updated 5/1/2013 11:15:27 AM ET 2013-05-01T15:15:27

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
April 30, 2013

Guests: Judy Shepard, Dennis Shepard, Ana Marie Cox, Erica Lafferty

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: If you have a job, you probably missed the
presidential press conference. But don`t worry. You didn`t miss anything,
because as usual, it was more about the press than the president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama marks a major second term
milestone today.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama marking the first 100
days.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: Day 100 of the president`s second term.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he have any leverage left?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: How`s he doing?

TODD: To mark the occasion, the president plans --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To have a press conference at 10:15 a.m.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: The 39th press conference of his
administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Washington press corps meeting the president
for the first of his weekly conferences. There are 234 of the elite
American journalism present.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, things are
pretty dysfunctional on Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eleven minutes were devoted to a rapid fire series
of questions and answers.

REPORTER: Do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda
through this Congress?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The questions the president answers frankly.

OBAMA: Maybe I should pack up and go home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is democracy in action.

OBAMA: Let`s just step back for a second.

HALL: The president also addressing the continued partisan stalemate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did get to the sequester.

HALL: Over the sequester.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sequester is really bad.

OBAMA: This thing already happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a ridiculous side show.

OBAMA: That`s damaging our economy, hurting our people. We need to
lift it.

HALL: No grand bargain anywhere in sight.

OBAMA: There are common sense solutions to our problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he have leverage left? You could see his
exasperation today.

WAGNER: The sequester is stupid in name and practice.

OBAMA: Whether we can get it done or not, we`ll see.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: A hundred years ago, Woodrow Wilson held the first
presidential press conference. Fifty-eight years ago, Dwight Eisenhower
held the first televised presidential press conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DWIGHT EISENHOWER, FORMER PRESIDENT: I think we`re trying a new
experiment this morning. I hope it doesn`t prove to be a disturbing
influence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: It turns out television has proven to be a disturbing
influence, just as Dwight Eisenhower feared -- but not on the president, on
the press. These rituals are called press conferences because they`re not
really about the president, they are about the press.

The president`s job is to tell us nothing new, nothing we didn`t
already know, while appearing open and honest in response to the questions,
which is actually quite easy because presidents are never asked truly
difficult questions at presidential press conferences. They are asked
about their feelings. They are asked about unprovable things like what
Congress might do a few months from now.

They`re never asked the details of any of the intricacies of the tax
code they claim to dislike. They never asked difficult questions about
Medicare part A or Medicare part B or part D, each of which is a government
enterprise of life or death importance and stunning complexity.

They are not asked detailed questions about the government`s biggest
program, Social Security. Social Security is the largest item in the
federal budget. Virtually every American participates in it. It has an
almost infinite number of moving parts, but no president is ever asked
about more than one of those parts at a time, say the retirement age or
maybe cost of living increases, and it`s only the politics of what you
might do with those things.

The White House press corps doesn`t ask detailed questions about
governing and never has because they don`t know the details of governing.
That is not their job. Their job is to know a little about everything that
the White House has been publicly working on lately, and that`s a lot of
stuff. That is a lot to keep up with.

If you want the president to get detailed questions about Medicare, no
White House correspondent can ever ask those questions. We`d have to bring
in from the bullpen the "The New York Times" Medicare expert Robert Pear.
For that it would take Robert Pear to ask questions about Medicare, and if
Robert Pear was allowed to ask the president questions about that, it
wouldn`t take him very many questions to find the limits of any president`s
knowledge of Medicare, or Medicaid, or Social Security.

But facts, new information, real information, how the government
really works, that`s not what presidential press conferences are about.
They`re about the press getting presidential quotes about something,
anything, to fill up the paragraphs in their newspapers. And most of all,
they`re about reporters, usually television reporters, trying to ask the
question with the catchy sound byte we all want to use on our news shows.
You see them doing it every time.

Today, it was ABC`s Jonathan Karl`s turn. He asked a question that
elicited an answer that contained nothing we didn`t already know, but
Jonathan Karl didn`t really care about the answer. His investment was
entirely in his question. It was entirely in the self-centered dream of
watching his question played on his network and on all cable news shows.
He actually asked the president of the United States a question about
juice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Jonathan Karl.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Mr. President, you are 100 days into your
second term. On the gun bill, you put seems everything into it to try to
get it passed, obviously it didn`t. Congress ignored your efforts to try
to get them to undue the sequester cuts. There was even a bill you
threatened to veto that got 92 Democrats in the House voting yes.

So, my question to you is: do you still have the juice to get the rest
of your agenda through this Congress?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Oh, the juice. You could tell the president thought it
was a ridiculous question like most of the questions he gets. So he played
with it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up
and go home. Golly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And the president`s little joke line actually provoked
very serious graphics on CNN today, streaming across the screen, the
president says maybe I should just pack up and go home.

CNN thought that that was news. The joke line was news. CNN thought
we`d learn something important when the president said that joke.

Back in President Kennedy`s day when televised press conferences were
still a novelty and reporters were not fully committed to doing their own
star turns before the camera, everyone knew when a joke was a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: I wonder if you could tell us whether if you had it to do
over again, you would work for the presidency, whether you can recommend
the job to others.

JOHN KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDNT: Well, the answer to the first is yes,
and the second is no, I don`t recommend it to others, least for awhile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, if CNN had been around in those days, they would have
put up a banner all afternoon saying JFK doesn`t recommend presidency to
others.

ABC has a rich tradition of White House correspondents who believe
their questions are more important than the president`s answer.

Here was how the ABC White House correspondent made it all about him
last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Go ahead -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS REPORTER: It seems to a lot of observers that
you made the political calculation in 2008 in your first term and 2012 not
t talk about gun violence. You had your position on renewing the ban on
semi-automatic rifles that then-Senator Joe Biden put into place, but you
didn`t do much about it. This is not the first issue, first incident of
horrific gun violence of your four years. Where have you been?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, there`s a substantive question for you, for the
president of the United States. Where have you been? And, of course, it
produced an answer that told no one other than possibly the reporter who
just asked that question something we didn`t know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Well, here`s where I`ve been, Jake. I`ve been president of
the United States, dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great
Depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. I don`t
think I`ve been on vacation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: When the foreign press gets a shot at the president of the
United States, they can be much rougher than the White House press corps,
but they don`t really care much about how much camera time they get.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Everybody calm down. First of all,
thank you for apologizing on behalf of the Iraqi people. It doesn`t bother
me. If he wants it back, it is a size 10 shoe that he threw.

Thank you for your concerns. Do not worry about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And there you have President George W. Bush`s finest
moment in all of his presidential press conferences. It takes a lot for a
president to steal the spotlight away from the more than a few White House
reporters who want to hog the camera for themselves.

But Richard Nixon managed to do it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want to say this to the television
audience. I made my mistakes, but in all my years of public life, I have
never profited, never profited from public service. I earned every cent.
And in all my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice, and I
think, too, that I can say in my years of public life that I welcome this
kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their
president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was the most memorable moment from all of President
Nixon`s press conferences.

But it wasn`t exactly, how should I put it, true. He did try to
obstruct justice and he was enough of a crook to be forced to resign the
presidency.

Joy Reid, Ari Melber, OK, I don`t think everyone of them, OK, I don`t
mean every person sitting the chair in the White House press briefing room
is an egomaniac. But, man, the camera finds more than a couple of them
every time, don`t they?

JOY REID, THE GRIO: Yes, they do. I mean, I think it`s important
that you showed some of that history, Lawrence, because the reality is,
look, presidential press conferences used to be really important to print
reporters back in the days when the average beat reporter didn`t have
access to the White House and didn`t really have access to daily, day to
day movements of the president.

And when the American public wasn`t accustomed to seeing the president
in candid moments, that was Nixon unscripted. These were not the news
reels that we were accustomed to seeing on the very staged sort of access
to the president that the ordinary person had. The press conference was a
chance to see the real them.

But, now, we do live in an age where you and I are on the list, Ari is
on the list, we get these dispatches from the White House every day. We
all know what the White House thinks about issues. We know what they`re
doing. Those reporters already know.

O`DONNELL: I don`t get them.

REID: We can get you on the list.

O`DONNELL: I`m happy to be on that list.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": We can make a phone call.

O`DONNELL: I would never get around --

REID: They already know what his policies are, so what is the job of
the guys in that press corps, ones that have access. Their job is to draw
him into the news cycle or into whatever the meme is to the day, which is
why you get the most interesting questions from those reporters in the back
of the room that don`t get asked as much.

O`DONNELL: Ari, was there anything in today`s press conference where
you thought OK, I didn`t know that?

MELBER: There was one good question out of the 12. There were two
questions on Benghazi for those keeping count.

But the one good question I thought was from Bill Plante at CBS, he
raised the hunger strikers at Guantanamo, which is an issue today. It
doesn`t get a lot of attention in Washington. IO wish the president hasn`t
been pressed on, although he had a good answer, partly Congress has really
tried to defund the very operations that would make these kinds of strikes
and these problems at Gitmo less likely.

The other point, you made I thought is really important, Lawrence,
which is, if you`re asking good questions, we would hear the answers and
not thinking about the questions. Every lawyer knows when you depose
someone or interrogate someone, it is the answers.

O`DONNELL: We didn`t hear anything from the president that we didn`t
already know when it was his turn to answer the question.

MELBER: He didn`t reveal new information, I`ll give you that, but I
don`t think he was asked a lot about the hunger strike. In that sense he
chose not to say more.

But I think a good question would give us an answer that`s revealing,
interesting, important, and not make us all remember the silliness of the
question. And that shows why I think, again, a lot of the people in this
position sometimes lose sight of that.

The other thing though that goes to the White House is, they like
calling on TV reporters. They didn`t call on any serious print reporters
in today`s press conference, those folks are there. And for people at home
who don`t realize, there`s an assigned seating grid which the White House
Correspondents` Association works on. TVs in front, look, I have a
background in print, now at MSNBC, I love being at MSNBC.

But I do think at the basic level of diversity, you want to call on
some print reporters, too.

O`DONNELL: All right. I`m going to show a clip of a question I liked
at today`s press conference. I`m going to be accused of being a home team
guy. So let`s just roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Mr. President, thank you. Max Baucus, Democratic Senator,
referred to the implementation as your health care law as a potential train
wreck. And other Democrats have been whispering nervousness about the
implementation and the impact -- and it`s all self-centered a little bit --
the impact that it might have on their own political campaigns in 2014.
Why do you think -- just curious -- why does Senator Baucus, somebody who
ostensibly helped write your bill, believe that this is going to be a train
wreck? And why do you believe he`s wrong?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think any time you`re implementing something
big, there`s going to be people who are nervous and anxious about, is it
going to get done until it is actually done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Then he goes on and makes a speech about the health care
bill. But what I like was, Chuck tried to get him into serious area,
implementation of health care reform bill. There are going to be a lot of
problems with it. It`s a big, messy contraction of legislation. But he
couldn`t get into it, because the president`s job is I`m not -- Chuck, I am
not here to tell you that we are having big problems with implementing
this, even if we are.

So, but I think the elements Chuck brought in, quoting a senator,
that`s real, train wreck, ewe get the imagery. I kind of like that.

REID: I was surprised the president didn`t jump on the fact that Max
Baucus, who was sitting as the head of the Senate Finance Committee, wrote
the freaking bill. If it`s a train wreck, he had the conductor hat on,
right? So, I thought, I was surprised the president didn`t go at Baucus.
He was also leaving the Senate.

O`DONNELL: Senators have written plenty of bills that they think are
messes that they have gotten passed.

REID: That is fair.

O`DONNELL: That wouldn`t be the first time.

REID: That is fair.

O`DONNELL: But, Joy, was there something you said, oh, I`m glad I
heard that?

REID: You know, I agree with you, there wasn`t anything new. There
wasn`t anything that I didn`t already know. But I kind of agree with Ari,
that the most interesting part of the press conference to me was the Gitmo
piece, because he hadn`t heard about it, because the press hasn`t covered
the uprising that much. I hadn`t heard that much about in the media. I
thought it was interesting the president answered it.

But I do think like the juice question, it ignored the big elephant in
the room which is called Congress. Juice is 68 senators, like Lyndon
Johnson had. Juice means being able to compel the opposition to at least
listen to your ideas.

So, the president doesn`t lack juice because he isn`t feeding Congress
enough dinner, it is because there aren`t 60 plus Democrats in the Senate.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, they had wild majorities back then.

So, we can reassure people who are driving to work on the West Coast
while this was going on, and everyone on the East Coast at work, they
missed absolutely nothing.

MELBER: They missed very little.

O`DONNELL: OK, good. They can go to sleep now.

Joy Reid, and Ari Melber, thank you both very much for joining me
tonight.

MELBER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jason Collins says he wears the number 98 to
honor Matthew Shepard who was murdered. Matthew Shepard`s parents will
join me next.

And breaking news out of Massachusetts where we now know who will run
against Ed Markey to replace John Kerry in the Senate, because I told you
long time ago Ed Markey was going to win the Democratic nomination tonight.

And in the rewrite, Rand Paul rewrites Rand Paul. And then, Rand Paul
rewrites Ron Paul. The lies the Paul family have been telling since the
Boston marathon bombings are in tonight`s "Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

O`DONNELL: The specific cause of the explosion at the fertilizer
plant in West, Texas, isn`t yet known, but Senator Barbara Boxer is
planning to hold hearings to find out why a plant that contained so many
explosive chemicals was inspected only one time in its 51-year-old history
by OSHA and was last inspected by the EPA in 1996. Also, was the
fertilizer plant storing ammonium nitrate without telling the Department of
Homeland Security, the same explosive used in the Oklahoma City bombing?

Up next, the parents of Matthew Shepard will join me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Thank you guys.

REPORTER: Jason Collins?

OBAMA: Yes.

I`ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him
yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and I told him I couldn`t
be prouder of him. One of the extraordinary measures of progress that
we`ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community
deserves full equality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was President Obama today on Jason Collins who made
history when he wrote this in "Sports Illustrated." I`m a 34-year-old NBA
center, I`m black and I`m gay."

Jason Collins is the first openly gay athlete on a major professional
sports team in this country`s 142 years of professional team sports.
Today, he discussed his phone call with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON COLLINS, NBA PLAYER: He was incredibly supportive and he was
proud of me and said that this not only affected my life but others going
forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Last season, Jason Collins wore jersey number 98. Collins
writes in "Sports Illustrated", "The number has great significance to the
gay community, one of the most notorious gay he crimes occurred in 1998,
Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who was kidnapped,
tortured, lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was
finally found. "

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Each time I put on jersey 98 this past season, I was already
sort of having that moment with myself, with my family, with my friends who
knew the significance of why I picked that number.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jersey 98 for Matthew Shepard.

COLLINS: Jersey 98 for Matthew Shepard. That`s why I wore jersey 98.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Matthew Shepard`s parents, Jodi and
Dennis. They have founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation to replace hate
with understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Thanks for joining me tonight.

JUDY SHEPARD, MOTHER OF SLAIN LGBT STUDENT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Judy, what did it feel like for you to hear Matthew
Shepard -- to hear Jason Collins talking about your son like that?

J. SHEPARD: It made me cry to know that Matt`s story has impact on
young people. We know it did. But for Jason to acknowledge Matt`s story,
to come out at all at this time, in his career and his life, is really
pretty amazing.

O`DONNELL: Dennis, what does it mean for people like Jason Collins,
and his unique position in our culture, unique in the sense no one else in
that position has come out? What do you think it means in this country,
this kind of moment.

DENNIS SHEPARD, FATHER OF SLAIN LGBT STUDENT: He gives a lot of hope
to young athletes all over the country, if they`re gay. In the past,
they`ve had to hide who they are and who they love. This gives them a
chance to be themselves and focus on what they should be focusing on which
is the sport that they`re participating in and not focusing half their
energy on trying to hide who they are.

O`DONNELL: Judy, the president talked about you in his speech to
Human Rights Campaign in one of the speeches. I would like to listen to
that now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I met her in the Oval Office and I promised her that we were
going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill. A bill named for her son.
And I can announce that after more than a decade, this bills set to pass
and I will sign it into law.

(APPLAUSE)

And it is a testament to Matthew and others who have been victims of
attacks not just meant to break bones but to break spirits, not just to
inflict harm but to instill fear. Together, we will move closer to that
moment where no one has to be afraid to be gay in America.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Judy, there have been many examples of how the tragedy
that your son suffered have actually helped galvanize efforts in people
moving forward on this issue. Was that the sense you got when you spoke to
the president in the oval office?

J. SHEPARD: I really did. I felt like he understood what we were
going through and what we are trying to achieve, unlike previous
administrations. So, I really was hopeful things will change and where
they really have changed. It`s really been amazing.

O`DONNELL: And, Dennis, this was something you started this
foundation literally weeks after your son was killed. It`s now become a
life`s work to you. What do you feel is the pace of progress now?

D. SHEPARD: It`s like running downhill, speeding up faster and
faster. To begin with, it was so slow and so difficult.

Judy especially, she was doing all of the traveling, I was overseas.
But she was fighting and fighting to be heard. And she was speaking to the
choir. But people are starting to realize that you either are related to
somebody or you know somebody who`s gay and you`re finding out they`re
common, ordinary citizens like you who are trying to struggle to keep a
job, to pay a mortgage, et cetera.

And because of that and with support of the president and vice
president being for gay marriage, it`s a downhill slide now with picking up
speed by everybody.

J. SHEPHARD: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Judy and Dennis Shepard, I am very sorry for your tragic
loss. And thank you very, very much for joining us tonight.

D. SHEPARD: Thank you very much.

J. SHEPARD: Thank you very much. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: What happened when the child of a Newtown shooting victim
confronted Senator Kelly Ayotte for voting against gun safety legislation?
That woman will join me for a LAST WORD exclusive.

And in Massachusetts, the primary is over and the race is set for who
will replace John Kerry in the Senate. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: You heard it here first. Tonight, Congressman Ed Markey
won the Democratic primary for Senate in Massachusetts. And you actually
heard it here first last year, the day Ed Markey announced his candidacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I am hereby declaring Ed Markey the winner to be in the
Senate race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Congressman Markey now faces Republican Gabriel Gomez in
the special general election on June 25th, which Markey will, of course,
easily win, just as he won the primary tonight.

And I am sweating out a nail biter in the Senate district -- the state
Senate district in Dorchester, where I grew up in Boston. Linda Dorsena
Forry (ph) was declared -- officially declared by the "Boston Globe" within
the hour. They have pulled that projection. She`s running against Nick
Collins, a guy from South Boston. So it`s Dorchester versus Southie.
Linda Dorsena Forry is now ahead of Nick Collins.

And if I haven`t gone too local for you, then sorry, but this will be
the first woman elected to this seat, the first person of color elected to
this seat. And when I was living there, that Senate seat was occupied by
Senator Billy Bulger, whose brother was the murderous gangster -- is the
murderous gangster, Whitey Bulger. All politics is local.

Joining me now, Ana Marie Cox, correspondent for "The Guardian." Ana
Marie, I wanted to get the local Dorchester stuff out of the way, because
you probably don`t have the latest numbers on that. And I figured I`d just
handle it --

ANA MARIE COX, "THE GUARDIAN": I can`t even pronounce it correctly.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So I just thought I`d handle that. I am telling
you, this is an incredible night in Dorchester.

COX: OK.

O`DONNELL: So big surprise, Ed Markey won.

COX: Yes. Everyone is shocked. The sun will also rise in the east
tomorrow, I understand. There`s lots of people in Massachusetts waiting
for that to happen. I have to say, you`re right, this is probably going to
be a walk for Markey. But I am very entertained by his opponent, who has a
great story. He was a Navy SEAL. You know, he is a Latino. He is
actually sort of in the Rubio camp for immigration reform, all of this
wonderful stuff. Also apparently kind of a Democrat. So, you know, it
will be an interesting race to the center, I guess -- to the left, I should
say.

He actually wrote a letter -- go ahead.

O`DONNELL: Didn`t Gabriel Gomez support President Obama at some
point?

COX: He did. He did. In 2008, he actually donated to Obama`s
campaign. Actually my favorite tid bit about him is that he was involved
with this Navy SEAL PAC, OPSec Education Fund. They were accused of being
a Republican front. When they had to say, oh now, we`re not a Republican
front, they pointed at him as being part of their bipartisan membership.
So, you know, I mean, I guess it is nice to see the Republicans moving to
the left. But he`s -- in Massachusetts, that`s understandable.

But he doesn`t really present a strong case in his campaign. So this
is not going to be that exciting. But again, it might be entertaining.

O`DONNELL: Yes, he is a guy with a great life story. This thing
about he supported Obama, this is classic Massachusetts Republican stuff.
You`ll remember that Mitt Romney did everything he could --

COX: Wait, who?

O`DONNELL: -- in Massachusetts to swear that he was not a Reaganite,
not that kind of Republican.

COX: What is it in the water there? Is it something only in
Republican water that has them flip flopping.

O`DONNELL: You do what you`ve got to do to get elected in a
Democratic state.

COX: Right. Right. Or not get elected, as the case maybe.

O`DONNELL: As the case is going to be in that instance. But he is an
interesting guy. Meanwhile, America, during the upcoming commercial break,
I will be studying the local state Senate race in Dorchester. I will have
the latest before we close it out tonight.

Ana Marie Cox, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the daughter of a Newtown shooting victim
confronts one of the senators who voted against massacre control
legislation. That young woman will join me for a LAST WORD exclusive.

And in the Rewrite, the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing has
pushed Rand Paul and Ron Paul to new lows in the way they very casually lie
to their followers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The director of national intelligence wants to know if the
FBI and CIA could have or should have done more with the intelligence that
they had about the suspected Boston bombers and their family. Director
James Clapper announced an independent review of information sharing
procedures and the handling of information related to the suspects prior to
the attack. The inspectors general of the FBI, Homeland Security and
intelligence agencies will carry out the review.

President Obama said today that, based on what he had seen, the FBI
and Department of Homeland Security had done what they were -- quote, "were
supposed to be doing," end quote.

In the spring of 2011, Russia`s spy agency asked the FBI to
investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev for possible involvement with Islamic
militants. They concluded that there was then no evidence that he or his
family were involved in terrorism.

Coming up next, Rand Paul lies about Rand Paul and Ron Paul lies about
the Boston police. Ron Paul lies about the people of Boston. He lies
about the people of Cambridge. He lies about the people of Watertown. Ron
Paul lies about all of that in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon
bombings. That`s next in the rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, a libertarian double feature. Rand
rewrites Rand Paul, and Rand Paul rewrites Ron Paul. Rand Paul rewrote
himself on drones after the Boston Marathon bombing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I`ve never argued against any
technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime
going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50
dollars in cash, I don`t care if a drone kills him or policeman kills him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Don`t care, huh? Here was Rand Paul on the Senate floor
last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RA. PAUL: No American should be killed by a drone on American soil
without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be
guilty by a court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So Rand Paul didn`t just Rewrite himself on drones. He
lied about what he had previously said about drones. He was attacked
online by some libertarians who realized that he wasn`t just lying about
his previous statements, he was violating libertarian principles. "I
disagree with shooting first and asking questions later," wrote one broken
hearted libertarian. "I am stunned by Rand`s statement," wrote another.

But they shouldn`t have been stunned, because, as I have pointed out
in this space before, inconsistency and lying are Rand Paul trademarks, as
is forcing his Senate staff to lie for him. His press secretary put out a
statement retracting the senator`s statement about killing liquor store
robbery suspects with drones. The retraction said "armed drones should not
be used in normal crime situations."

When asked if the senator was retracting his shoot to kill fleeing
liquor store robbery suspects with drones nonsense, the press secretary was
forced to lie. Quote, "not retracting," end quote, is what she said.

Yesterday, Rand`s father, Ron Paul, finally gave the world his long
awaited take on law enforcement reaction to the bombing, in an op-ed for a
libertarian website entitled "Liberty Was Also Attacked in Boston." Ron is
a much more consistent libertarian than Rand, who is surely the slowest
student of libertarianism in the Paul family. But Ron lies just as much as
his son, and just as blatantly, and always has.

The first word of Ron`s op-ed piece is a lie -- the first word! The
first sentence is a lie. The first paragraph is a lie. Let`s count the
lies in Ron`s first paragraph. Forced -- "forced lock down of a city" --
Now let`s listen to the governor announcing the forced lock down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We`re asking people to shelter
in place, in other words, to stay indoors, with their doors locked and not
to open the door for anyone other than a properly identified law
enforcement officer. And that applies here in Watertown, where we are
right now, also Cambridge, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, and at this point, all
of Boston -- all of Boston.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Did you get that? Forced? He said, we`re asking people
to shelter in place. That`s what the governor said. He did not order
anyone to do anything.

Now let`s listen to the guy who stepped up to the microphone right
after the governor, the Boston Police Commissioner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Mayor Menino has asked me to
come here and to tell you that the shelter in place recommend has been
extended through the city of Boston.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "The shelter in place recommendation." So forced is lie
number one. Let`s look at lie number two. Tanks. OK? There re no tanks
in Boston. The Boston Police don`t have tanks. This is a tank. And this
is the most fearsome vehicle that the Boston police used in the manhunt.
It is about as scary as the armored trucks that move cash to and from your
neighborhood bank.

It is not a tank. Look at those tires on the police vehicle. Now
look at the tires on a tank. See? No tires on a tank. Ron Paul knows the
difference. He served honorably in our military. He knows the difference
between a tank and an armored car. But for rhetorical effect, he prefers
the lie to the truth on that one.

"Door to door armed searches without warrant." Police don`t need
warrants if property owners welcome them into their homes. "Families
thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable
cause." No guns were pointed at any families. Some families vacated their
homes in Cambridge as police searched homes in that area, in the area of
the suspect`s home.

I was on the street in Cambridge then talking to the residents who
were very glad to be out of their homes for the few hours it took the
police to be sure that there were no bombs in that area, near the suspect`s
home, in or near the suspect`s home. The street that the police were
searching then was actually full of spectators and reporters watching the
bomb search from what we hoped was a safe distance.

None of the spectators on the street were following the recommendation
to shelter in place. And no police officer told them to go home because no
police officer had the authority to tell anyone to go home, because there
was no forced lock down. No businesses were forced to close. That`s
another Ron Paul lie. No businesses were forced to close. A wonderful
little cafe was doing a busy lunch business on the corner of the street
being searched for bombs in Cambridge.

"Transport shut down." Well, taxis were running most of the day. And
you could always drive a car anywhere you wanted. But subways and buses
were shut down. So I will give Ron Paul that one.

So the first paragraph has six sentences and five lies. Ron Paul
repeats variations on those lies throughout the piece, the shelter in place
command -- those are his words. That`s what he calls it. There was no
command. "The paramilitary troops terrorizing the public," those are the
words he used, "terrorizing the public." Here is how the public reacted to
being terrorized by their local police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "Paramilitary police riding in tanks and pointing
automatic weapons at innocent citizens," that`s what Ron Paul wrote. What
a vile lie. There were no tanks and there were no police pointing their
weapons at innocent citizens. And you know who knows what a despicable lie
that is? You know who knows how many police hating lies Ron Paul told in
his op-ed piece? Rand Paul.

Rand Paul knows. When he was issuing his non-retraction retraction
about supporting drone use in liquor store robberies, Rand Paul said this:
"fighting terrorism and capturing terrorists must be done while preserving
our Constitutional protections. This was demonstrated last week in
Boston."

I`m sorry, libertarians -- honest libertarians, you deserve better
spokesmen than Ron and Rand. But until you get better libertarian
advocates, you`re going to have to continue to endure paranoid lying
politicians in the Paul family.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERICA LAFFERTY, DAUGHTER OF LATE SANDY HOOK PRINCIPAL: I know that
you take the time to speak with me in your office in Washington the day
after the vote. I wanted to thank you for that. You have mentioned that
day the burden on owners of gun stores that the extended background checks
would cause. I`m just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned
down in the hall of an elementary school isn`t as important as that. Why
is that not something that can be supported?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So you`re a United States senator from New Hampshire, and
you`re back home in front of your previously friendly crowds at your town
hall meetings, and you get a question about your gun vote from someone
whose mother was killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School. That`s how it
went for Kelly Ayotte today in New Hampshire, where her poll numbers have
been sinking since she cast that vote against the popular will of her
constituents.

The senator`s town hall meeting was in New Hampshire for her New
Hampshire constituents. But the emotional center of gravity in the room
was the woman who drove up from Connecticut to ask a question out her
mother.

Joining me now for an exclusive interview, Erica Lafferty, the
daughter of the last Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn
Hochsprung. Erica, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

LAFFERTY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: So, Erica, you decided to drive today from Connecticut to
New Hampshire. What made you get in the car and go up there?

LAFFERTY: I really just wanted an answer to the question that I had
asked her the day after the vote, after she voted no: why doesn`t my
mother`s murder matter to her? And I got in my car at 6:00 this morning
and drove to New Hampshire to ask her exactly that. And again, I got the
run around, no clear answer. So I guess just in a search for an answer.

O`DONNELL: Well, you weren`t the only dissatisfied person in that
room today. There were other people who had a lot of trouble with the way
she voted.

LAFFERTY: There were a lot of people in the room that had very strong
opinions about her -- her no vote.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to one of those people trying to question her
about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t deny people the right to speak because
they haven`t filled out a card.

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I didn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a question, but it is based upon something
that was said here during the presentation.

(CROSS TALK)

AYOTTE: Let me say that I do every town hall meeting that way. I
have a process. We will get to as many questions as we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`d like to regulate that, but you don`t want to
regulate guns.

AYOTTE: Well --

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Erica, her approval numbers, as they say in politics, are
underwater since that vote. She has a 46 percent disapprove, a 44 percent
approval in New Hampshire. I guess you could feel a lot of that
disapproval in the room there today.

LAFFERTY: Absolutely. There was definitely quite a few people that
were very clearly upset with the vote that she decided to go with. It
definitely got a little intense there at a couple of points. And I don`t
know. Being there, you really felt her stumble a little. I don`t know if
she thought we were kind of going to disappear after she decided to vote
against something so common sense. But I mean, I had promised since the
very second that it came out that the legislation wasn`t approved that I
wasn`t away. And clearly I wasn`t joking.

O`DONNELL: Erica Lafferty gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you very
much for joining us tonight, Erica. And I`m very, very sorry for your
loss.

LAFFERTY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Erica. Chris Hayes is up next.

END

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