speaking that day on the anniversary of the first atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Dorothy died four years later at the age of 84. Her grave is in the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island, a short walk from the ocean side cottage where her baby girl first turned her towards Catholicism. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Despite her repeated conflicts with Cardinal Spellman, the current Cardinal Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan has become a forceful advocate for saint hood for Dorothy Day. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted unanimously to move forward with her canonization. More than once, Dorothy Day said don`t call me a saint. And her spirit lives on in her granddaughter, Maggie Hennessey who said years ago, "you have completely missed her believes and what she lived for if you`re trying to put her on a pedestal. Take all your monies and energies that are being put into her canonization and give it to the poor. That is how you would show your respect for her." (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The Catholic Worker is still published. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And is on sale for the price of exactly 1 penny, the price set by Dorothy Day. And that is her story. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And now a quick turn to the lighter side and back to something we did last night, we showed you the Boston guy screaming about that fish. I felt very sorry for the fish when I first watched it `cause it looked like the fish was dying. A lot of you felt sorry for the fish. The full story is the fish was perfectly healthy fish, there was no problem. You would have learned that if you had stayed with us and watched Michael Bergen online in the Very Last Word last night after the program, let`s listen to what he had to say. MICHAEL BERGEN: Well that was our intention was to try to help it but when I had - when we had contacted the Coast Guard they had asked for us to email them a picture of it and when I had - when I had done that, they responded with what it was which was an actual ocean sunfish. O`DONNELL: And so that fish wasn`t in any trouble at all? BERGEN: Absolutely not, it swam right away. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Again, you can find that entire video of that perfectly healthy fish and the wonderful Michael Bergen on our website. When we come back, the Pope`s message on the death penalty. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The pope spoke about the sanctity of life without ever talking about abortion. Instead, he concentrated on the death penalty. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POPE FRANCIS: The golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life until the stage of its development. This conviction has led me from the beginning of my ministry to advocate on different levels, the global evolution of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred. Every human person is (inaudible) with (inaudible) ability, and society can`t only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convict of crimes. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now by phone, Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking." In the film, Dead Man Walking, she was portrayed by Susan Sarandon who won an Oscar for that role. Sister Prejean thank you very much for joining us tonight. I can only imagine, but I`m going to have to hear from you direction, what was your reaction to hearing the Pope stress the need for what he called global abolition of the death penalty. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SISTER HELEN PREJEAN, AUTHOR , "DEAD MAN WALKING": Well, my heart just swelled and I cried. I had been waiting for those words before the congress for a long time. And the Pope put it in the context of the dignity of life in all stages. And I was holding my breath, everybody was holding their breath. Because of course what you usually hear from Catholics in that is about innocent life and unborn children, but never about guilty life. And when he said then, from the beginning of my ministry for the abolition of the death penalty. He saw a lot of death in Argentina. He saw a lot that happens to people when you put government in charge of deciding who can live and die. It could not have been a happier moment for me. I`ve been working for 30 years to educate and awaken the American public, not so much by lecturing to them, but by telling stories, educating them, too, about the death penalty. Because a lot of people theoretically says well, if somebody killed my daughter, I`d want to see them dead. But when you bring people through it, they get it. And we are beginning to see a shift. I couldn`t be happier. I just couldn`t be happier. O`DONNELL: The most of the Supreme Court, unfortunately, was absent from today`s speech, including three Catholics, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Elido, but of the four justices who were there, Anthony Kennedy was won. Anthony Kennedy is Catholic, and he is the possible swing vote on the Supreme Court in the future that could turn this. And Antonin Scalia has predicted he said he would not be surprised if at some point in the not too distant future, this Court rules the death penalty unconstitutional. SISTER PREJEAN: Yes, I`m especially happy to hear that coming from Antonin Scalia. But yes, Anthony Kennedy, I`m so glad he was there. And even if the others had been there, I don`t know if they could have heard the Pope. You can be present but not hear. They just seem to be so caught in their ideology of their particular way of interpreting the constitution. And what gets me the most, Lawrence, about the death penalty is if the Court looked at their guidelines and looked at the ground to see how they`re being applied, they would see there is no way that those guidelines, the worst of the worst and all that, are being applied. It`s up to local cultures. So when you get in the deep south, the ten states that practice slavery, do over 75% of all the actual executions. But the Supreme Court never looks at the ground. But what the Pope did today was lifted us all into a noble endeavor. Our own deepest hearts, our own deepest dreams, calling us the inclusivity towards foreigner, towards refugees, towards just -- he summoned us. It was filled with love today. He didn`t get into partisan politics. He didn`t argue. He simply called us to the best. And the death penalty is not a surprise because it epitomizes all the main things the Pope has been talking about. Only poor people are selected to die because they can`t get good defense. END