updated 3/28/2013 10:13:06 AM ET 2013-03-28T14:13:06

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
March 27, 2013

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Guests: Elizabeth Birch, Amy Howe, Howard Dean, Julian Epstein, Patricia Maisch, Daniel Hernandez, Nia-Malika Henderson


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: In 1996, the Senate`s most conservative
member, Republican Jessie Helms, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, not
surprisingly. Today, Jessie Helms` Senate seat is occupied by a Democrat,
Kay Hagan, who has just announced support for marriage equality. That sea
change was noticed by the Supreme Court today as they considered the
constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day two of high stakes arguments at the high
court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nation`s highest court is taking up the
Defense of Marriage Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Federal ban on same-sex marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s DOMA arguments concern same sex couples
already married.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the center of this, 83-year-old Edith Windsor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am an out lesbian who just sued the United
States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DOMA barred the IRS from recognizing her marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Recognizing marriage to her partner of 44 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were making a stranger of this person I
lived with and loved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The court`s liberals were strongly attacking DOMA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was very great skepticism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there are five votes to strike DOMA down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just like yesterday, the hearing drew
demonstrators.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are no longer satisfied living in the shadows
of freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a conservative, I will tell you that DOMA reeks
of big government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s just no dying it. This is really just
about discrimination.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I believe marriage is
the union of one man and one woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House Republicans are defending the law.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: What a stale role to play in life,
but nonetheless.

BOEHNER: Marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

PELOSI: Republicans knew and knew right now that DOMA is not
constitutional.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: The compelling argument is on the side of
homosexuals.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: This is going to happen, it is just the
direction the culture is heading.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: One of the fastest changing trends we have
seen on a social matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s remarkable the speed at which this has moved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DOMA was wrong 17 years ago, it is wrong today.
If we fail to get it right, history will not be kind to us as a people and
as a nation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The federal government`s refusal to recognize same-sex
marriage cost Edith Windsor $363,000 in inheritance taxes when her wife
Thea Spire died in 2009. It was her challenge of that tax liability that
propelled her case to the United States Supreme Court today in a challenge
to the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been the law of the land since
1996.

Paul Clement rising today in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act
tried to present it essentially as a federal bookkeeping matter, as a way
of clarifying definitions for the tax code, Social Security, which provoked
this response from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT: It is not as though
well, there`s this little federal sphere and it`s only a tax question --
1,100 statutes, and it affects every area of life. And so, he was really
diminishing what the state has said is marriage. You`re saying no, state
said two kinds of marriages, the full marriage, and then this other skim
milk marriage.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: To Justice Ginsburg, a legal marriage of woman to a woman
in New York state is not a full marriage. It is but a skim milk marriage
because no other state has to recognize that marriage, and the federal
government refuses to recognize that marriage.

Justice Kagan tried to get at why Congress passed that law in the
first place.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, U.S. SUPREME COURT: 1996, I`m going to quote
from the House Report here is that Congress decided to reflect an honor of
collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of
homosexuality. Is that what happened in 1996?

PAUL CLEMENT, ATTORNEY: Does the House Report say that? Of course,
the House Report says that. If that`s enough to invalidate the statute,
then you should invalidate the statute. But that`s never been your
approach, especially under rational basis or even rational basis-plus if
that`s what you`re suggesting. We`re not going to strike down a statute
because a couple of legislators may have had improper motive.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Everyone, including Justice Scalia, agreed that there has
been a sea change since DOMA was passed in 1996.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: You don`t doubt that
the lobby supporting enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different
states is politically powerful, do you?

ROBERTA KAPLAN, ATTORNEY: With respect to that category, that
characterization of the term, for purposes of heightened scrutiny, I would,
Your Honor. I don`t --

ROBERTS: Really?

KAPLAN: Yes.

ROBERTS: As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over
themselves to endorse your side of the case.

KAPLAN: The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chief Justice, is no other
group in recent history has been subjected to popular referenda to take
away rights already given or exclude those rights the way gay people have.
So I don`t think, and until 1990, gay people weren`t allowed to enter this
country. So I don`t think that the political power of gay people today
could possibly be seen within that framework.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNEL: Joining me is Elizabeth Birch who fought against passage of
DOMA in 1996 as president of the Human Rights Campaign. She was in the
Supreme Courtroom today.

Amy Howe of the Scotusblog.com, which just won a Peabody Award for
covering the Supreme Court.

And former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, the first governor to sign a
civil unions bill.

Elizabeth Birch, I have to ask about the sea change. Even Justice
Scalia said there has been this sea change between now and 1996. You were
there fighting against it. What did it feel like to be in the courtroom
today watching what many of us believe is the fall of the Defense of
Marriage Act?

ELIZABETH BIRCH, FOUGHT AGAINST DOMA IN 1996: It was incredibly
satisfying and a deep privilege, and indeed Justice Roberts kept trying to
explain it by political power, but that is not what has caused the seat
change. It has happened because of thousands upon thousands of small acts
of courage, large and small, around dining room tables all around the
nation, people coming out at a younger age. And frankly, many Americans
getting to know not just their family members but their co-workers and with
rising affection for LBGT people in this country.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, you watched this sea change over the years
when you signed the civil unions bill. That was hugely controversial in
Vermont, wasn`t it?

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Yes, Vermont has a
reputation of being a laid back place and it is in some ways. But the
truth is, this is actually true, I had to wear a bulletproof vest to many
public appearances at the request of the state police while I was
campaigning for re-election after I signed the civil unions bill.

So, you know, Elizabeth is right. This is a million acts of courage
from gay people, but it also does speak to decency of the American people.
I think it is hard to change, the American people are conservative with a
small c in many ways, but they also have a generousness of spirit as
Senator Rob Portman showed last week. It took his son coming out, saying
he was gay.

And what passed the bill in Vermont was parents and lesbians of gays -
- parents and friends of lesbians and gays flag which is -- and the basic
thing, you went to a legislator and you said, you know, my son is gay, our
kids grew up together, if your son turned out to be gay, would you love him
any less? And the answer is almost always no, I wouldn`t love him or her
any less. And that`s what`s gotten to us where we are today from where we
were even just 12 years ago when I signed the first bill.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to how Justice Sotomayor framed that question
before the court today.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT: But what gives the
federal government the right to be concerned at all at what the definition
of marriage is?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Amy Howe, I haven`t heard a satisfactory answer to that
question since 1996. Was there a satisfactory answer to the court in that
room today?

AMY HOWE, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: I`m not sure there was, and really this
could welcome down to the key question because this was a concern echoed by
Justice Anthony Kennedy who many people regard as the swing vote on the
court, and he has always been someone that`s been concerned about states`
rights and he was clearly very concerned about states` rights in this case.

And so, although I think people had hopes, supporters of same-sex
marriage hoped for a decision coming out of this case, not only striking
down DOMA, but laying the foundation to strike down state same-sex marriage
laws, you know, I think they could be disappointed because the court could
well lay with Justice Kennedy who is more concerned about states` rights
than what we call the equal protection argument, whether or not the law
discriminates against same sex couples.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Justice Kennedy said today about how
the issue of marriage is so intertwined into federal law now.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Whether or not if
Congress has the power, it can exercise it for the reason that it wants,
that it likes some marriage it does like, I suppose it can do that. But
when it has 1,100 laws which in our society means that the federal
government is intertwined with the citizens` day-to-day life, you are at
real risk of running in conflict with what has always been thought to be
the essence of the state police power, which is to regulate marriage,
divorce, custody.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Birch, 1,100 places in federal law where marital
status is relevant to the application of that law. It -- I just don`t see
how the claim can survive that Defense of Marriage Act is not doing any
harm to gay people who want to be married.

BIRCH: I couldn`t agree with you more. I think what we saw in this
court for the last two days was perhaps more caution than some of us would
have liked to have seen. I think, though, that DOMA does fall. I think
that Proposition 8 falls.

And what I hope for is that the court in its wisdom won`t wait several
years or a decade or a lifetime. We`re living in a time of concentrated
history. The American people have already come such a long way in a
relatively short period of time. We don`t need to learn a lot more to know
that every single day gay and lesbian couples and their children are being
deprived of the rights of those 1,100 benefits and so much more.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, what do you think the politics are if the
justices in effect leave most of this to politics by ruling as Elizabeth
said to just let Prop 8 go and let DOMA go, and then let the 50 states
figure it out for themselves?

DEAN: Well, I actually think that`s a tough position for the
Republicans to find themselves in. Republicans are desperately engaged in
a scramble to have some repeal to people under 35. They have virtually
right now.

And this is a big issue for those under 35. Something -- over 80
percent of Americans under 35 believe that same sex people ought to be able
to get married. So, I think secretly what the Republicans are hoping is
that the justices will resolve the problem for the country and they can get
this off their plate and move to other problems that they have which are
quite urgent (ph).

I don`t know what`s going to happen, Amy, I defer to people who watch
the court all the time. But it sure sounded like Justice Kennedy wouldn`t
support constitutionality of DOMA.

O`DONNELL: Amy, do you think you heard clues to any surprise votes in
the last two days?

HOWE: The surprise vote may well have been in Proposition 8. There`s
some doubt about whether the court in that case is going to get to
constitutionality of Prop 8 at all. Both -- you know, this was something
that I think a lot of people thought maybe they had added on, this question
of whether or not the sponsors of Proposition 8 had a legal right to defend
Proposition 8 when the attorney general of California and governor of
California weren`t going to do so.

And I think a lot of people thought this was maybe the justices sort
of dotting their I`s and crossing T`s. It was a real question and a little
role reversal, the court`s four more liberal justices maybe trying to stave
off an actual ruling on the merits seemed to support the idea that the
sponsors of the initiative couldn`t come into court and defend it, and it
seemed like the chief justice might be sympathetic to that position as
well.

O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Birch, Amy Howe, and Howard Dean, thank you all
for joining me tonight.

DEAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

HOWE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, new police reports tell us much more about the
Tucson massacre which killed six people and wounded Congresswoman Gabby
Giffords. Two of the people that were there will join me in a LAST WORD
exclusive.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, Bill O`Reilly rewrites his position on
marriage equality, and Rush Limbaugh attacks him for it, which brings us to
the small matter of why Rush Limbaugh hates Bill O`Reilly and why Bill
O`Reilly hates Rush Limbaugh. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The original law is God`s law outlined in
the Ten Commandments. Marriage is between one man and one woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Unfortunately for Bible scholar, Rick Perry, the Ten
Commandments don`t say anything about marriage being between one man and
one woman. Only two commandments refer to marriage in any way. The
Seventh says you shall not commit adultery, the Tenth, you shall not covet
your neighbor`s house, you shall covet your neighbor`s wife or his
manservant, or his maid servant, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is
your neighbors.

Not all Republicans think marriage is between one man and one woman.
Ronald Reagan certainly didn`t think so, which is why he married two women.
He did it sequentially, so it was fully legal.

We know that Newt Gingrich thinks marriage is between one man and at
least three women.

And, of course, sequential polygamist Rush Limbaugh believes that
marriage is between one man and four women, so far.

In fat, marriage can be between one man and many women or one woman
and many men. Marriage can now legally be between one man and as many as
he can trick into marrying him and can be between one woman and as many men
who she chooses to marry. They`re just not supposed to be married to more
than one at the same time.

The Old Testament condones polygamy as well as divorce, which is why
Republicans are having so much trouble finding what would be an oh, so
helpful biblical passage about marriage being between one man and one
woman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I don`t believe you need to act like
Old Testament heretics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: While the Republican Party studies the Old Testament
instead of the Constitution for guidance on the issue of marriage
equality`s constitutionality, Democrats continue to step into the future.
North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan and Montana Senator Jon Tester announced
their support of marriage equality today. They joined fellow Democratic
Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Mark
Begich of Alaska, who have all backed official Democratic Party position in
support of marriage equality in recent days.

The politics of marriage equality do not seem complicated to the
Democratic Party. But Republicans continue to find new lines of opposition
to marriage equality -- lines that haven`t already been ridiculed by the
Supreme Court.

Here is the theologian in chief of the Republican Party, Reverend Mike
Huckabee, trying out a new line of argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS: I recognize the culture is moving away from
the traditional standard. But it is almost like saying, well, we have a
basketball team and nobody on the team or very few can actually hit the
goal that`s 10 feet off the floor. So, we`re going to lower the goal down
to six feet, that way everybody can slam dunk the ball.

So, the question is, have you improved your basketball game or have
you actually just changed the standard so it looks like you`re doing
better?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now to decode that riddle are "The Washington
Post" Jonathan Capehart and Julian Epstein, a Democratic strategist, and
former House Judiciary Committee counsel.

Jonathan Capehart, I don`t know if any of that made sense to you.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: The six foot dunking thing, I don`t get it. But what`s
fascinating is to watch all of these arguments that these guys have been
using for many years get served up at the Supreme Court this week and
swatted down. Where does that leave them?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: It leaves them in a world of
misery. They can`t quite figure out how to talk about this.

I`ll say this for them -- the leaders in the party know what`s
happening, they know where the country is going, they even know where their
party is going. I keep bringing this number up, and I`ll keep bringing it
up over and over again, 51 percent of Republicans age 18 to 45 in the
latest "The Washington Post" poll said that they support marriage equality.

Those folks will get older and become leaders in the Republican Party
and the revolution that`s happening now among Democrats in the Senate will
find its way to the Republican Party, but it`s not going to happen this
month, this week, probably not before the next presidential election, but
that just means that Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party,
and other leaders in the party, will have a devil of a time trying to
figure out how to talk about this issue, but not enrage this Republican
Party base that they still have to cater to.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to Mike Huckabee talking about that
Republican Party base.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE: If they do, they`re going to lose a large part of their
base because evangelicals will take a walk. And it is not because there`s
an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody is homophobic that I know of. But many
of us, and I consider myself included, base our standards not on the latest
"Washington Post" poll, but we base it on an objective standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Julian Epstein, can the Republicans hold onto the center
of power in Washington, which is the House of Representatives, as long as
they oppose same-sex marriage, and can they possibly expand power in
Washington while still opposing that?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, they`re a shrinking
party, one, because they`re monochromatic, two, because they are a regional
party, and three, because they practice these Archie Bunker politics which
are increasingly unpopular, particularly with younger demographics. I
think the Republican Party can hold the party so long as it gerrymanders
districts.

But in the long term, the prospects aren`t very good. I think as a
matter of five to 10 years from now, same-sex marriage will be law of the
land because of what happens at the ballot box as much as what happens at
the court.

What`s going to happen at the court, I think, is also that Proposition
8 will go down because the court will punt back to the states, the lower
court ruling will stand, and I think DOMA will also go down. But the
disappointing thing about the court, in both cases, they avoid the question
of whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution gives gay
couples and lesbian couples the right to marry, to have that most cherished
relationship.

In the case of DOMA today, what I think you`ll see is five justices
coming together on states rights issues, that is that the federal can`t
really countermand states that decide that gay marriage -- same-sex
marriage ought to be legal, it can`t countermand that decision by
withholding benefits. But that still leaves open the question for the rest
of the country as to whether there is an equal protection challenge here.
That`s the disappointing thing.

So, while I think the courts are sheepishly are going to take the
weasel position and allow Proposition 8 to be vacated by punting, have DOMA
go down on states rights argument, they`re avoiding the central question
which is highly disappointing. Because as you know, Lawrence, you know, I
was counsel during the DOMA proceedings. And I remember how decidedly and
openly and unapologetically bigoted that entire process was. We had two
days of markup.

I remember a colleague of mine who was counsel, happened to be gay, I
remember seeing tears in his eyes because of the open bigotry that went on
in that committee room, and it is just really disappointing that you don`t
see the court wanting to tackle the central issue here.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the chairman of the Republican Party
thinking out loud about what has happened to the public attitude that has
changed so much on this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Why is this an issue in which we are seeing support for
same-sex marriage rise so rapidly in a really short period of time?

PRIEBUS: I`m not sure, but I think it`s obviously -- I think it is
part of culture. I think it`s an interesting topic to people, it`s not all
debts and math and deficits and long term, you know, credit scores and
things like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There you have it, Jonathan Capehart, there`s no math.

CAPEHART: Right. Oh, it`s so easy, and it`s an interesting topic.
Yes, equality for lesbian and gay people as Americans like everyone else.
Sure, it is an interesting topic.

And as I said before, the problem for the chairman and the problem for
the problem for that party is that the country is moving very quickly away
from it and away from it and away from the folks like Reince Priebus who
still think that way. As Julian said, in five to 10 years, this country,
marriage equality will be legal in this country in some way, shape or form,
and quite frankly, if the Supreme Court decides it wants to punt on process
grounds or legal technical grounds to allow marriage in California and
strike down DOMA, I`m fine with that.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, and Julian Epstein, thank you both for
joining me.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

EPSTEIN: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, today, Rick Santorum and Ann Coulter jumped
into the South Carolina congressional campaign to try to stop Stephen
Colbert`s sister from becoming the next member of Congress from South
Carolina.

And in the "Rewrite," tonight, it pained Rush Limbaugh to have to
mention Bill O`Reilly on his show today because those two guys hate each
other. But the stakes were important for Rush. He was defending marriage,
all four of his marriages. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The surge in support of gay marriage in the polls in
recent years is something that is very easy for Rush Limbaugh to explain.
He is not confused about how that happened. Here is Rush Limbaugh`s
explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There is a gay mafia that has
inflicted the fear of death, political death in the Republican party, for
example.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I, for one, can`t wait until the gay mafia turns its
attention to gun and ammunition control.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABBY GIFFORDS, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: Be bold, be courageous. Please
support background checks. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords earlier
this month speaking at the same Safeway grocery store where she and 12
other people were wounded, and six people lost their lives when a madman
went on a shooting rampage two years ago. In the Spotlight tonight, new
information on the Tucson gunman.

The Pima County Sheriff`s Department released close to 3,000 pages of
documents about the Tucson case. Here is what we know now: before the
shooting, the gunman`s family and friends said he behaved erratically. His
parents were so concerned that they hid his shotgun and his father disabled
the shooter`s car at night.

One of the gunman`s friends told police he, quote, "may have received
a call last night warning of the shooting."

On the day of the shooting, the gunman fired more than 30 shots before
being tackled to the ground. Police found two fully loaded Glock magazines
and a folding knife in his pockets. The shooter told the police, quote, "I
was the only person that knew about this."

In response to this information, Gabby Giffords released this
statement: "the details released today regarding the shooting in Tucson
reaffirm what this country already knew, the mentally disturbed young man
who shot me and murdered six should never have had access to a gun."

Joining me now for an exclusive interview, two of the heroes of the
Tucson shooting, Patricia Maisch, who helped stopped the shooter from
reloading, and Daniel Hernandez, the congressman`s intern who helped save
Gabby Giffords` live. He`s also the author of the book "They Call Me
Hero."

Thank you both for joining me tonight. I see you`re standing in the
parking lot of the Safeway, I think just about on the spot where the
shooting happened, is that right?

PATRICIA MAISCH, TUCSON SHOOTING SURVIVOR: The shooting happened
behind us against the wall.

O`DONNELL: Patricia, when you discovered some of these details today
and realized that -- we`ve known for a long time that it was your
intervention that stopped this. When he had to reload, you were able to
make a move on him. We now know exactly how many bullets he had in his
pockets that he could have gone to and how many more people could have been
killed and murdered. What did it feel like today to gain this additional
knowledge about how threatening he was there?

MAISCH: It`s just a constant reminder and a testimony to the fact
that we need to continue our strong gun restriction and regulation attempts
to, you know, make things better in this country.

O`DONNELL: And Daniel, a lot of the facts in the reports do
constantly show us how much worse this could have been if Patricia hadn`t
been able to do what she did with the help of others. And you in your
function there, in checking people into the event, trying to get some
contact information for them, one of the report seems to indicate that you
had direct contact with the shooter before the event?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ, INTERN WHO HELPED SAVE GIFFORDS` LIVE: You know,
one of the things that happened today is there was no new Earth shattering
information. And being here with Patricia in front of the scene and seeing
that information, there was a lot of confusion immediately afterwards.
From what we have been able to find out later, I didn`t actually interact
with Jared. It was somebody else. But immediately afterwards, I thought
that an angry young person that I had dealt with before, when I was signing
people in, had been Jared.

So standing here tonight and seeing all this new information, not many
of which is actually new, it is disturbing to see how he was able to
actually get a weapon, and to see that our background check system is so
broken that someone whose parents took away his shotgun and said that they
were disabling his car was still able to go, after being expelled from a
community college, purchase a semi automatic Glock with extended magazines.

O`DONNELL: And there`s a lot of details in the police reports about
the people working at the store where he bought the weapons, and one of
whom actually knew him. Each one of them had a reaction to him that there
was something off with him. One of the guys there who actually knew him
was the one that was most suspicious of him. And yet, Patricia, he had no
problem walking out of there with a gun.

MAISCH: You know, it is easier to buy a gun than to buy Sudafed. If
you go into the store to buy Sudafed, you have to sign your name. You have
to show them your driver`s license. You have to tell them that you`re not
going to use it for some illicit purpose.

And you know, the Second Amendment rights -- people forget about the
second and third words in that amendment, and they`re well regulated. We
don`t have much regulation. We do need to make it so that the mental
health system doesn`t fail us again. We need to make sure everybody`s got
the name on the background checklist that will keep them from buying a gun.
Then we need to make sure every gun sale has a background check.

O`DONNELL: And Daniel Hernandez, what`s your reaction to apparently
the only person having trouble buying guns these days is Mark Kelly.

HERNANDEZ: One of the things that -- being here is a stark reminder
of how little has been done to strengthen the background check system. But
Congressman Giffords` husband Mark was trying to show how easy it is
because we haven`t made any changes. It has been two years since the
Tucson incident happened and we haven`t done anything.

So tomorrow, 150 cities are planning a national call to action to
demand action because we have demanded a plan from the federal government.
We got one from the president and the vice president in terms of the
taskforce. But now we need to ask people like Senators John McCain, who
has already gone on the record in 2000 and supported background checks, to
do it again. Because if it is good enough for people in Oregon and people
in Colorado, it is good enough for all Americans.

O`DONNELL: Daniel Hernandez and Patricia Maisch, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

HERNANDEZ: Thanks so much for having us.

MAISCH: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Tomorrow, a LAST WORD exclusive, mothers of Sandy Hook
students will join me after they protest outside the National Sport
Shooting Foundation in Newtown, Connecticut. This will be the first time
we hear from them about what the children who survived the massacre are
coping with. That`s tomorrow night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: As America`s high school seniors eagerly await the thrill
of opening their college acceptance letters next week, one college has
decided this is the perfect week to scare them off. Boston College got
34,061 applications last year. Almost a third of them were admitted,
9,813. But of the 9,813 students admitted to Boston College last year,
only 2,405 enrolled in Boston College, which means that 75 percent of the
students admitted to Boston College last year rejected Boston College.

So this year, Boston College has decided to try to get even more
students to reject Boston College. According to "the Boston Globe," Boston
College officials are threatening to take disciplinary measures against a
group of students who are distributing condoms out of their dorm rooms,
calling the act a violation of the university`s mission as a Catholic
institution. In a move that has the local chapter of the American Civil
Liberties Union threatening legal action, B.C. officials sent the letter to
students on March 15th, demanding an end to student run safe sites, a
network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and
safe sex information are available.

The college told the students, "while we understand that you may not
be intentionally violating university policy, we do need to advise you that
should we receive any reports that you are, in fact, distributing condoms
on campus, the matter would be referred to the Student Conduct Office for
disciplinary action by the university."

Boston College was founded in 1863, and is apparently stuck in 1953.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: You know the king and queen of Republican media hate each
other, right? I`m not telling you anything you don`t know, nothing that
isn`t wicked obvious. Limbaugh and O`Reilly hate each other. And no, I am
not going to get into which one is king and which one is queen.

Rush is the biggest money maker in the history of political talk
radio, and O`Reilly is the biggest money maker in the history of political
talk TV. And they hate each other, not just because O`Reilly tried to
compete directly with Limbaugh on the radio before completely surrendering
to Limbaugh`s radio supremacy, and giving up the radio version of "The
Factor", They are each very jealous of each other.

Limbaugh tried to take his act to television and failed miserably. He
wanted to be the TV star that Bill O`Reilly is. O`Reilly wanted to beat
Limbaugh at the radio game and failed miserably. O`Reilly thinks he is
twice as smart as Limbaugh. And he is right about that, which doesn`t make
him wicked smart, but he is smarter than Limbaugh.

And Rush knows he is more than twice as rich as O`Reilly. And for
Rush, nothing proves a person`s value more than money. So if you listen to
these guys over time, you will notice that they never, never acknowledge
each other`s existence. They never mention each other`s names, until
today, when Rush just couldn`t take O`Reilly rewriting himself on marriage
equality.

Now before we consider Bill O`Reilly`s new position on marriage
equality, let`s sample some of his thinking in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The secular progressive movement
would like to have marriage abolished in my opinion. They don`t want it
because it is not diverse enough. You know, that`s what this gay marriage
thing is all about. But now, you know, the poly-amorphous marriage,
whatever they call it, you can marry 18 people. You can marry a duck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A duck? Quack, quack.

O`REILLY: Why? If you`re in love with a duck, who is the society to
tell you you can`t do that?

You would let everybody get married who wants to get married. You
want to marry a turtle, you can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Eight years ago, Bill O`Reilly predicted that in 10 years,
quote, "this is gonna be a totally different country than it is now. Laws
that you think are in stone, they are going to evaporate, man. You`ll be
able to marry a goat, you mark my words."

That`s Bill O`Reilly saying you`re going to be able to marry a goat
two years from now. And here was Bill O`Reilly last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals.
That`s where the compelling argument is. We`re Americans. We just want to
be treated like everybody else. That`s a compelling argument. And to deny
that, you`ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the
other side hasn`t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh played that exact piece of "the O`Reilly
Factor" for his audience today, and then said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Well, so how many of you who watch Fox are Bible thumpers?
Do you think there are any Bible thumpers, quote, unquote, that watch Fox?
Because last night you were sort of marginalized on "the Factor" as not
having a compelling argument and just being a bunch of Bible thumpers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Notice how Rush doesn`t even want to say the word
O`Reilly. But the defense of marriage is so important to Rush that he was
willing to allow O`Reilly a few seconds of air time today so that Rush
could prove to his audience that he, Rush Limbaugh, is the most reliable
defender of marriage as an institution solely for the union of one man and
as many women as he wants, in proper legal sequence, as Rush Limbaugh has
now done with all four of his wives.

The really funny thing about Bill O`Reilly`s conversion on marriage
equality is that like Rush, he hates people who change their minds about
marriage equality. He hates Bill Clinton, and he hates Barack Obama for
doing exactly what Bill O`Reilly has done. In the very same segment last
night where Bill O`Reilly announced his change of mind about marriage
equality, he actually attacked Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for doing
exactly the same thing.

Here is Mr. Oblivious going after those phonies who change their mind
on an issue just because it`s popular.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: You`re phony, Bill Clinton. You`re a phony. It is the
same exact issue, same thing, all right? You signed it because you thought
it was going to be popular. Now that it is not so popular, you`re against
it. This is what sleazy politicians do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel that way about Barack Obama, too?
He was against gay marriage until recently.

O`REILLY: Of course I feel that way again, of course I do. They
pander. They don`t care about gays. If they cared about gays, they would
have been on board in the beginning. Now, you can change your mind on the
issue, but you got to explain that in context other than politics, all
right how somehow you evolved on this issue. I`m willing to listen to
that.

But I don`t believe any of this is sincere. It is political and it is
just awful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Just awful. Yeah. It is just awful when people change
their minds, except of course when Bill O`Reilly does it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Today at the Kicking Chicken Restaurant in Somerville,
South Carolina, Rick Santorum tried to prevent Stephen Colbert`s sister
from becoming the next member of the South Carolina Congressional
delegation. Rick Santorum went to the Kicking Chicken to support the
candidacy of Republican Curtis Bostic, who is facing former Governor Mark
Sanford in a runoff election next week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Someone who is a strong
conservative on fiscal issues, strong conservative on national security
issues and a strong conservative on moral issues, and will go on the
offense on all of them, be unafraid to go out and talk about them and take
them on. Because you see from the polling, this could be a tough general
election. And you need someone who is not going to be playing defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Mark Sanford has been playing defense since 2009.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD, FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I have been
unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with -- started as a
dear, dear friend from Argentina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Public Policy Polling shows that Elizabeth Colbert Busch
polls at 47 percent and Mark Sanford at 45 percent. But she polls even
with Curtis Bostic, 43 percent each. Ann Coulter wrote a very ugly
endorsement of Curtis Bostic today. "Republicans could nominate Hitler and
win South Carolina`s first district."

Ann Coulter really knows how to ingratiate herself to South Carolina
Republicans, saying that they would vote for Hitler for Congress. After
that endearing beginning, she then added "if Sanford is the nominee,
Republicans will either lose or win at a cost of 50 million that could be
better spent elsewhere. When Curtis Bostic tells his staff he is hiking
the Appalachian Trail, he`s hiking the Appalachian Trail."

Joining me now, "Washington Post" political reporter Nia-Malika
Henderson. Nia, I want you to imagine, if you will, the scene in Curtis
Bostic`s headquarters today when the staff rushes in and says we have good
news and bad news. Ann Coulter has endorsed you, that`s the good news.
The bad news, she did say that your district would vote for Hitler. This
is as ugly an endorsement as you could possibly get, isn`t it?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yeah. And I`m guessing
Bostic doesn`t want that endorsement, and barely, to be quite frankly,
probably doesn`t necessarily benefit that much even from Santorum`s
endorsement. Folks in South Carolina in that district don`t care about
these folks weighing in. This is a district, very conservative. It is
going to be about who they feel comfortable with.

This race, you know -- obviously Sanford was in that seat before, he`s
a former governor. Let`s also remember Newt Gingrich won the South
Carolina primary by a landslide. And Santorum won something like 17
percent. So in previous campaigns, you have seen South Carolina embrace
men who have been unfaithful to their wives.

O`DONNELL: And Mark Sanford is way over-financed compared to Bostic.
He has got 271,000 dollars at this point, Bostic 56,000 dollars for this
runoff next week. And the polls indicate that Sanford is ahead of Bostic
in this runoff. So it is starting to look like Sanford versus Colbert.

HENDERSON: That`s right. I mean, we couldn`t get Ashley Judd in that
race in Kentucky. This might be the next best thing with Colbert Busch,
the sister of Stephen Colbert. So it will be an exciting, interesting
race. You know, I think Mark Sanford is the favorite going in at this
point, and this could be the beginning of another political climb to maybe
a Senate Seat, maybe back to the governor`s mansion. Because he is making
amends with those folks in South Carolina, which -- you know, maybe it is
surprising. Maybe it`s not.

I don`t know. I am from South Carolina. Politics in South Carolina
is a funky, funky thing. So we`ll have to see what happens.

O`DONNELL: Our senior South Carolina correspondent, Nia-Malika
Henderson, gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you, Nia.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner is up next.

END

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