'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' forThursday, August 15th, 2013
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
August 15, 2013
Guests: Steve Clemons, Marc Ginsburg, Howard Dean
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: President Obama addressed the crisis in
Egypt as the state of emergency there continues tonight.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America cannot
determine the future of Egypt. That`s a task for the Egyptian people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama weighed in on the escalating
violence in Egypt.
OBAMA: The Egyptian people deserve better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The country is now under a month-long state of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation in the Sinai continues to
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Muslim Brotherhood is encouraging protesters
to take to the streets again.
OBAMA: Our traditional cooperation cannot continue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is canceling this military exercise.
OBAMA: We are canceling our bi-annual joint military exercise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a lot at stake in the region right now.
OBAMA: The cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: Let`s get you up to speed, a lot has
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: NTSB investigators have successfully recovered
the black boxes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another woman is said to be coming forward.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bradley Manning took the stand at his sentencing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans meet in Boston to map out their fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is day two.
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I have to focus on the things that I
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has been some mixed signals.
PRIEBUS: I`m focusing on the ground game, obviously on our digital
and data program, addressing our primary system that I think is a total
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s much easier said than done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We continue to follow the developing news from
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation here on the ground remains extremely
OBAMA: The Egyptian people deserve better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is a government very much facing a
OBAMA: The cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop.
O`DONNELL: Egypt`s health ministry has put the official death toll
from the violence between protesters and police at 368 people killed. And
both sides believe the number will go up after the worst civil violence in
the modern history of the world`s most populous Arab state.
Today, supporters of Egypt`s Muslim Brotherhood stormed and torched a
government building in Cairo. NBC News has confirmed that Egypt`s ministry
of interior authorized its forces to use live ammunition to stop anymore
attacks on government buildings, churches, and police stations as family
members sorted through hundreds of bodies of victims.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called his Egyptian counterpart today
and told him that continued violence are putting the U.S. and Egyptian
defense cooperation at risk. And President Obama cancelled a planned
military exercise with Egypt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our traditional operation cannot continue as usual when
civilians are being killed in the streets, and rights are being rolled
back. As a result, this morning, we notified the Egyptian government that
we are canceling our bi-annual joint military exercise which was scheduled
for next month.
Going forward, I have asked our national security team to assess the
implications of the actions taken by the interim government. And further
steps that we may take as necessary with respect to the U.S./Egyptian
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now from Cairo is NBC News chief foreign
correspondent Richard Engel -- Richard.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: There may be
difficult days ahead. This was clearly a warning today from the Egyptian
military, authorizing the security forces to use deadly force to protect
themselves and, quote, "key installations." But undeterred, the Muslim
Brotherhood says it will hold what it hopes to be a massive demonstration
tomorrow and it has already picked out a big square in downtown Cairo.
(voice-over): Egyptian forces loyal to the military were cleaning up
and even celebrated, the site where hundreds of protesters from the Muslim
Brotherhood were gunned down yesterday. Some Egyptians came out to thank
the troops for the crackdown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I support anybody who supported us to get rid of
the terrorism. We saw it in the streets the past year.
ENGEL: The government is trying to justify all the violence and
death. The foreign ministry today distributed videos to journalists,
including this one, allegedly showing protesters with automatic weapons.
(on camera): There is still a lot of cleanup to do. But can Egypt
just sweep away what many say is a massacre that took place here? The
Muslim Brotherhood lost the battle, but the group is promising more
protests, which could mean more scenes like this.
(voice-over): And now, the brotherhood has martyrs to avenge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will continue going to the cities peacefully
until they kill us all.
ENGEL: At the Iman (ph) mosque, hundreds of bodies were lined up for
collection, blocks of ice to keep them cold. The carpet wet, the air
filled with freshener to mask the smell, families distraught and
Sayeda Sayed (ph) searches for her son Lupti (ph), he`s 19. She has a
photo from school. Lupti went to the protests yesterday, but never came
"He may be here, but some of the bodies are so burn I can`t tell," she
Collapsed on a chair, Ms. Mahalil doesn`t need to look further. At
her feet, her 27-year-old husband shot in the head, father of their
toddler. Nasma had no job or money. "I pray to God to give me strength,"
Egypt may have overstepped in its crackdown but it is not showing
signs of remorse.
And tonight the mosque with the bodies inside was actually raided by
Egyptian police who used tear gas to break up the crowds. They took the
O`DONNELL: Richard, we saw some people voicing support in your report
for the government`s crackdown. Is there a way to gauge how much support
the Muslim Brotherhood has now versus the government?
ENGEL: It is very difficult to know. The Muslim Brotherhood
certainly has millions of people who support it. And with all of the
bloodshed, it certainly is convincing -- a sector of the society to join in
It doesn`t have the overwhelming majority of support, but to have an
insurgency, to have an overwhelming problem, you don`t need more than a few
thousand, let alone a few million people who are angry, who are aggrieved,
and some of whom are armed.
So, I think you can fairly estimate their support is large, a few
million in a country of about 90 million.
O`DONNELL: And is it your sense that this kind of crackdown actually
increases their support?
ENGEL: Not necessarily. Because there is a massive media campaign
under way in this country, almost every Egyptian has televisions. A lot of
people in the United States talk about Twitter and the influence of
Facebook. This is still very much a television society, and a mobile
And there is a campaign under way by the government on television to
demonize the Muslim Brotherhood, 24 hours a day on chat programs and
programs like yours, all the guests would be -- not saying yours, but if
this were Egypt, all the guests on your program would be talking against
the Muslim Brotherhood and trying to shape the thinking in this country
about the group, describing them as a terrorist organization, saboteurs,
people who are trying to bring down the country. And that does have an
So I think the longer this goes on, the more there is violence. The
more the media campaign continues, the more there is an opportunity to
ostracize the Muslim Brotherhood, but not among its core supporters. They
will continue to say there is propaganda against them. They will continue
to feel victimized.
And like what happened yesterday and today, because people continued
to be killed, they will continue to feel that they have martyrs to avenge.
O`DONNELL: Richard Engel, thank you once again for another great
report from Egypt. Thank you.
Joining me now is Marc Ginsburg, former U.S. ambassador to Morocco and
former Clinton Middle East policy adviser, and Steve Clemens, Washington
editor at large for "The Atlantic."
Steve, what was your reaction to the president`s statement today,
STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I think finally it was a small
step, a very meager step, but nonetheless in the right direction of at
least sending a signal to the generals that what was under way was
unacceptable. I have advocated a stronger signal, offered much earlier
than the president did.
So I give him credit for finally moving. But I suspect it was not
nearly soon enough. Given what we saw in these last days.
O`DONNELL: I want to read a statement that Rand Paul issued today.
He is a member of the senate foreign relations committee. He said, "While
President Obama condemns the violence in Egypt, his administration
continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to help it. The law is very
clear when a coup d`etat takes place, foreign aid must stop, regardless of
the circumstances. With more than 500 dead, and thousands more injured
this week alone. Chaos only continues to grow in Egypt, so, Mr. President,
stop skirting the issue, follow the law and cancel all foreign aid to
Ambassador Ginsburg, how would you respond to that?
MARC GINSBURG, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO MOROCCO: Well, I must say that
the fact that we`re continuing aid as if business as usual with what`s
taking place is a mistake. Let`s not be fooled into believing however that
this aid has leverage over the Egyptian military -- it does not. If it
had, they would not have acted. We would have already warned about it.
We could have suspended the aid that`s currently in the pipeline. We
could have dispatched Secretary Kerry to start dealing with the political
establishment of Egypt, which the military desperately needs in order to
create the facade that it has civilian support within the newly
There`s a lot of things the administration could have done, and I`ll
finish my comment by saying, Larry, that General Sisi, probably if I were
in his shoes, was pretty pleased with the Obama administration`s response.
O`DONNELL: To follow up on that, Ambassador, why would he be pleased
with that response?
GINSBURG: Because we could have been far more vindictive and punitive
in our actions, we could recall our ambassador, we could have cut the aid,
we could have called it a coup, even though it would have been silly in the
face of our failure to do it before. And we could have suspended aid.
We could have been, in effect, more prepared to take action for our
own principles, in order to stand up for our own principles in the Middle
East as a country that supports democratic change. And yet at the same
time, the administration could have easily taken that step. And it would
not have had any real impact one way or the other on the military`s
decision, which is going to make a difference among the Egyptian military
is how the political leadership of Egypt addresses the consequences of
We already saw that Vice President ElBaradei resigned in the face of
these attacks. The civilian authorities in Egypt are in effect, the
lynchpin to the future ability of the military, to garner support among the
O`DONNELL: But Steve, doesn`t that come up to the dilemma that no
matter who is president, in the face of these situations, that if we really
kind of cut off -- if we react too sharply, basically, that we then cut off
our ability to continue the relationship, and we risk the future of the
CLEMONS: Well, you know, I think as I said earlier on MSNBC today, I
think this is a lot like Tiananmen, but Tiananmen, of course, happened in a
period of time where there was not cell phones of this sort, there wasn`t
Twitter, there wasn`t the social networks organizing a lot of the
The United States did impose very serious steps against China. We did
take a lot of the kinds of steps that Marc Ginsburg just outlined. But at
the same time, George H.W. Bush, then president, nonetheless, sent Brent
Scowcroft back eventually to China to reopen relations.
We need Egypt. We need to be engaged with Egypt. But there should
have been a very serious price imposed upon the leadership in Egypt after
they deposed Morsi. We should have sent the signal because the bigger
issue is not necessarily seen by the world as being pro-democratic, the
biggest issue is trying to keep a very rising young group of adherence to
political Islam, choosing a political and largely a non-violent tract for
pursuing their aspirations, rather than becoming al Qaeda, becoming
pursuers of violence to try to achieve what they want. That is what is at
risk here, and if you send those people back underground, they are
This is being watched not only inside Egypt, but I do agree with Marc
and also Richard Engel of how the government is trying to propagandize its
position. But it`s being watched all throughout the Middle East, Tunisia,
Libya, Morocco, Jordan, everyone is watching Egypt in that region to see
how this is handled and what the position is.
So, we kind of botched it in my view. We began to move at least a
little bit in the right direction, though I largely agree with Mark`s
assessment. I think we`re at a very serious point where the American
credibility is both at stake but the larger is, if you don`t fundamentally
change the outreach and opportunities for those who believe in political
Islam and giving them opportunities on a democratic tract, then I think the
Arab spring has died, and we will not have an opportunity -- we`ll see
instability throughout the region for generations.
O`DONNELL: Ambassador Ginsburg, before we go, what would your
recommendation be to President Obama as of today, given what he has said so
far, given what the options that remain in front of him?
GINSBURG: I would have suspended aid and I also would be dispatching
Secretary Kerry to Cairo to meet with the civilian leadership, as well as
to be able to send a message to the brotherhood that the United States
remains politically engaged to try to forge some consensus.
I couldn`t agree more with Steve, remember, the last thing we want to
see is an Egypt back in the 1980s, and the post-Sadat assassination where a
state of emergency was declared by President Mubarak, and it became in
effect an internal terrorist struggle for years that sent al Qaeda
operatives scurrying to Afghanistan and solidifying al Qaeda through Ayman
al-Zawahiri, who was after all an Egyptian and who started al Qaeda in the
Steve is absolutely right in his assessment. I couldn`t agree more.
O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons and former Ambassador Marc Ginsburg, thank
you both very much for joining me tonight.
CLEMONS: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Republicans have a new dream attempt of
presidential debate moderators, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark
Levine. They`re serious.
And later, Rand Paul says who the greatest defender of minority rights
in this country. But he is not very worried about voting rights.
And Bravo`s Andy Cohen just turned down a job hosting a TV show in
Russia in protest of Russia`s anti-gay laws.
O`DONNELL: Bradley Manning spoke for three minutes yesterday in the
sentencing phase of his trial after being convicted of charges that could
result in a sentence of up to 90 years in prison. Our Web site will link
to "The Guardian`s" more complete version of what he said. He began with
"First, your honor, I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry
that my actions hurt people. I`m sorry that they hurt the United States.
I understood what I was doing and decisions I made. However, I did
not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions. I am sorry for the
unintended consequences of my actions.
When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people,
not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience. I
look back at my decisions and wonder how on earth could I, a junior
analyst, possibly believed I could change the world for the better on
decisions of those with the proper authority.
In retrospect, I should have worked more aggressively inside the
system as we discussed during the merit statement. I had options and I
should have used these actions. Unfortunately, I can`t go back and change
things. I can only go forward, I want to go forward. Before I can do
that, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions."
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She says that you came to her in 1999, at the time
when you`re having an affair, she says you asked her, sir, to enter into an
open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, but I will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Republicans hated that question, they hated it so much
that they gave Newt Gingrich an immediate bump in the polls just for
hanging in there and answering it.
The Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus has been making a lot of
noise lately about not wanting to allow John King or anyone else from CNN
to question any of his Republican presidential candidates ever again. He
also wants to ban anyone from NBC from participating in the Republican
The Republican Party`s latest idea as quoted in "The Washington
Examiner" is to have this guy ask the questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: The Georgetown student who went before congressional
committee and said she was having sex and she`s going broke buying
contraceptives and wants us to buy them. Listen, what would you call
somebody who wants us to pay for her to have sex? What would you call that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, there is a Republican presidential debate question
for you. What would you call that woman?
That is right, Republicans are now leaning toward having right wing
radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levine moderate
their presidential debate.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PRIEBUS: I actually think it is a very good idea, I think partnering
with talk radio, there is a lot of good people out there that can actually
understand the base of the Republican Party, parse that out in a way that
actually provides some substance to the Republican Party primary voters and
what they actually want to talk about.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, Rush Limbaugh said his moderating the debate is a
wonderful idea, but it is not without its problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: Me, Sean Hannity and Mark Levine would moderate the
Republican primary debate, and I think I would overshadow it. I`m too
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, former DNC chairman, Howard Dean.
Howard, you are our resident expert on presidential debates since
you`ve actually been actually up there on those primary stages. How much
does difference does the moderator make in these things?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: The moderator makes a difference
because the moderator can ask tough questions. I actually think it`s a
terrific idea to shut out all neutral people because what`s going to happen
is when these guys all get in the same room, they go absolutely crazy and
they`re going to say some really crazy stuff.
So, I mean, it is true that John King would ask them questions of the
kind they would get in a general election. What Sean Hannity and Rush
Limbaugh will do, other than make the show about themselves, is ask the
kind of questions they`re going to feel, they`re to appeal with a foam at
the mouth, I hate immigrants, I hate women, I hate gays, Republican base,
and that is just exactly what lost Mitt Romney the election.
O`DONNELL: Well, one of the people they talked about, Mark Levine,
has already said he is against Chris Christie. So he already declared
himself against one of the possible candidates who would be on the stage.
But it`s also kind of inconceivable to me that Rush Limbaugh, if he was up
there, wouldn`t engage in the debate himself. I wouldn`t at the end of the
answer say that is wrong and make his argument.
DEAN: Well, if you look at the talk show hosts, most talk show hosts,
to be fair, on both sides, particularly the right wingers, it`s really all
about them. It`s not about the politicians. They are probably incapable
of actually moderating the debate. The debate would be about them.
I can see the question now -- don`t you think that so and so in the
Republican Party is soft on immigrants because they might let them have
citizenship in 400 years? And oh, yes, it should be 600! This is what we
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the kind of moment that the Republican
Party fears. This is Wolf Blitzer during one of the debates last time had
this follow-up question. We`re going to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, MODERATOR: But, Congressman, are you saying that
society should just let him die?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes.
FORMER REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: No --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Dr. Dean, there -- is Wolf Blitzer saying, are you
saying that society should just let someone die, basically because they
don`t have health insurance and can`t get it? And that`s precisely the
kind of thing that they want to keep out of this debate.
DEAN: This is not the right way -- look, far be it for me to give the
Republicans any advice on how to moderate themselves. But you know what
happens when a bunch of like-minded people, who can gin themselves up, get
in a room. They start agreeing with each other, they start trying to outdo
each other, each one tries to be more right wing than the other -- that`s
not where America is.
America is not where the Republican Party is. That`s their problem.
I think they`re going to find that out in 2014, not just 2016.
O`DONNELL: And they won`t be completely safe on FOX News if some of
the people there like Bret Baier have anything to say about it. Let`s
listen to one of the very memorable, important questions that he has asked
at one of these debates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal -
- ten to one, as Byron said, spending cuts, to tax increases. Speaker,
you`re already shaking your head, but who on this stage would walk away
from that deal? Raise your hand, if you feel so strongly about not you
would walk away on the 10 to 1 deal?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It was that famous raise your hand moment. And it seems
to me, what that shows is there really won`t be a way for them to manage to
have completely safe debates. No matter who they end up choosing.
DEAN: Yes, they want to do this, they will have no debates
whatsoever, which of course is not going to be permitted, because what
happens is -- the truth is CNN will not get stopped. What will happen is
CNN will offer a debate, the people who are not in the leading positions
will accept the debate and then the pressure will be on the person, the
people who are in the top two or three slots, accepted as well, which is
how it works. It worked that way when I was the DNC chair.
You want control what the media says, what the media does, or even
your own candidates. So, this is all silliness, in truth. It is fun to
speculate on what it would be like to watch Rush Limbaugh moderate debates
as to whether or not women are sluts if they take birth control or not. Bu
the fact of the matter is, he`s not going to get that chance, because these
networks are going to offer the time for the debates and the candidates are
going to accept them no matter what the chairman of the Republican National
O`DONNELL: Former Governor Howard Dean, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.
DEAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, big surprise, Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton
have very different views on voter rights in this country.
And in the rewrite, the lessons I learned watching the funniest
political chat show in history. The McLaughlin Group, the show "Saturday
Night Live" kept coming back to for the comedy gold. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think there is no greater defender,
truly of minority rights, if you include minorities to be color of your
skin or the color of your ideology, than myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Yes, Rand Paul actually said that
on the NPR interview last week. The great defender of minority rights is
not in any way worried, apparently, about the voter id rights that are
being threaten by new restricted voter ID laws.
At an event in Kentucky yesterday, Rand Paul said the interesting
thing about the voting patterns now is in this last election, African-
Americans voted out at a higher percentage than Whites in almost every one
of the states that were under the professions of the federal government. I
don`t think there is objective evidence that we`re precluding African
Americans from voting any longer.
Hillary Clinton respectfully disagrees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We have seen a sweeping
effort across our country to obstruct new obstacles to voting, often under
the cover of addressing a phantom epidemic of election fraud. Not every
obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that racial discrimination
is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC`s Joy Reid and Karen Finney.
Karen, I just need to read these Rand Paul words to you once again. I
think there is no greater defender truly of minority right, that is who
Rand Paul thinks he is.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Yes. He is actually Joy and I are
saying that he is the savior, he is the one we have been waiting for.
Forget MLK, Rand Paul is here. It is all good.
O`DONNELL: Oh, greater defender.
FINNEY: I mean. You know, here is the thing. And he goes on, the
argument that he goes on to uses the same argument that we essentially
heard from John Roberts, which of course doesn`t actually address the real
problem, simply because more people turned out does not mean, as we know,
there are not disparities in voting. We know from the last elections, and
we know from the previous elections. African-Americans tended to wait
longer. We know all of the things that state did in addition to voter ID
law, in terms of early voting and same-day registrations, all those kinds
of things that we know that Democrats and African-Americans, and Latinos,
purging those voters less, all of those activities still existed. And
those were the things that erected those barriers.
O`DONNELL: More of what Rand Paul said about this. He said I don`t
see a problem with showing your driver`s license to vote. I also think
that some people are a little bit stuck in the past when they want to
compare this. There was a time in the south when African-Americans were
prohibited from voting by selective applications of bizarre absurd literacy
tests. And that was an Abomination (ph). That is why we need the voting
rights act. But that is not showing your ID.
Joy, what would you like to say to the greatest defender of minority
rights of this country.
JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I have to thank
him, of course, Rand Paul for his great defense of voting rights, a no
So, the thing that is ironic about the statement that Rand Paul made.
First of all about the idea that look at how many of you voted. What do
you want? There are no more literacy tests, come on. It is what the
Republicans do in reaction to lots of people voting, is that they adjust.
And each time they adjust, they adjust in a way that just so happens to
make it harder for minorities, for young voters, for people who tend to
vote Democrats, to vote.
And so, on the issue of an ID, what Rand Paul forget is that when you
actually register to vote, you have to sign an affidavit of your identity.
You have prove who you are. You can`t just walk off the street without
proving who you are certifying as to your identity.
The problem with the actual ID, is that it costs money, whether it
cost money to actually obtain it from the state or whether you have to
travel great distances to get it, it is incurring. It is erecting a
barrier to actually exercising to vote you have already registered for.
And it just so happens that the kind of people who have trouble obtaining
the ID or who don`t have one happen to be the same minorities, the same
younger voters, the same voters that the Republicans would rather not show
up in big numbers.
FINNEY: But you know, Lawrence, if Rand Paul were really such the big
defender, he would recognize that essentially what he is -- it is not about
an ID, right? This is about protecting the constitutional right. Tea
party folks love the talk about the constitution. We are talking about
protecting a constitutional right. We are talking about erecting more
barriers, more regulations by the way, which these guys are supposed to be
opposed to and again, creating these barriers to voting.
And you know, the thing he also clearly does not remember his history,
this whole phantom issue of voter fraud was essentially, as Joy said, I
mean, you know, the GOP, they gets very creative. After, you know, cameras
went in to Selma and saw what was happening with the, you know, hoses and
people getting beaten, they realized, we can`t keep beating people up when
they`re standing in line to register. So, we need a new method. We need
some new rhetoric. And that is where this whole conversation is false
argument about voter fraud started.
REID: And of we are going to add one more irony, the debate irony is
that in the south, when they were doing the literacy tests and they were
doing the how many jelly beans in the jar, their argument was basically the
same as Rand Paul. We are not saying you can`t vote, we`re just saying you
have to tell us how many jelly beans there are in the jar. So, it is
ironic that he is making the exact same argument now.
O`DONNELL: Karen, what do we make about the statistical evidence
after the last election where there were tremendous efforts to discourage
the African-American vote and the African-American vote was organized to
fight that discouragement. We did see in the end, according to an MIT (ph)
study that the African-American voters, on average, waited in line almost
double the time of White voters. So, the attempt to discourage was well
instructed but it doesn`t seem in the end to have worked.
FINNEY: Well, that is exactly right. And actually in the end, it
probably increased the African-American and Latino voter turnout for
President Obama. Because remember, when they were interviewing people who
were waiting in the lines for six, seven, eight, nine hours, they basically
were saying hell, no, you are not taking away my vote. I deserve this. I
earned I it. And so, they essentially created a movement of people who
said, you know, we have got to vote because they are trying to stop us from
voting. But it is part of the Republican rhetoric to convince us that this
problem that, you know, is all in our minds, right? It is just about an
ID. There is no discrimination. You know, we`re just making it up.
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, and Karen Finney, thank you for joining us.
And Karen before you go, I have two words for you, happy birthday.
FINNEY: OK, thank you.
O`DONNELL: Go party.
FINNEY: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, Russia`s anti-gay laws and what job that Andy Cohen has
turned down, because of Andy Cohen taking a stand against Russia`s anti
anti-gay laws, that is coming.
O`DONNELL: Four months ago today, the Boston marathon bombing killed
three people and injured 264 others. No family was affected more by this
tragedy than the Richard family (INAUDIBLE). 8-year-old Martin Richard was
killed in the blast, his mother was injured and his sister, Jane, lost her
leg. Today, the family released a statement and a new photograph of Jane.
Today marks four months since our family and indeed our community were
savagely and cowardly attacked for reasons we remain at a loss to
understand. While we have made progress with our physical injuries, the
emotional pains since every bit as new as it was four months ago, an hour
doesn`t go by that we don`t feel the agony of Martin`s death in the
senseless way it came about, the pain constant and even the sweetest
moments can become heartbreaking when we are struck and realize that Martin
would have loved this.
But it is not all heartbreak for our family as we make progress on
this long and difficult road forward. After three months in the hospital
and hundreds of hours of physical therapy, and other work Spalding
rehabilitation hospital, Jane was discharged a few weeks ago. Jane
continues to be an incredible source of inspiration and exhaustion. The
loss of her leg has not slowed her one bit or deterred her in any way.
As we knew she would, when we finally returned home, Jane walked into
the house with the aid of her crutches but under her own power. She has
since received her prosthetic leg, and while she is getting more
comfortable with it she is also limited in how much she can wear it at one
time. When she is able to wear it, she struts around with great pride and
a total sense of accomplishment. Her strength, balance and comfort with
the leg improve every day. Watching her dance with her new leg which has
the weight primarily on her other leg is absolutely priceless.
Throughout all that has happened, we have worked hard to maintain our
bond as a family, with the love and support of family and friends including
those who were total strangers just four months ago, we feel like we are
O`DONNELL: The first time I saw Jack Germond was on the McLaughlin,
the original free for all political show that has been imitated over the
last 30 years in many ways by many other political chat shows. Jack was
the guy who looked like a political reporter, straight out of central
casting, meaning for people like me who didn`t know any reporters, that is
what we thought those guys looked like. Jack described himself as quote "a
fat bald guy who looked unkempt, even in a fresh pressed shirt in a book
brother shirt." The McLaughlin group was that was the only political show
I watched in the 1980s because I didn`t have any interest in politics and
government. I watched for the same reason "Saturday Night Live" writers
watched the show, it was really funny. And SNL didn`t have to exaggerate
much when they imitated the McLaughlin group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a scale of one to ten, one being pathetically
inadequate and ten being painfully enough, how would you rate the Buchanan
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say about a five!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That of course was the great Chris Farley, delivering a
typically short Jack Germond answer. John Goodman, also pledge Jack
Germond on SNL and barely got a word in because that is the way Jack played
in on the McLaughlin group.
Here is Jack`s concise prediction. In 1991, of the effect of the
first gulf war on the next presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK GERMOND, MCLAUGHLIN GROUP: A year from now, about the time of
the first caucus and the primary, the Middle East and this war will be no
more than tenth on the list of issues of concern to Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And of course, Jack was right. President Bush came out of
that first Gulf War with an 89 percent approval rating but then went on to
lose to Bill Clinton in the next presidential election.
Jack never fought his way through on the McLaughlin group the way most
of the other panelists did. He just sat there knowing that he was not
getting paid there by the word. And every second he sat there silently
while everyone else was arguing all I cared about was what does Jack think?
It was as if Jack knew what the smartest actors know, the power of silence,
the longer the silence, the more we wonder what you`re thinking.
Jack was actually my model when I eventually took seat on the
McLaughlin group for a few years. I was always the last one to speak after
John McLaughlin announced issue one. And I almost always said less than
anyone else on the show. John would always complain to me about that when
I arrived to do the show. He would tell me that the word content in the
transcript showed I said less than anyone else last week. And the letters
and the e-mails to the show kept saying we want to hear more from
O`Donnell. When I said to John, that is exactly what I wanted the audience
to say. I don`t think he quite got it.
Jack Germond was not consciously following the showbizness rule of
leave the audience wanting more, but that is what he did. He always left
the audience wanting more. And Jack did that again yesterday.
His wife, Alice, sent the e-mail to friend with the subject line, Jack
is gone. A little before 4:00 a.m., Jack passed away. He went peacefully
and quickly after just completing this novel, a tale he had pondered while
writing columns, campaign books, a memoir, and covering our politics and
politicians. He lived a marvelous, full, and well-loved life. I think he
was a great reporter. I know he was a hearty eater and the good
conversation as important as the food. And yes, he enjoyed extending an
evening. He had a bold journalistic ethic and that matters. He was
fortunate to spend his life working at a job he would have done for free
during some halcyon times in the newspaper business.
Jack indeed played the horses, always studying the form. And hoping
for that elusive Triple Crown winner. But there was no such thing as a bad
day at the track. To his many friends, he appreciated the great company
stories, stoop completion and laughter. He fit his life and times so very
well. I love him, and it has been great.
In 2001, Jack told "People" magazine quote "now a days, reporters
drink white wine and eat salads. They go to their rooms, transcribe their
notes and got to the gym. We never did that." Never went to the gym and
lived a rich, full 85 years and always left the audience wanting more.
ZOE CIANCIOLO, LAST WORD INTERN: A new poll shows North Carolina
Republican Governor Pat McCrory`s approval rating has dropped since he
signed two bills into law. The public policy polls gives McCrory a 39
percent approval rating down from 48 percent in May. McCrory signed a
voter ID bill into law on Monday, and last month he signed a bill replacing
new restriction on abortions in North Carolina.
Up next, why Andy Cohen is refusing to go to Russia.
O`DONNELL: Zoe, that was perfect.
CIANCIOLO: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: That was fantastic. I was as nervous as you are, because
I saw your rehearsal.
CIANCIOLO: I know.
O`DONNELL: So, this is your final intern night here on the show this
summers. You are the last one to leave. Thank you for staying as long as
you have. Now, I guess I`m going to have to do all the work there.
CIANCIOLO: I know, you have to pick up all of our logging slack.
O`DONNELL: Zoe, forgive me, say your last name correctly because it
should say correctly.
CIANCIOLO: Zoe Cianciolo.
O`DONNELL: See, I won`t rehearse and that was the best I could do,
CIANCIOLO: It is a tough one.
O`DONNELL: Zoe, thank you very, very much.
CIANCIOLO: Thank you very much. It has been great.
O`DONNELL: Before Russia hosts the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, it
will host the Ms. Universe pageant on November 9th in Moscow. And because
of that, the pageant is now in need of a new co-host. Andy Cohen, host of
Bravo`s "Watch what happens live" told E-News that he turned down what
would have been his third stint as Ms. Universe co-host, because of
Russia`s anti-guy laws. He said their discriminatory policies make it
unsafe for the gays who lived there and gays coming to work or visit. The
law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexual can be arrested. I didn`t
feel right as a gay man stepping foot in Russia.
This is the first time Russia will be hosting the Ms. Universe
pageant, and there is no word on who will take Andy Cohen`s place on the
program which will air live on NBC.
Achange.org petition asking the organizers of the pageant to move the
event out of Russia has received over 25,000 signatures.
Joining me now is MSNBC contributor and "Washington Post" opinion
writer Jonathan Capehart.
Jonathan Capehart, are you free on November 9th, to host the Ms.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I am,
but I probably would take the same stand as Andy Cohen, if in the unlikely
event they would ask me to do that.
O`DONNELL: You know, it is an NBC show. It got terrible rating last
year, 6.1 million total, 1.8 million in the demo, you used to get cancelled
off MSNBC if your demo went below three million people. So I mean, this is
a headache they don`t need as a network. And Andy Cohen, by the way, is
employed by this company, by NBC. So he is not only taking a stand not
just against Russia, but he is taking a stand against the programming of
CAPEHART: Well right, but it is a principle stand. And you know, we
all have those moments when we have to decide whether, you know, our
employer or our employment is larger than whatever obligations we have. If
there is an issue there. And this, you know, this law in Russia, I think,
Andy and I agree with him.
You know, you have got people who are being persecuted for who they
are. Andy Cohen is openly gay, he doesn`t feel comfortable going to a
country where people are being oppressed for being gay, and visitors to
that country put themselves at risk prosecution if they are openly gay.
And the law is so vague that maybe even walking down the street holding
hands with your partner could get you arrested. No one wants to put
themselves in personal danger like that, personal jeopardy. And I think
Andy Cohen taking the position he has is a principle one. But it also
sheds even more light on how unjust these laws are.
O`DONNELL: And it shows you the pressures that are coming on these
companies that are dealing with Russia now. I mean, NBC already is under a
lot of pressure because they`re going to have the Olympics. So you know,
that is -- they already got the Olympic problem in the sports division.
And now, the entertainment division has a problem with this goofy one night
show that they put on that is worth nothing to them. It is an amazing
waste of energy to get this pathetic rating it gets, and now they are
risking this type of controversy.
CAPEHART: Well, you know, the Olympics is a thorny issue, and leave
aside NBC`s role in this, let`s talk about the Olympians, the people who
trained for years to get to the ultimate -- their ultimate athletic stage
and that is the Olympics. Do you really want to force those Olympians to
not go to Russia because of this? I think something has to happen where
the international Olympic committee and Russia have to come to some sort of
agreement to allow, or I should say at least to not have gay and lesbian
Olympians not be harassed, not be arrested for being who they are innately,
just because they have got these laws on the books and the books are there
for the Olympics. There has to be some sort of a combination.
O`DONNELL: I`m with George Takei`s idea of move it to Vancouver.
Vancouver is ready to go. They did it in 2010. They have got all the
facilities. We will continue to track it.
Jonathan Capehart, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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