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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 09/29/15

Guests: Tammy Duckworth, Wendy Davis, Geoffrey Kabaservice, E.J. Dionne,April Ryan, David Corn, William McCants

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: But here is the really interesting thing. Because it turns out that Senator Rand Paul does have fundraisers scheduled tomorrow and Thursday. But therefore, his Senate campaign. Yes, you are invited to lunch or breakfast with Senator Rand Paul and please bring a several thousand dollar check to help him get re-elected to the Senate. Because nothing says I`m in this presidential race to win this presidential race like holding fundraisers for an entirely different elective office. 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, so it turns out the smartest thing in the Rand Paul for president campaign was clinging to his Senate re- election campaign as the -- (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Exactly right -- O`DONNELL: As the real campaign vehicle. MADDOW: Yes, hedging the bets -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- MADDOW: Was the best bet he made. O`DONNELL: Pretty big hedge -- (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth was in that Congressional hearing today in which Cecile Richards was attacked about Planned Parenthood. Congresswoman Duckworth will join us tonight. Also joining our discussion of that hearing will be Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator who run for governor in Texas. And the self-proclaimed great negotiator, greatest negotiator in the world, surrendered once again to "Fox News" and gave up his latest boycott of "Fox News" tonight. And then he got stumped on the very first question that Bill O`Reilly asked him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: The outrageous accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood are offensive and categorically untrue. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cecile Richards faced five hours of intense (INAUDIBLE) -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I won`t. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes confrontational questioning -- REP. JOHN DUNCAN JUNIOR (R), TENNESSEE: Surely, you don`t expect us to be easy on you because you`re a woman -- RICHARDS: Absolutely not, that`s not how my mama raised me. REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: This is a witch-hunt attacks on a woman`s right to choose -- REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: To decide what is best for them. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The timing of the hearing now is no accident. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The looming deadline for lawmakers to avoid a government shutdown. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did John Boehner throw himself on a grenade that saved the party -- well, could have been a disastrous political outcome. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve had a few days now to process Speaker Boehner`s resignation. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No! Why leave now? I just got here. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It finally dawned on him that it`s the worst job on earth. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin McCarthy is now the heavy favorite to be the next house speaker. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won`t be as chaos. (LAUGHTER) BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: So you`re back. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump apparently just can`t quit "Fox". O`REILLY: Are we good? DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re always good. O`REILLY: Oh, yes, all right -- TRUMP: Almost -- O`REILLY: Almost, I know. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Before John Boehner surrendered as leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, house Republicans were threatening to shut down the government this week over the issue of government funding for Planned Parenthood. Now, those same house Republicans are content to simply attack the head of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards in a hearing today, before then allowing the house to pass a funding bill that will actually preserve all funding for Planned Parenthood. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JASON CHAFFETTZ (R-UT), CHAIR, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Your compensation in 2009 was $353,000, is that correct? RICHARDS: I don`t have the figures with me. But I`m -- I do wonder -- CHAFFETTZ: It was, congratulations. In 2013, your compensation went up some $240,000. Your compensation we`re showing in baseline tax returns is $590,000, correct? RICHARDS: That`s not my annual compensation. Actually, my annual compensation is $520,000 a year. CUMMINGS: I find it extremely hypocritical that Republicans criticize the salaries of Planned Parenthood officials, when you have violated no laws. Especially whiles these same Republicans completely ignore the CEOs of huge companies that are actually guilty of breaking the law. MALONEY: I first would like to register my opposition and my objection to the chairman beating up on a woman, on our witness today for making a good salary. In the entire time I`ve been in Congress, I`ve never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary. Miss Richards has a distinguished organization providing healthcare services to millions of Americans. And I find it totally inappropriate and discriminatory. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And there was this exchange about what Republicans said was the point of the hearing -- fetal tissue research. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DUNCAN: Do you -- I`m not clear on this. Do you defend the sale of baby body parts? RICHARDS: No, and I think that is really a total mischaracterization. Fetal tissue research, which is I mentioned was started -- the whole commission that legalized and created the structure under fetal tissue research was started under the Reagan administration. And it is actually what it does, it facilitates fetal tissue donation. And that is actually as I said, fewer than 1 percent of our health centers do any -- facilitate fetal tissue donation for the patient. But fetal tissue research -- DUNCAN: My time -- RICHARDS: Has -- DUNCAN: My time has run out -- RICHARDS: But -- DUNCAN: Look, I just want to say this, it seems to me that the apology you offered was, like, what some criminals do. They`re not really sorry for what they`ve done, they`re sorry they got caught. And it seems to me that your apology is more because you got caught on these videos. Thank you -- RICHARDS: Oh, I respectfully disagree. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Wendy Davis, a former member of the Texas State Senate who in June 2013 made headlines by filibustering a bill, restricting access to abortions in Texas. Also with us, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a member of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform which held hearings today on Planned Parenthood. Congresswoman Duckworth, you were in the room during this hearing. Did you learn anything about Planned Parenthood`s involvement in fetal tissue research that you didn`t already know? And did you learn anything condemning of Planned Parenthood? REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: No, I mean, what Planned Parenthood did is they facilitate the donation of fetal tissue for fetus tissue research and that`s less than 1 percent of their clinics do that. This is legal as Cecile Richards said, it was something that was started under President Reagan. What I learned today, though, is that my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle have already forgotten the golden rule that the Pope mentioned and he was only just here a few days ago and they`ve already forgotten about how to treat people. Frankly, it was disgusting the display that we saw today. It was an attempt to come after women`s rights to decide on what they should do with their own bodies and to attack Planned Parenthood; an organization that provides tremendous healthcare services to both men and women. And there was nothing new today, it was just political theater with the Republicans and frankly, I found it pretty disgusting. O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis, you`ve seen this kind of politics in Texas. Do you sense a national coordination within the Republican Party about these issues? WENDY DAVIS, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: You know, I think the Republican Party is answering to an extreme faction of its base. And it happens to be a very active voting faction. It`s Republican Party primary voter. But it`s not reflective of the country as a whole and certainly the poll that came out last night, I think that was referenced earlier on Rachel Maddow`s show. Demonstrated that Americans for the most part agree not only that abortion should continue to be offered as safe and legal. Private decision for women to make under their constitutionally protective rights to do that. But they also agree that the incredibly valuable health services that Planned Parenthood provides should continue to be funded by the federal government. So, this attack by Republicans, while it may serve their short-term goals in a primary election season, I think it`s really taken them to a very dangerous place in terms of the way they are being viewed as a party and certainly the polling shows that as well by the majority of people in this country. O`DONNELL: Yes, funding for Planned Parenthood is more popular than any presidential candidate. Sixty one percent -- DAVIS: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: Are in favor of continuing funding of Planned Parenthood. And Tammy Duckworth, you yourself have talked about using Planned Parenthood yourself when you needed it, including mentioning it in the hearing today. Could you tell us about that? DUCKWORTH: Well, Planned Parenthood provides a range of services and like many young people in college, when I was in college, I was -- didn`t come from a rich family, came from a poor family and I actually had to work two jobs to get through college. And one of them as a waitress. But in order to get that job, I actually needed a physical and they said well, you can start this weekend if you can get a physical done today in order to show that you don`t have any health issues. Because by -- it was something that was mandated by the state and I said, well, where can I go do that? I can`t afford it, I don`t have any money. They said, well, go down to Planned Parenthood, they`ll give you a physical. And I went right down to Planned Parenthood, they gave me the physical that I needed, I think they may have charged me $2 or $3, whatever I could afford to pay. All the money I had -- you know, little bit of money I had and because of them, I was able to get a job. And so many of our young people and women from low income families are able to get their healthcare and services that they need through a Planned Parenthood clinic. And if we stop allowing Planned Parenthood to get reimbursements for the services they provide for Medicare and Medicaid, we would be denying thousands and thousands of deserving women and men who rely on it for health services. O`DONNELL: Well, Wendy Davis, the polls indicate that Planned Parenthood is as popular now as it was before this controversy erupted over fetal tissue research. And you`ve had the experience in Texas, obviously, of talking to absolutist abortion opponents about issues like this. Is there -- is there anything you found in conversations with them as legislators that give some kind of hint of how you could come to some forms of -- some kind of agreement over an issue like Planned Parenthood? DAVIS: I wish I could say that we found that middle ground here in Texas, but unfortunately, we`ve seen the opposite. And it ought not be the case. It ought to be the case that we can agree that even if we agree to disagree on abortion, which, of course, as I said earlier is a constitutionally protected right. Even if we agree to disagree about our personal positions on that issue, we ought to be able to agree. That the unbelievably, valuable health services that Planned Parenthood provides, as 97 percent of what it does; the contraceptive care, the sexually transmitted disease, screenings that they do. The cancer screenings that they provide. We ought to be able to agree that low income women ought to have a place where they can access that care. And like Congresswoman Duckworth, I and so many women across this country could tell you that at some point in our lives, accessing care at Planned Parenthood was very important for us. I think the real issue here is making sure that people understand the connection between the contraceptive care that Planned Parenthood provides and women`s opportunity to create economic autonomy and success for themselves. And my personal story certainly is a great example of that. Had it not been for Planned Parenthood when I was a young teenage mother who was solely responsible for raising a child at a very young age, had it not been for the contraceptive care that I received at Planned Parenthood, I would not have been able to stay on my college education path and lift myself up and out of poverty. There are so many women in this country today who could tell that story. And it`s why this fight is so very important. This isn`t about Cecile Richards, it`s not about Planned Parenthood, it`s about a war on the very healthcare services that will provide women an opportunity to be autonomous and to take care of themselves and their families. And we have to make sure and fight to assure that they continue to have access to the services that they need to do that. O`DONNELL: Tammy Duckworth, quickly, before we go, when you`re in private conversations with Republicans and they say to you, look, Planned Parenthood doesn`t provide anything that women can`t get elsewhere. How do you respond to that? DUCKWORTH: Well, one of the things that happened in committee today, it was my colleague Jim Jordan from Ohio implied that if we didn`t fund Planned Parenthood, we could use that money for things like the Department of Defense. So, now he said, well, in the hearing actually, what I said was, you know, of all the women in the military who are victims of military sexual trauma, sometimes Planned Parenthood is their only source of the care that they need. And that to go after Planned Parenthood is really ironic because these are the same women who have defended, who -- and continue to defend the constitution for the rest of us. Yet, they don`t have the same rights to control their own reproductive rights and had we, you know, gotten rid of Planned Parenthood, the way the Republicans are going after it -- those women, women in the peace corps, women in government service wouldn`t have the same access as well. You don`t have those conversations with the Republicans. I wish we could find middle ground, I really do. But unfortunately, as you saw from today`s hearing, they`re not trying to find middle ground. They didn`t even give Miss Richards a chance to answer questions. It was all about political theater on the Republican side to browbeat Planned Parenthood. And instead of working on the nation`s budget, you know, reauthorizing the export-import bank on passing out transportation bill, we waste our time on this which was basically theater on the Republican side. O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis and Representative Tammy Duckworth, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. Thank you. Coming up, the weakest boycotter in the history of boycotts surrendered his latest boycott of "Fox News" tonight, and then could not answer the first question Bill O`Reilly asked him. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Donald Trump insists that his new tax plan won`t increase the deficit, but the Conservative Tax Foundation says Donald Trump`s tax plan would increase the deficit at least $12 trillion over ten years. The same group says Jeb Bush`s tax plan would increase the deficit more than $3 trillion and Marco Rubio`s tax plan would increase the deficit more than $4 trillion. Up next, Bill O`Reilly asked Donald Trump the very simplest question he could possibly ask him about the Trump tax plan and Donald Trump had no answer. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Who would you rather have negotiating? Trump or those clowns that are negotiating right now? (APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump! (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The self-proclaimed greatest negotiator in the world has failed in all of his public stunts as a negotiator while running for president. Donald Trump demanded that "Cnn" contribute $10 million to charity in order to get Donald Trump to participate in the last Republican debates. "Cnn" ignored the demand and Trump showed up for the debate anyway. We have now lost track of how many boycotts of "Fox News" Donald Trump has launched. But his most recent boycott was less than a week old when he completely surrendered on that boycott of "Fox News" and appeared tonight on the "O`Reilly Factor" where Bill O`Reilly stumped Donald Trump with his first very simple question. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: What specific tax deductions will you banish as president in your tax plan? TRUMP: Well, one thing we`re doing is, we`re getting rid of the carried address which, you know, gives hedge fund guys -- (CROSSTALK) O`REILLY: Sorry, but we know all that -- TRUMP: It`s going to be a phenomenal -- O`REILLY: We all -- we know all that. All right, so this earned interest thing you`re going to get away with. How about deductions for private jets that they get? Are they knocked out? TRUMP: Well, if they use it in business, it`s a business tool -- (CROSSTALK) O`REILLY: All right, so you`re not going to knock out that, how about -- TRUMP: A certain -- O`REILLY: How about season tickets at the Yankees? TRUMP: If it`s used for business, we`re not knocking that out because that really is something having to do with business -- O`REILLY: OK -- TRUMP: You take people to games, you take people to whatever you`re doing, but that`s a positive thing, that`s a positive thing for the economy -- O`REILLY: But I`m trying to get -- TRUMP: We don`t want to -- Bill, we don`t want to hurt -- what we don`t want to do is we don`t want to hurt business. We want to inspire business. O`REILLY: I got that -- TRUMP: We want to inspire -- O`REILLY: So, the only thing I`m hearing that you`re going to knock out with these hedge fund guys carrying money from one year to the next. And I don`t know if that`s going to be enough to stop the debt from rising another $5 trillion. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, E.J. Dionne, opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an Msnbc analyst, also with us, April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for "American Urban Radio Networks". And David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones and an Msnbc analyst. April, Donald Trump -- the key to his plan is I`m going to knock out all those deductions which he calls unfair and obsolete, both on the business side and on the personal income side of tax law. He`s going to get rid of those deductions, Bill O`Reilly asked him to name one, other than the carried interest thing, which is the only one he`s talked about. Asked him to name one, he can`t name one. He should have kept up that boycott of "Fox News" maybe for tonight. APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, he had a temper tantrum and he went back to "Fox News". But Bill O`Reilly was right, he wanted answers and that`s what reporters want to know, and not just reporters, but people want to know. And basically, Bill O`Reilly was also talking about the luxury tax, you know, for games and private jets. And we are a nation right now that`s still in debt and we are a nation trying to climb out of debt. And how do you propose to do that? By cutting taxes when that could also -- when we`re in debt, it could lead to more job losses and it can lead to a spiraling economy that goes back down where it was, maybe even worse than it was. So, you have to be very careful about taxing and not taxing and he didn`t want to talk about a luxury tax either. O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, he had said that he will not touch any deductions involving charitable giving and he will not touch anything about the mortgage. Interest deduction which is one of the single biggest expenditures in the tax code. And so, he has no answer, absolutely no answer to what would he actually change. You know, he`s talked about these deductions being unfair and obsolete, he doesn`t seem to know what they are. E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, well, I think after that tough questioning from Bill O`Reilly, he`s going to announce another ten-minute boycott of "Fox News". I mean, he asked him the most basic question. And here is -- I think, the problem Trump is running into. That he was running as the anti-politician. And now he is behaving exactly like the politicians whom people say they dislike. The politicians who don`t give straight answers. This tax plan is amazing because he`s been out there saying over and over again, I`m going to raise taxes on the rich. And every analysis so far, especially if he doesn`t even get rid of those deductions which aren`t actually that big a deal, every analysis shows this really cuts taxes on the rich. Larry Kudlow, the great supply-sider loved this plan, that tells you it`s not a progressive tax plan. And so he`s going to -- I think he is in grave danger of completely giving up the very thing that people who liked him thought they liked about him. O`DONNELL: One of the great tax code provisions that Donald Trump lives on and everybody in the commercial real estate business lives on is the depreciation of commercial real estate. You know, if your house -- you buy a house, you`re not allowed to depreciate it for a very good reason -- it doesn`t depreciate. It goes up -- DIONNE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: In value, you know, as you`re living in it. So, too, with office buildings, they don`t actually depreciate, they go up in value, but commercial real estate owners are allowed to pretend that they depreciate and deduct that. And David Corn, if I got one tax question to Donald Trump, it would be about the depreciation of commercial real estate. I will never get that question, so he doesn`t have to worry about his answer to that. DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, Lawrence, you know, details are for losers. O`DONNELL: That`s right -- CORN: I mean, we`re just going to get -- O`DONNELL: But he`s the -- (CROSSTALK) He said, he`s the master -- CORN: I know, I know -- O`DONNELL: Of the tax code -- CORN: I know the expert to -- O`DONNELL: He says this is his real house -- (CROSSTALK) CORN: Big tax -- the big tax minds of the world, they make your head spin -- O`DONNELL: Right -- CORN: And we`re going to figure it out, OK? I said we`re going to raise taxes, we will! I mean, this is his routine, he`ll play it again and again and again. I mean, he does -- I mean, April and E.J. are right. He gets perilous territory when he starts getting into details. Because what he`s selling to the Republican base is not policy, it`s passion, it`s anger, it`s frustration, it`s desperation. And as long as he keeps peddling that, his numbers are high. If he starts trying to actually put that into specific ideas that he can be challenged on or he can look quite as E.J. said, a politician who`s trying to, you know, flim-flam people, then he loses his big sales point, his sales pitch. Which is, I know how you feel, just put me in charge and I`ll take care of things and you won`t believe how much success, you`ll be tired of all the success we`ll have. You`ll impeach me because I`m doing such a good job and you`re bored with it (INAUDIBLE) -- DIONNE: Trump got it down, you got to run yourself, you can replace Trump. O`DONNELL: Now, Bill O`Reilly did talk to him about the spending side tonight, asked him for a specific example of what he would cut in spending and O`Reilly was a little luckier with that question. Let`s listen to how that went. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: Well, give me one big -- TRUMP: The way they spend money -- O`REILLY: One big thing -- (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Drunken -- O`REILLY: One big thing you`re going to cut right away -- TRUMP: I am going to cut big, Department of Education as an example. I`m a believer -- I mean, you have somebody like Jeb Bush and Rubio and others, they`re big into big education and big -- and I`m all for education. I want to be local. Department of education, tremendous cuts. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: April Ryan, the first thing he wants to cut, education. RYAN: And that`s the worst thing that he can cut. Right now, the Department of Education in this country is seeing more students across the board graduate high school than ever. And right now, even having a high school education, you don`t get much and you have to go into after graduation from high school. You have to go into college or into a trade school or community college to get something that is sustainable or at least something that you can halfway sustain yourself. So, cutting education right now when we are a nation that depends highly on education is just something that`s just unfathomable. And you have to also remember, there is an inequity in education already and those who have, will pay more in property taxes -- we`re talking about taxes again. Those who pay more in property taxes have better school districts, better educational systems in their districts versus those who don`t. So, he`s already got little marks on that from me when it comes to talking about education as I report on that all the time. O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to take a break here, up next, the Republican anarchy in the House of Representatives. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you be different as a speaker compared to Mr. Boehner? REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Be careful. I am standing right here. (LAUGHING) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER,: I will not, ask him. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the clear favorite to replace the resigning speaker John Boehner speaking today. House republicans met at 5:00 P.M. today to discuss their post Boehner strategy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. CARLOS CURBELO, (R) FLORIDA: That was a good therapy session for our conference. Everyone shared their views. Everyone shared their frustrations, and I think we are in a better place now. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: An unnamed senior republican lawmaker said this about the meeting. "I have no f-ing idea what the point was." Joining us now, Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of today`s Op-Ed piece in "The New York Times" "Anarchy in the House." Geoff, could you tell us your view of what is going on in the house as a republican observer of this and the history of it? GEOFFREY KABASERVICE, HISTORIAN: Well, you know, there is a saying that history does not repeat itself but it rhymes. And, I think that what we are seeing is in many ways a replay of the era in the early 1960s when you had these enthusiasts around the Goldwater Campaign. And, you see some of the same attitudes repeating themselves now in the party. There is an abhorrence of compromise. There is a belief that people, who are even slightly to your right are not just mistaken, but are traitors to be destroyed. And, there is a sense that it is better to actually stop government from working at all than to allow any kind of passage or legislation to which you might object. O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, do you hear echoes of gold waterism here? DIONNE: Right. Well, you know, in Geoff`s great book on the decline and fall of moderate republicans, what you realize, I think is that the Republican Party has never been the same since Goldwater. I mean you used to have a lot of liberals in it, Javitz and case and the Faiz and Ed Brook. Those liberals are gone. And, most people who are now called moderates are really just moderate conservatives. There is a great quote in "The Washington Post" from Trent Lott, who basically said, I used to be on the right flank, and I quote him now, and now I am an establishment moderate. When the hell did that happen? And, so, I think there has been a fundamental change in the party that it is very hard to come back from. And, I think the problem for the right wing of that caucus is they do not have enough numbers to take over, but they have enough numbers to disrupt. Kim Strossel in "The Wall Street Journal" said they can obstruct the leadership agenda but cannot elect one of their own leaders. This is a recipe for a permanent conflict in that caucus. O`DONNELL: April Ryan, we have, what is I think fairly labeled anarchy in the house in the last week, which is now in many ways starting to mirror the presidential campaign, where you have things that I think most longtime republican observers would consider out of control with the Trump campaign and the crazy name calling that goes back and forth. Their behavior that we have never seen in the presidential campaign before. RYAN: Yes. I think we are watching the Republican Party implode on itself. It is so different from the `60s. You know, there was more of a cohesion than there is now. And, I think when we see these presidential candidates say what they say and do what they say, they are trying to appeal to just one certain group, instead of the broad base. I do not care if it is the general or the primary. They are appealing to one sect, this group that they think can get them over the top. And, that is a problem right now, because it is very divisive. But, also we need to watch what is happening in the house when it comes to the speaker. I polled a lot of congressional leaders. And, some of them said, you know, no matter what party, the power is gone, really stripped from many of the speakers, whether it is democrat or republican, because we do not have earmarks. And, those earmarks would really give the leader, the speaker of the house the power that used to be in that position. So, we will just see how all of this plays out as everyone vies for a position, be it presidential candidate or speaker of the house position. O`DONNELL: Geoff, how much of what we are watching could be attributed to just individual egotism of saying the wild thing is what will get me on camera. KABASERVICE: I think there is a lot of that. I mean the more outrageous you are, the more the media loves you. If you set your hair on fire, the T.V. camera will be there to watch. But, on the other hand, you know, I actually find myself slightly temperamentally miscast here as a semi- optimist. I think that while E.J. is correct the Republican Party as a whole is more conservative than it was back in the 1960s, certainly, there is still a comparative moderate wing that wants to govern as well as a wing that does not want to govern. And, surprisingly, this has actually been a fairly productive house session by the standards of past years. There is a number of terrific bills that have come forward, including the 21st century cures act. There has been entitlement reforms, the first time in a very long time. There is the potential for the Republican Party to govern. But, there is a group that really does not want to see it happen. And, this is because the populist spirit has infected both this far right group in the house and the presidential campaigns increasingly. O`DONNELL: Well, the sniping back and forth spirit of the presidential campaign continues. And, I think Donald Trump might have to renew his boycott of Fox News because we are going to show you Marco Rubio who is just on Fox News swinging back at Donald Trump. Let us listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is very clear he is a very insecure person. He does not like to be criticized. You know, the presidency is a tough job. You are going to be criticized and you cannot flip out every time somebody says something about you. He does. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: April Ryan, there is Rubio going right at the spot, that if you are going to create voter doubt about Donald Trump, that is sort of the generic spot to do it. RYAN: You know, I want to say this as a reporter who has covered three presidents for the last 18 years. If Donald Trump comes to the White House, he better put on a tough skin because we will ask him questions. And, he may not like it, if he wants to boycott the press, the public will be upset. Because you know what, we are the first line of questioning the president and even presidential candidates. People need to know what is going on and he cannot have these temper tantrums and wonder why people are asking him questions. He got to step up to the plate and he got to answer, because he wants to be the leader of the free world. He wants to have the seat of power. He wants to rule from the oval office, and he is got to answer some questions so people understand, who he is and where he is coming from. O`DONNELL: April, you and I have to hold hands and come to terms on this. I am never going to get to ask Donald Trump a tax question and you are never going to get to ask him a question in the White House. RYAN: Lawrence, you know what? I am not going to say never. O`DONNELL: In the white house. RYAN: I am not going to say never. O`DONNELL: In the White House. RYAN: I am not going to say never, because he is going to one day answer my question. I have been calling him for a couple of years. He will one day answer my questions. (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: Oh, no, I think you are -- I think you will get to him. But, I do not think you will be talking to him in the White House when that time comes. E.J. go ahead. (LAUGHING) DIONNE: Oh, no. I was saying she is more optimistic than Geoff. You know, Rubio shows that he is a fairly sured politician, because some of the other republicans, notably Jeb Bush were kicking Trump when he was up. And, now Rubio is kicking him when he seems to be on the way down. And, so I think his timing is very good. And, just in terms of the Republican Party and the leadership, I think the other thing that has happened is that the political wing, the elected wing has lost a lot of power, both to conservative media Fox and the right-wing talk shows, and to the people that have been called the radical rich. These big donors and so the politicians do not have the power they used to have. O`DONNELL: Geoff Kabaservice, great piece in "The New York Times" today and thank you for joining us tonight. April Ryan, , E.J. Dionne, thank you for joining us. Coming up, Michelle Obama at the Apollo theatre today. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Today, at the United Nations, President Obama chaired a meeting on how to fight the Islamic state. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ideologies are not defeated with guns. They are defeated by better ideas, a more attractive and compelling vision. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: After the president said that this morning, a bipartisan congressional task force released a report saying, "The United States is failing to stop Americans from joining the Islamic state. According to the reports says, of the hundreds of Americans, who have sought to travel to the battle field in Syria and Iraq, authorities have only interdicted a fraction of them. Several dozen have also managed to make it back into America. Some of them arrested on terror charges, though most have not. Joining us now is William McCants, director of the project on U.S. Relations with Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of the new book, "The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State." He attended today`s forum at the U.N. on how to fight ISIS. Also back with us is David Corn. Will McCants, what is the current estimate of the size of the Islamic State fighting force? WILLIAM MCCANTS, AUTHOR, "THE ISIS APOCALYPSE": Numbers vary -- the number I saw today was something like 30,000. It is various between that, maybe upwards of 50,000 even. O`DONNELL: Well, in this report, this congressional report, they said 30,000 foreign fighters. And, 2,500 of those, westeners, 250 of those Americans. So, I would assume they have more than just the so-called, foreign fighters. MCCANTS: That is true. They have a lot of locals as well. O`DONNELL: And, the latest idea of the week is let Vladimir Putin fight the Islamic State in Syria with Assad. MCCANTS: Well, that is if he would actually do it. But, Assad has been a part of a problem since the beginning. He allowed a lot of Jihadist to leave his prisons and they feel the rise of the Islamic states. So, he is not a very reliable partner. O`DONNELL: David Corn, so far, this has not been a big issue in the presidential campaign. CORN: Right. O`DONNELL: And, I am not sure what might happen to turn it into a big issue in the presidential campaign. But, the Putin entrance seems to have changed the dialogue a little bit. CORN: Well -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead. CORN: A few republican candidates have tried to, you know, make Obama -- you know, charged that Obama has been feckless and tie Hillary Clinton to the failed Obama Policy in Iraq. That is their take on it. And, I think, you know, the problem is, if you know, press down on any of these republican candidates and say, "Well, what would you do differently?" You know, "Would you put boots on the ground? Would you put more American fire power, what would you do?" You know, they are very, very vague, because they know the American public does not want greater military intervention or at least is skeptical about it. Putin coming in now changes the dynamic a lit bit because it gives the republicans another narrative. Obama, you know, looks weak compared to Putin. You know, Obama should not talk to Putin. You know, John McCain was all over that. And, as Obama tries to work out some perhaps arrangement with Iran and Russia here in the Middle East. I can see the republicans again being very, very critical without putting forward any alternative. O`DONNELL: Will McCants, what would you say should be done differently in this fight with ISIS? It is interesting, the Islamic State in 2010 when they were failed and tried to make a comeback, identified the tribes as the center of the conflict. And, they could not win over the tribes. They could not win their state. The model that they turned to in order to reconstitute their effort was what the Americans had done in Iraq back in 2007. The Arab Sunni tribes are at the center of this conflict. Whatever U.S. strategy that is adapted, it has to have the -- O`DONNELL: What did they adapt? What policy that the United States use to the Islamic state adapt? MCCANTS: This model of working with local tribal protection forces paid them off, bringing them on side with money, was what they identified that the Americans had done right. And, they also believe to some model. They could follow and that they have followed. O`DONNELL: And, so, how do you counter that now? MCCANTS: Well, you have to work with other forces on the ground that are going to be able to clear out the Islamic State. But, once they are cleared out, you have to empower the local Sunni tribes. There is not many forces to work with, but at least in Syria, you can work with the Kurds in the north. O`DONNELL: Is that a troop commitment? MCCANTS: No, it is not a troop commitment. O`DONNELL: How do you do it without a troop commitment? MCCANTS: You used special forces to embed with local forces like the Kurdish forces to help clear out those areas. Call in air strikes. But, once they are cleared, the crucial part of it is empowering the local Arab tribes. O`DONNELL: And, so how many special forces do you need for that? MCCANTS: I do not know. I am not a military expert, but I would not say it is over 1,000. O`DONNELL: David Corn, there does not -- I do not think the American public is going to have any confidence in any plan announced here since there is nothing in the American record in these kinds of interventions to build confidence. CORN: I think you are right. I think to the public it seem an intractable problem. And, they just want someone to make it go away. They do not want to think about these things. And, you know, I think the political challenge is that whatever Obama would propose now, if it is what will said, will be attacked by someone for not being enough without anyone coming forward with a better alternative. And, it is probably going to take years in whatever the plan is to have an impact. O`DONNELL: David Corn and Will McCants, thank you both for joining us, tonight. I appreciate it. Up next, a conservative New Hampshire Newspaper now wants Joe Biden to run for president. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KRISTIAN JENSEN, DENMARK FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: Mr. President -- vice president, I am sorry. I am -- well, good, can be, who knows. If you have something you want to tell us here, please let us know. (LAUGHING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: He was talking to Joe Biden, the Danish Foreign Minister accidentally promoted Joe Biden to President today at the U.N. in that little clip. New Hampshire`s largest newspaper now wants to see Joe Biden run for the president. This weekend, the conservative editorial board of New Hampshire Union Leader urged the vice president to get into the race. Robert Wolf a fundraiser Recently at a private meeting told Bloomberg yesterday, it feels each and every day for President Obama and Hillary Clinton who recently had a private meeting with Joe Biden told Bloomberg yesterday, "It feels each and every day that it is getting closer, seems like he is leaning toward eventually running." Wolf, still says he is committed to Hillary Clinton. Up next, Michelle Obama at the Apollo. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We are starting to learn a little bit about what Michelle Obama wants to do after she leaves the White House. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELL OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I also want to do little things like, you know, open a window. I cannot open my windows. I really cannot. The window opens if I press it in the car. Everybody is like, "Oh, my God, what was that?" One day, as a treat, my lead agent let me have the windows open on the way to camp David. It was like five minutes out and it was like, "The window is open, enjoy it." I was like thanks, Alan. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Up next, there is something more serious that the first lady wants to focus on after she leaves the White House. And, I have a suggestion about how you can help her with that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT, CBS HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Is there anything on a bucket list, anything you wanted to sort of do as a first lady or -- MICHELLE OBAMA: As a person -- COKBERT: Or as a person, you know? (LAUGHING) MICHELLE OBAMA: Having some movement on girl`s education, because that is kind of work that Barack and I want to do long after we leave the White House. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The Obama administration has joined the effort of the "Let Girls Learn" in an effort to help the 62 million girls worldwide who are unable to go to school. The first step in Michelle Obama is efforts has been to raise awareness in the United States about those 62 million girls. Today, she spoke to an audience in New York City area of school girls about "Let Girls Learn." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA: For me, this is personal. When I think about those 62 million girls that are not in school, I think about myself, I think about my daughters because quite frankly, all these girls, these are our girls. And, I think about where I would be in my life if I did not work hard in school and have the opportunity to go to college and then on to law school. I would not be here. So, I think it is imperative, and it is part of my passion and my mission to make sure that every girl on the planet has the same opportunity that I have had, that my daughters have. And, I want to make sure that all of you here in the United States are taking advantage of that opportunities that you have as well. I want you to be that hungry to get your education, because it is going to be the key to your future. Right now, you are influencing somebody probably younger than you in your life. You are already mentors, because there are girls in your communities that are looking up to you. So, what are you going to tell them? You are going to tell them to stay in school. Take this stuff to heart, read, write, go to school, do not be late. Do your homework. We want you guys to know about these 62 million girls, and we want this to spur and inspire you to not take your education for granted. Because let me tell you, there is 62 million girls around the world, who would give anything to be in your position. This is no joke. This issue is probably one of the most important issues that we should be tackling on the planet. So, we need you to be as pumped up and focused about this issue as we all are. Because we cannot do this unless you all are taking on the reins and you are using your voices. And, you do not have to be the first lady to have a huge voice and to have influence. We want to end poverty, global poverty. If we want to improve the plight of our country, educating girls is the key to all of that. It just is. It is plain and simple. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And, you do not have to be the first lady to help girls stay in school. One way you can help girls stay in school is by contributing to the K.I.N.D. Funds -- Kids In Need of Desks, which in addition to providing desks for African schools, provides scholarships for girls to attend high school in Malawi where, unfortunately, there are no free public high schools. There is tuition for all those schools and there are very few girls in those African countries, who can afford. Up next, the Emmy winning, Chris Hayes. END