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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

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Date: November 13, 2013
Guest: Jonathan Gruber, James Martin; Rick Salutin
High: On Friday, House Republicans will introduce a bill that will allow
people who have had their insurance plans canceled to keep those plans if
they still exist for one year, even if the coverage is below the required
minimum under the Affordable Care Act. That will surely attract some
Democratic votes if President Obama and Democrats don`t offer an
alternative plan for those Democrats to the support.>

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The first enrollment numbers are in
for the Affordable Care Act. And so, of course, Washington now has to
fight over what the numbers mean.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody in this room. Nobody in this country
believes that Republicans want to fix the Web site.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another big hearing on Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressional hearings with the health care

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have seen a handful of these hearings

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans did most of the grilling obviously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you`ve got the fancy title. You`re the
chief information officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn`t a small mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a pretty big title and you didn`t know
about this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a monumental mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chairman Darrell Issa attacked the Obama
administration`s rollout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Darrell Issa wasted no time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s just say he hasn`t been happy with the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will what happens next?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now have some breaking news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got the long awaited enrollment numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people have enrolled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those long awaited Obamacare enrollment numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s put some of them up on the screen for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just over 106,000 signed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred and six thousand one hundred and

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enrollments are improving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does that mean the Republicans stop?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don`t answer yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let the fight begin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there`s been a lot of confusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got to get this website up and running.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe the site will be
working smoothly for the vast majority of users by the end of the month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats are still pretty confident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody in this room, nobody in this country,
believes that Republicans want to fix the website.

BOEHNER: This is not about politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is barbaric politics.


O`DONNELL: There is a brewing revolt tonight among Democrats in the
House of Representatives according to at least one unnamed Democrat who
told NBC News today, "There is a brewing revolt among House Democrats. The
White House never has our back on these types of things. They have no plan
B, no apparent fix. They`re clueless on top of that. Bill Clinton sure as
hell didn`t make it any easier for this White House with his comments.
They need to figure something out by Friday fast."

On Friday, House Republicans will introduce a bill that will allow
people who have had their insurance plans canceled to keep those plans if
they still exist for one year, even if the coverage is below the required
minimum under the Affordable Care Act. That will surely attract some
Democratic votes if President Obama and Democrats don`t offer an
alternative plan for those Democrats to the support.

Earlier today, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius
told reporters since October 1st, 106,185 people have enrolled in new
health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, 79,000 enrolled
through state exchanges, and about 27,000 enrolled through that federal
exchange that has the had so many problems. That is about 21 percent of
what the Obama administration had expected to enroll before the exchanges
were open.

Another 975,407 people have completed applications for insurance but
have not yet made the purchase. Many of those people are shopping for
family plans. And the administration estimates that represents coverage
for 1.5 million people. An additional $396,261 people have signed up for

Secretary Sebelius insisted today that enrollment under the Affordable
Care Act is comparable to early days of enrollment under the similar health
care reform law that Massachusetts enacted in 2006 under Governor Romney.


KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: We can reasonably expect that these
numbers will grow substantially over the next five months as they did in
Massachusetts which enrolled only 0.3 percent, or 123 people in its first
month. We know from experience in the Bay State that people tend to
research and consider their options, talk things over with their families
before making a purchase.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post,"
and Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at MIT, who worked on both the
Massachusetts health care reform law and the Affordable Care Act.

OK, professor, it is up to you to tell us how this -- the Affordable
Care Act is doing, compared to the early days of the Massachusetts law.

JONATHAN GRUBER, MIT: The big issue, it is too early to make a strong
conclusion. The bottom line is people don`t sign up until they have to.
They have to sign up by March 31st. And that`s the relevant date to
evaluate it.

If you really need to evaluate it, then we`re doing better than
Massachusetts, actually. As Secretary Sebelius said 0.3 percent in
Massachusetts, it`s 1 1/2 percent of the federal level of our goal of 7

But that`s not a relevant comparison. Relevant comparison happens in
March. And we need new focus on that timeframe, not the week to week and
day to day numbers we`ve been focused on to date.

O`DONNELL: And, professor, just quickly, what do you make of roughly
all most four times people enrolling in Medicaid than purchasing with or
without subsidies, the policies from exchanges?

GRUBER: That`s actually similar to Massachusetts as well. We had a
program which was free, and that got higher enrollment than the program
people had to pay. It`s not surprising. People signed up for what`s free
first. Once again, as the deadline approaches for the individual mandate,
that`s when people rush in, especially healthy people coming in towards the
March 31st date.

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, Democrats even listening to the professor,
professor Gruber here tonight, Democrats in the House are not staying calm
about this.

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, I thought finally,
Republicans in disarray had replaced the old Democrats in disarray stories.
But it looks like we`re back to the old story.

And there`s a problem here. I mean, the president did say what the
president said. And there was no, there were no kind of qualifications.
He said, period, at the end of then sentence.

And when you do health care reform, you change insurance markets. And
there was going to be cost shifting here and some policies, both junk
policies that weren`t very worth much would go off the market. But you
also probably have some people with premium increases.

The question now is how can you fix this, or can you fix this, without
discombobulating the whole health care market? And I think it would be
better if Democrats were calm. It would be better if they waited to see
how some of the things shake out.

And the worst change would be to make a quick change in panic that
might wreck the whole thing. But then I can say that because I`m not on
the ballot next year. And a lot, all of these guys are, and women are on
the ballot next year. And so, they`re very nervous.

O`DONNELL: Well, Democrats met with administration officials today.
House Democrats met with administration officials to talk about it.

Representative Patrick Murphy, Democrat of Florida, characterized the
meeting this way: "Voices were raised. There was a little frustration, you
know? And a lot of people very focused on making sure we get this right.
This morning`s meeting was very frustrating. A lot of Democrats are, of
course, very upset with rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

And in light of the vote we will have on Friday, there is still some
learning to do, on what exactly that entails. But the White House says
that they`re going to come up with some sort of alternative to talk about
and I think a lot of us are anxious to see that.

Jonathan Gruber, the president actually said this last week in his
interview, with Chuck Todd here on next. That he was looking at some kind
of fix to the law. This was before Bill Clinton made the same kind of
suggestion. But, Democrats in the House have no idea what that its.

What would you suggest to the president and the Democrats as a fix for

GRUBER: I would, first of all, say there is no easy fix, because this
isn`t a huge problem. We are talking about a small slice of Americans.
It`s a political problem more than substantive problem.

The most important fix its get the Web site working. The
administration always figured there`d be some losers, they figured at this
point. There would be so many winners to point to that they could make the
overwhelming case for the law.

The web site glitches have taken way their best argument against these
anecdotes of the losers. We don`t have -- they`re ultimately, many times
as many winners to point to.

I think the best thing they can do is get the Web site working and get
the number of winners up so that they can have positive stories to point

O`DONNELL: Professor, I agree with you that in any economics
classroom, this is not a huge problem.

But, E.J. Dionne, as you know, in the back room with elected
Democrats, politically, this its a huge problem, especially for Democrats
in states like Florida, Tennessee, others in the House, who are very
worried about this. They need -- they`re saying they need to hear
something from the president, something real, or they`re going to move and
vote with this, some of them vote with the Republican bill on Friday.

DIONNE: Right. And as, the shame of it would be to act in panic. I
mean, professor Gruber is right, as a percentage of the whole, we`re not
talking about a very large percentage at all. But you are potentially
talking, and correct me if I`m wrong, professor. But there could be in the
end, up to 4 million people who will have some real changes in their health

And the problem is, these are belter off people, than worse off
people. They probably get more press attention. And the press kind of
naturally gravitates to stories of things going wrong, people facing

You don`t -- you are not hearing anything at all about all of the
governors who are depriving five to six million people of Medicaid by not
going for the Medicaid buy in -- you know, the Medicaid expansion. And I
think there is a little lesson here that -- all those people are signing up
for Medicaid. Yes, as professor Gruber said because it`s free, but also
it`s a lot simpler than trying to have subsidies in a complicated insurance

O`DONNELL: But the politics of defending complex legislation is never
easy. Remember, what these Democrats are worried about is losing an
election next year to a Republican who will then replace them, and not just
vote for the Upton sort of correction to the bill. They will be more votes
to actually completely repeal it.

And so, Professor -- that`s the challenge.

And what I heard Jay Carney say the other day is they seem to be
thinking of something very, very narrowly targeted so it would help some
people who have lost their policies and, through some cracks in the law
now, cannot find something affordable where they live to replace it. And
that would be an even smaller group than what people are generally talking
about here.

GRUBER: Yes, I think, look, there is no free lunch. As E.J. said, if
you are going to reform insurance markets, so that everyone has to pay one
fair price for insurance, which is by the way what the majority of
Americans want. Vast majority want fair, nondiscriminatory insurance
markets to.

To do that, that means everyone has to pay the same price. That means
some healthy people are going to have to pay more. You can`t have a world
where no one pays more, some people pay less. That just can`t happen.
Some people are going to have to pay more.

O`DONNELL: But, professor, I got to stop you right there. That is
the speech that was never made by any Democrat supporting the Affordable
Care Act. That little passage that you just said right there, that some
people are going to have to pay more.

GRUBER: That`s absolutely right. Now, we are in the situation we
find ourselves in, with a number of unhelpful comments by some Democrats,
by President Clinton. In that situation, the line for President Obama is,
what`s the most he can do to be responsive to this population without
messing of the goals of the law. Something like the Upton bill would
fundamentally undercut this law by allowing healthy people to stay out of
the pool. You`re going to induce insurers to raise the rates in 2015 and
start to undercut this law.

So, I think that the president needs to find a way, short of the Upton
bill, which I think is really disastrous, to address these people`s

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, it is ironic for those of us like you who
were there in 1993, 1994, watching President Clinton fail to get any
legislation brought to a vote in either the House chamber or in the Senate
chamber, managed to get some forms through committee. But in the Clinton
bill, none of the people in question, that we are talking about tonight
would have been allowed to keep their substandard insurance.

DIONNE: Right. And as you showed, I guess, last night, was it, that
you know, Clinton basically said as much in the speech, and that didn`t
work out so well. But the result of that, because there were no warnings,
you really have a choice this week of bad policy versus dangerous politics,
because to disrupt the markets now would just be to throw in the towel.

That`s why the Upton bill is so clever because it sounds very
reasonable, but it would actually undercut the whole structure of
Obamacare. But you can`t let these Democrats who are in vulnerable
districts go out there without the cover of some fix that would help at
least some people.

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, Jonathan Gruber --


O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Jonathan. Quickly.

GRUBER: If I could jump in, one last point, which is -- remember, the
election is not until November. We don`t have to react now. If by March
things aren`t working well, then let`s give them some cover. But I think
we are overreacting now.

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, and Jonathan Gruber, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

DIONNE: Thank you.

GRUBER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Senator Elizabeth Warren tells the Senate
something that they do not want to hear. Just an amazing performance by
Elizabeth Warren in the Senate today. You have got to see this.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, it is time to welcome conservatives to
the crusade against the death penalty. We are on the verge of a big
breakthrough in our politics on the death penalty, with a new possible
surge of libertarians and conservatives opposing is.

And a Republican politician wants to get into a fight with the pope?
With the pope? Who would do that? The last words chaplain, Father James
Martin, will join us.


O`DONNELL: A new Wyoming poll shows Senator Mike Enzi is running a
mere 52 points ahead of Liz Cheney in the Wyoming Republican Senate
primary, 69 percent to 17 percent. The poll was commissioned by the super
PAC called the American Principles Fund, which has been running ads against
Cheney. And those ads are targeting her for appearing on a particular
television network.


AD NARRATOR: MSNBC, the go-to network for Barack Obama and
Washington`s liberal elites. So, what`s Liz Cheney doing here?


O`DONNELL: I don`t think we`re going to see Liz Cheney back on
"MORNING JOE" any time soon.

Jonathan Capehart and Krystal Ball are here. We`re going to talk
about Elizabeth Warren coming up.


O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Warren is mad as hell and will not take it
anymore. Senator Warren has watched one too many completely qualified
judicial nominees blocked in the Senate by the Republican minority. The
most recent victim is professor Cornelia Pillard of Georgetown Law School,
who is obviously fully qualified to be confirmed as member of the D.C.
Circuit Court of Appeals.

In blocking her nomination, Republicans did not claim that the
professor Pillard is not qualified. They simply do not want to fill the

Elizabeth Warren then did something that freshmen senators never do.
She took to the Senate floor, to attack the Senate itself.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Article 2, Section 2 of the
Constitution says that the president of the United States nominates judges
with the advice and consent of the Senate. There is no clause that says,
except when that president is a Democrat.

Republicans these days don`t seem to like that. They keep looking for
ways to keep this president from doing his job. So far, they have shut
down the government. They have filibustered people he has nominated to
fill out his administration. And they are now filibustering judges to
block him from filling any of the vacancies with highly qualified people.

We need to call out these filibusters for what they are -- naked
attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election, to force
us to govern as though President Obama hadn`t won the 2012 election. Well,
President Obama did win the 2012 election, by 5 million votes.

If Republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees
for no reason -- other than to nullify the president`s constitutional
authority, then senators, not only have the right to change the filibuster
rules, senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules.


O`DONNELL: At least one Republican welcomed the possible rule change
suggested by Senator Warren.

Charles Grassley said that when the Republicans win back the White
House, if they ever do, they would turn that new rule to their advantage.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: If the Democrats are bent on changing
the rules, then I say go ahead. There are a lot more Scalias and Thomases
out there we`d love to put on the bench.


O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball, there is Elizabeth Warren, who, herself, was
effectively denied a nomination by the threat of the Senate doing this
filibuster stuff on her.

To see her out there fighting them on this is just a perfect revenge.

KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: It is fabulous to see her there, and she has
such a great, strong voice, not only because she was essentially blocked
through the process. But the person they ended up wanting to g with and
going with Richard Cordray was block for two years to be head of the CFPB,
the agency she essentially got off the ground. And it was only once
Senator Reid cut a deal on filibuster rules that they were able to get him
through. So, this cuts very close to her.

And I think the thing you see with Elizabeth Warren, and that Noam
Scheiber points out in his recent is she is not there to be a senator.
She`s not enamored with power and prestige of being a senator. She has an
agenda and she wants to get things done.

That`s why she is there. She is unafraid to challenge the institution
of the Senate, because she is not all about being a senator. She is all
about being there working on behalf of the people and working on behalf of
an effective government.

O`DONNELL: You know, Jonathan, I have slowly come around to this
Elizabeth Warren position, which is held by some of the newer Democrats in
the Senate. You know, I all way had that more, you know, established
Senate view, that you don`t want to change this rule, when your party is in
the minority, you are going to want to be able to use it.

But on nominations, I think they have really got to do it. We have
hit this unprecedented roadblock in the Senate and there is nothing worth
respecting in that tradition.

option, what we are talking about here, the thing that you never want to
do. You figure that reasonable people wouldn`t allow a situation to get to
that point, where you would just blow everything up, just to get some
nominations through, as she lined, talked about in her, her, floor speech.
We have been talking on, on the airways for months now.

The Republicans on Capitol Hill in the Senate, when it comes to
nominations, and in the House when it comes to everything else, they have
said no to everything. If you are Elizabeth Warren or any of the other
senators who go to Washington with the idea of getting something done --
oh, of governing, which is why folks used to come to Washington.

Well, it -- you know, using the nuclear option its the way to make
that happen. So be it.

And threats from Senator Grassley, Republicans threaten Democrats all
the time, because Democrats usually cower in fear. I don`t think that`s
going to happen.

O`DONNELL: But let`s think about it. I mean, there is a gamble to be
run here. What are odd of being a Republican president and when?

BALL: Right.

CAPEHART: A good point.

O`DONNELL: And then what is the composition of the Senate going to
be? I mean, the Democrats just have off to ld on to one of those things to
win this bet on changing the filibuster rule for nominations.

BALL: Right. I mean, you have how to look further down the road. At
some point, right, this would benefit the Republicans if there was of a
rule change. Have to say to your point. I hear --

O`DONNELL: Democrats don`t do this to Republican nominees. You don`t
need a rule change to tame the Democrats on Republican nominees.

BALL: And not only that, but I happen to think, if you win an
election, you should have a chance to enact your agenda.

And I happen to believe that the Republican agenda is very bad for
America, and bad for Americans. If they see it in action, they will kick
them out and go in another direction. So, that`s why I think we have to
change the rule. We have gotten to the point where the Senate doesn`t
work, government doesn`t work at all.

And agencies like the CFPB, and like the D.C. circuit court, which is
a critical court for the country, are unable to function because of a few

O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan, there is Grassley saying, oh, great, we`ll
get another Scalia. Of course you will because Democrats did not
filibuster Scalia. That`s how you got Scalia.

CAPEHART: Well, real, well right. His threat, I found actually
laughable. You raise a good pot. Unless you have the White House, and the
House, and the Senate. That threat means nothing.

Especially since we are -- what we all know, the likelihood of there
being a Republican president is very, very.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I`m willing to take that bet.

CAPEHART: Very, very slim. Given what Republicans are doing now.
Angering, missing off so many constituents they will need to win the White
House. The idea of a Republican president, nominating another Thomas or
another Scalia is -- what`s the word I am looking for -- next to nothing.

O`DONNELL: The older, you know, establishment playing Democrats in
the Senate are also drifting in this direction.

BALL: Starting to.

O`DONNELL: I`m not hearing them anymore kind of privately giving
those warnings, about, oh, boy, when we are in the minority. It takes a
lot, you know, to snap that, that -- that incredible pull of tradition in
the Senate. But I think the Republicans have crossed the line. I just
don`t think there is anything worth to holding on to in the old rule, the
current rule.

BALL: Well, and even Harry Reid, in the limited deal that he cut with
Mitch McConnell. That was a big deal he opened the door to changing
filibuster rules at all, because previously had been opposed. He came out
and said I change my mind. So, that was a big signal. Patrick Leahy
recently going the same direction. So, we may actually see movement on

O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: You can see Senator Warren`s entire speech on our Web

Coming up the latest, and we hope the last, performance by the most
entertaining mayor in North America, Toronto`s Rob Ford is in the spotlight

And American conservatives, some of them any way, think the pope is
abandoning them. And one Republican is actually getting in a fight with
the pope. We invited the pope on the show tonight, he could not make it.
He has sent instead, THE LAST WORD`s chaplain, Father James Martin, will
join us.


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, North America`s most colorful
mayor, possibly ever. Rob Ford, Mayor Ford finally confronted by Toronto
city council after a series of revelations starting with this, of course.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.


FORD: Do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one
of my drunken stupors, probably, approximately a year ago.


O`DONNELL: That performance was followed by the release of a
nonmusical rap video starring Mayor Ford.


O`DONNELL: The release of that video led to another star turn before
the cameras at an impromptu news conference.


FORD: It`s extremely embarrassing. And I don`t know what to say. I

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you are in that state!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rob Ford for prime minister!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was extremely --


O`DONNELL: A new poll gave the people of Toronto the following
multiple choice. A, should the mayor resign, get treatment and get out of
politics for good? B, should he take a leave of absence, get treatment and
return triumphantly to his job after three to four months? Or c, should
the mayor just keep doing what he is doing?

Only 41 percent think the mayor should go away for good, 41 percent
say that the mayor should resign and get treatment and disappear, 35
percent of Toronto residents are prepared to forgive and forget. If the
mayor takes a leave of absence and get treatment, they would then be happy
to see him return to business as usual at city hall. And then, then there
are the 24 percent who just love having the most entertaining mayor in the
world at the moment and want him to just keep doing what heap is doing
include I guess crack. Those 24 percent were not well represented today in
the city council hearing in which the mayor was politely confronted by the
city council.


FORD: It is very, very humiliating and embarrassing and degrading to
sit in front of the world and admit what I admitted. I wasn`t forced to
admit what I admitted, but I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two

FORD: Yes, I have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has been reported that you attended a residence
in the city of Toronto, and at that residence it has been deemed or
suggested it is a crack house.

FORD: It is not a crack house.


FORD: That it`s not a crack house. You don`t want to hear my answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, you are not being truthful?

FORD: I am not being truthful. Have you been into the house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no interest being in that house. I am not
a crack user.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, do you think you have a an addiction
problem with alcohol?

FORD: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, do you think you have an addiction
problem with substance abuse in illicit drugs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every episode that occurred caused commotion in
the city has been because you indicate that you have inebriated, and yet,
you fail to appreciate that perhaps there is a problem there?

FORD: Counselor, I have admitted to my mistakes the I said it would
not happen. Again. It has never happened again at the air Canada center.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Rick Salutin, columnist for "the Toronto

Rick, I want to play for the audience what the mayor said in the city
council hearing, about how he is definitely going to keep his job. Let`s
listen to that.


FORD: I am most definitely keeping this job. And on October 27th,
the people have the right to decide do they want a mayor that watches every
dime and saves millions and millions of dollars or do they want someone
else. That`s their decision. I am not leaving here. Going to sit here.
I`m going to attend every meeting, every executive meeting. I have not
miss a day done here I have one of the best attendance records ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there some way thou can explain to us why you
don`t want to take a leave?

FORD: There is no need to take a leave of absence. I`m returning my
calls. I`m going to committees. I`m watching every single dime that is
being spent here. I have done it for 13 years. And I`m going to continue
doing it five more years. One now, and four more October 27th.


O`DONNELL: Rick Salutin, is that possible? Can he hang in there and
keep this job?

RICK SALUTIN, COLUMNIST, TORONTO STAR: You know, I think, Americans,
American politics has provided so much and so many laughs and such a sense
of superiority for us over the years. I think is only fair that we provide
you with something in return like this.

O`DONNELL: We appreciate that.

SALUTIN: Yes. No. And it is fair play. I think, you know, I`m not
good on predictions. You can see how overmatched he is, in the, in the
role. His concept of being a mayor is penny pinching, basically. And
that`s not what big city mayors do. And I think he is in a way, he has
been overwhelmed.

One of the nice things up here is actually the level of compassion
that people extend to him. Instead of just being miffed and pissed off.
He is trouble. He needs help. He should take some time off. Kind of a

O`DONNELL: Yes, you could feel that. What I was struck by in the
city council today was just how polite everyone was.

SALUTIN: Some of that is.

O`DONNELL: Asking the tough questions. He did have one defender in
the city council today. That`s his brother, the city counselor, Doug Ford.
Let`s just listen to him for a minute.


DOUG FORD, COUNSELOR: Have you ever smoked marijuana? It is a
question, a yes or a no? Have you smoked marijuana?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Point of privilege.

D. FORD: The answer, I guess is yes. The answer is yes, I guess.


D. FORD: I would like everyone else stand up, who has smoked
marijuana. The whole council will stand up. Don`t come across. Don`t
come across that you`re holier than thou.


O`DONNELL: So, Rick, there is a certain style that runs in the Ford

SALUTIN: Yes. Well, Doug is, believe it or not, Doug is the closest
thing Rob has to a brain. His own hasn`t functioned for a long time.

O`DONNELL: How did he get elected mayor? What was his base of
support? What got him there?

SALUTIN: I think he was a good council member, you know. He liked
sitting and taking, first it refers the fest district of the city, he liked
taking phone calls and making sure people`s water got turned back on. But
I think also, it was this kind of bim-bam reaction.

Prior to him, we had a game who looked like a big city mayor. He was
sort of, sort of leftish. It was what Alexander Coburn used to call a
progressive. But what he and the people he worked with exuded was a sense
of moral superiority, and nobless oblige. And I think what people -- and
they didn`t do much. And people peck up on that sense of disrespect. And
Rob Ford slid in on the sense of resentment. I don`t think they were
really voting for the fiscal conservatism, they just didn`t want to be
talked done to. And it`s pretty hard to image Rob Ford talking down to

O`DONNELL: Yes. They are not being talked down to now.

Rick Salutin, thank you very, very for joining us, keeping us up to
date. Thank you, Rick.

SALUTIN: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up. The conservative case against the death
penalty. This is a very important development in the anti-death penalty
crusade. That`s in the "rewrite."

And, a Republican goes after the Pope?


O`DONNELL: The airfield in Tacloban is now operating 24 hours a day
allowing aid to be delivered to the devastated islands of the Philippines.
Within the next 24 hours, military flights will be bringing in U.S. aid
relief supplies. And the aircraft carrier, the "U.S. George Washington"
will arrive. The "George Washington" can purify 100,000 gallons of water
per day. The death toll increased overnight to 2,344.


O`DONNELL: After the first American invasion of Iraq, then President
George H. W. Bush enjoy a job approval rating of 89 percent. One year and
nine months later, he got only 37 percent of the vote in his re-election
campaign which wasn`t quite enough to win. That`s how much public opinion
can change in this country. And that`s how quickly it can change. And
public opinion is changing in the right direction on the death penalty.

Support for the death penalty in this country is now at 60 percent
with 35 percent opposed. Now, 60 percent may sound high, but it is
actually the lowest support level that the death penalty has had in 40

We now have very good reason to expect support for the death penalty
to continue to drop, thanks to conservatives, concerned about the death
penalty. That is a new group. That has emerged this year in opposition to
the death penalty. The conservative "the Washington Times," ran an article
on Monday headlined, the conservative case against the death penalty.
Quoting Mark Hayden of conservatives concerned about the death penalty
saying "conservatives believe that the government should exercise fiscal
responsibility and restraint and the waste of the death penalty process is
in direct conflict with fiscal conservatism."

"The Washington Times" reported a study of prosecution costs in
Maryland revealed that the average case in which the death penalty was
pursued cost $1.9 million more than a case without the death penalty. The
extra appeals motion and procedures that must be followed consume
taxpayers` money, and many argue that the money could be better spent on
schools and infrastructure.

In California, Donald Heller who wrote the death penalty law in 1978
now says it has been a colossal failure, the cost of our system of capital
of punishment is so enormous that any benefit that could be obtained from
it. Now I think there is very little or zero benefit is so dollar wasteful
that it serves no effective purpose.

Ron Briggs, a Republican who supported the death penalty law in 1978,
in California, now says I tell my Republican friend, close your eyes for a
moment. If there was a state program that was costing $185 million a year
and only gave the money to lawyers and criminals, what would you do with

Conservatisms raining intellectual George Will has said, capital
punishment like the rest of the criminal justice system is a government
program. So, skepticism is an order.

Arch conservative, Richard Viguerie has the said, conservatives have
every reason to believe the death penalty system is no different from any
politicized, costly, inefficient, bureaucratic government run operation
which we conservatives know are rife with injustice. But here, the end
result is the end of someone`s life. In other words, it is a government
system that kills people.

Conservatives concerned about the death penalty should be welcomed
into the space previously occupied only by liberal groups. Death penalty
focus founded in California in 1988 has been relentlessly crusading against
the death penalty year in and year out.

Actor Mike Farrell, who you will remember from " M.A.S.H." became
president of Death Penalty Focus 20 years ago when the support for the
death penalty peaked at 80 percent in this country. Mike Farrell, as
president of that organization, continues to tirelessly soldier on,
exposing abuses of the death penalty and making the practical, financial
and moral case against it.

Death Penalty Focus as led by Mike Farrell has always been able to get
some attention at least once a year when they raise money Hollywood style
at a gala dinner, that honors people who have been helpful to the cause.
People like Senator Ted Kennedy, New York`s former governor Mario Cuomo,
the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and of course, a long list of Hollywood
liberals over the years including Kiefer Southerland, James Cromwell, Danny
Glover, Harry Belafonte, Hillary Swank, Sean Penn, and Alec Baldwin.

Liberal organizations like Death Penalty Focus might now want to focus
on what could turn out to be the fastest growing group of opponents to the
death penalty, the new conservative, and libertarian opponents to the death

Ron Paul has said, there was a time I simply stated that I supported
the death penalty. But now, Ron Paul has the endorsed conservatives,
concerned about the death penalty. And Ron Paul said this, I believe that
support for the death penalty is inconsistent with libertarianism and
traditional conservatism. So, I am pleased with conservatives concerned
about the death penalty`s efforts to form a coalition of libertarians and
conservatives to work to end capital punishment.

Well how about a coalition of liberals, and libertarians, and
conservatives to work to end the death penalty. And how about Death
Penalty Focus honoring Ron Paul for this position against the death penalty
at their next big Hollywood gala. I would buy a table for that one. And
yes, I would still disagree with Ron Paul and everything that we disagree
on. But on that night, in that ballroom, I would happily give Ron Paul a
standing ovation for leading libertarians in opposition to the death


O`DONNELL: Secretary of state John Kerry will be a "Morning Joe"
exclusive tomorrow to discuss the latest negotiations with Iran. Of
course, that means John Kerry will not be able to run for Senate in Wyoming
where Liz Cheney is being attacked for having appeared on MSNBC`s "Morning

Up next, there is a Republican who decided to pick a fight with the
Pope for his kind of liberal views. The Pope`s defender, and "Last Word"
chaplain is here. The fight is on. That is coming up.


O`DONNELL: In the most recent episode of Sarah Palin saying crazy
stuff to sell her book. She takes on the Pope.


Francis? What do you think of him?

trying to follow what his agenda is. And I am surprise he came out with a
couple things in the media. But then again, I am not one to trust the
media`s interpretation of somebody`s message. But having read through
media outlets that, he has some statements that to me sound kind of liberal
has take enemy aback. It`s kind of surprised me. But there again, you
know, unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is and do my home
work, I will not just trust what I hear in the media.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, the "Last Word" chaplain, Father James

Father Martin, Sarah Palin thinks the Pope is kind of liberal. Your
defense, sir.

FR. JAMES MARTIN, LAST WORD CHAPLAIN: The Pope`s agenda, as she says,
is the gospel. And it is neither liberal or conservative. It is the
gospel. He is preaching the message of love, compassion, and tolerance.

O`DONNELL: Yes, yes, that sounded very liberal. OK, love,
compassion, tolerance. Tolerance? Come on. Come on.

MARTIN: I think there are a lot of conservatives that are loving,
compassionate and tolerant. So, I don`t think it is a political situation.
I think it is something that people might interpret as liberal or
conservative. But of it is its own category.

O`DONNELL: Is this Pope a liberal?

MARTIN: No. And he is not a conservative. He is Christian. And I
think those political labels really don`t work.

O`DONNELL: You are very good at these word games. You are very good.

MARTIN: No, but listen, he is -- the Popes are frequently more
liberal than the most liberal Democrat and more conservative than the most
conservative Republican. I mean, it depend on the issue.

O`DONNELL: They`re all against the death penalty for example.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: They are against, Sarah Palin`s position on that.

MARTIN: Yes, they`re against the death penalty. They are pro-life
across the board. As you, know, catholic teaching asks us to be. They are
also for the poor. And so, these categories of liberal, conservative,
Democrat, and Republican, really, are nonsensical. And so, when I hear
someone say that he is liberal. I think they`re kind of missing the

O`DONNELL: What, I mean, you know, Sarah Palin is not catholic. She
is not educated in the Catholic Church. What do you think is it that she
sees when this Pope speaks that makes her react that way?

MARTIN: Well, I can`t look into her soul. But I think she is
probably looking at something like, you know, his emphasis on the poor.
You know, the very first thing he said in his press conference with

O`DONNELL: That is a Jesus Christ emphasis. He is not inventing
this. Sarah Palin claims to follow.

MARTIN: Yes. Well, I think for some reason, people equate that with
liberalism which is I think unfortunate. It is not. It is Christianity.
And that is a Christianity.

O`DONNELL: See, I equate it with liberalism and I think that is
fortunate. I think that too liberalism`s credit that it is in sync with
that philosophy.

MARTIN: But I would say liberals are not the only one whose care
about the poor. It is a particular way of looking at the poor as they sort
of preferential treatment and the people that we specifically look at
first. That`s of what the Pope is trying to ask, he is trying to got us to

O`DONNELL: Father, I am trying to corner you politically to take a
political position?

MARTIN: Yes, well.

O`DONNELL: And assign one to the Pope.

MARTIN: Yes. Well, unfortunately I am not a politician and neither
is the Pope.

O`DONNELL: You are so lucky. We have run out of time. I think we
were really close.

Father C, once again, gets tonight`s last Holy word.

Chris Hayes is up next.


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