'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, March 31, 2014
Read the transcript to the Monday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
March 31, 2014
Guests: Micah McCoy; Loretta Weinberg
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Chris Christie is out, and Jeb Bush
is in as the darling of the Republican billionaires.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who`s the big winner after this weekend`s
unofficial Sheldon Adelson primary in Las Vegas?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republican hopefuls went trooping to kiss the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Candidates going to kiss the ring.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The PAC-meister Sheldon Adelson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Chris Christie.
UNIDENTIFIEDF FEMALE: Scott Walker and John Kasich.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each of these folks has their weaknesses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Along with former Governor Jeb Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb Bush could possibly appeal to women and
Latinos and African-Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How strong are Jeb Bush`s chances? Does he
actually really want it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he`s seriously looking at that time, but I
don`t think it`s a done deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wasn`t so long ago, we were talking about Chris
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A report on the bridge-gate scandal was released
Thursday and clears the governor of any wrongdoing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reality of it is, this thing is still far
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you can totally trust it because it was fact-
checked by independent investigator Trish Christie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christie`s fall has really I think forced the
focus onto Jeb Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the GOP`s biggest names are working behind
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think anybody has an appetite for a third
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To draft Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bush name probably wouldn`t be an asset for
him in a general election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that would be a problem?
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: No. I don`t think there`s any
Bush baggage at all.
O`DONNELL: And now we might be one political weekend closer to a
battle of the dynasties in the 2016 presidential election. Former Florida
Governor Jeb Bush emerged as the Republican darling over the weekend during
what is now known as the Adelson primary.
Political gambler Sheldon Adelson hosted Bush, Chris Christie,
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich at his
Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish coalition`s spring
meeting. Kasich, Walker, and Christie all spoke on Saturday, seemingly
trying to appeal to Adelson who is of course a staunch supporter of Israel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Our first-born, you might have
picked up as I mentioned their names, is Matthew. And it was picked for a
purpose because not knowing whether she`d have the opportunity to marry
again and have a child of her own, we picked a name that represented in
Hebrew what means a gift or gift from God. Sometimes people are a little
confused in December in our household the governor`s residence because not
only do we have Christmas decorations up but we put up a menorah candle.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Sheldon, thanks for inviting me. And I
want to thank all of you for giving me a chance to come here and speak. I
don`t travel to these things much. But this is one that I thought was
really, really important.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I took a helicopter ride from
the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary
that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Chris Christie demonstrated how unprepared he was to speak
to that particular audience, an audience that does not recognize the term
"occupied territories" in the way that Chris Christie used it. It drew
murmurs from some in the audience who just don`t consider the West Bank and
east Jerusalem to be occupied territories.
Christie reportedly apologized in a private meeting in Adelson`s
office shortly afterward, the only candidate known to have had to apologize
to Adelson afterwards.
Adelson came into the ballroom for Christie`s speech a bit late but
was seated directly in front of the podium as he spoke. Adelson skipped
Governor Walker`s speech altogether. He was seated at Governor Kasich`s
table for lunch, but it was what happened earlier in the week, Thursday,
that has Republicans most excited. Thursday, Jeb Bush met privately with
Sheldon Adelson and later addressed the Republican Jewish coalition`s
senior members at a private VIP event at Adelson`s company airport hangar.
According to the "Washington Post", many of the Republican Party`s
most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes
campaign to draft former Florida Governor Jeb Bush into the 2016
presidential race courting him and his intimates and starting talks on
fund-raising strategy, concerned that the George Washington Bridge traffic
scandal has damaged New Jersey Governor Chris Christie`s political scandal
and alarmed by the steady rise of Senator Rand Paul, prominent donors,
conservative leaders and long-time operatives say they consider Bush the
GOP`s brightest hope to win back the White House.
According to a "Washington Post"/ABC News poll this month of
registered voters, only 6 percent said they would definitely vote for Jeb
Bush, 50 percent said they definitely would not vote for Jeb Bush, 25
percent would definitely vote for Hillary Clinton, 37 percent said they
would definitely not vote for Hillary Clinton.
Joining me now, MSNBC senior political analyst David Axelrod, a former
senior adviser to President Obama. Steve Schmidt, an MSNBC political
analyst and former Bush-Cheney strategist in 2004. And John Heilemann,
MSNBC political analyst and national affairs editor of "New York" magazine.
Steve Schmidt, we go to you.
Do the Republicans have a new billionaire front-runner as of tonight?
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I don`t think
it`s any secret that the donor class of the Republican Party, particularly
the amount of money that you can raise in the tri-state area here, that
there`s deep skepticism, deep worry about Governor Christie, whether he can
possibly come back from this. So in a field where Rand Paul is ascendant,
in a field that appears to be as unstructured as it`s ever been, with no
clear front-runner, people are looking at one of the most formidable
political leaders in the Republican Party, one of the most scuffle
governors and someone who could compete very well with the Latino vote and
that of course is Jeb Bush.
And should he get in the race, of course I think it deflates any
chance of a Christie comeback and also knocks Marco Rubio out of the
running as well.
O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, I want to go to you for that Christie
moment that happened in the hall there where he used the phrase that that
audience didn`t want to hear. And that goes to just basic candidate
preparation of the most elemental kind. The kind every governor needs
because they have absolutely no experience talking about foreign policy.
When you see a moment like that occur, you`re clearly seeing somebody
who certainly now is not ready for presidential campaigning.
DAVID AXELROD, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s not
surprising really because he`s been grappling with this other issue. In
fact, I think until now he thought occupied territory was the Fort Lee
entrance to the George Washington Bridge.
But you know, he ran out there having done his Diane Sawyer interview
and having had his press conference. And I`m sure he wasn`t prepared for
that event. But let me just say as an aside we shouldn`t let the moment
pass without noting what`s happened to our politics, that Sheldon Adelson
is now a guy who commands these so-called center-right Republicans to come
and appear before him. The Republican Party is now being run by a bunch of
oligarchs, and he`s one of them.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at what Chris Christie actually just
said on FOX News minutes ago about possible Republican presidential
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I think Jeb Bush would be an outstanding candidate for
president. I think Scott Walker would be a really good candidate for
president. I think Paul Ryan would be a really good candidate for
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Rand Paul?
CHRISTIE: I think he`d be a credible candidate for president. I
think Marco Rubio would be a good candidate for president.
KELLY: How about you?
CHRISTIE: We`ll see.
KELLY: I had to ask. I knew we were going to get that answer. You
sound like you`re closer to doing it than you were last time around.
CHRISTIE: Well, I think I`m older and more experienced. And it`s
certainly something that I`ve said to everybody that I`ll consider.
KELLY: But do you have too much baggage?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, the most damning stuff that I have read
about Chris Christie is still the stuff that I read in your book about the
Romney team`s vetting of Chris Christie as a possible vice presidential
candidate, a vetting that he did not pass. There are stories in there that
are much more difficult for him to get past than the bridge-gate stuff and
this other stuff. But he clearly is trying to.
How is the Christie rehabilitation tour, which is now about three days
old, how`s it going?
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it`s going
about as well as it could go. But I don`t think it`s having any long-term
effect so far on his real problem, which is that had for a period of time
after winning his big election victory in November, he had a lot of
enthusiasm with one very important constituency, the one that Steve talked
about before, which is the Republican donor class.
Those people had one or two sets of real deep concerns about him.
They thought -- what they liked about him was they thought he could win, he
could compete in the Northeast, he could break some of the Republican
electoral challenges, the locks that they need to pick in order to assemble
a national majority but they worried about his temperament and they worried
about the stuff in the shadows in New Jersey, his way of doing business.
This scandal, whatever it adds up to, whether he`s fully exonerated
legally, whatever the findings of the committee, the state legislative
committee and the U.S. attorney, whatever those things come up with, he has
already been irreparably I think damaged with the donor class, his main
base of support, on those issues because this scandal and all of the other
stuff that you alluded that that`s not even -- people I haven`t even gotten
to yet are things that go directly to their basic fears about him,
temperament and the whole culture, the political culture of the state house
and of New Jersey that he represents.
O`DONNELL: Steve, Adelson was one of the worst gamblers in the last
Republican field. He bet on Newt Gingrich, which was going nowhere. He
bet on Rick Santorum. He then finally got on board with Romney fund-
raising after having tremendous amounts of Adelson money used to attack
Romney, the guy he`s then investing in after he`s damaged the stock he`s
Have these Republican campaign investors -- what we`ve seen now is are
they getting smarter? Are they trying to get more targeted to the actual
SCHMIDT: I think anyone who spends any amount of money in these races
wants to back the winner. What was remarkable with Sheldon Adelson`s
endorsement and the spending of the millions of dollars for Newt Gingrich
last time revolutionary in American politics was this -- the typical
presidential campaigns end when the candidate runs out of money.
And Newt Gingrich was out of money. He was down and out. And he
really had a constituency of one.
He had one guy outside the structure of the campaign that was
providing all the funding. And he was able to keep going. He was able to
keep running well past the point of his expiration date.
And he did a lot of damage to Mitt Romney over the course of that.
So, it remains to be seen how it will play out. But certainly all it takes
is a candidate supported by one of these guys who can go on all the way
through the process, creating all sorts of havoc.
So, their power is totally disproportionate to anything we`re used to
seeing in the nominating process.
O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, how do you see a Bush versus Clinton match-
up? They both have that issue of this is kind of a continuation of a
dynasty, but it seems to me that Hillary has a bit of an advantage in this
in that she also is a new thing if she`s the Democratic nominee, she is the
first woman nominee. And she has that freshness of being the first woman.
AXELROD: Without question. I think she would have the edge going in.
I think Bush would be a formidable general election candidate because
he does have ties to the Hispanic community, is fluent in Spanish. His
wife is Hispanic.
And so, he has an affinity with that community. He also is someone
who`s been willing to take on the party on immigration reform, on education
reform. So that`s been one of the failings of Republican candidates in the
last couple of cycles, is the unwillingness to take on the base.
The real question, though, the reason they didn`t was because they
couldn`t get through the nominating process if they didn`t submit to the
right wing of the Republican Party. Can Jeb -- I think he -- the real
question is can Jeb Bush get through the nominating process?
I think he`ll be competitive if he gets to a general. I don`t know
that he can beat Hillary Clinton but he`d be formidable. But can he get
through a nominating process?
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, you are the chronicler of presidential
ambition, last couple of books, people running for president. There`s all
this talk about Jeb doesn`t want it, I don`t think he really wants it. He
just traveled across the country to go to Vegas to sit in an airplane
hangar and talk to a billionaire.
You do that because you want to run for president. That`s not an
HEILEMANN: Well, you certainly do it if you want to keep the option
wide open that you might want to run for president. He had a lot of
personal ambivalence about running in 2012, and that was what kept him out.
He wanted to stay in the private sector. He wanted to make money.
This is probably his chance if he wants to take it. And in addition
to going out to Las Vegas, he`s also been going around the country giving
policy speeches and starting to kind of act more and more like a candidate.
But I`ll come back to one thing David said a second ago and the question
you asked. The one big problem for Bush it seems to me from the Republican
standpoint, you can see why the establishment thinks he might be a safe
But, man, we saw them earlier kind of previewing what the argument was
going to be against Hillary Clinton, which was she`s old hat, she`s old
news, she`s not the future. That`s the problem with Jeb Bush, is that they
lose that advantage. They lose that argument if they nominate Jeb Bush.
You can`t argue that a Bush running against a Clinton represents a
future of either party. That looks like a retread elects on both sides and
one advantage the Republicans if they pick someone new could have against
her very formidable strength.
O`DONNELL: Quickly, Steve, before we go, to David`s question. Can
Jeb Bush appeal to Latino voters and win the Republican nomination for
SCHIMDT: I think he can. I think the establishment candidate at the
end of the day has been the candidate that`s typically won the nominating
process. We don`t have, you know, despite the conventional wisdom to the
contrary, the Republican nomination process doesn`t result in the craziest
person running being the nominee. Otherwise we would have had --
O`DONNELL: It does attract some pretty crazy --
AXELROD: They`re not there by genuflecting to the crazy -- they`ve
surrendered their credential credentials.
SCHMIDT: David and I agree on that, there was too much genuflecting,
not enough doing what Bill Clinton did in 1992, standing up to the excesses
of some of the wings of the party, which any Republican, having lost the
popular vote in five out of the last six elections, we need to have a
candidate who will do that.
I think Jeb Bush is tough enough, smart enough, serious enough that he
could absolutely be the nominee of the party. He would be a very
formidable general election candidate. And there is no better story
obviously in American politics than the notion of if you look at the
intertwinement of these two families since 1988, what an incredible story.
And it will capture the imagination of the national press corps.
O`DONNELL: It reads like drama.
David Axelrod, Steve Schmidt, and John Heilemann -- thank you all for
joining me tonight.
Coming up, Ezra Klein joins me to talk about the last-minute
enrollments on the Healthcare.gov site, the biggest day of enrollments.
And later, we will show you an extraordinary video of the killing of a
homeless man by Albuquerque police.
O`DONNELL: Toronto voters will decide in October if Mayor Rob Ford
gets another term in office. But a group called "No Ford Nation" thinks
anyone is better than Rob Ford. The group is posting campaign signs from
fictional candidates all over Toronto.
Candidate Ray Faranzi says, "The current mayor threatens to kill
people and gets publicly drunk. If elected I promise I will just get
Candidate Jeff McElroy promises to just smoke pot as mayor, not crack.
And candidate Jim Tomkins promises, "When I urinate in public, I never
get caught on camera."
Coming up, a man who never gets caught on camera saying anything
unwise. Ezra Klein on the biggest day for sign-ups under the Affordable
And in "The Rewrite", late-night comedy`s favorite new candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONI ERNST: I`m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Kind of like voting,
you know, once you`re in line, your vote gets counted, no matter how long
it takes, until the poll closes. I just wanted to come by and say you`re
doing the right thing. You`re doing the right thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BIDEN: We`ve had over 1.2 million people just by noon today.
BIDEN: It doesn`t mean they got in the queue. It doesn`t mean for
sure what they did, but a lot of traffic. I think people are going to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The final shopping day for health insurance continued to
be a record-breaking one after Vice President Joe Biden`s visit to an
enrollment center in Washington, D.C.
This afternoon, there were more than 3 million visits to
healthcare.gov and more than 1 million phone calls as of 8:00 p.m. Eastern
on what is now the last day of health insurance enrollment under the
Affordable Care Act.
Joining me now, Ezra Klein, editor-in-chief of vox.com and an MSNBC
Ezra, first to the, pardon the expression, deadline. I think in
yesterday`s "New York Times" I read about eight or nine exceptions to the
deadline. Including, you know, if you started the process today and didn`t
finish the process today, that`ll be OK. And if you can just apparently
promise someone at the IRS or HHS that you really did want to do this
earlier, that`ll be OK too.
So how hard is this deadline tonight?
EZRA KLEIN, VOX.COM: This is not a hard deadline.
KLEIN: All you have to do -- so, it`s worth separating two things.
Number one, you`ve got the Medicaid expansion, and that has no deadline at
all. If you want to sign up for Medicaid tomorrow, three months from now,
if you`re in a state where they have it and you`re at the income level, you
need to qualify for it, you can get it Medicaid whenever you want it. That
is not ending on March 31st.
This is about buying private insurance in the insurance marketplace.
And what the Obama administration did there -- as you mentioned, there are
a bunch of other kinds of exceptions, if you lose your job, if you get a
divorce, that can happen for you anytime.
But for right now, for just extending this current enrollment period
beyond tonight, if you go to Healthcare.gov, and you click a little blue
box that says I tried to do this earlier and got dissuaded by technical
problems, nobody checks on that. It`s just the honor system. You can just
sign up tomorrow or five days from now or two weeks from now. That will
probably only go through to mid-April but it does mean there is a big
chance for anybody who got dissuaded today or just decided two or three
days from now they don`t want to participate individual mandate to go and
And I think the Obama administration expects a pretty reasonable
number of people are going to get signed up in the next two or three weeks.
O`DONNELL: There`s a lot of numbers being thrown around. The one
that I would be most interested in is what has this program so far done to
he the uninsured? How many -- because a lot of these people who are
signing up had health insurance before, that insurance has been canceled or
for whatever reason they`re changing or signing up now.
But the bill, all of this legislative momentum, this crusade the
Democrats were on for decades, was a crusade to bring coverage to the
uninsured. So what is the state of the uninsured tonight, Ezra?
KLEIN: So, right now, there is a new report from the rand corporation
that came out in the "L.A. Times" this morning, was reported on there. And
they`ve run a bunch of numbers. More than anyone else has so far.
Including people who bought directly from insurers, which is numbers the
administration doesn`t actually have in any real way.
And they say that so far 9.5 million previously uninsured people have
bought insurance through Obamacare. Now, they also say sign-ups in the
insurance marketplaces in March, so this month, were tilted more heavily
towards the uninsured than in the past. So that number is going to get
much higher at the end of this month, potentially higher at the end of next
month when more folks come in sort of after the deadline.
So, if that number is correct -- and that number includes a bunch of -
- I think preliminary data, it`s fair to say. So if that number`s correct,
9.5 million, that`s a pretty big number. There is a tendency in politics
to want to judge things very, very rapidly, to want to say after six months
or seven months or one month or one week or one day whether things are
working out, to imagine they`ll be static after that.
But the expectation on Obamacare is that it will sign up a bunch of
people in year one as it appears to be doing. It`s a lot nearer to its
original predictions than I thought it would actually get.
And then in year two and three and four and year five keep going. So
I think the expectation in year one is you get 6 million people in the
marketplaces. But the expectation by the end of year four is that you have
24 million. So, the important thing here was that Obamacare got enough of
a platform that it could keep premiums low going forward and get on a path
to success such that it will ultimately sign up many multiples even of the
number of uninsured it`s signed up now.
O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein, thanks very much for tonight`s update on where
KLEIN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, as scandal continues to engulf the Christie
administration, another member of team Christie was forced to resign. New
Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg will join me on that.
And later, the extraordinary video of the killing by police in New
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, another Christie crony resigns
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: David Samson should be the next resignation demanded by
The "New Jersey Star-Ledger" editorial had said Port Authority
Chairman David Samson should resign. Samson appears to treat his port
authority appointment as an extension of his legal career.
"The New York Times" today said this, "Time for David Samson to go."
CHRISTIE: David tendered his resignation to me this afternoon,
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is New Jersey State Senator Loretta
Weinberg, who is co-chair of the special legislative committee that is
investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Senator, as you know, David Samson was exposed very early in this
story about the bridge attacking in his e-mail concerning the bridge the
one truth teller we know in the story, Patrick Foye, the New York-appointed
executive director, who`s the one who stopped who they were doing at the
bridge, wrote an e-mail to them all saying this is dangerous and possibly
illegal, and all of that stuff.
And David Samson, the chairman of the port authority, his e-mail
reaction to that was to say, "in this case he`s playing in traffic, made a
STATE SEN. LORETTA WEINBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: You know, Lawrence, that
is what to me is wrong with this story from the very beginning. Had
anybody at the time that they first read Patrick Foye`s e-mail, which as
you said stated very clearly this was not done in accordance with any of
the port authority processes, and it might quite be that they broke federal
and state laws. Nobody seemed to want to look at that. Had they called in
any of the so-called central cast of characters in this drama at the time
and said what did you guys do and why.
You and I probably wouldn`t even be sitting here tonight discussing
this. And we wouldn`t have had all of these investigations. But nobody in
this whole saga ever took responsibility, exercised accountability. And
I`ve been saying this from the very beginning.
O`DONNELL: And Samson was perfectly positioned to do all of that.
And we saw that Stepien, the campaign manager type, was fired by Christie
when the e-mail -- when there was an e-mail that was revealed in which
Stepien`s big crime was to say the mayor is an idiot, referring to the
mayor of Fort Lee.
In Christie world in January that got him fired. But this thug e-mail
from Samson saying he`s playing in traffic, made a big mistake, that did
not get him fired by Chris Christie until last week, when he says it`s a
resignation. Obviously it was absolutely necessary by the time Christie
was doing his news conference, that the first thing he had to go out there
and say is David Samson`s resigned.
WEINBERG: David Samson, who by the way they didn`t interview in this
so-called exhaustive report. They never called him because I think his
reason was attorney-client privilege.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the governor`s explanation of why in this
exhaustive investigation they revealed last week, why they never talked to
the chairman of the port authority. But what he doesn`t explain is why the
report never says that they never talked to the chairman of the port
authority. Let`s listen to the governor`s excuse for Samson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: In terms of his and his firm`s
lack of participation in interviews conducted by the Mastro group, he
explained to me that there were issues of attorney-client privilege that he
feared would be compromised if he participated in an interview. I didn`t
push it any further because it wasn`t my role to push it any further. But
that was the explanation he gave me at the time, and I have no reason not
to believe nap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Of course it was his role to push it further and to say to
him, David, this is about the George Washington bridge, you can answer all
the questions about that. And if you want to, you can hide behind the
attorney-client privilege on the Hoboken matter. But half of this
investigation was about something in which he had no client.
WEINBERG: You know, this report is so -- there are so many holes and
gaps in it. Let me just tell you one small story. They cover in the
report, they mention that I wrote a letter on September 19th raising this
issue. The way the report depicts it is I wrote a letter to the port
Actually, I wrote the letter to one commissioner in the port
authority, commissioner Pat Shuber. I don`t think I was complaining. I
was asking questions. Would you please tell me what happened here? And
the report omits that I copied the governor and David Samson on that
letter. That`s never mentioned.
So they mention a letter way back on September 19th, but they omit a
very I think important part of that document. Did the governor get it?
Did somebody in his office get it? Did anybody suggest they look into it?
O`DONNELL: Because the governor in that report wants to insist that
the governor`s not aware of what`s going on.
WEINBERG: Of anything.
O`DONNELL: But there`s a letter from you telling him all about it.
WEINBERG: Well, not telling him all about it because I didn`t know
all the background. But asking all the questions.
O`DONNELL: Outlining --
WEINBERG: What went on here? Correct.
And then when you add to it the gratuitous, gross sexism that was put
into this report, to paint a picture of Bridget Kelly -- and I don`t want
to be an apologist for Bridget Kelly and whatever her actions were in this
whole saga. But to drag in an alleged personal relationship and then to go
so far as to even say who broke up with whom, based on what information do
they have that?
They didn`t interview either of the two weeks. It is disgraceful.
And I`ve said this before, and I`ll say it right to Randy Mastro`s face.
Putting your name on this report is an embarrassment to the legal
O`DONNELL: New jersey state senator Loretta Weinberg. That`s going
to be tonight`s Last Word on the Chris Christie situation. Thank you very
much for joining me tonight.
WEINBERG: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert have a new
favorite candidate for United States Senate, and she`s in tonight`s
O`DONNELL: On this day in history, March 31st, 1776, John Adams`
wife, Abigail, wrote her husband this letter.
"I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And by the
way, in the new code of laws, which I suppose it will be necessary for you
to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and
favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such limited power into
the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they
could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are
determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any
laws in which we have no voice or representation."
Women got the right to vote in this country almost 150 years after
Abigail Adams wrote that letter.
Up next, something Abigail Adams would be happy to see, another woman
running for Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m Joni Ernst. I grew
up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s Joni Ernst, a Republican running for United States
Senate in Iowa. And that is the single best opening line of a campaign
commercial this year. If you want the attention of comedians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERNST: I`m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.
JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: Stop. Stop. Stop.
Stop. I don`t know what she`s running for, but just give her the job.
Can we see that one more time?
ERNST: I`m Joni Ernst.
ERNST: I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.
FALLON: All right. Hi, I`m Joni Ernst. I grew up throwing battery
acid in people`s face. What did you say?
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE COLBERT REPORT: Joni, you had me at
Folks, it does not matter what else she stands for. I am going for
her whole hog, or whatever is left of the hog when she`s done with it. I
believe that America demands senators with balls. And I`m guessing Joni`s
got a dumpster full of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Let`s see the rest of what Joni Ernst has to say.
ERNST: I`m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.
So when I get to Washington, I`ll know how to cut pork.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joni Ernst, mother, soldier, conservative.
ERNST: My parents taught us to live within our means. It`s time to
force Washington to do the same. To cut wasteful spending, repeal
Obamacare, and balance the budget.
I`m Joni Ernst, and I approve this message because Washington`s full
of big spenders. Let`s make them squeal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I`m sure Joni`s parents did a great job of teaching her
how to live within her means. But she grew up on an Iowa farm, which may
mean that her means included purely socialistic farm subsidies delivered to
her family so that they, like other Iowa farmers, would not be exposed to
the harshness of capitalism.
We`ve actually spent several days trying to find out what Joni Ernst`s
position is on farm subsidies and whether she or her family has ever been a
beneficiary of farm subsidies. And she and her campaign have refused to
answer those questions.
When Iowa politicians talk about socialism or cutting wasteful
spending or cutting wasteful socialistic spending, they are usually not
talking about agriculture subsidies, even though they are wasteful
America has good and bad socialism, and agriculture subsidies are very
bad socialism, but it is socialism that Iowa loves. Over 80 percent of
Iowa farms partake of that particular brand of government pork, which
usually leaves Iowa ranking number two in terms of amount of socialistic
agriculture subsidies obtained from the dreaded federal government.
Now, you would think that the more socialist-friendly state of
California would be the highest recipient of agricultural subsidies because
it is by far the biggest agricultural state we have. It is -- its
agricultural GDP is almost $48 billion a year. That is $14.5 billion more
than number two, Iowa. Which in Iowa where people like Joni Ernst say they
Over 80 percent of farms receive those purely socialistic agriculture
subsidies from the federal government. So over 80 percent of farms are
practicing socialism while many of them pretend to be opposed to socialism.
In California only nine percent of farms receive agriculture
subsidies. California farmers deliver much more than Iowa farmers and get
much less help from the federal government than Iowa farmers.
If Joni Ernst grew up on a California farm, there`s a pretty good
chance she didn`t come close to benefiting from agriculture subsidies. But
growing up on an Iowa farm means there`s at least an 80 percent chance that
Joni Ernst and her family benefited from agricultural subsidies. An 80
percent chance that Joni Ernst benefited from the kind of wasteful
government spending that I would try to cut if I was a United States
senator, but that she will probably fight to preserve or increase as Iowa
senators usually do.
I say probably because we don`t really know what Joni Ernst`s position
is on agriculture subsidies. Last week our producer Arianna Pecari
actually got late-night comedy star Joni Ernst on the phone for a few
minutes and asked her if she has a position on farm subsidies. And Joni
Ernst answered, yes, I do, but I can`t talk about it right now.
She said she was in a meeting and she would get back to us. We`re
O`DONNELL: What do you think the penalty is for illegal camping in
New Mexico? Well, for one person it was the death penalty. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Gordon Eden is running a police department that is out of
control. The justice department has been investigating the Albuquerque,
New Mexico police department as a result of credible accusations that the
department routinely uses excessive force.
We are about to show you the department`s most recent grotesque use of
excessive force. In this case deadly force. This is a video that you will
The Albuquerque police department has serious law enforcement
responsibilities, but policing the crime of illegal camping is not one of
them, and the penalty for the crime of illegal camping is not the death
penalty. Apparently, no one has explained that to the Albuquerque police
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were down at a bar or a bus stop I have the
right to kill you right now because you are trying to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not trying to harm you. All right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground! Get on the ground now! Get on
the ground! Get on the ground!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In his hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Behind you. Is he moving? His hands. He`s still
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands out to your side and drop the
knife. Hands out to your side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bean bag. Bean bag.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the knife! Drop the knife!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With that knife in his hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. He`s good. Somebody step on that
right hand real hard. He`s got a knife in each hand? Knife in each hand.
I got left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it right there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t see where the other one went. Where`d
the first knife go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first knife`s up there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cuffs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That shooting and the release of that video, which clearly
shows him being shot in the back, sparked a day of protests in Albuquerque
Joining me now is Micah McCoy, communications manager for the New
Mexico ACLU who is at the protest last night. Also with us MSNBC law
enforcement analyst and former police officer Jim Cavanaugh.
Micah, what has been the reaction, especially since the release of
Thank you for having me, Lawrence.
MICAH MCCOY, ALBUQUERQUE PROTESTER: The reaction has been very tense
to say the least. There`s been a lot of anger, a lot of frustration.
Yesterday`s protest was actually the second protest last week. The first
one on Tuesday had over 1,000 inhabitants of Albuquerque marching in the
streets. Yesterday`s protest was in the range of 300 to 350. And it
lasted for the majority of the day, about 12 hours of protesters
organically taking over large parts of downtown and the university area to
express their displeasure at the rate of officer-involved shootings that we
have here in our city.
O`DONNELL: And Jim Cavanaugh, the numbers are extraordinary in
Albuquerque for a police department that size policing a population of
about 600,000. They`re way out of whack nationally. That`s one of the
reasons why the justice department`s down there investigating. What we see
on that video is a department that is not observing the deadly force rule
that`s in place in most of the departments around the country. This guy
poses no physical threat to them at that time. He`s actually physically
turning away from them when they start shooting. It`s really quite
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that`s right,
Lawrence. You can only use deadly force to protect yourself or another
from death or serious bodily injury. And if you slow this video down and
look at it, which I did earlier, Mr. Boyd`s turning away. And he`s not
advancing on the officers. And you know, that`s a different thing. If
he`s advancing on the officers, they would be justified to shoot him. But
he`s turning away. He`s shot. And the officer on the left side of the
video, when he shoots it appears Mr. Boyd`s back is to him. So it looks
like a case of excessive force.
And Micah, you know, if this guy approached those officers and was
within a dangerous range of them with knives, he had -- they were small
knives. These were heavily armed police officers. They had armor on. It
was going to be very hard to harm them with those knives. But if he got
within swinging range of those knives, I would fully approve the use of
deadly force against them. I don`t see that here.
MCCOY: Well, I think what we see in the video is part of a disturbing
pattern of APD use of force, which involves the escalation of circumstances
that don`t need to be escalated. They -- it`s a pattern that we see over
and over. They go into this situation very hot, with aggressive military-
style tactics. When Boyd appears to be complying with the demands. He
appears to be coming down away from where he was intercepted. And then
they, as you say in the video, fire flash bang, release the dog, and it`s
at that point that Boyd produces the knives in a state of what I can only
imagine is confusion and fear where before it seemed like the situation was
MCCOY: And then only seconds later we see him shot down.
O`DONNELL: And Jim, the police chief says this is a completely
justifiable shooting because he had those knives. Now, those knives have
to represent an actual threat to the police. You can possess the knives.
You can have knives in your hand. You do not justify a shooting on the
basis of that if there are alternative actions for the officers to take.
CAVANAUGH: Exactly, Lawrence. And you know, every police officer
knows, we were all trained in it in the academy, that a person can take a
knife and run at you from 15 or 20 feet away before you can un-holster your
duty weapon and draw it out and shoot him. We do that drill. All
uniformed officers do it. We know it. We know how dangerous a man with a
This is a very different situation because you have three officers
that have long guns and they`re trained on the subject. So if he were to
even begin the charge, he can`t beat your trigger. He might be able to
beat the draw of a patrol officers from a holstered weapon. But he`s not
going to beat the trigger of a long gun. And so, it`s a different
situation. You can`t think about the standard training in a knife attack.
This is a little different.
O`DONNELL: And they obviously completely lost any track of why they
were there. This was an illegal camping case. You don`t elevate an
illegal camping case to a use of deadly force.
Jim Cavanaugh and Micah McCoy, thank you both for joining me tonight.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Lawrence.
MCCOY: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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