updated 10/9/2013 10:51:55 AM ET 2013-10-09T14:51:55

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
October 8, 2013

Guest: Mark Patterson, Mike Lofgren, David Sirota


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: President Obama took 18 questions today at his
press conference. Speaker John Boehner took exactly two questions.

So, who`s the guy who is afraid of talking about the shutdown?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Republicans have no
interest in shutting down the government.

Our goal wasn`t to shut down the government.

Shutting down the government is irresponsible.

It`s as simple as that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Day eight of the government shutdown.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Full steam ahead on a government shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very complicated issue.

BOEHNER: No, it isn`t. The central argument is this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The health care law.

BOEHNER: Are we going to sit down and have conversations.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s stop the excuses.
Let`s end the shutdown right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New polls show no one smelling like roses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s 70 percent disapproval rating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy percent put the fault with Republicans.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Their numbers are declining rapidly.

OBAMA: I know the American people are tired of it. Lord knows I`m tired
of it.

BOEHNER: When it comes to the debt limit --

OBAMA: This is not a complicated piece of business.

BOEHNER: I don`t believe that we should default on our debt.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Shutdown be damned.

WAGNER: The Republican Party is now eyeing the country`s debt ceiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all about the debt ceiling.

OBAMA: Default is a real time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This talk about default.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All this talk about default --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s nonsense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of demagoguery, a lot of false demagoguery.

OBAMA: When I hear people trying to downplay the consequences of that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nonsense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of demagoguery

OBAMA: I think that`s really irresponsible.

TODD: Alternatives are beginning to pop up.

OBAMA: I know there`s been some discussion for example about my powers
under the 14th Amendment. That`s going to make people nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s very hard to get into sound bites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no clear way out of this.

OBAMA: There are no magic bullets here.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: We are now on day eight of the government
shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Day eight of the government shutdown.

BOEHNER: Our goal here wasn`t to shut down the government. I don`t think
we should default on our debt.

OBAMA: We`ve got to stop repeating this pattern. The American people are
tired of it. Lord knows I`m tired of it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a
perfectly reasonable, a one sentence bill that would raise the debt ceiling
until the end of next year, which is a perfectly reasonable time frame for
a typical debt ceiling increase in the past.

The Senate will vote on that perfectly reasonable bill this week, mostly
for nostalgia reasons. But the most important thing that happened today is
that John Boehner admitted the new Republican talking point is a lie.

Here is Boehner on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: Every president of modern history has negotiated over debt limit.
Debt limits have been used to force big policy changes in Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Uh-uh. As I explained in last night`s rewrite. That statement
is not true. No president in modern history had ever had to negotiate over
a debt limit increase, and debt limits have never, never, been used to
force big policy changes in Washington. Raising the debt ceiling was never
once seriously in doubt before Speaker John Boehner`s House of
Representatives.

John Boehner rewrote that lie he was telling this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: Over the last 40 years, 27 times, the debt limit has been used to
carry significant policy changes that would in fact reduce spending and put
us on a saner fiscal path. President Reagan sat down with Tip O`Neill in
the 1980s. President Bush in 1990 went out to Andrews Air Force Base and
gotten to a long debate and negotiation with Democrats here in Congress.
Bill Clinton went through this three times in the 1990s. President Obama
and I sat down in 2011 and had a serious negotiation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The debt limit has been used to carry significant policy
changes. Those exact Boehner words. That`s a significant change. From
what Boehner had previously said. And it lands him more safely within the
parliamentary history of debt ceiling votes as I explained here last night.
See, you should have been here last night.

But, the most accurate way to say it, is simply that the debt ceiling has
been included as ate completely noncontroversial and frequently invisible
element in a, much larger bills, generally having something to do with the
budget, something important to do with the budget.

The White House didn`t have to watch last night`s rewrite to learn that.
Everybody there knew it.

But today is the first day the president made the point very clear -- the
point we made here last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you look at the history, people posture about the debt ceiling
frequently. But the way the debt ceiling often got passed you would stick
the debt ceiling on to a budget negotiation once it was completed, because
people figured -- well, I don`t want to take a bunch of tough votes to cut
programs, raise taxes then have to take a debt ceiling vote. Let me do it
all at once.

But it wasn`t a situation in which, if I`ve don`t -- if I`ve don`t get what
I want -- then I am going to let us default. That`s what`s changed. And
that`s what we learned in 2011.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And that is absolutely troupe.

In his press conference today, the president described what Republicans
seem to think the word negotiation means.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Speaker Boehner, at least some faction of the Republicans in the
House and maybe some in the Senate, are holding out for a -- a negotiation
in theory but in fact -- basically Democrats give a lot of concessions to
Republicans, Republicans don`t give anything. And then -- that`s -- that`s
dubbed as compromise. The reason that Democrats have to give is because
they`re worried that -- the government is going to stay shut down or the
U.S. government is going to default.

And, again that -- you can dress it up any way you want. If that`s the
theory that the Republicans are going forward with, then it is not going to
work.

I`m not going to breach a basic principle that would weaken the presidency,
change our democracy, and do great damage to ordinary people, just in order
to go along with what the House Republicans are talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Weakening the presidency as the president put it is exactly
what the House Republicans are determined to do. And that is why John
Boehner is in effect saying that anything that doesn`t weaken the
presidency in a loss for John Boehner and his Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: What the president said today was, if there is unconditional
surrender by Republicans, he`ll sit down and talk to us. That`s not the
way our government works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Ari, this has become so absurd. Boehner
describing unconditional surrender -- something a few months ago he said he
was perfectly willing to do, which was, of course, let`s get the debt
ceiling raised. Let`s never let the government shut down.

JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, but he`s still saying he fundamentally
wants to do. He`s saying we didn`t come -- I didn`t come here to shut the
government down and not raise the debt ceiling and have us default. OK, so
then don`t.

It`s very simple. John Boehner has a simple path to getting himself out of
this, which is to man up, explain to his caucus that this is not the way we
govern. He needs to sit down and let the grown ups raise the debt ceiling
the way they have done uncontroversially over and over again.

O`DONNELL: But this is about -- I mean, Ari, I`m insisting now that this
is about weakening the presidency. It`s exactly what it`s about --
Republicans created the modern imperial presidency under Richard Nixon.

They see ruining the presidency is not what it used to be for them. It`s
become increasingly difficult. The demographics are increasingly
difficult, especially with the Hispanic vote, especially with their
positions on immigration, all sorts of things. Women`s issues, abortion,
so forth.

And they have just decided it is not in Republican Party`s interest to have
a strong presidency. We are going to make the presidency as difficult as
it can possibly be?

ARI MELBER, THE CYCLE: Yes. I mean, look, this is a sad time to follow
politics and also an interesting time in the sense that as the thesis you
just put forth, they know they lost the popular vote in five of six
elections nationally for president. They know they have a lot of people
who are gerrymandered and sitting in certain places where they`re insulated
from democracy and they know that they built through radicalized changes in
the Senate and the House, a supermajority requirement, which gives extra
power to the minority.

So, the old conversations we used to have about would this hurt them in the
next election? Hurt them in the presidency? Or hurt them holding the
majority? You don`t need a majority if your only goal is sabotage. You
don`t.

You can do it with the minority. You can do it in the Senate with
obstruction. In Boehner`s caucus, you can do it with him saying, well,
this guy must be lying, don`t have the votes, even though we know he does
because he won`t bring it to the floor. So, a bare majority, though they
lost popularity in the House works.

So, we have systemic problems underlying it. What was most interesting
about John Boehner`s statements today is we know he doesn`t believe it
because in several months ago, he said the opposite. This wasn`t about
deficit cutting, this was about Obamacare. Now, it`s about the deficit
again.

Well, the deficit has been cut by half, as the president said today.

O`DONNELL: Let`s go to more what the president said in his news
conference. He talked about the concept of ransom, something we are going
to be hearing in every presidential press conference as long as this crisis
goes on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Key members of Congress and House Republicans in particular, don`t
get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their
jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America is paying its bills.
They don`t also get to say, you know, unless you get me what the voters
rejected in the last election, I`m going to cause a recession. That`s not
how it works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joy, everything we are talking about here, keeping the
government open, the debt ceiling, these are all unique congressional
powers. The president is just a signature on something the Congress must
do. It is their action to take. What are they even looking down the
street at the White House for on this?

REID: For cover, because right now, they need to demonstrate to their base
that they have forced the president --

O`DONNELL: I asked that rhetorically. I want to make that clear --

REID: Yes,

O`DONNELL: I want to make that clear to you.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: That was just a rhetorical.

O`DONNELL: Wicked dumb sounding question in its way. But go ahead.

REID: No, it`s true. I mean, listen, the Republican Party, to Ari`s
point, they understand they have unpopular positions. They cannot enact
their dream sort of Ayn Randian world through the legislative process.
They can`t win elections to enact the conservative policies.

They think, you know, they might think better of the country, whatever,
they believe this is the way it should be. But they cannot do it.

So, they are now essentially taking hostages. But this is beyond the
hostage situation. They have shot a hostage. They went ahead a shut the
government down.

Having done that, you cannot then go to the hostage negotiator, say why
won`t you talk to me? Why won`t you sit down have a conversation?

You shot one of the hostages already. What in any one`s rational thinking
makes you believe they wouldn`t go ahead and breach the debt ceiling at
this point? Several of them are saying it`s fine to do that.

So, we understand these are not people who can be negotiated with because
they want fundamentally unpopular policies forced on to the majority in the
country and forced even on to the majority in their party.

O`DONNELL: The president finally said something clarifying to me about
this whole 14th Amendment issue that we discussed last time the debt
ceiling was at issue. What about indications that the president probably
does have the power within the Constitution to simply in effect raise the
debt ceiling himself?

I was a real, you know, interested fan of that idea. It was because it was
novel. I`ve never seen it before. I didn`t see anything wrong with it.
The president thinks there is something wrong with it and he made that
clear today, talking about making, how would you feel if you were buying a
house if you weren`t sure of the title? Let`s listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you are buying a house and you are not sure whether the seller
has title to the house, you are going to be pretty nervous about buying it.
And at minimum, you would want to -- a much -- cheaper price to buy that
house because you wouldn`t be sure whether or not you are going to on it.

Same thing is true if I`m buying treasury bills from the U.S. government.
Here I am sitting here, what if there is a Supreme Court case deciding that
these aren`t valid. These are -- you know, valid legal instruments,
obligating the U.S. government to pay for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Ari, there he is doing what a president should do. He`s taking
every step out. He has to take it to go. Well, wait a minute.

I remember last time around, you know, Bill Clinton off handedly saying the
president should be able to do that. I was thinking, you know I think the
president should be able to do that and should do it.

And now, you see some one of greater prudence than I, much greater, I think
is completely right about this, the way he put that today. I don`t see how
you argue with that.

MELBER: What he`s saying there is a financial fact. And we know that
because --

O`DONNELL: Yes. Forget the constitutional.

MELBER: Exactly.

O`DONNELL: There`s a reality to it if you try to exercise it that it`s
seriously problematic.

MELBER: Right. And we know that because we are dealing with an area, a
great deal of financial information abut the price of certainty versus less
certainty versus a tossup, repayment. And that`s why mortgage backed
securities have higher interests and higher cost than other items.

That`s why Argentinian bonds generally don`t cut the same ice that American
bonds cut. And when you violate that certainty, markets react to that.
That is a fact.

As a lawyer, and there`s a lot of lawyers who disagree on this, as a
lawyer, I do think that when you are the president and you are in a
situation where you have conflicting constitutional demands from Congress,
you have higher authority to act in emergency powers. By which I`ve mean
the Congress is saying, here under law spend. Here, under law don`t pay
your debts. Right, those are conflicting demand because the debts are due.

So, that`s a constitutional point. To your point and presidential point
today, that constitutional point as a practical matter for our investments,
for our 401(k)s, for our markets may come second to the fact of the
economic sabotage.

The other point about Congress here, congress is not static. The game John
Boehner is playing is dangerous because he`s raised the bar on what it
means to oppose Obama. We moved from just a vote or a debate to saying you
have to obstruct and defeat everything. And I`m not sure whether debt
ceiling votes are for him in the long run.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, and Ari Melber, thank you.

Joy, you are here for your wisdom and expertise, as always. Also, because
you just, you wouldn`t return my e-mail. I send you an e-mail that is two
weeks old. And I`ve been patiently, and it`s something -- you have a big
fan out there. It`s a personal thing. You got a big fan out there. I
want you`d to know about.

REID: I blame Outlook.

O`DONNELL: And a guy by the name of Bill Russell. Big Joy Reid fan.

REID: Wow.

ODONNELL: Used to play a pretty good game of basketball back in my
hometown of Boston.

REID: Wow.

O`DONNELL: Now, I have -- every time I have to tell you, I have to tell
you on the air. You won`t accept personal e-mails from me.

REID: Outlook does not accept --

O`DONNELL: -- praise from the king, from Bill Russell.

REID: I`m going to search for that e-mail right now and I`m going to email
you back, ASAP.

O`DONNELL: I will send it again.

REID: OK.

O`DONNELL: All right. Personal business is done.

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

MELBER: Thank you.

REID: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: who is going to lead the way out of the mess in
Congress? The Republican leadership obviously cannot do it. Which means
it is all up to the staff. It is going to have to save them.

And in the rewrite tonight, another episode of sodomy Virginia-style.
Virginia`s anti-sodomy law is back in the news and here is a little flash
back to our very first episode of sodomy Virginia style.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I also want to ask what the new state tourism slogan is going
to be, because "Virginia is for lovers" is bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: I have been reading some great tweets from some of you about
the shutdown.

Think two speak once tweets brilliantly, "Why doesn`t the president offer
the GOP a deal to defund Obamacare in return for funding the Affordable
Care Act. Simple!" That one was genius.

And, Judd Legum (ph) tweets this about Republican tactics, "Can I burn down
your house? No. Just the 2nd floor? No. Garage? No. Let`s talk about
what I can burn down? No. You aren`t compromising!"

Up next, inside the Republican chaos in Congress.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Republican leaders are sending mixed messages on what they are
willing to negotiate over to raise the debt limit or to reopen the
government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: The long and short of it is there is going to be a negotiation
here. We can`t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what`s
driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Last week, Republican leadership was focused exclusively on the
Affordable Care Act, as the one and only problem to reopening the
government or raising the debt ceiling. And now -- I don`t know what they
want.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Democratic senators have
said repeatedly, Obamacare is the law of the land and basically we should
get used it. Let me also point out to all of you that the Budget Control
Act is also the law of the land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yes. Thanks for pointing that, as Republican leaders fail to
present a coherent position. The members of Congress they`re supposed to
be leading are becoming increasingly incoherent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: In my household budget, some bills have to b
paid, some bills we can defer or pay partially. I think paying interest
the debt has to be paid. I think paying Social Security payments have to
be paid. But I don`t think paying the secretary of energy`s travel
expenses have to be paid 100 cents on the dollar.

So, we are not going to default on the public debt. But that doesn`t mean
we have to pay every bill the day it comes in 100 cents on the dollar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Inane comments like that are leaving some veteran Republican
senators with absolutely no hope that the House of Representatives will
find their way out of the trap that they set for themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN BOEHNER (R), ARIZONA: Let`s find a way that we can sit down. I
don`t care if it`s appointing people. I don`t care if it`s the informal
conversations that we`ve been having back and forth. But there should be a
way out of both of these dead-end that we are in.

So, why don`t we do this sooner rather than later? And why doesn`t the
Senate lead? Have great respect for the other side of the capitol. But I
understand the contradictions are there difficulties that the speaker has.
I am in great sympathy there.

So, why don`t we get together? Why don`t we sit down?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Mark Patterson, former chief of staff to
treasury secretary, and who is also former chief of staff to Senate Finance
Committee. And, Mike Lofgren, who is a long time congressional aide,
including six years on the Senate Budget Committee.

Mark Patterson, you also worked in the majority leader`s office. You know
everything about how this stuff works.

What, what is the staff doing backstage that the C-Span cameras are never
going to find while their bosses are posturing, the staffs on both sides
know we`ve got to fix this?

MARK PATTERSON, FORMER TREASURY CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, firstly, the staffs
are freaking out, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes, there is that. First of all.

PATTERSON: You and I have worked on debt loan increases in our time. On
this one I have never been more concerned that we are going to go off the
tracks.

But what I think and hope the Republican staff are doing -- I hope they`re
coming up with clever ways to impose restrictions on the Congress in the
federal budget process through budget resolution process that they can use
to point to and say we did something here. Having done that, we`ll go
ahead and pass the debt limit. Now, that wouldn`t -- that`s not a
concession by the president.

O`DONNELL: What`s an example, do you think?

PATTERSON: They can impose new rules that have more teeth about the way
the budget process works, the requirements that the conferences actually
happen. The budget, budget resolution, most people don`t realize, they
never gets signed by the president, an internal thing.

O`DONNELL: Resolution, it`s not a bill.

PATTERSON: Concurrent resolution. Not a joint one.

O`DONNELL: Promise to Congress that it intends to do this.

PATTERSON: So, if I were them, I would be looking for ways to change the
rules on that, toughen them up, whether they`re tougher or not, doesn`t
make a difference. Figure out ways to fix the process, and say, "That`s
what we did. We impose a new requirement and our budget process is going
to be more real. And now, we can pass the debt limit."

O`DONNELL: Mike Lofgren, staff on both sides always actually hate it when
one of the members, someone they`re working for makes an extreme statement,
because they always know the extreme statement is not where you are going
to end up for a solution. And you are going to have to somehow work your
way back.

Was what Mark was saying, does that sound to you like something that
Republicans might be able to find their way too?

MIKE LOFGREN, FORMER GOP SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE AIDE: I think it sounds
reasonable, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s the problem. Yes, you are right. I`m sorry,
forget about it. It`s impossible.

Go ahead now.

LOFGREN: We are not in a reasonable era right now. Just a point of where
I come from -- I was an old-style, Eisenhower Republican who believed in
governance. I was always able to have a coffee with my Democratic
counterpart on the Budget Committee. And we could resolve problems with
amendments or scheduling or all sorts of things.

But at some point in 2011 -- I was seeing the way Congress was going. And
it was in a bad direction and I could almost predict the whole debt ceiling
default debate in the summer of 2011. And within two months of my retiring
that`s what happened.

So I wrote a book about it. I think it is only getting worse because these
people are not Republicans. They`re not true conservatives. They`re
radicals who have an appetite for chaos, Armageddon, and conflict.

I have read about how some of the House members are giddy at the prospect
of a shutdown and default, because it gives them the conflict that they
seem to crave.

O`DONNELL: Mike, if you were still in the Republican staff on the budget
committee working anywhere in the Congress, and you heard these Republican
House members who are out there publicly saying, basically, "Let`s try
default. It`s not so bad." There is even one Republican, house member who
said he believes it is a good thing.

In 30 seconds all they give you, what would you try to say to one of the
members about how wrong that notion is?

LOFGREN: This will damage the United States in international credit
markets. We lucked out in 2008 and 2009, during the crash because interest
rates were effectively zero. So, it didn`t cost us much to finance our
debt. But if we default, interest rates will go up. And they`ll go up on
people`s mortgages when they try to take out a mortgage on their house.

PATTERSON: Can I just say?

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Mark.

PATTERSON: I think you have to simplify the message for the audience.

O`DONNELL: Yes, because we tried that message, right?

PATTERSON: So, I think the message is, there is only one right answer for
the question of whether the United States of America pays all its bills.
The answer is yes. Non-debatable, non-negotiable proposition.

OK. I think that`s the message I would try to sell them because this other
stuff is right. But I`m not sure it is getting through.

O`DONNELL: They start talking back -- what about -- they would say, we can
prioritize them like we saw Barton staying, don`t pay, you know for the
airfare for the secretary, which is nickels and dimes, you know.

What would you say to a guy like that who says you can just prioritize
these payments and don`t pay them all?

PATTERSON: Absolutely nonsense. I think you`re seeing the business
community getting more and more concerned that the House is going in the
direction. They have a bill to do this. They call it the Full Faith and
Credit Act, that`s an ultimate misnomer. But just really default by
another word.

Prioritization is just another term for defaulting on a huge swath of the
U.S. government obligations. Totally unacceptable.

O`DONNELL: Mark, quickly before we, you were in the treasury the last time
we approached this precipice of the debt ceiling not being raised. There
is planning going for that catastrophic possibility. They brought out the
plans again this time.

What can you tell us that they`re working on, in the event that nightmare
moment hits?

PATTERSON: I can tell you this. I don`t know what will be decided.
Really up to the president and the secretary of the treasury. But when I
looked at the options for the -- not even damage control, it`s damage
mitigation because the damage will not be controlled.

I can tell you this -- all the options are awful. They all are going to
impose huge swaths of pain across the economy on individuals who, don`t
deserve it. On Social Security recipient whose live check to check, people
in the military, other people ,businesses that sell goods and services to
the government. All these people be hit and hit hard if we don`t do the
simple elemental thing of extending normal borrowing authority for the
country. It shouldn`t be called the debt limit. It should be called
normal borrowing authority, because that`s what it is.

O`DONNELL: Mark Patterson, former treasury secretary chief of staff, and
Mike Lofgren, author and former analyst for the Senate Budget Committee --
thank you both very much for joining me tonight.

Coming up, the pain the shutdown is inflicting on some military families.
This is absolutely tragic. It`s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: The families who lost five loved ones, it is
an unbearable loss. But now they`re being denied death benefits because of
the senseless shutdown. It is shameful and embarrassing.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Let`s sit down and get out of this so that
these families whose loved ones just died, just died will receive the
benefits at least that would give them some comfort and solace in this
terrible hour of tragedy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, the ultimate sacrifice. Since the
shutdown began one week ago today. Seventeen active duty members of the
United States Armed Services have lost their lives. Including these five
service members who died in Afghanistan over the weekend. But because of
the government shutdown, none of these soldiers families will receive the
benefits they are entitled to including $100,000 tax-free death benefits
that, that money is supposed to help the service members families with
funeral expenses and any other financial obligations they incur. Shannon
Collins, 19-year-old son, Marine Lance Corporal Jeremiah Collins died in
Afghanistan on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHANNON COLLINS, MOTHER OF LANCE CORPORAL JEREMIAH COLLINS: There is
nothing like this pain. For the sacrifice that our kids are making at the
ages that they`re making them I don`t understand how this scan can be a
benefit that is withheld. I won`t ever understand it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The Pentagon says it does not have the legal authority to make
those payments. A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Secretary
of Defense Chuck Hagel today writing, "We strongly urge you to use whatever
legal discretion you have to ensure that the nation can`t fulfill that
sacred obligation and to promptly notify us of changes required under law
while the Congress continues to work toward reopening the government. Any
delay in providing families with this essential benefit is absolutely
unacceptable."

Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Patrick Murphy, a former congressman from
Pennsylvania who was the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress.

Patrick, when you shutdown the government, it turns out, there is no way to
leave military personnel and military families completely harmless in a
government shutdown as some Republicans apparently believed.

PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That is absolutely correct, Lawrence.
And in fact, Congress was briefed before the shutdown that this would
happen. And they still went through it, Lawrence. They still went through
-- with this basically shutdown that was initiated by the Ted Cruz Tea
Party wing of the Republican Party. And that is the driving force of the
House Republicans right now. And the problem is, is our military families
who have already sacrificed so much are bearing the brunt of this
government shutdown. Our military families and our veterans.

O`DONNELL: Patrick, the -- the rank ignorance among Republicans in the
House of Representatives, demonstrated on everything from what happens if
there`s a, if they violate the debt ceiling and so forth. It seems to
extend to this arena. They seem completely surprised that this could
possibly have occurred.

MURPHY: It`s like they`re not doing their jobs, Lawrence. I mean, they
were briefed on this. And they still went through with it. And it just --
as a veteran -- as a former congressman, I am embarrassed. I am
embarrassed though I am not in Washington anymore. I am embarrassed
because of people like Mrs. Collins who gave her son for our country. I am
embarrassed because Ashley Peters who lost her husband this weekend, who is
a stay at home mom in Springfield, Montana, with a young son at home.
Doesn`t get the death gratuity, the death benefits that she needs right
now. I mean it just is disgusting what they`re doing to our military
families. And if everyday Americans that are watching aren`t paying
attention, shame on us because what`s going on in Washington is a disgrace.

O`DONNELL: I want to read, you mentioned Ashley Peters. I want to read
her statement which she has asked that we read in full.

"Yes, it is upsetting because my husband died for his country and now his
family is left to worry. My husband always said, if something happened to
him, we would be taken care of, I`m a stay at home mom which is what my
husband wanted. He wanted me to take of our son."

Patrick, he believed, and his widow Ashley Peters believed, that he had a
bond, something much bigger than a deal, but a bond with the United States
government on this.

MURPHY: You know -- in the military, Lawrence, I joined at 19. And we
have a saying, leave no man behind. And it is a bond. You serve with your
brothers, and your sisters and may you -- blood brothers and blood sisters.
You will do anything for them. And the House Republicans -- to turn their
back on our veterans on those families, they should be ashamed of
themselves. I don`t know how they looked at themselves in the mirror. I
mean, some things should be above politics. This is clearly one of them.
And they can`t go and just say, well, this wasn`t our intent.

Your number one responsibility as a member of Congress, Lawrence as you
know you worked on Capitol Hill. Is to pass budgets. No, these
Republicans are so quick to start these wars. But to take care of these
troops when they come home -- or in these cases of these five Americans who
didn`t make it home this weekend, not to be there for their families --
it`s despicable.

O`DONNELL: Iraq war veteran, and former Congressman Patrick Murphy. Thank
you very much for joining us tonight on this very important issue. Thank
you, Patrick.

MURPHY: Thanks, Lawrence, I appreciate it.

O`DONNELL: Coming up -- the Colorado gunfight continues. Republicans are
mounting another recall campaign against another Democrat who voted for gun
sanity in Colorado. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Jersey Governor Chris Christie debated his democratic opponent
State Senator Barbara Buono tonight. Christie was able to ask Barbara
Buono one question. So of course, the Republican asked the Democrat about
taxes and Senator Buono taught the Governor a real lesson about taxes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We have chronicled for the public
your 154 votes to raise taxes and fees. Is there one of them that you
regret?

BARBARA BUONO (R), NEW JERSEY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Governor, you know
that -- Governor, you know that any administration including yourself has
to find revenues to support a budget. The difference is who pays and how
they pay for it. And you came into office and raised the cruelest tax of
all, the property tax on the middle-class on average families you, raised
taxes on the working poor, you raised the fares for commuters. I mean, the
fact of the matter is, Governor I will never balance my budget on the backs
of the working poor and the middle-class as you did. Your whole tenure has
been to support and to protect millionaires at the expense of the middle-
class and the working poor. You are the last person to talk about taxes to
anyone.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s a lesson the Governor had to learn. And in the Virginia
governor`s race, the Virginia anti-sodomy law has been an issue and that
issue is going to be once again in the "Rewrite." That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "Rewrite," another episode of -- sodomy Virginia
style. And this isn`t just another episode. This is huge. This is the
series finale. And there is no way of telling who might get killed in this
one. But first -- a look back at some scenes previous, previously on
sodomy Virginia style.

Virginia`s anti-sodomy law has become an issue in the gubernatorial
campaign because the Republican nominee, the Attorney General Ken
Cuccinelli is fighting to keep Virginia`s anti-sodomy law alive after it
was struck down by a federal appeals court. The actual name of the law is
crimes against nature. And that law says -- if any person carnally knows
in any manner any brute animal or carnally knows any male or female person
by the anus or by or with the mouth or voluntarily submits to such carnal
knowledge he or she shall be guilty of a class six felony.

It does not simply prohibit what it calls carnal knowledge, quote, "by the
anus," end quote, it also prohibits carnal knowledge, quote, "by or with
the mouth," end quote, and because the law applies to quote, "any person,
any male or female person" end quote, that means any kind of carnal
knowledge with a male or female mouth, coming into contact with a carnal
body part of a male or female, in other words it prohibits most gay and
straight sex.

It does not include an exception for married couples. So the Republican
candidate for governor and Virginia is running on a platform that wants to
continue to make it illegal in Virginia for married couples, to have oral
sex. When he served in the state Senate, he voted against a measure that
would change the law to no longer apply to private consensual sex.

Now, I am not eager to ask every candidate for governor, in every stake,
what sex sax they consensually engage in with their spouses. But when a
governor is running on a platform that says, if any person carnally knows
in any manner, any root, animal or carnally knows any male or female person
by the anus or by or with the mouth or voluntarily submits to such kind of
knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a class six felony and go to jail
for a year?

Then I want to know if that candidate or his wife has done anything that
would under that law put them in jail for a year. I also want to ask what
the new state tourism slogan is going to be because Virginia is for lovers
is (bleep.)

And tonight, America`s long national nightmare is over. And sodomy in all
of its forms as specified by the Virginia legislature is finally safely
legal in Virginia. The United States Supreme Court yesterday refuse to
hear the appeal of the unconstitutionality of Virginia`s anti-sodomy law.
The appeal that has been pushed by Mr. Koch in Cuc in L.A. Mr. Cuccinelli
is now running substantially behind a deeply flawed democratic candidate
for governor, who is at least in favor of oral sex which seems to be about
all it takes to win the governor`s race this time around in Virginia.

If oral sex itself were on the ballot in Virginia, it would surely get more
votes than both candidates for governor combined. As this survey of
American adults ages 25 to 44 shows, oral sex with the opposite sex has
been enjoyed by 90 percent of men and 89 percent of women. Oral sex is
second in popularity only to vaginal intercourse with the opposite sex.

So if you are listening to this program on Sirius Satellite radio as you`re
raising up I-95 in Virginia tonight trying to make it to Maryland before
you pull over and find a motel. Relax, check the signs as you approached
the next states. See if there is a nearby motel. You can get off anywhere
on I-95, Richmond, Ashland, Fredericksburg, pull into any motel and
anything you can think of doing with another consenting adult in that motel
room is going to be perfectly legal in Virginia because once again,
Virginia is for lovers of oral sex and anal sex and gay sex and noisy sex
and --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Yes, there is always a quick reaction on twitter when we do sex
talk here on THE LAST WORD.

Up next, there is another gunfight in Colorado. This one in the form of a
recall election. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In Colorado tonight, right-wing Republicans in defiance of the
state`s Republican Party chairman are trying to mount another recall
campaign against a Democrat in the state Senate who voted for reform of the
state`s gun laws. The state`s Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call said,
"This recall election would undermine our efforts in the governor`s race,
the U.S. Senate race and to win a Senate majority if voters perceive that
Republicans are trying to win a majority through recalls."

Last month, gun rights` advocates successfully recalled state Senators
Angela Giron and John Morse, which left Democrats with a one-seat majority.
Eighteenth -17th.

Joining me now is David Sirota, a Colorado base syndicated columnist and
Salon.com contributor. David, so this one threatens the Democrats`
majority in the Senate?

DAVID SIROTA, SYNDICATED NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST: That`s exactly right. It is
Evie Hudak is the name of the state senator, she represents Westminster in
Arvada which is basically a suburb of Denver. Here is the thing -- the
Republicans tried to recall her before in that original set of recalls that
you mentioned. And they failed to get the signatures to get the recall on
the ballot. And I think the "Denver Post" actually put it pretty well
today when they said that essentially what is going on now is the creation
after the last recalls of perpetual elections. Elections that absolutely
never end. And I would add to that that it is basically the right-wing of
the Republican Party, not willing to accept the, the will of voters in
elections. Recall after recall after recall. Until they get their way.

O`DONNELL: But David that`s what we are seeing in Washington too. There
is a refusal to accept, acknowledge and work with the outcome of the
presidential election which was in its way a referendum on the affordable
health care act. We`re seeing this same thing. That Republicans can`t
accept election outcomes.

SIROTA: Absolutely. It`s the Republicans are very frustrated by the will
of voters. And they`re doing everything they can to try to thwart that
will of voters. Now granted they are allowed to mount this recalls. I
mean, they are using the system. And I think this raises questions both in
Washington and Colorado. In Washington the question should be, should the
filibuster exist in the way it does? Should the House be able to stymie
the will of the public when it wants to? At the state level here in
Colorado, we should be asking, should recall elections and the laws that
allow them allow the Republicans, the right-wing of the Republican Party to
try to stymie the will of the voters here when it comes to gun issues

O`DONNELL: David, I find it extraordinary that the Republican Party
chairman in the state is saying, he is worrying publicly if the voters will
perceive that Republicans are trying to win a majority of the Senate
through recall, an amazing statement.

SIROTA: It is amazing. But I think it shows that even now the
establishment of the Republican Party, is afraid of what the right-wing,
the far far right wing of the Republican Party is saying to the voters.
They`re afraid that their base essentially is going to marginalize the
party from being able to win elections in the future.

O`DONNELL: David Sirota joins us once again on the gun wars in Colorado.
Thanks, David. Thank you very much.

SIROTA: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night -- on this program. MSNBC`s newest star is
already our biggest star. Alec Baldwin will be here. Alec will join me
tomorrow night. Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, HOST, "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES": Good evening from New York.
I`m Chris Hayes, and today amidst continuing crisis, President Obama took
command of the news in a way only a president can do. Speaking for more
than an hour from the White House today, he`s laid out his position,
Congress must do its duty by reopening the government, and raising the debt
ceiling before the administration goes into any budget negotiation. He`s
willing to talk he said, just not under the threat of catastrophe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The American people do not get to
demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don`t get a chance to call your
bank and say, I`m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw
in a new car and an Xbox. In the same way, members of Congress and the
House Republicans in particular don`t get to demand ransom in exchange for
doing their jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)


END

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