'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
June 5, 2014
Guest: Lavar Burton; Jess McIntosh; Stuart Milk; Michael Tomasky; Eric
Schmidt; Howard Dean; Adam O`Neal
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Malcolm X said "I`m for truth no matter who tells
it. I`m for justice no matter who it is for or against."
Tonight, a Republican mayor from North Carolina who told his own party the
hard truth about health care joins me for a last word exclusive.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR, POLITICS NATION: Eighteen Republican
governors still refused to expand Medicaid in their states.
In North Carolina, expanding Medicaid has been a major part of state`s
REID: At least 1,800 gathered at the state house to demand the end to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this issue on Medicaid expansion.
REID: Calling on their lawmakers to expand Medicaid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should not be a partisan discussion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Estimates show if North Carolina doesn`t expand
Medicaid that its 400,000 more uninsured North Carolinians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are dying because of the denial of Medicaid
expansion. And it makes no sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s about 400 more deaths a year that are going to
occur because it is not expanding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because the governor and speaker are so extreme in
their policies that they will not accept expansion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tillis stopped Obama`s Medicaid expansion cold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our current system in North Carolina is broken.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not happening in North Carolina and it is
because of Tom Tillis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rural citizens dying shouldn`t be soldiers of our
REID: I`m Joy Reid in for Lawrence O`Donnell.
The truth can be hard to face. But Republican governors who have been
fighting Obamacare tooth and nail can`t escape two cold hard facts.
First, you and the citizens of your state are paying for the Medicaid
expansion. Whether your state take the money or not. If you don`t take
the federal money to expand Medicaid, you are just throwing money away that
your constituents have already paid in taxes. And handing that money over
to other states.
And second, refusing health care to poor people in your state means small
rural hospitals in your state don`t get the federal money they count on to
stay open. And the poor people, those hospitals would normally treat are
more likely to die sooner.
No, don`t take my word for it. Just listen to Republican mayor, Adam
O`Neal, from the small town of Belhaven, North Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ADAM O`NEAL (R), BELHAVEN, NORTH CAROLINA: I`m a Republican. I`m
standing with a bunch of Democrats over here.
O`NEAL: But no party is right all of the time. I am glad to be part of a
respectful, positive petition of our elected officials to kid consider a
new course on Medicaid expansion. We are gathering to strongly recommend
that our leadership look at going a different path. The path the
legislators are on right now is already causing stress on our hospitals.
And especially rural homes.
Our rural hospitals could hardly survive in the past due to the
reimbursements for energy and care. If you don`t have critical access
hospitals people needlessly die. That`s a fact. We`re talking about life
or death here.
People will die. This is not debatable. Nobody can come here and debate
if people are going to die or not. It is a certainty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: We will be joined by governor Howard Dean in a minute. But joining
me is, Mayor Adam O`Neal of Belhaven, North Carolina.
And sir, thank you for being here. When I watched your statement
O`NEAL: Glad to be here.
REID: Thank you, sir. When I watched your statement yesterday, I actually
found it really extraordinary. Because there has been just so much
partisanship around the issue of affordable care act.
So I would look to start by asking you, did you have strong feelings for or
against, one way or another on the affordable care act during the whole big
debate about it in 2010?
O`NEAL: I really didn`t have a lot of knowledge about it. And it wasn`t
something I was dealing with personally. When it came home here in
Belhaven, and we started doing business plans for our hospitals, to take it
back from a big health care conglomerate in the past and was going to turn
it back over off to the town. We found out Medicare reimbursements and
expansion of Medicaid, Medicaid expansion, reimbursements, it is a big
deal. There is a lot of revenue to the rural hospitals.
Critical access hospitals have to have the Medicaid expansion or they`re
not going to be as successful. Most of these hospitals are just breaking
even. And if we don`t have those extra funds, we are not going to.
Actually, a lot of people need to understand that the new health care law,
the indigent care reimbursements are actually decreasing. The Medicaid
expansion was put there to make up for that and to make put cut coverage on
more people. So, if you have indigent care reimbursements decreasing and
you don`t have Medicaid expansion you have a formula for disaster.
REID: And so, I am wondering if you had the opportunity to have this
conversation to state those facts to your governor, to Governor McCrory,
have you heard from him?
O`NEAL: Well, myself, Dr. Barber, and a local physician here, 49 and a
half years, former national country doctor of the year, we sent a letter to
the governor about a week ago requesting a meeting. Because I feel like
the governor really needs to get involved with this crisis that we have.
If they`re not going to take Medicaid expansion, they certainly need to
have a program to help these rural hospitals out.
And I say rural hospitals, these are critical access hospitals. Critical
is a word that is used because it needs to be used for these situations.
If the hospitals go down. You have people having to drive extraordinary
distances to get emergency care. This is a big deal. People die.
REID: And my understanding, sir, this is also a jobs issue, right, for the
small hospital in your town that you talked about that it is at risk of
closing without Medicaid expansion. There are jobs attached to it. About
how many jobs, stand to be lost if that hospital closes.
O`NEAL: Well, the hospital had 129 employees about a year ago. To right
size the hospital, we would have about 55 employees. So we would have some
job loss any way, right size in our hospital.
But the economic impact to our town has been figured around $50 million
over the next ten years. It is a terrific impact to us. Because not only
do we not have employees coming to town of hospital. But all of the People
in the hospital the families, visiting. We are losing all that in this
little town. It will completely devastate our community.
Also, we have a lot of waterfront prompt to hear this how people are
attracted. That`s how we get a lot of tax revenues. People aren`t going
to come to an area that doesn`t have a hospital. So, it is completely
devastating to our community in many ways.
REID: Yes. And I mean, in addition to the waterfront land and like you
said the part that affects tourism. I mean, you also have a significant
number, a really of rural poor on the median income in Belhaven is near the
poverty line for individuals and families. So you must know a lot of
people personally who stand to be helped if Medicaid is expanded.
O`NEAL: Well, there is no doubt about it. There will be a lot of people
that have coverage that don`t have it now. But for everyone we need an
emergency room here in the town. And to have an emergency room, you have
to have a hospital, basically, to make it work.
And once again without Medicaid expansion. It is very difficult to make a
hospital work. We are going to do the best we can. But North Carolina
needs to get with everyone else that has, is trying to be successful in
health care and accept Medicaid expansion.
I really, I have looked at the objections that legislators have for not
accepting it. They just don`t hold water.
REID: Well Mayor Adam O`Neal, thank you so much for your time tonight.
O`NEAL: Glad to be with you.
REID: Joining me, former governor of Vermont, Dr. Howard Dean.
So Dr. Dean, was it surprising for you and, I guess in a lot of ways
heartening, to see this Republican mayor, this person who is not really dug
in on a partisan level, but who is a Republican in North Carolina, standing
there with Reverend William Barber of the moral Mondays movement and
demanding an expansion of Medicaid?
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Well, I wish mayor was the
governor instead of the may your that became governor. It`s about time a
Republican had the courage to tell truth. There have been four hospitals
that have closed in rural Georgia for the same reason. The Republican
legislature and Republican governor wouldn`t diet for political reasons.
This guy is doing what he is supposed to be doing for his people. Look,
where Democrats aren`t right about everything. But when you get somebody
who knows what truth is and tell us that works together with other people,
based on the facts, that`s when Democrats and Republicans can do the right
thing. And I wish we had a whole lot more Republicans in this country like
this mayor. We are not going to agree with him on everything. But let`s
do the right thing for the people who is paying our salaries instead of all
these political posturing. It is hurting people.
REID: Well, I mean, you talk about, you know, him sort of almost being one
a character, but isn`t this in your way, the way ultimately, Medicaid will
get expanded. Because you will have people in states that come to realize,
wait a minute, that`s my tax dollars. They know that the Medicaid
expansion exists in other states and they`re going to start asking why
aren`t we getting this too?
DEAN: That is exactly right. And if you look at Georgia, Jason Carter is
ahead of -- the incoming governor, Nathan Deal, I think for exactly these
reasons. In places like rural Georgia, where people tend to vote
Republican, they`re not going to do it this time because they know they
have been sold out for the Republican party for political reasons.
And so, this mayor is exactly right. He is standing up for the people who
put him in office. And his situation is not unusual all over the country.
And there is going to be enormous pressure.
Rick Perry, for example, is coming under huge pressure. There was a big
Medical complex in Texas. That`s really being hurt by the fact that, Texas
is stubbornly refusing to take Medicaid. Those hospitals need that money.
Texas is one of -- has one of the great Medical complexes of the country.
And it is not going to be a great medical complex if they`ve keep putting
this kind of financial stress on. It makes no sense.
They`re only doing it for political reasons. They`re hurting their own
constituents, the people who pay their salaries. It is not right. And I
am glad this mayor had the courage to stand up and call out the folk that
are doing this.
REID: Yes, I mean, when you look at the numbers, I mean, talk about it not
making sense. It`s staggering. If all the states adopted the Medicaid
expansion, something like 21.3 million people would be covered by 2020.
And you look just in the state of North Carolina. They are actually losing
more money, not taking Medicaid expansion than they get total in highway
fund and military spending, Medicaid with the Obamacare expansion. There
is $5.7 billion, they`re just saying no thanks.
DEAN: Bt you know, it`s interesting, Joy. You are talking about these big
numbers which may go right past people. These are really big numbers. The
great thing about this mayor is he is standing up saying look, this makes a
difference to our town, our little town. And here is the difference it
makes. He knew what he was talking about.
I wish we had people in Raleigh that knew what they were talking about.
But they don`t. This is, this is going to, I believe, Kay Hagan is going
to win her Senate race simply because the legislature has been so
unreasonable. And I think the average North Carolinian, is not a radical
right-winger. They`re tired of this politics. The average North
Carolinian is exactly like the mayor that just spoke. Be Republican or
democrat, he is doing the right thing for his state. And that`s what you
want in a politician.
REID: Yes. And to that point. I have to play you this ad by Tom Tillis,
Kay Hagan`s opponent. So take a look and then we will get your response on
the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Tillis has a proven record fighting Obamacare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tillis stopped Obamacare`s Medicaid expansion cold.
It`s not happening in North Carolina and it`s because of Tom Tillis. He
led the conservative revolution in Raleigh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, Howard Dean, Tom Tillis is essentially running against that
Republican mayor and his constituents.
DEAN: I`ve don`t think Tom Tillis really understands what a conservative
is. Conservative is not somebody who doesn`t care what their constituents
think. It is not somebody who throws their own people, who are paying his
salary over the wall for political purposes. It is somebody who really
cares. Maybe they want smaller government, I think there is nothing wrong
with that. And he does a debate we ought to have. Maybe they want lower
taxes. Let`s have that debate.
But don`t sacrifice your people because you want to get ahead. And the
kind of politician, Tom Tillis is. That`s why Kay Hagan is going to win
REID: Well said. Howard Dean, thanks so much for joining me tonight.
DEAN: Thank you.
REID: All right, coming up, President Obama and the politicizing of the
Bowe Bergdahl release.
And Democratic congresswoman on a bus tour to energize women voters,
discovered a surprise guest at one stop. The first lady. That`s ahead.
And with us tonight, the man bringing back reading rainbow, thanks to
legions of fans of the education show, Lavar Burton will be here.
REID: This was to be the week of the G-8 summit in Sochi Russia, hosted by
Vladimir Putin. Instead the week of the G-7 summit in Brussels. The seven
member nations of group of seven decided against going to Russia and
dropped Russia as a protest against Russia`s annexation of Crimea from
Ukraine. So the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy,
and Japan went to Belgium. And for the Russians, it is the first time
since 1997 that they have been absent from the U.S. When asked about the
snub, Vladimir Putin told reporters, he simply wished them Bon Appetit.
And coming up. President Obama makes no apologies for bringing Bowe
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m never surprised by
controversies that are whipped up in Washington. This is not an
abstraction. This is not a political football. You have a couple of
parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land. Who they hadn`t
seen in five years. And weren`t sure whether they would ever see again.
And as commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces, I am
responsible for those kids. I make absolutely no apologies for making sure
that we get back a young man to his parents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Today, the president once again defended his decision to make the
trade that will bring Bowe Bergdahl home. Against increasingly furious
partisan attacks, including the latest attack today from South Carolina
Republican Lindsay Graham who warned the president not to release any more
Guantanamo prisoners without 30 days notice to Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think if he just tried to empty
that jail people would be calling for his impeachment. And I don`t know if
that`s an impeachable offense, I legally doubt it. But the politics of
emptying the jail of hard core, committed jihadists, would be so ominous
for the Democratic Party, the backlash would be bipartisan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: President Obama did get a little help from an unusual source.
Republican tea party favorite, Congressman Raul Labrador who represents the
district in Bowe Bergdahl`s home state of Idaho. He criticized his owned
party over its response to the prisoner swap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: I`m a little bit disturbed by some of the
Republicans out there who keep saying this has never happened before. That
is not entirely true. If you look historically at the end of the conflict,
any conflict, you have a swap of prisoners. And that happens. And
usually, you know, our side will release people that are left undesirable,
in order to get some of our people back in the swaps. So, I would suggest
that anybody who is being hypercritical about this, that they look at the
history, this has happened before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And while some Republicans say they don`t believe the video evidence
presented to them by the Obama administration, that Bergdahl`s health was
failing, an official at national security council told NBC News today,
quote, "separate and apart from sergeant Bergdahl`s apparent deterioration
and health, we had both specific and general indications that sergeant
Bergdahl`s recovery and potentially his life could be jeopardized if the
detainee proceedings were disclosed or derailed."
Joining me now is Michael Tomasky, a special correspondent for "the Daily
Beast" and editor of "Democracy" a journal of ideas, and Eric Schmidt, a
terrorism correspondent for "The New York Times."
And Eric, I want to start with you on the question. Because I was really
taken by that last part of what the official said in terms of the jeopardy
to this young army sergeant`s life if the details of this deal were
Do you think that adds more urgency to the situation. Because had the
president gone ahead and disclosed the operation in advance and then given
Congress 30 days then you had potential for it to leak?
ERIC SCHMIDT, TERRORISM CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Joy, this
is, of course, the explanation that the administration has been trying to
get out over the last few days. And frankly, not very clearly.
Last night we were told by certain administration officials for instance
that they were concerned that -- that Bergdahl`s days were numbered. And
his captivity with the Taliban suggesting there might have been physical
threat. We are told today the real concern that they had, in not liking
the information that he might be swapped for the Taliban officials was that
there were splits, fears there were splits within the Taliban. That the
Taliban leaders who cut the deal couldn`t necessarily enforce the deal with
the guards that were, that were guarding Bergdahl. They might, they might
So there was some concern if the news leaked it was a question of whether
the Afghan guards might take him out rather than Taliban officials who are
negotiating the deal.
REID: Well, I mean, does that not lend urgency to the idea of trying to
act before it all fell apart?
SCHMIDT: Well, certainly that would be the example that the administration
would put out. However they have had, it shifting narratives and shifting
explanations over the last few days, citing as you did in your report,
failing health of Bergdahl, and then, suggesting there might be a direct
threat against his life as the U.S. troops are withdrawn. And maybe he
wasn`t worth as much as a hostage to the Taliban as he once was. And then
today`s narrative , of course, being the split within the Taliban, at the
senior Taliban officials may not be able to control their guards. May be
angry, the idea of freeing the hostage they have held for five years.
REID: Well, Michael, I want to play you sound from David Ignatius, who
actually had an interesting, frightening thought experiment he put forward
this morning on "Morning Joe." Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID IGNATIUS, JOURNALIST: I think it is useful to ask the reverse
question. Suppose he hadn`t been released and it is a year from now. And
American troops are getting ready to come home. And you have this American
sitting there in, and ever more frequent propaganda videos from the
Taliban, the pressure on the president to act in a much more (INAUDIBLE)
this way would be enormous. So, think about the alternative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Mike, that was at Tuesday that he said that. But isn`t that
sort of a self-evident point that the president would have been under sort
of similar fury from his political opponents had we began to see Bowe
Bergdahl appearing in propaganda videos or, God probed, harmed.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, Joy, he is
going to get fury from those people no matter what he does. I think you
and I both know that. And Ignatius, counter example is a good one. And I
think I wrote a pretty good one in a column that I wrote earlier this week
in which I said, suppose that on Saturday, news broke not that Bergdahl was
freed and coming home but that he died in Taliban hands. What do you think
the Republicans would be saying then?
So, you know, Obama is never going to win with him. And Graham in the
sound you played earlier, really ratcheted things up in a pretty dramatic
way. Everybody should know, of course, that he is an election. He is in a
primary race, running against tea party people. So, he is trying to be as
hard right as he can until the primary comes even though and he comfortably
ahead in the polls. But he still wants to be that person. And you know,
he is now the first person to mention the word impeachment. And he is not
going to be the last.
REID: And Eric Schmidt, apart from the political pressures that will be on
the president, not to have this young man remain a hostage, particularly as
the we are pulling out of Afghanistan, there is also sort of the base line
question of what we do when we send our young men and women off to war.
Regardless of what their platoon mates think of them that we don`t leave
I want to play you what Charles Krauthammer, no liberal, he, what he had to
say about the situation and value of an American life. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, had the choice been mine.
I would have made the same choice. It is a difficult decision. And I
would not attack those who would have done otherwise. We have long engaged
in all other countries in the west, have engaged in hostage swaps where the
west always comes out on the short end. And the reason is that we put a
value on an individual human life, the way that, the barbarians at the
other end of the table, don`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Eric Schmidt, isn`t that the calculation that not only the White
House, but even the Pentagon would have made all things being equal. We
are out of Afghanistan rapidly. And isn`t that the calculation that the
Pentagon ultimately would have made?
SCHMIDT: Certainly you hear this as one of the sacred credos of the
military. We leave no man or woman behind on the battlefield. And you
hear this more, even though -- even among those soldiers and generals, who
perhaps have questioned motives for sergeant Bergdahl for apparently
wandering off his post in June 2009.
The army this week tried to separate the two issues. That is we will get
our man back alive. Hopefully treat him at the hospitals in Germany and
Texas where he will go soon. And then if need be, they`ll do an
investigation, if need be bring charges against him for any misconduct that
he may have been conducted. But they are trying to keep this two effort,
two issues separate.
REID: Right. Well, at least we will get the due process part of that. I
think that`s important here.
Michael Tomasky and Eric Schmidt, thank you both for being here.
SCHMIDT: Thank you.
TOMASKY: Thank you.
REID: All right, and coming up, filmmaker Alexander Pelosi takes a ride
with democratic congresswomen who are on the road to remind all women why
it is so important to vote.
And the lighter side of the news this week, courtesy of the late night
REID: In the spotlight tonight, when women succeed, America succeeds.
That was the slow gone a group of democratic congresswomen including house
minority leader, Nancy Pelosi as they rolled through eight cities on a
four-day bus tour, speaking to mostly female crowds about issues like
minimum wage, child care and, of course, the importance of women voters in
the midterm elections.
Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi joined the road trip and gave us a behind the
scenes look at these lawmakers who are trying to energize a crucial group
ALEXANDRA PELOSI, FILMMAKER (voice-over): So for my summer vacation, my
mother`s making me go on the road with the sisterhood of the traveling
REP. LOIS FRANKEL (D), FLORIDA: We are rolling around America to tell our
women friends to stand up for your rights. It is just plain wrong that
women are in only 77 cents for each dollar a man earns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women are doing it all but they`re not getting their
fair share in this country.
REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We are going to make sure that
people are paid fairly for a fair day`s work. And that includes equal pay
for women when they are doing the same job that a man is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Child care, but the problem we face that the weekly
cost of child care is the equivalent of one of our weekly salaries.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: I`m on the bus because I really care
about child care expanding availability of quality, affordable, accessible
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sign on to my bill. It raises the child care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing in the bus? You are lobbying your
colleagues to join the bill?
EDWARDS: I am absolutely lobbying my colleagues. There are some of my
colleague who aren`t on the bill yet. And so, this gives me a captive
REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D), OHIO: These things can have a reality of having
equal pay, having child care, if we vote. Voting is our voice.
REP. NIKI TSONGAS (D), MASSACHUSETTS: More Massachusetts women have been
hanged in the Salem witch trials of 17 than have been elected to the House
of Representatives, the Senate, or the governor`s mansion.
BEATTY: When women are strong, they have other names for us. When women
are passionate, they have other names for us.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: I can`t tell you the number of times I
have been called the b-word. And we should all wear it as a medal of
honor. Because that suggests that we are willing to go the extra mile to
get something done.
PELOSI: Don`t tell Michelle.
REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: This is not just rhetoric. This is
about actual legislation and policies that we could put into practice. I
introduced the paycheck fairness bill in 1997.
PELOSI: It is 2014. You first introduced this paycheck fairness in 1997?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: America need to grow up to be in the
21st century. It needs to treat women as adults. It needs to respect
women and their agenda and you should pay them a fair day`s wage for a fair
PELOSI: Who is going to admit they were eating donuts on the bus?
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: They voted to repeal
Obamacare 15 times. We, we can do this. And when it succeeds?
AUDIENCE: America succeeds.
REID: And joining me is Krystal Ball, co-host of MSNBC`s "the Cycle" and
Jess McIntosh, communications director for Emily`s list.
I want to start with you Krystal. So, these are all members of House,
obviously. Women members of the house. The subtext of this is that, of
course, Democrats would dearly love to clear that 17 vote threshold and
take back the House of Representatives. The other subtext, though, is
that, there are a lot of sort of quite obvious social issues and negative
cues that women have been facing for the last few years. Shouldn`t those
be enough to get women to vote? Do you need to do this too?
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Well, it doesn`t hurt. And I got to
say, Jess, you and me and joy, we got to get on the bus. It looks like
they are having a lot of fun. And the donuts are pretty look good too.
It should be and actually this. I mean, women tend to vote in higher
proportions than men. And when women vote, they tend to vote much more
democratically, particularly young women and single women.
But the other thing that is interesting to me here is that it is a
relatively new phenomenon for women politicians to really own being a
woman. It used to be the advice you got from campaign consultants was, you
know, don`t talk about being a mom, don`t talk about being a woman. Put on
the pant suit. Pump up the shoulder pads and try to be just like the guys.
And don`t call attention to it.
And now we are seeing in the rhetoric, and what they are talking about, and
the actions, you have the guys wanting to tackle the women`s issues and be
seen into in sort of more feminine. It is going more in that direction
which to me is just really exciting. And, an important development that we
have seen, just the past, like two, three years.
REID: So definitely. And it think that that`s true, Jess. And yet, I am
wondering if that is the thing that need to happen really to impact,
particularly single women.
Krystal mentioned single women. Single women are really what Democrats
tend to go after because married women, particularly married white, and
married white suburban women, went for Mitt Romney in the majority.
And at the same time, you have the DCCC and other Democratic organizations
really not to sanguine on the prospects for large turnout among those very
single women who are Democrats best prospects in the midterm election.
They are projecting 39 percent turnout. How do you turn that around?
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Well, we did see promising polls come out
over the last couple days. It turned out women were about 11 points higher
self identifying as more likely to come out and vote than they would be in
another midterm election.
So I think that sea change that Krystal was talking about is being felt by
voters. I think that women are starting to see the issue portfolio as
belonging to them more than just the social issues. You know in 2012, we
knew that birth control was a woman`s issue. And we would put it in that
social issue umbrella. Well, birth control is only a social issue if you
never had to pay for it.
But this year, talking issues of economic opportunity as women`s issue.
Minimum wage, as women`s issue, which of course, talks to those unmarried
women, women of color, equal pay as women`s issue. We heard that 77 cents
figure, but that is so much lower if you are an African-American woman, it
is 65 cents, if you are Latina, it is 54.
I mean, talking to women about the issue that affect their daily lives is
not only what is going to turn them out to the polls, it is going to make
You know, we don`t just elect women because it makes us feel good. It is
because those democratic women we worked hard to elect turn around and do
really good things by women and families. And that`s what they`re talking
about on the bus tour.
REID: Yes. And Krystal, (INAUDIBLE), right? Because you look at minimum
wage, the majority of those earning minimum wage of women, trying to
connecting economics to it.
But I`m intrigue by your point that it is not just about the economics, but
also trying to get women to see themselves as a voting bloc. And should
leave it harder than people might expect.
BALL: It has been harder than people might expect. And it is not just
women candidates who are looking to do that, you know. I`m speaking to
folks with Senator Pryor`s campaign which is going to be very hard fought.
It is a very close race, obviously. He is a vulnerable Democrat in a
deeply red state. And they`re looking first and foremost about how can we
drive up the margin among women. They told me that the messaging they had
around equal pay has been extremely powerful. You know, they have pushed
to get minimum wage hike on the ballot in Arkansas, speaking of trying to
drive up turnout.
I mean, that is one of the ways they are really trying to do it. And if
you have an economic issue like that, which has Jess points out is also a
women`s issue because women disproportionately are low paid workers, right?
When you have something like that, clearly on the ballot, clearly being
talked about by candidates. it makes a huge, huge difference.
REID: Yes, and also, Jess, obviously there is an ethnic component to it
too, right? Democrats tend to do better among minority women. And
minority women tend to turn out at lower numbers.
Michelle Obama who could be a very big help to energize, particularly
minority women, particularly African-American women, with all that bus
tour, we saw donuts or no donuts. She was there. And this is what she
said. We don`t have video of it. But this is part of what she said. We
are going to show a little video, but we don`t have the sound.
If we lose these midterm elections, she said, it is going to be a whole lot
harder to finish what we started together. The fact is that during the mid
terms this is what happens. We don`t show up. And she did specifically
call out women`s minority young people saying we don`t show up. And these
are the folks that agree with our policies and our ideas.
How much is Michelle Obama going to factor in to the strategy to get
particularly minority women to the polls in 2014.
MCINTOSH: I think she is a fantastic messenger for those communities and
for other communities, frankly. I think she does an excellent job of
articulating why it is so important that we get involved in the political
process. It as it but finishing what we started. And I think that points
to the incredibly clear contrast that people are going to see this midterm
election between the two parties.
We have the Democratic Party that is trying to end gender discrimination
and pay, and in fact has been since 1997 as Rosa DeLauro pointed out. And
we had the Republican Party that doesn`t believe there is a wage gap at
all. They don`t believe in setting a federal minimum wage. A lot of the
statewide Republican nominees, don`t believe that there should be a minimum
wage. Whereas Democrats are trying to raise it so people can feed their
families on it.
I mean this is a really stark contrast for a midterm. And I think that the
more we spend time communicating to the folks who didn`t usually tune in
during the midterm that it matters to them the better off weave will be.
REID: Yes. And Krystal, I would be remiss, if I`ve didn`t mention there
was one man on the bus tour, Congressman John Tierney of Massachusetts who
need women to turn out for him. So women can help.
BALL: And you know, what else? With women increasingly the breadwinners
in the family, we are not just talking about helping women. We are talking
about helping men and helping families.
REID: Yes, indeed. Jess McIntosh, Krystal Ball, my friend, thank you both
for being here. Appreciate it.
REID: All right. And coming up, he can go twice as high, thanks to the
people who loved reading rainbow and pony up big money to bring it back.
Lava Burton joins me next.
REID: OK. Have you heard the one about the precinct worker, the campaign
worker and activist getting locked in a courthouse on election night? OK,
what if I told you it is not a joke.
Heinz county, Mississippi, authorities have opened an official
investigation into why a high ranking member of the Chris McDaniel campaign
and two McDaniel supporters got into the courthouse and got locked in after
midnight. McDaniel was set to face incumbent senator Thad Cochran in a
The sheriff says the three have given conflicting stories about how and why
they were in the building in the first place. Ballots from the recent
primary are stored at the courthouse. But we now know the three shut-ins
were not in the particular area. We`ll keep you posted.
And up next, take a look it`s in a book. Lavar Burton is here to talk
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
REID: That was pony or die take on a new theme song for the beloved
children`s series "Reading Rainbow." But if the public response to a
recent online campaign at any indication, it seems Lavar Burton does have a
whole lot of power and resistance is futile.
The actor, author, and reading advocate has a kick starter campaign to
bring back "Reading Rainbow" for every child everywhere. Thanks to more
than 77,000 backers, he met his first $1 million goal in just 11 hours.
And after a week well on his way to meeting the new $5 million goal.
But you don`t have to take my word for it. Here is the man himself, the
Emmy and Grammy award winning Lavar Burton. And it is great to have you
LAVAR BURTON, HOST, READING RAINBOW: Thank you so much, Joy.
REID: Thank you. I have to start by playing you that moment when you
found out that you got the $1 million. Let`s relive that together.
BURTON: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURTON: So, kick starter, I don`t know what to say. We have just crossed
the $1 million threshold. It is our first day. I am overwhelmed. Thank
you so much. This is going to enable us to really, really, really do a lot
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, you are obviously so emotional. But was it because you were
sort of not expecting that level of support so quickly.
REID: And not realizing how many people were so invested?
BURTON: It was so surprising, and so amazing. To -- look, we set the
campaign for 35 days. Most kick starters are a little bit shorter than
that, 30 days. We felt, fairly confident we could get there. But we gave
ourselves and extra five days in case we needed it. We never dreamed we
could get there in the first day.
REID: Yes. My kids grew up, Reading Rainbow, telling you that. So but
why bring it back after all this time?
BURTON: Well, because there is really still a need. There is an absolute
need. And the opportunity is to use today`s technology, television was the
technology that we used in the day in the `80s. The first episode of
"Reading Rainbow" aired June 6th, 1983. So we have been doing this for 31
The mission has never changed. It is just the technology has changed. And
today`s kids are on tablet computers, they`re on the web. And if you want
to reach them that`s where you need to be.
REID: Right. So talk about the mechanics what you are trying how trying
to do? How did people actually access it?
BURTON: So, what we have done is two years ago, we reinvented "Reading
Rainbow" as a tablet experience for kids. It is a library of books and
videos, video field trips from Lavar, just like original television series.
We have hundreds of books, hundreds of video field trips, right, that you
can access via only two platforms, currently, the ipad and kindle fire.
The whole idea for the kick starter campaign was to give us an entry into
universal access. We raised the money for the, to get to the web. And
then to put a product in that, the hands of the teachers. Teachers love
REID: Yes. Now, the detractors that have come up and they have been a
few. It is hard to believe anybody doesn`t love "Reading Rainbow." But
some people have said look, this is not something that is free to school.
BURTON: Well. PBS wasn`t free either, right? PBS was at no immediate cost
to the consumer. But content doesn`t create itself.
Joy, and it certainly doesn`t create itself a good content costs. We
license these books from the publishers. And we have a fiduciary
responsibility to pay these artists and, and the writers, for, for their
intellectual property. There are plenty of educational products in our
schools that the school districts pay for.
One of the thing that the we are doing, again the kick starter helps us do
that, is to give the reading rainbow product for schools away for schools
that are in need. And I think that`s pretty significant.
REID: And then, so the other trench of criticism has been, listen, if you
are going to invest, go on kick starter, the better investment, if you
really want to increase literacy is do one of these small sort of community
really literacy focus programs rather than reading rainbow which is for
kids who in theory can already read?
BURTON: Look, and why can`t you do both? Why does it have to be mutually
exclusive. Yes, we do need to teach our kids how to read. And almost more
importantly, once they can read, we need to teach them how to love reading.
We need to light that fire in them and make sure that they have a passion
for the written word. Otherwise, we can, we can, teach all the kids we
want to read. But if they won`t read because nay don`t love it, because
nay think it is hard, or they think it is drudgery. Then, we are not
really advancing the culture. We are not really giving kids an opportunity
to reach their full potential.
REID: You are not done with the campaign? You are in phase two?
BURTON: We are in phase two. The million dollars, great. Gives of the
opportunity to give the product away to 1,500 schools. If we can get to
five million, if people join us getting to five million, we can reach 7,500
schools and give the product away, 7,500 schools free of charge. It also
gets us a lot closer to universal access on many more platforms.
REID: Well, Lavar Burton, thank you so much for being here.
And you know what, I think as we go to break, I think we should have you
read it. What do you think? Go for it?
BURTON: We will have "Reading Rainbow" man, read.
REID: Reading Rainbow right now.
BURTON: So, coming up, politics got you down? Well get happy with a
little late night comedy. That`s next.
REID: It may only be Thursday, but it has been a very long week in the
world of American politics. But fear not, we have the FedEx for that.
Here`s the best of the late-night comedians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a great day for America. And I could not be
angrier about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big story now, the United States has traded an
American POW for five Taliban prisoners.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right, Afghan veteran Bowe Bergdahl is safe
unless he need the V.A. health system any time soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five Taliban guys from Gitmo, one, American, prisoners
in Afghanistan. The deal originally included Joe Biden and the Taliban
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Off awe that prisoner`s dad will not go unremarked on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t have to look like a member of the Taliban.
Are you out of razors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My guess if you gave bob Bergdahl a bandanna and a
duck, you would look him just (bleep) fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole situation has us pumping our fist with joy
while shaking it in anger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know a lot about hostage negotiations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not (bleep) kidding!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s former national security council member Oliver
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama said that Hillary Clinton would be very
effective if she ran for president. And Joe Biden said, thank you, what?
I`m standing right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton has hey new book coming out. You going
to get the book, huh? Wow, that`s not good. That`s about three people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of them were being sarcastic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The presidential election, a mere 888 days away. There
is one question many people are asking --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many people have asked me this same question. Are you
going to run again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to have this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is the story that I think is just about to go
away, thank God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald sterling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Sterling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Los Angeles Clippers and their owner, Donald
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Sterling sold the team for $2 billion, after he
recently paid $12.5 million. It is good news for the NBA and great news
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that will teach them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is just incredible to me. Yesterday he attend
a two hour service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Sterling visited an African-American church.
Yes. In a related story, Donald Sterling is missing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good news for our pal Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told a reporter from the Toronto Sun over the
weekend, he is planning to leave rehab.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When asked what he will do after get of rehab, Ford
said probably hang out with some friends and then head back to rehab.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A porn star announced she is running against Toronto
mayor Rob Ford in the upcoming election, a porn star.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. She has been endorsed by Rob Ford.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have long warned you about the dangers of global
warming, melting ice caps, rising seas, reusable grocery bags, now what is
going to get caught in trees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama announced a new 600-page proposal to
lower carbon emissions and help stop global warming. Step one, stop
printing 600-page proposals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama said he, all he wants to do is go for a
walk and not be bothered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His dream now is to take a stroll by himself away from
the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just want to go to some place like an outdoor cafe,
sit at a table and watch the world go by and I said what, it is pretty much
a second term, isn`t it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After hearing this, Bill Clinton said I should have
told him about my secret tunnel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama is in Poland, a Polish tabloid released
pictures of Obama as we tell lifting weights. Do I like to see that? Do
we have a picture of Obama with a dumbbell? There you are.
REID: The late night comedians get tonight`s comedians get tonight`s "LAST
I`m Joy Reid in for Lawrence O`Donnell. And Chris Hayes is next.
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