'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
May 1, 2013
Guests: Barbara Buono, Linda Dorcena Forry
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, the Boston marathon bombing case
has three more defendants. All of them are in custody.
Pete Williams of NBC News will join me with the latest on the
ALEX WAGNER, MSBNC ANCHOR: Three additional suspects have been taken
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: The FBI has now taken into custody
three additional people.
WAGNER: In the Boston marathon bombing case.
MITCHELL: The three were roommates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Two of these people are here on student
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS: Two students from Kazakhstan.
WILLIAMS: Ages 19 and 20.
ISIKOFF: Suspected of removing evidence after the bombing.
WILLIAMS: What they are accused of doing is taking some things.
ISIKOFF: Evidence that simply couldn`t find.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: At least two of them expected to be in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are accused in obstruction of justice.
WILLIAMS: Conspiracy to obstruct justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And making false statement.
WILLIAMS: Destroying, concealing and covering up a laptop computer.
WAGNER: This missing laptop.
ISIKOFF: And they take a backpack filled with fireworks and then they
throw it in the trash.
WILLIAMS: That`s what these charges are about.
DANNY: I think Dzhokhar is, like, follower.
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: This morning, we are learning about the events
MITCHELL: The Boston carjacking victim.
LAUER: That led the police to the suspects in the marathon attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was shaking, my body was shaking.
MITCHELL: He asked that his identity be obscured.
DANNY: I was worried it would come back to me.
MITCHELL: He said he will testify in open court.
ISIKOFF: There`s a lot we need to learn here.
WAGNER: It is obviously a fluid situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just the beginning of a very long process.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, three more people now face federal criminal
charges in the investigation of the Boston marathon bombings, according to
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov seen here in this Times Square
picture with bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev willfully conspired with
each other to commit an offense against the United States, two with by
knowingly destroying, concealing and covering up objects belonging to
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, mainly a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop
computer, with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the criminal
investigation of the marathon bombings.
A third man, Robel Phillipos, is accused of knowingly and willfully
making materially false statements to federal investigators in a matter
within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States, to a
All three men are friends of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and
began attending the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with him in
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov -- don`t worry about my
pronunciation, Pete Williams will get it all right for you -- are both
nationals of Kazakhstan, who entered the U.S. on student visas. They were
taken to custody five days after the bombings on student visa violations
for not regularly attending classes. They shared an apartment in New
Authorities say the three friends went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev`s dorm
room and removed a laptop and a backpack that contained fireworks and a jar
of Vaseline, among other things.
According to the complaint, they watched news report that featured
photographs of a man later identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and that
identified the men in the photographs as a suspect in the bombings.
According to Kadyrbayev, they then collectively decided to throw the
fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get in
All three men had their initial hearings in federal court in Boston
today. Defense attorneys spoke outside the courthouse afterward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIOP)
ROBERT STAHL, ATTORNEY: He did not know that this individual was
involved in the bombing. His first inkling came much later. The
government allegations as far as that he saw a photo and recognized him
immediately, we dispute. He did not know that those items were involved in
a bombing or of any interest in the bombing, or any evidential value. So,
that`s all we have to say on that.
MARLAN PROTASS, ATTORNEY: My client Azamat Tazhayakov feels horrible
and was shocked to hear that someone he knew at the University of
Massachusetts-Dartmouth was involved with the Boston marathon bombing, just
like many other individuals who are interviewed on campus.
He`s cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the
truth coming out in this case.
DEREGE DEMISSIE, ATTORNEY: My client is not charged with helping the
suspect in anyway whatsoever before or after, and he had no knowledge of
the incident. And as to the actual charge of misrepresentation of the
other two individuals did or did not do, we`ll look forward to litigating
that in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is NBC News justice correspondent Pete
Williams, and retired ATF special agent, James Cavanaugh, an MSNBC analyst.
First of all, Pete, thank you for being here on the first night of
pronouncing these new names. I`m going to need your help.
Pete, first, I just want to go to the lawyers, first of all,
representing these new defendants. Are they court-appointed lawyers? What
do we know about how these new defendants got their lawyers?
WILLIAMS: No, these are private counsels. Some of them had been
representing the two on the immigration issue, which has arisen several
days ago when they were initially picked up in New Bedford, because there
was a question about their student visas. But the fact is the FBI has been
trying to figure out what happened here for several days now.
What -- as I understand, the sequence of events here. After Tsarnaev
is arrested on Friday night and after the shootout in Waterford, they get
his cell phone and they look back in his cell phone for the records of his
cell phones and his texts. And they see that he`s texted several of these
individuals. So that`s thing one.
Thing two is they talked to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev`s actual roommate at
UMass-Dartmouth campus who tells them the story about these men coming in
and taking something out. So, that got them on to the trail. They have
been questioning the men. They`ve been trying to figure this out.
They, you know, discovered the backpack was thrown away. They find it
in e landfill five days ago, the actual backpack. The picture you showed
with fireworks in it, those came the FBI from the backpack that they have
But the counselors are not court-appointed. They are regular, private
O`DONNELL: So, Pete, one person who`s on the clear as of tonight
anyway in this investigation was Dzhokhar`s actual roommate.
WILLIAMS: Yes. There`s no suggestion here he had anything to do with
this. We should I think say at some point, and this is probably the good
time, that there`s no allegation here by the FBI, that these three men
charged today had anything to do with the bombing itself or were involved
in planning or executing it.
This entire charge has to do with what they did afterwards. What they
did after they saw the FBI released the pictures of the two bombing
suspects on a Thursday night. It`s later that evening they go to Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev`s dorm room, take the backpack away.
The FBI says they were suspicious that he was involved, that one of
them texted him and said, boy, you sure like one of the suspects. The FBI
says Tsarnaev responded, "LOL" and "Come to my room and take anything you
want." But they then go to the room, they decided to take the backpack
And then, the next morning, according to the FBI, as they are watching
the news accounts and the names come out about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev, they decide to throw the backpack away.
O`DONNELL: So, Pete, on this point of the texting, the FBI is not
alleging, it sounds like, that this was a coordinated thing, that Dzhokhar
was saying to them, go to this, I need you to throw that stuff away.
WILLIAMS: Correct. According to the court documents, he never says,
I need you to go to my dorm room, get the backpack and throw it away.
You know, there`s an implied I guess you could say invitation, come to
my room and take anything you want. It also says in the court documents
that they consider that something of a joke. And then they go to the room
and they find the backpack. And that`s when, according to the FBI, says
that one of them knew, at that point, is the term the FBI uses, knew that
Tsarnaev was involved in the bombing.
Now, you just heard the lawyer Robert Stahl for one of the defendants
who says no, Kadyrbayev`s lawyer, he says, no, they did not think that they
were taking evidence directly related to the bombing out of the dorm room.
Why they were taking it out, he doesn`t say.
O`DONNELL: James Cavanaugh, you have worked investigations like this.
You came across this package of evidence, the texts and then the knowledge
that these people went to the dorm room, what they did, the roommate tells
you this is what they did with that stuff. They got rid of it. What do
you make of this evidence as it`s gathered now in this case?
JAMES CAVANAUGH, MSBNC ANALYST: Well, they made a clear choice,
Lawrence. Remember, you have to add in the other facts in complaint which
Dzhokhar had told at least one of the brothers a month before he knew how
to make bombs. They saw the photographs. They got the texts from
Dzhokhar, "Take anything out of my room." And they had exchanged, "You
look like the bomber, LOL."
They decided they knew that Dzhokhar was one of the bombers. So, they
made an active, conscious criminal choice to obstruct justice, to go in
there and get the backpack as Pete described, the fireworks. The evidence
in there, some Vaseline and some other materials and his laptop, which
would be significant evidence to stop another attack. These guys had left
with other bombs.
So, you know, taking that laptop is pretty serious because agents
would want to get in there and see if there`s another attack afoot. And
they made a conscious decision to obstruct justice. So, it`s serious.
O`DONNELL: James, when you say that what -- based on what we know
about the case and what you know about the frame of the case, as of now,
that what they did in that dorm room was actually remove the most valuable
possible material in there for investigators.
CAVANAUGH: Exactly. I mean, the laptop, Lawrence -- now, Mike
Isikoff just reported a little while ago that he talked to one of the
counsels for these defendant. And the counsel told Mike Isikoff that they
turned the laptop over to the FBI.
So, you know, that solves the question, the laptop wasn`t in the
backpack, but it was turned over to the FBI. They have already swept it,
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Pete.
WILLIAMS: And one other thing, the FBI claims in the charging
documents that the reason they took the laptop was, and I`m just going to
tell you what it says. You can decide the logic of this on your own. But
according to the complaint, they didn`t want to roommate to be suspicious
that they were only taking the backpack, so they took the laptop, too.
That`s their claim.
O`DONNELL: Pete, what kind of penalties do they face in these
WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, bear in mind that this isn`t the end of
the game here, that the government can always come back with more charges.
This is the opening move by the government. As they learn more, they can
add more charges.
But in terms of the charges right now, the obstruction count carries a
maximum of five years. The lying to federal agent count against Phillipos
carries a maximum eight-year sentence. But, as I say, there may be more
charges down the road.
O`DONNELL: Pete Williams and James Cavanaugh, thank you both for your
WILLIAMS: You bet.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, you`ll hear from the man whose car was hijacked
by the bombing suspects and how he was able to help the police track them
And, tonight, in the rewrite, a personal look at my Boston, the place
where I grew up and why we are all better off now that my Boston no longer
O`DONNELL: History was made in Boston last night in a local election
for a state Senate that no one outside of Boston paid any attention to.
The woman who made that history will join me later.
And, next, you`ll hear from the man whose car was hijacked by the
Boston bombing suspects.
O`DONNELL: One of the key breaks in the hunt for the Boston bombing
suspects came after they carjacked a man in Cambridge. That man escaped,
he called the police from a nearby gas station, told them what happened and
told them that his cell phone was still inside the car.
Tracking that cell phone is what led police to the suspects in
I have exchanged e-mails with that man whose car was hijacked. But
Matt Lauer actually got to sit down with him and hear his story.
He is a 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur who wants to be known only as
Danny. What you are about to see, his face is concealed and his voice has
MATT LAUER, NBC ENWS: It`s three nights after the bombing. It`s
LAUER: And you are sitting in your car. And what happened?
DANNY: I saw someone pull over to the curb just behind me. And there
was a person on the passenger side. He jumped out of the car and they walk
to my car. He looks at my window. So I lower it down. Suddenly, he put
his hand in and opened the door from the inside.
LAUER: What did he say to you?
DANNY: He took out his gun and pointed to me and said, "Where`s the
LAUER: How close did he put the gun to you?
DANNY: Right there.
LAUER: So, right at your head?
LAUER: Did you think at that moment this is the guy the FBI is
DANNY: No. I thought it was a different guy from a picture.
LAUER: He asked you a question, didn`t he? Have you been following
the news of the bombings?
DANNY: Yes, of course, I know. And then he said, "I did. And I just
killed a policeman in Cambridge."
LAUER: You take off driving, you had to be scared to death.
DANNY: Yes, I was real scared.
LAUER: How did you even manage to drive?
DANNY: At first, I couldn`t manage to drive. I was shaking, my body
was shaking. Tamerlan told me to, "Relax, man, slow down, don`t drive too
LAUER (voice-over): Danny followed Tamerlan`s directions and drove as
the younger brother Dzhokhar followed in a sedan. Tamerlan soon took over
behind the wheel. And Dzhokhar joined them in the Mercedes.
(on camera): When Dzhokhar got in the car, did he say anything to
DANNY: He didn`t say too much to me. He was pretty quiet.
LAUER: Did you get a sense from the way they interacted with each
other that they were equals?
DANNY: I think Dzhokhar was like a follower.
LAUER: Why do you say that?
DANNY: Because Dzhokhar went out to the ATM. He went out to get the
gas. Tamerlan never get out of the car.
LAUER: So, he was the guy doing the errands.
DANNY: Yes. Yes.
LAUER: They loaded things some things from the second car into your
SUV, didn`t they?
DANNY: They did.
LAUER: What did they put in your car?
DANNY: I actually had no idea at that time.
LAUER: You know now.
DANNY: Yes, explosives.
LAUER: And when you think back that you were driving around in the
car, not only with two people who have allegedly committed murder, in the
back of the car there are explosives, what do you think now?
DANNY: I think I was really lucky. God was with me.
LAUER (voice-over): As the night wore on, Danny`s friends began to
text and call his cell phone, wondering why he wasn`t home.
(on camera): Now, the phone is going off. I think -- is it true, you
didn`t answer it one time?
DANNY: I missed the first call because Tamerlan was trying to me. He
asked me, "Who is calling you? Who is calling you?" I said, "It`s my
And he was nervous. He took out his gun, pointed it to me, saying,
"If you say any single word in Chinese, I will kill you right now.
LAUER: But you answered the phone?
DANNY: I answered the second call.
LAUER: What did your roommate ask you?
DANNY: He was talking in Chinese, asking me, "Danny, where are you?"
LAUER: And you couldn`t answer --
DANNY: I couldn`t answer the question, yes.
LAUER: He`s threatened to kill you.
DANNY: (INAUDIBLE) I just told him, I said, I`m going to sleep at my
friend`s place tonight. My roommate is like, what? Why you speak English
to me. I kept talking, I got to go. I got to go.
LAUER: Why don`t you think they killed you?
DANNY: I don`t know.
LAUER: Do you think it`s because you weren`t American?
DANNY: That`s not the only reason. We had a lot of conversation. I
make him feel that won`t do anything stupid.
LAUER (voice-over): Danny considered many different ways to escape,
but he decided to make his move when they stopped at this gas station in
(on camera): At that time, they only took cash?
DANNY: They only took cash. Dzhokhar went inside of the store to pay
cash. So, I thought it`s very good chance because only one with him in the
LAUER: If you are going to escape, it had to be quick.
LAUER: What did you have to do?
DANNY: I was thinking unfasten my seatbelt and open my door.
LAUER: With the left hand you undid the seatbelt, with the right
hand, you opened that door and you took off.
DANNY: I took off.
LAUER: Did you hear him react to you opening that door?
DANNY: He tried to grab me. He was trying to grab me.
LAUER: With this hand, he tried to grab you back but just missed you.
DANNY: Just missed me. It was very close. I can feel it.
LAUER (voice-over): Danny ran into a different gas station and called
911. He told police they could track the suspects through his car`s
satellite system and the iPhone he had left behind.
(on camera): Have you thought because that happened and they did
track them quickly, that perhaps you prevented further bloodshed that
DANNY: I was trying to do, you know, what I can do.
LAUER: It couldn`t have been too long after that. A half hour later
there was a shoot out in Watertown.
LAUER: And Tamerlan was killed.
LAUER: What was your reaction?
DANNY: I was worried they would come back to me. When I heard it on
the news, I felt a little bit of relief.
O`DONNELL: You can see more of Matt Lauer`s interview by going to our
Web site, thelastword@MSNBC.com.
Coming up, why is Chris Christie already running television ads in his
re-election campaign? Does he know something political pundits don`t know?
Like maybe his re-election isn`t a sure thing?
The Democratic candidate for the governor of New Jersey, State Senator
Barbara Buono will join me next for a LAST WORD exclusive.
O`DONNELL: On Saturday, Mitt Romney, you remember him, gave the
commencement address at Southern Virginia University, where 92 percent of
the student body are Mormons. Mitt fondly remembered his days as a young
man serving as a Mormon missionary in France.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Almost every
missionary says that those are the most difficult years of his life. And
they are also the best years of his life or her life.
Now, think about that. It may sound like a paradox, but actually
follows one from the other. Mission years are the best years in part
because they are the hardest years. When you are living to the fullest,
beyond yourself, beyond comfort, life is most full and exhilarating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here are the Mormon men who don`t say their mission years
were the most difficult years of their lives. They are the Mormon men of
Mitt Romney`s age, and there aren`t many of them, who served their church
as missionaries and who did not, like Mitt Romney, avoid service in the
Refusing to serve in that war was not dishonorable. In fact, young
men under pressure from draft board who is refused to serve on that war did
the honorable service of helping to bring that war to an end through their
But supporting that war and supporting the draft that sent young men
to their deaths in Vietnam, which Mitt Romney did, supporting those two
things, the war and the draft, then refusing to serve in that war, was the
most dishonorable posture that was possible for an able-bodied man of Mitt
So, yes, for a rich kid like Mitt, who didn`t go to Vietnam, his
missionary time in France was for him and him alone the best of times and
the worst of times.
Coming up, Chris Christie`s made a move that should tell everyone he`s
not so sure his re-election is going to be so easy. His Democratic
opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono, will join me next.
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, Chris Christie is running
scared. He is running scared of President Obama and scared of Barbara
Buono. That`s why on the strikingly early date of May 1st, today, Chris
Christie is spending real campaign money on his first television ad.
Campaign professionals don`t like to spend money on TV advertising before
voters are paying attention to political campaigns, which is why they spend
most of their money beginning after Labor Day of the election year.
I know everyone in the political media takes Chris Christie`s re-
election completely for granted. But obviously Chris Christie doesn`t.
He`s running in a state where President Obama won 58 percent in the last
election. The president easily crushed the presidential candidate Chris
Christie endorsed and was supporting in New Jersey. Both of the United
States senators from New Jersey are Democrats. New Jersey hasn`t sent a
Republican to the United States Senate since 1972.
So running scared in New Jersey for Republicans statewide is the smart
way to run. Joining me now is the woman who has Chris Christie running
scared, New Jersey State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate
for New Jersey governor. How surprised were you that Chris Christie jumped
out on May 1st with a TV buy?
BARBARA BUONO (D), CANDIDATE FOR NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: It is a little
surprising. But it shows that he recognizes that his numbers are
artificially inflated from the aftermath of Sandy. I mean, he doesn`t need
it for name recognition. He`s got 100 percent name recognition.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at the ad that started running today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four years ago, New Jersey was broken, run away
spending, the nation`s highest taxes and unemployment on the rise. Then we
elected Chris Christie. He made the tough decisions to get New Jersey back
on track: taxes cut, spending cut, government made smaller and smarter, a
real property tax cap, working with Democrats and Republicans, believing
that as long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn`t a dirty
The result, four balanced budgets in a row, with no new taxes for
anyone, the best job growth in 12 years, nearly 130,000 new private sector
jobs, merit pay to reward New Jersey`s best teachers, and the most
education funding ever.
But the most important thing he did has little to do with numbers,
statistics or politics. He made us proud to say we are from New Jersey.
Chris Christie, the governor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Buono, you were shaking your head watching that
ad. I have a feeling you may have a response to that ad.
BUONO: Well, what I find striking is the fact that it appears that
he`s suggesting that New Jerseyans are proud as the result of the fact that
he was elected as governor of the state of New Jersey. I was born and
raised in New Jersey, and I have been proud for a long time. But what we
are not proud of is this governor`s record on unemployment. We have over
400,000 that are still out of work.
Property taxes? Taxes haven`t risen in New Jersey on millionaires,
but property taxes have risen 20 percent. He`s living in some alternative
universe where, you know, we are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes
to economic growth, and yet he`s calling it a New Jersey comeback. I beg
to differ and I`m going to change that.
O`DONNELL: There`s -- the Newtown shooting victims have come to New
Jersey. One of the Newtown parents came to Trenton for a press conference
yesterday. Let`s listen to what Nicole Hawkley had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE HAWKLEY, PARENT OF CHILD KILLED IN NEWTOWN: In the time it
took him to reload in one of the classrooms, 11 children were able to
escape. That was Dylan`s classroom. He was not able to escape. I`m one
of those parents who ask myself every day, every minute, if those magazines
had held 10 rounds instead of 30, forcing the shooter to reload many more
times, would my son be alive today?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I think the answer is yes, her son probably would be alive
today. What is your answer to that? What is Chris Christie`s answer to
BUONO: He has had a failure of leadership on this. It`s unfortunate.
I met with the parents yesterday in Trenton. I have to tell you, after
coming out of that meeting, I don`t know how anyone -- anyone could
disagree that you need to reduce that magazine capacity to 10.
You know, it really is a matter of lives. Five more bullets, five
more lives could have been taken. What was explained to me was the example
that the mom just -- we talked about our kids, too. It was a wonderful,
powerful, poignant conversation. And she related how in the one classroom
where all of the children were killed. And then in another classroom, his
gun jammed. So there was a hesitation and so many children`s lives were
saved. That for me really underscored how important, how vital it is in
any kind of a gun safety package to include that reduction of magazines.
O`DONNELL: I think the magazine size is the most important element.
That`s how they stopped the shooter in the Gabby Giffords case, when his
magazine was empty and he had to reload. Chris Christie does not support
any limits on the size of magazines.
BUONO: No, he doesn`t. And unfortunately it seems as though there`s
a disagreement in the Senate and the Assembly. Hopefully we are going to
have a meeting of the minds and pass something meaningful, because it is
time to stand-up to the gun lobby. Our children demand it. Our families
demand it. And I can tell you this, I`m going to fight with every fiber in
my being to get it passed. And if I don`t, when I`m governor, that will be
one of the first priorities I have.
O`DONNELL: And in New Jersey, where do you think your key
vulnerability targets are in campaigning against Chris Christie? What
would be the top three ways you have to get voters going your way?
BUONO: Well, I think jobs and the economy are the top vulnerability.
We have 300 -- over 400,000 people still out of work. New Jersey`s middle
class actually shrunk under this governor. Property taxes have risen on
average of 20 percent under this governor. so middle class and the working
poor are suffering.
In essence, this governor has just -- his policies have hurt them.
He`s turned his back on them. And I feel it because I lived that. On your
show last time, I talked about that. And the funding of our public schools
has fallen short. His first year in office, he cut over a billion dollars
in our public schools. So I consider public education really the
foundation of democracy. If I didn`t grew up -- I`m under no allusion. If
I grew up and didn`t have a quality public school foundation to build upon
and a quality higher education that was affordable, I wouldn`t be sitting
here running for governor of the state of New Jersey. No doubt in my mind.
O`DONNELL: Senator Barbara Buono, thank you very much for joining us
BUONO: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Coming up in the Rewrite, how history was made in Boston
last night. It`s a story of politicians and gangsters and Boston`s
reputation as a racist city. The old Boston and the new Boston are in
And later, we`ll be joined by the woman who made history in Boston
last night. And she did it in the neighborhood where I grew up.
O`DONNELL: Last night, it was easy for the "Boston Globe" and
Associated Press to call the race for Ed Markey in the campaign for the
Democratic nomination for Senate, to take over what was the John Kerry
Senate seat. That was the easy call of the night. The tough call was the
local race for the State Senate seat that covers the neighborhood that I
used to live in in Boston.
The "Boston Globe" called it for the guy from south Boston and they
were wrong. They had to reverse it. The candidate from Dorchester, the
candidate from my neighborhood won, and she made history when she did that.
That history is next in the Rewrite.
O`DONNELL: It`s not my Boston anymore. The Boston I grew up in has
been busy rewriting itself since I left in the mid-1980s. When I left
Boston, Whitey Bulger wasn`t the most famous gangster in America. Whitey
Bulger wasn`t even a well known name in Boston. Then, no one imagined that
Whitey would be the inspiration for a Jack Nicholson character in a
I never met Whitey, but I met Ginaro Angulo (ph), the godfather of the
Boston mafia. Gerry Angulo was a gangster`s gangster. They all looked up
to Gerry. He was more than respected. He was held in awe by his soldiers.
Whitey Bulger was a spec in Ginaro Angulo`s world. No one cared about
Whitey Bulger in those days. No one respected him. No one liked him.
Whitey Bulger was a squirrelly little rat of a gangster.
The only reason anyone ever thought about Whitey was his brother. He
was Billy`s brother. That was his minor claim to fame in the Boston
underworld. Billy Bulger was the state senator who represented my district
and Whitey Bulger`s district in the Massachusetts legislature. And Billy
wasn`t just the senator. Billy was the president of the Massachusetts
Billy was, by far, the most powerful person in Massachusetts`s
government. And his brother was a gangster and a murderer. Governor`s
came and went, Democrat and Republican, but they all had to deal with
Billy. Most of the time, they had to do what Billy wanted them to do.
And one thing all governors had to do was come to Billy`s St.
Patrick`s Day breakfast in South Boston where Billy would sing and tell
jokes about his politically powerful guests and bask in the pure joy of his
power. Here is Billy 20 years ago joking, but not really joking with the
Republican Governor Bill Weld about who really runs the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY BULGER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF MASSACHUSETTS SENATE: Look at Weld,
trying to -- enjoy your corned beef and cabbage. Silver is coming back
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as he still has you, Mr. President.
BULGER: Oh, as long as he still has you? Oh, I get it. You are
going to be running against me? Maybe I`ll let them all in on the big
secret between you and me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh no, not that.
BULGER: You all think he`s the governor?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: At that same breakfast, Billy made a rare public reference
to his brother, the murderer. He did it in song, with the governor. And
it brought the house down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So there`s the Republican governor, William Weld, singing
with Billy about Billy`s gangster brother rigging the Massachusetts Lottery
so Billy would win. Bill Weld`s job before becoming governor was local
U.S. attorney. He was the guy who was supposed to put gangsters like
Whitey Bulger away for life. And there he is singing about Whitey with
Billy in public, for all to see and for all to laugh about.
In my Boston, it wasn`t even slightly weird that the president of the
Senate had a brother who was a gangster and a murderer. Families in my
neighborhood had outcomes like that. We didn`t have to answer for our
brothers. Everyone understood that. Billy never had to answer for Whitey.
A gangster brother would sink you in politics anywhere else, but not in my
Billy loved the title president. So when he left the senate, he gave
himself the presidency of the University of Massachusetts, which is, of
course, owned by the state of Massachusetts, which was then owned by Billy
Bulger. Billy paid himself a lot more as UMass president than in the
Senate. He had no academic credentials or experience that made him
qualified for a university presidency.
By that time, Whitey was a hunted fugitive, wanted for multiple
murders. And people outside of my very understanding neighborhood wanted
to know what Billy knew about Whitey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bulger, have you talked to your brother,
James, since 1995? And if so, where was he and where is he now?
BULGER: On advice of counsel, I am unable to answer any questions
today. And this position is based, among other things, on privacy and due
process rights, and the right against being compelled to provide evidence
that may tend to incriminate myself, all of which are found in the Bill of
Rights, including the rights and privileges under the First, Fifth and
Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No, Billy didn`t sing for Congress. And it was a fast
downhill for Billy from there. He was forced to resign his final
presidency months later. No single picture tells you more about the
ugliest truth about my Boston than this one. I`ll never forget the black
man`s name, Ted Landsmark. He was walking near city hall when he was
attacked for nothing other than the color of his skin.
The attacker was one of the endless stream of protesters against
school bussing in Boston in those days. This is the image that black
America has about Boston, my Boston. To this day, 37 years later, when I
meet people and say I`m from Boston, I find ways to reassure them that I am
not that guy, the guy with the flag.
The school buses carrying black children into Billy Bulger`s district
were stoned. They threw eggs at Ted Kennedy in those days. Boston was
seething with hatred and racism. Billy Bulger`s Boston, my Boston.
Since Billy Bulger left the Senate, his seat has been occupied by
white guys from South Boston. And the political world thought it would
always be, even though there are more voters in Dorchester than Southie.
Last night, the "Boston Globe" called the primary election for Billy`s
seat for the white guy from Southie, once again. But Linda Dorcena Forry,
from my neighborhood in Dorchester, refused to concede. Instead, she gave
a victory speech in English and Haitian Creole. Today, with all the votes
counted, the winner in the race for what was once Billy Bulger`s seat in
the Massachusetts Senate is the Dorchester daughter of Haitian immigrants.
She will be the only black member of the Massachusetts Senate. And
she`ll be my next guest. It`s not my Boston anymore. That is a very, very
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA DORCENA FORRY, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR MASSACHUSETTS STATE
SENATE: To be here and to stand here in front of all of you, and to stand
here as the Democratic nominee --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: For me, the most important election outcome in
Massachusetts last night was not Ed Markey winning for the Democratic
nomination for Senate, the United States Senate. That is a very important
job, but that election was decided the day Ed Markey announced his
candidacy, as I predicted on this program.
What I was watching very nervously last night were the election
returns in the state Senate district where I used to live. That election
was the stuff of history. Joining me now for an exclusive interview is the
winner of that election, Massachusetts State Representative Linda Dorcena
Linda, thank you very much for much for joining us tonight.
FORRY: Thank you for having me, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: So, you had a wicked weird night. The "Boston Globe"
endorsed you in the campaign and then they called the election for your
opponent, the guy from Southie, because they just figure, hey, the guy from
Southie always wins that thing. You refused to concede. The dust clears
this morning, the votes are counted, you are the winner. What was that
night like for you?
FORRY: You know, we had -- first of all, I`m happy to be here on the
show. We had an amazing team, an amazing campaign team, incredible
volunteers and everyone on the ground. And you know, we had folks closing
the polls. We knew by our numbers directly from the field that we were the
So when that happened, you know, I felt sad really for the other side,
because they have volunteers as well who worked so hard, and to be excited
and then deflated. But for us, it was really about hitting the ground and
doing the work of the people and getting out there and letting people know
who I am in terms of serving as a state rep for the past eight years and my
O`DONNELL: Linda, do you feel the weight of history that I feel for
you as someone who grew up in that district, seeing you as the first woman
elected there, seeing Dorchester finally win one in a district that
includes Southie and Dorchester, and obviously you being Haitian-American
is the big news of the night for that district? Do you feel all that or
did it just feel, to you, growing up there that this was something you were
going to be able to do?
FORRY: I`m telling you, to me, it felt like this is something I was
going to be able to do, right? I`m a native Bostonian, just like you,
Lawrence, born and raised in Dorchester. My husband`s from Dorchester and
we`re raising our family here. Boston`s an amazing, amazing place to live,
work and raise a family.
And I just love this opportunity. I`m humbled by it and honored to be
the nominee, the Democratic nominee to be the senator for the First Suffolk
Senate district. It`s going to be work, but we have been out in South
Boston, in Dorchester, Matapin and Hyde Park, which makes up the First
Suffolk District. That`s something we have been doing for a long time,
been breaking barriers a long time.
So representing the First Suffolk Seat is nothing really new to me,
because my husband is Irish-American, Bill Forry. We`re raising four
biracial children. So we celebrate Irish culture in my house. We
celebrate Haitian culture. We celebrate African-American culture. So for
me, this is just an amazing opportunity to continue the work that I`ve been
doing for the past eight as a state rep now in the Senate.
O`DONNELL: Linda, I want to show you a picture that I took of you
while you were campaigning. This is 10 days before the election. There I
was peacefully having brunch. By the way, the word brunch didn`t exist in
Dorchester when I lived there. Having brunch on a Saturday. And you are
out there on the campaign trail. And you stopped by my table. And there
you are feeding the youngest, I guess, of the four. We had a nice chat.
You went back out chasing votes. And it looks like you chased just enough
FORRY: We did. We chased just enough. It was so nice meeting you,
Lawrence, because we are proud of you, by the way, as a Dorchester guy.
You are doing an awesome job. But that was baby Norah. Norah will be one
on July 1st. When I first ran eight years ago, we only had one child, and
that was John. He was 16 months old. He is now nine. I`ve had Connor who
is six, Madeleine will be three and baby Norah will be one.
So three kids in office, having three children in office, but now
four. It`s really been a blessing, but I have an amazing support. My
husband is fantastic. I wouldn`t be able to do this job if it wasn`t for
him, Bill Forry, who has been by my side from the very beginning. And my
incredible parents, Annie and Andre Dorcena, I have to give them props,
because I sit here because of them.
They left Haiti not speaking a lick of English to come here for a
better life. And in the process, they had their children and they taught
us the importance of being connected to community and giving back, but are
really doing well in school. Because we didn`t have a million bucks in the
bank account. So, you know, I was able to do well in school to get a
scholarship to Boston Collage, Carrow School of Management. I`m doing my
MPA at the Kennedy School. And so my parents -- you know, I love my
parents and they did a fantastic job.
O`DONNELL: Linda, is this your first national television interview?
FORRY: You know what, this is -- OK, so my first talking about
myself. When President Obama first ran the first time, I was a surrogate
for him on some TV shows. But this is the first time, yeah.
O`DONNELL: Good, because I want people to look back on this and use
this video when you are in your presidential campaign, I don`t know, 20
years down the road or whenever that`s going to happen. It is my honor to
say that Linda Dorcena Forry, the history maker in Boston, gets tonight`s
LAST WORD. Thank you, Linda.
FORRY: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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