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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 2/29/2016

Guests: Bob Guillo, Steve Brill, Tavis Smiley, Tom Davis, Sam Wang

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: February 29, 2016 Guest: Bob Guillo, Steve Brill, Tavis Smiley, Tom Davis, Sam Wang

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Really don`t matter -- from the right, and then you have to spring to the middle for the general.

He skipped that part because the only way anyone other than Donald Trump has a shot at the nomination is an end game in which the primaries really don`t matter.

And the Republican field really only has two ways forward at this point. Donald Trump wins the nomination or nobody does and we get that convention.

That`s it. What he is doing right now makes total sense. That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow for our Super Tuesday coverage, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNB CHOST: Rachel, we`re going to Trump University tonight.

MADDOW: Really?

O`DONNELL: But of course it`s closed down. So, the best we can do is we have a former student of Trump University --

MADDOW: Oh, my God --

O`DONNELL: Who`s joining us tonight. You might want to take a look at this.

MADDOW: Oh, my God.

O`DONNELL: Don`t rush out the door tonight --

MADDOW: I won`t --

O`DONNELL: Rachel --

MADDOW: I will stay --


MADDOW: Thank you my friend.

O`DONNELL: Thank you Rachel.

O`DONNELL: Well, Tavis Smiley is also here with us tonight to discuss Donald Trump, David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.

As I said, one of the students of Trump University is here to tell us why he is suing Donald Trump in federal court for fraud.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My whole life has been money. I want money. I want money.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will not allow the conservative movement to be taken over by a con-artist by the name of Donald Trump.

TRUMP: At Trump University, we teach success, that`s what it`s all about - - success. It`s going to happen to you.

RUBIO: It was a massive con job. What he told those students is exactly what he`s saying to America now.

TRUMP: We`re going to become so successful again. We`re going to become so successful --

RUBIO: It is a fraud. It is a scam.

TRUMP: Oh, he`s a con-man. He`s a con-man. It`s so insulting.

RUBIO: Refuses to condemn the Ku Klux Klan. He was asked that yesterday repeatedly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don`t want their support?

TRUMP: Well, I have to look at the group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I`m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here.

TRUMP: A very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying.

RUBIO: I don`t care how bad the earpiece is, Ku Klux Klan comes through pretty clearly.

TRUMP: And know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.

JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: With an answer like that, you are either racist or you are pretending to be, and at some point there`s no difference there.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump knows nothing. That`s what he said yesterday about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.

He said he knew nothing about David Duke and the Klan. Donald Trump flip- flops between being a know-it-all and knowing nothing.

Depending on which is the most convenient in that moment. Yesterday, he decided it was politically convenient in the morning for him to know nothing about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.

Because he does know that the avowed racist David Duke and many white supremacist support his campaign; the Donald Trump campaign.

We will talk with Tavis Smiley about why they support Donald Trump coming up. But first, we are going to Trump University.

Of course, we can`t actually go there because the fake University Donald Trump created was shut down six years ago after being in business for only five years.

And it was not a university, it was a business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, governor, try not to interrupt us --

TRUMP: But you wouldn`t know anything about it because you`re a lousy --


RUBIO: Well, I don`t know anything about bankrupting four companies --

TRUMP: No --

RUBIO: You bankrupted four companies --



TRUMP: You know why, you know why?

RUBIO: I don`t know anything about it --

TRUMP: You know why? --

RUBIO: Starting a university --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One at a time --

RUBIO: That was a fake university --

TRUMP: First of all --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One at a time --

RUBIO: A fake university --

TRUMP: That`s called a --

RUBIO: There are people that --

TRUMP: Let me just say, that`s --

RUBIO: Borrowed $36,000 --

TRUMP: Hold on --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One at a time Mr. Trump --

RUBIO: To go to Trump University and they`re suing him now. Thirty six thousand dollars to go --

TRUMP: And by the way --

RUBIO: To a university --

TRUMP: And by the way --

RUBIO: That`s a fake school --

TRUMP: And by the way --

RUBIO: And you know what they got, they got to take --


Donald Trump.

TRUMP: And by the way --

RUBIO: That`s what they got --


For the $36,000 --


O`DONNELL: And in an exhaustive investigation of Trump University for a time by Steve Brill.

Mr. Brill reports, "Trump University collected approximately $40 million from its students who included veterans, retired police officers and teachers.

Trump personally received approximately $5 million of it." Here is a check from Trump University for half a million dollars made out to Donald Trump and signed by Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is now being sued in federal fraud cases, one of which the judge has allowed to be brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, that`s also known as RICO.

Which means that Donald Trump actually stands accused in federal court of being a racketeer.

Here is how Donald Trump lured students to his fake university.


TRUMP: We`re going to have professors, an adjunct professors that are absolutely terrific, terrific people, terrific brains, successful.

We are going to have the best of the best. And honestly, if you don`t learn from them, if you don`t learn from me, if you don`t learn from the people that we`re going to be putting forward.

And these are all people that are hand-picked by me. Then you`re just not going to make it in terms of the world of success.

We`re going to teach you better than the business schools are going to teach you. And I went to the best business school.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Bob Guillo, a former Trump University student and a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits against Donald Trump University.

Also with us, Steve Brill, the founder of "Court TV" and the American lawyer who`s written extensively about Trump University for "Time".

Bob, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Steve, thank you --


O`DONNELL: You brought all your student materials here. These big notebooks -- let`s see, can we get a shot of that? "Profit from Real Estate Investing".

What did you learn from all of this, and how much did you spend learning it?

GUILLO: OK, I learned absolutely nothing, and I spent pretty close to $36,000 including my son`s expenses.

And one of the websites that they gave us at this presentation was the website.

And I knew what the IRS would be allowing for deductions, and the other one was a website called

So basically, they -- these loose-leaf binders contained PowerPoint presentations that are totally worthless.

Like go around town and look for signs that say "for sale by owner". It`s common sense, right?

O`DONNELL: So, what did -- what did you expect to learn, and then -- and then when did you decide this -- all of this was a waste of your money?

GUILLO: OK, at the first retreat by James Harris, that one I gave a very favorable rating to because James Harris(ph) was the best motivational speaker I`ve ever heard in my life.

And he motivated me to put $35,000 on my American Express card. And after that with the first seminar that I went to or workshop or retreat, whatever they decided to call it.

I knew right away that I had been scammed because they tried to upsell me to take another program for $5,000, $4,000, $20,000, you name it.

O`DONNELL: Steve, this is so familiar to me because you have accounts exactly like this --


O`DONNELL: In your article with all of these things, and Mr. Harris(ph), the teacher he just mentioned was the star of Trump University --

BRILL: He was the star, and he was paid a commission based not on his real estate expertise, but on how many people like my friend here he signed up.

Those books look pretty thick but there was a 135 --

O`DONNELL: A lot of it is -- a lot of it is white space. I mean --

BRILL: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Here`s a typical -- here is a typical --

BRILL: Oh, there`s some page right here --

O`DONNELL: You can take notes here if you want.

BRILL: Well, there`s something without white space and that was the 135- page marketing playbook that Trump put together.

And that had scripts in it, for example, so Mr. Harris --

O`DONNELL: For the teachers --

BRILL: Exactly, for the --


BRILL: Teachers. So Mr. Harris would say "I was having dinner with Donald Trump the other night and he confided this in me."

In his deposition, Mr. Harris said he never met Donald Trump, he never had dinner, but he did that in order to stick to the script.

I would urge all the members of the press to go to San Diego and get these court files.

I also hope that as with his tax return that Mr. Trump will agree to unseal the parts of the court file that are sealed.

He says this case is nothing. The best way to prove that would be not to seal all the records that he has sealed.

And the records that I was able to get a hold of are filled with incriminating things such as the "I had dinner with Mr. Trump".

There are instructions on how to "hook people", all kinds of sales gimmicks, especially the notion that we`re going to get the very best people to do this.

Does that sound familiar to you --


BRILL: In any way?


BRILL: It`s the presidential campaign.


BRILL: It is literally the campaign going on, and those records in San Diego, not so much the ones in New York.

But the records in San Diego, the press should demand that he unseals those records.

O`DONNELL: You know, Bob, when we heard that pitch of Donald Trump saying I didn`t get all the best people to teach you.

That is exactly what he`s saying about how he`s going to run the government. When they ask him a question that he doesn`t know the answer to is, I didn`t get the best people --

GUILLO: Exactly --

BRILL: And he also --

O`DONNELL: So, you`ve heard all this before.

BRILL: I`ve heard all of this before. And he also has a cover story now which sounds like a lot of the campaign of when reporters are asking him about this attack that happened during the debate.

He says 98 percent of the people filled out answer cards that said they loved the course.



GUILLO: First of all --

O`DONNELL: Gave it a rating that gave it the highest rating.

BRILL: Right, and he did that right at the point he was being told to buy the course, not when he realized it wasn`t worth anything.

In addition of the ten thousand questionnaires that Mr. Trump has claimed in deposition he has, that`s curious because only 7,000 people took the course.

And of those 7,000, his -- the chief financial officer testified in a deposition that 32 percent got refunds before they stopped giving refunds.

So, if 32 percent demanded refunds, how could 98 percent of the people have been so wildly satisfied that in Mr. Trump`s rendition, this is a better school than Harvard with a higher satisfaction rate than Harvard.

O`DONNELL: Bob, we just had your diploma up on the screen there for a moment --

BRILL: Yes, congratulations --

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump was asked under oath if the university granted degrees, and he said he didn`t even know when he was asked that.

This is of course not a real degree of any kind that you got. The -- when did -- do you know other students that were around you that was kind of dawning on them that this thing is not for real?

GUILLO: As far as the other students, I really didn`t pay too much attention to them.

But I knew it wasn`t real because I was in the business of filing limited liability companies for 28 years, corporations with the Secretary of State`s office.

And I knew that in order to become a corporation or limited liability company in New York, you first had to get the approval of the Department of Education.

And I assumed that since the certificate --


GUILLO: Was filed --

BRILL: He didn`t know --

GUILLO: I thought it was legitimate. However, there was a quirk in the legislature, and they forgot to put that particular language when they amended the limited liability corporation law.

BRILL: He has --

GUILLO: So what Donald Trump filed was illegitimate originally, but then the Department of Education got on his case to try to make him to change it.

And from all the materials I read from the state officials he stalled them.

O`DONNELL: There`s a --

BRILL: The other end to your question. It`s more than six thousand of the seven thousand people are now suing?


BRILL: So --


BRILL: That`s a pretty good sign.

O`DONNELL: And you make a very important point in your article about Donald Trump to you, trying to get you in there, was trying to tell you that you`re going to meet him, he`s going to be on campus at --

BRILL: Right --

O`DONNELL: Some point, he`s deeply involved, he`s choosing all its students.

BRILL: Yes --


BRILL: This is my favorite.

O`DONNELL: In the court case --

BRILL: Right --

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump claims, I knew nothing about anything, I had nothing to do with this place.

And he claims complete ignorance of the whole thing because he`s trying to get off the liability --

BRILL: Well, that`s exactly right.

O`DONNELL: Right --

BRILL: I mean, it is the tale of two depositions, if you will, in the --


BRILL: Same deposition. First, he says, you know, I`m going to hand-pick your professors, I`m intimately involved.

O`DONNELL: That`s what he tells the customers --

BRILL: I`m going to teach you -- that`s what he tells the customers.

Then when he gets sued personally as well as having his LLCs, limited liability corporation suit, his lawyers immediately move to remove him personally.

And in their languages, he was largely absent from the company, he had nothing to do with any of the teaching.

He only had to do with guess what? The marketing. So, they tried to walk that tight-rope, and the judge, you know, just laughed at them and said, you know, he is personally in the case, the case is supposed to happen in August.

The judge has vowed there are going to be no delays, and we`ll see what happens.

O`DONNELL: And you`re a legal expert. It`s a big deal that the judge did not let him get out of the case as an individual.

BRILL: It`s a big deal he didn`t get out of the case as an individual. The other big decision was, true to form, he sued the first of the plaintiffs.

He turned around and sued that plaintiff. And he lost the case. He -- the plaintiff was awarded $900,000 in legal costs against Trump, which he hasn`t paid yet.

And it went all the way up to the court of appeals in the ninth circuit, and the court of appeals said that he had no grounds to sue this person.

And in fact his defense that she had filled out a card, as you did right afterwards, had nothing to do with it.

Because if this is a Ponzi scheme you don`t know you`ve been cheated until you realize you`ve been cheated.

O`DONNELL: Right, we`re going to have to leave it there for tonight, Bob Guillo, thank you very much for coming in.

GUILLO: You`re welcome --

O`DONNELL: I`m very sorry that you paid all that money for these books. I`m really sorry that it happened to you.

Steve Brill, thank you for --

BRILL: Good to see you --

O`DONNELL: Invaluable reporting on this. Striking to me that nowhere in any of the televised interviews of Donald Trump did anybody ask him anything about Trump University.

BRILL: And now they need to --

O`DONNELL: Until Marco Rubio brought it up in the debate.

BRILL: Now they need to not let him get away with the 98 percent.

O`DONNELL: Steve Brill, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Coming up, Tavis Smiley on Donald Trump`s comments about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.



OLIVER: It may seem weird to bring up his ancestral name. But to quote Donald Trump, he should be proud of his heritage.

Because Drumpf is much more reflective of who he actually is. So, if you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy, promising to make America great again, stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you`d just met a guy named Donald Drumpf.


A litigious serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can`t decide whether or not to condemn.

Would you think he would make a good president, or is the spell now somewhat broken?


O`DONNELL: Go online and watch John Oliver`s entire show about Donald Drumpf. That really is the family name.

It was changed a generation or two ago to Trump. Up next, what Donald Drumpf is saying about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here. But --

TRUMP: I don`t know any -- honestly, I don`t know David Duke. I don`t believe I`ve ever met him.

I`m pretty sure I didn`t meet him and I just don`t know anything about him.


O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump yesterday trying to hold on to the support of white supremacists by refusing to condemn the Ku Klux Klan or former Klan leader David Duke.

Today, Trump apologists followed the Trump campaign`s talking points on this that don`t mention David Duke, but do mention Robert Byrd; the United States Senator who`s been dead for five years.


MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: So, let me ask you this. Do you think Hillary Clinton is going to have to answer for her relationship with Senator Robert Byrd, who was an actual member of the KKK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton actively sought out the endorsement of Democratic KKK Senator Robert Byrd.

Donald Trump didn`t seek out any endorsement, he disavowed it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Think that this has really been blown out of proportion, and it really does highlight more media bias when no one has asked Barack Obama to disavow Senator Robert Byrd who was not just a Klan`s member but a leader in the Klan when he endorsed him in 2008.


O`DONNELL: He was not a leader in the Klan when he endorsed Barack Obama. But yes, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was a leader of a small group of Klansmen in a small town in West Virginia in the 1940s.

Robert Byrd grew up in a house with no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, in a poverty-stricken coal-mining town.

He couldn`t afford to go to college but eventually began reading the classics himself and would quote them frequently after he was elected to the United States Senate in 1958.

In 1960, Robert Byrd tried to block John F. Kennedy`s road to the presidency by endorsing Hubert Humphrey in the crucial West Virginia primary.

Robert Byrd voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and in 1967, Senator Byrd voted against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall; the first African-American appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

In 1971, Senator Byrd launched a coup against Senator Ted Kennedy by running against Senator Kennedy for majority whip; a position Senator Kennedy had held for two years.

Byrd -- and he won that coup. Senator Byrd kept climbing the leadership ladder and became the majority leader in 1976.

By the time he died in office, Robert Byrd had become and remains the longest-serving member in the history of the United States Senate.

When Senator Byrd set a Senate record by casting his 17,000th vote in 2004, Ted Kennedy said this.

"Every time Bob casts a vote, he sets a new record. It`s not fair, though, that he counts the votes he cast in the Roman Senate, too.

But we love him anyway and we never stop learning from him." Ted Kennedy forgave Robert Byrd for snatching the majority whip`s job from him.

He forgave Robert Byrd for trying to stop his brother Jack`s road to the White House. He forgave Robert Byrd`s vote against Thurgood Marshall.

He forgave Byrd`s opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and yes, he forgave Senator Byrd`s membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

Robert Byrd`s chapter of the Klan was not known to be involved in any violence. Senator Byrd said, they never conducted any parades or marches or public demonstrations of any kind.

Robert Byrd came to be ashamed of his membership in the Klan. He said, "it has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me."

In 2005, he told Eric Piannon(ph) of the "Washington Post", "I know now I was wrong, intolerance had no place in America.

I apologized a thousand times, and I don`t mind apologizing over and over again. I can`t erase what happened."

Three years later, Senator Byrd had a politically difficult choice to make with two Democratic Senators vying for the party`s presidential nomination.

He made the same choice that Ted Kennedy did, and he endorsed the new guy in the Senate, Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.

Senator Byrd`s constituents in West Virginia did not like that one bit. In the West Virginia primary, they voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.

And in the general election, Barack Obama lost West Virginia by 13 points. Over the course of their Senate careers, Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy ended up agreeing much more than they disagreed.

They both voted against the Iraq war. They supported President Obama`s Affordable Care Act as they both neared the end of their lives.

Senator Byrd had to be wheeled onto the Senate floor to cast repeated, decisive votes for the Affordable Care Act.

If Senator Byrd had not made it to the Senate floor on those days to cast those votes, there would be no argument over Obamacare today because Obamacare would not exist.

That is the Robert Byrd who the Trump campaign now wants to compare to the unrepentant racist and Donald Trump supporter David Duke.

If Robert Byrd were with us today, he would be condemning Donald Trump with more passion and eloquence than any of the Republican presidential candidates.

We`ll be right back with Tavis Smiley.



RUBIO: He`s asking us to turn over the conservative movement to someone who yesterday was asked repeatedly, will you condemn David Duke; who is a racist, an avowed racist.

And he wouldn`t condemn him. He finally said on Twitter, why wouldn`t you just say it right away at the moment?

You say David Duke to me, I say racist, immediately. Why wouldn`t he condemn the Ku Klux Klan?


There is no room in the conservative movement and there is no room in the Republican Party for members of the Ku Klux Klan or for racists like David Duke.




O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Tavis Smiley, host of "Tavis Smiley" on "Pbs", also with us Tom Davis, a former Congressman from Virginia where he`s the state chairman for John Kasich`s presidential campaign.

Tavis, this is the kind of weekend where when I`m watching this stuff unfold, I`m just wondering what Tavis is thinking.

Just take the ball, my friend, I don`t have a question. I just want to get your reaction to what we`ve been watching.

TAVIS SMILEY, HOST, "TAVIS SMILEY ON PBS": First of all, I salute you, Lawrence, for that first segment, which is getting at the truth that America needs to hear about Donald Trump. To my mind, Donald Trump either suffers from a severe form of chronic amnesia or he is a serial liar. Now, I am not a physician, nor am I a psychoanalyst, so I cannot tell you which one. What I can tell you is that the mainstream media keeps letting him get away with this.

This is not some Stephen Colbert version of truthiness. This is more like -- how might I put this? This is more like sometiminess. Sometimes he remembers, sometimes he forgets. Sometimes he can recall, sometimes he cannot. And, again, the mainstream media keeps letting him get away with this.

This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been supported by white supremacist. I am glad that my friend Jake Tapper finally pressed him on this. But, I was on CNN two months ago during the Iowa caucuses when Donald Trump had support from a white supremacist doing a robocalls for him then.

And, we tried to make this an issue two months ago. And, the mainstream media did not want to pick up on it. Now, that David duke comes out, they are forced to have to deal with it. But this is what I mean when I say the media keeps covering the horse race, but we cannot get to the issues.

Finally, it just seems to me that Donald Trump is exactly what we do not need in our leadership today. What America needs right now at this critical time in our nation`s history is a leader who understands what it means to be civil. So, we need civility. We need integrity. We need honesty and a little bit of humility. And, it just seems to me that Donald Trump is not what America needs right about now.

O`DONNELL: Jeff Sessions, who is the only senator who has endorsed Donald Trump, who himself in 1986 was defeated in a senate confirmation hearing where he was being considered for a federal judgeship, defeated because of racial incidents in his own personal past. Let us listen to what he said today. Even he backed away from Donald Trump on this.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R) ALABAMA: I think, what the right answer to this is, this country does not discriminate. We will not, as a -- no president, no officer in this country should hold office that has any hint of treating people differently because of the color of their skin or where they came from and that kind of thing. We believe in equality and fair treatment, and that is the moral principle that we adhere to as a nation. And, I hope he makes that clear.


O`DONNELL: Tom Davis, there is Donald Trump`s only senate endorser saying, "We should make it clear that we do not treat people differently because of the color of their skin." But what he does not say in there is we do not treat people differently because of their religion, and he is supporting the only presidential candidate in history, who has advocated a ban on entering the United States based exclusively on religion.

FMR. REP. TOM DAVIS, SUPPORTS JOHN KASICH FOR PRESIDENT: Well, that is right, but that was not the question put to him. Donald Trump has said so many controversial things throughout this campaign, and the media has made him -- if you take a look at the expenditures, Trump has spent less in this campaign than Rubio or Cruz. By wide margin, they have outspent him.

But the mainstream media, every time he sneezes, they are out there covering Donald Trump. So, they have in a sense created this person who is running on emotion and has picked up a lot of steam in these early southern states. And, this could be a steamroller if he does not get stopped pretty soon.

O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said on Msnbc today -- republican senator.


SEN. BENJAMIN E. SASSE, (R) NEBRASKA: I think that a lot of the people who want to protest vote to try to scream Washington is broken, they need to recognize that there are a whole bunch of other people who say if this becomes the David Duke Donald Trump Party, there are a lot of us who are out.


O`DONNELL: Tavis Smiley, you would think that there would be more republicans saying that.

SMILEY: You would think that, but clearly that is not the case. We live now, as I have said so many times, Lawrence, and you certainly know this, we live in the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever. And, it is just mind-numbing to me how this party thinks that it can ultimately win, much less govern in that America if they get behind a candidate who believes this.

Now, this is not so much about -- whether anyone agrees or disagrees with Cruz or Rubio, at least you know where they stand on the issues, and we can debate that all day long. I do not think much of either of them quite frankly to be president, but you know where they stand. But with Trump to continuing to advance without drilling down on any policy and forgetting everyday what he said or did not say or did or did not do.

And, now being unwilling to just come out and just acknowledge that this is unacceptable, that we have to do something about racism, which is still the most intractable issue in this country. How you figure that your party can win with that kind of candidate just -- I quite frankly do not get it.

O`DONNELL: Well, we are learning more about Trump`s supporters. We have seen in previous polls that 66 percent of them believe President Obama is Muslim; 60 percent of them believe that President Obama is not a citizen. And, in South Carolina where Trump had his big, big win, 33 percent of Trump voters, 33 percent of them believe that Islam should be illegal. So, Tom Davis, they believe all the unconstitutional raving of Donald Trump.

DAVIS: Now, we call them low-information voters. Again, Trump is running a campaign, basically, based on emotion, not facts. And, so far it has been successful. A lot of the people that have entered into this primary process have never voted in republican primaries before, have not identified with the Republican Party before, but they identify with Donald Trump. And, that is the avenue that they have to participate in. Because of the general overall weakness of the party and the party structure, they have been able to be successful.

O`DONNELL: Tom Davis and Tavis Smiley, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

SMILEY: Thank you, Lawrence.

DAVIS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, my reaction to the media`s wild overreaction to big loser Chris Christie`s endorsement of Donald Trump.




DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are winning with old. We are winning with young. We are winning with highly educated. We are -- right?


We are winning with a little bit less than highly educated, which is OK. I love you. And, we are winning with the veterans. I love the veterans. We are winning with the military. In other words, we are winning with everybody.


O`DONNELL: That is true for republican voters only. And, most voters are not republican voters. According to the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll 28 percent of all registered voters have positive feelings toward Donald Trump while 59 percent of all registered voters have negative feelings about Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has the highest percentage of voters with negative feelings toward him of any candidate running for president, democrat or republican, and Donald Trump`s net favorability is the worst of any candidate running for president. The most recent national poll, which was completed on Saturday shows Donald Trump ahead among republican voters with 49 percent support.

Joining us now is Sam Wang, the manager of Princeton University`s election consortium. Also with us David Corn, The Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Professor, you have looked at all these numbers in the republican campaign. What are you seeing?

PROF. SAM WANG, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY DATA SCIENTIST: Well, the interesting thing about Trump is that he is somebody who has been in the public eye for several decades, and his negatives were a little bit higher back in July but they improved a little bit in July and August as he improved in the republican race.

But he has been at about a negative 20 percent. In other words, 20 percent more unfavorable than favorable for the last four or five months. And, he has been pretty rock solid. So, it feels like he is in as pretty steady place at this point. He is a known quantity.

O`DONNELL: Professor, is there any model of any previous candidate with this high and solid a negative that was able to change that negative into a positive?

WANG: Well, sometimes negatives and positives do change. So, for instance, his negatives were even higher among republican voters back in July, but as it became clear that he was in the front of the pack, his negatives declined somewhat. So, these things can change.

Hillary Clinton`s positives were higher when she was a public figure but not a politician. When she was secretary of state or former secretary of state, and her positives went down as she became a partisan candidate. So, these numbers can change somewhat.

O`DONNELL: There is a new NBC/Marist Poll, state poll, which ended -- these polls ended before Thursday night`s GOP debate in the Tennessee republican presidential primary. Among likely voters there, Donald Trump was at 40. Ted Cruz was at 22. Marco Rubio 19. Ben Carson 9. John Kasich 6. David Corn, one of the problems I am having with some of these late-releasing polls is that they do not include all of the events right up until this afternoon.

And, it feels to me like in the republican campaign, if you have done a poll that does not include the Thursday night debate where Marco Rubio finally took off the gloves against Donald Trump, does not include any of the insult match that went on over the weekend Rubio versus Trump. I am not sure these polls can get the dynamic of where we are right now.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It seems we are in a faster news cycle than ever before. Nothing seems to last more than an hour or two before we chew it up and move on to the next thing. And, Marco Rubio on Wednesday was saying, "I am not here to attack any politician." On Thursday, he changed his tune.

And, over the weekend, he was talking about the size of Trump`s genitalia. I mean, this campaign has become completely crazy. So, if you are going to be polling it, you really have to be polling it almost on an hourly basis. But, fortunately, Lawrence, we have these things called elections. And, so come tomorrow, you know, the only poll that counts, everyone says, we will get a sense of what the last few days have really meant.

But I think Sam is right. Over the long period, Donald Trump is general -- well, the population`s general attitude towards him has not shifted. And, nothing that has happened in the last couple of days I think is going to make people who do not like him feel more positive towards him. And, it is unlikely to happen as that food fight continues.

O`DONNELL: And, professor, what are the numbers tell us now about how Donald Trump would fare in a general election against a democrat?

WANG: It is hard to tell. General election match-ups are not very predictive. It looks like it might be about evenly matched. Some even show -- it is hard to say what -- at such a distant date.

I do think that right now, Trump`s numbers are actually looking unchanged and maybe pretty strong for Tuesday, and he only needs about 30 percent of the vote on Tuesday to get a majority of delegates. And, that should give everyone pause for thought.

O`DONNELL: And, how close will we be, professor, at the end of Tuesday to Donald Trump having this nomination?

WANG: Well, it is -- it would be highly unusual for a candidate polling where he is in the high 30s and low 40s in such a divided field not getting the nomination. So, the key here is that he can win a majority of delegates with only getting 30 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, and that is unusual.

It is because of republican rules that reward whoever`s first past the post. And, so in fact, he has a little ways to drop before -- even after Friday and, you know, Thursday night`s events, and he could still get a majority of delegates. So, he could do it.

O`DONNELL: All right. Stick with us. We are going to talk about the democrats when we come back. Coming up, Super Tuesday showdown for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.




GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States.


O`DONNELK: In tonight`s rewrite, overreaction. How did you like the media`s overreaction on Friday to New Hampshire loser Chris Christie`s endorsement of Donald Trump? Chris Christie will have to take some time off from campaigning for Donald Trump to be a witness in a federal criminal trial about the closing of lanes in the George Washington Bridge. And, still the political media thinks his endorsement is meaningful.

I for one cannot wait to see the media`s overreaction to Jeb Bush`s endorsement since, of course, Jeb Bush got way more votes for president than Chris Christie did. Chris Christie obviously hates being Governor of New Jersey so much that after staying away from New Jersey as long as possible as a hopelessly losing presidential candidate, he will now try to stay away from New Jersey for as long as possible as a Trump cheerleader.

The state of New Jersey has returned Chris Christie`s affections with the lowest approval rating in the history of New Jersey governors. Meg Whitman, one of the leading fund-raisers for Chris Christie, issued her statement of disapproval.

"Chris Christie`s endorsement of Donald Trump is an astonishing display of political opportunism. Donald Trump is unfit to be president. He is a dishonest demagogue, who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey.

Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly. The governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie`s donors and supporters to reject the governor and Donald Trump outright."

Here is candidate Christie before he became a Trump cheerleader.


GOV. CHRISTIE: The core of my question was how? First, he says he is going to build a wall across the entire border between the United States and Mexico. "It is going to be an amazing wall. It is going to be a beautiful wall. And, the Mexicans are going to pay for the wall, because Trump says you will pay for the wall."

All right, now, listen, how? How is he going to make the Mexicans pay for the wall? How? They are a sovereign nation. You say Mr. Trump, what would you do on Social Security? He says, "When I become president, the entire country is going to get so wealthy, so amazingly wealthy and rich that we are not going to have to worry about social security." How?


O`DONNELL: Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is polling in a tie with Republican Senator John McCain. Today, she released an attack ad showing just how easy it is to tie her republican opponent or almost any republican to Donald Trump.


REP. ANN KIRKPATRICK, (R) ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN: Donald Trump is dangerous for America.

TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of 5th avenue and shoot somebody and I would not lose any voters. OK?

TRUMP: I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than water boarding.

KIRKPATRICK: But no matter what Donald Trump says, John McCain would support him for president.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You would support him?


O`DONNELL: Up next, the super showdown on Super Tuesday between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When voter turnouts are large, when working people and young people and people who in many cases have given up on the political process, when they come out to vote, we do very well. So, my request to you is that let us make history tomorrow.



O`DONNELL: According to the polls, Hillary Clinton is leading in most of the 11 states that will vote tomorrow. Today, Hillary Clinton seemed more focused on the possibility of facing Donald Trump in the general election.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have got somebody running for president, who is insulting people, insulting their religion, we have got to pay attention to what is said because everybody else in the world pays attention and it has consequences in a campaign and then most seriously in the white house.


O`DONNELL: David Corn and Professor Sam Wang are back with us. David, it sounds like Hillary Clinton is already looking beyond Super Tuesday.

CORN: It sure does. I mean, right now, she has the better path to the nomination mathematically than Bernie Sanders. Bernie -- senator Sanders, to be polite, has to find a way to win states that are not predominantly, you know, white and progressive. And, South Carolina showed that he is at a very, very, you know, big handicap there.

And, he had -- you know, a week or two after New Hampshire to work the state, you know, for the rest of the calendar. You know, you have a lot of states voting all at once. You got to jump around a lot. You do not have the luxury of spending a long period of time trying to work a constituency that you may not have a natural history with.

So, that is why, right now, it looks like Hillary Clinton is sitting in the catbird`s seat and unless Bernie Sanders starts threatening her again if something surprising happens tomorrow, which is a possibility, she is turning and she is acting like the democratic elder stateswoman, who is going to go up against Donald Trump. It is a great narrative for her.

O`DONNELL: Professor, you tend not to get surprised by election results because you study the numbers leading up to them so closely. What do you see tomorrow night?

WANG: Well, right now, if you look at my numbers at we are really up on the election. These late polls are pretty predictive. And, these are strong states for Hillary Clinton. She is probably up an average of 20 percentage points on Sanders.

And, it looks like his strongest states will be of course Vermont, his home state. And, I think that she is going to sweep something like 7 or 8 out of these dozen or so states. So, it is going to be a big night for her.

O`DONNELL: And, where does that leave senator Sanders going into next week?

WANG: Well, these are stronger states for her than the general -- all 50 states put together. She is 20 points up in these states, but only five points up in national polls. So, I would say that if the polls are wrong, for instance, she is up by about 8 or 9 points in Massachusetts but if Sanders can pull out a win in Massachusetts and we will find that out pretty early, then that indicates that maybe things are better for Sanders than expected. But, I would say that we would -- I am personally going to be watching Massachusetts fairly closely.


WANG: But, I think it is a tough road for Sanders.

O`DONNELL: David, what is the state you are watching closest tomorrow?

CORN: Well, I was going to say Massachusetts as well, because that is a state where Bernie Sanders should have a good affinity. It is New England. It has a very democratic -- the democrats there have a very liberal background. It should be good territory for him. And, it is surprising that these early polls show him trailing there.

And, so, if he cannot win over Massachusetts, it may be an indicator that though he generates all this great excitement, has these big rallies, he cannot really get beyond that when it comes to bringing new voters to the polls.

O`DONNELL: And, professor, Massachusetts as we know is also filled with college campuses. That is Bernie Sanders` demographic. So, yet another reason to look for him to do well. And, if he does not do well, so much more a signal of what is going to happen after Massachusetts.

WANG: Absolutely. I totally agree.

O`DONNELL: And, so, David, how -- what is this -- what would be the Sanders Wednesday morning strategy if the polls are accurate in what to expect for an outcome tomorrow night?

CORN: Well, as Sam just said, some states coming up ahead some voting days are going to be more favorable to him. But, at some point in time, you know, if the trend continues, and I do not want to -- I am not counting him out. So, all you Bernie fans, do not write me or tweet at me.


But if the trend continues, at some point he is going to have to make a decision about whether he really is going to -- why he is staying in the race if he is going to stay in the race. Is it to get as many delegates as he can to have more sway at the convention?

Is he sticking around hoping that something external is going to happen and upturn the democratic race and give him another chance? But, he is going of it to make that decision. Maybe soon in the next couple weeks.

O`DONNELL: David Corn gets tonight`s "Last Word." Sam Wang and David Corn, thank you both for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

CORN: Sure thing, Lawrence.

WANG: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Programming note. Tomorrow, 5:00 P.M. Eastern. That is when MSNBC will began Super Tuesday election night coverage. It is right here at MSNBC. Chris Hayes is up next.