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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 11/10/15

Guests: Jonathan Alter, Stuart Stevens, Steve Jarding, Andrea Bernstein,Matthew Futterman, Olga Oliker

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You, Senator Lindsey Graham for instance feel like maybe you deserve some equal time with Donald Trump, well, you are officially on the clock. Now, of course, I`m not suggesting you do this, I would never dream of ordering Senator Graham to do anything or suggesting anything to anyone. But 12 minutes and 5 seconds, I`m just saying Senator Graham, if you want 12 minutes and 5 seconds of interview time right here, call me. That does it for us tonight, thank you very much for being with us, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. We`ve just watched the first hour of the debate, so we`re going to start the analysis right now. MADDOW: I can`t hear you, I`m sorry. O`DONNELL: OK -- (LAUGHTER) Good night, Rachel. MADDOW: Sorry, Lawrence -- O`DONNELL: It is halftime at this debate in Milwaukee. We`re going to get the score cards from Jonathan Alter, Stuart Stevens and Steve Jarding. Jonathan Alter, what do you make of that first hour? JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, you know, it was much calmer than in the "Cnbc" debate. It was more substantive, that they were living in cloud coo-coo land when you actually looked at the economics. They`re talking about trillions of dollars in tax cuts. Just a few moments ago, Ted Cruz was talking about dynamic scoring. Now, the translation of that is, it`s made up. Basically, he`s saying that it won`t blow a trillion, $2 trillion hole in the deficit because of some kind of magic -- it`s not even supply side of economics. It`s right-wing coo-coo economics. And they`re all essentially talking about economics in ways that are out of touch, not only with political reality, but with what would happen to this country if their plans were enacted. We would have massive deficits as far as the eye can see. The moderators are trying to bring some of that sanity into the debate without much success. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, your scorecard at this point? STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: I think that Ted Cruz is having a good night being Ted Cruz. He`s someone who knows how to debate, and he knows his market and is going after it. And I think that John Kasich is smart to go after Donald Trump. I think people should do it more. I think Donald Trump, when you attack him, he looks small when he responds, and he should attack him for his smallness. O`DONNELL: But Stuart, he`s going after him as did Jeb Bush a little bit over this deporting of, you know, the Mexican immigrants, sending 11 million back and how that`s inhumane. But I got to say to that audience, this is not what they want to hear. I mean, am I -- you tell us from the -- from the inside Republican perspective. How that`s playing, let`s say, outside of the theater where they`re doing this debate, because you`re not going to get any cheers in that audience by going against Trump on that immigration. STEVENS: Well, first, I think, it`s one of the dangers of audiences. You make a very good point there in debates. You can start playing to the crowd. And whenever you do that, it`s why the first hit of crack is free. It`s addicting and it`s a terrible thing to let yourself fall into in a debate. Listen, I think you`ve got to dance with the one that brung(ph) you. And if you`re against this idea of deporting 11 million people, which every reasonable politician and person should be, and it`s never going to happen. You ought to -- you know, I think you ought to go after it and point out why it`s absurd. I mean, look, if that passes, you should all buy -- we should all buy stock in Bloomberg buses, because it`s going to take a lot of buses to deport 11 million people. O`DONNELL: A 100,000 buses, Stuart. STEVENS: Yes, it`s -- O`DONNELL: A 100,000 buses -- STEVENS: It`s absurd. And if you really look at the data on this, nobody believes it`s going to happen. And I think when people say things that they know aren`t going to happen, I don`t think you can get credit for calling them out on absurdity of it. O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, how do you see it after that first hour? STEVE JARDING, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT & PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: Well, it`s -- I agree kind of with both assessments. I mean, you look at this and you say it`s kind of Aesop`s fables, it`s a little crazy, you listen to this and all these guys wrap themselves in a flag and say we`re great Americans. And yet they ignore the fact that America is a land of immigrants. They get applause in that audience by saying we`re going to ship people home and rip families apart while they claim to be family-value people. They claim that they want to help people because we need jobs in America and people are suffering. But then they say, well, God knows, we can`t raise minimum wage or some of them even suggest that we ought to lower it, for God`s sake. You raise the minimum wage to $15, you know what, Lawrence? It`s going to cost -- it`s going to cost about 5 cents to double that, 5 cents on goods and services if it`s passed entirely onto the consumer. Five cents for a big Mac, I don`t know what a big Mac costs. Is it 5 bucks? I can afford $5.05. But that`s nothing to me, but to those people, $15,000 in their pockets? This is America. These guys are talking about the American dream, but apparently it`s only for the -- for the richest of the rich. If you`re poor, Ben Carson said, well, just work harder. You just work harder, you will be fine. It`s not about immigration in so many ways, Lawrence, it`s about pay people a wage that works. It will create jobs. Those people will take that money, they`ll go out and they`ll buy big Macs and they`ll buy shoes and they`ll get the economy moving again. But we don`t care about -- what`s strange in the first hour is it`s just surreal. These guys, they talk about family values, they talk about, we`re America, we`ve got to do -- and everything then they spew seems to be anti- American -- O`DONNELL: You know -- JARDING: Where did this country come from? ALTER: Ben Carson twice mentioned 1913. That was when the Federal Reserve was created, when the federal income tax was put in. And he wants to turn the clock back to pre-1913. O`DONNELL: Yes -- ALTER: And that`s just pre-new deal, but pre a federal income tax. And it struck me that, it`s really kind of crazy that we call this a conservative political party. There`s nothing conservative about it. Big C conservative, small C conservative, they shouldn`t be called conservatives anymore. They are radicals who want, you know, radical change in the American system. And I wish that the press and the public would see this more for what it is. O`DONNELL: Stuart, Jeb Bush to my money had his first solid round in any of the debates so far. His first answer coming out of the gate, clearly was prepared. And I mean that in a positive way. He had obviously done some real debate prep, and he had his talking points down, and he turned it into an economic attack on both President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And for the first time, he sounded like he was actually ready to play this game. STEVENS: Listen, I think the biggest mistake that Jeb Bush can make in a debate like this, given where we are, is trying to do too much. He ought to be about getting on base with singles and doubles and being Jeb Bush. Candidates can come back and he should do it. I think if he -- if he tries too hard, it would seem disingenuous. Look, I think there`s one thing that`s really important here. And that is that, there`s 28 percent of the -- of the country thinks that we`re going in the right direction. So, they`re operating in a wrong track environment. And you know, Jonathan and Steve don`t like what they`re saying, that`s fine. But it`s argument that I think it`s going to be really how to decide this election. Are we going to be one in which a third term of Barack Obama can be successfully argued a year from now or can we not? And we don`t know the answer to that yet, but these guys are definitely digging into the wrong track argument. O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, you mentioned the minimum wage, it was -- it was a real softball question at the Republican debate. Would you raise the minimum wage? They all said no, including Ben Carson. Let`s listen to what Ben Carson said about the minimum wage just a few months ago. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what about minimum wage? BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it probably should be higher than now. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: So Steve, exact opposite answer tonight. A few months ago, he thinks the minimum wage should have been higher. Tonight, Ben Carson goes with the chorus, absolutely no increase in the minimum wage. JARDING: Yes, I mean, it is kind of the weathervane team out there. It`s -- I`m going to say whatever I think will get me votes. And the problem is, the American public, that`s what they`re tired of. Why do we think we have two outsiders; Trump and Carson that are leading the fold? It`s not so much what they`ve said, it`s that people are saying enough already. We`re hurting out here. College tuition is up 1,800 percent since 1978, 1,800 percent. Only 1 out of 4, Lawrence, 1 out of 4 high school graduates in America is headed now to graduate from college. You cannot be a great nation anymore if 3 out of 4 of your young people only have a high school degree. That`s what people worry about. They do worry about jobs. They do worry about wages. They do worry about healthcare. These guys stand up there and say, well, people aren`t better under Obamacare. Ask the 17 million people who got healthcare under Obamacare what they think. The arrogance of these governors and these folks that live high and somehow sit out there and say well, I`m fighting for the poor person, but I don`t want you to have healthcare. I`m fighting for it, but God knows we`re not going to raise your wages. I`m fighting to get you more jobs, but just get another one, get two or three. That`s the problem. You look at these guys and you say, it really is a weathervane. And you -- they say what they think their voters want to hear, while they claim that they`re patriotic and they`re fighting for Americans. And they`re only fighting for a sliver of Americans. ALTER: Can we -- JARDING: That`s been the problem and every American knows it out there. That`s why they`re upset, that`s why they`re looking for an outsider. And I think if I were these guys, I`d be very careful -- say what you want in a primary, you get in a general election though, these words are going to come back to haunt you. And then when you get to flip-flop, I`m for minimum wage before I was against it or I`m against it before I`m for it. These guys are going to have to live with what they do in these primaries. And it`s not going to serve them well. ALTER: So, it`s interesting that we have Stuart Stevens on tonight who was -- O`DONNELL: It`s always interesting -- (CROSSTALK) ALTER: At least -- was chief strategist -- O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens on -- ALTER: Steve, chief strategist for Mitt Romney, I`m interested in what Stuart thinks of this immigration argument. So, Kasich and Bush said, you know, you can`t deport 11 million -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- ALTER: People. That makes it harder -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: They try to say the reasonable thing to an unreasonable audience -- ALTER: They -- it makes it harder for them to win the nomination, but easier for them to win the White House. STEVENS: Actually, listen, I -- ALTER: Do you agree with that, Stuart, that you can`t win -- STEVENS: Listen, I think -- ALTER: You`ve got to get 28 percent of the Latino vote. You can`t get elected president with 28 percent of the -- of the Latino vote. If Donald Trump was nominated, he`d get less than 10 percent Latino vote and is unelectable. So, don`t they -- STEVENS: Well -- ALTER: Have to take on the Trump orthodoxy in order to have any chance of actually winning the presidency? STEVENS: I think there`s variations here. I think you have to break down the argument. What no one believes is that we`re going to deport 11 million people. So the idea of being against something that no one believes is actually pretty easy. And you ought to take that battle and you ought to point it out as absurd. Because it reflects a sort of illegitimacy of thought that someone is presenting exactly as you say, to appeal to an audience. Now, the idea that you`re going to have limits on illegal immigration, that resonates with people, and that makes sense. There`s two different arguments. ALTER: But how do you -- or how do you get past the 29 percent of the Latino vote that your guy got the last time? And if you can`t, can you be elected president of the United States? STEVENS: Listen, the great problem with Republicans is with non-white voters. You`ve got to expand that. Immigration is one -- yes, so we`ll talk about it more. O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a quick break here. Coming up in tonight`s LAST WORD, the one brave candidate who has said the right thing about God and politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: We have breaking news from Missouri tonight. Police at the University of Missouri have increased security after a threat was called in. One day after the university system president resigned in the midst of protests, that threat comes the same day that the university system appointed an interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity. "Nbc`s" Sarah Dallof joins us by phone from Columbia, Missouri. Sarah, what`s the situation there tonight? SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS: Well, Lawrence, the crowd was called into the black culture center on campus. There was a meeting there between the Missouri legislative black caucus and a group of concerned students. There was a member of the caucus who actually took that phone call where the threat was called in. Police, the university police locked down the building, they did a sweep of the buildings. There was nothing found and there have been no arrests right now. You know, there`s also been some blasts on social media, specifically the anonymous app (INAUDIBLE). One of the threats says that some of you are all right, don`t come to school tomorrow. University security says they are aware of these social media threats. They say they are increasing security to the campus. Now, security already very tight. There`s a number of sit-ins and demonstrations on campus as well as its media presence about the last two days. Ever since the football team announced they would not practice or play until the then university system president stepped down following what some described as an inadequate response to sort of racist incidents on campus. Now, yesterday, the President did step down, followed by the chancellor. The team resumed their practices, but those student activists are still on campus raising awareness, they`re seizing upon this momentum to (INAUDIBLE) change, they were at one of those meetings tonight, Lawrence, when that threat was called in. O`DONNELL: Sarah Dallof, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Up next, Hillary Clinton versus Marco Rubio. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: John Jordan, the owner of Jordan Winery and a Republican donor is now formally backing Florida Senator Marco Rubio with a new Super PAC named "Baby got PAC". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A world gone out of control and getting worse. A shaky economy leaves millions behind, while Washington D.C. and Wall Street are doing just fine. And they wonder why we`re angry. So, when we started to make this ad, we had to decide which conservative candidate for president to support. Ted Cruz; the bold and brilliant conservative mind? Donald Trump; a leader in business and media? Ben Carson; world renowned neurosurgeon and faithful conservative? It`s a tough choice, so you know who we asked? Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. For once, they told the truth. They admitted there`s one candidate who scares Hillary Clinton and that`s Senator Marco Rubio. Democrats say he is the one they don`t want to face. Bill Clinton even calls him the biggest threat. When the media and the Democrats tell Republicans who they`re afraid to run against, that tells us all we need to know. Baby got PAC is responsible for the content of this message. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, it looks like Rubio wants to go against Hillary. ALTER: Yes, and it`s interesting because the money is moving to Rubio for the reasons that, that Super PAC ad indicated the big money on Wall Street and elsewhere believes that he has the best shot of beating Hillary Clinton. And it maybe that in this era where, you know, every "Fox News" viewer is an armchair pundit, that message kind of goes down to the voters to some extent, to primary voters. And that they -- and that Rubio gets some support for that reason. But remember, Trump and Carson are between 16 and 18 points ahead right now. This is not a close race in the -- in the polls. These other candidates have a lot of ground to make up before they really become competitive. O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, what about that, that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton most fear Marco Rubio among all those candidates? JARDING: Yes, I`m not certain of that. I mean, clearly there`s been some e-mail traffic, the DNC, the Clinton campaign has gone after Rubio a little bit. My guess is that, they are not real certain what`s going to happen. I mean, a couple of months still, Lawrence, we -- none of us probably would sit here and say, boy, the Trump balloon and the Carson balloon is going to last. Everyone kind of thought it would -- it would explode and fade away, it`s not done that. And to Jonathan`s point, the gap is so large right now, Rubio has got a long way to go. And I`m just not sure that, that will happen. I think the voters on the Republican side are so disillusioned with kind of a mainstream candidates, they`re so uncertain about the outsider candidates. They kind of like Carson, he has his troubles, they`re a little afraid of Trump. So, it`s kind of natural that they would gravitate to others in the field. I think the real test will be how Marco Rubio responds. If indeed, it`s kind of his day to shine or his week or whatever it is, he`s going to have to step up to the plate. Personally, I wonder that he`s ready, but we`ll find out. I don`t think, though, that when the spotlight comes on him, there`s a part of me that says, he has to be ready to take that gauntlet and run with it. Because the time is so short now between where we go on Iowa and New Hampshire and he`s got to have the resources. As Jonathan pointed out, he`s getting more money, but I -- that vote is so spread out, where is he going to get all his votes? That would be my concern if I am -- if I am sitting in Marco Rubio`s camp. O`DONNELL: Well, he certainly had a very sharp debate performance in the first hour that we saw. But Stuart Stevens, you have long predicted that the Trump bubble will burst, that Donald Trump won`t make it very far into the actual casting of votes once we get into next year and the primaries. Is Marco Rubio currently positioned to move into the gap that you predict Donald Trump will eventually open up. STEVENS: I`m sticking with that Trump prediction until -- O`DONNELL: OK -- STEVENS: It`s not true. Look, I look at this a bit differently. I just look at states. I think it`s all about who`s going to win these first four states. I think that they function basically as a playoff. And I think you can make a scenario where you cannot win one of the first four and then come back. But it`s never happened and I think it`s never happened for a reason. If you`re in second or third place in Florida and you lose the first four, I don`t see why that advances you to first. So, 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? I really think that`s the only thing that matters here. These national polls I think are interesting, you know, I pick them apart like everybody, but as far as the people that are going to vote, it tells you about who is going to win the Louisiana governor`s race by polling in Mississippi, which doesn`t tell you very much. O`DONNELL: But Jonathan, might this be the time when the first four don`t tell the story. Where you get -- say, a Carson win in Iowa, a Trump win in New Hampshire, a Carson win in South Carolina and then maybe someone else in Florida. Maybe Marco Rubio in Florida, something like that. And maybe it will take you six or eight before you get to the candidates you`re really dealing with. ALTER: Yes, so, you know, Karl Rove says that there could be what is, you know, every reporter`s dream, a brokered convention. Because the primaries up until March 15th are all proportional voting. In other words, they`re not winner take all. So they could split the vote and then you could get into a situation where something like the Trump-Cruz alliance, they have a detente. If you`ve noticed, they haven`t been -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- ALTER: Criticizing each other at all. That could become very significant. So, if, you know, if Cruz is leading and you know, Trump wants to leave without being totally humiliated, he could maybe play kingmaker and give his support to Cruz or conceivably vice versa. And all of these things could come into play in the way they could be just absolutely fascinating for all of us watching. Not very helpful to the Republican Party. O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, how about that, a brokered convention? STEVENS: Listen, I love the game of risks and I love the alliances, but I think it works better in the game of risks and in politics. I think when candidates lose, they lose their voters. And they end up not having anybody to trade. There`s a -- you know, what I would call a hunger game scenario here, where if a different person won each of those four primaries, and if those -- particularly if those winners were people who would not do well in a general election. So, if Trump did stay in and Trump won, say, New Hampshire, which I think were to stay in, is a more likely bet for him than Iowa. Carson won Iowa, Cruz won South Carolina, Rand Paul won Nevada. You know, then I think -- (CROSSTALK) We`d be off to -- we`d be off to the hunger games, and I think that theoretically -- JARDING: Yes, well, I`ll say that -- STEVENS: A good candidate could emerge post. But I don`t think that`s going to happen -- ALTER: Would be great. JARDING: Wouldn`t it be -- O`DONNELL: Go -- JARDING: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead, go ahead -- JARDING: Can I say something? -- O`DONNELL: Steve, go ahead -- JARDING: I generally agree with what Stu is saying. Although, I really do think -- and this is where I agree. I think Iowa and New Hampshire really do winnow. And if you don`t come in first or second or you`re marginalized there, it`s really going to be difficult to come back. And that`s where if Marco Rubio, I think doesn`t come in first or second, he may never get to Florida. It`s -- remember Rudy Giuliani said, I`m going to forgive the first one, and I`m going to plant my flag in Florida, he never quite got there. I really do think the power of this coalescing of the field that people want to winnow this thing down. Voters do, I think reporters do. And so, you better come in first or second or at least be somewhere close enough to be credible now in New Hampshire or I don`t think you necessarily get a door price to go to a next South Carolina and beyond -- ALTER: I don`t actually agree with that. Because what`s different this time are the Super PACs. It used to be that the only reason anybody dropped out was they didn`t have any money left. Now a lot of them are going to have their Super PAC money and they`re going to be able to go on for another few weeks and see if they do well in what they call the SCC primary or some of the other primaries. Try their luck again, maybe hope for a change with the debate. So, I`m not sure that you`re going to see all these guys dropping out early. JARDING: Oh, I`m not sure either, but if I could, Jonathan, with respect, I really do think, though, the free media that you get or like earned media, that`s worth millions of dollars. You win Iowa, New Hampshire, you`re on the cover of the news magazines, you lead the news. The Super PAC better have a ton of money -- and remember, now the Super PAC is supporting a loser. It`s harder to run the ad that says Steve lost the first three primaries, but by God, let`s stick with him. I just think, history would suggest, you better do well early or the system flushes you out. I would still bet on that. Even though I agree with you, Super PACs have changed the dynamic of our political system in a bad way, I believe. But I still think the power of, you got to -- you got to do well early or you get marginalized really quickly in this game. O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter and Stuart Stevens, thanks for joining us tonight. Coming up, President Obama makes history, this time it`s magazine history. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: President Obama is now the first president to pose for a photograph for the cover of "Out" magazine. That cover was revealed today, showing the president as the ally of the year for the LGBT community today. The president formally endorsed the equality act, which was introduced in the Senate in July by Democratic Senators Cory Booker, Tammy Baldwin and Jeff Merkley. The bill would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination on the basis sexual orientation or gender identity. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the legislative process produces a result, that balances both the bedrock principles of civil rights like those I have just described with the religious liberty that we hold dear in this country. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Andrea Bernstein, Senior Editor for Politics and Policy at WNYC Radio, and back with us, Steve Jarding. And, Andrea, congratulations. You are in the magazine too as one of the top 100 allies, I guess, we call them. What is the significance of this? It is a magazine. Let us talk about the cultural significance of it. We will get to the politics in a second. ANDREA BERNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR FOR POLITICS, WNYC RADIO: Well, in one sense, it is a landmark shift, but in another sense, it is sort of a natural progression, if you look at what has happened in this country over, say, the last 20 years. 20 years ago, fewer than a third of Americans supported gay marriage. Now, more than 2/3 of Americans support gay marriage. So, there has been a real flip. And, when, for example, the Supreme Court said gay marriage was legal in all 50 states back in June, the president, or his staff, lit up the White House in rainbow colors. O`DONNELL: Uh-huh. BERNSTEIN: So, that is sort of where the country is now. And, it does telegraph a possible issue in the general election, because all of the Republican candidates are opposed to same-sex marriage. The Democrats are not. But as the population ages, there are fewer and fewer opponents that are very active in Republican primaries. But, then the candidate who comes out of this bloody process then has to face a general electorate, which is more moderate in its views. O`DONNELL: So, coincidence that the White House and the President comes out in favor of the equality act today on the same day the magazine cover is revealed? BERNSTEIN: Well, I mean, you know, none of this is ever coincidence exactly. I mean, I do think that it is still consistent with what the president has articulated, that he supports equality in employment. But again, I mean this is something that the majority of the public does, too. It plays out differently in different places. Like in Houston last week, there was a ballot measure, where people thought it was about allowing men into women is bathrooms and it was defeated. So there is a resistance in the American populous to supporting something they perceive as a special right. But, you know, what it is going to be up to, all the proponents of these bills to argue is that, this is something that is consistent with what, in fact, people already think is on the books. O`DONNELL: Steve Jarding, this bill is introduced in a Republican- controlled Senate. There is a Republican-controlled house. It has to somehow get hearings in both of those chambers. It has to get votes in the judiciary committee and the house judiciary committee in the Senate. And, that has to pass votes of those bodies, which seems impossible under Republican control. What is the President and what are the Democrats doing here, other than -- and this is a perfectly legitimate thing to do with legislation -- setting their objectives, stating their objectives in legislation that they know cannot get anywhere right now, but they will have it there and in the hopes that they can get it somewhere after the next election. JARDING: Yes. And, I think it is right. I mean this whole argument has always kind of confounded me. What do we fear with sexual orientation? We should fear discrimination, Lawrence, a whole lot more in this country, because discrimination has done a whole lot more harm to this nation than his sexual orientation. So, for the President and Democrats to say, "Listen, we are going to put that out there. It is wrong what Houston did. It is wrong that they said, we can allow discrimination." This is our children, for God`s sakes. You know, I said before, these people that wrapped themselves in the old testament and say, "Well, the old testament says homosexuality is wrong." But, the in the new testament, Jesus said over 40 times, "If you believe, you are in heaven. He did not say, "If you believe and you are straight" or "If you believe and you are not a transgender." He just said, if you believe. I think Democrats are right. Go after this. Discrimination has no place in this country. And, if we can with an open heart and an open mind fight that battle and say, "If it is discrimination today against gays or transgender, what is it tomorrow? Stop it, what do we fear?" All people are equal. We take pride in that in this country. We got to get back to that. We got to have that battle. I understand it might not win, but have at it. And, take their arguments against them. When they throw religion at you and Kim Davis said, "Well, I had to adhere to the bible." Well, the bible said, "Do not do it." What are you saying about Jesus, what was Jesus saying when he said, "If you believe you are in?" I think we have to have that argument with them, so I am all for it. I think it is the right thing to do. O`DONNELL: Andrea, some interesting elements in these poles that you are eluding to there. 69 percent are in favor of this kind of nondiscrimination protection. 75 percent believe we already have it in law. BERNSTEIN: Right. Right. Right. O`DONNELL: And, that 75 percent believing we already have it creates certain complications. That is not an entirely positive polling result -- BERNSTEIN: Right, right. O`DONNELL: -- for people who want this. BERNSTEIN: Right. And, I am going to say, in the last decade, you may remember, for example, George W. Bush in 200 4, there were a lot of ballot measures around the country involving same-sex marriage in what opponents described as special rights for lesbians and gays. And , having these measures on the ballots drew conservative votes, and it helped George W. Bush. I think what is interesting is that Americans have moved so far from that position. So, you know, I think it will be interesting to see how it does play out. But, the Supreme Court settled the issue of same-sex marriage, and I think that, that in itself changed a lot of minds. O`DONNELL: But, when 75 percent believe we already have these protections. Does not that in a certain way possibly undermine the drive to get these protections, because it will then sound like, "Oh, you are getting something extra special." BERNSTEIN: Right. Right. It certainly is a challenge to that. But, as a lot of people pointed out, after the Supreme Court decision, in America, you can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday and both can be legal. O`DONNELL: Yes. Andrea Bernstein and Steve Jarding, thank you both for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. JARDING: Thanks, Lawrence. BERNSTEIN: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Russian sports doping scandal. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: As Andrea Bernstein just mentioned, the night the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples, the Obama Administration lit the White House with rainbow colors to celebrate. And, the president tweeted, "Today is a big step in our march towards equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else." But those lights almost did not happen. The "Out" Magazine with the president on the cover has the big scoop of what actually happened that night. And , according to "Out" magazine, the White House tested lights earlier in June, trying colors in random orders on an exterior wall so as to not attract attention. But, then the gear boxes that contained the lights were accidentally soaked in the rain. And, at the last minute backup lights had to be used at 6 to 2 p.m. The switch was flipped and luckily the lights blazed on. Coming up, Vladimir Putin`s latest problem, the Russian doping scandal that could keep some of his athletes out of the Olympics. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD POUND, FORMER WADA PRESIDENT: For 2016, our recommendation is that the Russian federation be suspended. One of our hopes is that they will volunteer that, so they can undertake the remedial work in time to make sure that Russian athletes can compete. If they do not, then it has to play itself out and the outcome may be that there are no Russian track and field athletes in Rio. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Russia`s track and field team could face a band from the 2016 Olympics and the loss of medals after independent commission set up by the world anti-doping agency found Russian athletes participated in state- sponsored, state-organized doping. According to the commission`s report, the acceptance of cheating at all levels is widespread and of long standing. Examples of the cheating found include Russian athletes used false identities to evade testing, intentional and malicious destruction of more than 1,400 samples by a Moscow lab; responsible for testing athletes and visits by Russian security agents and direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state at the Moscow lab. Today, the head of the Russian Athletics Federation said, "The corruption you have mentioned have taken place several years ago. In any case, currently, it does not exist." The Russian sports minister said this yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VITALY MUTKO, RUSSIAN SPORTS MINISTER: (Translated to English) So, these allegations really sound unbased and really fictional, since Russia`s Anti- Doping Agencies today are very independent. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Matthew Futterman, Senior Special Writer for Sports at the "Wall Street Journal" and Olga Oliker, Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Matthew, first of all to the sports, your article today says things like this are going on all over the world in different sports organizations. The Russian version is particularly heavy handed involving state agents and all that sort of thing. But, you for one are not surprised. MATTHEW FUTTERMAN, SENIOR SPECIAL WRITER SPORTS AT THE "WALL STREET JOURNAL": No, I am not surprised at all. But, I do think it is a mistake if we look at this and say this is a Russian problem. You know, this is like the Soviet era, Russians back to what they have always been doing and back to, you know, the East Germans of the 1970s. You know, Americans have proven themselves to be pretty good cheaters, too. It happens all over the world. It happens in Kenya. It happens in Jamaica. And, you know, this is not just specific to Russia. That is not to let the Russians off the hook, because a lot of the stuff in this report is explosive. It is sort of unbelievable. It is not something that happened in the past. There were doping control officers in June at the race walking camp. That uncovered a bunch of, you know, faulty tests. And, you know, this is not something that the Russians can just sort of sweep away by their statements. O`DONNELL: Olga there does seem to be, possibly, a uniquely Russian quality to the style of this. One of the athlete, actually, thought his life was in danger. He said if he tried to do anything about it, he might accidentally get in a car accident. Those were his words. And, this involves the Russian government`s complete involvement in the doping scandal, something you do not certainly find in any of the American versions of this. You do not find -- to be the equivalent of the FBI going into the testing labs here in the United States and basically seizing the samples and helping destroy them and conspiring and all that. And, so it brings me to the question of what you might see in this as being peculiarly Russian. OLGA OLIKER, CSIS DIRECTOR, RUSSIA AND EURASIA: So, I do not know if it is peculiarly Russian. I do think there is a huge difference between the Tour De France, where it is about individuals, it is about team. And, this situation where the report documents is government involvement in a system that is designed to dope athlete, to use performance-enhancing drugs, to destroy evidence. And, yes, people do this all over the world, but to have the government involved in this, to have the FSB, as you said, the equivalent of the FBI showing up actively involved, that is, you know, that is a different sort of beast. I am not going to say there is anything particularly Russian about it. I can imagine that it is possible for another country to do something similar, but in this case, it does seem to be Russia that is doing it. O`DONNELL: Olga, when I look at Vladimir Putin in his stage and kind of fake hockey games, where is everyone on the other team just gets out of his way and lets him score goals, and then I see this kind of rigging, there seems to be something in Putin`s view of these kinds of things that we can never lose. We can never be perceived as losing at anything. OLIKER: Well, and there is a strong and generally very proud tradition of athletics in Russia. And, I think that there is a lot of Russian pride that gets tied up in sports and athletic contests. And, you know, there have been stories of Russian government -- soviet government involvement in cheating. Now, you are seeing Russian government involvement. And, again, the sort of systemic approach, which some people do think harkens back to these things that you saw in the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact. O`DONNELL: Matthew, I learned in your article that this is a completely untrustworthy system around the world. We leave the testing to the individual countries and they get to set up their own individual apparatus for this. FUTTERMAN: Yes. It is completely absurd. I mean what you need is you need an independent, international, third party with no stake in the game that just wants to catch the bad guys. O`DONNELL: And, nobody is ready to pay for that. FUTTERMAN: That is the problem. Everyone says, "Oh, this would be a great idea" and then nobody puts up the money for it. And, the money is there. It is just a matter of having the willpower to actually write the checks and fund this system. I mean taxpayers pay for the police. There is no reason why sports leagues and federations should not pay for the people to keep them honest. O`DONNELL: Matthew Futterman and Olga Oliker, thank you both for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. Coming up, the bravest thing that any presidential candidate has said this year. Hint, the candidate`s first game begins with a "B" and it is not about socialism. (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Up next, Bernie Sanders gets tonight`s "Last Word." (MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any president who does not begin every day on his knees is not fit to be commander in chief of this country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Amen. Amen. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING AND CHEERING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Unfortunately, for Ted Cruz, the founding fathers forgot to put that in the constitution. The constitution says that the qualifications for being president are a natural born citizen at least 35 years old, resident of the United States for at least the last 14 years. Nothing in there about the president must believe in and get on his or her knees to pray to a God of any kind. There is no religious test for holding office in this country, although politicians and the media act as if there is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian and I go to church and I love God and I love my church. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a Methodist both by birth and by choice. I was born into a Methodist family. Parents, grandparents, great grandparents claiming to go all the way back to the coal fields hearing the Wesley`s preach. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH , (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I started reading the bible and I think it was like Romans, got about to their and I realized that Jesus was my savior. And, I accepted h him. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This country has been extraordinarily blessed, and we have honored that blessing and that is why God has continued to bless us. (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Now, are you really a creationist. Do you subscribe to Adam and Eve, and the garden of Eve and that is where we came from? (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: At tonight`s debate, the candidates were actually asked which tax plan would God endorse. Even liberal Democrats who profess a belief in the importance of separation of church and state do not believe in the separation of church and politics. They frequently invoke God in speeches and they will answer any question about their religious beliefs at length if it is somehow relevant to governing. President Obama in his now famous cover interview for "Out" magazine, which we talked about earlier tonight, he actually felt compelled in that interview about LGBT rights to say, and I quote, "I am a man of faith." They all do it, all the time. Democrat and Republican, all except one. As polls have shown there is nothing braver in American politics than refusing to talk about religion, refusing to talk about your belief or disbelief in God. That bravery was displayed by one of the presidential candidates in the most unlikely of venues, "The Jimmy Kimmel Show." When the candidate was asked if he believes in God, he did not say, "It is none of your business," but he did not say, "Yes" or "No." He acknowledged the frame of the question in his first few words but then did not answer it and used it instead as another launching pad into the basic message of his campaign. It was the bravest moment thus far in the presidential campaign. A candidate offered a chance on national television to pander on religion, and the candidate refuses to do that. That candidate gets tonight`s "Last Word." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: A moment ago, you said God forbid. You say you are culturally Jewish. You do not feel religious. Do you believe in God and do you think that is important to the people of the United States? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, I am who I am and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we are all in this together. And, I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people. That we should not be living -- (AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING) And this is not Judaism. This is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that. We are living in a nation today, which has seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires, massive income and wealth inequality. And, you know what? We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on Earth. We are the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. The only country that does not have paid family and medical leave. Many other countries are providing free tuition in their public colleges and universities. So, essentially, what I think is we do best as human beings. We fulfill our lives when we work together rather than say, "Hey, I want it all, and I do not care about the hungry kid down the street." I do not think that is what America should be about. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) O`DONNELL: Special live coverage of the Republican presidential debate with Chris Matthews is next. END