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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 10/29/15

Guests: Tim Pawlenty, Stuart Stevens, Joe Klein, David Corn, David Frum,Joe Klein

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. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Well, if you watched the World Series last night instead of the Republican presidential debate, you missed some verbal fireworks, but you missed nothing. And I mean nothing that would have told you which of those candidates would make the best future president. Because debates aren`t about governing, they`re about the sound bites. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC, it`s called the mainstream media. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All eyes now are on Marco Rubio? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve gotten calls from a lot of different people, many expected more of Jeb Bush. JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: What is it? Like a French work week where you get like three days where you have to show up? RUBIO: Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you. (APPLAUSE) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This is not a cage match. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other guy who had a great night, Ted Cruz. CRUZ: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don`t trust the media. JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Game two of the Word Series started at the same time as "Cnbc`s" Republican debate. So, if you`re a fan of a famous New York with a giant head, you can watch either. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaker of the house, Congressman and honorable Paul Ryan. (APPLAUSE) REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Thank you, thank you very much. I never thought I`d be speaker. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, -- the expression of hand, you know, he`s got more hand with that group. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all want the man, and it`s tough to get! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Boehner gave Paul Ryan a huge gift by taking the thread of a government shutdown off the table. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: No, I didn`t want him to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, you can pass all the budget deals you want Boehner, Congress is always going to be full of -- you know that -- (LAUGHTER) We all know that. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Twenty four hours ago on this network, in this very chair right here, with a few minutes still left in the debate, I declared Marco Rubio to be the winner. With Ted Cruz turning in the second best performance for the Republican audience and Chris Christie coming in third with that Republican audience. And Jeb Bush, the biggest loser of the night. That has now become the conventional wisdom of the political class. But there is bad news for the winners and good news for the biggest loser. The good news for Jeb Bush is that the next Republican debate is only 12 days away, which means his bad performance last night only has a shelf life of 12 days, unless, of course, he turns in another losing performance in the next debate. And then his candidacy really would start sliding into the truly hopeless zone. The bad news for the winners is that the next debate is only 12 days away. Which means they get only 12 days of glory before they`re tested again. And to sustain their momentum, the winners have to be at least as good or better in the next debate. For Chris Christie, the bad news is his candidacy is hopeless no matter how well he performs for a Republican audience in the debate. Chris Christie has no chance of being on the Republican ticket even in the vice presidential slot because Republicans aren`t going to go with a candidate who will be busy testifying at the criminal trials on his staff when he should be out there campaigning. The next debate will be moderated by "Fox Business" and the "Wall Street Journal", those moderators all now have the advantage of having seen a debate last night that was supposed to be concentrating on economic policy and ended up in chaos. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I got a -- REBECCA QUICK, CNBC: Governor -- KASICH: Deal in agreeing -- QUICK: Governor -- (CROSSTALK) KASICH: Four years later, it`s a joke. DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: Thank you, governor. KASICH: Becky -- QUICK: Dr. Carson -- KASICH: Becky -- (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: If the next debate does concentrate on economic policy, the frontrunner, Ben Carson`s religious-based tax policy and the other candidates reckless deficit increase in tax policies will suffer scrutiny that they cannot bear. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUICK: Dr. Carson, let`s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and I`ve looked at it, and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters. But I`ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: Well, first of all, I didn`t say that the rate would be 10 percent. I used the tithing analogy -- QUICK: I understand -- CARSON: OK -- QUICK: That, but if -- CARSON: But the rate -- QUICK: If you look at the numbers -- CARSON: The rate -- QUICK: It`ll probably have to get to 28 -- CARSON: The rate is going to be much closer to 15 percent. It will -- QUICK: Fifteen percent still -- CARSON: You -- QUICK: Leaves you with -- CARSON: Well -- QUICK: A $1.1 -- CARSON: Let me try -- QUICK: Trillion hole -- (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: In all of the analysis of last night`s debate, including my own analysis, I have yet to hear one word about which candidate was revealed to be the best possible future president of that group. That`s not the way we in the media usually analyze the base. We cover them like sporting events. Winners, losers, homeruns, strikeouts, zingers. We try to guess which candidates impressed the Republican audience the most or the Democratic audience the most. We evaluate debating skills and that`s the problem with debates. Presidents don`t debate. Presidents don`t have to think on their feet. Presidents never have to make a decision alone without advice from advisors who have much more expertise on the subject at hand than they do. Forcing presidential candidates to debate is just a bit more relevant to their day-to-day job as president than forcing them to sing. Although singing would give us a better window into their souls. Joining us now, Alex Wagner, Msnbc host and political analyst. Also with us, Tim Pawlenty, former Republican governor of Minnesota who ran for president in 2012. Stuart Stevens, columnist for "The Daily Beast" and the former chief strategist for Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign. Alex, which one do you think is the best singer? ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC: I`m going to go -- I`m going to go with maybe Cruz because he has that sort of -- O`DONNELL: Could be -- WAGNER: Performance -- O`DONNELL: Could be -- you know, I mean, we make light of this. But in Ireland, the politicians still sing. And I didn`t think that added anything to it until I heard John Hume sing at a political -- that one time -- WAGNER: And changed everything -- O`DONNELL: And John Hume, already in my mind was the greatest politician of his era. And it just made me think, wow, all the -- all the feeling, all the power, really genuinely, the soul that comes out in those things. But I guess -- WAGNER: Well, Lawrence, Barack Obama has sang at pivotal moments -- O`DONNELL: That`s right -- WAGNER: Of his presidency -- O`DONNELL: That`s right -- WAGNER: I mean, serious -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: Moments, Al Green moments -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: And it`s -- O`DONNELL: Well, OK -- WAGNER: Made a difference -- O`DONNELL: All right -- WAGNER: So, maybe, there`s a -- O`DONNELL: To my -- WAGNER: To be -- O`DONNELL: To my high brow question -- WAGNER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Which is -- WAGNER: As all your questions are -- O`DONNELL: What did -- what did we learn about the way these candidates would be president if they ever got the job? WAGNER: I mean, I think you learn more in the pauses and the interstitials than you do in the answers. We know that John Kasich would be frustrated. We know that Jeb Bush would be, I think, impatient. We know that Ted Cruz would be out for Ted Cruz and Ted Cruz`s re-election in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth years of his presidency. I mean, I think -- I think it`d either useful if we find a place -- if we`re trying to find the place, a meaningful point for them. I think it`s important to hear how they would try and present their ideas. I mean, at the end of the day, part of being president is communicating. And I think in some way, we learn something about how they can convince the American public of their grand ideas to lead the nation in the debate format. Because there`s certainly no other area where they can do that in this presidential campaign cycle. O`DONNELL: Tim Pawlenty, you know, I spoke to one of the presidential debate commissioners four years ago, and I said to him, you know, I think they should get the questions ahead of time because I actually want to hear their best answer. I don`t want this off the top of the head stuff. Let them think about it. Let them consult. What would be wrong with that? Actually letting them have -- let`s say, ten major serious questions ahead of time and let the moderators come up with, you know, four or five or whatever on the spot that they think add to this. TIM PAWLENTY, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, first of all, Lawrence, jumping back to your concept of singing. O`DONNELL: Yes -- PAWLENTY: When John -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead, governor, go ahead if you want to -- PAWLENTY: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Enter these singing sweep stakes. PAWLENTY: Well, I want to -- I want to give you an insight that I think might be valuable. And that is, when John Malon-Campos(ph) in Minneapolis of the (INAUDIBLE) earlier this year, one of the local critics of his performance which was very favorable said this: He said, you can tell he didn`t just write those lyrics, he lived them. And there`s a correlation between people who can talk about policy issues in a way that`s personal because they`ve lived it or somebody close to them has lived it. And that`s not the only thing, but there`s an authenticity and a rawness and a realness that comes with that. And that`s, I think, part of the reason that people like Rubio and Cruz and some others have a little more grit and realness to them. As to your point, I think if you gave them canned questions ahead of time, you`d get canned answers and you`d lose the spontaneity. And regardless of the content or the substance of the spontaneity, it shows wittiness, it shows ability to think quickly on your feet. O`DONNELL: Who cares?! I don`t care -- PAWLENTY: Well -- O`DONNELL: How funny the President is, I don`t care. PAWLENTY: Well, you want to have people who can inspire. And so you can - - you`ve got to have people who cannot just be smart, but also who can inspire. That`s part of leadership and some of those people on the stage last night couldn`t do both. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, two things. One, do you agree with the conventional wisdom scorecard of Rubio as the winner, Jeb Bush as the big loser? And then, well, I want you to -- beyond that, tell me what happens to Rubio or the good performers in the debate last night when you look at these polls. Like, let`s take a look at the latest "Cbs"-"New York Times" poll, latest "Abc" poll. You know, Donald Trump in "Cbs", the latest poll is at 22, Ben Carson at 26, Marco Rubio 8, Jeb Bush 7. As you go down the list, there`s actually not a lot of undecided there. So, it seems to me, Marco Rubio, if he`s going to make a big gain -- let`s say, he takes away from Bush, he`s only going to take two points from Bush. He`s going to have to take points from Ben Carson or from Donald Trump or both. Do you see that happening? STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, first, let me say, I wish that Governor Pawlenty was running this year and I wish he had been in the debate last night. I think he would have hit it out of the park. Look, I think that these polls are fairly meaningless. I think when you call up somebody and ask them who you`re supporting now, you don`t think about it a lot. This is all about who`s going to win these first four states. The first four states in my view function as basically playoffs. And if you`re in second or third or fourth place in a state, say, like Florida now, I don`t see why losing the first four states is going to elevate you into serious contention. So, I think it`s either -- questions to be asking is, who`s going to win Iowa? Who`s going to win New Hampshire? Who`s going to win South Carolina? Who`s going to win Nevada? O`DONNELL: All right, answer those -- Stuart, answer those real quickly. Who is going to win Iowa? (LAUGHTER) Go ahead. STEVENS: I think probably -- if I had to bet, Carson or Cruz will probably win Iowa. New Hampshire, I think it`s a very cluttered landscape, I don`t have a feel for it. I think one of the realities here that we hadn`t focused on enough is the difference in the calendar this year than the last two cycles. We had the Iowa caucuses right after the first of the year in the last two cycles. Nobody wants to focus on this on Christmas, it`s terrible. Now, we have all of January. Iowa caucuses are February 1st. I think a lot of people are really going to not start thinking about this seriously until they wake up with hangovers after the first of the year. O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner does her best thinking -- WAGNER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: With hangovers, it`s always worked for you -- STEVENS: Most of us do. WAGNER: Clarity -- O`DONNELL: Tim Pawlenty, what do you -- what do you see happening in New Hampshire? I mean, I think we have -- Iowa will go to whoever is that most extreme conservative they can find. But Stuart is confused about what happens -- want to forget New Hampshire. I think we all are. PAWLENTY: Stuart is never confused, he`s a genius. But I think -- again, I agree with this analysis about Iowa, it probably trends towards Cruz or Carson. But let me just suggest to you this again, I don`t think Trump or Carson are necessarily going to be the nominees, and as those votes redistribute, Carson is essentially a placeholder in large part for the faith-based vote. Trump is in large part a placeholder for the Tea Party vote plus some other enhancements. And as it gets redistributed, they`re likely to go to Cruz. But I would also say there`s other candidates in the race who can stitch together the two main constituencies within the Republican Party; the grassroots conservative activists and the establishment. And somebody -- for example, just some example, Rubio may not be the grass- root activists first choice, but he`s acceptable to them. He`s a good second choice and he doesn`t scare the establishments, so he can knit together that coalition and a few others could, too. O`DONNELL: But Alex, today, everyone is forgetting that Marco Rubio has a big problem on the immigration -- WAGNER: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Issue with this base. WAGNER: Right, and then the minute Marco Rubio was truly in contention -- I mean, Jeb Bush went after Marco Rubio on his attendance record, right? Jeb Bush could have gone -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: After Marco Rubio and said more -- much more substantive point, which is your priorities, your principles. Are you the man that you propose to be? You`ve done a 180 on something that`s so close to you and part of your American story, which is immigration. And I think it`s just a matter of time. If Rubio becomes a real threat, I mean, that`s his Achilles -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: Heel and you will hear more of that. O`DONNELL: And we`re going to have to take a break here. Tim Pawlenty, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Coming up, the Republican candidates all think that Hillary Clinton has already won the Democratic presidential nomination. And Rush Limbaugh thinks that Hillary Clinton has already won the presidency. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It has not been easy for me. And you know, I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And since a million dollars is just a small loan to Alex Wagner and Donald Trump, Stephen Colbert wants Donald Trump to make a small donation to his favorite charity. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: I have taken the liberty of writing a million dollar check from Donald Trump to the charity of my choice; the Harlem Children`s Zone. (APPLAUSE) It`s all filled out. It`s all filled out, even the memo line -- no big deal. (LAUGHTER) Now, Mr. Trump, all you have to do is come here and sign it, proving that a million dollars really is a small amount of money. Who knows, the kids you help might one day be so rich they can blow their cash on a presidential campaign. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Oh, and Donald, my favorite charity could use another million, too, kids in need of desks, look it up, you`ll like it. Up next, who is the Republican who has the best chance against Hillary Clinton? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few tag, presumably by a lone Libyan pilot has resulted in a massive movement of U.S. military might -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of alliteration from anxious Andrews, please, give powerful pose -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both the attack on -- (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: From his sofa last night, midway through the debate, comedian, actor, writer, director Albert Brooks tweeted: "At the halfway point, I think Hillary is winning." Maybe, that`s because in last night`s Republican debate, Hillary Clinton had already won the Democratic nomination. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I know who the pessimist is, it`s Hillary Clinton. And you put me on that stage against her next September, she won`t get within ten miles of the White House. Take it to the bank. RUBIO: I`m not running against anyone on the stage, I`m running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, thank you senator -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- BUSH: The middle class has $2,300 less in their pockets than the day that Barack Obama got elected president. And now they say Hillary Clinton proposing a third term of economic policy for our country. We need to reverse that. And mine record was one of cutting taxes each and every year. CARLY FIORINA, FORMER BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: I can assure you I am Hillary Clinton`s worst nightmare. And in your heart of hearts, you cannot wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. (LAUGHTER) I will tell you this, I will beat Hillary Clinton. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: This afternoon in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton said this about last night`s debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I heard a lot of insults and a lot of, you know, back and forth between the various candidates. You would have been better off watching the World Series because the debate in my view was a swing and a miss. And didn`t really further the national conversation that we need to be having with each other. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Joe Klein, columnist for "Time Magazine" and the author of the new book, "Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home". Joe Klein, they are running as if Hillary already has this nomination. Who looks like her most difficult challenge in the general election if she does get the nomination? JOE KLEIN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, I think that it would be a combination of candidates from Florida and Ohio. If it were Rubio or Bush and Kasich, I think that that`s a pretty formidable ticket. But right now, Bush is where John Kerry was, you might remember at this point in 2003, and Donald Trump and Ben Carson are playing the role of Howard Dean. So, I don`t know. I mean, I don`t know whether, you know, the planet wing nut wing of the Republican Party is going to be dominant in the end. If they are, then Hillary Clinton is your next president. But if they put together a ticket of serious conservative governors like Bush and Kasich or Rubio and Kasich, then I think they have a shot. O`DONNELL: And Alex Wagner, the problem with serious Governor Bush is he`s just not performing on the public stage of this campaign. WAGNER: He is just not performing, period. I mean, Lawrence, I like that we keep giving Bush this sort of open door. I`m not quite sure why? O`DONNELL: I think it`s process of elimination because there`s too many nuts up on the stage. And -- WAGNER: Well -- O`DONNELL: Once -- KLEIN: Right -- O`DONNELL: You get the nuts off the stage, there`s very few people left -- WAGNER: And he has the actual operation -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: To execute, right? I mean -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: Rubio is everyone`s favorite flavor this week because he had a great debate performance. But when it comes to actual ground-gaming, Bush is the actual person that could be in contention. But he has been abysmal in his candidacy. I mean, he still can`t answer the question of the Bush legacy. This is not a person who`s gotten better with time, he`s gotten worse. And yesterday was the coder to all of that. I mean, I agree with Joe. I think if Kasich can get past the -- you know, to the point where he`s actually considered, sure. But at this point, I think you`re going to see a primary process that is radically different from the beginning to the end. And the candidates who win the early primaries are not going to be the ones who win the later primaries by a long stretch. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, insiders have been saying that on paper, John Kasich would actually be the most difficult challenge for Hillary Clinton. John Kasich is still saying that, although the polls aren`t supporting his route to the nomination. How do you see it? STEVENS: Listen, I think John Kasich is a very serious person who`s won in a big state in a big way. So, is Chris Christie, who I think that you -- O`DONNELL: To do it all -- STEVENS: OK, who I think -- O`DONNELL: Come on, come on -- STEVENS: I think you`re wrong, the discount. (LAUGHTER) There`s only one candidate in this race who`s being investigated by the FBI and that happens to be Hillary Clinton. And we seem to think that`s not a problem. Look, I think one important thing to remember is, two weeks ago or two and a half weeks ago, everybody was sort of writing off Hillary Clinton. She was in a trough, now, they`re saying she`s won the nomination and nobody`s voted. That`s how politics works, you know? You have a good night, you`re able to change the narrative and all of a sudden everything starts working for you. You have to give this process a chance. It`s going to be who can step up in the big moments when people are really focused and making up their minds. And right now, I don`t think people are making up their minds. I think that they`re shopping. Billions of dollars have been spent trying to get people to do Christmas shopping early to a little effect. I think this is going to change in January. O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Marco Rubio said on "Good Morning America" today. Hillary Clinton has a little video out there about her Benghazi hearing where she`s shown humorously to be brushing off her shoulder. Rubio doesn`t like that. Let`s listen to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: I found it outrageous that she`s using video from a Benghazi hearing. A hearing about the loss of four American lives -- to put up something trivial like her brushing something off her shoulder. That was a serious hearing about a serious issue. As far as taking her on, I can tell you this, if I`m our nominee, we`re going to be the party of the future and the Democrats will be exposed as the party of big government ideas from the past. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And Joe Klein, last night, Marco Rubio took the big Benghazi shot at Hillary in the debate -- sorry, Joe, so -- KLEIN: Yes, he -- well, listen -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: He chose Benghazi -- KLEIN: But you know, he has -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: Most effective angle against her. KLEIN: Lawrence, he`d have a -- he`d have a point if the Benghazi hearing were about the deaths of four Americans in that consulate and CIA station, which is actually what it was, it was a CIA station. But the hearing was about Sidney Blumenthal and about whether Hillary Clinton slept alone that night at home. You know, it was a ridiculous hearing. And you know, Marco Rubio -- I`ve been out on the road with him and he`s very effective when he talks about the economy. He`s one of the few people out there who is talking about the economy as it exists now and as it`s going to exist in the future and how we train people for that economy. But I got to say that when it comes to foreign policy, he is walking in the steps of neo-conservatives you have been wrong about absolutely everything to the last 15 years. O`DONNELL: Joe, who isn`t on the Republican side? KLEIN: Well, Rand Paul -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- KLEIN: By the way, Ted Cruz is another one who is taking a much less aggressive standpoint. And while I`m at it, let me just say this, Stuart Stevens is exactly right. If you ask the Ben Carson voters in Iowa, how firmly they are in their voting? Seventy percent of them say they may change their minds. But then, that`s the way things are in Iowa. I have seen -- this is my 11th Iowa -- God help me -- and I`ve seen the thing, you know, change over the in-take of a single breath. O`DONNELL: So Alex, who do the Democrats want to win the Republican nomination? WAGNER: Donald Trump -- O`DONNELL: Donald Trump -- WAGNER: I mean, without question. Like absolutely -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: A thousand -- they`ll sell -- they`ll sell the make America great hats -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- WAGNER: Again make America great hats to just further the Donald Trump campaign as long as possible. Like he would be an incredible opponent for Hillary Clinton. O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner, Stuart Stevens, thank you both for joining us tonight. STEVENS: Thank you -- O`DONNELL: Coming up, why Rush Limbaugh thinks John Boehner has handed the presidency to Hillary Clinton. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh is not happy. I know that`s not news. But now he says that John Boehner`s bi-partisan budget deal pretty much hands the presidency to Hillary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: So, how does the budget deal pave the way for Hillary Clinton? Folks, it is real simple. Over half of any Republican candidate`s campaign arsenal has just been neutered. The Republican Party cannot campaign by running around blaming the Democrats for destroying the budget, for overspending, for threatening the very fabric economically of the country. They cannot do it. This is the republican budget deal that Barack Obama cannot wait to sign. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, the Davids. David Frum, Senior Editor for "The Atlantic" and David Corn, The Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC Political Analyst. David Corn, does Rush Limbaugh have a point? DAVID CORN, THE WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR "MOTHER JONES" AND MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. His assumption here is that republicans running in November 2016 will be honor bound by facts. I do not think so. They are calling Hillary Clinton a big government, big taxing liberal spending socialist, radical, maybe even a secret Muslim as well. I mean you saw that last night at the debate, what happens in reality is not going to change what they say. I mean, last night -- I mean, you know, we could document literally dozens of statements that were completely false. They were repeating even things that have been fact checked years ago. So, I do not think he has to worry about Republicans sticking to the facts when they are trying to attack Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, in 2016. O`DONNELL: All right. Let us let Rush Limbaugh continue to make his point. He had a little bit more to say about what republicans thought they were getting out of this deal. Let us listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LIMBAUGH: Republicans are looking at it as though they are taking themselves totally out of any political risk circumstance. And, that may be, but the way they did it was to essentially act like democrats in putting together this budget. When you cannot go after the democratic presidential nominee for who she is and what she will do and why you do not want that to happen because you have already made sure it will happen, what in the world are you going to campaign against her on? (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: David Frum, Bernie Sanders has said, he is in favor of this. Hillary Clinton, presumably in favor of this budget deal. She gets to say, "Yes, I am in favor of the deal that Paul Ryan agreed to and voted on." DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR FOR "THE ATLANTIC": The election is now almost exactly a year away. The budget crises and the threats of default in 2013, those are ancient memories. But, if the government were to close, now, if there were to be a crisis for American credit, if checks were to stop issuing, that would be a comparatively fresh memory a year from now, and that would be disastrous. Republicans will have ample opportunity to make a very sharp distinction against Hillary Clinton. They are going to be talking about the whole future direction of government spending as more and more of the baby boomers retire. The 1958 is the peak year of the baby boom. And, those workers are going to be coming in the next while to retirement, to social security and Medicare. And, the defense of their interest is going to be a crucial dividing line between the two parties. But, I think the ultimate answer to Rush Limbaugh is to say, republicans will be making a terrible mistake if they run on the abstract issue of the size of government. Most people do not know how big government is and they do not really care. What they care about is what government does and who it does it for. And, the parties are going to have ample contrast on that issue. O`DONNELL: Rand Paul last night in the debate said he promised he is going to filibuster this budget deal today in Washington. He did exactly that for a grand total of 18 minutes. Let us listen to some of that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAN PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It disappoints me greater than I can possibly express that the party that I belong to, that should be the conservative party does not appear to be conservative. In the house they voted on this yesterday. You know what the vote was? 2-1 among republicans to say this is a God awful deal and we should not touch it with a 10-foot pole. It is a terrible deal. It is irresponsible. It shows a lack of concern for our country and for the debt. And, it should go down in defeat. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: David Corn, we had a right to expect Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio out there on the senate floor today fighting this thing, dragging it out for hours, or whatever they can possibly do. That did not happen. CORN: It is like he is running a movie called, "Honey, I shrunk my campaign." I mean he is on the national stage thing, "I will filibuster this," and it is 18 minutes. O`DONNELL: Uh-huh. CORN: I think that they understand at some level the point that the other David was just making, that if you have a government shutdown, if you have a -- you know, a financial crisis because of a debt ceiling is not raised, it really is bad for whoever the republican nominee is, let alone republicans running for re-election next year from the house and the senate. There has to be some degree of sanity amongst the Republican Party, they saw that. John Boehner certainly knew that. And, he had to give up his job to save the republicans from themselves in this point. But, he nobly did that and, you know -- and basically took that tough task away from Paul Ryan. So, you know, I think democrats out there, you know, while they like the deal, probably do not like the fact that this saved republicans from themselves. O`DONNELL: OK, up next, Paul Ryan has spent half a day as speaker of the house and the Tea Party has not yet tried to overthrow him. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL RYAN, (R-WI) HOUSE SPEAKER: Please join me in saying one last time, thank you, Speaker Boehner. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And, if my count is correct, that is actually the first time the house of representatives has thanked Speaker Boehner. Paul Ryan won the speakership today with the support of all but nine republicans. John Boehner`s final act as speaker was cleaning out the barn for Paul Ryan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN BOEHNER, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I did not want him to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And, so yesterday, John Boehner pushed an agreement through the house to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling through March 2017. Every democrat in the house, 187 of them voted for that deal. Only 79 house republicans voted for it, including Paul Ryan. 167 republicans opposed it, as did all of the Republican presidential candidates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did you see the recent deal announced today or yesterday. More spending, more tax increasing, more regulation. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAND PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the unholy alliance that people need to know about between right and left. Right and left are spending us into oblivion. We should use the debt ceiling as precisely designed to force upon them budgetary reform. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, this deal in Washington is an example of why Washington is broken. Republican leadership joined with every single democrat to add $80 trillion to our debt to do nothing to fix the problems. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: He could not possibly have meant $80 trillion to the debt. But, even if Ted Cruz meant $80 billion, he is still wrong. The independent congressional budget office officially estimates that the budget deal will add exactly zero to the deficit. Back with us, David Frum and David Corn. David Corn, this new speakership has had one half day of peace, at least. How many more? CORN: Well, the day is not quite over yet. (LAUGHING) O`DONNELL: That is right. CORN: But, let us assume that Paul Ryan made it to bed safely tonight. I mean, as I said earlier, Speaker Boehner did a -- you know, ex-Speaker Boehner did a tremendous job in cleaning out the "You know what" for Paul Ryan, because he was about to walk into a thrasher on this. So, the issue is, what is going to be the next, you fight in which the tea party, freedom caucus is going to dig their heels in and say, "Our way or the highway?" "Is it going to be Planned Parenthood funding?" I do not know. But, you know, they cannot shut down the government or threaten the debt crisis -- a debt crisis for a year, a year and a half, you know, maybe two years even in some way. So, it gives Ryan some running room here. And, the house is not really spending a lot of time in session in the next few months. So, maybe they can all rest up and figure out how to have good fights come January. O`DONNELL: David Frum, a pretty messy way for republicans to get something done in the house. First, the speaker announces his resignation, then on the way out the door, he slips something through with democratic votes. FRUM: Well, it is not as messy, but always looks messy. But, at this time, it is a little less messy. Because the deal that brought Ryan to power also cuts away a lot of the power of the caucus to give trouble to the speaker. Paul Ryan will be a much more powerful speaker than Speaker Boehner was. There is going to be no challenges to his rule. There cannot be vote against him. And, that this area of crisis, as David Corn said, as you have said, has been removed. I think we are also going to move -- and I hesitate to make predictions because they so often turned out to be wrong and then you look foolish, and they are on videotape. But let me try one, which is I think we are going to -- O`DONNELL: All right, we are going to save this videotape, go ahead. (LAUGHING) FRUM: We are going to move into an era in which the political issues are going to change. And, Tea Party and freedom caucus divide is going to become less relevant. We are going to moving into an era as the American economy expands. There is going to be less budget pressure. The deficits will be shrinking. And, the kind of uncertainty when the government will be able to pay its Medicare and Social Security bills, that is going to retreat a little bit. The divide that is going to open under Speaker Ryan will be a divide. The next big internal battle is going to be the battle over immigration, either in this administration or the next. And, that is going to cleave the Republican Party in new ways. The Tea Party and the freedom caucus are split. There are very ideological libertarian members of the freedom caucus, who are for the -- basically, the Obama approach to immigration. And, there are some people who are less libertarian and economic issues are going to be more concerned. And, as Donald Trump has demonstrated, this question which is so connected to middle class and just living is an explosive one within the Republican Party and maybe not just within the Republican Party. O`DONNELL: But, David Corn, Paul Ryan has promised his republicans, "Do not worry, I will not put you through any votes on immigration until we have the next president at the earliest. CORN: Yes. I mean that creates some breathing room, and even then I do not know what they are going to be able to get votes on other than building Donald Trump`s wall, whether he is president or not. I mean -- I think there maybe some National Security issues that will come up in the next couple of months that could actually divide republicans and democrat as we have seen in the past. And, there will be appropriation fights starting early next year. But for now, Ryan, you know, has some ability here to sort of sit down with other leaders of congress including the Democrats and try to find of some areas of agreement. But, you know, will the Tea Party people just insist that he puts up Obamacare repeal again and again for votes or not. I mean it remains to be seen what type of political player he can be. We know where he is on policy and he is put forward budgets in the past that have really been hard on social programs, have been very good for wealthy taxpayers. But, how he acts as a political player at the top of Capitol Hill, there is no way of knowing. O`DONNELL: The Davids, Corn and Frum. Thank you both very much for joining me tonight. FRUM: Thank you. O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. CORN: Sure thing. O`DONNELL: Coming up, Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton on the death penalty. Guess which one of them is in favor of it and which one opposes the death penalty. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a lot of evidence now that the death penalty has been too frequently applied and very unfortunately often times in a discriminatory way. So, I think we have to take a hard look at it. I do no favor abolishing it, however, because I think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty. But, I would like to see those be very limited and rare as oppose to what we have seen in some states. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire yesterday. Today, Bernie Sanders went to the senate floor and said this -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe the time is now for the United States to end capital punishment. Now, I know this is not necessarily a popular point of view, but it is in my view the right point of view. Right now, virtually every western industrialized country has chosen to end capital punishment. I would rather have our country stand side by side with European democracies, rather than with countries like China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others, who maintain the death penalty. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Coming up, Joe Klein and his inspiring book "Charlie Mike." (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TED CRUZ (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 10 percent flat rate -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: We are going to go to Governor Kasich now. CRUZ: -- is the lowest personal rate any candidate up here has and what it would also enable us to do is for every citizen to fill out their taxes on a postcard, so we can eliminate the IRS. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Tax historian, Joe Thorndike, tweeted "Fun fact: Nation`s first income tax deadline was June 30, 1862. Nobody paid because no federal agency existed to collect." One month later, Republican President Abraham Lincoln signed the second revenue act of 1862, which created the office of commissioner of the internal revenue. Within six months, what was then called the bureau of internal revenue had nearly 4,000 employees. And, that year collected more than $39 million in taxes. Joe Klein joins us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: NBC`s Tom Brokaw, the author of "The Greatest Generation" says this about "Charlie Mike," Joe Klein`s new book. "Joe Klein has done us a national service, telling the inspirational stories of vets from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who returned home. And, as civilians continued their dedication to country and people in need. This is the can-do generation and this book honors their nonstop citizenship." Joe Klein is back with us. Joe, explain the title "Charlie Mike." JOE KLEIN, AUTHOR OF "CHARLIE MIKE" BOOK: Well, "Charlie Mike" in military radio code means "Continue the mission." And, this is a book about two veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who continued their mission when they came home and started brilliant public service organizations that have saved lives and really are in a way an example for the rest of us. O`DONNELL: And, one of the things about the spirit of real military commitment, real commitment to that service is in my experience and the people I have known in it, it is never a commitment to yourself. It is always a commitment to others. The team, the people you are serving. In this case, possibly people in Afghanistan you are serving, but it is always a commitment to others. KLEIN: Well, yes, I would not have written this book if I had not gone over there and embedded with our troops and watched them try to govern these towns under hellish circumstances and to provide public works in these towns under hellish circumstances. And, I had this idea that if they can do that over there, maybe they are going to come back here and do it as well -- And it is interesting. When you say about commitment to others and being a part of something larger than yourself is something I learned about during the course of this book. You hear an awful lot about posttraumatic stress and the other problems that veterans are having. And, what I have discovered is that posttraumatic stress is not only about the things that you saw and did over there. It is about coming home and losing the community that you had over there. The sense of purpose that you had over there. The brothers and sisters that you had over there. You come back to this country where nothing is asked of you. You know? Politicians talk an awful lot about our rights and our opportunities. But they do not talk so much about our responsibilities as citizens. And, these kids, every last one of whom volunteered for service, every last one of them come back with a sense of responsibility. Over 90 percent of them according to the surveys, want to continue serving in their communities. And, I think we got a lot to learn from them. O`DONNELL: And, Joe, you focus on the personal stories of two individuals, Eric Greitens, who is a Navy S.E.A.L., Jake Wood, who is a Marine Sergeant, and they talk about -- you reveal how they missed -- once they were back here, they missed these feelings, these Russians you could get from the positive things that they were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. KLEIN: Well, Eric Greitens, who is a Navy S.E.A.L. is a stone humanitarian. Probably, the only Navy S.E.A.L, who ever worked for Mother Teresa. And , when he visited wounded troops at Bethesda Naval Hospital, I have had similar experiences, he asked them what they wanted to do next. And, they said, "I want to go back to my unit. And, if you cannot do that? I want to become a little league coach or go to work in my community in some way." And, Eric came up with four words that are really important to tell veterans in addition to thank you for your service. He said, "We still need you." Jake is sitting on his couch in Los Angeles and he sees the Haiti earthquake and he calls up a bunch of his marine buddies and they get on a plane, add some doctors to their team and within four days, they are running the largest emergency room in the largest hospital in Port-Au- Prince. And, I asked Jake, how on earth did you manage to do that? He said, "I am a marine. I do chaos." O`DONNELK l: Yes, it is what Tom Brokaw was talking about when he talks about this book, that can-do, that ability to just keep getting things done. And, you know what? One of my uncles was a general World War II, Korean War, Vietnam. And, at the end of his career, he ended up in one of those civilian jobs, with executive jobs. And, I went and visited him. He took me around the factory of the company he was working with. He was not in service anymore. And, it was very conscious of that. Yes, he was working with his company. He had an income, but he really did not have the feeling that he wanted to have. KLEIN: Well, I have been out on service project, where the mission continues and on deployments with Team Rubicon, which does disaster relief. And, I got to say that it is incredibly exhilarating to do. And, you know, the more the rest of us take a lesson from this and the more the rest of us figure out ways to seriously serve our country, I think the stronger our democracy is going to be. Thanks. O`DONNELL: Joe, I am actually off to get some of that exhilaration next week in Africa. I am going to tell the audience about it. KLEIN: Good for you. O`DONNELL: Joe Klein, thank you very much for joining us tonight. As I said, I am going to be off to Africa next week to work on our project of providing desks for school in Malawi. You can help us by going to And, while I am over there, I will try to tweet some pictures of the kids at their new desks. The desks that you have paid for. I will be able to do that whenever I am in range of a cell signal, which is not very often. And, I will be back in time for the next republican presidential debate. Chris Hayes is up next. END