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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 10/14/15

Guests: Maria Teresa Kumar, Howard Dean, Josh Barro, Rep. Mo Brooks, AymanMohyeldin, Kimberly Conner

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: So, Rachel, Rand Paul has discovered that the big problem with life is that it`s live. MADDOW: Is that it`s live -- O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s rough. MADDOW: It`s -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- MADDOW: Particularly rough if you actually say what you`re thinking. O`DONNELL: All right, here we go, I`m going to go live. (LAUGHTER) Thanks, Rachel -- MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: It is hard to imagine how Hillary Clinton could have had a better night last night. It was as if she planned it all. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I`m feeling really lucky in Las Vegas. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first Democratic debate turned into a big night for Hillary Clinton. DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: And I tweeted, I tweeted. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought she mopped the floor with this group. EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was almost like an NBA player stopping by a pickup game on the local playground. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was the question everyone knew was coming that produced the moment of the night. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails. CLINTON: Thank you! Me, too! Me too! (CHEERS) (APPLAUSE) SANDERS: You`re welcome -- CLINTON: Thank you! TRUMP: I personally thought she won the debate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She just tied herself to Barack Obama`s hip. CLINTON: He asked me to become Secretary of State, he valued my judgment. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was, I believe, all about shadow-boxing with Joe Biden. JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was proud -- I thought they all did well. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In your heart of hearts, you have to be hoping he doesn`t get into this race at this point. CLINTON: I`m not hoping anything about that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the time has come for a decision. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The debate went so well for Hillary Clinton, so perfectly, that at times it was as if she had planned the whole thing. Everything, I mean everything from who would be standing beside her on that stage to who the Republican frontrunner would be. Everything. Just think about it. What was Hillary Clinton`s big problem before this campaign season got started? Her big problem was a big number. This number -- 73. Polling in 2014 showed Hillary Clinton with 73 percent support among Democrats. And the problem with such a big number like that is that it made her nomination inevitable and inevitable is boring and boring hasn`t worked in presidential politics since Dwight Eisenhower. The Democratic presidential nomination looked like it was going to be a coronation and no one wanted that, including Hillary Clinton. She knew she needed Democratic primary opponents, she didn`t want it to look like she was just being handed the nomination, she wanted to look like she had to win it. And she knew she needed some batting practice. She didn`t want the general election debate with the Republican nominee next year to be her first time on a debate stage in eight years. If Hillary Clinton could have picked her main challenger for the Democratic nomination, she would have picked Bernie Sanders in a second. She wanted someone more liberal than she is in the race, so she could appear more moderate to general election voters. She didn`t want to face a cool, hip, young liberal like Barack Obama again. She wanted to face someone who could be caricatured. Someone who even Anderson Cooper could write an attack ad against off the top of his head. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: The Republican attack ad against you in a general election, it writes itself. You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, you honeymooned in the Soviet Union and -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh -- COOPER: And just this weekend, you said you`re not a capitalist. Doesn`t that ad write itself? (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Bernie Sanders is more of a socialist than Hillary Clinton and the other candidates on that stage last night, but not much more. They all support our big socialist programs like Social Security and Medicare as do most Republicans. Republicans would like to spend less on those programs, but that means they`re still willing to fund socialist programs. And most of the media has no idea that our economy is actually a mix of socialism and capitalism. It`s what Hillary Clinton was referring to when she said this -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: It`s our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism so that it doesn`t run amok and doesn`t cause the kind of inequities that we`re seeing in our economic system. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And how do we rein in capitalism? With socialism. The way we temper capitalism is with small and sometimes large doses of socialism. For example, since pure free market capitalism would lead to tragic outcomes in the healthcare market place, we have over decades introduced a bunch of socialist programs and heavy regulation to temper the cruelty of free market capitalism in the healthcare sector. Bernie Sanders might be the only American politician who understood this "Newsweek" cover story six years ago: "We are all socialists now." Meaning we all accept and depend on certain amounts of socialism in our government. But Bernie Sanders is the only American politician brave enough or unwise enough, depending on your perspective to actually admit that. That word, socialist, which is completely misunderstood by most Americans is part of what makes Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton`s ideal challenger. Fifty percent of American voters say they will never vote for a socialist candidate for president. There`s something else about Bernie Sanders that is very helpful to Hillary Clinton. While Hillary Clinton lost her first presidential campaign, many pundits said back then that she would be too old to run for president eight years down the road at age 67. Seventy four-year-old Bernie Sanders makes Hillary Clinton look younger by the day. When Bernie Sanders got in the race, he took no support away from Hillary Clinton, absolutely none. He was the perfect challenger. Bernie`s surge in the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa has no doubt worried Hillary Clinton, but she has maintained a solid 20-point lead in national polls. And without the Bernie surge, Hillary would not have gotten this headline today -- "Clinton Crushes It". The Bernie Sanders surge in the polls and the huge crowds he has been attracting created some real suspense for the first Democratic presidential debate. At 8:00 p.m. last night, no one knew who was going to win that debate. So the outcome was that much more exciting for pundits and headline writers who have almost unanimously and breathlessly given the win to the candidate who was supposed to be the boring, inevitable nominee just a few months ago and last night was never boring and never in trouble. Even when the debate exposed the biggest problem that Hillary Clinton has ever had with liberal voters -- her vote to authorize the Iraq war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: Well, I recall very well, being on a debate stage, I think about 25 times with then Senator Obama debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State, he valued my judgment and I spent a lot of time with him -- (APPLAUSE) Well, in the situation room going over some very difficult issues. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: What if President Obama never offered her that job? Imagine if Hillary Clinton was standing on that stage as just another senator who was wrong about Iraq, standing beside two senators who were right about Iraq; Bernie Sanders and Lincoln Chafee. It`s as if she planned it all, including taking the job of Secretary of State so she could have that line ready at that moment that was sure to come in her next presidential debate. But Hillary Clinton couldn`t have planned all of this, and she couldn`t have arranged for the Republicans to have a complete governing ignoramus as their frontrunner. A man who offends large voting groups in every speech. A man who voters associate primarily with the word "idiot" when asked for a one-word description of him. A man who, by the way, is two years older than Hillary Clinton. We know that Bill Clinton encouraged Donald Trump to run for president, but we now know that Donald Trump would have run without that encouragement So, no, Hillary Clinton didn`t plan the Bernie Sanders candidacy. She didn`t talk him into running so she could have some batting practice last night. She didn`t do that with the other helpful and forgettable supporting cast on the stage including Jim Webb who so conveniently running to her right. But it all played so perfectly last night that it looked like she did plan it all, especially when in what could have become her only difficult moment, she was saved by her ideal challenger, Bernie Sanders. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails! CLINTON: Thank you! Me, too! Me, too! (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton didn`t plan that moment and she didn`t arrange the seeding plan on this year`s Republican clown car with Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the front. She couldn`t have planned all of that. No one could, it is just too perfect. It`s better than what any political fiction writer could come up with. Hillary Clinton didn`t plan all of that, she just got lucky and that`s the kind of luck that wins the White House. Joining us now, Josh Barro, a "New York Times" reporter and an Msnbc contributor. Also with us, Governor Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and an Msnbc political analyst. And Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino and host of "CHANGING AMERICA" on shift by Msnbc. MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: Hello -- O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, as a former presidential candidate and candidate for governor in Vermont, you know luck matters, and luck lives in campaigns and there`s good luck and bad luck. When you look at the luck that has lined up for Hillary Clinton to put her where she was standing last night, it is kind of an amazing set of perfect coincidences. HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: There is no question that luck plays a big role. On the other hand, she`s an incredibly talented person. O`DONNELL: Sure, that`s very important -- DEAN: And I think -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- DEAN: That the hill that she climbed last night was the hill that every, really serious candidate has to climb. And Bernie has already climbed it because he`s been there for his whole career. And that is, are you speaking out of conviction? And I think for the most part, she was. What you saw was something pretty close to the real Hillary Clinton last night and the politics of authenticity and the politics of conviction I think almost, always wins. O`DONNELL: And Maria Teresa, I have to say, I thought it was the best performance, debate performance I have seen her deliver, including her Senate debates in New York which were good. This was just better. KUMAR: But I -- it`s exactly what Howard is saying, is that, she -- you actually saw a genuine Hillary Clinton coming out, and you saw the authenticity that people have been wanting to see. And she didn`t seem rehearsed, she didn`t seem practiced and it was interesting. It was almost as if she knew that the only other person that she was really debating on that stage wasn`t on that stage, that it was actually Biden. The number of times that she mentioned her closeness to President Obama was basically trying to signal to people, one, Biden, don`t come in and two, you don`t need Biden because you have me. O`DONNELL: And Josh, we know -- if you know anything about debates, we know that the line about President Obama, "trust my judgment" was written, was rehearsed, was memorized but was delivered as if it had just occurred to her. JOSH BARRO, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes -- no, I mean, this is the issue that did her -- in 2008 and she just wants to be able to walk past it and say that was asked and answered. I lost one election over that, I don`t have to lose two elections over that. But this also gets to a thing that I think relates to what both Howard and Maria Teresa said. Which is that, the fundamentals in this campaign are very good for Hillary Clinton. The Democratic Party is pretty well aligned on policy, Hillary Clinton is very much within the mainstream of that party. She is the best known candidate, the most experienced candidate available there. She`s the person they should nominate. She is the person who is most likely to win a general election on that stage. So she ought to win the debate. She ought to be the person who comes off the best in the debate, so I think those fundamentals were very good for her. I don`t really view this as luck, I view it as her being the best positioned candidate and the most talented candidate up there. So, it`s not surprising that she won. Only it looked surprising because she has had a rough few months in the campaign, partly because expectations were so high for her. But I`m not surprised by this. I don`t think this is a lucky outcome. This is the outcome that should have been expected. O`DONNELL: Joe Biden, when we were about 45 minutes into this debate, I kind of said, geez, I don`t -- I don`t miss Joe Biden. (LAUGHTER) DEAN: Yes -- O`DONNELL: And Howard Dean, it seemed that one of the Biden calculations a couple of weeks ago was -- the team Biden would be thinking, let them have the first debate. Let it be boring, let it be uneventful, they agree on everything, it won`t be terribly interesting and let Democrats look at that and say, is that all we`ve got. That didn`t exactly play out that way last night -- DEAN: It didn`t, it didn`t. But also, there`s a certain amount of fantasy in the Biden bid. Look, he`s a guy -- everybody has enormous sympathy for, everybody has a lot of respect for, he`s been a terrific vice president. He has a 100 percent name recognition among Democratic primary voters and he`s not in the campaign yet. So, 22 percent is his ceiling, not his floor. And so this is fanciful inside the beltway thinking to think he`s going to come in, no matter what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders do and make that up because he`s at 22 percent. That`s his -- that`s his ceiling. So, I always thought that he would get in if his heart told him to do it because (AUDIO GAP 00:04:13-17) they were being honest would say don`t do it. O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, Hillary Clinton`s next big moment in the spotlight is going to be next week at the Benghazi hearing. And just tonight, we have another Republican Congressman saying something that is pretty helpful to Secretary Clinton about this. This is an Upstate New York Congressman and in his district, he may find that Hillary Clinton might be more popular than he is at this point following up. But he said on radio today, "sometimes the biggest -- I`m sorry, this is -- this is the part down here that`s relevant is, "this may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton." And Maria Teresa, he`s saying that to constituents, many of whom voted for Hillary Clinton for senator up there. KUMAR: Well, and this is the thing. Everybody was holding on to see whether or not the Benghazi hearings were going to be the death of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. But the fact that you have McCarthy coming out, you have now representative Hannah coming out and saying that they were going on a witch-hunt and using this as a guise, they don`t have any credibility. It`s going to be very -- credibility, it`s going to be very difficult now to tune in and listen because they`re already saying, you know, what, this is a witch-hunt. They`re not really trying to get to the truth of the matter. O`DONNELL: And Josh Barro, he went even further on this, I mean, he really turned against Kevin McCarthy and the committee and the additional comments he made on that radio show. Saying, you know, they spent all this money on this thing and this is really what they were up to. And again, so this is a -- this is another Republican Congressman and he`s not saying it as a kind of slip of the tongue as it were from Kevin McCarthy. BARRO: Yes -- no, I mean, I wonder if this is a symptom of the broader breakdown in the Republican Conference in the house, obviously, there are a lot of things Republicans -- O`DONNELL: Yes, would you have said that a month ago? BARRO: Right, yes -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- BARRO: I know -- O`DONNELL: Right -- BARRO: I wonder, but I also -- this has always seem to me like the people you hear talking a lot about Benghazi and Hillary Clinton are people who were already predisposed to hate Hillary Clinton. So, I`ve always wondered about this idea that the Benghazi Committee was as Kevin McCarthy suggested it was; a significant drive of the decline in her poll numbers. I think this was an issue for Republican base voters who were going to be against her either way. Now, the e-mail scandal is something that had broader impact because it created an FBI inquiry and it created questions about handling of classified materials. You could complain about, you know, regardless of where you were on the political spectrum, but again, I think, as Bernie Sanders put it in the campaign, that reads as a very inside baseball issue. So even though I do think that this was in many ways a politically- motivated investigation, it`s not clear to me it`s actually been an effective political strategy. DEAN: Well, I think this is a very big danger for the Republicans if they had brains, which so far they`ve given no indication that they do, they`d cancel this hearing and get rid of the committee. This is become -- Hillary Clinton was preparing for this as an ordeal, it`s now an unbelievable opportunity for her. She can actually stuff 11 Congressmen or however many show up, because I don`t know that the Democrats are going to show up to this thing. And who are now portrayed as bullies, wasters of taxpayers` money and unbelievable. And -- KUMAR: Right -- DEAN: This is -- this can be her moment. This can -- this could clinch the presidency for her. O`DONNELL: Yes, they won`t cancel it, but they could for once run a Republican house committee hearing that is decent and sensible and calm and not crazy and wild. And everyone of them turns crazy at some point. We got to take a break here. Coming up, Republican reaction to last night`s debate, and the 40 members of the Republican Freedom Caucus are preventing house Republicans from agreeing on their next speaker. One of the members of the Republican Freedom Caucus will join me. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Up next, Republican reaction to the first Democratic debate and coming up, one of the Republicans who`s holding up the choice of speaker in the house of Representatives will join us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I think she did her job. I think she got through the debate. I personally thought she won the debate. I thought Bernie was off, he was not doing so well. I thought that the other people shouldn`t even be up there, to be honest with you. I thought a couple of them were ridiculous. But -- and the -- you know, it`s always tough when you have people that shouldn`t be there and they`re taking up a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of everything else. And you`d like to hear more from the people that really have a chance to win. I mean, in all fairness, the Republicans have the same situation going, so it`s one of those things. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: I wonder who shouldn`t be on that debate stage with the Republicans. That was Donald Trump`s reaction to last night`s debate. Marco Rubio may have found his new line of attack on the Republican frontrunner without even mentioning Donald Trump`s name. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: In the modern history of this country, never has there been a time when the political class is more out of touch than it is today. And I wish I could just say it`s a one political party, but it is in both. Leaders in both parties that are both out of touch and outdated; who do not remember what it was like to live paycheck to paycheck. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was Marco Rubio today in New Hampshire. Rubio struck another note of economic populism today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: I have full confidence that the American private sector made up of the most innovative and productive people on this planet won`t just create millions of jobs. They will create millions of jobs that pay more. Because even the jobs -- (APPLAUSE) Because even the jobs that are being created now don`t pay enough. You can`t live on $10 an hour. You can`t live on $11 an hour. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, talking about living paycheck to paycheck, all of that stuff certainly was drowned out in the first wave of Trumpism for the first couple of months of the Trump candidacy. Do you think there`s a chance for that kind of talk to resonate again with Republican voters while Trump is sitting at the top of this poll? KUMAR: Well, I think what Rubio is doing, he`s pivoting back to his original stances. For the last two years, he`s been going around the country talking about -- making sure that we are discussing poverty. He`s been a spokesperson for the one campaign, talking about the importance of decreasing it and going into really small socio-economic sectors in this country. The problem though, is that, you can`t expect corporate America to feel the burden and actually feel sorry enough for the little guy to ensure that they`re paying them a fair wage when that is actually against their -- against their core. Which is, how do you maximize profit? So, he`s trying to have it both ways, and I think the American people are actually smarter than that. O`DONNELL: Yes, here`s Marco Rubio, his position on the minimum wage. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: I`m not in favor of repealing what we have now. I just don`t think the minimum wage increase is the best way to increase wages for Americans. My problem with increasing minimum wage is what you`ve seen in cities and states that have gone to $15 an hour, and that is higher prices and less employment. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: So, Howard Dean, you can`t live on $10 an hour is one line of Marco Rubio, but he doesn`t want to increase the minimum wage to anything like $10 an hour. DEAN: Here`s the problem he`s going to have should he get through, and I`m not convinced he will, but he may. The problem he`s going to have in the debate, he`s going to get tangled up in this in the presidential debates. Because he doesn`t -- he`s trying to have it both ways, and inevitably when you`re trying to have it both ways, you have to pick a side. And he hasn`t done that and this is going to be a big problem for him. Eventually, when there are not 10 people on the stage to distract everybody and there`s only two, if he`s one of them, he`s got a problem if he can`t work this out. O`DONNELL: Josh, it sounds old-fashioned, doesn`t it? For a candidate who is running against Trump in Trump world to be talking about the struggles of living paycheck to paycheck. BARRO: Well, the strange thing about this is that, there`s -- Republican field, the one who has been most successful at appealing to middle class economic concerns has been Donald Trump. Trump has had a relentless message about how the rich are buying off Washington and leaving the rest of you behind. Trump is separated from the rest of the Republican field on trade issues, saying that the U.S. needs a much more protectionist trade policy to protect American jobs and raise wages and create jobs for workers. Everyone else in the Republican field is pretty much pro-free trade. And so, yes, you have Marco Rubio talking about his upbringing and how he was not born rich like a lot of the other candidates, including Donald Trump. But then when you look at his platform, is not just minimum wage issue, he also has a tax plan that is an enormous tax cut for people at the top, cuts tax rates on capital gains and dividend income all the way to zero. So, yes, he can say, you know, the party has gotten out of touch, but his economic plan is out of touch as well. And I think, you know, I disagree a little bit on the minimum wage issue. I think the Democrats think this is a great issue for them, certainly, it`s true the minimum wage increases are popular. Democrats have not been winning elections on this, probably because it`s not really an issue for middle income people. It`s an issue for the working poor. Neither party really has a coherent message about what they`re going to do -- KUMAR: But actually -- BARRO: For people who are already making $20 or $30 an hour, who can`t get a wage -- KUMAR: Josh -- BARRO: Increase through regulation -- KUMAR: But Josh, if you remember the midterm elections where you found -- you found four state -- BARRO: Right -- KUMAR: Senators that were running, they were running on a platform of being Republican. But the ones that at the same time down ballot the initiatives that won were minimum wage. So, this is actually issue that resonates across party lines and -- BARRO: But I think that -- KUMAR: That`s why I think it`s one of the reasons why you actually see Marco Rubio talking about it. Because he knows that even in Arkansas where a red senator basically won, all of a sudden, the minimum wage was passed. BARRO: Right, I know, but that`s exactly my point. You could pass a minimum wage increase in Arkansas, but it did not do Republicans -- it did not do Democrats any good in elections in Arkansas. It`s an issue where people agree with Democrats but they`re not necessarily walking into the voting booth, and saying I`m going to pick an elected official who agrees with me on the minimum wage. They`re looking for somebody who speaks to their personal economic concerns; the minimum wage is a personal concern for many voters but not for a lot of voters in the middle of the economic spectrum. So, I think, yes, Republicans don`t have a message there, but Democrats don`t have one either. And that`s why those wins on minimum wage did not translate into wins in elections for Democrats. KUMAR: But I do think that`s one of the reasons why Rubio is actually is hitting something. They realize that -- he realizes that the majority of the Republican base unfortunately is struggling daily, paycheck to paycheck. So, this is a way for him to resonate and actually move himself away from Trump. O`DONNELL: And Howard Dean, when Republicans like Rubio go for this kind of economic populism, as you say, they end up being boxed in by the wrong policies in these areas, but as Josh referred to the tax plan. Analysis of Rubio`s tax plan indicates that the top 1 percent would have after-tax income increase by 27 percent. Trump`s tax plan, the same. Bush`s tax plan, top 1 percent would have their incomes increased by 16.4 percent under these tax plans. And somehow Republican voters who are nowhere near that 1 percent somehow disassociate that from having anything to do with their lives. That doesn`t in anyway take anything away from their lives. DEAN: Well, I think Americans in general, not just Republicans think there`s nothing wrong with being rich and would like to be rich themselves one day. And that is why I think the soak -- the rich stuff from the Democratic side is not all that wise. I think fairness is an important issue and you can pillory billionaires especially since the Koch Brothers have caricaturized billionaires. But you got to be careful talking about taxes, especially if you`re a Democrat. The point I would make with -- going back to the minimum wage is what Rubio is trying to do is actually very smart even though I don`t think he`s going to get away with it. The minimum wage -- I saw it with Josh in this argument. People don`t vote because you`re going to raise the minimum wage. What they do though -- what the minimum wage is a standing for hard-hearted, mean, people. And that is what the Republican brand is. So, the problem with this tax analysis -- most people aren`t going to do this tax analysis and when you do it for them, they`re not going to pay that much attention. It`s not so easy to understand. But they already believe that the Republicans aren`t with them. And so, everything we say about the minimum wage, about taxing -- giving huge tax breaks to billionaires -- people are inclined to believe that about the Republican Party in the same way that they`re inclined to believe the Democrats spend too much money. And if you fit the key into the key hole, it works a lot better in an election. O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, Josh Barro and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you all for joining me tonight. Coming up, Republicans have not been able to agree on a new speaker of the house in part because of the Freedom Caucus. A member of the Republican Freedom Caucus will join me to explain their position. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING) LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST OF "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" PROGRAM: It is 10:33 P.M. Do you know where your speaker is? The house of representatives still does not know who its next speaker will be, even though John Boehner announced his immediate intention to retire over two weeks ago. Republicans in the house cannot unify around a choice for speaker, including the popular Paul Ryan, because the 40 republican members who call themselves the freedom caucus refuse to support any candidate for speaker, who does not agree with their demands. Joining us now is a member of the Freedom Caucus, Alabama Representative Mo Brooks. Congressman Brooks, thank you very much for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it. REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA: My pleasure. I look forward to it. O`DONNELL: I am sure you have heard the freedom caucus demands described in the media and probably at times felt that they have been mischaracterized. What do you need to hear from a candidate for speaker of the house in order to vote for that speaker -- that candidate? BROOKS: Well, let me back up. You are right, the media has mischaracterized the demands of the house freedom caucus because in fact there have not been any. We have not had a vote of the house freedom caucus in which we say these are the terms and conditions that we would like to see as speaker agreed to before we will agree to vote for them. So, I cannot help but chuckle when I see time after time the media at multitude of different levels saying, well the house of freedom caucus is unreasonable because of these ultimatums and demands that they have issued when we have not issued any at this point. Now, we have had discussions about things we would like to see, but those are negotiations and those are different from ultimatums and demands. O`DONNELL: Well, OK. BROOKS: I would like to see -- go ahead. O`DONNELL: Well, I was going to say, let us just then limit this to you. You are one vote. You control your vote. What do you need to see -- what do you need to hear from a candidate for speaker in order for that person to get your vote? BROOKS: Well, there are two things that I would like to see. One on a policy level, another one on a process level. On a policy level, I want a speaker who has the intellect and has the backbone, is courageous enough, to do the things that America needs to do in order to solve the very serious challenges we as a country face. We are on a path to debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy. We need a speaker of the house, who understands the urgency as expressed to us by America`s comptroller general, as expressed to us by the congressional budget office and who will address these deficits before we suffer that debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy. At the same time, we need a speaker of the house who understands the difference between socialism that does not work in every nation that has ever tried it and free enterprise and capitalism that does work. That is what grows the economy. John F. Kennedy believed in it, and it worked. Ronald Reagan believed in free enterprising capitalism and it grew the economy that produced revenues that helped decrease the deficits. So, I want a speaker who understands the distinction and will fight for the economic model that works for Americans rather than fails for America and all of the countries that ever tried it. I also want -- O`DONNELL: Can I just ask you on the policy issues -- BROOKS: Yes. O`DONNELL: On the policy issues, you have identified there, does Paul Ryan meet that description? Is he a person who understands that deficit policy that you want understood and do you think Paul Ryan is anti-socialist enough for you? BROOKS: Paul Ryan has made headway on the budget deficits. If I recall correctly the first budget that he proposed when I was elected after the 2010 elections, sworn in, in 2011, would have balanced in 26 years if my memory serves me correctly. That is not fast enough. America will suffer insolvency and bankruptcy if we continue on our current path within that 26-year window. So, I want something more aggressive. Paul Ryan to his credit in later budgets proposed by him, he reduced that window to something in the neighborhood of ten years. We might be able to avoid an insolvency and bankruptcy if we were able to solve this deficit issue within ten years. Only time will tell. Another major issue is do we have a speaker`s candidate, who understands the suppression of wages and the cost in terms of lost jobs to struggling American families by the surge in illegal aliens, who have taken at least eight million job opportunities from American workers on the one hand and on the other hand suppressed the wages of everybody. Like for example before I came on, you were talking about minimum wage. Well, if you really want to solve the minimum wage, you eliminate this artificial surge in the labor supply and wages will naturally go up for Americans. And, that is who I represent, Americans. O`DONNELL: Congressman -- BROOKS: So that I some of the policy issues. I do not know if you want to join the process or not. O`DONNELL: One more note on police and I do want to get to process because I actually have a lot of sympathies with you on process. Paul Ryan has said that he is in favor and said very recently, he is in favor of immigration reform. So, he is in favor of having many of the people who are undocumented in this country now become legal workers. So, is that -- that sounds like it is a deal breaker for you on any possibility of voting for Paul Ryan? BROOKS: Legalizing illegal aliens is wrong and it is bad for American families in a number of different respects. One, it encourages more illegal aliens to cross our border because we have shown forgiveness. We should have learned from the 1986 amnesty, which was a small problem at that time. The fact that we gave amnesty is what encouraged a small problem that become a problem in excess of 10 million people, because illegal aliens know that they can break our laws and they can come here and they can stay here. But, second, on the labor supply issue, if we suddenly legalize all these workers, you still have the surge in the labor supply that has an adverse effect on the ability of American families to earn living, to support their families, to seize the American dream that I was able to seize back in the 1960s and 1970s, when I was young and trying to make my way. O`DONNELL: So, Congressman Brooks, it sounds like you could not vote for Paul Ryan on the basic of immigration policy alone. BROOKS: He needs to change his policy to protect Americans from the adverse effect of job seizures and wage suppression by this huge surge in the illegal alien labor supply. O`DONNELL: To process, Congressman Brooks, you know -- And I have to say, you know, when I was working in the senate we used to come over to conference with the house and sometimes it felt like I was dealing with a soviet institution. The way members of the house are denied real participation in the way legislation is done there, it is done almost exclusively in the hands of the powerful Chairman and the leadership. And, your process issues, some of them, I am very sympathetic to. Could you outline what are the new processes you want to get out of the new speaker? BROOKS: Well, the way things work right now, it is top-bottom. You pretty much get a dictation from the top as to what amendments will be permitted, what bills will be brought to the floor, with strong encouragement on how to vote. That means 20 or 30 Congressmen out of 435 are pretty much controlling what passes and does not pass the United States house of representatives. That is wrong. If that is the way it is going to operate, well the other 400 of us can just stay home if 20 to 30 couple -- two or three dozen are going to have that kind of power. I believe that we ought to have a bottom up process where each member with his idea, his idea of merits can be presented in committee. And, if they are good and accepted by both republicans and democrats or majority thereof, then it can go to the house floor and we can have that kind of debate there. I believe a bottom up process works much better than top down. O`DONNELL: Could you -- I agree with you on your process changes that you want. If a speaker candidate said to you "Look, I will give you everything you want in process on issues, we will just have to agree to disagree." Is that the kind of compromise you could live with that at least you have the process that you want so that your view on immigration or taxation, or whatever the issue is, could come to a vote in the committee with the new process? BROOKS: Well, it is a weighing process but the short answer is, "Yes." If we can make enough headway on process issues, that helps to offset the public policy issues. For example, with Kevin McCarthy, I had this kind of discussion. Kevin McCarthy was in large part in agreement with what I was suggesting on the process side, and I probably would have voted for him on the house floor despite some serious disagreements on the policy side. O`DONNELL: Congressman Brooks, as you know, all your complaints about process were complaints that democrats had about process when their leadership was running the ship the same way with them. Congressman Mo Brooks, thank you very much for joining us tonight. BROOKS: Thank you. O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. BROOKS: I appreciate it. O`DONNELL: Thank you. Up next, Hillary Clinton got a follow-up question about marijuana legalization after that subject came up in last night`s debate. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN`S HOST: You did not smoke pot when you were young and you are not going to start now. When asked about legalizing recreational marijuana, you told her, "Let us wait and see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington." It has been more than a year since you said that. Are you ready to take a position tonight? HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana. And, I think even there, we need to do a lot more research. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Today, Hillary Clinton got a follow-up question about that from NBC -- the NBC station in Denver, Colorado. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE INTERVIEWER: You said at the debate that you are not ready to take a position on legalization of marijuana, but Colorado voters need to know how a Hillary Clinton administration would treat us. Would you promise not to as Chris Christie says he would use federal authority to shut down or interfere with the legal marijuana system, we have in Colorado and other states? CLINTON: I really believe it is important that states like Colorado lead the way, so that we can learn what works and what does not work. And, I would certainly not want the federal government to interfere with the legal decision made by the people of Colorado and enforced by your elected officials as to how you should be conducting this business that you have approved. So, no, I want to give you the space and I want other states to learn from you what works and what does not work. O`DONNELL: Up next, a violent scene ending in death in Jerusalem today, all caught on camera by an NBC News crew. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Today, Ayman Mohyeldin, an NBC News crew was there when Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian man holding a knife, who ran passed a security checkpoint near Jerusalem`s Damascus gate. For more on what happened, we turned that to NBCs Ayman Mohyeldin in Jerusalem. AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lawrence. Israeli security had stepped up its presence all across east Jerusalem and in other parts of the country. Their aim was to thwart any possible attack that could happen not just on Israeli checkpoints, but even against Israeli civilians. But, today, such an attack took place and we were there as it all unfolded. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MOHYELDIN: It happened in an instant in front of our camera. A man with a knife runs past a security checkpoint and is shot dead by Israeli police. The knife clearly visible in his hand. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: He pulled out a knife and police officers managed to neutralize the terrorist. (END VIDEO CLIP) MOHYELDIN: He was identified as 19-year-old Basil Sidr, a Palestinian from the west bank. Just hours later, at Jerusalem`s central bus terminal, another Palestinian man stabs and injures a 72-year-old Israeli woman. He, too, is shot dead by police. The latest in weeks of attacks leaving eight Israelis dead. Today, another funeral. Israel is on high alert. Hundreds of additional security forces called up. Police checkpoints increased. Palestinian neighborhoods sealed off restricting movement. Israel is warning that bodies of attackers will not be returned to families and their homes will be demolished. But Palestinians are also mourning. Thirty dead in recent weeks, some of them attackers, but many of the killed were protesters. The funeral of one today in Bethlehem was followed by more clashes with Israeli police. Palestinians claim a double standard. That Israel cracks down on Palestinian attackers but goes easy on Israeli extremists. Their anger fuelled by social media and viral videos like this one allegedly showing an injured 13-year-old Palestinian left to bleed. Israel released its own video showing knife-wielding Palestinians. Both sides feel under siege, Israel by attacks like the ones today and Palestinians by what they consider an occupying power. (END VIDEOTAPE) MOHYELDIN: Now, Secretary of State John Kerry says he plans to travel to the region soon to try and restore calm, but he has not given any specific dates or plans. So, for now, any attempt to try to end the violence like what we witnessed here today may be wishful thinking as both sides. The Israelis and the Palestinians, continue to blame each other for this latest outbreak of violence. Lawrence. O`DONNELL: NBC`s Ayman Mohyeldin, thank you. Up next, time for the good news. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Ready for some good news? I got some great news, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING) O`DONNELL: And, now for the good news. The Peace Corps announced today that this year they have received the highest number of volunteer applications that the agency has received in 40 years. The Peace Corps was formed by executive order and a burst of idealism by president John F. Kennedy in 1961. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: It will not be easy. None of the men and women will be paid a salary. They will live at the same level as the citizens of the country, which they are sent to. Doing the same work, eating the same food, speaking the same language. We are going to put particular emphasis on those men and women, who have skills in teaching, agriculture, and in health. I am hopeful that it will be a source of satisfaction to Americans and a contribution to world peace. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Today, the Peace Corps announced, it received 23,000 applications in 2015. A 32 percent increase from 2014 and the most it has received since 1975. Joining us now, former Peace Corps volunteer Kimberly Conner. Kimberly, when did you serve in the Peace Corps? KIMBERLY CONNER, PEACE CORPS, 2011-2013: Between 2011 and 2013. O`DONNELL: And, where did you go? CONNER: Madagascar. O`DONNELL: That is the giant island off the southeast coast of Africa. It is like about the size of California. Is that where you wanted to go? CONNER: When I applied to the Peace Corps, you could not select what country you served in and that actually excited me. I was very much about the spirit of the Peace Corps, going wherever they sent me. I trusted the program to send me wherever my skills were needed. O`DONNELL: And, one of the things that is changed is that when you applied now, you are allowed to say "I want to go to this place. I want to go to Africa." And, they say that has helped in recruitment. Is that your sense of it? CONNER: Absolutely. And, I can completely understand that sentiment. I personally liked the surprise -- O`DONNELL: You wanted the suspense? CONNER: I wanted the suspense. I wanted to get that invitation envelope and not know where it was going to send me in the world. O`DONNELL: Where did you get this volunteer spirit? What made you want to do this? CONNER: Well, I actually grew up in a tiny rural town in Western Kentucky, and it was very isolated culturally. And, so when I went off to college, that was really my first taste of the wider world and I wanted more of it. But, I wanted to do it in a way that was not self-serving, that was helping people learn and learning about new cultures, new languages, but again -- O`DONNELL: What skills did you bring to the Peace Corps? CONNER: I was actually -- my undergrad was premedical, so I had skills in public health. O`DONNELL: You know, one of my big disappointments, I could not get into the Peace Corps. I got the application and it was very clear they wanted very specific skills. And, I do not think I ever completely filled it out. You know, I had some conversations, and they discovered I was just a liberal arts college graduate, who majored in economics and they were looking for somebody who actually knew something, you know, about agriculture, how to actually really help. And, that is who we have in the Peace Corps, right? CONNER: That is true. They are looking for particular skill sets. You know, like I was a community health educator and they do have agriculture volunteers, but they also have volunteers who do have come from a liberal arts degree background. O`DONNELL: There is hope for me? CONNER: There is hope for you yet. You can still apply. O`DONNELL: All right. And, they take older applicants? Retirees? CONNER: Absolutely. O`DONNELL: All right. So, what are you doing now? CONNER: I am a student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and I have the best -- I am an intern here at "The Last Word." O`DONNELL: You are. That is you over in the corner with the headphones on all day? CONNER: That is me. O`DONNELL: It must be so boring for you to be here after two years in Madagascar doing real thing. CONNER: So, you know, this is just learning new skills. (LAUGHING) O`DONNELL: Yes. I am sure. Kimberly Conner, thank you very much for everything you do and here at "The Last Word," thank you much more for being part of this great spirit that has given us the Peace Corps. I really appreciate it. CONNER: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Thank you. Chris Hayes is up next. END