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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 4/25/2016

Guests: Scottie Nell Hughes, Tim Miller, Stuart Stevens, Benjamin Ginsberg, Jonathan Allen, John Ziegler

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: April 25, 2016 Guest: Scottie Nell Hughes, Tim Miller, Stuart Stevens, Benjamin Ginsberg, Jonathan Allen, John Ziegler

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s been great night, good night, thank you.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: You just heard Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton get in their last word with voters tonight in town hall meetings in Philadelphia, hosted by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow.

Undecided voters who questioned the candidates at those town halls and undecided voters watching at home on TV have only one more night to sleep on it before they cast their votes tomorrow in five states.

We will have reaction to the news coming out of the Msnbc town halls tonight. But we begin with the bold new strategy to stop Trump.

A partnership we thought we`d never see. Rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich are now teaming up to stop Trump.

The "Stop Trump" movement will finally have what it has always wanted, one- on-one battles with Donald Trump in crucial primary states.

In our campaign war room tonight, how Ted Cruz and John Kasich will divide up the remaining primary states to isolate Donald Trump in those one-on-one battles, but will it work?




Leave him alone.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We`re focusing our energy on the state of Indiana and Governor Kasich is focusing his energies elsewhere.

TRUMP: They collude, you know, it`s collusion.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Is it collude? No, collude, what does that even mean?

TRUMP: Because it`s a rigged system, you`re allowed to collude.

CRUZ: I would ask Governor Kasich`s supporters to stand with us.

KASICH: I don`t see this as any big deal. I mean, everybody --


Chill out.

TRUMP: This is just a stubborn guy who eats like a slob in such a disgusting fashion.


KASICH: I never -- not a big deal.

TRUMP: So, he`s going nowhere.

CRUZ: Come and join us, stand together.

TRUMP: Lying Ted, the only thing he can do is try to grab delegates.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: The establishment is not just going to roll over, no matter what Trump gets going into this.

TRUMP: You would have a revolt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re having a weird primaries --



And that`s for them to sort out.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: They are way out of touch with where the American people are.

TRUMP: Do I look presidential?


I think I look presidential. How handsome am I, right? How handsome?



O`DONNELL: Tonight, after the first full day of the Cruz-Kasich alliance to stop Trump, Donald Trump came up with a new idea for unifying the Republican Party.


TRUMP: If you look at these two guys, one is 1 for 41 -- you know, I won many states. Millions of votes ahead, many states, many delegates.

The other one is it -- like a total disaster. He goes to New York last week, he doesn`t even register, he`s so low, he got no delegates.

Folks, they ought to both drop out of the race so we ought to unify the Republican Party.




O`DONNELL: That`s right. Donald Trump`s new strategy for unifying the Republican Party is that his opponents should just drop out of the race and simply hand him the Republican presidential nomination right now.

The last time the Republicans were at this spot, this very spot on the presidential campaign calendar, Mitt Romney unified the Republican Party the old fashion way, by winning primaries.

On this very day in 2012, April 25th, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus issued this statement.

"Governor Romney`s strong performance and delegate-count at this stage of the primary process has made him our party`s presumptive nominee."

That was the day after Mitt Romney won all five states voting that week; Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania.

Being the presumptive nominee changes everything in a presidential campaign. The presumptive nominee gets effective control of the convention, the party platform, the party chairman of the party apparatus or essentially in service to that presumptive nominee.

But tonight, Republicans are presuming nothing and this time tomorrow night, Republicans will still be presuming nothing, even if Donald Trump as expected wins all five states that are up for grabs tomorrow.

Here`s the way Ted Cruz`s campaign manager Jeff Roe described how the Cruz campaign is now coordinating with the Kasich campaign.

"To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico.

And we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead." Here is Donald Trump`s reaction to the Cruz-Kasich announcement today in Rhode Island.


TRUMP: Did you see the news today? Did you see where they band together, where they collude? You know it`s collusion.


You know, if you collude in business -- if you collude in business or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail.

But in politics, because it`s a rigged system, because it`s a corrupt enterprise, in politics, you`re allowed to collude.

So, they colluded and actually I was happy because it shows how weak they are.

Honestly, it shows such total weakness and it`s pathetic when two long-time insider politicians, establishment guys, whether you like it or not, have to collude, have to get together to try and beat a guy that really speaks what the people want.


O`DONNELL: Here`s the Ted Cruz message to Kasich supporters in Indiana.


CRUZ: John Kasich announced that he was pulling out of the state of Indiana.



He`s focusing his attention on other states. What that means is that Indiana gets a straight and direct choice between our campaign and Donald Trump.

For those supporters of John Kasich, either here or at home, there may be issues on which we disagree, but more unites us.

If you don`t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don`t want to see Hillary Clinton as the next president, then I ask you to join us because this is the only campaign that can and will beat Donald Trump and then Hillary Clinton.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, NBC News reporter Hallie Jackson who`s in Indianapolis covering the Ted Cruz campaign.

Hallie, what`s their assessment at the end of day one of the new alliance?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS: Ready to move forward essentially, Lawrence. At this point, Ted Cruz is looking beyond the states that vote tomorrow.

The (INAUDIBLE) primaries, the so-called Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, and instead, he`s looking to be strong here in Indiana.

And that`s actually part of the reason why he brought Kasich on in this strategy in the first place.

Cruz, it became virtually mathematically impossible for him to lock up the nomination outright.

And so, that`s why you`re seeing these guys team up to be noted, Lawrence. It`s not a full-on alliance, right?

You`re not seeing each candidate explicitly say that their supporters should vote for the other guy.

You`re not seeing Ted Cruz say that about his supporters in New Mexico and Oregon, you`re not seeing John Kasich say that about his supporters here in Indiana.

So, well, it`s kind of an embrace, it`s not necessarily a full-on pact the way that some folks are talking about it.

O`DONNELL: Hallie Jackson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Joining us now, Tim Miller; senior adviser for Our Principles; an anti- Trump PAC, he`s a former spokesperson and communications director for Jeb 2016.

Also with us, Scottie Nell Hughes; Republican strategist and chief political commentator for "USA Radio Networks".

Donald Trump`s campaign suggested that Scottie join us tonight to speak for the Trump campaign.

Scottie, what is the Trump campaign`s assessment of this new alliance and how do they plan to deal with it going forward?


But it`s been interesting, Lawrence, to watch today, this bromance already start to kind of fall apart.

As both candidates said, you know, we`re not telling our people to vote for the other guy in those states they`ve designated.

And as it`s coming out tonight in the official organ, voter file or the voter palate that was mailed out to every registered Republican in Oregon.

It`s amazing John Kasich was left out. He did not submit the qualifying 300 words about himself as well as his bio and his picture, while Ted Cruz and Donald Trump`s name and their bios are both listed in this voter registration that goes out to every registered voter in Oregon.

So, I have to wonder maybe there was a little bit of a political play here of the Cruz campaign who went to Kasich and said, hey, join in with us on this pact right now.

And kind of let us handle Indiana and we`ll let you handle Oregon. And it looks like Oregon is not necessarily the ground game that Kasich needs right now to be able to do any sort of success, right?

And I wonder, maybe that`s something Ted Cruz is banking on.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what John Kasich told Peter Alexander today about how this works.


PETER ALEXANDER, JOURNALIST: Are you going to directly tell your voters in Indiana to support Ted Cruz?

KASICH: No, we`re not -- I`m not going to go tell anybody how to vote.

They can -- look, I mean, this is a matter of resources, and you know, we`re running the national campaign and we want to acquire resources where we think they can be used most effectively.

And it`s all designed to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

ALEXANDER: Is this collusion?

KASICH: Is it -- no, what does that even mean? I don`t even know, does he know what that means?

I don`t see this as any big deal, other than the fact that I`m not going to spend resources in Indiana, he`s not going to spend them in other places.

So, what? What`s the big deal?


O`DONNELL: Tim Miller, is this what the "Stop Trump" movement wanted?

TIM MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER, OUR PRINCIPLES PAC: Well, look, what we want to do is keep Donald Trump from getting 1,237 delegates.

And anything that helps somebody like Ted Cruz win Indiana is going to help that process. And I think this absolutely does that.

You know, it`s funny, what seems that Scottie tried to take down John Kasich`s ground game and insult his ground game in Oregon where Donald Trump`s ground game and his delegates effort has been an utter disaster in every state around the country.

He`s had trouble filling slates, and every time he fails at the delegate game, he whines and complains and says the game is rigged.

You know, this is all Donald Trump has. And so, what we`re looking at going forward is, I think Ted Cruz has a clear path to go ahead and beat Donald Trump in Indiana.

And then, I think, you know, John Kasich will in some other states as well and get some delegates from Maryland tomorrow night.

O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at the "Cbc News" poll of Indiana showing Donald Trump at 40, Ted Cruz at 35, John Kasich at 20.

And Scottie, that could be very bad news for Donald Trump if those Kasich voters migrate to Ted Cruz.

HUGHES: But who`s to say they are going to migrate to Ted Cruz. Listen, there`s two opposite ideals here.

John Kasich is pro-common core, pro-amnesty, pro-TPP, pro-NAFTA, everything that concern with his support.

Ted Cruz believe that Ted Cruz stand for. So, I can`t sit there and say that those people are going to.

The only thing that might unite them is their hatred for Donald Trump, but I think they`re bigger than that.

I don`t insult Ted Cruz supporters in that, I think they believe in saving this country and saving the GOP more than they believe in their ego.

Even if those closest to the Cruz campaign don`t feel the same way. Listen, I think it`s crazy --

MILLER: Well --

HUGHES: Kasich gave up Indiana, Indiana is right next to Ohio. Governor - -

MILLER: Well --

HUGHES: Kasich -- the only --

MILLER: Like --

HUGHES: The only place Kasich has won is Ohio. So, why isn`t he competing in Indiana?

That should be his second most popular state, and for some reason he`s been talked out of releasing that state to Ted Cruz, that doesn`t sit right with me.

MILLER: Here`s Lawrence, here`s what John Kasich and Ted Cruz have in common that Scottie doesn`t understand.

Number one, they both are capable of beating Hillary Clinton in November. There is a poll --

HUGHES: No, they`re not --

MILLER: Out today, showing Donald Trump losing to Hillary Clinton by eight in Arizona.

HUGHES: Three points --

MILLER: Only two -- only two -- eight. Only two Democrats have ever -- have won Arizona in the last 100 years.

Donald Trump is getting crushed there. Number two, Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the basic respect for the constitution and for conservative values --


Something that Donald Trump has shown no -- you know, no willingness to defend throughout his entire life and throughout his career in this campaign.

So, you know, those are two important things they have in common. I think voters want somebody that can win and somebody that respects the constitutional values this country was founded on.

They`re going to support whether it`d be Ted Cruz or John Kasich in the appropriate state.

O`DONNELL: Hallie, what are you hearing anecdotally on the ground there about this migration from John Kasich to Ted Cruz in Indiana?

JACKSON: Big question mark, Lawrence, as to whether it`s going to be effective. So, just talking with people for example, we spoke with both Cruz supporters and Kasich supporters here in Indiana.

I can tell you that, I had one Cruz supporter say to me, hey, I don`t love that Ted Cruz is doing this, but I understand why he is.

It`s because he`s playing a chess game and he gets it. Then again, we spoke with Kasich supporters, one of whom said, hey, I am early voting.

By the way, here in Indiana, early voting which has been going on for about three weeks is about twice as much as it was during this time in 2012, during the last cycle.

So, a lot of this, you know, the dice has already been cast for thousands of Indiana voters who have already gone ahead and voted.

One of whom -- one man we spoke with, voted for John Kasich today. He said yes, I heard about the alliance, he says, but I`m voting for the guy and not the game.

So, that is what John Kasich and Ted Cruz have to overcome in these states. And let me just point out here, we`re talking about these poll numbers.

If you look at the most recent polling out from Fox News, it shows that John Kasich, about one in five of his supporters actually would pick Trump as their second choice.

So, if you re-allocate the map and if you assume that all of these voters buy into this strategy, which is a big "if" by the way, then you still don`t necessarily guarantee Ted Cruz a win here in Indiana over Donald Trump.

It`s why tomorrow night, guys, Ted Cruz is going to be here in Indiana. He`s going to be over at the Hoosier Gym.

He`s not going to be in Pennsylvania or Maryland or Connecticut or Delaware or any of these states that are voting tomorrow night.

He`s going to be here because this is where he will focus for the next seven days. The campaign I can tell you, I had an aide say to me today, this is like a mini Wisconsin.

Now, Wisconsin, they had two weeks to overcome a negative narrative and try to pick up some momentum heading into that contest.

Here in Indiana, they have less time, they`ll have one week starting Wednesday, that`s when they see this race kind of resetting and they see Ted Cruz image go all land to pull out a big win in Indiana.

O`DONNELL: Tim Miller, how much are you spending in the "Stop Trump" movement in Indiana?

MILLER: We`re up state-wide in Indiana with about seven figures over a million. I think Club for Growth has about the same amount in Indiana.

And I`d like to hear that Ted Cruz is going to be at the Hoosier`s Gym, going for that Jimmy Chit with magic tomorrow night.

But you know, if you look at the votes from Ohio, the last time there was something like this happened where Marco Rubio basically said, I can`t win Ohio, if you support me, you should vote for John Kasich.

The Rubio number went down to 2 percent in Ohio. So, well, I think that Hallie is right, and there will be people who vote their conscience and I think that`s absolutely fine.

I do think you`ll see a big percentage of the Kasich vote going to Cruz on next Tuesday --


MILLER: That should be important.

O`DONNELL: Scottie, that "Fox News" poll shows Ted Cruz within two or three points of Donald Trump when you take John Kasich out in Indiana.

HUGHES: Which is exactly I think why Ted Cruz camp is playing this, and Mr. Trump is going to be appearing with Bobby Knight down the road.

He`s got several other Indiana Hoosiers that are actually aligning with him, but more importantly, he has the people of Indiana.

Indiana just lost 1,400 jobs to Carrier risks, Carrier leaving. That message right there is why people are getting behind Mr. Trump.

Because he`s offering solutions to this idea of people losing their jobs and Indiana is hurting right now. And while people --

MILLER: It`s funny -- it`s funny --

HUGHES: Like the "Never Trump" -- can I just finish? And while the people like "Never Trump" continue to push this negative message, we are finding it`s backfiring across this country as they continue to lose and Mr. Trump continues to gain optimism.

As he`s offering solutions, not just problems and wanting to divide our Republican Party that we love --

MILLER: The people of Indiana have experience with Donald Trump when it comes to jobs.

He promised them -- he went to Gary, Indiana, and he promised them that he was going to build the greatest, the best and those fantastic, wonderful casino ever, believe me, believe me.

And they believed him, and they let Donald Trump come bringing a casino to Gary, and about five years later, Donald Trump pulled out and the jobs that he promised weren`t created.

This is what he does --

HUGHES: And why did he pull out? --

MILLER: And then there`s --

HUGHES: Why did he pull out right now? And that`s the thing. Why was that? Was it maybe --

MILLER: You know --

HUGHES: Because of the regulations? Maybe because of the regulation --

MILLER: He pulled out because he wanted to make money for himself, because he cares --


MILLER: More about himself than about regular voters.

HUGHES: I think he cared about the --

MILLER: So, the people of Gary, Indiana, saw what it was like when Donald Trump would promise them jobs and they don`t materialize.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to -- sorry, we`re going to have to leave it there for tonight.

Tim Miller, Scottie Nell Hughes and Hallie Jackson, thank you all for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

HUGHES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, we`re going to go inside our campaign war room with Ben Ginsberg and Stuart Stevens.

And later, conservative radio host John Ziegler will join us to explain why he says, and this is his quote, "the conservative media sold its soul to facilitate Donald Trump`s nomination."

And we will have more from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton`s town halls tonight.



TRUMP: Then I get a call last night, and they said, sir, Cruz and Kasich have just joined forces. I said, oh, really, they did? That`s called collusion.


O`DONNELL: We`ve never seen anything like it. So, how does the Ted Cruz war room and the John Kasich war room turn into one big cooperation room?

We`re going to have to go into our room, our war room next to figure that one out.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s war room. The most important place to be in any presidential campaign is not at the candidate`s side on the road.

Traveling everywhere the candidate goes is actually kind of a junior level job in a campaign.

It`s traditionally called the body man. The body man`s job is to simply stay close to the body of the candidate and hand the candidate the cell phone when the war room calls.

The war room is the most important place in a presidential campaign. The war room is where senior strategists spend their days and nights, sometimes all night, figuring out where to send the candidate next, where to make the next big TV buy.

The war room is where they plot strategies for snatching up delegates, strategies to reply the latest attack on their candidates, strategies for launching attacks on the other candidates.

The war room is where campaigns live or die. Two Republican war rooms tonight find themselves somewhere they have never been before, cooperating with each other while still trying to destroy each other.

John Kasich`s war room has given up any hope of winning Indiana, even though John Kasich`s governor of the neighboring state of Ohio, the Kasich campaign is getting out of their way.

They`re already getting out of their way in Indiana, allowing Ted Cruz to go one-on-one with Donald Trump in Indiana.

The Ted Cruz war room has decided to leave New Mexico and Oregon to John Kasich.

The Cruz campaign will not compete in those western states, recognizing that John Kasich has a much better chance there to take delegates away from Donald Trump.

The Cruz-Kasich stop-Trump alliance came too late to have any effect on tomorrow`s voting in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland, Pennsylvania.

Here`s more of Donald Trump`s reaction to the Cruz-Kasich alliance.


TRUMP: You had lying Ted announce that he can`t win by himself! He cannot do it! You know, he`s a joker. He cannot do it.

So, he said, let me form a partnership which I call -- what do we call it? Go ahead, go ahead. What do we call it? Let me form -- it`s called collusion, folks.


O`DONNELL: The rule for getting in the LAST WORD`s war room is you have to have been in a real presidential campaign war room.

Professionals only in this room. Joining us tonight, two veterans of Republican war rooms, Ben Ginsberg; political analyst for Msnbc and a partner at Jones Day.

He served as national counsel to the George W. Bush and Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

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

Stuart, take us inside the Kasich war room tonight and the Cruz war room tonight for the first time ever.

They`ve got a hotline joining these two war rooms, trying to figure out how they step forward. How do they handle this?

STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Well, first, I decided to take a moment and celebrate the new presidential side of Donald Trump.

That`s really --


STEVENS: Going well --

O`DONNELL: That we just heard it, the one we just heard.

STEVENS: Yes, that`s really going well, their guys keep that up. Look, in many ways, this kind of thing happens in campaigns, he (INAUDIBLE) don`t broadcast it.

Where it`s sort of common sense.

O`DONNELL: Take us, Stuart, stop on that for a second. Take us inside the versions of this that we`ve never actually seen publicly revealed.

How much coordination is there? Are there conversations? Do people say, you know what? We`re going to lay off, or do you just watch the ad buys and figure out that they`re laying off in a certain state.

STEVENS: Well, you know, if you look at the last cycle, you had states like in Florida where Santorum pulled out, Newt Gingrich was making a big play there.

Then Santorum came back later where Gingrich had played out. I can`t tell you how much they discussed it.

I have no idea, but you could just sort of look at who was husbanding resources. I think the reason this needs to be public now is two-fold.

One, it`s important that voters know what to do, and two, in this new campaign finance world, and banks can speak to this better than anybody.

It`s important that the Super PACs know what to do. And the best way to do that, and the most legal and open way to do it is just to say it.

And then nobody is signaling anybody, people are just talking aloud. I suspect that, you know, none of these things work perfectly, but it`s the best shot that you have.

And when you get in these situations, I think you have to go back to the old maximum, take your best player and run your best play and hope for the best.

O`DONNELL: Stuart just dropped a little reference there explaining. What`s the lawyer doing in the war room?

So, when they`re figuring out this truce, the lawyers speak up and say remember the Super PACs.

We cannot legally pick up the phone and call them and say, hey, don`t do any attack Kasich ads in Indiana. So, is that one of the incentives for going public like this?

BENJAMIN GINSBERG, LAWYER: It`s a highly regulated area, where fortunately, they need lawyers to --


GINSBERG: To be involved.


GINSBERG: Sure, part of the --

O`DONNELL: The lawyers have lawyered their way into the war room and can`t get --


O`DONNELL: Them out now.

GINSBERG: We like to think that the informers had put the lawyers in the war room --

O`DONNELL: Informers, yes --

GINSBERG: Because of the strangulating loss. This is a situation where the campaign can`t call up the Super PAC.

And you do run a risk that a Super PAC is going to see a campaign pull out and wonder is this my cue that I -- the Super PAC I`m supposed to go in or do I need to stay out because of the campaign, which is why they had to talk about it.

Now, what`s interesting about this particular situation is how much they`re really talking, the Kasich and the Cruz people.

Indiana to one, New Mexico and Oregon to the other is pretty easy. When it comes to California, which will be the definitive prize to determine who goes over the top, that`s a congressional district by congressional district analysis.

Which will be much trickier for these two campaigns to pull off.

O`DONNELL: Stuart, do you see any reason for them not to continue this effort into California and actually look at that congressional district map and try to figure it out that way?

STEVENS: No, Lord, I hope they do. It gets much tougher though because we just think about what are your decisions?

So, say, you take the L.A. media mark and you add it up by congressional districts. How do you really do that?

You go on a television program in Los Angeles, you`re reaching a lot of different television -- a lot of different congressional districts.

Nothing is symmetrically sealed. Your television or media buys are very overlapping. So, it works better in theory than in reality.

But it still would be important to try to do. This is all about one number, that 1,237 number.

You need to get this game into overtime, and then try to win it in overtime. So, it`s good that they`re working together, it`s just common basic sense.

O`DONNELL: And then Kasich says he`s already been very successful in the delegate hunt in Indiana already.

So, he`s not -- he`s not that concerned about what happens in Indiana in the actual vote-count because he`s got some second ballot supporters lined up there.

GINSBERG: Yes, good for him if that`s -- if that`s actually true. The problem is, you do have to get to that second --


GINSBERG: Ballot --

O`DONNELL: Right --

GINSBERG: To be able to pull it --

O`DONNELL: Right --

GINSBERG: Off, and the promises of delegates and faithfulness is sort of a fundable characteristic as things go along.

O`DONNELL: Stuart, what is the smart response to this in the Trump war room?

Now, admittedly we`d have to keep most of the people out of the Trump war room -- they get a smart response out of that war room.

But Manafort, those guys know what they`re doing, what are they -- what`s their play on this?

STEVENS: I think, I would have argued for doing a somewhat less crazed version of Donald Trump to saying these two are working together.

Because it takes two of them to beat me. I think that`s fine. But ultimately, that`s a process argument.

People don`t really care about the process. They care about what people are going to do to improve their lives.

The danger of something like this is that, you start talking about process rather than talking about impact.

So, I think it`s important just to get back on campaign track and get back to what you were talking about and not be distracted by it.

But most people aren`t going to focus on this and it`s important that the campaign not focus on it.

O`DONNELL: And Ben, in Indiana, when they get that ballot, they`re going to see Marco Rubio on it, they`re going to see Jeb Bush on it.

This is a ballot that has pretty much everybody still on it, and then they`ve got a -- they`ve got this instruction that might be a little confusing. What was I supposed to do? I mean, I wanted to vote Kasich, what am I supposed to do? And Kasich is out there kind of flubbing it a bit. He`s not saying the clear declarative sentence, vote for Ted Cruz in Indiana.

GINSBERG: Well, John Kasich I think is thinking he doesn`t want to blow his votes in other places. Nonetheless, the voters are pretty smart. And after a week of making it clear that this is really Ted Cruz`s state, my guess is, is that the message is going to get through just fine to voters.

O`DONNELL: What about that, Stuart, is a week enough to deliver this message clearly in Indiana and get John Kasich to say it clearly at least once?

STEVENS: Harold Wilson said "a week is a long time in politics." I think a week is tons of time. And I think that that`s really going to be what really -- it`s going to be in the doing of this, not the talking about it. That if you have Cruz in Indiana, focus there, without John Kasich and no competition, it`s going to be the de fecto focus of one person campaigning Cruz against Trump, that is going to make this a two-person race, not just saying it`s a two-person race. And that`s what`s going to capture the people`s attention. It will mean, the two of them on the television screen battling it out as it was in Wisconsin. And that`s going to make it a two- person race.

O`DONNELL: And then success or failure really determines what happens next. If they have a success with this in Indiana, then of course, they`re going to into California .


O`DONNELL: . New Jersey with it.

GINSBERG: And what`s interesting about California is you have 39 Democratic districts and 14 Republican districts. You get as many delegates from winning the most Democratic district .


GINSBERG: . as the most Republican district.


GINSBERG: It`s not a T.V. where it`s a ground game and it`s getting your message out. And so, that`s what the Cruz and Kasich people have to do and what Donald Trump has to figure out how it work.

O`DONNELL: But Republican is going to win Nancy Pelosi`s district. The question is, who`s .


O`DONNELL: Ben Ginsberg and Stuart Stevens, thank you both for joining us on (inaudible) tonight.


O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. All right, coming up, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders back to back in town halls tonight on MSNBC. But first, what did you miss on the campaign trail today? That`s next.


O`DONNELL: We`ll have more from the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton town halls on MSNBC tonight hosted by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow. But first, here`s the way it looked today on the campaign trail.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do I look presidential? I think I look presidential.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back to the Kasich-Cruz or Cruz-Kasich alliance, here`s what we know.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today has been a significant day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A stunning reversal of where these two camps word.

CRUZ: I would ask Governor Kasich`s supporters to stand with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to directly tell your voters in Indiana to support Ted Cruz?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that Kasich will not go to Indiana, so I`ve got a plane ticket to cancel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump is saying you are colluding.

CRUZ: I understand that Donald Trump would want. That`s what he does.

TRUMP: This is a dirty business, this politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this collusion?

KASICH: Is it collude -- what is does that even mean? I don`t even know what this mean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You what that mean?

TRUMP: He`s one for 42.

KASICH: What Donald Trump needs to understand is that he cannot beat Hillary Clinton. In the latest poll out of New Hampshire, he loses 50 to 31.

TRUMP: Do I look like a president? How handsome I am, right?

KASICH: I don`t respond to Donald Trump.

RACHEL MADDOW, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" HOST: When you say you shouldn`t make promises that you can`t keep, are you talking about Senator Sanders?

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that there certainly have been questions raised about the numbers not adding up.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are the stronger campaign in taking on Donald Trump or any other Republican candidate.

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" HOST: You want the person who got the most votes to be the nominee.

SANDERS: We got five states tomorrow.


SANDERS: We got 10 remaining states, including the largest state in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sign a paperwork?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no paperwork. I have this. I don`t know what else I can do to tell you who I`m for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn`t get anymore clear than this.



O`DONNELL: Tonight here on MSNBC, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton delivered their last words to voters in Pennsylvania and four other states voting tomorrow. They did that in town hall meetings in Philadelphia, hosted by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow.


SANDERS: We are the stronger campaign in taking on Donald Trump or any other Republican candidate. And I think that most Democrats out there, more than anything correctly so, want to make sure that some right wing Republican doesn`t become president of the United States.

We are running as hard as we can to win this thing. My job is to get as many delegates as possible and to try to win the nomination for president.

CLINTON: I`m winning because of what I stand for and what I`ve done and what my ideals are.

MADDOW: Fresh delegates.


CLINTON: I have the greatest respect for Senator Sanders, but really, what he and his supporters are now saying just doesn`t add up. I have 2.7 million more votes than he has. I have more than 250 more pledged delegates. I`m very proud of the campaign that we have run and the support we have gotten.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Jonathan Allen, author of "HRC, State Secrets and The Rebirth of Hillary Clinton". He`s the head of Community and Content for Sidewire.

Jonathan, what did you see in the town halls tonight that voters might be thinking about on the way to the polls tomorrow?

JONATHAN ALLEN, "HRC, STATE SECRETS AND THE REBIRTH OF HILLARY CLINTON" AUTHOR: I think, from Bernie Sanders, you`re hearing the need to tear down the establishment to get the kind of agenda that Democratic voters want. The idea that you can`t get it through what you have now, through mild or moderate changes. And I think, you know, from the Hillary Clinton perspective, the argument is that you in fact have to work within the system to get changes and that you need to put your shoulder to the wheel to get those done.

These are arguments that have been distilled over the past year basically. And I think both of the candidates made their best pitch tonight.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to what -- first of all, what Bernie Sanders said when asked about the possibility of his supporters eventually supporting Hillary Clinton if she`s the nominee.


SANDERS: If we end up losing, and I hope we do not, and if Secretary Clinton wins, it is incumbent upon Secretary Clinton to reach out to, not only to my supporters, but to all of the American people with an agenda that they believe will represent the interest of working families, lower income people, the middle class, those of us who were concerned about the environment and not just big money interests.


O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan, before you react to that, well, we just put Hillary Clinton`s version of the same event, the same possibility if she is the nominee and what she does is compare what happened to her the last time she ran for president when she did indeed have to deliver, or try to deliver her support to Bbarack Obama then running. Let`s listen to this.


CLINTON: I did not put down conditions. I didn`t say, "You know what, if Senator Obama does X, Y, and Z, maybe I`ll support him." I said I am supporting Senator Obama, from the time I was through until the time I nominated him, I nominated him at the convention in Denver. I spent an enormous amount of time convincing my supporters to support him. That is what I think one does.


O`DONNELL: Jonathan, what was your reaction to that exchange, those two different versions are?

ALLEN: Well, she pulled the exact perfect clips to describe the state of the race right now. These two candidates are no longer locked in the nasty fight over whose going to win, what they`re really fighting over is the degree to which Bernie Sanders and his supporters are going to have an influence over Hillary Clinton`s agenda and the Democratic Party platform going forward.

You heard Bernie Sanders essentially making the argument, if she`s going to have to listen to him to get his support, she`s going to have to make some concessions and Clinton doing the exact opposite saying, "I didn`t support Barack Obama conditionally, I gave him my support because I wanted to see a Democrat in the White House." That`s the fight we`re going to see going forward over the next month or so, through those June 7th primaries and, you know, gather at the Democratic convention as well.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

ALLEN: Take care.

O`DONNELL: Up next, what do Indiana voters -- what are they thinking about this whole new Kasich Cruz alliance as they cast early votes? They were voting today. Voting has already started. They had early voting in Indiana. They were voting today.

Tony Dokoupil was there. He talked to some voters about this. We`re going to get his reactions. That`s coming next.


O`DONNELL: Early voting in Indiana has actually been underway since April 5th. MSNBC`s Tony Dokoupil was watching some of the early voting today in Indianapolis and what is the first full day of the Cruz-Kasich alliance. Tony Dokoupil joins us now.

Tony, is that alliance making sense to voters there? TONY DOKOUPIL, MSBNC REPORTER: Not so much, Lawrence. I mean, the alliance has a lot of challenges. And the fist one is that at least 60,000 Republicans have already cast votes here in Indiana and the polls are any indication about 20,000 of those votes were John Kasich votes. Those are sunk votes, they`re not coming back. Kasich also is to be on the ballot throughout this week and on Tuesday, the 3rd.

Additionally, there are Trump voters who heard about this and there are so excited, you would not believe it. Long before Donald Trump even started giving rallies and using the word collusion, in the morning, we are talking to Trump supporters at the Marion County Courthouse, they already saying this proves that it`s rigged, the system is unfair.

And then of course there are the Kasich voters. Are they listening? Are they paying attention? Well, we talked to several of them, doesn`t seem like they are. Here`s just one snip to it. Take a listen.


JOHN HERTIC, KASICH SUPPORTER: So, I believe in his principles. I believe what he`s all about. Saw the news that Cruz and Kasich are teaming up, but really, I wanted to vote my conscience rather than the game. I just didn`t want to sacrifice what I believed in. I didn`t want to sacrifice what I knew was the right candidate for me, just to -- again, play the game and try to get, you know, behind both candidates. And I`m not a Cruz voter, I`m a Kasich voter, and so I vote Kasich.


DOKOUPIL: So, Lawrence, that really sums it up. I wanted to vote for the guy, not the game. And that particular voter who knew about the alliance wanted to vote for Kasich and still voted for Kasich. He is not alone. The biggest source of disappointment today was Kasich`s voters who weren`t going to be able to come his rally in Indianapolis, which had been scheduled for tomorrow night.

And then there were even some Kasich supporters and this has got to be extremely painful for the people who are working on the Kasich campaign. There are even some Kasich`s supporters who, instead of jumping ahead and voted for Cruz, heard about the alliance thought it was so defeated, so desperate that they actually switched their vote, not to Cruz, but to Donald Trump, the exact opposite of what the various campaigns are encouraging here.

So, overall, it`s only one sample, it`s anecdotal, it`s Marion County, the biggest county in Indiana, it`s Indianapolis. It`s not scientific, but it is pretty damming. The 24 hour reaction so far from voters is not good for this alliance, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: It ain`t science, but it ain`t sounding too good. We`ll see if how they can make this whole thing work in a week.

Tony Dokoupil, thank you very much for joining us.

Coming up, conservative radio talk show host says, conservative media sold its soul for Donald Trump. John Ziegler will get tonight`s "Last Word".



GLENN BECK, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am really trying to understand how conservatives can look at Donald Trump`s record and say that`s our guy. I just don`t understand it, because his record is horrendous when it comes to conservative principles.


O`DONNELL: That was Glenn Beck last year marveling at how some conservative radio talk show hosts could be supportive of Donald Trump`s candidacy.

Conservative Radio Talk Show Host, John Ziegler says that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have been, "Playing with fire in enabling the Trump campaign."

Joining us now is John Ziegler, Conservative Radio Talk Show Host, hosted the "John & Leah Show". He wrote a recent column for media entitled, "How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul to Facilitate Trump`s Nomination."

John, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Make your case. What have you seen in the conservative media landscape and how surprising has it been to you?

JOHN ZIEGLER, HOST "JOHN & LEAH SHOW": Well, I have been a card carrying member of the right wing conspiracy for quite a while. And I have to tell you, this is not a surprise, because I`ve been trying to tell people for many years that the conservative media was more than willing to sell its soul to the highest bidder if it felt it was sip (ph), it was in itself interest to do so.

In fact, I think the realm into the conservative media specifically, Matt Drudge, who would shock many of your liberal viewers here on MSNBC, who helped Barack Obama survive the reverend right situation against Hillary Clinton in 2008. I know his right hand man, Andrew Breitbart, who is now diseased very well. And Andrew would have told you that the exact same thing. That was the first time I ever look at and said, "Whoa, wait a minute, this is really a business. It`s not a cause." It`s pretending to be a cause to the conservative media, but it`s really just a business. And that means it`s about money.

And in this case, runs the media, it`s about ratings and traffic. And I happen to believe them in 2012, similar things happened during the primary process, but that was nothing in compares into what we have seen here.

In 2016, Lawrence, to me, this is the greatest travesty I`ve ever seen in my political life. It is an absolute abomination that alleged conservatives have literally sold their souls for a few ratings points, mostly, last year during the summer time when Donald Trump announced during a very slow period of time. I happen to believe the last chance to really stop him was Iowa or maybe New Hampshire. After that, the monster had been created.

They created this monster for their own benefit, and now, they will pay a very steep price because the Republican Party is going to loose, it`s going to loose big in November. And liberals are going to be very, very happy of what people like Sean Hannity did and others like him did all for their own self interest.

I actually like Donald Trump as a person, but he`s not a conservative, he`s not qualified and he cannot beat Hillary Clinton. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

O`DONNELL: John, you know, what you`re saying to me makes sense. I had the experience, the pleasant experience in away of having to drive from New York City up to Western Massachusetts, the day after the first Republican debate, in which Donald Trump delivered, as far as I can tell, the worst performance by a debater in history, right?

And I`m listening to Rush Limbaugh the whole three hours, and the callers are coming in, supportive of Limbaugh, a supportive of Trump, angry at Fox for asking good questions. I then listen to Howie Carr, the Boston, Massachusetts Conservative Radio Talk Show Host the same thing. And I noticed the hosts, Howie Carr and Rush Limbaugh are getting inline with that audience. And I started to think, wait a minute, am I watching ratings here, am I watching the host chase the audience to make sure he can maintain this audience for basically business reasons?

ZIEGLER: Well, Lawrence, it`s important to point out that the news media is broken. There is no journalism anymore. It`s dead. Mainly because of fragmentation, has totally changed the business model. And talk radio, the business model is broken very badly.

So, even a Rush Limbaugh has to be concerned about his ratings and frankly, I think Rush is even more concerned of that not being bored. I mean, the guy has more money than God. I think Trump is exciting for him, it makes him different for him everyday to come in. He wants content.

And let`s face it, the conservative media wins no matter what now. If it`s Trump versus Hillary, everybody`s going to get great ratings during the fall. I believe Trump will lose to Hillary, that gives at least four more years of easy content for the conservative media.

Look, the conservative media supposedly campaign against to Obama, but nobody made more money in the Obama Administration other than maybe gun made manufacturers, than Fox News Channel and Matt Drudge.

And you guys in MSNBC, actually lost audience after helping him get elected. So, how does that work out?

The reality is, people understand what their self interest is. And a conservative media has a self interest in Donald Trump being the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton winning a presidency, because that`s the worst case scenario for them. It`s the worst that can happen. They win either way.

It`s a -- and what`s really upsetting to someone like me who cares deeply about the truth, Lawrence, is that most viewers and listeners and readers don`t even understand they`re being scammed. That`s the real travesty here.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there. But tonight, John Ziegler gets tonight`s last word. Thank you very much, John.

ZIEGLER: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next with a special town hall with Senator Bernie Sanders.