THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 1, 2014
Guest: Judah Friedlander, Dave Zirin, Brandi Chastain, Adam O`Neal,
William Barber, Whip Hubley, Rick Rosenthal
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Rachel. I have to happily report to
you that soccer has now reached 100 percent of its potential audience in
the United States, because even I watched the game today. And I believe
that makes it 100 percent of the possible audience.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I watched on two screens. So, we might have
even hit 101 percent.
O`DONNELL: There you go.
MADDOW: Thanks, man.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much, Rachel.
In a relentlessly dramatic World Cup game today, I guess I mean match, Team
USA showed sports fans once again that there can be nobility in losing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news from the sports world, the United States
soccer team just beat Ghana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! Ole, ole, ole!
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I owe a drink.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: You owe a drink, yes.
How are you? Great to see you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The biggest night yet in the World Cup as the U.S.
O`DONNELL: The television inside the room is also playing the game.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got an ESPN app on my phone. I just feel like
calling votes (ph) during the game was, it sounds questionable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Portugal scored a game-tying goal in the final second
that stunned soccer fans around the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will bite every German player if I have to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The USA escapes the group of death. Congratulations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve never been more excited, because even though
they did lose, they`re still advancing to the next round.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: USA versus Belgium. That tiny European country with
a population just slightly smaller than Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Belgium, the Delaware of Europe.
CROWD: I believe that we will win!
I believe that we will win.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that we will win!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s fair to say that a lot of Americans have opened
their eyes to the world`s most popular sport.
O`DONNELL: In the United States first World Cup match in 1930 against
Belgium, three goals were scored, all by the United States. This
afternoon, Team USA faced Belgium again in the World Cup and again, three
goals were scored, all of them in overtime, and only one by the United
Here is 19-year-old Julian Green rising to the challenge and getting team
USA on the scoreboard, bringing almost unbearable attention for the people
I was with any way, and hope to the final minutes of the game for Team USA
fans. Goalie Tim Howard kept team USA in the game by setting a World Cup
record of 16 saves against the Belgium goalie`s four saves. The previous
record was 13 saves in 1978.
Tim Howard`s heroic performance was not enough today for a victory. But he
earned praise from Belgium`s captain who tweeted this -- two words, "Tim
Tonight, Team USA has the respect of their cheerleader in chief and fans
across the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I believe, I believe, I believe that we can win. I believe that we
can win! I believe that we can win!
CROWD: I believe that we can win! I believe that we can win!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, comedian "30 Rock" star and THE LAST WORD`s
senior soccer analyst, Judah Friedlander. Also joining me, Dave Zirin,
author of "Brazil`s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics and
The Fight for Democracy". And from Palo Alto, California, U.S. Women`s
World Cup champion, Brandi Chastain.
Judah Friedlander, I have to start with you, because my first public
discussion of soccer in my life was just days ago on this program with you
and you finally got me. You turned me into a viewer, of not only just of
the game today, but look at me, you`ve turned me into a sportscaster today.
Judah, how was your day and how did you recover from what happened at the
end of that game?
JUDAH FRIEDLANDER, COMEDIAN: I recovered fine. That`s what we do, we`re
winners. I`m the world champion, things don`t bother me.
It was a great game to me. Very frustrating for the first more than 90
minutes of the game. It was a very frustrating, teetering on a disgrace.
And the last 10, 15 minutes, the U.S. showed unbelievable intestinal
fortitude, came back and almost tied this thing up.
So, it was great. I feel great. It was a tough tournament for them, but
there was awful moments, there were great moments, and many flashes of
brilliance. And I`m very proud of the team.
O`DONNELL: Brandi Chastain, you have experienced soccer glory yourself,
what was going through your mind today as you were watch thing game?
BRANDI CHASTAIN, WOMEN`S WORLD CUP CHAMPION: Well, I was just thinking
that, you know, the USA mentality that goes along with U.S. soccer, men`s
and women`s, is we`re going to fight to the end. And ultimately we did
that. I honestly thought that Chris Wondolowski in the 92nd minute was
going to put that ball away. He`s from San Jose where I live and I watch
him on a regular basis play for the San Jose Earthquakes. And he`s
notorious for scoring goals in added time. And I just thought, my gosh,
this was fate to have him in this position. It wasn`t meant to be.
But like Judah said, this was a wonderful occasion for soccer in this
country. I think people have glommed onto this team for all the right
reasons, for the Tim Howards, and the Clint Dempseys, the new players like
Julian Green. I think soccer has a place in the sports landscape in this
country and that`s very exciting for me.
O`DONNELL: Dave Zirin, I think that I`m the test case, if they could reach
me, even though it took until the final game that the USA was in to do it,
then soccer fever really has hit a new high in this country.
DAVE ZIRIN, THE NATION: Yes. The wine is out of the bottle, the horse is
out of the barn.
There`s an old expression that soccer is the sport of the future in the
United States, and it always will be, which is like the fatalist position
that everyone always says soccer is going to hit a turning point, but it
never actually does. I mean, we are there. The rating for this, better
than the World Series, crushed the NBA Finals, made the NHL Stanley Cup
look like a test pattern, rivalrying the football championship.
And when you`re talking about a country where more kids play soccer than
every other youth sport combined, here`s a prediction for you, even with
the USA out, I think the ratings in the United States are still going to be
through the roof. That`s how much I think people are on to the sport.
O`DONNELL: Well, Judah, that`s what I was wondering about today, it`s
exactly what Dave just said. OK, you know, Team USA is out. Now what
happens in these bars and other locations around the country where people
have been gathering to watch this? And the people I watched it with here
at work tell me they will still be watching, that they are hooked on the
entirety of the World Cup.
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, I think people are hooked right now. I think this year
one of the reasons soccer got more popular is all the kids play it, but I
think it was kind of a perfect storm this year of the media doing such a
great job of showcasing the sport, promoting it, and doing things where you
get to know the athletes on the team. That combined with summer, the games
are on during the day.
We`re Americans. People don`t like to work that much. They like to drink
and party and get dressed up. It was the perfect thing. Hey, we have this
new event now where people can do that.
I don`t drink, but I`m a role model to children, but I think that`s what
America is doing.
O`DONNELL: Brandi, talk to us about what those athletes of team USA, what
they`re feeling right now tonight, having gone through something like this.
CHASTAIN: Well, I think the emotions obviously were all over the place.
And, you know, it`s hard to really have perspective at this time, because
you`re not far enough away from it. They`re going to be physically
exhausted. You know, they`re going to be thinking about the things they
could have done to make a difference. They`re going to be so grateful for
their goalkeeper, Tim Howard, for all that he did and for all that -- all
the saves he made throughout the tournament. Specifically in this last
But ultimately, I think they`ll look back and say what they`ve done for
soccer is huge and meaningful. But they`re going to get on with their
lives because they`re professionals and that`s what they do. You`re not
going to win every game that you play and you have to deal with that.
That`s the unfortunate truth of sport.
O`DONNELL: Brandi, I`ve got to say, the last time I even noticed soccer in
this way was in 1999 when you won the Women`s World Cup. That seemed to
lift the game and its visibility. But for me, anyway, as someone who was
really out of it, that didn`t last very long, that sensation of, oh, look,
soccer is really grabbing people.
CHASTAIN: Well, I think that was a different time. I think Judah said
something that`s really valid, which is the media have caught attention to
soccer. The outlets for soccer are much greater than they ever have been.
Social media has been a way to share the sport.
But I think MLS, the growth of MLS in this country, the fact that half of
the team of the men`s USA team play in the MLS, as well as the other half
playing around the world, have given our players a lot of experience. You
know, what I`m hoping is that the fans that have been watching the World
Cup and have been enjoying it, our team and the rest of world, will now go
to the stadium with that same kind of enthusiasm and really bring soccer to
the next level.
The fan has to be part of this whole uplifting of soccer. It`s not just
about the players. I hope the fans out there feel that they`re as
important as the players are to the development of soccer in this country.
O`DONNELL: Dave, I`ve been asking a little bit about how do these players
-- I saw Judah has narrated a great documentary on ESPN about the World
Cup, and we see the players on team USA making decisions should I play for
Germany or should I play for USA. And other players around the world have
those choices because of their citizenship, which country they might want
to play for.
And how those decisions made and how much money is involved? And how do
they end up where they end up?
ZIRIN: That`s a great question. Actually, one Web site said, what would
every World Cup look like if there was no immigration? And it was actually
very stark about how different all the teams in the World Cup would be.
If anything, I think the advent of the World Cup is an opportunity to make
very positive arguments about immigration. Not to get political here, but
to actually make the point that immigration, the bringing together of
different cultures actually humanizes our friends and neighbors and brings
us closer together.
The World Cup is a great example of that. Why do players go -- there are
many different motivations where players choose to play on different World
Cup teams. Some of them are personal, some of them are financial.
But however it ends up, I think it`s wonderful we end up with this group of
players who are much bigger than the sum of their parts.
O`DONNELL: Brandi, as a player, I have to ask you something that for those
of us who look at soccer very occasionally, the weirdest thing in the game
is watching the ball bounce off of people`s heads and, you know, you`re
first looking at it, and it`s kind of funny, like what kind of sport do you
use your head that way? But also, with all of our modern information that
we have about head trauma and concussion in the NFL and all that, I`ve got
to think that a career of that kind of skull banging is not a safe thing to
CHASTAIN: Well, this is a very hot topic right now, obviously, like you
said in the NFL, but across the board in all sports. Different sports are
making new rules about what their youth should be doing and not doing in
their sport. Lacrosse has made changes to the rules. Football has made
changes to the rules.
And I would like to help change a rule in soccer that young kids 14 and
younger not head the ball. I`m working with Dr. Bob Cantu (ph) from the
Sports Legacy Institute in Boston about the trauma that does happen of
repetitive headings. And if we can lessen those opportunities, I think
it`s like 30 percent of head injuries do come from heading the ball, if we
can lessen those opportunities for those head collisions or that heading,
maybe we can create more technical to be soccer players that maybe would
have been better in today`s game, and we end up winning the World Cup
because we`re that much more technically inclined than we are just banging
the ball into the box and hopefully heading it.
So, you know, it`s important for me as a former player and a parent and a
coach of my young sons team, that I do something that`s going to hopefully
improve our game in the long run. And along with two former players,
again, the Sports Legacy Institute and the Santa Clara University Institute
of Sports Law and Ethics, we`re working together to change those rules and
hopefully U.S. soccer and the leagues across this country and hundreds of
thousands of millions of kids will have that change in the game so that we
can have healthier, safer fields. We can have kids that will stay in
soccer longer and lead healthier lives once they`re done with their career.
O`DONNELL: Judah, I need to thank you for your documentary series and your
appearances on this program for luring me in and getting me excited about
watching today`s game, which I really was. And it was a lot of fun. I
understand why all those people watching with President Obama, I now get
it. And I didn`t get it just, you know, days ago.
So, Judah, thanks a lot for that.
FRIEDLANDER: You`re welcome. That`s what heroes do. We give back to
society and make America better place.
Soccer is an emotional game. We talked about it earlier. It`s incredibly
emotional. Just because a score is 2-1, you know -- so, it`s great.
O`DONNELL: Judah Friedlander, always a winner. Thanks for joining me
Dave Zirin and Brandi Chastain, thank you also for joining me tonight.
CHASTAIN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, what does Beyonce -- take your time with this
question -- what does Beyonce have to do with yesterday`s Supreme Court
ruling on contraception coverage in health plans? You don`t know? Tweet
me your guesses and you will get the answer in tonight`s "Rewrite". Here`s
a hint, FOX News.
O`DONNELL: We now have scientific proof -- well, OK, not scientific proof,
just political proof that Chris Christie has given up all hope of becoming
president of the United States.
After yesterday`s Supreme Court decision allowing some employers to opt out
of providing some forms of birth control in their health insurance plans,
the Republicans, who are serious about trying to win their party`s
nomination for president, all issued gleeful statements.
Rand Paul said, quote, "With this decision, America will continue to serve
as a safe haven for those looking to exercise religious liberty."
Ted Cruz called it, quote, "a land mark victory for religious liberty."
Marco Rubio said it was, quote, "a reaffirmation of America`s commitment to
religious freedom." You got that? Religious liberty. Religious freedom.
Message of the day.
And here, here is what Chris Christie actually said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the Supreme Court right in its decision?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Who knows? Is the Supreme Court
right? The fact is that when you`re an executive, your Supreme Court makes
a ruling and you have to live with it unless you can get the legislative
body to change the law or change the Constitution. The point is, why
should I give an opinion on whether they`re right or wrong? At the end of
the day, they did what they did. That`s not the law of the land unless
people in the elected branches try to change it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK, if you don`t accept that as proof that Chris Christie is
not going to run for the Republican presidential nomination, you must take
it as proof of how badly he will lose if he does.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ADAM O`NEAL (R), BELHAVEN, NC: The path the legislators are on right
now has already caused stress on our hospitals, especially rural hospitals.
Without Medicaid expansion, the reimbursements are falling, and hospitals
like the one in my hometown, are on the brink of possibly even closing.
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)
O`DONNELL: As indicated on the screen, that was the Republican mayor of
Belhaven, North Carolina, pleading for his state`s Republican controlled
legislature to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would
help not just the low income residents of North Carolina, but hospitals,
often rural hospitals, that serve those low income residents.
When the Affordable Care Act was created, funds that went to reimbursing
such hospitals that serve uninsured patients were reallocated to Medicaid,
to the expansion of Medicaid, to cover that expansion for those patients.
But when a state doesn`t take the Medicaid expansion, those funds are gone
to what is the Medicaid expansion budget, and they don`t go to the
uninsured patients or those hospitals that have been serving them and have
been getting the compensation to serve them.
This is now contributing to a crisis in such hospitals, a crisis that may
be forced some closings, like this Pungo Hospital, the one Mayor O`Neal was
talking about, which closed this morning just after midnight.
Vidant Health, a company that owned several North Carolina hospitals, told
the city of Belhaven it had until July 1st to assume control of the
hospital or it would have to be shut down. Now, Pungo`s 20,000 patients
have to travel 26 miles, over 30 minutes to the next closest hospital. The
Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington, North Carolina. Thirty minutes
that we all know could mean life or death for some patients.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m asthmatic, and I`ve had times where I had to go
down there. I pray to God that I don`t have that attack during the middle
of the night where I would have to try to get nearly 40 miles away from
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just this past weekend, my husband had to go to the
emergency room. So it`s a vital part of the community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe there`s going to be some people that may
die because they cannot get the medical treatment that they deserve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is the mayor of Belhaven, North Carolina, Adam
O`Neal, and the president of the North Carolina NAACP, Reverend William
Mayor O`Neal, I`ve seen reports on this, this network has been covering it
expensively, including one former heart patient anyway in your town, who
says if that hospital wasn`t there, he wouldn`t be alive today. It seems
like in this situation, we`re one heart attack away from someone not
surviving because of the distance they now have to travel.
O`NEAL: Well, there`s no doubt the distance is going to be a factor and
people are going to die. Rural health care has to be looked after in this
country. You can`t do what is being done. For example, in our town right
here, we have a situation where Medicaid expansion would have made some
difference, but here, we also have a large medical hospital conglomerate
Vidant Health that actually came to our town, took over our hospital, and
then closed it down to send our people up the road 30 miles to prop up
So, we have a situation that the Medicaid expansion was a factor and also
Vidant Health. You know, I`m getting kind of tired of people talking about
poor people and what a problem they are in our health care system. You
know, the poor people aren`t the problem, greedy people are the problem.
And like what Vidant is doing right now is greed. And that`s one of the
problems that we have. The Medicaid situation needs to be resolved, and
this state and across the country, we need to make sure we don`t start
losing critical access hospitals. The reason they`re called critical
access hospitals is because they`re critical.
If you don`t have them, you have a substantial reduction in the quality of
health care in the community. It`s a big deal. For a hospital to close,
not only do people die, but our little town of 18,000 dies. All the people
that work in the hospital, all the ancillary services, all the vendors, all
the stuff goes away. It`s a disaster.
They put it between $14 million and $17.5 million economic impact on our
town per year, in our hospital. It`s a big deal. And we need help to get
it opened up again.
O`DONNELL: Reverend Barber, this is clearly a problem that isn`t going to
end with this one particular hospital.
REV. WILLIAM BARBER, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: No, in fact, it`s happening
across the state we`re hearing reports everywhere. As my good friend, the
mayor said, this is about a perfect storm. The greed of Vidant that came
in and said in a contract that he would expand the hospital, but in fact,
they worked to close it, and they reneged on our agreement that we had in
mediation with the Office of Civil Rights. And then you have the failure
of the government under Tillisburg (ph) and McCurry (ph) to expand
In fact, the mayor wrote the governor and they have not even responded to
his request, and he`s a member of their party. I expect them not to
respond to me per se, but not to him.
And in this, something else, this hospital closes, who is going to tear it
down and who`s going to maybe build apartments or something there? So, you
have this perfect storm where greed is impacting people. But in this case,
it impacts poor. It impacts wealthy people.
There was a pastor I met who died and coded in that city. If he had not
been within three minimums of that hospital, he would have died and left
four children without a father and a wife without a husband. These are
serious matters and we`re hearing reports of this all over the state where
these hospitals are struggling, particularly because these extremist
governors and others refuse to accept Medicaid.
Let`s disagree on other things, but on the matter of people living and
dying, it shouldn`t be a Republican or Democratic issue, it should be what
is right and what is moral.
O`DONNELL: Mayor O`Neal, so, the governor hasn`t responded to your letter.
Do you pick up the phone and call him? Do you drive down to the capital
and just sit outside his office waiting to see him? What do you do next is
O`NEAL: Well, the governor himself has not responded. Some people way
below him did call me and want to set up a meeting in the last two weeks,
as we were trying to do our last efforts to save the hospital. But it was
people four or five steps down from the governor.
I asked if the governor was going to meet with us. They couldn`t tell me
anything. So, we`re reaching out to the governor to have a sit-down with
the governor, not the fourth down the line, not the tenth down the line.
We need to sit and talk with the governor.
This is a dream for politicians. We have blacks, whites, rich, poor,
everybody working together, trying to save a hospital, trying to save
health care. It`s a dream for politicians. I do not understand why every
politician that is within the sound of my voice, I guess the whole country,
doesn`t come running to help with this situation.
We have people working together. This is what our country is supposed to
O`DONNELL: But, Mayor O`Neal, you know a bunch of Republican politicians
in your state. What do they say to you privately about why you aren`t
getting any support?
O`NEAL: Well, they don`t want to talk. Vidant has big bucks and they`re
making a lot of contributions to these politicians. Some of them don`t
want to get in the middle of it. That`s the problem.
You know, we`ve got politicians, we`ve got elected officials that are
working for lobbyists, that are working with people with the money instead
of coming and helping the people that really need it. In Belhaven, we
don`t have a lot of big contributors to political campaigns. We need
people to come out here for the right reason, to save people`s lives.
BARBER: Lawrence --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Reverend.
BARBER: One of the things people should know, this hospital was formed by
a bipartisan agreement, the Hill-Burton Act 60 years ago. What we see
happening here, hurricanes couldn`t close this hospital, tornadoes couldn`t
close this hospital, floods couldn`t close this hospital. But a greedy
conglomerate, the refusal of our government in North Carolina to expand
Medicaid and some other factors locally could close a hospital and close
the opportunity for people to live.
Now, we in the NAACP, we joined the mayor. We`re going to push a civil
rights complaint under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was (INAUDIBLE),
and we`re going to continue to push on these issues.
O`DONNELL: Mayor Adam O`Neal and Reverend William Barber, thank you both
very much for joining me tonight.
BARBER: Thank you.
O`NEAL: Lawrence, Lawrence, Crowdrise, Crowdrise, Save Pungo, Crowdrise,
Save Pungo, fund-raiser. We need your help.
O`DONNELL: OK. Good luck, Mr. Mayor.
Coming up in the rewrite tonight, the answer to what Beyonce has to do with
the Supreme Court decision yesterday on contraception coverage.
And later, the 21st century version of the Tom Cruise movie "Top Gun."
Guess what its title is?
O`DONNELL: President Obama has said he`s going to double the number of
troops he will send to defend the embassy and airport in Baghdad. On his
radio show today, Sean Hannity blamed the current situation in Iraq on
President Obama. But for once, Sean`s guest did not play along. His guest
was Senator Rand Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: When things got tough, they all want to
pull out. They politicized it and that became Barack Obama`s calling card.
And by leaving early, we have basically given up all those gains that we
had made, hard-fought gains.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think also we shouldn`t always say it`s
just our fault or anyone one person`s fault over here. for example, the
person most culpable in all of this is Maliki.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This is the way Rand Paul put it when he wasn`t speaking to an
exclusively conservative audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: What`s going on now, I don`t blame President Obama. Has he really
got the solution, maybe there is no solution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re not a Dick Cheney Republican when it comes to
American power in the Middle East.
PAUL: What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is David Corn, an MSNBC political analyst and
Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and co-author of the book
"Hubris, the inside story of spins, scandal and the selling of the war of
the Iraq war."
David, it is so interesting to use the domestic political prism of Rand
Paul to watch what`s happening in Iraq today, and watch how carefully he
has to manage his responses to -- about the question is who`s to blame.
When he`s talking to a broad audience, he`s very clear about that, that it
isn`t President Obama and he will say that by name. And there, we saw him
dealing with the right wing of the Republican party with Sean Hannity`s
audience, and again, refusing to assign that blame to the president, but
believing, you know, no "I defend the president" line in there. He mutes
that a little bit.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the interesting thing here is I
don`t think Sean Hannity or many people on the right are willing to defend
the Bush-Cheney administration, because it`s quite clear they have screwed
up almost everything that could be screwed up about the Iraq war from the
very beginning, from the invasion to what to do afterwards, to getting rid
of the Baathists, completely from the army in the government. And of
course, to really helping Nouri al-Maliki to get in power and say in power.
Now, the Obama administration inherited this mess and it clearly has not
managed Maliki well, and has made I think some bad decisions there, too.
But the seeds of this, you know, it really goes to the Bush-Cheney crowd.
And yet you have people like Sean Hannity out there to get back to the
politics, all they want to do is find a way to use this tragedy, this
dilemma, this mess that is going on in Iraq to bash President Barack Obama.
Rand Paul, bless him in this instance as Joe Biden might say, is not
willing to go along for that ride. But it`s going to be hard to see how
this plays before Republican primary crowds in the 2016 race if this is
still an issue at that point in time, which I`m afraid it might be.
O`DONNELL: But David, you know the thinking of the sellers of the Iraq
war. Have written about them. What are they trying to sell now? What
would their program, what would their policy be in Iraq now?
CORN: I don`t know. Can you sell fire insurance once the building is in
flames? I mean, it seems to me that all they really have is they want to
be aggressive. They want to be assertive. They want to get U.S. troops --
O`DONNELL: But does that mean 100,000 troops? I mean, they don`t even --
there is no number.
CORN: I don`t know what that means. You know, Dick Cheney -- we talked
about this. Dick Cheney has come out and blasted the president without
saying a single thing about what he would do now. John Boehner came out
and said the president`s napping. OK, Mr. Speaker, what would you do?
Silence, crickets, nothing. Not even a chirp, because no one wants to be
on the hook here. It keeps get back to politics. They just want to bash
the president. So I mean, as people know, it`s a mess there, there`s no
easy answers, no easy sides. And it`s tragic that all we can do here is
really put it into this political cauldron.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
CORN: It is good to be with you, Lawrence. Thanks.
Coming up, 21st century top guns are no longer flying planes. The director
and star of an important new movie calls drones, will join me. And one of
the actors in that movie was actually in "Top Gun." What are the odds?
O`DONNELL: And now for the good news. This morning, admiral Michelle Jay
Howard became the first woman promoted to four-star admiral in the history
of the United States Navy. Admiral Howard serves as vice chief of naval
operations, which is the number two officer in the Navy. She`s the first
woman to hold that job and the first African-American.
If you think that`s not enough firsts for one career, admiral Howard was
also the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship. And the
first to serve as a three-star officer in any branch of the military.
Among her many accomplishments, admiral Howard led the task force involved
in the 2009 rescue of the real Captain Phillips, who was hijacked by Somali
pirates and played in the subsequent inevitable movie by Tom Hanks.
The rewrite is next, starring Beyonce and FOX News.
O`DONNELL: Today, at noontime, on FOX News, a political analyst, who is
not quite ready for primetime political analyst, managed to drag Beyonce
into the discussion about the Supreme Court`s decision on contraception
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS: Having access to contraception is not in the
constitution. She`s dead wrong about that. And Hillary Clinton, I`m not
surprised, this is her bread and butter. This is how she`s going to try to
win the White House. This is what she is going to go to. She needs the
single lady`s, I call them the Beyonce voters, the single ladies, Obama won
of the single ladies by 76 percent last time and they make up a quarter of
the electorate. You know, they depend on the government because they are
not depending on their husbands. They need things like contraception,
health care, and they love to talk about equal pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: See, that`s why we watch FOX News, so you don`t have to.
Nothing the FOX News guy said there was challenged by any of the FOX News
women who heard him say that. So there is the FOX News guy who in his
analysis of American voting patterns has identified a group of voters that
he alone, among political analysts, calls Beyonce voters. And what
characterizes a Beyonce voter?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATTERS: They depend on government because they`re not depending on their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK. Beyonce doesn`t depend on government, and she sure doesn`t
depend on her husband. According to Forbes` latest guesstimate of her
income, Beyonce pulled in about $150 million last year, almost double her
husband`s mere $60 million. But in the FOX guy`s analysis, of course,
Beyonce voters are not married mothers like Beyonce, they are unmarried
women, because, and only because Beyonce had a hit song six years ago
titled "single ladies."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATTERS: I call them the Beyonce voters, the single ladies. Obama won the
single ladies by 76 percent last time, and they made up about a quarter of
the electorate. You know, they depend on government because they`re not
depending on their husbands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So in this FOX News guys` brain, there are only two kinds of
women, married women who depend on their husbands, and single women who, of
course, all depend on government.
Now, disproving that could not be easier, including right there on the FOX
News set where he was sitting beside women who make much more money than he
does and they`re not depending on anyone. So don`t expect Beyonce voters
to become a political term of art the way soccer moms did, because
everything that`s flowing through the mind of the FOX guy that has led him
to coin the phrase "Beyonce voters" is wrong.
Now, to be fair to the FOX guy, he`s not usually called upon for political
analysis. The network doesn`t usually care about his opinion. His usual
gig at FOX News is to follow people with a camera and try to catch them by
surprise, which is like wicked easy to do to people who have never before
in their lives been followed with a camera. His candid camera is a staple
of Bill O`Reilly`s show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATTERS: Do you think this was a partisan presentation?
BILL MOYERS, FBN HOST: Come on. I asked you to come on my show. I`ve got
to get a cab and go to work myself.
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Now, the reason we`re bothering Moyer is
that he symbolizes those Americans who want their country to lose in Iraq
based upon on hatred of all things Bush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: FOX`s candid camera guy would do well to stick with sneaking up
on people with cameras for Bill O`Reilly. And when FOX News candid camera
guy gets a chance, he really should listen carefully to more of Beyonce`s
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: Here is the crowd rise page that mayor O`Neil was talking about
earlier in the program set up to save the Pungo district hospital in North
Carolina. Pause your screen if you have to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got the bogey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger. I`ve got the southern guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got the lead, I`ll cover you. Hollywood, we`re
losing viper. Let`s just stay on jester.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, I`m on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Viper, he`s out there somewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay with Hollywood, man. We`re covering his wing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s viper, 3:00 low.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay with Hollywood, man. We`re his cover.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t you leave me, Maverick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hollywood, you`re looking good. I`m going after Viper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was, of course, Tom Cruise in 1986 playing the fighter
pilot nicknamed Maverick and flying along with him, playing the fighter
pilot nicknamed Hollywood, the nickname I have always wanted, was actor
Whip Hubley who now plays a colonel in command of a 21st century top gun
crew in a new movie titled "Drones."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is like laser.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Laser armed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: April 13th, what have you got?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Colonel, we have 30 seconds to prosecute before he
gets home and we have to kill his family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we sure it`s him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re sure, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you met visual confirmation criteria?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, 10 seconds. I`m sorry, sir, he just arrived
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I beg your pardon, Eric.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, sir. I`m sorry. He just ride at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did anticipate this possibility when we selected the
location. So, have you de-ID`d the target?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Affirmative, sir. I mean, he`s playing with his kids
now. I am sending you the image.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger that. I will contact the CENCOM and get the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will be extremely pleased. Out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, actor Whip Hubley and the director and producer
of "Drones," Rick Rosenthal.
Guys, great to have you here. I saw the movie the other night at your
Hollywood screening. That was fun.
Wit, you`ve been promoted from fighter pilot in 86, now you`re the colonel.
And this is, when I saw the movie Saturday night, this is the 21st century
top gun story. This is where they are. They`re underground in some
bunkers and in these places thousands of miles away, totally safe, totally
different thing than what we were doing in the `80s.
WHIP HUBLEY, ACTOR, DRONES: Yes,` it is a totally different thing. And
you know, I think that in terms of the psychology of it, it is strikingly
different, you know, when you talk about -- when I was working on "Top
Gun," the guys that I met who were our instructors and the real pilots, you
know, they were really gung ho. They were surprisingly smart guys. They
were athletes and they were really the tip of the spear as they, you know,
as the line goes in the movie.
And now, I don`t know a whole lot of drone pilots, but it`s just a very
different thing now. you know, they don`t have the same hero status as far
as I can tell, you know. And I think that is -- there`s a real separation
from, you know, the actual battlefield and it`s almost like a sanitization
of killing and of war.
O`DONNELL: Rick, this point that he`s making is very clear in the movie,
that there`s a different sensation for war makers who are very comfortably
in the United States, in a very safe zone, in this case Nevada in the
movie, doing what fighter pilots used to do, and foreign war theaters,
taking incredible personal risk with their lives. And there`s something
about there being no risk to the life of the drone pilot that seems to
changes the dynamics within the military.
RICK ROSENTHAL, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, DRONES: There`s a very interesting line
in the film, the actress says. And she says, you know, if we can take out
anyone anywhere any time without any risk to any of our troops, what`s to
keep us from playing some very screwed up video games? Because, because
the operations are often equated now and training is often done via video
So there`s a sanitization. And you know, it`s of real concern that
suddenly, and some of the training, the complex morality of when one
decides to take somebody`s life or not is suddenly there in a way that
never was before.
O`DONNELL: And it seems the decision to take that life is different when
your own life is not under threat, as the fighter pilots always were.
Another scene, Whip, where you`re trying to convince these young drone
pilots that they`ve got to execute this mission in front of them, that
they`ve now become reluctant to execute. Let`s watch this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I order you to disregard any orders from Lieutenant
Lawson (ph) expand your ordinance yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In order to disregard orders? I can do that, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now. He can`t do that, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Airman, what are you, about 6`2", 180?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a good day, sir, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what`s the lieutenant?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s a girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How big is she, 5`7", 130 tops?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, give or take, probably take.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent. Airman Balls (ph), I want you to employ any
means necessary to stop her from interfering with this mission.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pardon me, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you kidding me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you fail to take action, Airman Balls, I will have
you court-martialed, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Rick, what I love about this movie is that you can see
everyone`s perspective very clearly. I mean, some people watching us right
now think Whip`s the bad guy this that scene. I think if you see the
totality of the movie, you understand exactly what`s motivating him. He`s
not the bad guy. If that`s a bad guy, it`s war. But these decisions are
hard and drones actually seem to make the decisions harder, not easier.
ROSENTHAL: Well, we wanted to make a film that was a thriller first and
O`DONNELL: Yes, it is.
ROSENTHAL: And, you know, there are people walk away saying it`s pro
drones, and that people walk away saying it`s anti-drones. But I hope
people walk away talking about it and talking about the complex moral
issues that is embedded in the subject matter.
O`DONNELL: Whip, it does seem to be a far more complex movie than "Top
Gun," which of course, was the most fun you can have on a movie theater
that year, but this is a much more careful portrait of what`s going on in
HUBLEY: Yes, I think it is. And you know, it will -- you know, "Top Gun"
was a real popcorn movie. And I think people, you know, get drawn into
this movies. I have gotten response from a lot of people that it was
incredibly thought-provoking and really moves them.
But these are really complex issues that drones bring up because, you know,
to begin with, you`re trying to save people`s lives by using these unmanned
airplanes, but on the other hand there`s all this collateral damage. And
the guys who are flying these things are very different from the F-14
pilots, because they don`t -- they have to sit there and watch what
O`DONNELL: They see who they kill up close on the video, which is strong
in the movie.
I wish we had more time. The film is "Drones." Rick Rosenthal and Whip
Hubley, thank you both for joining me tonight.
Rick, we can see the film how?
ROSENTHAL: It`s in theaters, on VOD, and iTunes and --
O`DONNELL: iTunes and Video on Demand, OK. Great.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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