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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
August 1, 2013
Guests: Marcia Clark, Linda Fairstein, Dawn Hughes, Anthony Caparco, Frank
Ferri, Steve Clemons



HARRIS-PERRY: Rick Scott`s education reform efforts in the state and among
his other remarks upon his resignation were that, "The most important thing
we ought to do is educate children."

Now on that, everyone can agree. But the debate about how best to do it is
going to continue, at least for the moment without Tony Bennett.

Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Have a great
night.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Ariel Castro was guaranteed today by a
judge in Cleveland that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, but
in circumstances markedly better than the prison he created for the four
girls he trapped in his home for years, including the now 6-year-old girl
who was born there.

After one of the victims and family members of other victims told the court
of their suffering, Ariel Castro stunned the courtroom by not only speaking
before his sentencing but by opening up a window into the defensive and
self-justifying and lying mind of a madman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIEL CASTRO, SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: First of all, I`m a very
emotional person so I`m going to try to get it out.

I stated before that I was a victim of sex acts when I was a child. This
led me into viewing pornography throughout my whole. Eventually I -- after
I held jobs, because I always worked -- what I`m trying to get at is,
people are trying to paint me as a monster, and I`m not a monster. I`m
sick, I didn`t -- my sexual problems have been so bad on my mind that I`m
impulsive.

But eventually I was married. I had four children. Lived a normal life.
But I still practiced the art of touching myself and viewing pornography.
I believe I am addicted to porn to the point that it really makes me
impulsive and I just don`t realize that what I`m doing is wrong. I know
it`s not an excuse.

I`m not trying to make excuses here because I know, and I told David at Sex
Crimes that I will be put away forever, I`m not contesting that.

I`ve been a musician for a long time, maybe 25, 30 years. And to be a
musician and to be a monster that they`re trying to say that I am, I don`t
think I can handle that. I`m a happy person inside. I drove a school bus
for 21 years. I did a very good job. Towards the end I started slacking
off, trying to get fired, because I knew it was just too much. This job
was too stressful and coming home to my situation, I just couldn`t juggle
both of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Castro went on to ramble from a description of his sex life
when he lived alone to that impulsive moment of his first kidnapping.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASTRO: I was single for about five years. At that time I continued to
practice the art of masturbation and pornography. And it got so bad that I
used to do it like maybe in two or three hours a day, nonstop. And when I
was finished I would just collapse right there.

When I picked up the first victim, I wasn`t -- I didn`t even plan it that
day. It wasn`t something that they`re trying to make it look like I did,
and I planned it and I was thinking about it, I didn`t do that. That day I
went to Family Dollar and I heard her oversay something about she needed to
get somewhere, and I reacted on that. But when I got up that day, I did
not say, I`m going to get up and try to find some women, because it just --
it wasn`t my character.

I`m not a violent person. Like I said, I drove a school bus, and was a
musician. I had a family. I do have value for human life, because every
time I came home, I would be so glad to -- of the situation, as crazy as it
may sound, and my daughter, she just made every day for me, after she was
born. She never saw any violence going on at that house, Your Honor. If
anyone will question her, she`ll say the opposite. She`ll probably say, my
dad is the best dad in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The judge pointed out to Castro that some of his statements
were inconsistent with his guilty plea to repeated counts of rape and
imprisonment of his victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE MICHAEL RUSSO, CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO: You said that you are a victim
and that you may have been a victim in the past during your childhood. I
don`t know, but from the time of majority, you have not been a victim, you
have been a victimizer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Marcia Clark, former prosecutor and author of
"Killer Ambition", and Linda Fairstein, former chief of the Sex Crimes
Prosecution Unit in New York City and best-selling crime novelist whose
current work is entitled "Death Angel."

Linda, I`m especially struck by his need to tell us that he is not a
monster. He says I`m not a monster, I`m sick. And you heard him go
through a bunch of defensive characterizations of himself.

Is that typical in your experience of defendants like this who know they
are guilty of what they did but feel that there are certain parts of it --
parts of that story, anyway, that they want to soften.

LINDA FAIRSTEIN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, yes, it`s entirely self-serving,
Lawrence, as you said in your opening, and I`m sure Marcia is saying the
same thing over and over again. Every time he`d say I`m not a monster, he
then go on to describe conduct that is monstrous. That these are people
who walk among us. This man drove a school bus for 20 years. So imagine
what those children were exposed to.

Every time he said, I didn`t mean to hit my wife, but my wife made me do
it, her conduct made me do it. Gina got in the car because she wanted to
get in the car. The most self-serving and just horrible, horrible
repetitive denial that all of these things were willful acts and willful
acts, exactly, of a monster.

O`DONNELL: Marcia Clark, I was fascinated by that moment that I would have
liked to actually hear more of from him about when he said when I picked up
the first victim, I didn`t plan it that day. It wasn`t something that he
set out to do. He said he just heard her say something at the store and
then that triggered whatever this madness was will him where he embarked on
this.

And I think that`s where this gets psychologically so fascinating. What
are the triggers for this person given that he went on to this pattern?
Why had he not done this particular kind of crime before? Why was this the
moment and why was this the girl?

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I wouldn`t be so quick to believe him
when he says he did not plan it and he did not premeditated and that it was
a hair-trigger moment that she just said this one thing and then he went
off and he did it.

I wouldn`t personally buy that at all. It`s really typical of pedophiles
and this type of predator, in general, to try to disclaim any kind of
premeditation, to try to disclaim any real responsibility. So if you`ll
notice, all of these statements, as Linda, I`m sure has seen throughout her
career, these statements are all going towards making himself seem the
victim, as the judge appropriately pointed out. I have no has no
responsibility here. I`m an addict. I can`t help myself.

And then to shift the blame to the victim, which as Linda pointed out with
domestic violence, you see that all the time. Should -- you know, the
woman made me do it. Something she said. Something she did. Always it
comes back to the victim who somehow inspired the conduct and made him do
what he did. And in this case, something she said at the store made him do
it.

I think that`s just the typical way that they avoid responsibility. It`s
my -- in my opinion, it`s most likely true that he was planning this in his
mind or in his fantasies for quite a long time before he finally acted out.
That he had many things in his mind that he was dreaming about, fantasizing
about, plotting, if you will, even if he didn`t have necessarily concrete
plans. This idea was a seed that had been growing inside him for quite
some time before he acted out.

O`DONNELL: It`s a very good point, Marcia, that a lot of what he said
wasn`t necessarily believable. I didn`t catch that point that you just
made, that actually sounded credible to me when he was saying it, but I see
exactly what you`re saying about it.

The one thing I don`t think anyone is buying is this crazy comments he made
about these people who he imprisoned and he talked about, well actually,
that sex was actually all consensual when in fact he`s already pleaded to
rape for that sex.

But I want to get to hear more from him, his version of an apology, which
was another extraordinary part of his statement today. Let`s listen to
that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASTRO: I don`t know why -- I mean, with everything going on for himself,
I had a job, I had a home, I had vehicles. And I -- I had my musical
talent. I had everything going on for me, Your Honor. I have good history
of working and providing. I just hope they find it in their heart to
forgive me because we had a lot of harmony going on in that home. And if
you`ve seen the YouTube video of Amanda this weekend, that right there
itself proves that that girl did not go through no torture, that woman did
not go through no torture.

Because if that was true, do you think she would be out there partying
already or having fun? I don`t think so. I seen Gina in the media. She
looks normal. She acts normal. A person that`s been tortured does not act
normal. They would act withdrawn and everything.

On the contrary, I heard the opposite. She`s happy. The victims are
happy. I haven`t seen much of Michelle, because Michelle, since day one,
no one missed her. I never saw no flyers out there about her. But -- I
feel that the FBI let these girls down, because when they, when they
questioned, when they questioned my daughter, you know -- that is OK. But
they failed to question me, I`m her father.

If they would have questioned me, you know, too, whenever it happened then,
when Gina was missing, it`s possible that it would have ended right there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Linda Fairstein, so much to react to there from his personal
psychiatric observation of the victims, what he thinks is their moods,
since their release which was just madness to listen to.

To also that statement about -- why didn`t the FBI question me? He`s
trying to blame the FBI for these -- the girls remaining imprisoned because
they didn`t question him.

FAIRSTEIN: He is trying to blame everybody --

O`DONNELL: Yes.

FAIRSTEIN: -- for what was his conduct all along the way. And as Marcia
said, I`m entirely skeptical to, this was not his first chance abducting a
girl, whether it was fantasy or whether he`d had abuses before.
Criminologist are just going to begin to study this man and I think we`re
going to learn a lot more. In my experience you don`t get that lucky as
Ariel Castro did to get this girl and a prison ready in which to keep her,
subdue her, overcome or rape her repeatedly, and then bring two more young
women in.

So I think the tip of the pathology is what we`re seeing here. There`s no
credibility as you both said to the statements he`d made, and I think it`s
just shocking to hear him and let the world hear him try to claim these
things.

O`DONNELL: But Marcia, these are the things he tells himself, presumably.
This is the way he gets to go to sleep at night. As he says, hey, I see
the girls out there, they seem to be perfectly OK now after their
captivity, so how bad could it have been?

CLARK: Yes, and see, this is the thing that is so -- that is interesting,
Lawrence, you`re so right. There is a fascination to the delusional
quality of the story he tells himself. But they do this, in my experience.
They tell themselves these stories about it, it was consensual, the girls
enjoyed it. They wanted it. All of these things that they tell
themselves, they truly believe. They do believe them.

They -- and even if they were confronted with evidence to the contrary,
they would say that you`re wrong, that you misperceive, that you don`t
understand the way they understand these girls, these victims. And they
see this and tell themselves these stories and truly believe it, which is
why he was so open with his feelings about the case at the sentencing.

You wouldn`t expect someone like this ordinarily to be so open and to say
everything he was thinking but he truly believes it, think it`s the truth.
And really believes that he himself the victim. And so he`s -- he doesn`t
feel any compunction about speaking openly this way because there is no
conscience per se as we perceive it. He has a completely delusional set of
understandings about what has happened.

O`DONNELL: Marcia Clark and Linda Fairstein, thank you very much for
joining me with this very troubling coverage of this case tonight. Thank
you for your guidance.

Coming up, the woman who survived inside the Castro house for 11 years,
faced him in court. Her extraordinary statement is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Before Ariel Castro was sentenced to spend the rest of his life
in jail today, we heard from his three kidnap victims, two victims had
family members speak for her, Amanda Berry`s sister spoke for her and Gina
DeJesus` cousin spoke on her behalf but Michelle Knight faced down her
captor in person, in the courtroom.

Michelle Knight was a 21-year-old single mother with a 2 1/2-year-old son
when she was kidnapped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: My name is Michelle Knight. And
what this was like for me.

I missed my son every day. I wondered if I was ever going to see him
again. He was only 2 1/2 years old when I was taken. I look inside my
heart and I see my son. I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried
about what would happen to me and the other girls every day.

Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days.
The years turned into eternity. I knew nobody cared about me. He told me
that my family didn`t care (INAUDIBLE) even on holidays. Christmas was the
most traumatic day because I never got to spend it with my son.

Nobody should ever have to go through what I went through or anybody else,
not even the worst enemy.

Gina was my teammate. She never let me fall. I never let her fall. She
nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse. My friendship
with her is the only thing that was good out of this situation. We said we
would someday make it out alive, and we did.

You took 11 years of my life away. And I have got it back. I lived 11
years of hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all of
this that happened. But you will face hell for eternity.

From this moment on, I will not let you define me or who I am. You will
live -- I will live on, you will die a little every day. As you think
about the 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us.

What does God think of you hypocritically going to church every Sunday,
coming home to torture us? The death penalty would be so much easier. You
don`t deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison.

I can forgive you, but I will never forget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic
psychologist.

Dr. Hughes, the victims here were used by Ariel Castro today, their
attempts at their own recovery, some of which has been public. He used to
say look, they seem to be getting along just fine, it couldn`t have been
that bad.

DAWN HUGHES, CLINICAL AND FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Right. Well, like your
guest alluded to earlier, certainly this is an individual who was a sexual
predator. And we know sexual predators engage in denial, and minimization
and rationalization, and shifting the blame to others, so he exhibited all
of those characteristics -- I`m not a violent guy. The sex was consensual.
So he is exhibiting typical sexual predator behavior.

O`DONNELL: And I want to go to what Beth Serrano said about speaking on
behalf of Amanda Berry, explaining why Amanda Berry doesn`t want to talk
about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETH SERRANO, SISTER OF KIDNAP VICTIM AMANDA BERRY: She does not want to
talk about these things. She has not talked about these things even with
me. And she does not want other people to talk about these things.

The main reason she does not want anyone to talk about these things or be
forced to talk about these things, is because she has a young daughter.
She would love to be the person who decides what to tell her daughter, when
to tell her daughter, and how to tell her daughter certain things.

Amanda did not control anything for a long time. Please let her have
control over this, so she can protect her daughter. She will do anything
to protect her daughter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "Amanda did not control anything for a long time. Please let
her have control over this."

That is the challenge that these --

HUGHES: Very important.

O`DONNELL: -- victims face.

HUGHES: It`s very important. I mean, the hallmark of trauma is that
helplessness and that lack of predictability and lack of control. To be
involved in litigation is stressful for these individuals to go into court
and relive this is usually met with a host of psychological distress and
characteristics that we know how difficult with depression, anxiety, post-
traumatic stress disorder.

So many victims try to avoid talking about it, to feeling that level of
pain and distress. So it really is very important that they make their own
choices in their recovery, and that`s what two of these women are choosing
to do.

O`DONNELL: And the different choices that we saw today are not surprising
to you. But one decides, I`m going to go into the courtroom and I`m going
to speak, I`m going to confront him. And I`m going to remind him of what
he is denying.

HUGHES: Sure.

O`DONNELL: And two others say no, either I can`t do that or I don`t want
to do that for the reasons Amanda Berry said.

HUGHES: And we can`t paint all trauma victims with the same brush. I
mean, everybody comes into it with their own experience and their own way
of healing. And part of us as a community and then as health professionals
have to respect that and help them with that process.

O`DONNELL: Sylvia Colon speaking for Gina DeJesus said something I thought
was very important. First line as being, "Today is the last day we want to
think about this." Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYLVIA COLON, COUSIN OF KIDNAP VICTIM GINA DEJESUS: Today is the last day
we want to think or talk about this. These events will not were not a
place in our thoughts or our hearts. We will continue to live and love.

We stand before you and promise you that our beloved family member thrives.
She was not as a victim, but as a survivor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I also quickly want to get into this piece of video that is
truly extraordinary, where Castro is concerned about having some kind of
relationship rights with the child that he conceived in captivity. Like he
had this exchange with the judge about it. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSSO: Mr. Castro, you are to have no contact with the victims, don`t send
them letters, don`t make phone calls, don`t have others contact them.

CASTRO: Are you referring to my daughter also?

RUSSO: Yes, she is a victim. She is subject to three counts of
endangering a child. So by law, she is a victim.

CASTRO: I know, but I heard the last words that I can file for parental
rights.

RUSSO: Well, as any (INAUDIBLE), person filed whether it`s going to be
successful doesn`t matter and need to take place in a different court. It
does not involved this court (INAUDIBLE). Ever contact your daughter
(INAUDIBLE) or your should have private contact with them from the
institution, OK?

CASTRO: I do understand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Astonishing. And the daughter he`s talking about is the one
that he says, if you asked her, would say he is the greatest daddy in the
world.

HUGHES: But this was a young, young girl who was raised in captivity who
likely witnessed multiple types of abuses of not only her mother but the
two other women. Probably was engaged in some other activity perhaps that
we don`t know about. That is a traumatic experience for that child, for
somebody who is a sexual predator, perhaps, you know, a psychopath,
exhibiting these kinds of sociopathy.

We don`t really want him to have parental rights and have contact with a
child, who is developing and hopefully can recover from horrific mess that
she found herself in.

O`DONNELL: I think one of the things that strike me today is there was
nothing overtly strange. If you can take out the content of what you were
listening to and you just listen to this guy talk. If you listen to, say,
to the stretch where he`s talking about as work history, this guy could be
anyone. There`d be -- you can see why he went years without anyone
suspecting he was this guy.

And we heard all the shock from people who knew him when he was first
caught at this. They -- nobody thought he could possibly be capable of
this, which I suppose is typical of these guys.

HUGHES: Right, they don`t walk around with horns and signs that say, "I`m
a predator." They do look like everyone else. And that`s why we have to
be cognizant of the other signs and symptoms that may be available in
societies that we can target these individuals, that we can teach children
and young adults to be safe. And to, you know, resist some victimization.
In no way did these girls have any culpability in this at all. But they do
roam among us.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Dawn Hughes, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Coming up, Edward Snowden is now a legal resident of Russia for a year at
least. He`s left the Moscow airport. Where he is going and how long he
will go where he`s going there, we do not know.

And in "The Rewrite," Paul Ryan`s Budget Committee tried to trip up Sister
(INAUDIBLE) Campbell during her testimony about why the poor in this
country should not be ignored by government. It didn`t really go so well
for Paul Ryan and the Republicans on that committee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: A new public policy poll puts Allison Grimes one point ahead in
her campaign to take away Mitch McConnell`s Senate seat. The poll gave
Grimes a 45-43 advantage over Senator McConnell, who is also facing a 51
percent disapproval rating in his own state.

That is an absolutely devastating poll result for any incumbent senator.

Up next, Edward Snowden is at an undisclosed location in Russia tonight,
where he can now legally remain for at least a year and he`s been offered a
job by the Russian rip-off of Facebook.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Edward Snowden`s new life.

Today, Edward Snowden was granted asylum by the Russian government for one
year, according to Snowden`s lawyer. He will live in an undisclosed area,
and Snowden has already received multiple job offers, including one from a
Russian Web site which is basically a rip-off of facebook.

Snowden released this statement through Wikileaks. Over the past weeks, we
have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or
domestic law.

That is of course, the standard hysterical overstatement that is part of
every Edward Snowden statement. Snowden continued. But in the end, the
law is winning. I thank the Russian federation for granting me asylum in
accordance with its laws and international obligations.

The Kremlin`s spokesperson is actually trying to get away with the lie that
the decision to grant Snowden asylum had been made by immigration officials
following the law, not by Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The White
House today said it is quote "extremely disappointed with the Russian`s
decision," and is quote "evaluating the utility," that`s their phrase,
evaluating the utility of President Obama`s September trip to Moscow for a
bilateral summit with Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mr. Snowden is not a
whistleblower. He is accused of leaking classified information and has
been charged with three felony counts. And he should be returned to the
United States as soon as possible where he will be accorded due process and
protections. This move by the Russian government undermines a long
standing form of cooperation, a cooperation that has recently been on the
upswing since the Boston marathon bombings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me, Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for "the
Atlantic."

Steve, we have predictable reactions today from John McCain, saying now is
the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin`s Russia.
Lindsey Graham, something similar.

But I want to go to Chuck Schumer because this is not coming from the
Republican side of the aisle. Chuck Schumer said Russia has stabbed us in
the back. And each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another
twist of the knife. Given the Russia`s decision today, the president
should recommend moving the g-20 summit.

Now Steve, that is very harsh language coming from a liberal democratic
senator and his reaction today.

STEVE CLEMONS, WASHINGTON EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I think
that we are going to see a number of reactions along those lines. But the
fundamental reality is that Russia is a member of the permanent five in the
nations. It is a nation with a lot of nuclear weapons. It is a nation
that has a significant share of oil and natural gas reserves.

We have to continue to deal with Russia, and Russia will continue to be a
consequential nation even though many of the steps that Vladimir Putin
relationship has taken. I find personally disgusting and disconcerting.
But it is a nation we have to deal with. And I think that one of the
mistakes as you and I talked about previously that the White House has made
is that to a certain degree they are the ones that has kept the Edward
Snowden story in the news each night and continued to create incentives, if
you will, with a Russia that has its own strategic objectives and doesn`t
always get what the United States from it. It has continue to give them
leverage.

And so, I think that this needs to be thought out and while this is a time
that many people are posturing and saying, you know, things with a lot of
bravado, at the end of the day, fundamentally, Russia and United States
have to deal with the world and with each other.

O`DONNELL: And the White House has been very careful not issue any form of
threat about the Olympics or any meaning. I mean, they did say they have
to obviously reevaluate whether there can be a one-on-on summit under this
circumstances.

But Jay Carney was asked a really interesting question today. Asked if he
thinks that Snowden did the nation a favor by exposing these programs. And
as you said there are plenty of people who think Snowden did do the nation
a favor in exposing these programs and also committed a criminal act in the
process. But listen to Jay Carney`s answer, he doesn`t answer the question
if did Snowden do a favor. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARNEY: When you take an oath to protect the secrets of the United States,
you`re bound to protect them. And there are consequences if you don`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What do you make of Jay Carney not even going to a real answer
of that question, of did he do the country a favor by opening up this
debate?

CLEMONS: I think that Jay Carney knows that Obama, the presidential
candidate running in 2008 may very well have been a supporter of Snowden
telling the truth about a national state of security out of control. And
now President Obama sitting in the oval office has a different set of
equities, you know, in protecting secrets.

But the bottom line is, the president and the White House have been too
slow in, really, delivering really on the transparency and government that
they have often talked about. And so, I think that Jay Carney and the
president are on the uncomfortable position.

You know, you have Dick Durbin, one of the closest members of United States
senate to Barack Obama. Just the other day say the FICA court was rigged
and was basically a complete blank check for whatever the intelligence
establishment wanted to do. When you have someone of Durbin staff, who are
so close to the president, making that kind of comment means the White
House is in fragile territory.

O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, thank you for joining us tonight.

CLEMONS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Sister Simone is in the rewrite tonight teaching the
Republicans and Paul Ryan`s budget committee a very important lesson.

And later today is the first day of same-sex marriage being legal in
Minnesota, in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island legislator, one of them who
pushed for legalization there will join us tonight from day one of his day
one wedding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Sister Simone teaches Paul Ryan a very important lesson next,
in the rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It has been a bad week for the most recent losing vice
presidential candidate who will never be president. Paul Ryan is chairman
of the budget committee, which sounds important until you understand that
the budget committee does not actually write the budget for the United
States of America.

The budget committee simply passes recommendations on the budget. Those
recommendations are then left to the house ways and means committee or the
house appropriations committee to accept or reject. It is those two
committees, not the budget committee, that actually has the power to write
those recommendations into bills that become laws.

And this week, when the house appropriations wrote the funding bill for
transportation and housing this year, they followed Paul Ryan`s
recommendation.

The leadership recognized that Paul Ryan`s vision of transportation and
housing funding was on its way to defeat on the House floor because more
reasonable Republicans have decided that they would vote against it. And
so, the house leadership simply pulls the bill from the floor, rather than
suffer a public defeat, thanks to Paul Ryan`s budget recommendations.

And then yesterday, Chairman Ryan held a budget committee hearing where he
wanted to show how reasonable it is to cut back on other spending,
especially spending that affects the people who struggle the hardest in
this committee.

Paul Ryan voted for the house farm bill which was full of agriculture
socialism for people who don`t need the government`s help to stay rich.
But was the first farm bill ever passed in Congress that did not include
any funding for food stamps since the modern food stamp program was
invented.

And in Paul Ryan`s recommendation that has already passed the Congress but
has not been written into law, Paul Ryan cuts food stamps dramatically.
Which Ryan`s Republican acolytes think is no problem, because of course
charitable giving can simply make up the difference.

Enter Sister Simone yesterday to rewrite the house budget committee`s
understanding on the capacity of the government program on the scale food
stamps versus the capacity of charitable giving.

In this scene, Republican Reed Ribble, yes, that is his real name, plays
the part of the school boy who has a lot to learn about math and the size
of the problem of hunger in America. And Sister Simone Campbell plays the
part of the patient and loving teacher she has always been.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. REID RIBBLE, (R), WISCONSIN: I`m struck by the church reaching out to
government to do something that is so directly their nature. Christianity
is all about serving the poor, reaching out to orphans and widows and
meeting that need. What is the church doing wrong that they have to come
to the government to get so much help?

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, NUNS ON THE BUS: Well, I think it is more a
reflection of the dimension of the issue last year "bread for the world"
which is a Christian organization that debates on the issue of hunger in
our country, figured out that on the house Republican budget, the cuts in
food stamps alone, that was last year`s budget would cause every church,
synagogue, mosque, house of worship in the United States alone, just on
that issue alone to each raise $50,000 every year for ten years to replace
the amount of service that was being cut. We have a limitation in our
capacity to do that. Because at least the church --

RIBBLE: Your capacity is the same as our capacity. I mean, it is the same
people.

SIMONE: It is the same people, but I believe that when you look at where -
- and this comes out of our teaching in -- within our church tradition, is
that justice comes before charity. And that everyone has a right to eat,
to realize their human dignity. And therefore, there is in our position, a
government responsibility to ensure everyone`s capacity to eat. We do the
charity part, which is the reaching out. The love, like Tia, the story
that I told. Love and care makes a difference, but the issues are so big.
And some of it -- there is not sufficient charitable dollars there, we
supplement. We have a corner stone of federal money, private money, and
good old fashioned -- generosity.

RIBBLE: Thank you. I think I`m out of time. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And yield he did, and Catholic school boy, Paul Ryan, a
graduate of Saint Mary`s Catholic school in Jamesville, Wisconsin did not
dare to venture a word of argument in Sister Simone`s direction, proving
once again, once a catholic school boy always a catholic school boy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may kiss the bride!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The mayor of Minneapolis officiated at the first legal same-sex
marriage in Minnesota at 12:01 this morning, when marriage equality became
legal in that state. Here is the reaction from Cathy ten Broeke and
Margaret Miles, the first couple who got married in Minnesota today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are married. And we have protections and privileges
and rights that we didn`t have before. And we have always felt loved and
supported, but we never had that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Forty-two couples scheduled their weddings overnight in the
Minneapolis city hall. Weddings are going on in St. Paul and around
Minnesota even at the mall of America`s chapel.

The same is true in Rhode Island tonight, where marriage equality also
became legal at midnight. County clerks began issuing marriage licenses
when their offices opened at 8:30 this morning, Minnesota and Rhode Island
bring the total number of states where the marriage equality is legal in
the United States to 13.

One man getting married in Rhode Island is Frank Ferri. Ferri and his
partner, Tony Caparco, have been together for 32 years. Frank Perry is
also a member of the Rhode Island state legislature and helped to get the
marriage equality passed and signed into law by Rhode Island governor,
Lincoln Chafee.

Joining me now is Rhode Island state representative Frank Ferri, and his
spouse, Tony Caparco from the site of the wedding tonight in Rhode Island.

Now, Frank, technically, you guys were already married. You got married in
Canada in 2006. So, why do it again now in Rhode Island? What additional
legal benefit does your Rhode Island marriage have?

STATE REP. FRANK FERRI (D), RHODE ISLAND: Hi, Lawrence, good evening.
What we`re doing is celebrating the long journey that Rhode Island has
taken to get to this point. We were married in Vancouver in 2006. We were
on a cruise for our 25th anniversary. We had not planned on getting
married. It was about a health problem that I had that helped us determine
we should get married for our protections. There was no family, there were
no friends, and so this is bringing it home and all the hard work that
everybody has done.

O`DONNELL: And Tony, the speaker of the house of Rhode Island, you got him
to officiate at this marriage on the first day of legal same-sex marriage
in Rhode Island. It really is a big event for this state, isn`t it?

ANTHONY CAPARCO, MARRIED TO FRANK FERRI TODAY IN RHODE ISLAND: It is
absolutely a big event. It has been a lot of work. It has been a long
road. And the speaker has been instrumental in accomplishing this for the
gay community. And Frank, at the state house as a legislator working with
the speaker has just been instrumental in this happening, along with the
support of many, many other long-term advocates who have worked so hard for
this. It is just an exciting day for us. And the speaker is thrilled to
be officiating in our ceremony.

O`DONNELL: We have only 13 states that have made this legal. But a new
gallop poll shows if there were a national referendum on this, a national
voter sorts, 52 percent, nationwide, would vote to legalize same-sex
marriage, only 43 percent would vote against that. And we know that that
opposition number is just getting smaller by the day, by the year.

Frank, what is your political vision, as an elected official yourself,
about as to where the country is going who are 13 states tonight. How many
do you expect in the next five years.

FERRI: Well, I don`t have a crystal ball in front of me. But I know the
train is out of the station and it is going and it is not stopping. It is
not coming back. We have seen it here in New England. We know how so many
people are opening their minds because of so many couples like ourselves,
so many people who live their lives, openly and honest, and just being who
they are everyday, I think, that is what is driving this. And with the
help of the president`s support and many legislators, this is going to
happen.

How many will in five years? I don`t know, there are still, you know, a
lot of opposition. It is going to take a little while in some states, but
I don`t know, at least five or six.

O`DONNELL: And Tony, how difficult was it to accomplish in Rhode Island,
from where you were sitting in the grand stands, watching Frank work and
watching your own work on this?

CAPARCO: Well, we have been working on this for 15 years, bore Frank was a
legislator, we both were advocates for gay rights and marriage equality.
And once he became a state legislator, he spear-headed that and I am just
so proud of the work he has done there. And I supported it in any way I
could. And I joked that I made us the most visible gay couple in politics
in Rhode Island to put a face on it. So that the other legislators, when
they were voting on legislation that affected us, would have to look us in
the eye and know that they were voting against Tony and Frank. And I tried
to put a face on it with Frank.

O`DONNELL: Frank Ferri and Tony Caparco, one of the first gay couples to
be married on day one of marriage equality in Rhode Island.
Congratulations and thank you very much for joining us tonight.

CAPARCO: Thank you, Lawrence.

FERRI: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.



END

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