THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 14, 2014
Guest: Adam O`Neal, Howard Dean, Emma Fitzsimmons; Ed Slattery; Judah
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Steve. I think we`re making
broadcasting history tonight. I believe this is the first time Steve
Kornacki has been more formally dressed on TV than I am.
STEVE KORNACKI: It`s primetime, baby.
O`DONNELL: It`s a whole new thing. Thanks, Steve.
O`DONNELL: The Republican mayor of Belhaven, North Carolina, begged -
- he just begged his state legislature and governor to accept the Medicaid
expansion in the Affordable Care Act, because the mayor knew that without
it, his local hospital would close. Now that hospital is closed. And that
mayor is marching from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. in protest. We
join him on that 273-mile walk tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lone hospital for a county and a half, Vidant
Pungo Hospital, closed on July 1st.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, 25,000 people will have to seek emergency
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are those 25,000 people supposed to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe there`s going to be some people that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor O`Neal blames his fellow Republicans in the
MAYOR ADAM O`NEAL (R), BELHAVEN, NC: If the governor and the
legislature is not going to accept Medicaid expansion, they need to come up
with their own program to help these rural hospitals.
REV. WILLIAM BARBER, NC NAACP: It should not be a partisan discussion
but a principle discussion.
O`NEAL: If you don`t have critical access to hospital, people
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beaufort County officials, there`s been one death
he says that could have been prevented if Vidant Pungo Hospital was still
O`NEAL: If they could have got her 30 miles to emergency room, she
will have a chance to live.
You can`t let hospitals close and people die to prove a point.
O`DONNELL: Belhaven, North Carolina`s Republican mayor, Adam O`Neal,
pleaded his state`s Republican-controlled legislature, pleaded to them to
expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, in the open that that fund
would go keep his local hospital open.
This was his prediction of what would happen if that hospital closed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`NEAL: If you don`t have critical access to hospitals, people
needlessly die. That`s a fact. We`re talking about life or death here.
People will die. This is not debatable. Nobody could come here and debate
if people are going to die or not, it is a certainty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That hospital is now closed and Mayor O`Neal is now taking
his frustrations to Washington. He is on a protest march walking from
Belhaven, North Carolina, to Washington, a distance of 273 miles to bring
urgent attention to the issue of the Medicaid expansion for his town.
Joining me now from Plymouth, North Carolina, after his first day of
walking, is Mayor Adam O`Neal.
And also joining us, former Vermont governor and physician, Dr. Howard
Mayor O`Neal, how far did you get today? It`s about 17 miles?
O`NEAL: Yes, we walked 17 miles today. It was pretty hot. We got
started a little late due to a ceremony we had this morning. But this is
going to be a terrific opportunity to get in shape.
O`DONNELL: And, mayor, before you left last week, there was the case
that is being reported in the local media down there as what might be the
first death to occur after the closing of your hospital. Tell us about
O`NEAL: Well, we had a 48-year-old wife and mother of three that had
a heart attack. She came to the paramedics station in Swan Quarter. She
was conscious and complaining of chest pains. A doctor who talked with the
husband the entire time of the incident said that normally they throw her
in ambulance, rush her to Belhaven, been there in 25 to 30 minutes, then
she would have had about 30 minutes under the attention of an E.R.
physician, with all the medicines and tools that they would have that
paramedics don`t have.
She lived about an hour after getting to the paramedic station. They
had to call a helicopter because Belhaven`s emergency room was not
available. The helicopter took an hour to get there. The lady expired
right when the helicopter was landing.
Once again, she spent her last hour in the back of a paramedic`s
ambulance instead of spending a half hour of that last hour in an emergency
room with a trained E.R. physician.
That`s the kind of thing that`s going to happen over and over again.
And it`s not just Belhaven, it`s across this country. More rural hospitals
have died -- or have died -- have closed in the last year than the last 15.
Republicans and Democrats have got to get together and fix this problem.
We can`t have these hospitals closing. It`s an epidemic and it`s a real
epidemic that`s killing people.
O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, the mayor had predicted that you close a
hospital like this, the distances people live from the other hospitals that
they would then have to use, someone`s going to die. Speak to us as a
physician about this and the case that you just heard of. This is a
pattern that it seems we`re going to see recur, not just in that area, but
in others, with hospitals that might be closing because they are not
getting this additional funding for Medicaid.
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, it`s already happening.
Lawrence, in Georgia, four rural hospitals have closed as a result of the
no -- the governor`s refusal and the legislature`s refusal to accept the
Medicaid money, which doesn`t cost their own state tax revenues any money
at all. People in Georgia and North Carolina are actually paying money so
that I can have Medicaid up here. It`s ridiculous for them to refuse that
simply on political grounds.
And it is true that time is everything. When you`re having a heart
attack and you`re in the back of an ambulance, that is not the place you
want to be for any length of time. You need to be as the mayor said, in an
emergency room with a competent emergency room fit and a staff who can do
the kinds of things you can`t possibly do in the back of an ambulance.
So I have no doubt that if this lady had been in an E.R. for the half
hour that the mayor talked about, instead of waiting for a helicopter, she
could very well be alive today. I think it`s highly likely. Most people
at 48, when they have a heart attack, are very, very salvageable. And this
was clearly a matter of time.
In fact, there`s a long history of laws being passed that you had to
take the person to the most immediate hospital for just exactly this
reason. Unfortunately, in Belhaven, apparently the nearest E.R. is now 75
miles away, thanks to the right-wingers in the North Carolina legislature
and the governor who won`t stand up to them.
O`DONNELL: Mayor O`Neal, Howard Dean also represented as governor of
Vermont, rural populations. As a physician he practiced with rural
You know that people when they`re making their residential decisions,
they look around at different community assets. They say, what`s the
school like? Where is it, how far is it, how long will it take me to get
junior to elementary school or high school, whatever it is. Where`s the
hospital? It`s a crucial decision in residential location.
And, Mr. Mayor, there`s got to be a lot of constituents of yours who
bought where they bought and live where they live because they measured
their distance from their local hospital and said, this is a safe location
O`NEAL: Well, the big conglomerate Vidant Health that came in and
represented they`d keep our hospital open and closed it, even after a year
they made $109 million, previous year $127 million, then they had to close
a critical access hospital, they don`t really have a lot of concern for
lives in our community. And more importantly, they have ripped the heart
of our economics out of our community.
So, not only have they taken our hospital, which was losing about $1
million a year, and they were making $109 million in 2013. Then, they
decided to take our hospital. And now people are dying because they`re
trying to pad their bottom line.
We`ve got a situation at Belhaven with Medicaid expansion but also
with a greedy nonprofit that`s making $100 million a year and cutting back
access to emergency room care in northeast North Carolina. That`s a
I`d like to see some legislation where the HHS secretary has to sign
off if a critical access hospital is ever closed, because you shouldn`t
have these big conglomerates coming in, taking over little hospitals,
shutting them down to force people to another hospital to pad their bottom
line. That`s morally wrong. It`s an immoral decision.
O`DONNELL: Governor Dean, who do you think should be involved in the
decision about closing hospitals, given a state`s need to be able to manage
and understand its medical assets and where they are?
DEAN: One thing that you -- that really does surprise me is that they
closed the whole place. We have had some hospitals close here in Vermont,
but the whole hospital didn`t close down. Some of the parts of it were
Usually, you do -- you can, and you, should keep own an emergency room
facility. You can`t have a complete emergency room but you could have had
an emergency room that would have stabilized this lady and gotten her into
the position where she could have survived a wait. But they didn`t have
Some of the hospitals will reduce their services and have basic, very
basic surgery or basic OB/GYN care. So, there are a lot of things you can
do in between having a full-blown hospital and having nothing at all or
just a community health center. In this case it sounds to me like this
truly is a critical access hospital.
If the next hospital is 75 miles away, that is really a long way.
And, you know, somebody has got to rationalize that. If it`s so that the
community -- that the hospital is only losing $1 million a year, that`s
easily remedied. I mean, you know, the Republicans up in North Carolina,
legislature, are wasting $1 million a year trying to redraw their districts
so they can get re-elected. They could have spent that money and there
would be at least one person alive today that isn`t.
O`DONNELL: Mayor O`Neal, when do you expect to get to Washington?
O`NEAL: It`s going be about 14 days, assuming we have good weather.
I`m hoping it will rain a little bit to make it cooler. But we`re on our
way and we`re going to be there.
I hope when we get there, we get to see President Obama, at least Eric
Holder, Secretary Burwell of HHS. We need to see these folks.
People need -- the government has to get involved with these critical
access hospitals. Letting these big conglomerate shut these hospitals is
wrong. Once again, they made $109 million in 2013, cried poverty. They
also had two or three hospitals that lost more than our critical access
hospital and they closed our hospital down.
That`s why we have a Title 6 complaint. Everybody`s concerned there`s
some racism involved here as well. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Mayor O`Neal, we`re going to follow you on this walk and
hope you can join us again. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Howard Dean, thank you for joining us.
O`NEAL: Look forward to it.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
DEAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
Good luck, Mayor. Have a good walk.
Coming up, five weeks ago, Tracy Morgan was nearly killed in a high-
speed collision on the New Jersey turnpike. A friend with him was killed.
And other friends were injured. A truck driver was charged in the incident
but Tracy Morgan thinks the truck driver is not the only one to blame for
what happened that night. That`s coming up.
And in "The Rewrite" tonight, the campaign fight is on between Rick
Perry and Rand Paul and one of them is clearly not ready for a primetime
And the world champion and senior soccer historian and analyst of THE
LAST WORD, Judah Friedlander, joins me tonight to get the very last word on
the World Cup.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS: The Honduran police are taking us to a spot
that they call (SPEAKING SPANISH), a blind spot. They freely admit there
are parts of this border with Guatemala that they just can`t patrol. It`s
where unaccompanied kids, leaving without their parents, cross.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Stephanie Gosk has just returned from Central
America where she talked to children willing to risk their lives to come to
the United States. She joins me next to show us what she found there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: And we`re sending the
message that most unaccompanied kids who come to this country will not
qualify for any form of humanitarian relief under our laws and therefore
must be repatriated to their home countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson briefed
congressional Democrats tonight just after the U.S. government sent the
first group of unaccompanied minors and some adults back to Central
America. Almost 40 women and children were flown back to Honduras from the
airport in Roswell, New Mexico. The United States has apprehended more
than 52,000 children without their parents at the border since October and
another 39,000 adults, which is a record number.
NBC`s Stephanie Gosk has just returned from Honduras and Guatemala
where she met many children willing to risk their lives to come here to the
Here is some of her report.
GOSK: To understand why young people from Central America are leaving
without their parents to go to the U.S., you only have to come here. San
Pedro Sula, Honduras, one of the most dangerous cities in one of the most
dangerous country in the world.
We`re in a neighborhood right now that`s controlled by four different
gangs. This small space here is a neutral area. But they tell us down any
of these roads it`s literally a no-go zone. Every young person that we`ve
spoken to here says they want to go to the United States because of the
(voice-over): I asked, how many want to go to the U.S.? Every hand
A local youth center is one of the only safe places for kids to come
and play. This 15-year-old says his older brother is in a gang.
An AK-47 is in the house and he`s scared.
A familiar story to E.R. pediatrician David Mendoza. On a busy night
he will see seven or eight victims of violence.
The parents of this 17-year-old boy in a coma say he was shot because
he wouldn`t join a gang. Mendoza believes the violence is driving Honduran
kids out and changes to U.S. immigration law won`t stop them.
(on camera): For Honduran kids traveling by themselves, the journey
really begins here. Adults are allowed to cross into Guatemala legally but
the children are not.
So, they come to points that the border control call (INAUDIBLE),
blind spots, literally, that they can`t patrol. On the other side of this
river is Guatemala. If they make it across they have a more than 1,000-
mile journey to get to the U.S. They will have crossed three borders and
faced countless dangers.
Among them drug cartels, bandits, and those coyotes who say they`re
going to help them but often just end up taking their money.
Nearly everybody that`s gotten off this bus here at this rest stop is
heading to the border with Mexico and Guatemala. They all want to go to
the United States. Some of them under the age of 18, minors traveling by
I`ve asked a bunch of them whether or not they`ve heard this message
from the State Department, that the road ahead is dangerous and that when
they get to the U.S., they`re going to be deported.
Some have. They`ve seen it on TV. And it doesn`t matter.
(voice-over): The trip north in Guatemala leads to a lawless stretch
of border and a one-road town called (INAUDIBLE), a remote outpost home to
drug runners and human traffickers known as coyotes. An economy catering
to immigrants thrives. Dozens of small, grimy hotels line the street
charging $5 a night.
(on camera): Even with the military here just steps away, immigrants
from all over Central America come here and this is where in this town they
cut their deals with coyotes. Right out in the open. Right out in the
street. Everyone knows it`s going on.
(voice-over): From here, the River San Pedro flows to Mexico. Every
day just before dawn, Central American immigrants pile into rickety wooden
boats like this one.
Coyotes charge $7,000 per person, he tells me. The illegal journey to
the U.S. begins here.
Our stay didn`t last long. We felt pressure to get out. A pickup
trailed our car at high speed until we were clearly out of town.
The U.S. government may be trying to stem the tide of this migration,
but there is nothing being done to stop it here.
O`DONNELL: Stephanie, this is exactly what I`ve been wondering about
since this controversy has exploded on our side of the border is that
route, is that pressure that`s pushing all these people northward.
And there`s a couple -- so many things that come up when I see this.
It seems to me that a lot of these people have to have some significant
means. There`s one moment in there where someone wants $7,000 from them to
get the rest of the way.
And so, it takes some means to get from where they are up to the
GOSK: It does. And it`s not clear that every coyote gets that
$7,000. They may hold it over their heads. They may take a lien on the
house back in Honduras or Guatemala. They may actually hold some of these
kids in these sort of houses on the other side of the border and call
family members in the U.S. and kind of blackmail them into getting that
money. So, the numbers are a little hazy.
But what is certain is that they are cutting these deals, in some
cases it`s parents within their home country that are arranging these human
trafficking efforts up to the U.S.
O`DONNELL: What is your -- what is your sense of having been down
there and been on the trail of what Washington or what the dialogue in
Washington is missing about that piece of the story, the story that takes
these people from where they are right up to our border?
GOSK: Well, I think what`s really been missing in the talk is the
fact that this is really a multi-layered problem. And everyone, regardless
of their political stripe, seems to want to put it on one answer and not
And the reality that we saw on the ground is that these kids have a
number of reasons for wanting to go. We certainly talked to kids as you
saw earlier who face violence every single day of their lives. Pressure to
join gangs. That is certainly pushing them out.
But they may also have a neighbor that left a year ago and didn`t come
back. They know he`s in the U.S. They may also look at their future and
say, God, there`s no way I`m going to get a job coming out of this city and
this dangerous country.
And all of those reasons are reasons that are pushing the kids out of
their homes and willing to risk this trip, willing to risk it a number of
times to try to get to the U.S.
O`DONNELL: What we`ve always found in the immigrant populations
coming to the United States, especially the ones that come in waves because
of some domestic problem, the Irish famine, sends people in waves to the
United States, way back before there were any immigration laws so there
were no limits --
GOSK: My relatives.
O`DONNELL: Mine too, no laws controlling their arrival there. What
they always found, even in the 20th century, it`s kind of the best and the
brightest of the country that is leaving. These are the more adventurous
strivers in the country who look at what their life will be if they stay
here and they say, I am going to take the risk. I am going to go through
what is necessary to go through to get to the United States, or wherever it
is they`re going to try to get to.
And that tends to be a loss of talent from that country and then a
gain to the receiving country.
GOSK: Yes, I think there could be a bit of that involved. I mean,
it`s tough to say how many of these kids, if they`re allowed to stay, are
actually going to be able to succeed. There are so many other challenges.
Not just the challenges they face within, to make that happen.
But certainly that trek to be able to make that trek that sacrifice,
to face all of the risks that they face in that journey, there has got to
be a lot of ambition to do it in the first place. And if that speaks
volumes on where they`re going to go in their future, maybe it does.
O`DONNELL: Well, historically it has given us some real notion about
what the immigrant -- the waves that were coming, what they were capable
Stephanie Gosk of NBC News, thank you very much for joining us.
GOSK: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: This is a really important report and it`s the report I`ve
been wanting to hear, what is going on on that trail, thank you very much.
GOSK: You`re welcome.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, why Tracy Morgan thinks that the truck driver
who caused he crash that injured him and killed one of his friends is not
the only one at fault in that incident. Tracy Morgan versus Wal-Mart is
And Rick Perry has picked a fight with Rand Paul. Guess whose side
Dick Cheney took. That`s in "The Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Tracy Morgan versus Wal-Mart.
Now, the video we`re about to show you was captured by paparazzi on a
stakeout outside Tracy Morgan`s home in New Jersey. It is the kind of
invasion of privacy I normally would not exploit.
But as you will see in this video, Tracy Morgan welcomes the
opportunity to wave to his fans and well-wishers around the world and send
a message of love.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing, Tracy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey there!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look good, man!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, man. How you feeling, Tracy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look great.
TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR: I`m OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look great, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tracy Morgan recently left a rehabilitation facility, is
now back at home five weeks after he suffered a broken nose, a broken leg,
and broken ribs when a Wal-Mart truck crashed into Tracy Morgan`s van on
the new jersey turnpike while he was on his way home from his comedy show
in Delaware. The accident killed Tracy Morgan`s friend James McNair and
critically injured comedian Ardie Fuqua and Morgan`s assistant Jeffrey
Thursday, Tracy Morgan and three others filed a lawsuit against Wal-
Mart over the deadly crash they say was caused by an exhausted Wal-Mart
truck driver who they claim had not slept in the 24 hours before the crash.
Walmart issued this statement. We`re cooperating fully in the ongoing
investigation. We know it will take some time to resolve all of the
remaining issues as a result of the accident. But we`re committed to doing
the right thing for all involved.
Joining me now is Ed Slattery of the truck safety coalition and
Parents Against Tired Truckers. His wife Susan was killed and their two
sons severely injured four years ago when a tractor-trailer hit their car.
Also with us is Emma Fitzsimmons who has extensively covered the Tracy
Morgan accident for the "New York Times."
First of all, Emma, how is Tracy Morgan doing at this point? It was
interesting to watch him coming out there on the Walker. And he`s five
weeks out of surgery. I noticed he was able to actually leave the Walker
and take a step and a half on his own into that car, which is a good sign
he`s doing some real weight bearing at this point, it looks like.
EMMA FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: He was in a
rehabilitation center until recently. And you know, he suffered severe
injuries in the crash. A broken nose, a broken leg, broken ribs. So that
was the first footage of him and it seems that he is recovering. But he`s
going to continue to receive treatment at home now.
O`DONNELL: And Ed Slattery, when you got this news of how this
happened, this must have been a real kind of deja vu sort of news report
for you, I`m sorry to say.
ED SLATTERY, WIFE KILLED BY THE TRACTOR-TRAILER: Well, unfortunately,
yes, it was. It was very reminiscent of my wife`s crash when that trucker
fell asleep after having a three-hour sleep opportunity in the 20-some
hours leading up to her crash. So yes.
But unfortunately, I have to tell you, Mr. O`Donnell, that I get
reports like this every single day. The trucking industry is involved in
nearly 4,000 fatalities every year. The company that killed my wife has
been involved in 18 fatalities in the last 24 months. And that`s
essentially the same record they had four years ago when they killed my
If we look at Walmart, Walmart is responsible for starting parents
against tired truck is where they killed my dear friend Daphne Iser`s son
Jeff and three other teenagers and severely injured another one when one of
their truckers fell asleep, in 1993 that happened.
So whatever they`re doing, it isn`t working. And this is an industry
that`s basically out of control. In 2012, they killed nearly 700 of their
own truck drivers in single-vehicle and truck-on-truck crashes. No other
industry in America can get away with killing 4,000 people a year and 700
of their own workers and get away with it.
If we had an incident -- this is essentially ten jumbo jets every
year. And how the trucking industry gets away with this is really beyond
me. I don`t get it. In some sense I do get it. One person dead here, two
people dead there, four people dead there. Whereas a jumbo jet going down
is a big deal.
And so it took a case like Mr. Morgan, and I sent his publicist an
email expressing our heartfelt sorrow at what happened to him from the
entire safety community. And asked -- actually an open invitation that we,
my son and I, would come up and visit with him. And I know what he`s going
O`DONNELL: Yes. Emma, to the public, Tracy Morgan`s going through,
what we know so far is the driver of the truck has been charged. The
driver of Tracy Morgan`s van did absolutely nothing wrong, according to any
investigational information so far. Isn`t that right?
FITZSIMMONS: Right. Prosecutors in New Jersey charged the driver of
the Walmart truck with vehicular homicide and said that he hadn`t slept in
24 hours. The driver of Mr. Morgan`s truck was uninjured and was fine in
O`DONNELL: And the driver -- Tracy Morgan now and his representatives
are expanding this out to the responsibility of the driver`s employer which
would make perfect sense. It isn`t necessarily the driver`s choice, this
sleep pattern that was imposed on him. What do we know about -- if
anything, at this stage, about what options the driver himself had in the
few days leading up to this accident in terms of his schedule?
FITZSIMMONS: Well, the national transportation safety board said that
he was about 13 hours into his shift at the time. The limit`s 14 hours.
But one of the things that the lawsuit mentions is that he commuted from
his home in Georgia to this facility in Delaware before he even started his
shift. So that`s one of the things the lawsuit is getting at, that he had
already commuted for some time before that shift started.
O`DONNELL: And Ed Slattery, do the rules have anything to say about
that in terms of truck drivers` work hours? I mean, this is a stunning
thing that you might drive from Georgia up to Delaware before you climb
into the cab and maybe you don`t sleep from the moment you`ve left Georgia.
SLATTERY: Yes. And I -- in fact, you`re not allowed to get into your
vehicle drunk and drive. You are unfit to drive if you have been drinking.
Well, you`re also unfit to drive if you`re fatigued. It is the trucker`s
responsibility to check the mechanical fitness of his vehicle, but then he
has -- he or she needs to check their own physical fitness. And if they
are not fit, they are already in violation of the law by even stepping into
that truck. So the driver was clearly responsible for the choices he made.
Now, Walmart on the other hand, and this is a question I have and I
don`t know the answer to, do they have a fatigue management system? Have
they been training their truckers to understand the implications of getting
into a truck while they`re tired?
My trucker got a five-year sentence in prison because he made some
very bad choices. And his company paid us tens of millions of dollars in
settlement. But here`s the deal. And this is my message to truckers. And
I think that truck driving is an honorable business as long as you do it
Most truckers are fine, hard-working individuals. But here`s what I`m
going to say to those of you out there who want to test the limits. Your
company may pay out a large settlement, but you`re going to prison. And
what I would like -- one of my friends lost five members of his family
several years, almost ten years ago, in one crash that killed a total of
ten people. And that trucker is still in prison.
So truckers need to understand their personal liability. And if
driving and making that extra paycheck is worth that risk, then you need to
talk to Mr. Bouch (ph), who is our trucker, and for whom I wrote a letter
in order to help him get out of prison early.
O`DONNELL: Emma Fitzsimmons, the statement from Walmart seems very
conciliatory at this point. I mean, it sounds like they are probably
trying to work toward a settlement but we won`t know that for many months
it seeps, right?
FITZSIMMONS: From the beginning they released statements saying, you
know, this is a horrible tragedy, and they were very sorry that their truck
was involved. So, you know, they did say they were committed to making
O`DONNELL: Ed Slattery and Emma Fitzsimmons, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight.
FITZSIMMONS: Thanks for having me.
SLATTERY: Thank you, Mr. O`Donnell.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up in "the rewrite," Rick Perry versus Rand Paul with a little
Dick Cheney and George Washington on the side. We will remove all doubt
about who won the first round of the Rand Paul/Rick Perry debate on Iraq.
O`DONNELL: Now for the good news. Of course Tracy Morgan walking is
good news. But we have more good news.
Boston marathon survivor Jeff Bauman is now a father. Jeff`s fianc‚,
Erin, gave birth to Nora Gaile Bauman (ph) over the weekend. It`s the
latest good news for Jeff who recently returned to work last month after
more than a year of recovery. He lost both legs above the knee in the
bombing and helped it describe and identify one of the two suspects in the
Congratulations to the new dad and mom.
The rewrite is next.
O`DONNELL: In "the rewrite" tonight, shots fired. That was the
feverish headline the "Politico" used in its report on an opinion piece by
Rick Perry in Friday`s "Washington Post" which was entitled "isolationist
policies make the threat of terrorism even greater."
Rick Perry left no doubt who he was talking about, saying at the
beginning of the second paragraph, "it`s disheartening to hear fellow
Republicans such as Senator Rand Paul suggest that our nation should ignore
what`s happening in Iraq."
Rand Paul then used "Politico" to fire back at Rick Perry by writing
an opinion piece for "Politico" today with the not so subtle title "Rick
Perry is dead wrong." And then Rand Paul actually proved that Rick Perry
is dead wrong.
Rick Perry wrote that Rand Paul says, quote "our nation should ignore
what`s happening in Iraq." Rand Paul correctly pointed out that there`s
really no difference between Rick Perry and Rand Paul and President Obama
on Iraq. Perry said there are no good options. I`ve said the same thing.
President Obama has said the same thing. So what are Perry`s solutions and
why does he think they are so bold and different from anyone else`s? He
writes in "the Washington Post," the President can and must do more with
our military and intelligence communities to help cripple the Islamist
state. Meaningful assistance can include intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance-sharing, and air strikes. The United States is actually
doing all of this now. President Obama has said he might use air tribes in
the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense. I
support continuing our assistance to the government of Iraq which include
armaments and intelligence."
Now, it`s important to understand that these op-ed pieces were not
written by Rick Perry or Rand Paul. They were written by their staffs.
And they demonstrate, once again that Rick Perry and his staff are not
ready for primetime presidential campaigning and Rand Paul and his staff
are ready. On this issue, at least.
I would quote more from team Perry`s op-ed piece if it wasn`t a fact-
free, old-fashioned, Republican ramble about Ronald Reagan which tries to
use the word isolationism as if it is a profoundly un-American idea. Even
though the father of American isolationism was George Washington.
In President Washington`s farewell address he said, the great rule of
conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial
relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. We
may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy,
humanity, and interest.
Rick Perry isn`t the only one who`s trying to tag Rand Paul as an
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of my
great concerns is that we`ve gotten to the point where, went our own party,
we have a sort of an isolationist strain developing. And I want to make
certain to do everything I can, and that`s the purpose of this alliance
that Liz and I have started, is to make certain that these national
security questions are front and center in the campaign. To make certain
that the issues of national security to face the threats we face in the
Middle East today and so forth are front and center in the debate and
dialogue going forward between now and this year`s election and the
election two years beyond. So that`s partly what we`re going to look at.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Taking what you just said there, would
Rand Paul be dangerous as president?
CHENEY: I said I didn`t want to get into endorsing or criticizing any
candidate. I did express the view that I think isolationism is crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was former vice president Cheney at a "Politico"
lunch today after he had no doubt read Rand Paul`s piece in "Politico"
which included this line.
When Megan Kelly of FOX News tells Dick Cheney that history has proven
that you got it wrong on Iraq, it is a very important lesson. We must
remember that history so we don`t repeat it.
Rand Paul knows what he`s doing here. He is willfully taking on his
own party. Calling them the let`s intervene and consider the consequences
later crowd. Rand Paul is a very good student of the foreign policy
mistakes of his party, and Rand Paul and his writers have become
increasingly more sophisticated in how they pick and phrase their fights
with the intervene and consider the consequences later crowd in the
And as of tonight, Rand Paul is winning that fight. In the battle of
the op-ed pieces, Rick Perry`s is full of vagaries and falsely described
Rand Paul`s position on what to do in Iraq now. And Rand Paul`s piece is
sharp and biting and contains indisputable facts that would crush Rick
Perry on a debate stage, including this.
Said Perry forthrightly during a Republican presidential primary
debate in 2012, I would send troops back into Iraq. Does Perry now believe
that we should send U.S. troops back into Iraq? I oppose sending American
troops back into Iraq after a decade of the United States training the
Iraq`s military when confronted by the enemy, the Iraqis dropped their
weapons, shed their uniforms, and hid. Our soldiers` hard work and
sacrifice should be worth more than that. Our military is too good for
I ask governor Perry, how many Americans should send their sons or
daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won`t defend
for themselves? How many Texan mothers and fathers will governor Perry ask
to send their children to fight in Iraq? I will not hold my breath for an
answer. Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans don`t want to send
U.S. soldiers back into Iraq. Is Perry calling the entire country
To get the Republican presidential nomination, you don`t have to win
the entire country. You just have to win Republican voters. A recent poll
show is 63 percent of all voters oppose sending troops back into Iraq. And
56 percent of Republican voters oppose sending troops back into Iraq.
So on this issue, Rand Paul is in sync with Republican voters. Rick
Perry is in sync with Dick Cheney. And Rand Paul is ready to do battle
with both of them.
O`DONNELL: Judah, I have for you a picture of my first beard. It`s a
Friedlander. Look at that. The guy in the middle there.
JUDAH FRIEDLANDER, COMEDIAN: That`s you.
O`DONNELL: That`s a Friedlander. Isn`t it?
FRIEDLANDER: That`s you.
O`DONNELL: Yes. That is me with wicked long hair. And this is like
the trimmed adult version. Can you -- you can`t get this, right?
FRIEDLANDER: It`s pretty good. You`re doing well.
O`DONNELL: Can you get in there and see the very first beard in the
official team photo --
FRIEDLANDER: Is this your first beard since that beard this.
O`DONNELL: No, I`ve had a lot of beards since that beard. But that
is the out of focus first beard freshman year of college. We`re going to
be right back and we`re going to talk about the world cup for the final
time. The last time in my life. Never again. OK?
FRIEDLANDER: OK, that`s your choice.
O`DONNELL: Germany won the world cup yesterday in overtime 1-0 over
Argentina. And if you`re hearing that for the first time right now from
me, then you are just like me. Or actually, you`re like I used to be.
Someone who could not care less about the world cup or soccer or maybe even
sports in general. I still don`t really care about sports in general. But
even I, thanks to my next guest, got a little hooked, a little hooked on
the world cup. Just a little.
Judah Friedlander, champion of the world, our senior soccer analyst
here at MSNBC at "Last Word."
So yesterday, this is the truth, I didn`t actually know it was the
final game and I kind of walked in my room and I kind of flipped on the TV.
And there it was. And I thought, OK, there`s -- looks like there`s like 20
minutes left, I`ll watch 20 minutes which turned out to be an hour because
of the overtime and all that stuff but I did watch it. And it, of course,
being me watching it, one of the moments where I took my eye off the screen
was that billionth of a second where the goal occurred, the one goal in the
O`DONNELL: It`s a tough thing to watch. I mean, you just watch and
watch and watch forever and nothing happens and then finally there`s a
FRIEDLANDER: So you found it difficult, this whole process.
O`DONNELL: No, I got to say -- I think I had just enough of a dose of
it, you know. But it`s like -- now it`s -- for me, I`m a complete out of
sight, out of mind fan on this thing. I will forget about this whole sport
FRIEDLANDER: So this was a war that you went through and now you`ve -
O`DONNELL: You warned me, especially with your ESPN documentary which
I watched the first chapter of, that nice sort of important feel so it.
You made it feel important.
FRIEDLANDER: Thank you, thank you. That`s what I try to do, you
know. It is an important game but it is just a game, after all. You know.
O`DONNELL: You`d never know that by the rioting in Argentina,
apparently, last night.
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, people take things seriously.
O`DONNELL: They do take them seriously.
FRIEDLANDER: But people also always -- they`re looking for -- people
often riot but they often don`t riot for the right reasons. You know, like
rioting over a sports game is probably not the best thing to riot --
O`DONNELL: That is not high on the reasonable list.
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, there is many other things --
O`DONNELL: You know, I actually went to one professional soccer game
actually back in the days of that photo I just showed you which was in
Scotland in Glasgow. And it was the Celtics versus the rangers which were
both local teams.
FRIEDLANDER: Yes. Biggest rivalry in football history, probably.
O`DONNELL: It was the only game I`d ever gone to. And they hadn`t
played for a very long time, because the last time they played like a dozen
people got killed.
FRIEDLANDER: Yes. It is Protestants and Catholics.
O`DONNELL: Right. Well, it was actually crowd control. It wasn`t
violence. It was just the kind of fell on each other, it was so wild and
nutty at this game. But I have to say being at that was pretty exciting
too. I guess it`s one of those you`ve got to be there things.
FRIEDLANDER: Yes. And you know, I`ve seen a sparkle in your eye.
O`DONNELL: There`s a sparkle, a tiny sparkle.
FRIEDLANDER: I think you might come back for this world cup.
O`DONNELL: Well, Russia is the next world cup? Come on, you know? I
mean, it can`t be the same thing in Russia.
FRIEDLANDER: It will probably be a lot different, yes.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And --
FRIEDLANDER: Having it in Brazil I think was -- despite all the --
O`DONNELL: Because what`s Russia`s culture on it? I men, South
America is so heavy on this, right?
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, Russia`s not the greatest football country in the
FRIEDLANDER: They`re kind of the Canada of Europe when it comes to
football. They`re not the best.
O`DONNELL: Where were they in the world cup this time around? Were
they even in it?
FRIEDLANDER: They were there for a short while.
O`DONNELL: And they lost quickly?
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, yes.
O`DONNELL: So that will that happen again?
FRIEDLANDER: When you host it you`re automatically in but that
doesn`t mean you`re guaranteed to get out. And FIFA will probably set it
up so they get in an easy group so they`ll at least be able to advance out
of the group stage.
O`DONNELL: OK. And so..
FRIEDLANDER: And since there`s only one referee in a game, you know,
there can be some --
O`DONNELL: And you`re fighting for two referees in a game?
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, I am. At a Web site savethebeautifulgame.org which
is to try to get rid of all the flopping, the diving, and all the fouls
that go on there, put two referees on the field, put two referees off field
behind the goal so you can actually fouls, and I think there should boast
game video review of diving --
O`DONNELL: More importantly, as we run out of time, what -- you have
something to promote right now which is you just have to promote because --
FRIEDLANDER: Well, I`m just on stand up, you know, tour, touring
constantly. San Diego, July 24 to 26. London, England.
FRIEDLANDER: You`re in London, come see an American.
O`DONNELL: Judah, you have changed my life. I`ve never said that to
a guest on this show before.
FRIEDLANDER: Thank you. That`s what I do.
O`DONNELL: Judah Friedlander gets tonight`s last word. Now here`s
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