updated 6/20/2013 10:40:31 AM ET 2013-06-20T14:40:31

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
June 19, 2013
Guests: Steve LaTourette, Sam Stein, Nicole Lamoureux


ALEX WAGNER, GUEST HOST: The Republican Party allegedly knows what it did
wrong in 2012. I say allegedly, because -- well, let`s just go to the
videotape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: It has been a wild day in Washington. With
the raucous caucus of the GOP --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re calling this all day news conference.

BASHIR: A full day of carnival-esque rallies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what they spend their time doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Surely, they know how ridiculous they look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stand strongly for the Defense of Marriage Act.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is continuing the extremist agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the best circumstance for a child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The message to women is you really don`t count.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Part of the problem is we need to go back into the
school and have a class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re more concerned about doing what they want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what a father does. This is what a mom does.

CHARACTER: Your mother has been worried sick. And I`ve been watching TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need a shared partner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop talking in this way.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: What are they thinking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans have been wrestling with this since the
election.

BASHIR: Its own autopsy says they look scary and out of touch.

MITCHELL: And you won`t believe what another Republican congressman has to
say about fetuses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they`re a male baby, they may have their hand
between their legs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the hand (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They feel pleasure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop talking in this way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem for Republicans right now, they don`t have
a strong national leader.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Any reform bill ought to
have the majority of both parties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even Speaker John Boehner, yes, he has the party, he is
not a strong speaker.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: If he were a woman, they`d be
calling him the weakest speaker in history.

BOEHNER: Maybe.

HOMER SIMPSON: She knew my one weakness, that I`m weak.

BOEHNER: Maybe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody get that man a bourbon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WAGNER: I`m Alex Wagner, in for Lawrence.

After the Republicans lost the presidency and seats in the House and
Senate, the Republican Party released a 97-page autopsy to determine what
exactly went so very wrong. It included diagnosis like this: when it comes
to social issues, the party must indeed be inclusive and welcoming. If we
are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others,
including women.

That recommendation did not prevent the House of Representatives from
passing a bill last night that upends Roe v. Wade, and eliminates a woman`s
right to choose an abortion 20 weeks after conception. And it did not
prevent the Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey from making the case for
the Defense of Marriage Act, using this particularly terrible argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: Maybe part of the problem is we need to go
back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level
and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young girls
and say you know, this is what`s important. You know, this is what a
father does that is -- may be a little different, maybe a little bit better
than the talents that a mom has in a certain area, and the same thing for
the young girls. You know, this is what a mom does. And this is what is
important from the standpoint of that union, which we would call marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Congressman Gingrey is the newest addition to what "Politico"
today dubs the GOP`s clueless caucus. As much of the GOP strains to
implement a post-2012 course correction, the party has found itself stymied
over and over by what leaders described as a tiny rump of hand-fisted polls
with the knack for stumbling onto cable news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very
low.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did America get so mediocre?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both parent started working. And the mom is in work
place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to
try to shut that whole thing down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even when life begins in that horrible situation of
rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Here is an assessment of the Grand Old Party delivered today by
its most popular commentator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: The Republican Party is hanging by a thread.
They are either embarrassed of the base, they don`t like the base, you
know, the pro-life. The caricature, pro-life, the gun-toting, shotgun-
shooting, tobacco-spitting crowd. Wouldn`t be embarrassed or wouldn`t be
bothered at all if that group of people said to heck with you, we`re
leaving, and even if it meant losing a couple of elections.

But the Republicans can`t afford defections, because they don`t have people
picking up the slack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Joining me now: former White House press secretary and an MSNBC
contributor, Robert Gibbs. And former Republican Congressman Steve
LaTourette, from Speaker Boehner`s home state of Ohio.

Robert, I would like to start with you first and draw you to an interview
in a publication that I admittedly do not read frequently, "Playboy"
magazine, which has an interview with Sean Hannity.

ROBERT GIBBS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You don`t get it for the articles?

WAGNER: I don`t get it for the articles or for anything else, for that
matter.

And "Playboy" magazine asked Sean Hannity, can the Republican Party save
itself? Hannity responds, "It can, and it will do it by focusing on some
very simple ideals. The Republicans have no message discipline. Obama has
incredible message discipline."

What is amazing to me is despite this autopsy, a lot of Republicans still
believe their only problem is messaging. What do you make of that?

GIBBS: Well, if you`re in AA, there is a 12-step process to recovery. The
first step only happens after you get past denial. And it appears as if
most of the Republican Party has not gotten past denial, therefore can`t
begin the steps for recovery.

And I think that is what you see here. I`ll leave aside the commentary
that Sean Hannity gave an interview to "Playboy", and just focus on the
fact that -- you know, whether it is on gay rights or women`s rights,
whether it`s on gay rights, and particularly whether it`s on immigration
reform, the Republican Party continues each and every day to demonstrate
how vastly out of step they are with an electorate quite frankly that is
changing right under their feet.

MADDOW: Congressman, I think he makes a fair point about denial, but there
are some in the party that seem to be very far away from denial indeed and
think they are, in fact, barking up the right tree in terms of policy and
legislation, and everything they did on the House floor.

I`ll read an excerpt from an "Associated Press" story. And the quote is,
"There`s been a misleading thought as to what happened after the last
election cycle, said Representative John Fleming from Louisiana. Most
Americans do not support amnesty, especially without securing the border.
As for abortion, Fleming said, there is growing public concern about second
trimester abortions, so we`re actually gaining ground."

Congressman, if you look at the numbers on everything from immigration, a
path to citizenship, to a woman`s right to choose, to gay marriage, the
polling is not on the side of the Republican Party as it has made manifest
in Congress today.

FORMER REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Well, I would also say the numbers
are not on the side of any public figure in Washington D.C. today, from the
presidency to the Senate.

But here is the problem: this is a struggle within the Republican Party.
After the 2012 sort of blow-out, we did have this post-mortem, you saw the
RNC come out with their report, I thought it made sense. And basically, it
said, we run this side of the ledger. We`ve got angry white guys in their
50s, they`re not going to vote for us. On the other side, the people not
voting for us are women, Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, gay
Americans.

And so, it became kind of simple. I`m a simple guy, I`m just from Ohio.

But what`s happened here in the last three weeks, is the worm has turned a
little bit. There is a new set of polling data out showing that Obamacare,
Affordable Care Act, is at its height of unpopularity. And we`re now
approaching the president`s six-year itch, and no president, except for
President Clinton, survived the six-year itch without losing a lot of seats
in both the House and the Senate.

And so, they begin to sort of in this echo chamber saying man, if we could
just get conservative enough, and if we could just in the women`s womb
enough, and if we could just talk about guns enough, that`s what the people
are begging for. And I think that`s the wrong course.

WAGNER: Robert, another -- in terms of the excuse-making that has gone on
in the last few months, there is an idea that somehow this is about having
multiple messengers, and Republican Congressman Dan Lankford tells
"Politico", "Whoever is in the White House has a single spokesperson," and,
Robert, at one point that was you, "everyone focuses on things they say.
The party that`s out of power, you`ve got random, scattered voices
everywhere."

Setting aside the denial question, is this just having a more narrow,
having bigger bandwidth as opposed to more narrow bandwidth.

GIBBS: Well, I am not sure it is bandwidth as much as it is a series of
ideas that animates your party, if you`re in power, if you`re in the White
House, that series of ideas animates your party. I think, you know, what
the congressman laid out I think is part of what the Republicans are going
to struggle with, because they are going to appeal to a congressional base
to hold onto.

And likely hold onto their majorities in 2014. But in becoming that
regional congressional power, they don`t -- I think they don`t have what it
takes to win a national election. And I think you know, one of the things
that quote mentions is, you`re not going to get to that point until you
have a nominee in the Republican Party in 2016`s election. That`s a long
way off.

The Republican National Committee in an era of weak parties is certainly
not strong enough to do this. The speaker is not strong enough to do this.
And therefore, it devolves to a series of congressmen and senators, quite
frankly, or governors who say the craziest things and get on TV doing it.

And I think that`s a real danger for the Republican Party. Whereas, you
know, the White House has the president and they can do a set play every
day. They can do speeches, they can do events and they can control the
message in a much better way.

WAGNER: Well, and also the Democrats -- it seems as if they are more on
the same page than Republicans are.

And, Congressman, I would draw to your attention, Senator Murkowski came
out today in support of gay marriage. There is still a raging debate in
many corners of the Republican Party about whether or not a marriage should
be between only a man and woman, as evidenced by Gingrey`s comments today.
What happened to those moderates?

LATOURETTE: Well, there aren`t any moderates in either party I would tell
you, because the swing districts where moderate reside are the swing
districts, battleground states. And so, in 2006, you had a bunch of blue
dog Democrats come in, they got wiped out in 2010, and what happened in
2012, the moderate Republicans are sent screaming to the Hills.

After the redistricting, the red seats get redder, the blue seats get
bluer, and there really is no moderation in either house of Congress today.

WAGNER: In fairness, Congressman, the reason anything has gotten done is
because Democrats have come to the table and Speaker Boehner hasn`t been
able to rally his caucus.

LATOURETTE: Well, that`s not only not fair. It`s not accurate.

The Democrats are as splintered as anybody else. They are just in the
moment where they don`t have to decide anything. You`re in the minority,
you can throw all the bombs you want when you`re in the minority. You
don`t have to propose or dispose of anything.

So, the problem, however, is in the Republican conference where you have 40
or 50 members who apparently ran against Washington, ran against the
Congress. And I`m at a loss to figure out why they wanted to be in the
Congress if they hate it so much. And once here, they don`t want to
govern.

WAGNER: Robert, I have to ask you if you agree with that, the Democrats
are splintered and don`t actually have to do anything.

GIBBS: No, I certainly don`t agree with that. I think there is more
agreement on the Democratic side than there is on the Republican side.
Look, in 2007 and 2008, you know, we had a primary that was not based on
ideology. In 2012, you in very many ways had an ideology primary.

And I think in many ways, you`re setting up in 2016, another ideological
primary. I mean, look at Marco Rubio. The news out of Marco Rubio was not
the progress that Marco Rubio has made in trying to moderate the Republican
Party to appeal to Hispanics. The immigration reform, it`s Allen West who
can`t keep the district that represented in Congress, who now might
challenge Marco Rubio statewide in Florida.

That`s the big thing of what`s going to happen in the Republican Party.
They`re not going to get challenged in many ways. The congressman is right
about red districts and red states getting redder. Those are challenges
coming from the right. And to win the primaries, people in power now are
going to have to move to the right, therefore further isolating themselves
from I think a national governing majority.

WAGNER: Robert Gibbs and former Congressman Steve LaTourette, thanks for
your time. Robert, I look forward to your interview in "National
Geographic" magazine.

(LAUGHTER)

WAGNER: Coming up, immigration reform just may become a reality. And
there is very little John Boehner can do about it.

And he is back, Glenn Beck preaches to the choir on the steps of the
Capitol to rail against the mighty injustice of the IRS non-scandal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the pro-immigration Republicans` tone can be a
little clumsy.

FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: Immigrants are more fertile and they
love families, and they have more intact families. And they bring a
younger population.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I know you`re trying to help. But I don`t think
your strongest argument is that they`re baby machines who love to
(EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Up next, Republicans are trying to stop Republicans from joining
Democrats to pass immigration reform. Karen Finney and Sam Stein join me
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: The gang of eight, along with Republican Senators Bob Corker and
John Hoeven may be on the cusp of reaching a deal on border security. If
all goes well, this plan could be the thing that draws in enough Republican
support to pass the bill in the Senate.

No details are finalized, but the deal may include increased funding for as
many as 20,000 Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don`t know what the heck is
going to happen, but we`re on the verge of doing something dramatic on the
border. And if it happens, it would be due to Hoeven and Corker and a lot
of our colleagues. If we pull it off it will be the most dramatic effort I
have seen since I`ve been in Congress to secure the border. If we fail, we
fail. I know this is the key moment in the effort to pass this bill. This
is sort of the defining 24 to 36 hours.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WAGNER: This effort comes on the heels of some positive news yesterday out
of the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO estimates that the gang of
eight`s reform bill, known as Senate Bill 744, would cut the budget by
about $197 billion in the first 10 years.

But good news for most people is not necessarily good news for the far
right flank.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT RECTOR, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Under the CBO budget, they only
cost basically for ten years. Guess at what point the illegal immigrants
become eligible for all these benefits? Would it possibly be the 11th
year? This is a city of lies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: A city of lies -- or the nonpartisan fact-based Congressional
Budget Office.

In the move that would seem to allay the concerns of Heritage Foundation`s
Robert Rector, the CBO noted that it generally does not provide cost
estimates beyond the standard 10-year projection period. However, Senate
Bill 744 would cost a significant number of people to become eligible for
certain federal benefits in the decade following 2023.

So, CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation has extended their efforts on
the legislation for another decade.

And what was that verdict? The net reduction in deficits would total close
to $700 billion over the next decade following enactment.

Joining me now, MSNBC`s Karen Finney and "The Huffington Post`s" Sam Stein,
I want to focus on the CBO can do no right if you are a Republican that
doesn`t want to see immigration reform passed. The whole idea for the CBO
to extend its projection was requested by anti-immigration reform advocate,
Republican Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions is now calling the gang of
eight`s immigration bill, "The biggest setback for poor and middle class
Americans of any legislation Congress has considered in decades."

Sam, did you realize that Jeff sessions, somebody who voted against the
payroll tax cut extension, the Americans Jobs Act, was such a champion for
the poor and working middle class?

SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I did not realize that, Alex.

I`m shocked that Jeff Sessions is opposed to this bill. It seemed like he
was hinging his opposition on the second 10-year window in which he thought
the entitlements would just fall apart due to the immigration bill. Now
that that`s not the case, he has conveniently found another reason to
oppose this bill.

But I think that gets to the bigger point, which is that there are going to
be ways this bill has changed in order to bring in more Republican support.
What we see now with the border strengthening provision, in the comments,
is one of those ways -- I think the office, at some point they`re going to
have to say well there is only a limited amount of benefits we can do in
terms of vote-gathering by tinkering in this bill anymore. There is going
to be a staunch opposition of Republicans whether it is Jeff Sessions of
the world or House Republicans who will never vote for this thing.

So at some point they have to step back and say is what we`re adding to the
bill, whether it is in terms of border security or not, is it beneficial
for the legislative outcome or the vote outcome? I think you are starting
to get to the point where those calculations have to be made.

WAGNER: Karen, you know, when we talk about staunch opposition, we just
heard Lindsey Graham literally said, I don`t know what the hell is going to
happen on this immigration reform bill. And we know there is a lot of
filibustering, a lot of grand-standing on opposition to this, in terms of
opposition and objection to that opposition.

And I want to play more sounds from Robert Rector from the Heritage
Foundation in terms of what he said about Marco Rubio, who in certain
circles is the great hope for the GOP. Let us hear what Robert Rector has
to say about him.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RECTOR: What this bill does is take a minimum of 11 million illegal
immigrants who have an average education of tenth grade. And it makes them
eligible for all of that. No matter what Marco Rubio says, who has not
read his own bill, incidentally. Well, Senator Rubio says that they`re
going to have to pay --

(BOOS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Karen, that is what we call a twofer, not only has he maligned
millions and millions of undocumented workers and their educational
abilities, he has also maligned somebody who may be a rising star in his
party.

FINNEY: Well, how about those who may actually only have a tenth grade
education, but actually are still contributing members of our society. I
mean, I don`t know if he has been out in America, in Ohio, but that maybe a
more common story that I think he`s giving it credit for, and he is making
certain assumptions about people right there. But, look, we knew that the
report that came from heritage was racist and terrible. The numbers have
been sort of disputed.

I think the key that that clip shows is that the real difference between
what the national Republicans want and the sort of establishment national
Republicans want in the House, more of the fringe, more of the right wing
who are in safe gerrymandering districts, they don`t care about the fact
that, you know, this party is going to regain the White House if they don`t
figure out a way to bring Latinos, or some -- they`ve got to find votes
somewhere, right? And so, this is the challenge. The Lindsey Grahams of
the world get -- like you said. This is a demographic death spiral.

STEIN: I slightly disagree with Karen.

I do think the Republicans are sincere in their efforts to try to enhance
border security, whether it`s through, you know, drone surveillance or
biometric fingerprinting or just plain old-fashioned boots on the ground.
I think they`re sincere in that. I give them that.

I think the CBO report, to their credit, did say that the proposed bill
wouldn`t do a great job stopping the flow of illegal immigration in this
country, which I think is roughly 30 percent decrease.

However, I think the biggest overriding concern for Republicans has to do
with the fact that they think once you start legalizing many Hispanic
voters, that it`s going to be an advantage for the Democrats politically.
That they have already broken ground voting-wise to be pro-Democratic, and
if you make 11 million more of them legal residents --

(CROSSTALK)

WAGNER: There is a problem, right, Karen -- and Sam, you know, Hispanics
are not a monolithic voting bloc, it is unfair to say 11 million of them.

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: I`m saying 70 percent of that 11 million.

WAGNER: This thinking that all of these Hispanics are going to be
Democratic voters ignores the multi-facetted sort of culture within the
Hispanic race, the many cultures and many positions and parts of the
Republican platform that I think probably appeals to some of them.

STEIN: I`m just trying to get to the head of the Republican thinking here.
I`m not ascribing to their belief. I`m just saying, that is definitely a
motivating factor, you can hear, when you watch their comments, they
constantly bring up as a problem with this bill.

FINNEY: But here is a problem, they created that problem for themselves.
I`m not suggesting that some of these guys are not sincere about some of
the efforts that they`re making. It`s not what I`m saying at all.

What I`m saying with regard to this, is this is their own rhetoric coming
home to roost. There was a period under President Bush, where they were
making inroads with the Latino community, the Hispanic community. And
then, guess what, `05/`06 conversation happened, and you had Hispanics and
Republicans saying, hey, that is too much. You had Diaz-Balart,
congressman, somebody yelled to him, learn English at the Tea Party rally.

So part of this, they have is so blocked themselves into a corner with this
very hateful rhetoric they can`t even untangle themselves from it, which is
a part of the problem.

STEIN: And look at what Mitt Romney said when he talked about the health
care law being a gift to Hispanics. I mean, that type of rhetoric, the
type of lack of understanding about positive priorities got Republicans in
trouble.

WAGNER: And that is the kind of rhetoric that is not easily forgotten.

Karen Finney and Sam Stein, thank you both for your time tonight.

STEIN: Thanks, Alex.

FINNEY: Thanks.

WAGNER: If you thought it couldn`t get crazier than Darrell Issa and Ted
Cruz on IRS, enter Glenn Beck. He`s back.

And coming up, why is it that only Democrats have to keep their promises in
the Senate and the Republicans get to break their word? That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we are told that the IRS, the EPA, the ATF, the
FBI or any others, when we`re told that it is OK for them to hassle,
threaten, or intimidate others because of their skin color, their religion,
their political belief, we stop being the country all of us want to build.
And start being the country all of the world should fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: In the spotlight tonight, we save the craziest for last. Glenn
Beck headlined the tea party rally at the capitol today to protest the IRS.
It was a fiesta of factual inaccuracies where Senator Ted Cruz repeatedly
basely charged that that President Obama directed the IRS to go after the
tea party organizations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: When Richard Nixon tried to use the IRS to
target his political enemies, it was wrong. And when the Obama
administration does it, it is still wrong. So what is the best solution?
The very best solution is we need to abolish the IRS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Ted Cruz is taking abolish the IRS cause to a radio station near
you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Hi, I`m Ted Cruz, and this is the freedom minute. The IRS scandal
revealed the targeting of conservative groups, tea party groups, pro-life
groups, and pro-Israel groups for intrusive questions and harassing. This
is the consequence of an agency that is too big and has too much power.
And now, the IRS is supposed to be put in charge of administering Obama
care.

Enough is enough. We need to abolish the IRS, eliminate the intrusive
agents and replace the IRS and a tax code with a simple flat tax where
every American can file his or her taxes on a postcard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Meet Ted Cruz, America`s newest advocate for the U.S. postal
service.

But the Republican`s anti-IRS agenda doesn`t end there. It is breathing
new life into the campaign of Obama-care fear mongering.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Anybody want to fire some IRS agents? Why
don`t we start with the 16,000 IRS agents that are going to implement Obama
care.

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: We all remember that the IRS is the
enforcement arm for the ACA, for Obama care. Do you trust the IRS with
your health care?

CROWD: No.

PRICE: Do you want the IRS to know about your health care?

CROWD: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER:
Joining me now, "the Washington Post," Ezra Klein, and Jonathan Capehart.

Jonathan, I would like to go to you first, my friend. It would seem as if
as evidence has come out to show that the White House has not been at the
heart of this IRS controversy, and yet, Republicans and conservatives seem
to be incapable of admitting that.

Let us hear what Rush Limbaugh had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: On this business of Obama, well, he
didn`t tell people at the IRS to do it. The manager does not tell the
pitcher to throw a brush-back pitch after one of his gets beamed. The
pitcher just knows to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: He just knows to do it, Jonathan, because President Obama is
sending brain waves out to liberals everywhere.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, apparently.
But -- or maybe to liberals everywhere but --

WAGNER: And IRS tax code being in tax exempt status.

CAPEHART: Right. But aren`t we talking about a division that was run by a
conservative Republican?

WAGNER: Indeed we are, my friend.

CAPEHART: So what Rush Limbaugh is saying that the president is so
overwhelmingly powerful that he could get a conservative Republican to go
against his own deep philosophy to do the president`s spin, it is
ridiculous. This whole thing has been ridiculous from the very beginning.
And if there was a there, there, you damn well better believe chairman Issa
would have had it out there from the moment he started. And instead, what
he has done is he sent out e-mails making it look like there is a scandal,
when there is no scandal.

WAGNER: You know, when we talk about there, there and where it is, Ezra,
it is in the transcript, actually. And the IRS screening group manager was
asked several specific questions. But the most telling answer he gave was
this one, he said at one point, it is just the volumes, I mean, I hope you
can appreciate the volumes that we`re dealing with there. And you know,
with limited resources the 70 thousand cases a year, it gets to be daunting
sometimes. That seems to be at the heart of this controversy.

EZRA KLEIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, they add in the fact
that the 501c4`s are very badly to find. This is actually a big deal. You
got to manage the IRS, well it is a very powerful agency, and in addition
to not being politically malign. It also has to be actually competent.
And one thing you get if you read the AIG report, is they often were not
competent, they were under-staffed, didn`t know what they were doing.

And if you read a bunch of stuff that have been reporting out of this
Cincinnati office, it looks like people didn`t really want to work there.
They didn`t want to be the determinations units. There is a real kind of
sense of condescension that comes through in it.

But, I wanted to make a point about Ted Cruz`s comments, because they are
my favorite things under the sun. Every time he does his little rift on
abolishing the IRS and creating the flat tax, he re-creates the IRS because
if you have a flat tax where you doing this little post card thing, what if
nobody sends in their post card? Well, you don`t send the postal service
after them, right? Somebody --

WAGNER: He is the biggest advocate for the U.S. postal service, apparently
he wants post men and women to take up the tax collection.

KLEIN: But, even if he has a flat tax, you need somebody to enforce a flat
tax, and you need somebody to enforce the kind of few deductions that are
even in there, like the charitable. And all of a sudden, even in Ted
Cruz`s world, you have created an IRS. Now, whatever you call it the tax
freedom association, maybe you call it the flat tax association, whatever
you call it, you need somebody to run it and you need it run well. You
can`t not have a tax enforcement agency and Ted Cruz knows it. And
everybody who does the flat tax knows it, you need the IRS.

WAGNER: You know, Jonathan, speaking of Ted Cruz, he suggested we take all
those IRS agents and put them on the border because that -- he was sort of
joking about it. But what it brings to the fore is hypocrisy and the
Republican Party. Some parts of big government are great like national
surveillance or huge border patrols. But other parts of the government
like the IRS should be abolished.

CAPEHART: Well, yes. I mean, it is sort of the schizophrenia of the
Republican Party. And it is not just, you know, for right now, it sort of
been there from the very beginning. Government is too big, government is
intrusive, government is involved in all aspects of our life.

But if you`re a woman who wants choice over her own body and her own health
care, well, government must be involved in that. If you are a same-sex is
couple and you want to have equal justice under the law and have your
government treat you equally like everybody else, well, no you can`t do
that. Government must be involved in that.

So, you know, this schizophrenia that we are seeing, that Ted Cruz is, you
know, wonderfully displaying when it comes to the IRS, he is just, you
know, living the Republican dream for lack of a better description.

WAGNER: He is living out the Republican dream for all of us.

Jonathan Capehart, and Ezra Klein, thank you so much for your time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thank you.

KLEIN: Thank you.

WAGNER: Coming up, the two Republicans in the senate are using to grind
the government to a screeching halt. And how they will probably keep the
Democrats from using it, if the Republicans ever get back in power.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: Actor and star of films and television, James Gandolfini has
passed away. Gandolfini won three Emmy`s for the role he was most known
for playing mobster Tony Soprano in HBO`s "The Sopranos" from 1999 to 2007.
He starred in the films "Zero Dark Thirty," and "Killing Them Softly" and
was nominated for Tony Awards for his performance in "God of Carnage" on
Broadway. He was also the voice in of wild thing carol in "where the wild
things are."

In a statement tonight, HBO recalled Gandolfini`s legacy. He was a special
man, a great talent, but more importantly, a gentle and loving person who
treated everybody, no matter their title or position, with equal respect.

He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his
humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible
time.

James Gandolfini died while on vacation in Italy. He was 51.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: Compared to the House of Representatives, the Senate has long been
considered a more civilized and deliberative chamber of Congress, where
roadblocks are removed. But these days, congressional inaction is at an
historic high, why? The filibuster. Who is using it? Republicans.

Last year, 60 votes were required to stop the threat of a filibuster 115
times, a near historic high. Filibuster fever had gotten so pitched, that
back in January, senate majority leader, Harry Reid, and minority leader,
Mitch McConnell, tried to solve a problem by reaching an agreement about
filibuster reform with the simple goal, stop the legislative logjam and
start compromising to pass some bills.

Part of their so-called gentlemen`s agreement on existing filibuster rule,
meant that Harry Reid promised not to resort to his controversial threats
known as the nuclear option to change the rules via 51 votes. In other
words, Harry Reid promised not to overhaul filibuster rules with only
Democratic support, presumably because that would not have been
gentlemanly, and this was a gentlemen`s agreement.

But as is now common place for a party characterized by hypocrisy and
equivocation, Republicans have not kept up their end of the bargain. The
gentlemen and women of the grand old party have nearly ground the judicial
nomination process to a halt, to say nothing of legislative affairs.

In fact, President Obama has only been able to feel a quarter of the empty
court seats since the beginning of his time in office, while 71 empty seats
are in the court of appeals seat. And now, Harry Reid is signaling he had
enough of Republican obstruction and may go back on his pledge from January
and put the nuclear option back on the table. That when Senator Reid a
reprimand from Tennessee`s senior senator, Republican Lamar Alexander.

Senator Alexander quoted Harry Reid`s owned words back to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: Mr. President, for the last few weeks
I`ve been listening to the Republican leader, ask the majority leader not
to turn the United States Senate into a place where a majority of 51 can do
anything it wants.

In 2007, the majority leader said to do so would be the end of the Senate.
There have not been many majority leaders in the history of the Senate, and
I know none of them want to have written on their tombstone he presided
over the end of the United States senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: And then Senator Alexander reminded Harry Reid of the promise he
had once made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER: Senators keep their word.

The majority leader has given his word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: The problem with that is, this is a Senate where Republicans only
expect Democrats to keep their word. In March of 2003, Lamar Alexander
made this promise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER: I don`t know what happened in the past, but I know what this
one senator would do in the future. If there is a Democratic president and
I am in this body, and if he nominates a judge, I will never vote to deny a
vote on that judge. And if two or three more --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time has expired.

ALEXANDER: Would do the same thing, we could go back to more respect for
our judicial nominating process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Two years later, Senator Alexander reminded everyone that he had
made that promise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER: I said two years ago that I would give up my right to
filibuster a president`s nominee for an appellate judgeship, even if was
President Kerry of President Clinton or President Reid, or any other
Democrat. I might vote against that nominee, but I would never filibuster
as long as I were a senator. The right thing, Mr. President, to do would
have an up and down vote on any president`s federal appellate judicial
nominees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: But Senator Alexander has not kept his promise. The senator made
those promises not to filibuster the nominees when George Bush was
president. And as John (INAUDIBLE) writes today in "the Huffington Post,"
here is what has happened under President Obama, Lamar Alexander
filibustered Goodwin Lou, a nominee for the U.S. court of appeal for the
ninth circuit in May 2011. And Robert Bacrach, a nominee for the U.S.
court of appeals for the tenth circuit in 2012. He also filibustered
Kathleen Halligan twice when she was the nominee for the U.S. court of
appeals for the District of Columbia, once in December of 2011, and then
again in March 2013. The White House ultimately withdrew Halligan`s
nomination.

Without acknowledging Senator Alexander`s contradictions, today, his
spokesman, Jim Jeffreys, responded by referring to a 2011 statement in the
senator made after the filibuster of Goodwin Lou.

Quote "the Senate is a body of precedents, since 2005 in the case of court
of appeals judges or Supreme Court justices, I have followed the precedent
established that year by the gang of 14. I reserve the right to vote
against allowing an up or down vote in an extraordinary case. I consider
this to be an extraordinary case."

It seems to senators like Lamar Alexander that there have been a lot of
extraordinary cases since President Obama took office. And that a
senator`s word, these days, is not worth very much at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER: Well, I pledged then and there that I would never filibuster
any president`s judicial nominee, period. I may vote against them. But I
would always see that they came to a vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: Republicans in the House of Representatives voted down a
democratic amendment to the farm bill today. One that would have restored
$20 billion in cuts to food stamps. The vote was largely along party
lines, 188 to 234 with only a handful of defectors on each side. The
Republican bill cuts $20 billion out of a budget of $764 billion over ten
years.

Republicans argue that because more people are using food stamps, an
increase of 134 percent in the past decade alone, that they need to limit
eligibility.

Up next, Republican governor Bobby Jindal is having a hard time explaining
why expanding Obama care is a bad idea, especially since 20 percent of the
people in his state don`t have health care.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: After vetoing similar legislation last year, Louisiana governor,
Bobby Jindal, has signed a bill into requiring more reporting and increased
transparency in two of the state`s Medicaid program. But the Republican
governor did not budge on his rejection of Medicaid expansion.

Louisiana is one of 20 states opting out of Medicaid expansion next year,
seven states are still undecided. Jindal`s decision would seems to ignore
the reality that 20 percent of Louisiana residents are uninsured. Medicaid
expansion would cut that number in half by covering about 400,000 people in
the state.

Despite that staggering figure, Jindal maintains that Medicaid expansion is
bad for Louisiana. Against that backdrop, MSNBC is partnering with the
national association of clinics to bring a free health care clinic to New
Orleans on July third. Uninsured men and women will receive preventative
primary medical care for free. This will be our eighth free health clinic.
And today these efforts have helped more than 15,000 people.

Joining me now is Nicole , executive director of the National Association
of Free Clinics.

Nicole, thanks for joining me. What, in your mind, does Governor Bobby
Jindal need to know about the effects of not expanding Medicaid to 400,000
people in his state?

NICOLE LAMOUREUX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE
CLINICS: I think he needs to know he is being irresponsible. That we have
got to stop playing politics over people.

You know, in Louisiana, they`re in the top five worst states for diabetes,
cholesterol issues, hypertension. This is putting people`s lives at stake,
when we can help them, why aren`t we doing this? This is putting up a
roadblock to put activity, to helping our economy, to helping education,
because being healthy is at the center of all of that. He is just being
straight up irresponsible.

WAGNER: Nicole, you are going to be in New Orleans on July 3rd for this
free clinic. It is the 4th one in New Orleans. When you are there, what
is the mood on the ground? What sorts of needs do you typically see? And
how do people respond to getting provided health care for free?

LAMOUREUX: I have to tell you, I see the best and worst of America in one
place, the best of America are the MSNBC viewers who have made these
clinics possible and come and volunteer is and donate with us. The worst
of America are the people who have to come to a convention center and
swallow their pride to get the health care they need, and all we hear all
day long, is gratitude, thank you for being here, thank you for helping us,
thank you for making me feel as if I`m an important member of our society.

It is overwhelming, people just want to be healthy so they can work.
Eighty-three percent of our patients come from a working household. They
are not people who are just living on the dole. They just want a hand up,
not a hand out.

WAGNER: It is truly an indignity that no Americans should have to suffer.
There are ways for our viewers to help and how put these efforts. What can
they do and where should they go for more information?

LAMOUREUX: You can go to our Web site. You know in the past, MSNBC
viewers have been amazing. They had helped us do these clinics, do
donations and volunteering. And we are asking everyone to help us do this
again.

Please donate, because you will help us make a statement. You`re going to
help us say that we understand the battle for health care is not over.
You`re going to help us say that no one in our country should live without
health care. And you`re going to be helping us through donating and
volunteering, say that we`re going to build a healthy America one patient
at a time. And we`re going to start in New Orleans.

WAGNER: Nicole Lamoureux of the National Association of Free Clinics gets
tonight`s "LAST WORD."

Nicole, thank you, and thank you for your efforts.

LAMOUREUX: Thank you.

WAGNER: And just to remind you, the Reverend Sharpton will anchor his
show, "POLITICS NATION" live from the clinic of New Orleans on July third.

I`m Alex Wagner in for Lawrence O`Donnell. And you can catch my show,
"NOWweekdays at noon eastern right here on MSNBC.

Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New
York. I`m Chris Hayes. Thank you for joining us.

Tonight on "ALL IN" if you think I`m the only one who believes that
immigration reform is the single biggest policy priority of President
Obama`s second term, well, then wait until I show you the circus on the
capitol lawn today.

END


END

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