'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, April 7th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Monday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
April 7, 2014
Guests: Howard Dean, Nia-Malika Henderson, : Dan French; Scott Raab; Xavier
Crowell; Holly O`Donnell
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: First, Republicans wanted to repeal and
replace the Affordable Care Act. Remember that? And then they just wanted
to repeal it, you know, because it`s just like the worst thing that`s ever
happened to the United States of America.
And now, they`ve come all the way back to wanting to repeal and replace it.
And in all that time, not one of them has figured out what they want to
replace it with. And even their cheerleaders at FOX News now no longer
believe that they ever will repeal it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Affordable Care Act is on track.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obamacare enrollment topped 7 million.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House has to be breathing a sigh of relief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you think about what the Republicans` initial
criticism of the law was --
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They don`t want Obamacare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That has certainly not proven to be the case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question in Washington is how the law is likely
to play in the months leading up to the midterm election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On a snarky note, there`s this week`s "New Yorker"
A bitter pill for the GOP after millions signed up last week for his health
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By 2017, the first point at which a Republican could
actually do anything to repeal Obamacare --
BOEHNER: It`s time for us to say no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be over 30 million people signed up for
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: People, though, recognize that
dumbed-down standards yield the same result that we`ve had.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s talk about Jeb Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb Bush. Is he just the honey badger?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His views on education and immigration reform.
BUSH: Yes, they broke the law. It`s not a felony. It`s an act of love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two potential Achilles heels in the Republican primary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Primary politics remain absolutely fascinating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he get through a Republican primary?
BUSH: We`re missing the chance to move forward as a country. It`s not a
felony. It`s an act of love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would get a lot of love thrown at him.
O`DONNELL: The artist who did this week`s "New Yorker" cover, Barry Blitt,
says, "I enjoyed drawing Ted Cruz, John Boehner" -- John Boehner is right
there. You just see that half of his face showing there. And there`s Ted
Cruz up there.
And, continuing with the quote, "and Michele Bachmann as petulant
children." That`s the artist speaking.
And he went on to say, "and I especially wanted to draw an open-mouthed
Mitch McConnell being spoon-fed his meds."
Yesterday, what the White House revealed that sign-ups for private
insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act continued after last week`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a number of people who were in the que when the
deadline hit who we have to get signed up. We don`t have complete data
yet, but 200,000 additional people have signed up this week. So, that`s
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you have had 200,000 more that have signed up since
you announced the 7.1.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, with more data coming in. We`re still working,
because everyone who had started the process, who wants access to
affordable health care, has a chance to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: "The New York Times`" Robert Pear reports enrollment in
Medicaid has increased by 3 million people to a total of 62 million,
largely because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said.
But even with the now possibly 10 million new beneficiaries of the
Affordable Care Act, relying on it now for their health care, Paul Ryan
vows that the next president will be both a Republican and will repeal
President Obama`s signature law and replace it with -- well, that`s the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I`m working on a proposal. A lot of us are
working on proposals on what would we replace Obamacare with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you know we already have now, what about 15 million
people. There are going to be 30 million people by 2017.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not going to repeal -- you can change. You can
alter. You can tweak. Whatever.
RYAN: I question the premise of that entire argument. No, I don`t know
that. So this whole thing that we have 7.1 million people, which by the
way, we won`t even get into the legitimacy of that statistic.
So we have -- let`s just take it for argument. Seven million people in
Obamacare, there`s no way you can change it. You`re just going to have to
learn to live with it.
I don`t buy that for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think it will be repealed by the next president?
RYAN: CBO is telling us that we`ll still have 31 million people uninsured
after we did all this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you think it will be repealed?
RYAN: I don`t think it can last. Yes. I think the architecture of this
law is so fundamentally flawed that I think it`s going to collapse under
its own weight and the sooner those of us who want true real reform can
show a better way forward the faster we can repeal it. And yes, I really
do believe in the next administration with a better Congress that we will
replace this law and save the health care system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and former
DNC chairman, and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for "The Washington Post,"
and an MSNBC analyst.
Governor Dean, to hear Paul Ryan saying at this late date I`m working --
let me see. He said, "I`m working on a proposal. A lot of us are working
How many years do we give them to come up with that proposal to replace the
Affordable Care Act?
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Well, Lawrence, this is just
silliness. You know, Paul Ryan`s a smart guy, but he either knows
absolutely nothing about health care, which is what I suspect, or he`s
This is -- his proposal was ridiculous. He doesn`t have a proposal. But
his proposal to do away with this is ridiculous.
Let me tell you how good this is. This was not something that I thought
was a great thing, the way we did this, but let me tell you how good these
results are. So, 31 million people have no insurance after this is rolled
out. Of those, 12 million are not eligible for insurance. They are
So now we`re down to 17, right? Or let me see. Do the math quickly -- 19,
right? That is approximately 7 percent of the population that don`t have
health insurance that are eligible for it. Which means we get to 93
Now, that is something that`s approaching universal health care. So I
think the results of this thing have been really much better than a lot of
people thought. And I think that`s going to become very apparent as we
approach the election. I am not as worried about the election as I was six
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to FOX News officially giving up on repeal. The
spokesman for FOX News in this case being Brit Hume.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Talk about repeal versus
replace and the rest of it, it doesn`t make any sense, because when the
Republicans ever get in a position with control of both Houses and a
willing president to do what they want to do, whether it`s replace, repeal,
or whatever, is a parliamentary detail. They`re going to have to do a
complete rewrite. They will have to incorporate some things that are in
Obamacare, kids staying on their parents` plans, no pre -- no denial of
coverage because of pre-existing conditions and so forth into whatever they
do. So, parts of Obamacare clearly will survive.
This law, though, in its present form I think will not survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Jonathan Capehart, there`s the senior statesman of FOX
News, Brit Hume, clinging to a last line of this law won`t survive, but
then previously in everything else he said saying, yes, it`s basically
going to survive and there`s nothing you`re going to be able to do about
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: And that runs counter to what
Congressman Ryan said in that interview, parts of which you showed with Al
Hunt from Bloomberg News where Paul Ryan said we`ve got to junk the
Affordable Care Act but we also have to junk the popular stuff.
Remember, it was always repeal and replace, and then it was just repeal.
But the conventional wisdom was they`d repeal the law but keep the stuff
that folks felt were popular, as Brit Hume was just saying.
But what Congressman Ryan said on Friday was, no, even those things will
have to go because they`re too expensive to do.
And, of course, they`re too expensive to do because if you do away with the
Affordable Care Act then it becomes too expensive to do the no denials
because of pre-existing conditions and other provisions of the Affordable
Care Act that are popular. Yes, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.
And those numbers, the 7.1 million and the additional data that`s coming in
that Dan Pfeiffer was talking about is going to make it even more clear.
O`DONNELL: Governor Dean, I want you to help the Republicans here. I want
you to help explain to them what replacing it means.
Now, there is I think one stand-alone item in the Affordable Care Act that
really is a stand-alone item. You could legislate it by itself. And that
is just the kids being allowed to stay on their parents` plans until
they`re 26. Everybody likes that. Brit Hume likes that. Apparently,
everybody likes that.
But then, Brit Hume says that, you know, you`ve got to do that, you have to
let the kids stay on their parents` plan. And his next line is, and then
of course no denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
O`DONNELL: Can you explain to Brit Hume what happens as soon as you try to
legislate that, all the rest of the things you`ve got to legislate along
DEAN: Well, one of the problems is, as you know, the insurance industry`s
very powerful. And they had a lot to do with putting that together and
putting that in. And this is real insurance reform because they wanted the
system to stay in the private insurance mechanism.
If what the Republicans seem to be pointing at is attacking not only the
average working people and getting rid of the Medicaid expansion but
they`re also talking about attack the insurance industry, I don`t think
we`re going to see the Republican Party attack the insurance industry
So, I really don`t think they have any idea what they`re talking about.
This is just political talk before an election. They haven`t taken this
policy seriously. They`ve done nothing about health care policy since Bob
Dole was the leader and did have a decent health care program. So this is
not a party that is interested in results at all. They`re only interested
in politics. And these ridiculous arguments and statements by people like
Paul Ryan show that clearly.
O`DONNELL: It sounds like President Obama now has a political line of
argument here that`s very difficult for the Republicans to counter. Let`s
listen to what the president said about where we stand now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why are folks working so
hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about
the idea of folks having health insurance?
Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been
debunked. There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived.
Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, Armageddon was supposed to have arrived by
now with this full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. So, the
Republican predictions about the end of the world are proving not to be
CAPEHART: And proving not to be true spectacularly. Remember on October
1st when healthcare.gov became glitchy.gov, when it didn`t work, when it
crashed, when Republicans were dancing on the grave of the Affordable Care
Act, dancing on the grave of the Obama presidency because the signature
achievement of his administration, of his tenure as president was going
down in a ball of flames?
Well, that didn`t happen. And we found out that it didn`t happen in a
spectacular way. That not only despite all of the things that the
Republican Party and folks who didn`t want the Affordable Care Act to
succeed, despite all of those things, despite the lies, despite the
sabotage, despite creepy Uncle Sam, 7.1 million at least signed up for
That goes to show as we`ve been talking about it`s here to stay. It`s
succeeding. It`s going to succeed.
And the other thing is the Republicans kept trying to make people think
because this wasn`t perfect it was doomed to failure and that we have to
scrap the whole thing. And we`ve been through this many times, whether
it`s through Medicare or Medicaid, Social Security.
These big programs are never perfect in the beginning. They take time to
evolve. They take time for people to use them and see where the gaps and
the holes are.
And, you know, we`re going to have that with the Affordable Care Act. It`s
not going anywhere.
O`DONNELL: Howard Dean and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for joining
DEAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jeb Bush sounds like he`s getting ready to run for
president. And he sounds like he`s ready to have a real fight with
Republicans over immigration reform. Nia-Malika Henderson will join me on
And we have this tweet to thank from Christopher for tonight`s "Rewrite."
I have your rewrite for Monday`s show. Reagan destroys GOP on YouTube.
Ronald Reagan, liberal Democrat.
Keep sending your tweets for suggestions for the show.
And the last word tonight will go to a poet who participated in a big
poetry slam here in New York City tonight. He`s beginning his TV
performance career a little earlier than I did. He`s 10 years old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, COMEDIAN: (INAUDIBLE) new radio show. Not saying his audience
is small, but more people have seen Chris Christie eat a salad. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joy Behar got two Jersey guys with one stone there. Joe
Piscopo and Chris Christie. Sitting beside Joy Behar when she told that
joke was Governor Chris Christie at a birthday party for former New Jersey
Governor Brendan Burn. Here`s more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Let me take a moment to thank Governor Christie for holding this
event. It was very brave of him. I mean, he`s had a very few -- a few
tough, tough -- right? Sir? Some tough weeks. Don`t look at me like
that. You`re scaring me.
First the Velveeta shortage, and now the bridge thing.
When I first heard that he was accused of blocking off three lanes on the
bridge, I said what the hell`s he doing, standing in the middle of the
You have your eye on the White House. It used to be the house of pancakes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Republicans are not laughing at Jeb Bush`s latest comments.
O`DONNELL: Jeb Bush is asking for trouble if he`s running for the
Republican presidential nomination. Here`s how he asked for trouble
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: But the way I look at this, and this is not -- you know, I`m going
to say this, and it will be on tape, and so be it. The way I look at this
is someone who comes to our country because they couldn`t come legally,
they come to our country because their family`s -- you know, a dad who
loved their children was worried that their children didn`t have food on
the table and they wanted to make sure their family was intact and they
crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to
provide for their family -- yes, they broke the law, but it`s not a felony.
It`s kind of -- it`s a -- it`s an act of love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jeb Bush was speaking to an audience at an event to mark the
25th anniversary of his father, George H.W. Bush`s presidency. The younger
Bush received applause from that audience when he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I think we need to get -- kind of get beyond the harsh political
rhetoric to a better place. The great number of people that come here to
this country come because they had no opportunities in other places. They
may love their country, but they come here because they want to provide for
their families, and they can make a contribution to our country if we
actually organized ourselves in a better way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the latest poll on immigration, a majority of Americans, 56
percent, think illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and
eventually apply for citizenship. Just 12 percent think they should be
allowed to stay but not apply for citizenship. And 29 percent think they
should be required to leave the country.
Of the Republicans polled, 44 percent think illegal immigrants should be
allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship, 10
percent think they should be allowed to stay legally but not apply for
citizenship, 42 percent think they should be required to leave the country
Joining me now, Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "The
Nia, that polling isn`t very good for Jeb Bush on this issue. That 42
percent who want to get every illegal entry reversed, get those people out
of the country, they are probably among the more active Republican voters
in Republican presidential primaries.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s right. They`re the
voters who rejected Rick Perry. They`re the voters who rejected Newt
Gingrich also, who was talking in 2012 in a bit more compassionate way
about illegal immigrants and also saying that it was unrealistic that you
would round up 12 million people and send them back to their respective
It`s unclear to me what Jeb Bush is doing. It is clear to me that he has
been out of politics for some time, hasn`t run for office in over a decade,
and every time he comes out he ends up saying something that`s out of step
with where his party is. Of course, a couple of years he seemed to be more
in line with where the party was in terms of immigration when he wrote that
And now, he sounds again like Rick Perry in talking about immigration --
immigrating to the country illegally as an act of love. I mean, the Bushes
haven`t been known for being very good speakers. I mean, they often say
things that rub people in a sort of weird way and they use weird phrases.
And that`s sort of in keeping there with Bush.
But I don`t know what he`s doing other than trying to keep his name in the
news right now and become relevant and possibly at some point become sort
of a thought leader who can go around the country and command big salaries
O`DONNELL: Well, here`s what I think I`m seeing there, Nia. I could be
wrong. But it sounds to me like he is gearing up to run for president.
And on this issue at least he has decided he needs to run on his terms. It
would be kind of crazy for him to try to flip-flop on this issue.
He met his wife in Mexico.
O`DONNELL: He`s married to a woman who was born in Mexico, his wife
Columba. I don`t think he can in any practical kind of political way do a
So, he wants to fully embrace the position and do it early. So, he builds
it into whatever polling we see on him over the next few months.
So, suppose, Nia, that say three months from now he says this maybe a
couple more times, things like this, it gets baked into the polling, and he
is actually polling pretty well a few months from now.
If that`s the situation, that poll would indicate that the Republican
electorate in primaries may be willing, even if they disagree with him on
this one issue, they may be willing to find their way to voting for him
because they agree with him on virtually everything else.
HENDERSON: Yes. And that in some ways he`s leading the party, right?
HENDERSON: In your scenario, he`s also putting it out there, right?
Voting a little trial balloon, not running away from this issue, and in
some ways hoping that by 2016, Republicans have resolved this issue. Does
this mean that whoever wins the Senate, that out of this White House that
some sort of immigration reform comes to the president`s desk and
Republicans can by 2016, you know, have put this issue to bed and so it`s
not going to be a wedge issue for them? That could certainly be the case.
And we do know, right? That bush has done well with Latinos. You
mentioned his background there, his wife. And obviously his son down in
Texas is running there. In 2002 he won -- I think it was something like 80
percent of the Cuban vote. About 60 percent of the non-Cuban but didn`t do
very well with African-Americans. Won about 8 percent in 2002 because he
was -- he voted for -- or he signed this bill called the One Florida Law
which outlawed affirmative action in Florida.
But again, you could be right. He certainly -- I don`t know if you are --
this is a strategy that you are floating on the air here and that he might
be listening tonight. And if so, we`ll see.
O`DONNELL: You know, I think in politics bravery comes when you have no
choice. And so I just don`t think -- it`s a brave position politically
within the Republican Party, but I don`t think as you analyze his past on
the subject and his past statements on the subject, I don`t really think he
has a choice other than to say it this way.
And now he`s embracing it. He`s giving it a family values label. He`s
trying to in certain ways wrap it in other -- with other familiar
Republican notes in what he`s saying.
HENDERSON: Yes. And I think the issue for him -- so if he runs, right?
He`s got -- he`s got a sort of moderate position in terms of immigration
reform, where Chris Christie is too in some ways because he signed the
Dream Act in New Jersey.
So what is the other issue that he is able to sound like a conservative on,
right? Is it foreign policy? It`s certainly not education, right?
Because he`s for those common core standards. So, is there another issue
O`DONNELL: Nia, it`s the one that never goes away. Tax cuts, tax cuts,
HENDERSON: That`s true.
O`DONNELL: It`ll always be there.
O`DONNELL: Nia-Malika Henderson, thanks very much for joining us tonight.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, someone started talking, it seems, in the Christie
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the Fifth Amendment wall of silence
protecting the Christie administration has a big hole in it. David
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, let me just clear something up.
OK? About my childhood friend David Wildstein. We didn`t travel in the
same circles in high school.
You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don`t know what David
was doing during that period of time.
David was one of hundreds of people that I spoke to that day. We stood
around and spoke briefly that day. I don`t have any recollection of him
ALAN ZEGAS, ATTORNEY FOR DAVID WILDSTEIN: If the attorneys general for New
Jersey, New York, and the United States were all to agree to clothe Mr.
Wildstein with an immunity, I think that you`d find yourselves in a far
different position with respect to information he could provide.
RANDY MASTRO, GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE`S ATTORNEY: David Wildstein is the
person who originated this idea and orchestrated it. Bridget Kelly and
David Wildstein to our knowledge aren`t talking to the U.S. attorney`s
office because they`re the focus of that investigation and in our
experience as former federal prosecutors it`s unusual for people who are
the focus of an investigation to be going in and telling their story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today we learned that David Wildstein is cooperating with the
U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, according to a report from
Joining me now is Scott Raab, the writer for "Esquire" who reported the
David Wildstein news. And joining us by phone is Dan French, a former
United States attorney for the northern district of New York. Scott, first
of all, what have you learned about Wildstein and the U.S. attorney`s
Scott, first of all, what have you learned about Wildstein and the U.S.
SCOTT RAAB, WRITER, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE: Well, we know from his attorney`s
letter of January 31st that not only is Wildstein willing to cooperate with
Paul Fishman, U.S. attorney for New Jersey, if given immunity. But a
blueprint was laid out in that letter from his attorney, Alan Zegas, that
also involves a number of other links, not just to Bridgegate, to larger
conflicts of interest at the port authority. So it`s anyone`s guess right
now what Wildstein`s sharing and at what depth.
O`DONNELL: That was the letter in which it was actually a letter about
getting Wildstein`s legal fees paid for by the port authority, but it
contained the famous line about there is evidence --
RAAB: Evidence exists.
O`DONNELL: Evidence exists. Evidence exists. That Chris Christie knew
about this while it was going on. You also have a line in your report
today saying Fishman has also increased the number of investigators at work
on the case and has begun presenting evidence and witnesses to a grand jury
in Newark. What do you think that means for the development of the story?
RAAB: I think at this point what Paul Fishman is looking for are criminal
indictments. That`s his job at this point, is to present to the grand jury
the evidence that he believes may indicate that crimes were committed not
just at bridgegate in Fort Lee, who knows where else this will lead.
Wildstein is perfectly positioned, and his lawyer`s letter made it clear
that Wildstein can give up a whole lot of information, at least that was
O`DONNELL: Dan French, former U.S. attorney, guide us through this.
Scott`s report says today that "Esquire" has learned from sources close to
the investigation that David Wildstein, the former port authority operative
who helped plan and execute the great Fort Lee situation, is now
cooperating with Paul Fishman.
Dan, if true, what are the possible scenarios that are going on in the room
between David Wildstein and the U.S. attorney?
DAN FRENCH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY (via phone): You know, Lawrence, first
If David Wildstein is looking for immunity and he`s looking for immunity
both from the federal government and the state government, the federal
government can`t confer by agreement an agreement that would then bind the
state. That would be informal immunity.
There`s a process, though, of formal immunity. And formal immunity is when
a witness essentially refuses to testify in a federal grand jury. The U.S.
attorney knows that the individual`s going to refuse. They seek from the
department of justice a immunity, a formal immunity that then gets
presented to a federal judge. The federal judge then grants that immunity
upon that witness, and the witness is compelled to testify in the grand
The beauty of formal immunity under those circumstances, it also provides
immunity from state prosecutors. That`s the only way to inoculate yourself
from state prosecution. If indeed he is cooperating, formal immunity is
one of those things he may have sought. If he`s that critical of a
witness, it may be something the department of justice would consider
giving him, and it would be court ordered.
The only other option would be I think if he`s agreed to plead to some
crime and he now has a plea agreement with cooperation attached to it, a
cooperation agreement attached to it. That`s also a scenario. But it
doesn`t sound like David Wildstein was interested in pleading to anything.
But that`s the other possibility.
O`DONNELL: And Dan, just in the scenario where you plead, that`s the
scenario where you have a more cooperative route to the immunity by, first
of all, giving a proffer to the U.S. attorney saying if you give me
immunity this is what I will testify to and the U.S. attorney then
evaluates that, evaluates its worth in the investigation.
The other version you were talking about is something that can happen even
if Wildstein is not cooperating, he`s saying -- of they are simply saying,
you know, he`s not going to testify, he`s not going to give you anything,
at that point the U.S. attorney can basically grant this full immunity and
then you`re saying the judge basically orders him to testify because he now
has full immunity, orders him to testify to the grand jury, and if he
doesn`t he goes to jail.
FRENCH: It`s a contempt issue. But what you lay out in the formal
immunity discussion, it doesn`t happen by happenstance.
The U.S. attorney`s office has knowledge that you`re going to claim a fifth
amendment right in the grand jury. They go ahead and seek from the
department of justice authorization to grant that immunity. The judges --
the judge of the court is informed that you`ll be coming. And so if
there`s an issue about why someone might be hanging around for a day or
better, it would take a day or better to orchestrate that. And so, that`s
But the other scenario of course is that he has pled and he is cooperating
and in return for his cooperation he would get some break upon his
sentence. And so that`s another scenario. But you know, I wouldn`t rule
out the formal immunity scenario because it blocks state prosecution. And
if you`re David Wildstein you may be very concerned about what state
authorities will do after the federal authorities move.
O`DONNELL: And Scott, David Wildstein is very well represented in this
case. There`s not a single thing Dan French said that they guys didn`t
know weeks ago.
RAAB: No. And his lawyer, Alan Zegas, unlike almost everyone else
involved, and north Jersey is a small place with a lot of connected
lawyers, Zegas is not a big firm guy. Zegas has no history of lobbying one
side and then working for the other. He`s a brilliant guy, and I don`t
think David Wildstein would be talking if there were not a formal locked in
situation of some kind there.
O`DONNELL: Well, we shall see what`s coming.
Scott Raab, thank you very much for your report and joining us exclusively
tonight. Appreciate that.
RAAB: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: And Dan French, thank you for joining us again.
FRENCH: Good evening, Lawrence, thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up in the rewrite, the Ronald Reagan whom today`s
Republicans don`t remember. Ronald Reagan, and this is really what he once
was, Ronald Reagan the liberal Democrat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down the lane. Down the lane. No, no. You don`t jump
straight up and down. Look. Just try and keep your body as still as
possible. Because he`ll be moving. See? He`ll be moving. He`ll be
making that rhythm. You just go on with him, you see. No, you don`t have
to pump him. Just -- just kind of go straight ahead with him. Huh? Just
like you`re throwing -- no, no. Like you`re throwing it away. Like this.
Throw it away. That`s right. That`s right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Mickey Rooney was nominated for best actor in a supporting role
for that 1979 film, "the black stallion." Mickey Rooney made more than 200
movies starting in 1926 at age six. Mickey Rooney was nominated for four
academy awards and was awarded an honorary Oscar in recognition of his 60
years of versatility and a variety of memorable film performances. Mickey
Rooney was born Joseph Ewell Jr. in 1920 in New York. His mother was a
chorus line dancer and his father was a comedian. He made his debut on
stage when he was a year and a half old.
Mickey Rooney died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 93.
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "rewrite" the Republican deity Ronald Reagan.
American politicians have to make many compromises on the road to the
presidency. They have to moderate positions that their handlers and they
consider too liberal or too conservative. We saw Barack Obama do this when
he went from supporting a single payer health care system before he was the
presidential candidate to a more moderate preserve the insurance companies`
version of reform. But no one, no one has had to rewrite more on the way
to the presidency than Ronald Reagan.
Reagan had to rewrite his party affiliation from solid liberal democrat to
solid conservative Republican. In 1948 Reagan campaigned hard for the
election of democrat Harry Truman and realizing that politics and governing
are not all about the presidency, Reagan wisely campaigned just as hard for
the election of Democrats to Congress and the Senate. By the time he was
campaigning for president himself, Reagan always insisted that he hadn`t
changed a bit. It was the Democrats who had changed.
In 1984, when president Ronald Reagan was running for re-election,
democratic house speaker Tip O`Neill`s staff, which then included my cousin
Kirk O`Donnell, unearthed a radio recording of Ronald Reagan the democrat,
the liberal democrat. Speaker O`Neill said then, "he says the Democrats
have changed over the years, but the record shows that it is Reagan who has
changed." you be the judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is Ronald
Reagan speaking to you from Hollywood. You know me as a motion picture
actor. But tonight I`m just a citizen, pretty concerned about the national
election next month and more than a little impatient with those promises
the Republicans made before they got control of Congress a couple of years
I remember listening to the radio on election night in 1946. Joseph Martin
the Republican speaker of the house said very solemnly, and I quote, "we
Republicans intend to work for a real increase in income for everybody by
encouraging more production and lower prices without impairing wages or
working conditions," unquote.
Remember that promise. A real increase in income for everybody. But what
actually happened? The profits of corporations have doubled while workers`
wages have increased by only 1/4. In other words, profits have gone up
four times as much as wages and the small increase workers did receive was
more than eaten up by rising prices which have also bored into their
The standard oil company of New Jersey which reported a net profit of $210
million after taxes for the first half of 1948, an increase of 70 percent
in one year. In other words, high prices have not been caused by higher
wages but by bigger and bigger profits.
The Republican promises sounded pretty good in 1946. But what has happened
since then? Since the 80 of Congress took over? Prices have climbed to
the highest level if history although the death of the OPA was supposed to
bring prices down through, quote, "the natural process of free
Labor has been handcuffed with the Visht Taft Hartley (ph) law. Social
Security benefits have been snatched away from almost a million workers by
the Gearhart bill. Fair employment practices, which had worked so well
during war time, have been abandoned. Veterans` pleas for low cost homes
have been ignored. And many people are still living in made-over chicken
coops and garages.
Tax reduction bills have been passed to benefit the higher income brackets
alone. The average worker saves only $1.73 a week. In the false name of
economy, millions of children have been deprived of milk once provided
through the federal school lunch program. This was the payoff of the
Republicans` promises. And this is why we must have new faces in the
Congress of the United States. Democratic faces. This is why we must
elect not only President Truman but also men like mayor Hubert Humphrey of
Minneapolis, the democratic for senator from Minnesota.
Mayor Humphrey, 37, is one of the ablest men in public life. Mayor
Humphrey is fighting for all the prince advocated by President Truman. For
adequate low cost housing forget, civil rights, for prices people can
afford to pay, and for a labor movement free of the Taft-Hartley law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When he released that tape in 1984 Tip O`Neill said quote "I
ran on the democratic ticket in 1948. I have not changed. Reagan has."
My next guest is going to be my cousin Kirk O`Donnell`s daughter, Holly
O`Donnell. If Kirk were still with us, he would be so proud of the work
Holly`s doing now. You should stick around to see this. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, family night on "the last word." Holly O`Donnell is
here. And my favorite new poet, who is 10-years-old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The title of my poem is called "who am I?" Who am I?
Do you know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Myself has kindness and myself has generosity. But
most of all, I have curiosity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I want is a little privacy. Is that too much to
ask? Finding a little personal space shouldn`t be such a task.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that light at night? The one that`s so bright
and so right. Fills the sky with light.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Light is some people have a lot while others have
nothing or they have to share the littlest bit they have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s within me is courage I can`t hold. Things are
without from things I`ve been told.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s very brave like Dr. Martin Luther King when he had
a dream. He was a warrior. He is succeed. He is me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was tonight`s poetry slam here in New York city by America
Scores. America Scores is a non-profit after school program that serves
over 9,000 low-income students at more than 175 public schools in 14
America Scores began as a soccer program and has expanded now to include
academic work and poetry in hopes to create what America Scores calls poet
Joining me now, Holly O`Donnell, the executive director of America Scores
and one of America Scores` poet athletes, Xavier Crowell from Washington,
Holly, cousin Holly, finally you`re here on the show. America Scores,
you`ve been at it for several years now, starting with the D.C. office.
HOLLY O`DONNELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICA SCORES: Yes.
O`DONNELL: Now you`re running the whole thing. How does poetry fit in the
mix of what you`re doing at America Scores?
H. O`DONNELL: America Scores, we do soccer, we do poetry, we do community
service. It`s really important during after school to -- you don`t have a
lot of time. So you have to choose a few things and do it really well.
And as there`s less opportunity for arts and creativity in schools, we`re
providing that for thousands of children across the country.
O`DONNELL: Xavier, what is your favorite thing you do with America Scores?
XAVIER CROWELL, POET ATHLETE, AMERICAN SCORES: Well, my favorite thing I
like to do in America Scores is play soccer and play the soccer games
because I get to learn about soccer and also I get to quick the ball
around, play a little bit, and also just have a great time.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I`ve known about it for a while, and everything I always
see I always see the soccer balls being kicked around at America Scores. I
didn`t know you were doing so much poetry. But poetry has brought to you
New York city for the first time in your life, hasn`t it?
O`DONNELL: How much fun have you been having here?
CROWELL: I`ve been having a lot of fun. I`ve been seeing a lot of -- I`ve
been doing a lot of sightseeing. And even when I wasn`t doing sightseeing
I still went around the whole entire New York and I just had a ball.
O`DONNELL: Fantastic. Now, do you feel like doing -- you did your poem
tonight. I saw you, by the way. I was watching online. I saw you guys
down there at the poetry slam. I saw you do yours live online. You feel
like doing it one more time for us?
O`DONNELL: OK. We set up a microphone over there just the way you had it
downtown. Go ahead. You can go right over there. There`s a big step
here. OK? And then there`s another big step there. And we`re your
audience right over here. What is the title of your poem?
CROWELL: The title of my poem is "my school is closing."
O`DONNELL: OK. Go ahead.
CROWELL: I heard the most terrible news. And it`s left me so confused.
My school may be closing, and I am shocked. I would do anything to turn
back the hands on the clock. It`s the best school for me and the only one
I would choose. But if you close our doors, we lose. Our home away from
home. 5300 blame. This would be such a shame.
I love showing my jaguar pride and wearing burgundy and tan. So to save my
school is the plan. It`s not fair to close our school and force us to go.
I need the arts and technology to help me grow. We know our math really
scores may not be the best, but we have potential because our work is more
than just data and tests.
Moms, dads, community leaders, we need your help to save our school. Let
the public charter school board know that closing ATA would not be cool.
If I am the future, then put my needs first.
O`DONNELL: Come on back. I lost a mike or something. Come on back up.
You`ve got that step.
That`s fantastic, Xavier.
Holly, we didn`t -- there wasn`t really a winner in tonight`s poetry slam,
right? Everyone who came to New York is a winner.
H. O`DONNELL: So these children that came to New York tonight competed
against thousands of other children in their cities. And one boy and one
girl from our 14 cities came to New York. And so no, it was a celebration
of these 26 children.
O`DONNELL: And Xavier, when you go home next week in school, what are you
going to tell all your friends about coming to New York? What was your
favorite thing? Favorite thing you did in New York.
CROWELL: Well, my favorite thing I did in New York, it would have to be
going to central park because I got to kick the soccer ball around, like as
I do at soccer games, and I just -- I just had a ball like usual.
O`DONNELL: And Holly, America Scores has become the kind of
extracurricular for a lot of these schools that don`t have any teams. They
don`t have any soccer balls. Obviously, they don`t have the poetry
courses. They don`t have any of these things.
H. O`DONNELL: America Scores is not a prevention program. It is a program
about opportunity. And you`re exactly right. We need to have more after-
school programs that are providing things that engage children after school
and that help them create the type of relationships that they need among
their peers and with coaches and with teachers to be successful in school
and in life.
O`DONNELL: Holly O`Donnell, my dear cousin, thank you very much.
H. O`DONNELL: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: For bringing Xavier here tonight.
And Xavier, thanks very much for doing your poem for us. Really appreciate
CROWELL: Thank you for having me here.
O`DONNELL: Have more fun in New York before you go. Thanks a lot.
CROWELL: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Holly.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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