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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 10/20/2016

Guests: Stuart Stevens, Cecile Richards; Jon Lovett, Rick Tyler, Liz Smith

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 20, 2016 Guest: Stuart Stevens, Cecile Richards; Jon Lovett, Rick Tyler, Liz Smith

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: And if we lose sight of the -- government that is at the core of who we are as a country. And if we lose sight of the importance of that idea of self-government, well, then, are we willing to give it up? Democracy wasn`t solving our problems anyway, was it? Maybe, let`s try something new?


DAVID SOUTER, FORMER ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some one person will come forward and say "give me total power and I will solve this problem.

That is how the Roman Republic fell. Augustus became emperor, not because he arrested the Roman senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.


MADDOW: We`re having an unprecedented election. We have a candidate making unprecedented threats against our democracy.

But just because it`s unprecedented here doesn`t mean nobody saw it coming or that history can`t give us a guide for how to fix it.

And that does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence --

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel. You know, I`ve had some time to think about this threat by Donald Trump to possibly never concede.

And I have a new thought about it. And I actually now hope he never concedes.


O`DONNELL: And I am going to explain that later in the show and we will talk about it another time.

MADDOW: I look forward to hearing that silver lining, because I am feeling like a little --

O`DONNELL: And I am not being --

MADDOW: Dark cloud about this --

O`DONNELL: I`m not being wise guy about this, but I actually think it would actually serve a larger truth about him if he does not do that.

And so I`m not -- not trying to just find a contrary note here, but we`ll talk about it some more.



MADDOW: I look forward to it, thank you, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.


O`DONNELL: So, the Al Smith dinner honors the memory of Al Smith; the first Catholic to be nominated major party candidate for president, Democratic candidate for president, former governor of New York.

Hillary Clinton at the Al Smith dinner tonight understood all of that history, respected all of that history, spoke about some of it. Donald Trump clearly did not.

Donald Trump entered that room with people who are not necessarily supporters of Donald Trump, to put it mildly. He is not generally welcome in the fancier rooms in New York City.

But tonight, he got his -- he earned his way in there by being the Republican nominee for president. He is the first presidential candidate I have ever seen at the Al Smith dinner who managed to get boos.

It is just not that kind of night. It is supposed to be good humor, light- joking about the other candidate, about yourself, and Donald Trump managed to go so far off track that, that audience, which is in fact largely Republican booed him.

Here is some of what Donald Trump had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & REPUBLICAN PARTY NOMINEE, 2016: We have proven that we can actually be civil to each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidently bumped into me, and she very civilly said, "pardon me".


And I very politely replied, let me talk to you about that after I get into office.


Hillary is so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate Commission.


How corrupt do you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate Commission? Pretty corrupt. Hillary is, and has been in politics since the `70s. And what`s her pitch? The economy is busted.

The government is corrupt. Washington is failing. Vote for me, I`ve been working on these problems for 30 years, I can fix it, she says.


O`DONNELL: When Hillary Clinton`s turn came, she had better jokes, because of course she had better joke writers. She spoke longer.

She spoke with more authority, both in command of the audience and even in command of her jokes. A few of them fell flat, but here is some of what Hillary Clinton had to say.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOMINEE, 2016 ELECTION: It`s amazing I`m up here after Donald. I didn`t think he`d be OK with a peaceful transition of power.



And Donald, after listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever gave it.


People look at the statue of liberty, and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the statue of liberty and sees a four.


Maybe a five if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.


I am so flattered that Donald thought I used some sort of performance enhancer.


Now, actually, I did, it`s called preparation.



O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Rick Tyler; an Msnbc political analyst and former national spokesman for the Cruz campaign. Liz Smith; former Deputy Campaign Director for Martin O`Malley`s 2016 presidential campaign.

And the rapid response director for the Obama 2012 campaign. Also with us, Jon Lovett, former speechwriter for both President Obama and Hillary Clinton and current Hollywood comedy writer.

Jon Lovett, you`ve written some jokes for these kinds of speeches, I`m hoping that our audience was -- saw all of this during Rachel`s hour. Give us your score-card of what you saw tonight.

JON LOVETT, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA & HILLARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I do need to be careful, because I did sign a non- disclosure agreement with the Trump campaign.

But you know, Donald Trump was supposed -- everyone was like, how is he going to act at this dinner, right?

And you know, is this normalizing Donald Trump? Is it OK that he`s there, and of course it is gross that Hillary Clinton has to sit two seats down from him.

But what was interesting is, what you see is actually the dinner had nothing to do with what normalized Donald Trump, the Republican Party did that. And when Donald Trump came to the podium, he couldn`t help but be himself.

You know, he had a couple like -- I thought actually pretty good jokes at the top, that "pardon me" joke was good, that "Melania joke" was good, but he could not help himself from being a huge jerk.

He could not -- he -- there`s the -- it`s not that -- it`s maybe hard to, lik, I don`t know, get an A-plus at these kinds of things there in a room full of people that are kind of, you know, older conservative people.

You know, not exactly like a great comedy crowd, but it`s not that hard to tell jokes. You can`t halfway through your speech give up on jokes and just start insulting your opponent.

And it was actually really good to see the audience, which is, as you said pretty conservative start to boo him. It`s a little bit like, you know, the tradition pushing back.

So, you know, that I think was like the big takeaway to me. I thought Hillary did fine and you know, she had some good lines. And -- but for the most part, it was this awful display of Donald Trump.

The man, you know, the worst political leader our country has produced in half a century taking the stage and saying I`m the Republican nominee, I deserve the same audience, the same event, the same traditions as any other Republican.

And once again demonstrating he`s not up to it, because he`s horrible.

O`DONNELL: Now Rick, I think we can all agree that Donald Trump had some good jokes.



O`DONNELL: In his -- I don`t know, 15, 18 minutes up there --

TYLER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: He had a half a dozen good jokes, and then he had some gutter balls, you know, just jokes that didn`t work, and then he had stuff that was wildly inappropriate for the room.

And Liz, that to me is about the writers. It`s about, you know, the Jon Lovett and the people who write these speeches don`t write you into a crazy corner or like in some of the places he went.

SMITH: Right, well, I don`t think he has the best and brightest of Hollywood surrounding him. But it kind of reminded me of his debate performance last night where he started out OK, relatively strong and then just went off the rails.

And then as you said, I mean, it`s so unprecedented for somebody to get booed at this thing. And I remember in 2012 when I was working for Barack Obama, at the end of the campaign, the Al Smith dinner was kind of a refreshing moment --


SMITH: Between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama because they were very self- deprecating. We didn`t hear any self-deprecation on Donald Trump`s part.

He did take a shot at his wife, but -- and they did show mutual respect for each other at the end. They said they respect each other`s commitment to their causes and their families.

We heard none of that tonight. And this whole dinner I think was emblematic of the ugliness of this campaign.

O`DONNELL: The joke about Melania Trump and plagiarizing this speech with Hillary Clinton was a perfectly constructed joke --

SMITH: Right --

O`DONNELL: It was full of the right spirit of the dinner. Rick, I want to play the spot where Donald Trump went way off the rails here to a Catholic audience, and I just want you to tell us when we come out of this, how this could happen?

Who up there at Trump world was looking at this, writing this, saying, oh, yes, this is great, this will work in this room. Let`s watch this.


TRUMP: That`s OK, I don`t know who they`re angrier at, Hillary, you, or I. For example, here she is tonight in public pretending not to hate Catholics.


Now if some of you haven`t noticed, Hillary isn`t laughing as much as the rest of us, that`s because she knows the jokes, and all of the jokes were given to her in the events of the dinner by Donna Brazile.

Which is, everyone knows of course, Hillary`s belief that it takes a village, which only makes sense after all in places like Haiti, where she`s taken a number of them.



O`DONNELL: Rick, an amazing passage there, because when he talks about Hillary Clinton hating Catholics, the cardinal literally turns away from him, turns his back to him.

Starts talking to Secretary Clinton during the other candidate`s speech, no doubt reassuring her that he understands the horror of what`s happening right here.

TYLER: Look, part of the fun, the Al Smith dinner as you`d see -- get to see politicians actually try to tell jokes because they`re not comedians and it`s interesting to see if they`re funny or not.

Now, a lot of those jokes were funny, and neither one of them delivered it like a professional comedian would. But the thing you have to be careful of, is when you`re writing a joke, it`s got to fit the person and the event.

But you know, like Chris Rock might have been able to tell that Catholic joke and got a laugh if he told it the correct way. There`s no way that Donald Trump is going to be able to tell that joke.

So, in a sense, I think the writers did him a disservice. Maybe there was some -- a funny line there that could have been delivered better. It didn`t work for him. But I just think --

O`DONNELL: I`m telling you right now --

TYLER: No --

O`DONNELL: There`s no version of the Hillary hating Catholics --

TYLER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Joke that works at the Al Smith dinner. This is a dinner --

TYLER: I`ve seen --

O`DONNELL: That commemorate --

TYLER: Come on --

O`DONNELL: That commemorates a candidate who --


A presidential candidate who was hated for being Catholic. That concept is taken very --

LOVETT: I got to --

O`DONNELL: Seriously in that room. Jon Lovett, go ahead.

LOVETT: I`ve got to jump in. This was not the fault of any -- you know, going up there with a -- the second half of Donald Trump`s speech didn`t have a joke in it.

I mean, I don`t know if you can blame a joke writer, I don`t know what --

SMITH: Yes --

LOVETT: Joke writer was involved, it`s a matter of judgment, it`s a matter of temperament and how you approach this kind of an event, like we just step back.

And like what is this event for? Basically nothing but except raising money for --

O`DONNELL: Right --

LOVETT: Charities and OK, that`s a great thing, but if it has any purpose, that has any value to this process, it`s that for a brief moment, we`re reminded that, you know, it`s -- we can laugh at ourselves.

We can get past some of the viciousness, it`s like a little bit of a release at the -- at one of the hardest and most tiring and exhausting moments of the campaign.

And you know, for like five minutes at the beginning of Trump`s speech, there was a little sense that was happening, and it kind of gave me a nod in my stomach because Donald Trump doesn`t deserve that.

And actually, if you look at the guy`s face who was standing beside -- behind -- who was sitting behind Donald Trump, there is a moment where he switches. It`s the moment that Donald Trump says that she`s corrupt and he just --


LOVETT: Says that with --

O`DONNELL: That`s right --

LOVETT: That dripping disdain --

O`DONNELL: On that word --

TYLER: He`s going to stop on that --

LOVETT: And his face --

TYLER: Yes --


LOVETT: Turned, and they were like, oh, right, it`s Donald Trump, we`re all trapped in a circus nightmare.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to how Hillary Clinton talked about the Catholic history of Al Smith and some of the things that he confronted when he was running for president.


CLINTON: In the end, what makes this dinner important are not the jokes we tell but the legacy that we carry forward. It is often easy to forget how far this country has come.

And there are a lot of people in this room tonight, who themselves or their parents or grandparents came here as immigrants.

Made a life for yourselves, took advantage of the American dream and the greatest system that has ever been created in the history of the world to unleash the individual talents, energy and ambition of everyone willing to work hard.

And when I think about what Al Smith went through, it`s important to just reflect how ground-breaking it was for him, a Catholic to be my party`s nominee for president.

Don`t forget, school boards sent home letters with children saying that if Al Smith is elected president, you will not be allowed to have or read a Bible. Those appeals, appeals to fear and division can cause us to treat each other as the other.

Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to see each other, to respect each other, to listen to each other, and certainly a lot harder to love our neighbor as ourselves.


O`DONNELL: And Liz, that`s a predominantly Irish Catholic room. Everyone in that room having a very high consciousness of their family`s immigrant history.

SMITH: Right.

O`DONNELL: They can tell you what county, what town in Ireland they`re from. They knew exactly who she was talking about in that speech.

SMITH: Yes, and well, it`s in keeping with the spirit of the dinner, and you know, the glass ceiling that Al Smith broke when he got the nomination.

But she was kind of weaving -- using the message of the dinner and weaving it into the importance of tolerance in this election --

O`DONNELL: And the current immigration --

SMITH: Yes! Of course --

O`DONNELL: Issues and --

SMITH: That`s been --

O`DONNELL: Make it very clear that Donald Trump is the anti-Al Smith.

SMITH: Is it anti-Al, and it`s not just immigration, it`s Muslim, it`s the Muslim ban, it`s about freedom of religion.

O`DONNELL: We`ve got to leave it right there for tonight, Rick Tyler, Liz Smith, Jon Lovett, thank you all for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.

Coming up, it is appropriate to be horrified by Donald Trump`s refusal to say that he may not accept the outcome of this election.

But I actually think there`s another way to think about this. And that`s why I`m hoping Donald Trump never concedes defeat.


O`DONNELL: I don`t care. I don`t care what Donald Trump does when he loses on election night. I don`t care if he doesn`t concede. In fact, it might be better if he never concedes.

The reason why I think it might be better, I`m going to have to tell you after this commercial break.



CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely -- sir, that you will absolutely accept the results of this election?

TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I`m not looking at anything now, I`ll look at it at the time.

WALLACE: Are you saying you`re not prepared now to --


TRUMP: What I am saying is that I will tell you at the time, I`ll keep you in suspense --

CLINTON: Well --


CLINTON: Chris --


O`DONNELL: As everyone has seen, nothing Donald Trump has said in this campaign has provoked more bipartisan outrage than that.

Bret Stephens; a deputy editorial page editor at the "Wall Street Journal" captured the essence of the media and political establishments reaction last night in this much retweeted tweet.

"Trump`s answer on accepting the outcome of the vote is the most disgraceful statement by a presidential candidate in 160 years." Well, that would be true if you ignored dozens of things Donald Trump has said in the last year.

And it would be true if you ignore everything said by the segregationist candidates that ran for president in the 20th century.

Announcing he would ban all Muslims from entering the country was a much more disgraceful anti-American statement than what he said last night about accepting the outcome of the election.

Lying about seeing thousands of people celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11 was a much more disgraceful thing to say.

Lying about having lost hundreds of friends on 9/11 was infinitely more disgraceful for a man who didn`t lose any friends on 9/11, none.

He tried to steal the grief of the families who did lose loved ones on 9/11. Steal their grief and pretend it was his own for political advantage in a Republican primary debate.


TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center --


The world -- I lost hundreds of friends.


TRUMP: He knew how disgraceful that lie was. Here`s what he changed that lie to the next morning.


TRUMP: I was there, I lost many friends in that tragedy. That was the worst tragedy in the history of this country, worse than Pearl Harbor because they went -- they attacked civilians, they attacked people in office buildings.


O`DONNELL: So in 12 hours, hundreds became many, and then he never said it again. Gone, gone forever from the Trump book of lies. He never again suggested that he lost a single friend on 9/11.

Because even Donald Trump, a proven pathological liar knew how disgraceful that lie was. He knew that if he kept saying it, I wouldn`t be the only person on television who`ll notice it.

He knew he couldn`t keep getting away with that lie. There are other lies that Donald Trump tells every day, he has no fear of retelling over and over again.


TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.


O`DONNELL: Everyone knows that`s a lie. Ivanka Trump knows that`s a lie, and Donald Trump constantly tells policy lies.

He lied last night when he said Hillary Clinton would double your taxes when in fact she is in favor of only a 3 percentage point increase in the top income tax rate.

A tax that Donald Trump in effect admitted last night he does not pay. Most of America believes that Donald Trump is lying when he calls all those women liars for claiming that he sexually assaulted them.

If 68 percent of America is right and Donald Trump is guilty of the kinds of things that women have described him doing to them, if Donald Trump was telling the truth about himself on that "Access Hollywood" bus when he bragged about sexual assault.

Then every time Donald Trump calls those women liars, he is assaulting them again. And that is a graver sin than not observing the niceties of American political tradition. It`s just a tradition, a concession speech.

Just a tradition. The founding fathers thought of everything. They wrote it all into the constitution, and the concession speech isn`t in there. The constitution says you become president by winning a majority of the electoral college.

It doesn`t matter if your opponent refuses to admit that you won. It doesn`t matter what the loser says after the election. The founding fathers made sure of that.

The founding fathers also gave the loser the continuing rights of the First Amendment to say anything he wants to say about anything including the election. That`s how strong the constitution is.

It`s not that the founding fathers didn`t anticipate demagogues like Donald Trump, it`s that they built institutions that can withstand them. Institutions like the presidency that need not fear anything Donald Trump says at any time.

Today, Donald Trump said there is only one way he is willing to accept the results of the election.


TRUMP: I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win!




O`DONNELL: Presidential politics has never seen anything like Donald Trump. And we can hope never see anything like him again.

We have had presidential candidates who are profoundly wrong about the great moral questions of the day, from slavery to women`s right to vote, to civil rights, to war.

But they have all observed the norms of our political process as they all respected something. Donald Trump respects nothing and no one. What do you call a father who publicly gives Howard Stern permission to call his daughter a piece of ass?

To reduce her to that. A man who doesn`t respect his daughter respects no one. Respect is something Donald Trump demands from everyone in his family and on his payroll but does not know how to give, because Donald Trump has no comprehension of what respect actually is.

And I want future historians to understand that about Donald Trump. A 100 years from now, 200 years from now, I want it to be very clear to historians that Donald Trump was a candidate like no other.

I want Donald Trump to occupy as many poisoned footnotes in our history as possible. He, himself, will surely be a minor footnote in presidential history, in the era of the first black president and the first woman president.

There will be no uprising by the Trump brigades when he loses, no matter what he says to them. Those voters have been on the losing side of the last two presidential elections, and they immediately turned against the candidates who led them to those defeats, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

If Donald Trump does not concede defeat, he will make it that much clearer to future historians who he really was. A man who knowingly lied about President Obama`s birth for five years.

A man who then lied his way to the presidential nomination of a vulnerable political party, weakened by too much fact-free rhetoric.

A man who piled disgraceful lie upon disgraceful lie week in and week out as the country increasingly turned against him.

A man who most Americans believed did not have the judgment to serve as president of the United States. A man who by never conceding defeat would conclusively prove to history that he respected absolutely nothing, including democracy itself.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Last night debate began with Donald Trump attacking Hillary Clinton on abortion and ended with him calling her a nasty woman. Cecile Richard, the President of Planned Parenthood will join us for an exclusive interview with her reaction to all that. But first Donald Trump once again proved he is apparently incapable of following his wife`s advice.


AINSLEY EARHARDT, CO-HOST OF FOX & FRIENDS: I wanted to ask you about the debate. What is your advice to Donald Trump?

MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE DONALD TRUMP: Just to be himself, keep it calm, cool, focused and to talk about issues that American people want to hear about.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump was so unfocussed and so off the issues, and so unpresidential that Hillary Clinton was able to trick him into getting mad about puppets.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D). PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Finally will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: From everything I see has no respect for this person.

CLINTON: Well, that`s because he`d rather have a puppet`s President of the United States.

TRUMP: no puppet, no puppet.

CLINTON: And it`s pretty clear.

TRUMP: You`re the puppet.

CLINTON: It`s pretty clear you won`t admit that the Russian --


O`DONNELL: That`s a new bumper sticker for the Trump campaign, you are the puppet. At least Donald Trump got through the debate without mentioning his -- ah, yeah, hands or the other part of his body. Donald Trump made history once again by being the only presidential candidate who sides with Vladimir Putin against u.s. Intelligence Agencies.


CLINTON: We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks comes from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our elections. I find that deeply disturbing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: And I think it`s high --

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it`s Russia, china or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself. I am quoting 17 --

TRUMP: Hillary you have no idea.

CLINTON: 17 intelligence -- do you doubt 17 --

TRUMP: Our country has no idea.

CLINTON: And billion agencies, well, he`d rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump acknowledged that Hillary Clinton has more experience in government than he does, but he insisted it`s the wrong kind of experience and that she demonstrated bad judgment in government. Here`s how Hillary Clinton defended her record while demeaning Donald Trump`s.


CLINTON: In the 1980S, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his business. In the 1990s the, I went to Beijing and I said women`s rights are human right. He insulted a former Ms. Universe Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine. And on the day when I was in the situation room monitoring the raid that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice he was hosting the Celebrity Apprentice.


O`DONNELL: Focus groups said that Donald Trump frequent impulsive interjections were worse than annoying and worse than annoying like this one.


CLINTON: My social security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald`s assuming he can`t figure out how to get out of it. But we want to do is to replenish the Social Security Trust.

TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.


O`DONNELL: Earlier in the debate, Hillary Clinton tricked Donald Trump into in effect admitting that he doesn`t pay any income taxes. And there she was, reaching back with this reference to his tax paying or not tax paying when Donald Trump simply couldn`t take it anymore. And he calls her a nasty woman for once again referring to Donald Trump`s tax returns, the tax returns that we will never see.

We know Hillary Clinton scored better than Donald Trump in the debates, but did she score better than Barack Obama in his debates or Bill Clinton in his Presidential Campaign Debates or John Kerry in his three Presidential Campaign Debates. We will take a look at that score card through the years next.


O`DONNELL: Polling shows that Hillary Clinton won last night`s debate as well as her first two debates. And today, 538`s Nate Silver analyzed the big polls from previous elections and showed that according to the polls Hillary Clinton won her debates by a bigger net margin than any other previous presidential debater. In 1992, Bill Clinton won by a net of 56 points over George H.W. Bush after three debates. In 2000, George W. Bush won by a net of four points over Al Gore after three debates.

2004 John Kerry won by a net of 31 points over George W. Bush after three debates. And in 2008, President Obama won by a net of 64 points over John McCain after three debates. And in 2012, Mitt Romney won by a net of 27 points over President Obama after three debates. But the highest margin of victory was this year Hillary Clinton won by a net of 71 points over Donald Trump after three debates.

Joining us now, Stuart Stevens, Columnist from the Daily Beast and a senior strategist for mitt Romney`s 2012 Presidential run, and Stuart just to take people inside these numbers. For example, in your year of 2012 with Mitt Romney, he won big in these polls on the first debate. He won by a margin of 42. And then President Obama won the next one by a margin of seven and the next by a margin of eight pulling down Mitt Romney`s net to 27 in this analysis.

And that`s kind of -- that`s the way all these numbers were assembled. But I guess it`s fair to say, Hillary Clinton had the weakest opponent in a debate that anyone has seen before.

STUART STEVENS, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Well, you know, to go back to the primaries, one of the big selling points that Donald Trump pushed for is he would win these debates, just like he would self-fund. And it`s just -- just like he was going to win California and New York. And it`s proven to be another kind of, you know, Trump University bet on the sell but not the performance. And he`s not been a good debater at all.

O`DONNELL: But the other thing you could say is Hillary Clinton had a unique challenge that no one`s ever had. I mean every one else else in debate prep prior to this year knew, you basically knew the range of Mitt Romney`s moves, the range of Barack Obama`s moves. You could understand where their gravitational forces were. With Trump, preparing for the debate must have been incredibly difficult for Hillary Clinton having no idea what she was getting into on that stage.

STEVENS: Well, you know, I think the most impressive thing is that she won three debates. It`s very, very hard to do. And, if you go through these debates, I was looking at it last night.

You can see how well prepared she was. That`s a lot of work. There`s a lot of times that Donald Trump offered up bait that she just didn`t take. And you saw Donald Trump doing things like going back stream in a debate to defend a previous discussion, a charge, which he just -- has never works out in a debate. You know, I don`t think Hillary Clinton is a great natural debater. But she`s really practiced a lot at it, and she really worked at it. And guess what, it showed.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I don`t think you can find anyone, you know, her skills s can be measured in various ways against other candidates and other politicians. But I don`t think you`ll find anyone who works harder than her. No one does more homework than Hillary Clinton.

STEVENS: Yes, you know, I think a good measure of debate prep, my experience with candidates is that if they come out of a debate and say, I didn`t get any question that we hadn`t prepared for. And that`s what I had that sense with her. But one of the difficult decisions that they had to make in that debate prep for Clinton was how to respond or not respond to Trump`s interruptions.

It`s a very difficult choice, because you don`t want to seem that you`re being distracted by him. And the reason he does it is to distract. But you have to still stick to your message.

O`DONNELL: Stuart Stevens, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

STEVENS: thank you.

O`DONNELL: Michelle Obama back on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. Most people view it now as Michelle Obama being the MVP on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. It`s a contest between Michelle Obama and Barack Obama as to which one is the most effective one on the campaign trail. We`re going to show you Michelle Obama on the campaign trail. Coming up.


O`DONNELL: We will soon find out if Hillary Clinton can get A Michelle Obama bump in Arizona. Michelle Obama campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Phoenix today. The latest poll in Arizona, the Arizona Marson Cronkite News Poll shows Hillary Clinton at 39 percent, Donald Trump at 33.9 percent. That is an extraordinary lead for Hillary Clinton in that state at this time.

And we`ll see what effect Michelle Obama can have. Everyone says she is the most effective speaker for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. The Trump -- Clinton campaign certainly believes that. Let`s listen to Michelle Obama in Arizona today.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Perhaps living life high up in a tower, in a world of exclusive clubs, measuring success by wins and losses, the number of zeros in your bank account, perhaps you just develop a different set of values. Maybe with so little exposure to people who are different than you becomes easy to take advantage of those who are down on their luck, folks who play by the rules, pay what they owe because to you -- to you, those folks just aren`t very smart. And seem somehow less deserving.

And, and, if you, you think this way, then it`s easy to see this country as us versus them. And it`s easy to dehumanize them, to treat them with contempt because you don`t know them. You can`t even see them. Maybe that`s why this candidate thinks certain immigrants are criminals instead of folks who work their fingers to the bone to give their kids a better life. Maybe that`s why he thinks we should be afraid of our Muslim brothers and sisters, because he really has no idea who they are. Maybe that`s why he demeans and humiliates women as if we`re objects, meant solely for pleasure and entertainment rather than human beings, worthy of love and respect.

He just doesn`t understand us. Maybe he doesn`t believe that people like us really exist because he does not see our shared humanity. And it is becoming increasingly clear that to him most of America is them.


O`DONNELL: That was Michelle Obama today in Phoenix. We`ll be joined next by Planned Parenthood `s Cecile Richard with her reaction to what Donald Trump had to say last night.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: If you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that`s OK, and Hillary can say that that`s OK, but it`s not OK with me. Because based on what she`s saying and based on where she`s going and where she`s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, only the final day. And that`s not acceptable.


O`DONNELL: Joining us from exclusive interview, Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Tonight, she`s in Ohio where she is campaigning for Hilary Clinton. Cecile, you reaction to what Donald Trump said there last night about abortion.

CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND: Well, it was clear that Donald Trump has no idea about women, about women`s health, and his entire campaign has been this course to earth attitude. And saying that kind of hysterical thing last night that made absolutely no sense has been discounted by doctors all day. Just shows how little empathy and understanding he has about so many issues around women and women`s health.

O`DONNELL: I want to listen to something Donal Trump said last night about the women who have accused him of sexual assault. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I didn`t know any of these women. I didn`t see these women. I believe, Chris, that she got these people to step forward. If it wasn`t, they get their ten minutes of fame, but they were all, it was fiction. It was lies and fiction.

O`DONNELL: Cecile, so far, polling shows that the country does not believe Donald Trump on this and thinks the women are more credible than he is.

RICHARDS: Shocking. Look, these stories have come out after two years of kind of demeaning women, the attitude that Donald Trump has had about women, the comments he`s made about women being pigs and dogs and evaluating them for how they look, whether they`re a one to a ten. So this, the fact that Donald Trump is not even acknowledging that this behavior is wrong, that he makes jokes about sexual assault, I think all of this is leading into what was already going to be an election, I think, with a historic gender gap.

And what we saw last night, his attitudes, and I think Hillary`s very strong statements about women`s rights, planned Parenthood , for Roe versus Wade. I think went off -- all I`ve heard today from women is they are eager to go vote and they`re going to be decisive in this election.

O`DONNELL: The line about the ten minutes of fame, suggesting that these women have come forward simply to get attention.

RICHARDS: It`s really so disheartening to hear him say something like that. Can you imagine the bravery it must be for women to actually go forward publicly and tell stories that obviously, many of them still feel shame about? I think that, we see of course Planned Parenthood so many women, the stigma there is around sexual assault in this country.

I think what Donald Trump has done is really inflamed women and men in this country who know that we have to do a better job of addressing the serious issue of sexual assault in this country, and it`s incredible. Thousands of women have come forward now, in their own stories about what has happened to them and I think he has raised an issue that is going to last long beyond this election.

O`DONNELL: Let me just add a parenthetical fact here about these women`s pursuit of fame. We`ve invited these women to be on this program. They very specifically have chosen not to do this sort of thing, not to be in these kinds of discussions. Some of them have done a little bit of it. But they -- the last thing you could say about them is that they are seeking fame.

RICHARDS: Absolutely. I mean, of course folks are reluctant to come forward. I think of course, what they have said is hearing him repeatedly lie about these, this locker room banter, which everyone knows it isn`t, and they felt compelled on behalf of all women in this country to come forward and tell their stories. I think they, it`s been an incredible election. Again, what I think this is, is part and parcel of his attitude toward women and women`s rights all together.

And I was really glad at the debate last night, one of Hillary`s strongest moments was when she came out in support of women`s rights and Roe. And it was clear that Donald Trump would do everything in his power to end access to safe and legal abortion and access to Planned Parenthood . And he would be a disaster for women in America.

O`DONNELL: It`s so richly ironic that the first woman nominee is running against the single-most misogynistic nominee we`ve seen.

RICHARDS: Well, and it`s incredible and obviously we -- this election is not over as you know, we have got a lot of work to do. That`s why I`m out here in Ohio now and will be out on the trail for the rest. But what is encouraging to me is I`m seeing so many young people, so many women, fathers, coming out now, volunteering for this campaign saying this is the most important election of their lifetime. And they`re going to be involved.

O`DONNELL: Cecile Richards, thank you very much for joining us from Ohio, tonight. Really appreciate it.

RICHARDS: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Up next, President Obama gets tonight`s last word about Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Trump didn`t come out of nowhere, now. For years, Republican politicians and far-right media outlets have just been pumping out all kinds of toxic, crazy stuff. I say all this to say Donald Trump didn`t start all this. Like he usually does, he just slapped his name on it, took credit for it and then promoted the heck out of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Slapped his name on it and took credit for it. MSNBC`s live coverage continues into "The 11th Hour" with Brian Williams. That is next.