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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 1/26/2016

Guests: Elise Jordan, Stuart Stevens, David Corn, Nate Silver, Wendy Davis, Thom Hartman, Eve Ensler

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: January 26, 2016 Guest: Elise Jordan, Stuart Stevens, David Corn, Nate Silver, Wendy Davis, Thom Hartman, Eve Ensler

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: For over a year that their water -- their water despite authorities are showing them for over a year that their water was not safe.

People who spoke out when nobody would listen, and people who today, despite all the national attention, as far as we can tell at least, they`re still not getting the help they need.

We have invited Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to attend tomorrow`s event. As of this evening, he hasn`t said one way or the other -- hope springs eternal.

That`s all tomorrow night, 9:00 right here, we hope you can join us and possibly your neighbors that will watch party near you.

That does it for us tonight, we`ll see again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I think tomorrow night is going to be the most important hour on this subject so far.

MADDOW: Well, thank you for saying so, I`m very nervous, but I`m really looking forward to getting out there.

O`DONNELL: I have full faith and confidence in you.

MADDOW: Thanks a lot.

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel --

MADDOW: Thanks --

O`DONNELL: Well, tonight, Donald Trump stopped campaigning against Ted Cruz so he could campaign against Megyn Kelly.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean an aggressive move here by skipping a debate going --

TRUMP: By now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Against Fox News --


TRUMP: They sent out the wise guy press releases.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Making him look like a chicken, saying he`s afraid to face Megyn Kelly.

TRUMP: Now, let`s see how many people watch --

MATTHEWS: Who is going to watch a debate between Rubio and Ted Cruz? Who cares?!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wonder how Iowans are going to react.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: It`s been special season when we pretend to know what a caucus is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump has picked up the endorsement of Jerry Falwell Junior.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Evangelicals over the last month moving a little bit away from Ted Cruz and toward Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: If he can win there, he can win anywhere.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Donald wins Iowa, if he went on to win New Hampshire as well, there`s a very good chance he could be unstoppable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The top two Democrats are fighting their own battles.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Experience is important, but judgment is also important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The latest "Cbs" poll has Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton by 1 percent in Iowa, though, another poll has Hillary beating Bernie Sanders with a folding chair.



O`DONNELL: Fake tough guy presidential candidate Donald Trump is afraid of a lot of people.

He is so afraid of Muslims who does not want to allow another one to enter the United States.

And he is afraid of being asked tough questions by reporters covering his campaign.

So, afraid of that, that he keeps them in a pen and doesn`t allow them to get anywhere close to him on the campaign trail.

Most of the time he does that. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has done interviews in every evening prime time hour on "Fox News" and "Cnn".

But fake tough guy presidential candidate Donald Trump has never done an interview in prime time on this network.

After the first Republican presidential debate, when "Fox News`" Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump an uncomfortable question, Donald Trump lashed out at Megyn Kelly with all the ferocity of a spoiled 4-year-old boy.

Tonight, Donald Trump`s fear of Megyn Kelly has driven him to a cowardly decision that Trump supporters surely will, as they always do, see as bravery.


TRUMP: They can`t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. So, let them have their debate and let`s see how they do with the ratings.

And I told them, I said give money to the wounded warriors, give money to the veterans, they`re going to make a fortune with the debate.

Now, let`s see how many people watch. We`ll have our own event, we`ll raise some money for the wounded warriors, we`ll raise money for the vets.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump had been publicly toying with not doing that debate for a few days now.

He said today what finalized his decision were teasing press releases by "Fox News", including one today, saying, "we learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president.

A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plans to replace the cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings."

That came after another "Fox News" statement, one of those wise guy statements as Trump would call it.

That statement said, "sooner or later, Donald Trump even if he is president is going to have to learn that he doesn`t get to pick the journalists.

We`re very surprised he`s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly."


TRUMP: When they sent out the wise guy press releases a little while ago, I was all set to do the debate.

I came here to do the debate. When they sent out the wise guy press releases a little while ago done by some PR person along with Roger Ailes, I said bye-bye.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump began this day campaigning against Megyn Kelly on "Abc".


TRUMP: I don`t think she`s a good professional, I don`t think she`s professional at all.

She`s very biased against me. I don`t think she`s a very talented person. I don`t think she`s a good reporter.

I think they can do a lot better than that. I love doing the debates. You know, I just do think they should get competent reporters.

They shouldn`t use somebody like her.


O`DONNELL: Tonight on the Mark Levin show, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump`s biggest challenger in Iowa, challenged Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate.


CRUZ: If Donald is afraid of Megyn Kelly, I would like to invite him on your show to participate in a one-on-one debate between me and Donald.

We could do it without any moderators whatsoever. I`m happy to go an hour and a half, mano-a-mano, me and Donald with no moderators any time before the Iowa caucuses.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now are David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.

Also with us, Stuart Stevens, columnist for the "Daily Beast" and the former chief strategist for Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign.

And with us here in New York studio, Elise Jordan; former senior policy adviser to Senator Rand Paul`s presidential campaign and an Msnbc political analyst.

Elise, welcome to the dark side. This sounds to me like it could just be the Trump strategist to actually looking at this and saying, how will the debate help?

How can it possibly help? It could -- what can happen in that debate that will improve his situation in Iowa?

ELISE JORDAN, FORMER SENIOR POLICY ADVISER TO RAND PAUL: Well, that is definitely one way to look at it.

But also he did his best performance of the entire debate season was last - - the last debate when he managed Ted Cruz made Donald Trump seem almost like a sensitive human being.

It was very odd. So, he actually had shown improvement throughout this debate process.

Which is why I find it odd that he`s willing to take this big of a gamble because I think it`s a huge mistake and it could potentially backfire.

Although, when has that happened to Trump?

O`DONNELL: Right --


Yes, well, actually, every -- that`s the -- we have a little thing in the teleprompter that puts that at the end --


O`DONNELL: Of every statement about Trump, this could backfire. Stuart Stevens, explain it to me, what is Trump up to?

STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST & FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR MITT ROMNEY: Listen, I think the problem with unstable people is they do unstable things.

I don`t think there`s any master plan here. I don`t think there`s any grand strategy.

I think it`s deadly what Donald Trump says, they sent out some press releases from "Fox", he got annoyed, got his back up and said well, I`m not going to go to the debate.

You know, it`s just one more indication of what incredibly unsuited personality this person is to be president of the United States.

I mean, it`s ridiculous. And you know, I fear that he may leave this race before we`ll know his real thoughts on the nuclear quadrangle.

It`s just -- this is -- this is Donald Trump. He`s not a serious person running for a very serious job.

O`DONNELL: We`ve got a written statement from the Trump campaign. And I`m just going to hold it up to the camera, it`s a full page.

And my guess is that, it might be about close to maybe 320 words, something like that.

The words the art of the deal are in there and bestselling book, but nowhere in this thing, nowhere in it does it say why Donald Trump is pulling out of the debate.

David Corn, the latest twist from Donald Trump.

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, you know, I think my friends Stuart and Elise here have the disadvantage of trying to deal with this as if this is reality, or at least the reality that we`re accustomed to.

Donald Trump does seem to be unstable, but he is indeed backfire-proof.

Nothing he`s done seems to backfire, it only plays to his crowd, which seems to be anywhere between 30 percent and 60 percent of the Republican Party that Stuart Stevens used to work with in terms of the base.

And I think, you know, it may not be that he`s just doing this because he`s peaked, what`s anyone talking about today?

Will Trump do the debate? I`ll talk like Trump, will Trump do this? And tomorrow, they`ll be talking about it again.

He may change his mind and say I`m going to do it. So, in these last few days before the caucus, when every other candidate is trying to get a narrative out there, people are just talking about Trump.

And you know, and he`s out there saying winners don`t debate. I`m a winner, I`m a winner, I don`t need to debate.

It`s just the same line he`s been pushing in a different format and sucking up every little bit of oxygen.

You know, pity Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

O`DONNELL: And in his --


In his statements today, he specifically insulted Roger Ailes who runs "Fox News" and that`s something he`s been avoiding doing in his past feuding with "Fox News".

Let`s -- there`s a report out tonight indicating that Trump may be saying to "Fox News", he`s only willing to talk to Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the whole shebang.

He will not talk to anybody over there about how to solve this problem. But let`s take a look back at the question, the Megyn Kelly question that started this whole thing.

Let`s listen to this.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: You`ve called women you don`t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.

Your Twitter account --

TRUMP: Only Rosie O`Donnell --


KELLY: No, it wasn`t. Your Twitter account --

TRUMP: Thank you --

KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O`Donnell.

TRUMP: Yes, I`m sure it was.

KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women`s looks. You once told a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice", it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.

Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?

And how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton who is likely to be the Democratic nominee that you are part of the war on women.


O`DONNELL: Elise Jordan, one of the things "Fox News" said in their statements today, that Trump doesn`t understand that he cannot control the journalists".

He has every right to believe that he can. Not one person who has interviewed him has asked as memorable or tough a question as that since Megyn Kelly asked that question.

JORDAN: Well, her follow up was clearly -- it took even off guard. And that`s what, this whole strategy that "Fox" is pursuing I think is pretty brilliant and I think that Trump might have met his match.

But remember, Roger Ailes, his involvement with the Reagan campaigns, with H.W. Bush in `88 and making him palatable to a more conservative base.

I think that Roger Ailes knows who he is dealing with, and this is -- this could be interesting.

O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, a big endorsement today for Trump from Jerry Falwell Junior who runs Liberty University where Ted Cruz made his campaign announcement.

That`s the biggest evangelical side of the game -- endorsement that Trump got.

Then tonight, on Megyn Kelly`s show -- what`s his -- Tony Perkins, Tony Perkins personally endorsed Trump not on behalf of the organizations -- religious organizations he`s involved with.

Which one of those -- I mean, Tony Perkins versus Falwell? I think that Falwell is the bigger one, right?

STEVENS: Well, actually, I would have said Tony Perkins.

O`DONNELL: Well, OK --

STEVENS: You know, I`m not sure endorsements matter much in these things. I`ve done frighteningly five out of the last six Iowa caucuses --


And whenever I had a big endorsement lined up, when we went and filmed it, and we were all excited, it never really seemed to move numbers and tracking.

You know, the thing that people forget is, you`re talking about a very -- forget the percentage.

You`re talking about a very few number of people here. I mean, the last time Mitt Romney won and then he lost by 35 votes or something.

The difference between first and third on caucus night, it could be a few hundred votes.

So, I think that the margins here are what we`re playing at, and I think that Donald Trump not showing up is going to be seen -- forget the Megyn Kelly thing.

It`s going to be seen as disrespectful to Iowa. And you want to not disrespect the voters.

Even when John McCain was not really competing in Iowa, and not in 2000, was only focusing on New Hampshire.

He still went to the Iowa debates. And I think that, that`s just a sign of respect for the process.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, a quick last word on this.

CORN: Donald Trump`s campaign is not about respect, Stuart --


I think that -- I think the bottom-line, and watching his battle with "Fox", I`m just getting the popcorn out, it`s like Godzilla versus Mothra.

And I don`t know who is going to win it, I actually don`t care.

O`DONNELL: Well, maybe it`s up to Rupert Murdoch who wins. David Corn, Stuart Stevens and Elise Jordan, thank you all for joining me tonight. Appreciate it --

STEVENS: Sure thing --

O`DONNELL: Coming up, who has the best chance of winning Iowa and who has the best chance of winning New Hampshire?

And who is the best person to tell us? The triumphant return of Nate Silver to THE LAST WORD, that`s coming up.

And later, playwright Eve Ensler joins us to talk about her new campaign, stop hate, dump Trump.

And we have some breaking news from that standoff in Oregon. The reports of arrests being made there tonight, that`s next.


O`DONNELL: We have breaking news at this hour tonight from Oregon on that three and a half week old standoff between anti-government militia and federal officials.

We`ve just learned that the leader of that group Ammon Bundy is in custody tonight after an incident where shots were fired.

For more now, we go to Nbc`s Joe Fryer, Joe, what is the latest there?

JOE FRYER, NBC NEWS: Well, Lawrence, the FBI just released a statement, giving us more details.

It said it decided to begin what it called an enforcement action this afternoon to try to end this armed occupation that`s been going on for three and a half weeks, and arrest some of the people involved.

So, there was a situation where they were confronted by authorities and during the arrest, shots were fired according to authorities.

One person, one of the protesters was killed in that exchange. That person`s name has not been released yet.

Another was also shot and injured, that person is expected to survive, was taken to a hospital in town to be treated.

That hospital is under lockdown. Also during this entire incident, six protesters were taken into custody.

Ammon Bundy; the leader of the group, one of them along with his brother, Ryan, they are now in federal custody.

And according authorities, they all face federal felony charge. This is the charge -- "conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats."

Now, all of this actually happened not at the Wildlife Refuge, but well north of it, north of the town of Burns on a road where it appears authorities tried to pull them over and enforce these arrests.

From what we understand, the armed militants were actually heading to a meeting in the town of John Day Oregon.

That is about 70 miles north of Burns. They were expected to meet with community members there, to talk about the ongoing occupation.

A number of people were gathered in John Day, waiting for the armed militants to arrive, but they never did arrive because of what happened this afternoon around 4:30 p.m. Oregon time.

Again, to recap, one of the protesters is dead, another was injured and six others, including the leader, Ammon Bundy are now all in custody and will face federal charges, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And Joe, once again, no information at this point in terms of a name of the person killed or a name of the person injured?

FRYER: No, authorities at this point don`t want to release that information because they want to make sure to inform the family and this happened not that long ago.

There are some rumors circulating online about who it is, but at this point, we don`t know.

And we really don`t know exactly what happened during the exchange between authorities and the armed protesters.

But we know that the FBI says that shots were fired during this incident and that`s what led to the exchange.

O`DONNELL: And any injuries to law enforcement personnel?

FRYER: The FBI has said nothing about that. At this point, the FBI is only saying, basically, two people were shot, the one who died and the other who was injured.

O`DONNELL: And Joe, what do we know about any protesters still left at the -- at the Reserve -- the Federal Reserve there?

FRYER: That`s a good question, because we know this happened well over 30 miles from the Refuge.

At this point, it`s believed based on some of the reports we were seeing on social media that there were still certainly some people there.

It`s unclear at this point if authorities moved in there to get those people out or if they remain at this time.

Again, all of this action happened several miles away from the Refuge, but it involved some of the key players in this armed occupation who it appears were heading to a meeting well north of Burns.

O`DONNELL: Joe Fryer, we`ll come back to you if anymore develops there, Joe, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

FRYER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Coming up, FiveThirtyEight`s Nate Silver joins us to clear up all the confusion about all these polls.


O`DONNELL: As of this hour, Nate Silver of the "New York Times" FiveThirtyEight blog predicts that President Obama will win 314 electoral college votes and Mitt Romney will win 227.

Nate Silver gives President Obama a 91 percent chance of winning re- election. That was the night before the last presidential election and now the triumphant return of Nate Silver.

We used Nate Silver`s poll analysis in the last presidential election which was always correctly pointing to the re-election of President Obama.

Even amidst a flurry of confusing and conflicting polls that indicated otherwise sometimes.

In the most recent "Cnn" Iowa polls, Senator Bernie Sanders is ahead of Hillary Clinton by 8 points in the most recent "Fox News" Iowa polls.

Secretary Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders by six points. Here to make sense of all of that, Nate Silver, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of

Nate, luckily, you`re finally here.

NATE SILVER, STATISTICIAN & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF. FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Yes, but I`m not going to be able to deconfuse things as much as I would be during a general election.

Primary polling is a wild endeavor, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire where half of voters make up their mind in the last week.

O`DONNELL: And with general election polling, it`s a longer course of polling activity, it`s over areas that are predictable, you know which ones to ignore --

SILVER: And there are --

O`DONNELL: Because there aren`t many electoral votes --

SILVER: There are a lot fewer swing voters. I mean --


SILVER: Almost everyone is a swing voter in the primary, in the sense that you might have if you`re a Republican, five or six candidates that you like.

Maybe it comes to your first choice, your Cruz --

O`DONNELL: Right --

SILVER: You know, even in the Democratic race, it`s at least a two-way race that makes it a little bit less.

But although -- but all the third place and fourth place and fifth place candidates in the GOP get their voters sick with them and looks like this guy doesn`t have a chance to win.

Did they (INAUDIBLE), so, you know, the big kind of polling one-on-one conclusion is, you should be nervous about any lead in the primary poll until people start voting.

But especially in a caucus state and especially in New Hampshire in a race where you have six or seven viable Republican candidates in that state at least.

O`DONNELL: And then it`s always worth a reminder that, you know, when people see someone move five points in a poll, it`s possible that nothing happened because of the margin of error.

What you`re really looking at is a band, a band of statistical possibility that tends to be anywhere from six to eight points wide.

SILVER: Yes, that`s the -- six or eight or even more points --


SILVER: Wide potentially --


SILVER: And you`re right, you know, in a general election, a five points is a meaningful shift, but these primary polls may only have two or three or four hundred --

O`DONNELL: Right --

SILVER: People. Also, maybe not the right people. Polls that show lots of people -- caucus show good news for Bernie Sanders and for Donald Trump.

If you have the previous electorate showing up, then Cruz will probably win and Clinton might win pretty easily if the old traditional caucus electorate comes out instead.

So no one really agrees on who is going to vote and it makes it doubly hard versus the general election.

O`DONNELL: All right, so much for the refresher tutorial on how tricky this is. Let`s get to the actual chances as you see it now.

In Iowa, you see it as Hillary Clinton having a 67 percent chance of winning, Bernie Sanders having a 33 percent chance of winning.

SILVER: Yes, so she`s about a two to one favorite. We definitely saw a big closing for Bernie after the first of the year.

One theory is that people talked with their parents at home and the parents were like, you know what?

I like Bernie, too, we haven`t seen him close from being a few points behind on average to ahead here.

We haven`t seen him pull ahead -- again, the polls are all over the place. Some polls that showed him ahead by eight, to Clinton ahead by 25 if you believe that.

But the average shows her a little bit ahead.

O`DONNELL: And New Hampshire looks even more clear to you with Bernie Sanders -- in your analysis, Bernie Sanders having a 90 percent chance of winning, Hillary Clinton having a 10 percent chance of winning.

And I just want to stress, this doesn`t mean Bernie Sanders is getting 90 percent of the vote, Hillary Clinton getting 10 percent.

SILVER: Right --

O`DONNELL: Means, Bernie Sanders has a 90 percent chance of getting more votes than --

SILVER: But let me clear one wrinkle in here, which is, this is a simple version of a forecast, it doesn`t account for what might happen in Iowa.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that can --

SILVER: So, if Bernie --

O`DONNELL: Right --

SILVER: Loses Iowa, then there might be momentum shift, so --


SILVER: You know, if he didn`t have Iowa in the way, then Bernie would look terrific for New Hampshire right now.

But, you do, so 90 percent I think is a little bit on the high side.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And in the craziest campaign in history, Donald Trump you say has a 55 percent chance of winning Iowa, Ted Cruz has a 39 percent chance.

SILVER: So, it`s a little closer. I mean, it`s not that far from being 50/50.

We wrote a couple of weeks ago when Cruz was ahead that, hey, there`s still a lot of time to go, it`s a pretty small lead, be careful, don`t get ahead of yourself on Cruz.

I might say the same thing now if the Trump turnout isn`t strong. There`s one last debate, Donald Trump might not be there. But remember --

O`DONNELL: Right --

SILVER: That to me, will happen on Thursday --

O`DONNELL: Thursday night --

SILVER: You might not even have time for that debate to be reflected fully in the polls. Remember, New Hampshire --


SILVER: In 2008, Clinton had a debate where she did really well. We didn`t really know the impact of that until after people --

O`DONNELL: That debate will be reflected fully Monday night in the Iowa caucuses.

SILVER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: And then finally, New Hampshire, you give Donald Trump a 67 percent chance of winning, Ted Cruz, an 11 percent chance of winning New Hampshire.

SILVER: Yes, the one thing you could say against Trump in New Hampshire is that, you do have five or six candidates at 10 percent.

And you have one of them break out. The problem is that, no one has been able to develop momentum yet.

You know, as we were getting ready, there`s a poll that came out, showing - - 15 percent, you see polls for Kasich and Cruz and Rubio.

No one is doing badly enough to drop out, but no one is doing well enough yet to really put a dent in Trump`s margin.

O`DONNELL: Nate Silver, that chair has your name on it, any and every night you want to come back and guide us through this because it`s going to just keep coming.

SILVER: Cool, thank you --

O`DONNELL: Thanks Nate. Up next, another Hillary versus Bernie debate without Hillary or Bernie supporters of each candidate will join us.


O`DONNEL: Time for another Hillary versus Bernie debate without Hillary or Bernie. Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will join us in a moment. At last night`s democratic forum, Hillary Clinton was asked to respond to one of Bernie Sanders most talked about campaign ads, which features the Simon & Garfunkel song, "America."


SANDERS: I am Bernie Sanders and I approve this message.



CLINTON: I think that is great. I think that is fabulous. I loved it. And, now, look, you cannot paint in poetry, you govern in pros. And, we need a lot more poetry in this campaign and in our country, so I applaud that. I love the feeling. I love the energy, but I believe that I am the better person to be the democratic nominee.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Wendy Davis, a former member of the Texas State Senators Campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Also, joining us is Thom Hartman, host of the nationwide radio show called, "Thom Hartman" program. He supports Bernie Sanders for president.

Wendy Davis, the pros of governing is of course legislation and that is written by congress. So, which of Secretary Clinton`s legislative proposals do you believe Paul Ryan will bring to a vote in the house of representatives.

WENDY DAVIS, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, my hope is that he will bring to a vote the idea that we need to be supporting working families in this country by working toward paid family leave, joining the rest of the industrialized countries or in this world in terms of making sure that we are providing the kind of support for our working families that they need.

O`DONNELL: And, Thom Hartman, people have been talking about how impractical Bernie Sanders` ideas are because they would not be passed by congress, unless I am missing something. It is hard for me, sitting here to think of anything -- any major thing that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is proposing that would even get a hearing in a republican controlled house of representatives.

THOM HARTMAN, RADIO HOST AND A BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: I think you are absolutely right, Lawrence. And, thank you for having me back on. It is pleasure to be on with Senator Davis. On the other hand, when you look at wave elections, you know, the FDR`s election, even Lyndon Johnson, arguably -- for that matter Barack Obama`s first election, they tend to sweep into office the whole lot of people.

So, you know, I think frankly if Bernie Sanders is elected it will be because millions of people, who have not voted before or only infrequently vote showed up. And, if that happens Paul Ryan is not going to be speaker of the house and Bernie will have a democratic house and a democratic senators even more likely. And, it might be able to get a heck of a lot, A gooof stuff done.

O`DONNELL: All right. Last night Bernie Sanders was asked in turn to respond to a Clinton campaign ad. Let us look at that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: She is the one leader who has what it takes to get every part of the job done.

CLINTON: I am Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Is Hillary Clinton simply better prepared for the job than you, sir? Do not leave, we have another 15 minutes.


SANDERS: This calls for a standing up response. I voted against the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq. I led the effort against Wall Street deregulation. See where Hillary Clinton was on this issue.

I did not have to think hard about opposing the transpacific partnership. It took Hillary Clinton a long time to come on board that. So, in other words, yes, I do think I have the background and the judgment to take this very, very difficult job of being president of the United States.


O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis, Senator Sanders says he was right and Hillary Clinton was wrong or slow on those issues.

DAVIS: You know, I think if you look at what these candidates are talking about in the campaign and also looking at their records, going back to Hillary`s statement about campaigning being the poetry and the governing of this country being the pros. Look at the positions that Hillary has taken on gun control in this country. That is for pros.

Bernie Sanders statements about that are his poetry, but his pros are the votes that he has taken in that regard. Five times voting to support the RNA. Five times voting against background checks in that regard. Two times voting to provide immunity for gun dealers and for those who are registered in this country, who are selling weapons. She has shown time and again that she has what it takes to be the person, who will lead us forward.

And, I think when you look at her record, the fact that Hillary Clinton has gotten up day after day after day in some very tough fights and demonstrated that she is willing to do what it takes to do the best for the American public and for their families, her record speaks volumes in that record. And, I think she will stand on her record any day of the week to demonstrate that she is the person who is best suited to govern from day one when she enters the white house.

O`DONNELL: Thom Hartman, your response?

HARTMAN: Well, first of all, I think the kind of Nixonian attacks on Bernie about several out of literally thousands, perhaps ten thousand votes that he has taken are not going to work. Anybody who has bothered to familiarize themselves on Bernie`s record even on gun control knows that -- you know, the NRA hates him and pretty much always has.

But setting that aside, getting back to the politics and pros issue, which Senator Davis brought up and you brought up, Lawrence I think it is a really important one. Hillary Clinton said we campaign with poetry and we govern with pros. I would say that, that was the mistake that Barack Obama made.

He campaigned with poetry and we elected him thinking that we would continue to get that poetry that he would be out there fighting for us and speaking for us; instead he kind of went to radio silence and told us all, "I got this. Everything is cool. Do not worry." And, not a great deal happened or at least not all the stuff -- not even much of the stuff that we had hoped for and that had been promised.

So, I think that a president -- if you look at John Kennedy, we are going to put a man on the moon in ten years, people thought he was crazy. If you look at Franklin Roosevelt, we are going to make the government, the employer of last resort end this republican great depression.

People thought it was impossible. People who govern with poetry and pros are the most effective presidents. And, frankly, I do not think that we have had one since Ronald Reagan. And, he was on the other side, but he govern with both poetry and pros, that is why he was so popular. That is why he got so much done.

O`DONNELL: Well, I think if we look at the legislative record, Barack Obama accomplished more in the presidency than any democratic presidents since LBJ.

DAVIS: Exactly.

HARTMAN: I do not disagree with that at all.

O`DONNELL: But, let us listen --

HARTMAN: And, he has been a great president.

O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what Hillary Clinton said about Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign. Let us listen to this.


CLINTON: You know, a wonderful former governor of New York used to say that, in politics you campaign in poetry, but you govern in pros. And, we need a president who knows how to govern.


O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis, was Hillary Clinton wrong to suggest that Barack Obama did not and would not know how to govern as president?

DAVIS: Well, clearly Hillary Clinton would be the first person today that would tell you that our country has dramatically improved under the presidency and the leadership of President Obama. And, obviously, she is someone who has stood strongly by his side and was selected as his secretary of state and did a remarkable job in that role.

And, I think the fact that the two of them see the challenges that face this country in a very similar way speaks volumes to what she will be able to achieve as president. She understands that we have to build on the record of success that he has been able to accomplish, including the passage of Obama Care and the desire to make that better.

And, she will be equipped because of her fights time and time again on reproductive rights on making sure that families are able to support themselves. She is going to be the person best suited for this job.

O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis and Thom Hartman, thank you very much for joining us for one more debate. Thank you for that.

HARTMAN: Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, playwright Eve Ensler is leading a new campaign called, "Dump Trump." Eve Ensler will join us.



O`DONNELL: Here is what Chris Christie said in New Hampshire when he was asked why he was not in New Jersey dealing with the clean up from last weekend`s snowstorm.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There has been one county that is flooded. I do not know what you expect me to do. Do you want me to go down there with a mop?


O`DONNELL: Well, some residents of flooded New Jersey communities did not like that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: It takes a little bit more than a mop for this. The devastation is what it is. That is not going to change. It is going to take more than a mop.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: My town is in an uproar over that remarks.


O`DONNELL: Today, Chris Christie apologized.


CHRISTIE: I got carried away last night at a town hall meeting. It is not the first time that I have gotten carried away and said something that I really apologized for. It does not happened often, but it happens.


O`DONNELL: Up next. MSNBC`s Joy Reid joins me from Flint, Michigan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: People out there are saying, they want you investigated, they want you arrested. Is it fair for people to say these kinds of things?

GOV. RICK SNYDER, (R) MICHIGAN: Well, again, it is gone beyond that, people want to have me shot. Well, I mean that is true. So, again, that does not help solve the problem. So, I just have to deal with all that. I have to live with it. And, I am going to keep my focus on solving the problem.


O`DONNELL: The Flint, Michigan water crisis has drawn the attention of the United Nations. The organizations expert on hazardous substance and waste told the Associated Press that the U.N. is, quote, "Following the developments in Flint and looking at it from the human rights lens."

This evening, at a public meeting in Flint, the NAACP called for an investigation by the Department of Justice and released a plan to address the crisis The organization`s president also met with the Governor Snyder. Joining us now, MSNBC National Correspondent, Joy Reid. What is the essence of the NAACP`s plan.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the NAACP, Lawrence, is calling on more assistance from the state to the children in particular of Flint during that meeting, which was also attended by the mayor of Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. The outcome of it was essentially, the governor`s plan to call on the feds, essentially to come in and do a special expansion of Medicaid to provide long-term assistance to the children in Flint.

I can tell you, though, Lawrence, we have been talking to people throughout the day and no one expressed a lot of confidence in the governor. And, more importantly, they said that they have not gotten anything in the way of direct assistance or advisement from the state as to what to do with their kids right now. What they have seen is a lot of national guards man walking around, handing out bottled water, but there is not a lot of long- term planning in terms of how do they get the additional nutritional assistance that is being advised.

The menus that they are being told to serve their kids, where there is not a grocery store in the city of Flint that they can go and buy the food. So, they are really essentially at this point counting on the public schools to help with nutrition and now this potential for a request that the federal government come in and provide a Medicaid expansion to try to help the children here and those who had been affected by the lead in the water.

O`DONNELL: Governor Snyder has said he is sorry. He is apologized. He was asked today specifically, what he is sorry for. Let us listen to that answer.


GOV. SNYDER: There are a number of individuals that work for me that made mistakes in this process that contributed to not seeing the corrosive controls go in the water that common sense said they should have. And, when people make mistakes that work for you, you are responsible. And, you have to do everything to improve it. The other thing is we went through this, there are other opportunities that I wish I could have done things faster and better when you look at it in retrospect.


O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, it is an administration that allowed a lot of mistakes and now people have to wonder how many mistakes will they make in this process of trying to fix it?

REID: Yes. And, there is a great deal of skepticisms that the governor is sort of expressing, there were problems made and people should have known better. Look, people have understood that Lake Huron obviously has this giant body of water and it is the third largest fresh water body was always there and available. That is where Detroit gets its water. That is how Flint was getting its water.

People had been concerned about the Flint River and getting water from there since the 1960s. The first deal to do so within 63 to go to Detroit. So, people here are wondering, how it could be possible that anyone would allow Flint water to be used river water rather than Lake Huron. So, I do not know that the governor`s words are getting too much of a warm reception here in Flint that people we have talked to. Lawrence

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, thanks for joining us tonight. Thank you. I appreciate it.

REID: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid will be joining Rachel Maddow tomorrow night when Rachel hosts a town hall in Flint, Michigan. That is tomorrow night live at 9:00 P.M. Eastern here on MSNBC. Still ahead, playwright, Eve Ensler, and 26,000 of her best friends including Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda and Kerry Washington are trying to dump Trump.

(MUSIC PLAYING) O`DONNELL: Today, was the filing deadline for senate candidates in Kentucky. And, democrats now have what they say is a credible opponent for Senator Rand Paul. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray filed this morning.

Mayor gray is the wealthy chairman of his family`s construction business and has been elected in Lexington twice. He is openly gay. Seven democrats have now filed to run in that race. Rand Paul is facing two republican challengers for the state`s March caucus.

Up next, Eve Ensler, the author of "The Vagina Monologues" joins us to talk about Donald Trump.


O`DONNELL: "Stop hate, dump Trump" is the title of an online petition that hopes to do exactly that, stop Donald Trump. The petition says, quote, "We believe Trump is a grave threat to democracy, freedom, human rights, equality and the welfare of our country and all our people. History has shown us what happens when people refuse to stand against hate-filled leaders. We pledge ourselves to speak out in every way possible against the politics of hate and exclusion he represents."

So, far more than 26,000 people have signed that petition, including Harry Belafonte, Mike Farrell, Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Macy Gray, Michael Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O`Donnell, Lily Tomlin, Kerry Washington, and Eve Ensler. Eve Ensler joins us now. She is a Tony Award Playwright and performer. The author if "The Vagina Monologue."

She is one of the people who started "Stop hate, dump Trump." Eve, I am not surprised. You know, since I saw this, I thought, "Oh, boy, Eve Ensler, watching Trump standing up there, saying `I, Donald J. Trump` want to band all Muslims,` and all this horrible, horrible stuff he has been saying."

EVE ENSLER, TONY AWARD PLAYWRIGHT: Yes, and I think at the beginning of this whole Trump reality T.V. show, which has become a presidential race --

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh.

ENSLER: We all kind of said this is going to go away and suddenly it is developing steam, a kind of bigoted hateful steam and we are watching it. About two weeks ago, we all just got together at my house because so many people were going, "What are we going to do?"

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh.

ENSLER: We cannot be silent. We cannot -- we have seen in history what happens when people allow for this kind of bigotry, this kind of hate and to ban all Muslims. I mean what is his plan to change the constitution. I mean -- or to just ignore the constitution or dissolve the constitution.

And, I think what we are also witnessing is not only the misogynous trend, the hatred of Mexicans, the hatred of immigrants, the hatred of disabled people. I mean every day, there seems to be a new group except for white men, who seemed to be only people who had been spared -- that could be coming next, who knows. But, I think one of the things we have also seen and this is not of course I am speaking to you, but the media.


ENSLER: Please.

ENSLER: The media has basically somehow either turned it into entertainment, which has kind of normalized Trump`s extremism and allowed it to kind of -- each day kind of spread the margins of what is acceptable or there is a kind of cowering in the face of Trump, where people do not interrogate him or investigate him or ask him hard-hitting questions, that in any of the time in history, I think there will would be an attempt to do that.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Well, Eve, here is the deal. T.V., the place that has those commercials, it is a business and Trump has been good for ratings for people who get to interview Trump. And, one of the saddest things you see in these T.V. interviews of Trump is many times are people -- the interviewer at the end of the interview, publicly begging for Trump to give them another interview.

ENSLER: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: If you go into the interview with somebody like Donald Trump where your primary objective is to get another interview with Donald Trump, guess how hard those questions are going to be.

ENSLER: Uh-huh. Well, I was watching Wolf Blitzer the other day on CNN, interviewing him and it was the day after he had made the comment that his followers would be willing even to stand behind him if he shot someone on the 5th Avenue, which I think is a fairly insightful thing to say and a fairly devastating and frightening thing to say. And, the whole discussion was it must have been a joke.

Now, in my mind, if you were really doing investigative journalism or hard- hitting journalism, you would ask him what was he thinking to make a comment like that in a time for example when we see more gun deaths by guns, more violence by guns and what kind of followers would you want would be willing to go along with that?

O`DONNELL: Fareed Zakaria, who does not show on CNN and also there is also column. When the Muslim ban was announced by Trump, Fareed wrote a brilliant and beautiful column that ended with this question to the media and others, "What did you do when Donald Trump proposed religious test in America?" And, I do not think people have done enough. Eve Ensler --

ENSLER: No. Please join us. Sign up and be part of this campaign.

O`DONNELL: Eve Ensler is doing exactly what Fareed Zakaria has suggested. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it. Chris Hayes is up next.