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The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 10/18/2016

Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Lis Smith, Rick Wilson, David Litt, Terry Golway

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 18, 2016 Guest: Ana Marie Cox, Lis Smith, Rick Wilson, David Litt, Terry Golway

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Presidential election, you should plan to watch it here -- tic-tac, we`ll see. The third and final presidential debate of this presidential election, you should plan to watch it here commercial free tomorrow night.

Chris Hayes kicks off our prime time coverage tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. live from Las Vegas, followed by a special edition of "HARDBALL", Chris Matthews at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and Brian Williams and I will take over at 8:00 p.m.

The debate starts in Vegas at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, we`ll also then of course bring you special post debate coverage after the debate ends, probably starting around 10:30 p.m. Eastern and going until we`re all dead.

So, that`s your plan for tomorrow night, it will be very exciting, it`s the last debate of the year, the last debate of this election, you must be there.

I`ll see you tomorrow night. Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, that description of what happens tomorrow night was so good right up until --


That part.

MADDOW: Proverbially dead.

O`DONNELL: That part, yes --

MADDOW: Until we die of excitement?

O`DONNELL: Yes, that part, yes.

MADDOW: Yes --


MADDOW: Not softening it, sorry.

O`DONNELL: All right, thank you, Rachel --

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump said a lot of crazy things again today in his continuing effort to change the subject from his alleged history of sexual assault.

But once again, tonight, that Trump strategy will not work, at least not on this program. My first guest tonight is one of the six witnesses who now corroborate Natasha Stoynoff`s story in "People Magazine" that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her.

Natasha Stoynoff is one of the women who Donald Trump`s current wife now says is lying. Unfortunately, for the Trump defense, Mrs. Trump herself has already been caught in a public lie during this campaign.


MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: I believe my husband. I believe my husband.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`d advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & REPUBLICAN PARTY NOMINEE, 2016 ELECTION: They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Stop whining, stop that.

TRUMP: Oh, this -- everything is peachy dory, right?

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: The campaigning and complaining, he has been cam-plaining(ph) is what he does.


TRUMP: The press has created a rigged system and poisoned the minds of the voters.

TRUMP: Did they ever check background of these women? They don`t have any facts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The magazine today publishing the accounts of five people who say the writer told them what happened at the time.

TRUMP: She saw me on 5th Avenue, never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before we have an eyewitness, and this person remembers in great detail their encounter.

TRUMP: It`s a very crooked group of people. I`ve been under attack constantly.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Trump has been fending off attacks like a woman meeting Donald Trump.


TRUMP: Even though we`re doing pretty good in the polls, I don`t believe the polls anymore.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Hillary Clinton up by 10, 51-41 over Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Believe me, folks, we`re doing great.

TRUMP: I give him many advice.


O`DONNELL: So, I often do not hear that video until it`s run on the show. So, that`s the first time that I`ve heard Donald Trump say peachy dory, which I just wrote down here.

Which adds more fuel to the notion that he really is a Manchurian candidate, created in some other country and sent here with this very shaky command of the language, which comes out in things like idiom, that kind of -- that kind of thing. peachy dory.

Of course, there`s hunky-dory, which he did not say, he said peachy dory, and then there`s just peachy or peachy-keen. He said peachy dory. He actually said that.

Donald Trump is on his way to a state right now where he is sinking in the polls. Apparently, because of his bragging about sexual assault on that "Access Hollywood" video, and accusations against him of sexual assault by several women.

Accusations "Nbc News" has not verified, and that Donald Trump has of course denied. And when he takes the debate stage tomorrow night in Las Vegas, he will be in a state that has slipped away from him in the polls.

Hillary Clinton now has her biggest lead in that state. The biggest lead she`s had yet in Nevada. We will have more on some of these truly dramatic new polls, including a stunning new poll that could change the shape of presidential politics.

But first, tonight, we`re faced with a choice of who is lying. Is Melania Trump lying? Or is Natasha Stoynoff lying? That`s it. One of them has to be lying.

Not just misremembering some funny thing like that, but outright lying. It`s a good thing for Natasha Stoynoff that she has not been caught lying about, say, her educational experience.

Melania Trump on the other hand removed from her website the completely false information that she graduated from college in Slovenia.

That`s the kind of thing that looks really bad when we`re trying to decide if you`re lying about something important.

If you`ve already lied about something important like being a college graduate when you`re not, that is something juries are encouraged to take into consideration in courtrooms iin deciding who is lying. And then of course, there`s Melania Trump`s immigration record.

Donald Trump promised that Melania Trump would have a press conference and produce all of her documentation proving that she entered the United States legally and never entered the United States without permission and never worked in the United States without permission.

But Melania Trump has never done that, she`s never produced any of that documentation. "Fox News" didn`t want to be outdone by last night`s softball interview on "Cnn" with Melania Trump, so this morning, "Fox News" presented their beach ball interview with Melania Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were some reports about your immigration issue and how you got into this country, when you started modeling here, your visa, becoming a U.S. citizen. What are the -- what are the facts?

TRUMP: The facts are that I always obey the law, I have all the documents, I have very clean past. I would never stay here under -- as undocumented.


O`DONNELL: No, of course, she would never violate our immigration laws, but she will also never, ever release her immigration documents. What reason could she possibly have for not releasing her immigration documents as the wife of a presidential candidate?

What if those documents revealed that she isn`t telling the truth about her immigration history? On "Fox News" this morning, Melania Trump got away with that very same ugly statement that she made last night on "Cnn" about evidence and sexual assault.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your message to these women?

TRUMP: That all the allegations should be handled in a court of law, and without the evidence to accuse somebody as a man or a woman, it`s damaging, and it`s unfair.


O`DONNELL: As I was forced to explain here last night, every woman who has accused Donald Trump of assault has presented evidence. That evidence is their own eyewitness testimony of the sexual assault that they say happened to them.

That is real evidence. And in some cases, even with just two people alone in a room, that kind of evidence is found to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Some of the women have more evidence than others. Today "People Magazine" reported that six people now corroborate Natasha Stoynoff`s story of being attacked by Donald Trump.

One of them is Lisa Herz who says she was with Natasha Stoynoff when she run into Melania Trump outside of Trump Tower months after the alleged sexual assault. Here`s what Melania Trump said about that last night.


TRUMP: She wrote in the same story about me that she saw me on 5th Avenue and I said to her, "Natasha, how come we don`t see you anymore?" I was never friends with her. I would not recognize her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That never happened?

TRUMP: Never happened.


O`DONNELL: Never happened. Lisa Herz remembers the encounter on 5th Avenue this way. "They chatted in a friendly way, and what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels."

"People Magazine" lists five other witnesses, Marina Grasic who says she got a call from her friend the day after the attack. Stoynoff detailed everything about the attack.

Natasha was also struggling about not hurting pregnant Melania if the story came out, Grasic says. Beyond just the attack, she was horrified by the vulgar circumstances under which she was attacked and propositioned to have an affair.

She was there in a professional capacity, writing an article about their happy marriage, and after the incident, Trump acted like nothing happened.

She was particularly concerned that if he was capable of such behavior, what else was he capable of? Certainly character assassination by a powerful man was of great concern to her.

"People`s" East Coast" editor Lis McNiel(ph) says she remembers the day that Natasha Stoynoff returned from that assignment in Florida covering Donald Trump. She was very upset and told me how he shoved her against a wall.

The thing I remember most was how scared she felt. I felt I had to protect her. Deputy East Coast editor Mary Green(ph) says that Natasha Stoynoff told her about the incident in 2005.

"She was shaky, sitting at her desk, relaying that he took me to this other room and when we stepped inside, he pushed me against the wall and stuck his tongue down my throat.

Melania was upstairs and could have walked in at any time." Another co- worker Liza Hamm, who also knew about the alleged attack, she said Stoynoff told her she had to be taken off the Trump beat and she tried her best to move past the experience.

The sixth witness cited in "People Magazine" is Paul McLaughlin, her former journalism professor who says that Natasha Stoynoff called him in tears looking for advice the very night of the harrowing encounter.

Joining us now, Paul McLaughlin; former journalism professor of Natasha Stoynoff who spoke to her the night of that alleged encounter.

Also with us, Ana Marie Cox, senior political correspondent for "MTV News". Mr. McLaughlin, could you tell us about that phone call?

PAUL MCLAUGHLIN, PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM: Well, it wasn`t unusual for Natasha to call me for advice, but that particular call was obviously something I would never have anticipated.

She was very distraught, upset on many different levels, frightened as you mentioned. She was angry, and she was confused about what to do about what had occurred.

O`DONNELL: And what did you tell her to do? What was your advice?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, a prof tries to be psychotic and help a person get to their own decision. So, we talked about all the different scenarios, and I did not think that it warranted going to the police, if it had been much more serious, obviously that would have been the only course of action.

Then we talked about her confronting him or of her, you know, making it a big matter at "People Magazine", and I felt that if she did do this, he was not the type of person who was going to say to his pregnant super model new wife, hey, when you were out of the room I hit on the reporter.

So, then I asked sort of the rhetorical question, what did I think he would do? I thought he would -- you know, if she confronted him, that he would turn around, blame her, say she came on to him.

And I thought that he would try to destroy her credibility, not just in that moment but that he could go to the magazine and say if you ever want to deal with me again she has to be fired.

He could have gone to other magazines and said if you ever hire her you`ll never get access to me or Melania. And that -- I think that threat was very real, and I think during the election campaign, we`ve seen that he`s more than capable of doing something like that.

O`DONNELL: And what was your judgment and her judgment about what would happen if he went to "People Magazine" and threatened them that way? Would -- what would you have expected the leadership of "People Magazine" to do?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think that a magazine, I mean, the nature of the media like that is to back up your own people, and I have to believe that they would have done whatever they could.

But I think it was a very real threat that it could have tarnished her reputation, it could have -- he could have presented her as someone who, you know, came on to him in order to further her career or to get some money or whatever.

And so it wasn`t just whether or not the magazine was going to back her up. It was just that the whole thing would I think have created a terrible situation for her. And one of which, I didn`t think she held any of the cards really.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, I would like to think that "People Magazine" would have backed up their reporter, but I`m not so sure.

ANA MARIE COX, AUTHOR: Well, it would be a really difficult position, I mean, I guess we just have to face that. I do want to say that, you know, Melania`s statements are just incredibly disturbing.

I think on some level more disturbing than even some of the things that Trump has said. Because I think that a lot of women -- it`s things like what Melania Trump said that really keep them from reporting stuff like this.

It`s the idea that, you know, you`re -- another woman not believing you. Another woman saying, well, other women come on to my husband all the time, as though that would mean your husband didn`t assault other women.

You know, her statements about not being pretty enough. Her state -- it`s just really disheartening and kind of disgusting.

O`DONNELL: Well, Melania is just out of hand calling every one of these women a liar, that absolutely none of this happened. That is her position.

They`re all lying, Ana Marie. And then she goes beyond that to then dictate the terms by which women should make these accusations. They can only make them in courtrooms. They can only make them -- I don`t know, I guess if they have video or something.

COX: Right --

O`DONNELL: I`m not sure what standard of proof she would require, but certainly, the eyewitness testimony by the victim is completely dismissible as far as Melania Trump is concerned.

COX: Yes, fingerprints, maybe, that`s what she`s looking for, a stray hair or two, which, you know, to be honest, maybe that is something that you could find.

I think that, you know, she`s obviously dismissive, and she`s obviously playing on this truth that, oh, well, women just fall all over my husband like they assert themselves.

That was the other part of her statement, this idea that women come up and give Donald Trump their number in front of her, and so that somehow makes it OK.

And I know you talked about the unattractiveness argument before. But this particularly loathsome, I feel like coming from another woman and coming from someone who should -- well, maybe I won`t continue.

I just think that this particular understanding or lack of understanding about sexual assault just shows how little people seem to understand this isn`t about sexual attractiveness.

This is about power and this is about something that Donald Trump felt like he could get away with. And I`m just going to say once again, this is about the power of the presidency, too.

There is a through-line from this behavior to the kind of behavior that we might expect someone in the Oval Office, and I`m not talking about necessarily sexual assault, I`m talking about the abuse of power.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Melania Trump said about advice she gives her husband about talking to people like Howard Stern and then Billy Bush.


TRUMP: Many times I gave him an advice, and I didn`t agree to do all the tapes on Howard Stern. They hook him on -- they try to get from him some inappropriate and dirty language.


O`DONNELL: And now quickly, let`s just listen to what Howard Stern himself has now said about this.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: A lot of the show that I`ve been doing for my entire life, radio show publicly, is an effort to sort of do "locker-room talk".

To just express all kinds of -- and just not even care what anyone thinks, you know, that kind of thing.

But you know, this idea of locker-room talk, I got to tell you something, all the times I`ve been around guys, and believe me, when I`m around guys, 85 percent of the time you`re talking about --


But I have never been in the room where someone has said grab them by the - -


O`DONNELL: So, Ana Marie, even Howard Stern disagrees with Donald Trump about what locker-room talk is.

COX: No, also, he`s probably actually -- he talks about such things an awful -- an awful lot, and knows that that`s not actually a thing you can even do, to grab someone by that particular area.

There`s no handle as far as I`m concerned, as far as I know. It`s sort of like -- I think people have already said that Trump talking about this stuff is a little like Rick Tamblyn(ph) from "Anchorman" talking about it, he -- or you know that the guy from four-year-old version.

He doesn`t seem to actually even really know that he`s talking about or he doesn`t care. That`s actually probably the real thing. If he doesn`t care what a woman`s anatomy looks like, he just grabs at it.

O`DONNELL: Professor McLaughlin, do you have any regrets about how you handled that phone call and that advice that night?

MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely no. In fact, I feel even stronger now that it was the right decision, because at the time Natasha was a lone voice.

I mean, she`s come forward now because others have come forward as well and she`s adding her voice to support them.

But back then I think she`d have been on her own, and you know, a fairly young reporter making her way in New York. I thought that she was unbelievably vulnerable, and I absolutely believe it was the right advice.

O`DONNELL: And she also came forward this time with the benefit of Donald Trump having already basically confessed to this on that "Access Hollywood" video.

That`s something that she wouldn`t have had supporting her side of this back then. Professor Paul McLaughlin, thank you very much for joining us, and Ana Marie Cox --

MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Thank you --

MCLAUGHLIN: We`re going to have you stand by for one more political chat, now you`re up in Vegas waiting for the debate. Thank you, professor, really appreciate it. Coming up, a truly amazing new poll that could mean a history-making change in presidential politics.


TRUMP: Even though we`re doing pretty good in the polls, I don`t believe the polls anymore. I don`t believe them.



O`DONNELL: So, Donald Trump has done a great job of losing the last two debates in a row, according to all the real polling on those debates. So, why change anything in Trump debate prep?

That`s next with Rick Wilson and Ana Marie Cox who is in Las Vegas for tomorrow`s debate.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is on his way to another complete wipeout in tomorrow night`s debate. Now, when I was a kid, I went to school with some wise guys who made fun of the kids who studied and prepared for tests.

But those wise guys who never, ever did their homework, at least never pretended that they were going to do better on the tests than the kids who did do their homework.

Which is to say, the very worst wise guy students that I went to school with were never, ever as stupid as Donald Trump.


TRUMP: She`s doing debate prep, she did so much debate prep, did we beat her badly in that second debate?



Grateful. Sort of funny, she`s been doing this for 30 years, now she has to do debate prep for five days.


You know what the debate prep is? It`s resting, it`s lying down, going to sleep.


O`DONNELL: That was the stupidest and worst debater in presidential campaign history today, actually making fun of his opponent for preparing for the debate.

Debates in which she has kicked the heck out of Donald Trump. This is apparently all the debate prep that Donald Trump needs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to ask you about the debate. What is your advice to Donald Trump?

TRUMP: Just to be himself, keep it calm, cool, focus. And to talk about issues that American people want to hear about.


O`DONNELL: Is there any chance that either of the Trumps are self-aware enough to realize that Mrs. Trump just proved that Donald Trump does not listen to his wife?

At least when it comes to debate prep. Bill O`Reilly finally found something he agrees with President Obama about, Donald Trump`s whining about voter fraud.


OBAMA: I`d advise Mr. Trump to stop whining.

O`REILLY: Stop whining, stop that.


O`DONNELL: One thing Donald Trump does not whine about are the devastating polls now showing Hillary Clinton in the lead and competitive in states where Democrats don`t usually have a chance.

Instead of whining about the polls, he does the Trump thing, he just lies about them.


TRUMP: Now, even though we`re doing pretty good in the polls, I don`t believe the polls anymore. I don`t believe them. I don`t believe them.

And if there`s ten, and there`s one or two bad ones, that`s the only one they show, believe me, folks, we`re doing great.


O`DONNELL: A new "Fox News" national poll of tonight shows Hillary Clinton at 45, Donald Trump at 39, Gary Johnson, 5, Jill Stein, 3. Joining us now is Rick Wilson, Republican strategist who is a contributor to the website "Heat Street".

He`s consulting for Evan McMullin who`s making an independent run for the president. Back with us from Las Vegas, Ana Marie Cox. Rick Wilson, I don`t believe the polls anymore, says Donald Trump.


Remember the days when every Trump --


O`DONNELL: Speech began with rattling off the latest polls? Do we miss those days?

WILSON: You know, it is -- it is -- it is a fundamental fact of the Trump world that good polls are trumpeted, and the same polls with a different results is suddenly the result of rigged, incompetent and evil and malfeasance by some -- by some wicked pollster who`s conspiring against Donald Trump.

It is an astounding conceit that this guy, you know, who is getting his tail kicked as you said routinely now in almost every state, in every battleground state, he`s only three points back -- or he`s only 3 points up on Hillary Clinton in Texas.

It`s the apocalypse for Donald Trump, and he`s too dumb to realize it.

O`DONNELL: And there`s Mrs. Trump saying her debate advice to her husband is keep it calm, cool, which he`s never done, focus, which he`s never done, talk about the issues.

Ana Marie, they don`t -- they`re not self-aware enough to realize what they`re admitting to there, that he just -- he just doesn`t listen to her.

COX: No, I think they might share makeup tips --


I mean, you know, the tanning booth perhaps --

O`DONNELL: Is that her revenge though, giving him bad makeup tips, is that the Melania revenge?


COX: I don`t know, that is super subtle kind of trolling. I mean, if he hasn`t realized --


COX: He`s getting bad makeup tips by now. He`s getting all kinds of bad tips. I wanted to point out that he doesn`t have to separate whining and lying.

Lining and lying --

O`DONNELL: Right --

COX: He sort of does those -- well, lining --


COX: You know. I mean, I think that actually, he might be right about Hillary by the way. I think she might be just resting up.

I know if I were her, like I think that, you know, there`s such a thing as over-training, and she`s been winning, so, you know, I might just do a carbo-load at one of the buffets over here.

You know, take a couple of laughter on the block. I think she`s going to do fine. I think she`s going to do fine, she probably could be resting.

I`m a little worried about the debate but only because they`ve just proven to be so embarrassing on almost all parties.

I think that Hillary Clinton to the extent that she hasn`t come off well is because she has to share a stage with him. It makes her look less presidential, just you know, by law of averages.

O`DONNELL: And Rick Wilson, Donald Trump not doing debate prep today. He`s been out there, doing rallies, doing the stuff he has fun doing.

WILSON: Look, Donald Trump is a fundamentally unserious person. He`s a fundamentally weak, undisciplined person.

This is a guy who believes his own line of sales -- his own sales pitch, believes his own line to some degree and has surrounded himself with people who enforce his, you know, reality distortion field that`s around him at all times.

And so, Steve Bannon and other folks are in there, you know, kissing their rear end and saying, yes, Mr. Trump, you`re glorious, even though this guy is about to go and have his head cut off on stage.

And Hillary Clinton`s going to hold it up in victory when this thing is over. This is a guy who`s so unready for this, and if he thinks he`s going to pull it in, these little tricks that he`s talking about that didn`t work in the last debate, I think it`s going to be even more embarrassing for him.

I think it`s going to be even more of a humiliation for him because he`s just not ready for this.

O`DONNELL: And Ana Marie, another debate, that means he has another new set of accusations about sexual assault to face in this debate.

COX: Yes, it would be nice for him -- and who knows, maybe he`ll do another blank, straight-faced denial, and he will get another raft of people coming out and accusing him.

Because I do think that that is what happened the last time when he looked -- sort of looked America in the eye and lied to us. There were survivors of those assault that couldn`t help, but cough out.

Part of me thinks that might happen again. I am -- I am really, I`m mean I said I`m not entirely kidding that I`m worried about tomorrow night. I think he is a desperate man, he is fundamentally unserious man.

I think there`s no telling what he can say or do when he`s desperate. He`s always proven -- he`d already proven himself capable of saying pretty monstrous things. I think there`s talk about a rigged election is incredibly inflammatory. He could do it again tomorrow night from the debate stage.

It would lower not just the tone of the discourse, it really does threaten you know the rule of law when he does stuff like that. And we legitimatize it by broadcasting it. I mean we don`t really have a choice, I guess, in some ways, and he would have America captive in a way that he doesn`t, you know, just his rallies, if he started spewing this stuff on stage tomorrow night.

O`DONNELL: And it maybe his very last time to address a television audience that big last time in his life. And who knows what that might tempt him to do. Ana Marie Cox, thank you very much for joining us. Rick`s going to stick around for a little more chat. Thank you Ana Marie.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up. The strangest event of this strange campaign week is not tomorrow night`s debate. We actually have some predictability about that. It`s going to be what happens the next night when the two candidates meet in a way that Donald Trump is not going to like.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Last Word War Room. The Clinton and Trump campaign war rooms are tonight staring at a stunning new poll that could represent the biggest change we`ve seen in American presidential politics in a generation. Texas, that`s right, Texas, is now a battleground state.

Texas has been solidly Republican since 1976. Since then, two Texas Republicans have won the presidency three times. Both of those Texas Republicans named George Bush. The latest Texas poll by the University of Houston has Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton tied within the margin of error, with Trump at 41 and Hillary Clinton at 38 percent.

538`s Nate Silver now projects that Hilary Clinton has a much greater chance of winning the state of Texas than Donald Trump has of winning the presidency. In Nevada tonight, the scene of tomorrow nights presidential debate, Hillary Clinton has opened up a seven-point lead. A new Monmouth poll has Hillary Clinton at 47, Donald Trump at 40.

That`s her biggest lead in that state so far, and with just 20 days left for the campaign war rooms we are joined tonight by Lis Smith, former deputy campaign director of Martin O`Malley`s 2016 presidential campaign and the rapid response director for the Obama 2012 presidential campaign, Rick Wilson is also back with us. Lis, Texas, I can`t believe it. Texas.


O`DONNELL: This is so exciting.

SMITH: It is exciting. It`s a good sign for the Clinton campaign. Look I think Texas is in a little bit of a different bucket from Nevada. But they both kind of present the same problem for the Republican party, which is that if they continue to put up candidates like Donald Trump, they face demographic Armageddon. You know, Texas is a state with a huge Latino population.

Nevada, percentage wise has the largest Latino population in the country, and if you know, if you put up a candidate like Donald Trump, who is the most unpopular candidate with Latinos in modern history, or in history, I think you don`t stand a chance in these states, and these states are kind of the future. They just kind of show the way for American politics so Democrats should be feeling optimistic about it and Republicans should be feeling very troubled that Hillary Clinton, that a Democrat is going up with ads in Texas in the presidential race.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Spending money. Rick Wilson, how is Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz feeling tonight about his place? I mean he`s looking at that hole. I mean he`s got to be as stunned as the rest of us are.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well look, I mean Ted Cruz has been looking at a very bleak, long road ahead of him, given wherever he is, whatever flip or flop he`s done on his support of Trump this week, I`m not sure where he`s at, at the moment. It could be anything at this point, but Ted Cruz is looking at I think some real long-term electoral problems in Texas. He`s going to get a more moderate candidate on his, on his, in the center, and he`s going to get a Trump-type primary from some lunatic like Katrina Pearson in the immediate future.

And this is a guy who`s made every wrong choice, and this is a broader thing about Republican leaders who are looking now, you know, there are plenty of Republicans in Texas who are big cheerleaders for Donald Trump like Congressman Farenthold, those guys have been out there, you know, beating the drum, tearing their clothes off for Donald Trump at the slightest hint, and he`s about to destroy the top-down electoral dominance of Republicans in the state of Texas.

Texas. It`s, this is the definition of insanity at this point, and frankly, Republican leaders, Republican elected officials, it`s not enough to just go, eh, I`m uncomfortable with the nominee. If they want to save themselves, they need to burn him to the ground. They need to say forget it, I abandon this party and this man. I run from this poison. I will not have this leper enter my home.

This is a guy who`s going to just absolutely destroy them. And they`re going to ride the death train all the way down.

O`DONNELL: And Lis, when you look at that poll in Texas. That tells you just how shaky Republican campaigns are down ballot throughout the country. Any of these battleground states, the senate campaigns in states like New Hampshire, you look at that Texas poll and you`ll say well this must mean that there`s even more strength in some of these other states than we realize.

SMITH: Yes. There hasn`t -- a Democrat hasn`t won statewide in Texas since 1994. Barack Obama won Nevada in 2008. He won in 2012, and now we`re defending the senate seat there. So it`s very smart of Hillary Clinton to be playing hard there because that`s a seat we have to hold. But I do think it portends well for Democrats and it shows why. We can just rely on when Hillary Clinton fights.

We need to fight hard tooth and nail for every seat down the ticket.

O`DONNELL: Well I mean, if she gets elected with a Republican senate, she`s --


O`DONNELL: -- just handcuffed. I don`t know what she gets to accomplish at that point. Rick Wilson, Lis Smith thank you both very much for joining us.

WILSON: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it. Coming up, for Donald Trump, nothing is more important than being tough. Ok, being rich is more important than being tough, but right after rich, it`s tough. He says it all the time. He`s the toughest politician ever. And now, of course, he`s criticizing Hillary Clinton for being too tough. That`s next, it really is.


O`DONNELL: No one. And I mean no one values toughness in a politician more than the politician named Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP,U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016: Donald trump is very tough. He`s got a tough temperament, he`s got a tough tone. They`re very smart, tough people like me. We are going to get tough. You got to be tough on immigration, believe me. He said, Donald, I thought you were much too tough on China, too tough on Japan, too tough on Mexico.

You know, they say Trump he`s a tough guy. I`m being tough.


O`DONNELL: You get it? He`s tough. He`s like the toughest politician ever. And of course Hillary Clinton is the opposite.


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is weak. I`m much tougher than her. Hillary is a weak person. Weak on immigration. Hillary Clinton weak, ineffective.


O`DONNELL: You get it? Donald Trump tough, Hillary Clinton weak, it sounds as if Hillary Clinton were just tough, maybe Donald Trump wouldn`t have to run for president but because Hillary Clinton is so weak Donald Trump is the only way for us to have a tough president, right?


TRUMP: She talks tough with Russia. She shouldn`t be talking so tough.


O`DONNELL: So the President should be tough. But the President should never be tough with the toughest person the President has to deal with, Vladimir Putin.


TRUMP: They insult him constantly. I mean no wonder he can`t stand Obama and Hillary Clinton.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump would be the toughest President ever except with Vladimir Putin. We can only wonder just how much money Donald Trump might owe to Russian billionaires created by Vladimir Putin.


O`DONNELL: The night after tomorrow night`s Presidential Debate, the candidates will meet at the most unusual event of the campaign season, the ultra formal Al Smith dinner, where they will be invited to tell a few jokes and will have to listen to a lot of jokes about themselves. And, as we`ve seen, Donald Trump is not always the best audience for political jokes about Donald Trump.


BARRACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, we all know about your credentials and breath of experience. for example, you know, seriously, just recently in an episode ever celebrity apprentice, at the Steakhouse, the men`s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around.

But you, Mr. Trump recognized that the real problems with a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn`t blame Lil John or Meat Loaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.


O`DONNELL: That`s right. Any excuse to run that tape. We`ll be right back with the comedy writer who contributed to President Obama`s last Al Smith Dinner Speech and a historian who will tell us, what could possibly go wrong at this year`s Al Smith Dinner.



JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This dinner honors Governor Smith and hess long record of distinguished service to our country.


O`DONNELL: That was presidential candidate John F. Kennedy at the 1960 Al Smith Dinner, named for the former Democratic Governor from New York who is the first catholic nominee for President in 1928. The Al Smith Dinner is the next stop on the Presidential Campaign trail after tomorrow night`s debate. The very next night after that debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will meet at that dinner where tradition has it they will deliver light and humorous remarks that include jokes about each other.


JOHN MCCAIN, SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR: Anyway, we all know that Senator Obama is ready for any contingency, even a possibility of a sudden and traumatic market rebound. I`m told that at the first sign of recovery he will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address this crisis

MITT ROMNEY, 70TH GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS 2003-2007: As President Obama surveys the Waldorf Banquet room with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he`s thinking so little time, so much to redistribute.

OBAMA: Earlier today, I went shopping at some stores in midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in midtown.


O`DONNELL: Lock her up just isn`t going to work as a joke at that dinner. Joining us now David Litt, a former speechwriter for President Obama who contributed to the President 2012 Al Smith Dinner. He`s now head writer for Funnier Guys Washington D.C office. Also joining us Terry Golway, Senior Editor at Politco and a historian of New York Politics. He`s the author of Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics. David Litt, tell us what the writing pressure is going into this dinner. A lot of things can go wrong here.

DAVID LITT, TELEVISION WRITER: Yes, I mean, this is a very strange ritual. And it comes at a really intense time in a campaign. So both sides have been at each other`s throats for weeks.

And now suddenly they have to step back and kind of be funny for an evening. And even in the most pleasant of campaigns it can be an awkward moment. And this is not the most pleasant of campaigns.

O`DONNELL: And Terry neither one really naturally has the upper hand going in even an incumbent President is basically on an equal footing with the challenger.

TERRY GOLWAY, COLUMNIST: Well that`s exactly right. And sometimes an incumbent President in times of difficulty, it`s an even tougher assignment for example Jimmy Carter in 1980, very tough time in American history. There were hostages in Iran, inflation, interests rates were high. His advisers said, don`t be funny. That was a mistake.

O`DONNELL: Yes and David, talk about that. There`s different events that have occurred around the world when you were writing speeches like this including Whitehouse Correspondents Dinner Speeches where the question becomes, is it okay to be funny on that night, that distance from the latest tragic event that`s occurred somewhere in the world.

LITT: Yes, absolutely. We were always very aware of the fact that these jokes were going to live on. They were going to live on tape forever. So you can write a joke but if it might not be funny, if something happens a week from now or a year from now, if it seems like it`s retroactively in poor taste then we would leave it on the cutting room floor. We wouldn`t use it and the same with some of the attacks on an opponent. If it seems like it`s going too far or it be read the wrong way, it`s just usually not worth it to do.

O`DONNELL: Terry, you`ve been watching Donald Trump at the close quarters, -- close proximity of New York for many years. He can get a lot of things wrong there tomorrow night. I mean of all the people who have ever done this he`s the one whose capable of completely getting it wrong.

GOLWAY: Absolutely because first of all I don`t know if he`s capable of laughing, of even smiling except if he`s insulting somebody. And the very notion of r self-deprecating humor I`m guessing here but I don`t think it comes naturally to him, Lawrence

O`DONNELL: I`ve never heard him do an ad library, David. I`ve never heard an impromptu ad lib that would be appropriate in that room. And yet, it`s hard to imagine him carefully reading jokes.

LITT: no, I mean maybe he will stick to the script. But if you look at the kinds of jokes he tells at his rallies I mean they`re all would -- what we would call punching down. I mean they`re mostly about maintaining control of people who have less power than he had rather than being gracious and joking about himself. So I agree Terry, self-deprecating I don`t think comes naturally to Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: Terry Golway and David Litt, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

GOLWAY: Thank you.

LITT: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



OBAMA: Welcome to the final state dinner of my presidency. But, in the immortal words of a great Italian American, Yogi Berra, it ain`t over till it`s over.

MATTEO RENZI, PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY: I know Michelle, after last week, let me be very frank, your speech are better than your tomatoes. And thank you so much. Thank you so much as Prime Minister but just as much also as father of a younger daughter.


O`DONNELL: That was the Obama Administration`s final State Dinner at the Whitehouse tonight. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams is next.