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endorsing Biden TRANSCRIPT: 3/2/20, The Last Word w/Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Guest: David Plouffe, Cecile Richards, Joe Biden

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you, Rachel. We`re going to stay with the live coverage of this event which has been going a few minutes and we`ll be back.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Embrace immigrants and refugees, asylum seekers, not slam the door in the face of those fleeing persecution, violence and oppression. That`s what`s made America.

Folks, folks, 24 out of every 100 students in school is Latino. It`s in our overwhelming interest. They make us better if we invest.


Look, folks, a nation that provides a path to citizenship for 11 million who are enriching our communities every single day, an economy rewards work, not just wealth. My dad used to have an expression. Joe, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It`s about decency, about respect, about being able to look yourself in the mirror and know what`s going on.

It`s about being able to child -- I swear to God this is what he would say. It`s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, honey, everything is going to be OK. American people aren`t asking for anything other than a chance, an even chance. And they`re being denied that.

This is about your place in the community, he`d say. It`s about all our families, all our communities. Look, Amy and I look at everything when the prism (AUDIO GAP) there goes Trump. Anyway.


The prism, how it affects you, your family, your community, all our communities. Folks, it`s simple. That`s why I`m a Democrat. That`s why I got involved in the first place.

This election isn`t a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, but it is a battle for the soul of America. And in the most perilous moment we faced in anyone`s lifetime here, winning means uniting America, not sowing more division and anger. It means not only fighting as president, but a president who will heal the country.

A country has to be healed. We`ve got to beat Donald Trump and the Republican Party, but we -- but we can`t become like them. We can`t become like them. We`ve got to heal the divisions, repair our democracies.

And I am absolutely confident, not only Democrats, but independents and Republican voters know we have to heal this country. And once again, fight for the proposition, as corny as it sounds, that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.

Folks, that`s the uniqueness of America. We`re based on an idea. We`ve never fully lived up to it, but we`ve never before walked away from it like this president has.


I believe with every fiber of my being what we`ve done in every generation is further open the aperture for inclusion, making sure people have a shot. Look, I want to recognize three people who have dedicated their careers to fighting for more perfect union.

Colin Allred, he flipped this district, helped take back the House in 2016.


He did what I only dreamed of doing, playing in the NFL.

What a hell of an athlete, great, great congressman. We need to make sure he holds that seat in November.


And Marc Veasey, God love him, he`s done incredible work. Help lead the fight against erosion of Voting Rights Act, against erosion of voting in this nation. Half the nations -- half the states in this nation have put up barriers, so no Jim Crow all over again.

And Eddie Bernice Johnson is a legend.


A legend of whom I am honored to share this stage. She`s a woman who knows how to get things done for the people of Dallas. And she leaves nobody behind.

Look, the days of Donald Trump`s divisiveness will soon be over. I guarantee you, we can build a more perfect union because the American people have now seen the alternative.

Folks, there`s two way people get inspired. They get inspired by great leaders like Lincoln and Roosevelt and Kennedy and Obama -- thank you.

Well, thank you. But they also get inspired by very bad leaders. I really mean it. I really mean it.

This president has sort of ripped the Band Aid off, exposed just how venal he has become and how he has literally, literally strangled the life out of the Republican Party.

So, folks, we`ve got a shot. This is bigger than whether a Democrat wins. This is about restoring the character of America, not a joke, because we`ve been damaged all over the world. We`ve been damaged badly. His embrace of thugs and dictators, his way he treats our military and talks about them, the way he demeans people.

Ladies and gentlemen, and at home, he`s never done anything other than -- other than seek division. So, folks, it`s time to get back up. We`re decent. We`re brave. We`re a resilient people.


We are better than this moment. We are better than this president. And so get up. Let`s take back this country.

We`re the United States of America. And there`s not a single thing we cannot do if we do it together. God bless you and may God protect our troops.

Folks, thank you.

I`ve got to wait one more minute, folks. There`s one more person I want to thank, a man who electrified this state and nation. One of the most incredible runs in the United States Senate we have ever seen here in the state.

A man who demonstrated an enormous compassion and courage in the wake of the shooting in El Paso. A man with unlimited future, a man who will be changing this nation for the better for many years to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, Beto O`Rourke!


And his wife Amy. Come on, Beto and Amy.

Amy, watch your step here. God love you. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


BETO O`ROURKE (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN:  Dallas!  Can you hear me?



Tarrant County.


Denton. Colin. Anybody from the Rio Grande Valley? Far West Texas and El Paso? Lubbock, Amarillo, and the panhandle? Long View, Texarkana and east Texas?

On behalf of every one of the 254 counties of this great state, we welcome Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Joe Biden.



Ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow, March 3rd, 2020, I will be casting my ballot for Joe Biden.


It`s the right thing to do. And let me tell you why. We need somebody who can beat Donald Trump.


The man in the White House today poses an existential threat to this country, to our democracy, to free and fair elections, and we need somebody who can beat him.

And in Joe Biden, we have that man. We have someone who, in fact, is the antithesis of Donald Trump. Joe Biden is decent. He`s kind. He`s caring. He`s empathetic.

I don`t know if you saw this last week. The vice-president was at a town hall in South Carolina and Dr. Reverend Anthony Thompson came up to the microphone and talked about losing his wife at Mother Emanuel AME in South Carolina in 2015. And Joe Biden listened to him. In fact, with his eyes closed so he could concentrate on every single word that that man said.

And then he spoke back to him and to all of us from his heart, filled with compassion and love and the power to heal, he wanted to heal that man. He wanted to heal Charleston, South Carolina. But as someone who lives in El Paso, Texas, which saw another white nationalist rampage where 22 people were killed solely based on their ethnicity, on the color of their skin, on their country of national origin, I felt Joe Biden healing us at a time that this country is so polarized, so deeply divided. We need somebody who can bring us together and heal us.

We need somebody who can reestablish the moral authority of the United States. We need somebody who will fight for democracy here and abroad because democracy is under attack here and abroad. We need Joe Biden.


And, Mr. Vice President, I have traveled to each one of the 254 counties of Texas.


I know this state. And I`ve got to tell you, the fact that you take the time to listen to us, to be here, to understand our concerns as well as our aspirations means the world to us. This is a state that is dead last in the United States when it comes to the number of insured, which means that we have people dying of diabetes.

The largest mental health care facility in the state is the county jail system in the state. Those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and clinical depression are getting arrested on purpose to get the care that they cannot find otherwise. We know that you are going to lead us to make sure there is health care for each and every single one of us, every man, every child, and every woman.


Mr. Vice President, you also know that whether it was Sutherland Springs or Santa Fe High School or El Paso, Texas, at that Walmart this last August, or Midland Odessa in the same year. We understand the devastating to of gun violence in America and in this state, and we need someone who is going to make sure whether there is a mass shooting in a Walmart or in our school or the shootings that far too often take those in our communities of color one or two at a time who don`t even make the headlines or the front page or the news. We don`t even know their names.

You`re going to stand up for each and every one of us and end gun violence in America with universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders and an end to the selling of weapons of war in our communities. Keep that stuff on the battle field. Don`t bring it into our homes.

And, Mr. Vice President, this energy-rich state that has fueled the growth of America also wants to be the state that, with your leadership, leads the charge to confront climate change before it is too late. We`re counting on you.


BIDEN:  Go ahead.

O`ROURKE:  In 2018, all of us, a lot of good people here on this stage, out there, throughout the state, ran the greatest grassroots campaign Texas had ever seen.


We won more votes than any Democrat had in Texas history, young voter turnout up 500 percent in early voting.


And these were the gains: 12 new members of the statehouse, all Democrats replacing Republicans. Two new members of Congress, including the all-time great Colin Allred right here in this community, 17 African-American women elected to judicial positions in Harris County. Now is the time to finish the job. Make sure we win the nine seats we lack to take control of the statehouse for the first time in 20 years.

And the racist gerrymandering in Texas, and move forward on the issues we care most about, you, Mr. Vice President, as the top of the ticket, can help us do that. So I want to let you all know, I love you, too, and we all love Joe.

And I am going to treat Joe and Jill right. We`re going to take them to a world class meal tonight. There is a Whataburger less than half a mile from here.


But, first, make this one promise. Make this one promise. You -- I`m getting Whataburger orders shouted from behind me, OK.

You, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your colleagues, every single one of us is going to get after it and vote tomorrow. Are you with me?


Are you with Joe?


Ladies and gentlemen, (SPEAKING SPANISH) Joe Biden. Let`s do it for Joe! 


BIDEN:  I want to make something clear. I`m going to guarantee you this is not my last year seeing this guy. You`re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You`re going to be the one who leads this effort. I`m counting on you. I`m counting on you.

We need you badly. The state needs you. The country needs you. You`re the best. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Let`s bring everybody. Come on up here, guys. Let`s get the whole team. Watch out you don`t fall off the stage here. Great to see you, man. Come on up.

O`DONNELL:  That is the conclusion of Joe Biden`s big rally tonight in Dallas, Texas, with some surprises, including Beto O`Rourke as the last endorser of the day, a day filled with dramatic endorsements of the Biden campaign.

Joining our discussion now, David Plouffe, the former campaign manager and White House senior advisor for President Barack Obama. He is the author of the new book, "A Citizen`s Guide to Beating Donald Trump." John Heilemann is with us, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He`s the co- host of the Showtime`s "The Circus", editor the recount.

And also with us, Cecile Richards. She`s the co-founder of the women`s political group Supermajority. She recently interviewed Joe Biden and all of the Democratic presidential candidates.

And, Cecile, we`re starting with you because your mother, Ann Richards, was the last Democratic governor of the state of Texas. A lot has changed since she left office in 1995.

I want to get your reaction to what happened for Joe Biden on that stage tonight in Dallas.

CECILE RICHARDS, CO-FOUNDER, SUPERMAJORITY:  Well, I think it`s kind of an example of what we`re beginning to see. All of us Texans who have been waiting for change to happen are seeing it happen now. And I think this isn`t a fluke. This is ten years of long hard work.

I think you`re seeing it fueled by women in the state of Texas. You`re seeing it by young people, by people of color. Look at that stage tonight. And it`s a really exciting moment.

For all of us who are from Texas, to think Texas may be in play is amazing. I know in the last week there have been I think four polls that have shown the president, the current president under 50 percent. I think this is a time where the energy and expansion of the electorate in the state of Texas could make the big difference.

O`DONNELL:  David Plouffe, you come to us from the invaluable perspective of a successful presidential campaign manager for a Democrat. There aren`t many of those in this country. What do you see today happening in this campaign?

And I mean taking the totality of it from the Joe Biden endorsements to what we`re seeing in the Sanders campaign, the strengths that he has. Elizabeth Warren is still fighting. She`s going to speak later tonight in East Los Angeles.

DAVID PLOUFFE, AUTHOR, "A CITIZEN`S GUIDE TO BEATING DONALD TRUMP":  Well, Super Tuesday is set up really well for Bernie Sanders. If you`re Joe Biden, you need to survive it. You need to make sure the Bernie Sanders` delegate yield coming out of tomorrow isn`t so large that you can`t catch up, because Joe Biden does have some good states later in March, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi.

So I think that Sanders is obviously huge crowds. They`ve been spending money in the Super Tuesday states. They`ve got great organization. So, you know, it`s been an amazing $40 for Joe Biden from winning South Carolina with a margin no one saw coming to these endorsements to field clearing. But he still got to survive tomorrow. I think his back is against the wall as it relates to Super Tuesday.

And again, we have to see how many delegates and votes Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg gets. But I think this still to me looks like the contours of heading toward a two-person race in terms of who`s got the ability to get the large amount of delegates you need either to have a majority or, you know, 1,500, 1,600, so you`re in the conversation from a delegate standpoint.

But, you know, the best 48 hours of political -- Joe Biden`s political life. And so -- but it comes up against the reality of tomorrow, a bunch of states where he`s still scrambling to get viability in some states like Minnesota, Massachusetts and California. I think the last 48 hours help in that regard.

Building about Texas and California, there`s a lot of people have already voted. So, Joe Biden, if he`s going to do as well as he needs to tomorrow, he`s going to have to over-perform on Election Day.

O`DONNELL:  John Heilemann, endorsements normally are kind of easy to shrug off when you`re covering a campaign. They normally don`t mean very much. But we saw Jim Clyburn`s endorsement in South Carolina. It certainly seemed like it meant a lot. It super charged the Biden campaign there.

And this day of endorsements has a similar feel. I mean, it took a bunch of them to equal one -- Jim Clyburn endorsement. But he sure got a bunch today.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Yes, he did, Lawrence. There`s a question, couple questions. One of which is there`s to doubt these people dropping out is of material impact on the delegate picture which David Plouffe and others have taught me over the years is the thing I have to focus on, the thing we all have to focus on. That is the accumulation of delegates.

And so, people like Amy Klobuchar dropping out of the race, people like Pete Buttigieg dropping out of the race, people who would not likely have been viable in many of the 14 states that vote on Tuesday, people whose voters are more likely to end up in Joe Biden`s column than end up in Bernie Sanders`s column, those drop outs are enormously helpful.

Does Pete Buttigieg`s endorsement matter on Tuesday? I don`t think so much. It doesn`t hurt.

And certainly the impression that the party, the non-Sanders wing of the party is rallying around Biden creates a powerful sense of moment. Maybe it all adds up to one Jim Clyburn.

It also has as a downside, Lawrence, I think the reality is that Bernie Sanders feeds off of the sense that the establishment is out to get him. The sense that the establishment is aligning its forces to try to keep him from his fate, keep him from what he believes is his just dessert and what he`s going to earn.

And I think that for a lot of Sanders` voters, the sight of the establishment in their mind colluding, conspiring, that will gin them up. And I think Bernie Sanders will get some mileage out of this. As much as Joe Biden gets mileage out of it, Bernie Sanders will also get some mileage out of it on the day on Tuesday. He`ll put to this and say, they are trying to stop me. We must not let them.

O`DONNELL:  Cecile, I`m sure you`ve been getting calls from Texas voters similar to conversations I`ve been having with California voters, know a lot of California voters in California this week covering the campaign. And it`s been a kind of desperate question about what do I do now, especially after some of the candidates started to drop out, even starting with Yang because they had become attached to some candidates.

And when I hear Pete Buttigieg tonight, earlier tonight as he did with Joe Biden in Texas get up and say, this is why he`s voting for Joe Biden, I know, I know that that is specific guidance to some California voters who I know are going to vote tomorrow, who were going to vote for Pete Buttigieg until today. And -- or last night when he dropped out.

And when they hear that, I`m just sure there`s a conversion of votes at some level to Biden.

RICHARDS:  Sure. But I think what John said is true. One thing everyone is looking at a lot of votes have already been banked, right? So, this late- breaking change is something you can`t overestimate.

One of the things I`d just like to continue to remind people, the vast majority of voters are women at this point. So I think 56 percent of the early vote in Texas have been women and that`s pretty much been consistent across all the early states. What I`m hearing from women is they just want to win. I think more than any other voters in this country, they`re very practical. And right now, I do think Joe Biden has had a very good 48 hours. They are looking for someone who can go up against Donald Trump and win. And I think that`s going to dictate their votes tomorrow more than anything else.

O`DONNELL:  We have video of Pete Buttigieg endorsing Joe Biden earlier tonight. Joe Biden`s response to that, we have been shuffling the cards here to cover this event live in Dallas. But as soon as we have that, we`re going to be showing that because it was a very powerful moment. And, David Plouffe, what do you make of the value and the transferability of what`s left in leaving out the early vote that`s already gone, but the transferability of a vote when Pete Buttigieg stands up as he did today and say, this is why I`m voting for Joe Biden. When Amy Klobuchar tells people specifically, a instruction, a request in Minnesota and elsewhere, you are going to vote for me. Please vote for Joe Biden.

They are trying to get a direct transfer of votes tomorrow.

PLOUFFE:  Yes, and, obviously, the folks who were planning to vote for them are not all going to go to Joe Biden, but I think both of them, I thought as endorsements go, gave incredibly strong statements of why they were supporting Joe Biden. You didn`t get the sense of, hey, our race didn`t work out well. And so, Biden is kind of the person left who is closest to me. It`s something I have to do.

So, I thought they were very strong endorsements. Let me just give you a personal example of some of the organizational hurdles Biden is up against tomorrow. So, I live in California. You know, I`ve gotten texts from local volunteers from the Sanders` campaign, from the Warren campaign and the Bloomberg campaign. I don`t know if that was a volunteer for Bloomberg are paid. But none for Biden, right?

So, one of his challenges again is to survive tomorrow, living off momentum, quite frankly, and not organization and money because then as he gets deeper into March and April, if you`re the Biden campaign, you hope you can put together the advertising and support you need. So, if he dodges a bullet tomorrow from a delegate standpoint, I think he`s positioned well. But I do think that -- I agree with you, Lawrence, there`s a lot of people who even if they got their ballot in the mail in California, they held onto it because they wanted to see what happened in South Carolina.

So, Biden is closing as well as he could. And for him again, it`s not about, you know, winning the state in all likelihood. It`s simply getting over 15 percent statewide and in off congressional districts, to be viable. In this case, the Biden campaign may be OK with Warren and Bloomberg being viable, too, to keep down Sanders` delegate haul which a week ago looked like it could be enormous. Bernie Sanders is still going to do incredibly well tomorrow both in California and across those states and American Samoa.

But it may be -- Biden may have the ability to keep that within his sight.

O`DONNELL:  But, John Heilemann, isn`t Mike Bloomberg now in a position to be just taking down Joe Biden`s delegate count?

HEILEMANN:  Well, I think it depends state by state, Lawrence. I think, you know, the reality is that as David just said, there are places where Mike Bloomberg clears viability, he could take away some votes from Joe Biden. There`s no question about that.

But in a state where Bloomberg is viable and say Biden is not, Bloomberg may drive down Sanders` delegate -- delegate accumulation in that state. Who knows in the hypothetical if Bloomberg was out what that would do to Biden.

But the nightmare scenario for Biden is the scenario where Bloomberg is below viability in a whole bunch of these states, which could be the case where he`s sitting at 12, 13, 14 percent, therefore not achieving viability, therefore not gaining any delegates, not therefore hurting Bernie Sanders in any way, but also just taking votes away that would have likely gone straight to Joe Biden.

That`s like the worst case scenario, and I think it is the scenario that the Biden campaign fears the most. And it`s the one, in fact, that many people around Mike Bloomberg fear the most. There are people around the mayor who have been arguing with him over the course of the last couple days that he would do the party a favor if he wants to keep Bernie Sanders from being the nominee, the thing would be for him to drop out yesterday.

But the mayor`s point much view is, I`m sorry, I put nearly half a billion dollars in this race. You`re not going to get me to drop out before a single person has voted in a single state in which my name is on the ballot. And, you know, that my not be the most strategic people of view, but it`s at least one I think that some people can understand on a human level.

O`DONNELL:  Cecile Richards, John Heilemann, David Plouffe, thank you all for starting us off on this very important night, possibly the most important night prior to the most important day of the campaign yet. David Plouffe`s new book is "A Citizen`s Guide to Beating Donald Trump."

Up next, my interview with Joe Biden.


O`DONNELL: Before all of those endorsements came rolling in for Joe Biden today, he sat for an interview with me earlier in the day. Now I got to know Joe Biden very well in the 1990s when I was working on the Senate staff of Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who Joe Biden always mentions, whenever he and I have a chance to talk.

Almost 10 years ago, then Vice President Joe Biden was the very first guest on the very first edition of this show on this network. Tonight is his second appearance on this program and his first appearance as a candidate for President of the United States.


O`DONNELL: We are joined now by former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate it. I want to go straight to what is I think, the most important thing on voters` minds right now, which is secondary to the election and that is the coronavirus crisis that is sweeping the world and it is, as we can see, becoming an increasing problem every day in this country now including New York, - it`s from New York to California.

I want to know if you were in the White House today, what would you be doing? I know it`s very hard at this distance to assess exactly what this White House is doing. But what would President Biden`s work day be today on the coronavirus?

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, Lawrence, you know, as well as I do, the whole question on crises is how much credibility a President has. The President speaks, no matter who the President is, speaks for the nation and gives great concern to and/or bring some solace to the rest of the world.

And this President has - I`m not - this is not a political comment. It`s a literal comment. He has no credibility on this issue. We put together - as you know, after the Ebola crisis, we put together an office in the White House next to the President to deal with pandemic disease. We increased the money for CDC, we worked on a whole range of things.

All the way back in January, the President was told that this was going to be moving forward. We did nothing to deal with even testing kits. They`re now trying to get testing kits out to determine how to respond. We - I - so the greatest worry I have is people look to a President and they`re looking to a voice of authority and they cannot trust this voice.

This is a guy up until a couple days ago, said this was basically a Democratic plot or whatever, however he phrased it. And so what I`d be doing, number one, I would not have done the things he did.

And right now if all of a sudden I got dropped in, I was president, I would be ramping up considerably - considerably the help we give the states for specific hospitals with - in terms of the people are going to have the - those hospitals, be prepared to have the intake of patients that come along. I would have - I would significantly ramp up whatever took, the number of testing kits that are available to make sure we know what the story is.

I would follow this - for example, I was told by a friend who - whose son was coming back from another country, were getting out getting off the plane in that other country, he had to determine exactly what - they had to let know what seat he was in. They`d be tested before he got off the plane and so on.

I mean, come on, what are we doing here? And it`s not a not a moment to panic, but it`s a moment to reassure. So the bottom line, Lawrence, for me is let the scientists speak. The President and the Vice President should coordinate, if they can, but let the scientists speak.

O`DONNELL: And "The New York Times" is reporting today that a Florida man who returned from China felt sick, went and got tested and was - great news was he tested negative. But he now has a bill for $3,270 for doing the responsible thing, doing exactly what you and everyone, every public health official is telling him to do go get tested if you feel sick when you come back from China. What could you do about that, that $3270 bill that he has?

BIDEN: Under the Obama - under Obamacare, we said all this testing was free - free. This President wiped that out. We anticipated this, because of our work on the Ebola crisis. Ron Klain who headed that up, he used to be my Chief of Staff. We anticipated that, and said free. All vaccines, all testing is free.

The idea that we`re going to charge people to do the right thing, get themselves tested and be responsible is bizarre. And he is in court now - in court to wipe out Obamacare. And he`s - by administrative rule he has decimated it. And so it is - this is what we talked about needing action immediately Lawrence.

By the way, that`s being reported, how many people are going to go in and get tested? It`s free. It should be free - F-R-E-E.

O`DONNELL: Bernie Sanders says that this is yet another case for Medicare for all. If there was a universal 100 percent coverage, Medicare for all, that anyone would know confidently that they could get off an airplane, feel sick, whatever it is, and go straight in and get tested and they would not be hit with one of these bills.

BIDEN: They know that under Obamacare - they know that under Obamacare. They know under - additional Medicare option I provide. You don`t need Medicare to be tested for this. You can dictate that that be the case. And under my proposal, you would, in fact - and under Obamacare, you would be have it for free.

And by the way, if you wait for Bernie to be tested, you`re talking about 4 years - even to get it passed, if he get it passed, and its not going to pass in this Democratic Congress. Number two, after that occurs, you`re talking about taking time to phase in - I forget, depending who you talked to X number of years on top.

Look, it`s just about now - now, right now. And if I`m elected President of United States, I can get Obamacare as increased by a public option, and making sure no hidden bills, et cetera, reducing drug prices, it`s all laid out there. And I`ve laid out exactly how to pay for it and how I get it done and where the pay for it comes from. And he`s talking about a $35 trillion - trillion dollar program.

I respect the fact that he wants to do it. But the level with the American people - he said in the last debate, he is going to increase the tax on employers` withholding. But he didn`t tell you the other half of that tax is you. It`s going to double what you`re being withheld on your Social Security tax and then you get - and that only gets your part in away.

Look, people need hope, Lawrence, you know it better than I do. You know it better than I do. They need to know that what they`re need can be done and is likely to happen and get done quickly. I can get Obamacare as amended by my proposal for Medicare option, reducing drug prices, et cetera passed and I pay for it, and I can get it done immediately.

O`DONNELL: Obamacare is currently providing coverage for about 20 million people - maybe more, but there`s still a solid 28 million people who do not have any health insurance at all. And what could you do to close that gap? Medicare for all closes it very clearly. That is a solution for 100 percent coverage. What is your way of getting to 100 percent of coverage--


BIDEN: $35 trillion - I can tell you how you do it. One of the reasons that`s the case is in many states, the Republican Governors are not taking advantage of what the Obamacare called for, and that is that 100 percent coverage for people who qualified for Medicaid, and they`d be able to have it all taken care of.

If they can`t afford to - and look, I just came out of a state where there`s 200,000 people, that in fact, are not covered because the governor wouldn`t have it happen. That`s why I add to my proposed - to Obamacare, I add a public option of Medicare for those who want it. So they`d be automatically enrolled - automatically enrolled in Medicare - automatically enroll if they can`t afford it.

And if they like it, and they don`t like what they have now and they can afford it, they can buy any other plan. They can buy in. They can buy into Medicare for all. It`s their choice. What it doesn`t do - what Bernie does, he wipes out over 145,000 health care plans that a lot of labor unions and - have given up salaries for that are very robust plans, and it says they`re gone. You cannot have any private insurance.

And so look, I think - look, Lawrence, I - presumptive of me to say this. I know you, I watched you. You know, Moynihan. What would Pat always talk about? What can get done. What are you going to do and tell me how you`re going to do it and tell me why you think you can get it done?

It`s a rhetorical question. I don`t expect you to answer. Do you think there`s any possibility of passing a $35 trillion plan without telling anybody who`s going to pay for it? Doubling the cost of - or actually 10 times the cost of what I`m talking about, $3.5 billion a year, that is going to require doubling of federal budget.

I think I - look, I think people are looking for some authenticity, some honesty. I admire Bernie`s desire here. But what I`m really disappointed in the failure to tell the American people how you can get it done.

Do you have - a rhetorical question. Do you think there`s any possibility of passing through a Democratic House of Representatives? Or if we are able to elect, which I think is critical, a Democratic Senate this time around, not just win the presidency, but elected Democratic Senate? You think it passes? Come on, be honest with the American people.

O`DONNELL: Pete Buttiegieg dropped out. We now have reporting that you and Pete Buttiegieg had a conversation--

BIDEN: When I called to tell Pete - this is a really caliber candidate. This is the guy who`s brilliant. This is a guy who is - he is motivated by the right purposes. This guy is the guy who is - we have very much in common. And I called him and urged him and really plead with him, he has to stay involved.

He is - we have to - you know, we talked about passing the torch. But we`re going to have to we got to build up the bench. There`s some really qualified people. And I warned him if I get the nomination, I`m coming to him. I`m going to ask him to join me - Join me. He must stay engaged. He has he has great capacity.

And I think the only thing that`s missing with people like Pete and others is they just haven`t had enough of a national profile to be - to demonstrate to people that they know who they are and the depth of who they are.

You know, it goes everywhere from him to Mitch Landrieu (ph) and other people of significant capability. They`ve got to stay in the game. They`ve got to get in the game. And I wasn`t presumption - I wouldn`t be in presumptive, I`m saying I`m going to be the nominee. But if I am the nominee, I told him I`m going to ask him to participate.

O`DONNELL: When you say join you do you mean you would ask him to join you on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee?

BIDEN: No, what I`m saying is that join me here. There`s a whole range of things and positions he could fill if he decided he wanted to come to Washington to help change the circumstances - on cabinet positions, White House positions. This is a really competent, capable man


O`DONNELL: We`ll have more of my interview with Joe Biden from earlier today after this break. I ask him about his telephone conversation with President Barack Obama after he won the South Carolina primary. Did they discuss an endorsement? That`s next


O`DONNELL: Here`s more of my interview with Joe Biden conducted earlier today.


O`DONNELL: When you won South Carolina, President Obama called. You had a conversation with the President. And that same question, was there a discussion of endorsement? Did you ask for one? Did he offer one? Did you discuss it as something that would happen later down the line?

BIDEN: Lawrence, the reason why the historians are saying the two closest President and Vice President have ever been are Joe Biden and Barack Obama, because I never discuss our conversations and I`m not going to start now.

O`DONNELL: Was that the first call during the campaign or has he been calling?

BIDEN: Look, I`ve spoken with the President not infrequently. He`s a friend. I asked him at the beginning and I know none of you believed it. I asked him not to endorse me. Because the first thing that happened, Lawrence - and you`ll know this better than anybody, is when I announced it was, well, Biden feels entitled. He was the former Vice President Biden.

Biden is running because he`s running on Obama`s coattails. I did not think it would be helpful to me if the President came out and endorsed me at the front end of this. It would have gone to the whole notion of entitlement. It would have pulled the President in a way that it wasn`t necessary.

And I really thought, and I still believe, I got to earn this on my own. I`m absolutely confident if I am the nominee, the President of United States - former President Barack Obama, who I think was a great President. A lot of people, all of a sudden are finding - haven`t you noticed in their ads? Everybody all of a sudden is loving Barack Obama. When they were critical of him like Bernie should be - he should be primary in 2016. And Mike, as a good guy Bloomberg was saying that healthcare was a disaster.

Anyway, I just think that it`s a matter of me being able to go out and win it on the merits. I do say - and I`m not I`m not joking. I think we needed Democrat as a nominee. And I mean it literally, a Democrat. And I am a Democrat. And when asked what kind of Democrat? I`m an Obama-Biden Democrat.

It`s been - we`ve been very progressive. We were just getting started. We saved this economy. We grew it in a way that is larger than this President - than Trump has grown it in three years. And we were working on building up the middle class when things fell apart, we lost.

And so it`s about building on, not going back to. It`s about building on and moving that next step to bring everybody along. And so that`s what I mean. We need a Democrat who is able to put together the coalitions that we put together. We - you know, working class, high school educated white Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, suburban women, and so across the board. And I think that we got that off the ground.

For example, in - we talked about how, Bernie`s turning out all the vote. Bernie is a great guy, but let me tell you, if you take a look at South Carolina, there were I think 158,000 something like that - well over 100,000 more votes have never been cast even when Barack ran in 2008. And they`ve turned out - they turned out and I got those votes - the vast majority of them. I went every single solitary county.

So what`s starting to happen is that we`re beginning to focus on the choices here. You can, in fact, elect - nominate a guy who wants a revolution or a guy who in fact says we`re going to have results - significant progressive results?

O`DONNELL: Let me go to this - the Bloomberg question, because he entered the race on the assumption that he could basically grab your support. As he entered the race with the saturation advertising. His numbers went up, yours went down. It looked like almost a direct transfer of - from Bide support to Bloomberg support. What would you say to Super Tuesday voters throughout the country? And I`ve heard a lot of this in California, voters who were trying to decide actually between Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg.

BIDEN: Elect a Democrat - elect a Democrat. Mike is a good guy. But Mike is not a Democrat.


O`DONNELL: That was my interview with Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. We recorded that earlier today. We are awaiting a rally in Monterey Park, California. That is East Los Angeles. It has the Elizabeth Warren rally. It was actually scheduled to start about 20 minutes ago, so they`re behind schedule over there, which is normal for campaign rallies like this, but that`s where the Elizabeth Warren rally is tonight in California.

Bernie Sanders was in Minnesota. And you saw Joe Biden earlier in this hour in Texas. We are joined out by David Plouffe, he`s back with us. He is the successful campaign manager for Barack Obama`s campaign for the White House in 2008.

And David, there are so few of you, actual successful Democratic presidential campaign managers, so you could all fit together in a car and not a big one. I want to get your reaction to the - where the Elizabeth Warren campaign stands tonight? It`s the other campaign that`s viable in California. It`s viable, obviously, in Massachusetts and possibly other places. She`s got now a real new surge of funding - about $29 million. Where does she go from here?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, first of all, Lawrence, I`m pretty confident we`re going to add another Successful Democratic presidential campaign manager - whoever comes out of the primary, so that`ll be great. The car can get a little bigger.

So listen, Elizabeth Warren, I think the real question for her is, campaign put out a memo. So they were pretty clear, suggesting that their route wasn`t to win the most delegates, but to win enough to be part of the conversation in the Convention. I think she`s going to get some delegates tomorrow. She`s, obviously, been a really strong performer and debater, had a great fundraising month.

But I find it hard to believe that when we get to the Convention, let`s say you do have Sanders and Biden having the first and second most number of delegates that somehow on a fourth or fifth ballot, you`re going to decide that the person who came in third or fourth is going to get the nomination. I just don`t see that route.

Now, if she performs exceedingly well tomorrow, gets more delegates than Biden, maybe more delegates than Bloomberg, and then builds on that next week, maybe she gets more into the delegate conversation.

But I think convention strategies generally are not destined to succeed. And so I think she`ll probably have to see where she is coming out of tomorrow. But a strategy that says I`m going to roll into the convention with 400 or 500 delegates and somehow be the nominee, I don`t see that.

Now, maybe she just wants to influence, that`s a different question. But if you`re trying to be the nominee, I think it`s going to be the people who roll into Milwaukee. If we don`t have a nominee prior to the convention, who`s got them first or second most amount of delegates.

O`DONNELL: We`ve been hearing an awful lot from Joe Biden tonight, and this hour, obviously, I had that prerecorded interview with him, and then his event went over into this hour. And I want to hear some - I want to hear from Elizabeth Warren also.

And we have this from an interview that Cecile Richards did. She interviewed all the presidential candidates. And this exchange with Elizabeth Warren is one of the more personal elements, Cecile managed to get into the personal reasons that these candidates are in this race. Let`s listen to this.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always felt I would do this as a teacher. But then the fight comes to your door and you can back away or you can jump all the way in and that`s what happened to me.

Sometimes the fight is getting more funding for childcare, right? Sometimes the fight is to fry a CEO of Wells Fargo so badly that the guy had to resign. And sometimes the fight is to meet a little girl and say, Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I`m running for President, because that`s what girls do.


O`DONNELL: And David in that message of "that`s what girls do", this is the last woman standing now, in the major candidates Tulsi Gabbard is still down there at the bottom of the polling. But this is the last woman standing with any viability in any state tomorrow.

PLOUFFE: Right? Well, she`s such a powerful communicator. She`s got such a powerful story. I think one of her barriers is, she`s been in the teens basically, and to get into the 30s - 35, 37, she`d really have to grow her coalition, particularly in African-American community. And I think that`s where she has struggled.

But, listen, if Elizabeth Warren is not our nominee, I hope that political scientists and folks a lot smarter than me really study why, because I don`t know if it`s because Hillary Clinton lost, and there`s too many voters concerned that a woman can`t run. But by every conventional measure her performance on debates, her performance in her interviews, her personal story, the type of organization she`s built, you know, a very strong candidate.

But, again, she`s done - you know, she`s gotten 15, 16, 17 in some states. We`ll see how she does tomorrow. I think, there`s a chance she`s viable in California, and quite a few other states. So she`ll get some delegates. But it is puzzling to me, I must confess, why she`s not done better, because she has so many the strengths and attributes that generally you see in successful presidential candidates.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Bernie Sanders tonight at his rally in Minnesota.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight I want to open the door to Amy`s supporters, to Pete`s supporters. I know that there are political differences. But I also know that virtually all of Amy`s support and Pete support understand that we have got to move toward a government, which believes in justice, not greed.


O`DONNELL: And David, he can pick up some of that support. You never know, once the candidate drops out, where all that support is going. You might know where most of its going, but not all of it.

PLOUFFE: Oh, he`ll pick up some for sure. And I thought that was a great message, a very welcoming message. I actually sent out a tweet on this a little while ago. I think there`s so much conversation, understandably, it says Bernie Sanders isn`t the nominee. What happens to his passionate supporters, his young supporters, it`s a very important question. We`re not going to beat Donald Trump without them.

But Bernie Sanders himself has been careful, but some around his campaigns and then the supporters that have said, "Hey, this is the establishment now, ganging up on Sanders." You know, Pete Buttiegieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O`Rourke, I don`t think they`re necessary part of the establishment. There isn`t establishers. Nobody in Washington pulling the strings

African-American voters are not - I don`t think consider themselves part of the establishment or they`re being told what to do. So I think we`re going to need to beat Donald Trump, we`re going to need the entire party to unify. So this is going to be a tough primary. It`s probably going to go on for a while.

But we have to have people come together and understand whether you`re Sanders or Biden, if it does go down to a two-person race. They`re also going to need to get support from people who weren`t with them right now to become the nominee. So politics is always about addition, not subtraction. But I thought that was a really strong message from Bernie Sanders, a very welcoming message, and it was great to hear.

O`DONNELL: David Plouffe always invaluable to have your insight into presidential campaigning.

PLOUFFE: Thanks so much.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us on this important night. Really appreciate it.

David Plouffe gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the Biden campaign has the kind of unity night they`ve been dreaming of, as former rivals come out to praise and endorse Joe Biden, coming off his breakout win of every single county in South Carolina.