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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
September 16, 2014

Guest: Alexander Van Tulleken, Matt Howard, Dana Jacobson

RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE
O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, once again, I learned an awful lot
of things I didn`t know in that last report. Space disco. Nothing like
it. Thank you very much.

MADDOW: Thanks, man.

O`DONNELL: Well, the Defense Department has finally figured out what to
call what they are doing in Iraq and Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, the Pentagon`s top brass headed to Capitol
Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To explain the president`s strategy to wage war
against ISIS.

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This will not be an easy or a brief
effort.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS: This will require a
sustained effort over an extended period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is, how do you remove this group?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress appears to be on the verge of green lighting a
plan to arm Syrian rebels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know there`s a lot of factions to the Free Syrian
Army.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Different forces that we cannot control are at play
here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is the Free Syrian Army that we would be
training?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do have skeptics who have questions about the
plan.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: It`s a mistake to arm them. Most of the
arms we`ve given to the so-called moderate rebels have wound up in the
hands of ISIS because ISIS takes it from them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would air power be enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. is expanding the air assault in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of U.S. air strikes in Iraq now numbering
over 160.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, what do we do in Syria?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who exactly would we be training?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a war of necessity or choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are where we are where we are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got a generational problem which is to say a 20-
year problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the choices we have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s not a consensus on what happens afterwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And check this out, the American people support
President Obama`s plan to attack ISIS and at the same time, are deeply
skeptical that the plan will actually work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that tell you?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The war of words on what to call what the United States
military is doing to the Islamic State seems to have settled on the
simplest word of all, war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGEL: We are at war with ISIL as we are with al Qaeda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But this war will not have all of the elements of war as we
know it. It, of course, like all American wars since World War II will not
have a declaration of war. The Congress and the presidency have long ago
decided that actually declaring war before or during a war is just an
outdated strict constructional view of the constitutional requirement for
Congress to vote to declare a war.

This war which has now been declared by a bold assertion by the secretary
of defense who has no power to declare war will also not have American
soldiers on the ground in the theater of war, firing at or taking fire from
the enemy or will not have many or not for now anyway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEMPSEY: If we reached a point where advisers should accompany Iraq troops
on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I`ll recommend that to the
president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who himself served in an
undeclared war in Vietnam that lasted 10 years longer than the American war
planners expected gave this war an open-ended time frame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGEL: This effort is going to be a long-term effort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The Obama administration`s war planners are trying to do
something that their predecessors apparently never even considered. They
refused to slip into the Dick Cheney habit of making war sound quick and
easy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: From the standpoint of the Iraqi
people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff let every politician
who is thinking of running in 2016 or 2032 know that this war will be there
waiting for them to manage when they take the oath of office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEMPSEY: This won`t look like a shock and awe campaign because that`s not
how ISIL is organized. But it will be a persistent and sustainable
campaign. We`ve got a generational problem, which is to say a 20-year
problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, David Corn, an MSNBC political analyst and
Washington bureau chief for `Mother Jones" and co-author of "Hubris: The
Inside Story of Spin and Selling of the Iraq War", and Matt Howard of Iraq
Veterans Against the War. He completed two tours in Iraq.

David Corn, this war, this action, war that they`re taking is being sold in
a different way. It is certainly not being sold as quick and easy.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: That`s for sure. I mean, this is the opposite
of what happened 11 years ago with the invasion of Iraq in which we were
told it would be quick and easy, in and out, no -- you know, no collateral
damage, no long-term costs.

In this instance, it`s very sobering to hear our top soldiers say this is a
generational war. Whether that`s 10, 15, 20 years, I don`t think any
administration has ever said that prior or at the beginning of a military
action. It wasn`t said about Vietnam certainly. We didn`t know how long
World War II would take. Now, it seems like it was a very brief compared
to what`s happened since.

So, talking about this in a sort of mature nuanced way, which I think
causes some political problems because how do you sell generational war
again and again and again when you have half the public or a portion of the
public who has doubts about whether it can work or not and you have other
people out there, the hawks saying, well, you`re not doing this fast enough
with enough firepower as already this afternoon before -- as soon as the
hearing was over, you had Senator Kelly Ayotte and others calling for
ground troops in this battle.

So, I think the hearing today was the start of a very long story that we
may not see the end of for a long -- for quite a while.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Chuck Hagel said about how -- how we would
actually destroy ISIL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGEL: Destroying ISIL will require more than military efforts alone. It
will require political progress in the region and effective partners on the
ground in Iraq and Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Matt, you`ve actually been on the ground in Iraq. I`ve got to
say when I hear him say that -- here`s what it`s going to take for us to
complete the mission, it will require political progress in the region,
that sounds impossible and effective partners on the ground in Iraq and
Syria, and from my very comfortable distance from those places, that seems
impossible too.

MATT HOWARD, IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR: Yes, absolutely. I mean I
think one of the things that we`ve been talking about in Iraq veterans
against the war, is that, you know, some of the organizations we`ve been
working with have really pointed out that the groups that have been kind of
bonding together with ISIS are some of the same people part of the Arab
spring protests back in 2012. They were put down extremely violently by
the sectarian regime of al-Maliki. So, we`re in a lot of ways we`ve kind
of created this monster.

And I think we`re really in a position now that the idea of more warfare is
going to solve a problem after 10 years of warfare hasn`t done that is a
little bit deluded.

O`DONNELL: Matt, when you hear the generals and you hear the president,
the administration talking about we`re going to send American military
personnel over there and they give this kind of vague description of
they`ll be working in some advisory capacity, what are you hearing and what
are you then believe the American military personnel will be doing over
there?

HOWARD: I mean, I think that this idea that military adviser sounds fairly
innocuous. I think what that means is boots on the ground effectively,
people spotting drones and then we`re looking --

O`DONNELL: Spotting drones. So, they have to go out into the field as it
were and say, OK, here`s where you should be hitting, got to get pretty
close to figure out you should be doing that.

HOWARD: Absolutely. And I think it`s a slippery slope. What happens when
air strikes don`t work, what`s next?

I think there`s a lot of questions that come up for me in terms of how many
forces will be out there, and I also think about the friends that I have
that don`t want to leave their house because they`re afraid of IEDs. Think
about this legacy of 2.8 million veterans that have deployed to Iraq and
Afghanistan that are coming back to substandard health care services and
we`re going into what could be another war.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, how would you compare this? I mean, how do you see
this? Do you see this as an extension of the Iraq war? Do you see this as
a new and different Iraq and Syria war?

CORN: I think -- I see this as the cleanup to what the Iraq war gave us.
Many people said beforehand if you invade Iraq and in this fashion,
particularly with no good plans about what to do afterwards, you`re going
to create chaos, and you`ll create unintended consequences. And that`s
what we`re living with.

And the president is now trying to both wage and sell a war -- I call it a
war of contingencies. If airstrikes can work, if we have partners, if we
can get the sectarian government in Baghdad to be more of a unity
government, if we can do something with the moderate rebels in Syria, then
we will, you know, succeed.

And those are a lot of ifs. I have a lot of questions about being able to
navigate the theater in Syria, which is a multisided civil war with
thousands of militias who have very different agendas than ours. Some want
may to fight ISIS or the Islamic State, others are going to be focused on
Assad, and once you put weapons into the cauldron, you may not be able to
control them.

I mean, these are very difficult issues and I have -- I`ve been talking --
everyone has to a lot of foreign policy experts the last few days and
nobody has the answer, nobody does. So, whatever the president try,
whatever course he takes, it`s going to be fraught with the possibility of
failure.

O`DONNELL: Matt Howard, this rush and it has been a rush to this war which
they`re now acknowledging is a war was accelerated by the beheading of two
Americans.

They were not two American soldiers. They were not two American tourists.
They were two American war correspondents who voluntarily put themselves in
this kind of danger -- something that most people in the news media would
never do.

What is your reaction to seeing what has been apparently -- according to
the polls anyway -- America`s reaction to this and the political
community`s reaction to this as if this is a legitimate reason to go to war
to bring all of this machinery and personnel of war to that region?

HOWARD: You know, I think the beheadings of Steven Sotloff and Jim Foley
were horrific, but I also think that we`ve been in a lot of ways we haven`t
seen the costs of war. We haven`t seen the violence that`s been wrought on
the Iraqi community, 600,000 civilians dead at the low estimates, you know,
many service members that didn`t come back, and I think that these
particular videos are showcasing that for the first time.

That this is -- that this violence has happened and I think that people are
reacting to that understandably so.

O`DONNELL: And -- but there doesn`t seem to be within the American
majority reaction a component of what David was talking is, well, this was
one of the inevitabilities of the Iraq war that we launched, that you would
have a breathtakingly messy aftermath that was completely uncontrollable.

HOWARD: Yes, I mean I think that the idea, though, that we`re going to go
in and that the military actions that we`ve created have had all these
unintended consequences like ISIS, for example, right. It`s not -- didn`t
appear out of nowhere. It`s a product of our own creation in a lot of ways
by the occupation. I think that the idea that we`re going to go in and
change things and that we won`t have war as unintended consequences is a
little bit flawed.

O`DONNELL: Matt Howard and David Corn, thank you both very much for
joining us tonight.

CORN: Thank you, Lawrence.

HOWARD: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, now sponsors of the NFL want answers from the league
about those big scandals and in "The Rewrite" tonight, some very good news
about the heart of the NFL on one team anyway.

This is a story you really need to hear, especially after hearing about all
those scandals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The grand jury considering whether Ferguson Police Officer
Darren Wilson will face criminal charges in the shooting death of Michael
Brown now has until January 7th to make its decision. A court
administrator says the grand jury doesn`t need to take all that time if it
doesn`t need it. If the grand jury does not indict Officer Wilson, Bob
McCullough, the district attorney, said today he will release full
transcripts and audio recordings of the proceedings if a judge allows it.

Up next, we have breaking news, NFL news tonight. Ray Rice has appealed.
He`s officially appealing his suspension from the NFL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Breaking news tonight, the NFL Players Association has formally
filed an appeal of Ray Rice`s indefinite suspension by the NFL, according
to a statement, the appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack
of a fair and impart president including the role of the office of the
commissioner of the NFL.

The players association added, "We have asked that a neutral and jointly
selected arbitrator hear this case as the commissioner and his staff will
be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial
arbitrators."

According to the collective bargain agreement set by the players in the NFL
a hearing date must be set within 10 days of the notice of the appeal.

In the other NFL`s big scandal, Wheaties has scrubbed images of Minnesota
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson from their website after the Minnesota
Vikings announced they are putting Adrian Peterson on the roster to play
against the New Orleans Saints this Sunday.

Adrian Peterson was indicted on Friday in Texas for whipping his 4-year-old
son, leaving visible cuts on his body, including his genitals.

Castrol announced today that they have ended their promotional deal with
Adrian Peterson.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton disagrees with the team`s decision to put
Adrian Peterson back in the game. The governor said today, "Adrian
Peterson is a public figure and his actions as described are a public
embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the state of Arizona.
Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds as has been alleged should
not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should
suspend Mr. Peterson until the accusations of child abuse have been
resolved by the criminal justice system."

In a statement today, McDonald`s said, "Domestic violence and abuse are
unacceptable behaviors and have no place in sports or anywhere. As a
family brand we`ve communicated our concerns to the league and we expect it
to take strong and necessary actions to address these issues."

Also today, Anheuser-Busch, the official beer of the NFL since 2011, said,
"We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents
that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the
league`s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company
culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with
the league."

Joining me now is "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC contributor,
Jonathan Capehart, and co-host of the morning show on CBS Sports Radio Dana
Jacobson.

Dana, to Ray Rice`s appeal via the players association, was this something
that the association had no choice in, that every player has this right to
go through them with an appeal.

DANA JACOBSON, CBS SPORTS RADIO: Yes, we heard a lot of that rhetoric
certainly going in, that this idea was -- you had to look at due process,
right or wrong what Ray Rice did, that`s not the issue here. It`s how the
NFL came to suspend him for two games and then come back around and suspend
him indefinitely and the president of the NFL players association Eric
Winston said earlier in the day, he doesn`t want this rush to judgment that
we do need to let due process play out in a lot of these cases and again
that`s what this is.

The NFL players association is a union, and whether they like it or not
what their union members do, they still have to stand up for what their
rights are for future. You don`t want to set the wrong precedent in this
case.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, Wheaties has had enough of Adrian Peterson.
It`s -- I mean, that`s a break fast cereal that`s on kids` breakfast tables
all over the country. Certainly was on my breakfast table I think every
day -- you know, when I was the age of Adrian Peterson`s kids, and you can
see a product like that would have a very serious reaction to that kind of
situation.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, certainly and I think the
damaging thing here is not only the accusation and the indictment by that
Texas grand jury against Adrian Peterson, it was the pictures, when those
pictures came out and you saw that not only did he beat a 4-year-old but
you saw the wounds on the 4-year-old and you know that the 4-year-old was
beaten because he pushed another Peterson son off a video game, the beating
was so severe and I saw -- I mean you showed the pictures last night. I
mean, those were not punishing blows, those were blows meant not to correct
a behavior but to really, really wound.

I mean, that child had lacerations and clotted blood on his legs and we
also know that the child was hit on his back, on his buttocks and on his
scrotum. That should not happen to a 4-year-old child, and so, it makes
absolute sense that Wheaties would scrub his image off the cereal boxes.

But I think between Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, there`s a real moral
issue here that`s at stake for the NFL. There are way too many football
players who are in trouble with the law for the NFL not to do something
more meaningful and more concrete to get its house in order.

O`DONNELL: Dana Jacobson, when I read these statements from McDonald`s,
from these companies that haven`t actually done anything and Anheuser-Busch
saying, you know, we`re disappointed with --

JACOBSON: Sounds good.

O`DONNELL: It sounds to me at this stage like cover. When I see what
Wheaties does, that`s serious. They did something real but I get the
feeling that McDonald`s and Anheuser-Busch, that`s as hard as they`re going
to push, and they needed a public statement just in case there`s any beer
drinkers out there who are going to hesitate, you know, at Budweiser if
there isn`t some statement out.

JACOBSON: Right. Well, Radisson took the approach and said we`re out of
here. We`re not going to continue our sponsorship. This sounds callous.
I`m saying it`s sort of along the lines of where the companies are. Why
should they?

Look at the ratings for Sunday night football at an all-time high this
week. People are tuning in and watching. They may be disgusted what and
Jonathan said is right. People are looking at the videos and pictures in
both different cases, they`re disgusted, but they`re still going to go
watch football.

So, as an advertiser, I think they`re looking and saying, well, people want
us to have morals but we want them to buy our beer and they`re still
watching football. So, if they`re not going to punish everybody in the
league, maybe we stay with the league somehow -- and not I guess excusing
the behavior, but as a public, as a consuming public, we`re still going to
games. We`re asking these sponsors to do what we don`t want to do which is
to say, hey, NFL, this isn`t OK.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Budweiser and McDonald`s is sticking with football for as
long as they all exist.

Jonathan, I`ve been surprised by the Minnesota politicians` reactions,
because this is a very tricky thing for them. The Minnesota Vikings are a
huge institution in that state and so easy for a politician to get on the
wrong side of a Minnesota Vikings question in Minnesota.

But there`s the governor`s statement. Here`s Al Franken`s statement
saying, "I was absolutely -- it was absolutely heartbreaking to hear about
what happened to this child. I`m a die hard Vikings fan and watching the
games on Sunday has been one of my favorite things to do as a kid. But
this is just wrong and I think the Vikings made a wrong decision. This is
in the hands of law enforcement now and it must go to the judicial process,
but I don`t believe Adrian Peterson should be allowed to play until that
happens."

And, Jonathan, with the Vikings having lost the game with Adrian Peterson
on the bench, that is within the world of our crazy American politics a
politically risky thing for a senator running for re-election in Minnesota
to say.

CAPEHART: Well, keep something in mind, though. The governor of Minnesota
and Senator Franken, Governor Dayton and Senator Franken they`re held
accountable by the people of -- all the people of Minnesota, whereas the
Minnesota Vikings and their leadership are held accountable by advertisers
and fans. And when you`re a politician and you`re faced with the choice of
supporting a football team and supporting a beaten 4-year-old child in this
case, I`m not surprised by the statements made by the governor and Senator
Franken at all.

O`DONNELL: Dana, so we`re getting to this issue with due process within
the NFL. Due process exists in courts, in courtroom.

JACOBSON: Right.

O`DONNELL: But these guys have a performance contract that basically says
like all performance contracts, including the ones here at this network, if
you do anything that embarrasses us, we can get rid of you and, oh, by the
way, if we discover something you did years ago that just surfaces now and
embarrasses us, we can get rid of you for that.

So, what is the due process that the players association thinks they`re
talking about?

JACOBSON: This in this case it is specifically as I understand it the fact
that all the evidence that was gathered, what they were able to know, what
they knew in the first place, what Commissioner Goodell knew when he handed
down that suspension, that they had all the facts. He knew that Ray had
punched his then fiancee now wife Janay. He knew that is what they`re
going to argue. So, then he punished him.

Later when the second video came out and it was the indefinite suspension,
he punished him again for the exact same crime is what they`re saying,
because he had that information in the first place. This is where we may
finally learn what did Commissioner Goodell know, they have their own
investigation looking into what happened there, did the NFL offices get a
DVD that nobody saw? What did the commissioner know, what didn`t he know?
That`s the specific due process.

Simply the fact that it says in the CBA that you can`t be basically
punished twice for the same thing, be it by the commissioner or by the
league.

O`DONNELL: Dana Jacobson and Jonathan Capehart, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

JACOBSON: Thank you.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, huge political news tonight in Kansas. It affects the future of
control of the United States Senate. This is really big.

And in the "Rewrite", you`ve heard enough bad NFL news for awhile. There
is a great NFL story that you`ve got to hear -- a good story about good
things that an NFL player has done, that his family should be proud of, the
league should be proud of.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: We all know what this vote is b it`s
very simple. It`s about women in America having the same opportunity for
success as their male counterparts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: That was Barbara Boxer last night on the
Senate floor speaking from the majority side of the Senate floor. Moments
before Senate Republicans blocked the paycheck fairness act for the fourth
time with just 49 days to the midterm elections. Now, Democrats plan to
use last night`s vote, last night`s roll call vote to once again energize
women voters in the midterm elections.

And the spotlight the fight for the Senate. Nate Silver`s latest numbers
predict Republicans have a 53 percent chance of winning the Senate and an -
- that`s an 11-point drop in that chance in the last two weeks. And "The
New York Times" tonight is calling it a toss-up with both sides having a 50
percent chance of winning.

But control of the Senate could come down to one state and that state could
be Kansas where three-term Republican Pat Roberts is running behind
independent Greg Orman in the polls. The democratic candidate has dropped
out of that race and is trying to have his name removed from the ballot so
that the anti-Republican vote will go to Greg Orman. The Kansas Supreme
Court will rule on the matter this week.

Even with the Democrat`s name on the ballot, a new PPP poll finds Orman
beating Roberts 41-34. When the Democrats supporters are asked to then
choose between two candidates, Orman and Roberts, Orman`s lead grows to a
10-point spread. 46-36 percent.

Joining me now MSNBC`s Ari Melber and Karen Finney.

Air, I`m very disappointed.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Why?

O`DONNELL: I was watching "the Cycle" this afternoon. You had what looked
like, I don`t know, a week of beard growth. You looked so young and hip
and --

MELBER: It was about four days.

O`DONNELL: And now you`re just here looking like a prime time anchor.

MELBER: I tried to clean up a little bit at Last Word.

O`DONNELL: You got a bad habit. You come in to this studio. You got to
look like a prime time anchor.

Karen did you see him this afternoon? It was incredibly cool looking.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I did see. I`m so glad you mentioned
that. Clearly, Lawrence. He feels like when he`s on a set with you he has
to shave.

O`DONNELL: No. It`s just ruined it for me. I wanted the cool guy on.

So Ari, this, what has happened to Kansas? Republican Kansas is going
against their Republican senator and their Republican governor that we`ll
get to in a minute, but the senator being much more important this time
around because control of the Senate is at stake.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, this is really wild. Several people have pointed
out, of course, Kansas isn`t supposed to be even close. This is big
Republican territory. You have, of course, some balloting issues today
where basically what the court was looking at, was well, can you
voluntarily say I don`t want to run anymore and I want out. And they have
a weird statute there that says you are essentially unable to serve, what
does that mean? There is a very good chance though that they`re going to
go ahead and say, look, if the guys wants to off the ballot, he can get of
it. And that gives Orman a big edge in the general.

O`DONNELL: What the polls -- Karen, what the polls say is you can leave
the Democrat`s name on the ballot and the Republican is still going to
lose. I mean, it just seems Pat Roberts has lost this race with the Kansas
voter. He`s kind of been exposed he doesn`t really have a residence in
Kansas. He doesn`t really live there. He`s running as one of those out of
touch senators who has lost real contact with the state.

FINNEY: I don`t disagree with that. But I just want to temper our
enthusiasm a little bit because don`t -- Kansas is still a red state and
don`t forget the national Republican senatorial campaign committee, they
sent in some of their best operatives when they saw what was going on, a
few weeks ago even, they`re good at what they do and let`s also remember
that because of the governor`s race you have this dynamic where the
Republican party is actually split. So it`s unclear in terms of turn out,
are you going to get the far more enthusiastic far right Republicans who
support Brownback or will you get the sort of those more moderate
Republicans and if they turn out, are they going to vote for Pat Roberts or
are they going to vote for the independent in the race? I do think there`s
still dynamics at play there. It is a long way to Election Day and so
Democrats should not underestimate the challenge here.

O`DONNELL: Well, both of these guys, the Republican senator Roberts and
Republican governor Brownback are in trouble because they went very, very
far to the right. I mean, it is hard to say what Roberts did -- what which
is extraordinary is that he voted against the farm bill. A Kansas senator
voting against the farm bill because the tea party and by the way, I
applaud the tea party for this. You should vote against the farm bill as
far as I`m concerned. The tea party doesn`t like all those giveaways,
agriculture giveaways in the farm bill. And so Roberts decided to please
them which a Kansas senator has got to have the reelection good sense to
realize you can`t do. But so he`s in trouble for going with the tea party
on that policy, governor is in trouble for going too far on tax cut.

MELBER: Yes. And that`s, I think, is the natural type or part of the tea
party. I`m not convinced that every grassroots right-wing person in Kansas
felt that way. And that is according to y our point, got on board with
that.

And then Brownback (INAUDIBLE) previously the senator now the governor of
saying, well, not just I like tax cuts in theory which is great to run on.
And always sounds nice with the giveaway (ph), but actually having to
implement this full version and that has led to deficits and its lead
education spending problems there that`s turned off a lot of what can only
be called conservative independents because they`re not liberals. They are
just but fighting Sam Brownback, even too conservative for them.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Karen, the encouraging thing about the Brownback campaign
is that you`re seeing Kansas voters, Republican voters saying, there`s such
a thing as too much tax cutting. They have -- they are rising up against
too much tax cutting and the democrat is in the lead now in the polls, 42-
38 over the incumbent Republican and the reason he`s in the lead is that
the incumbent Republican cut taxes too much for Kansas Republicans.

FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. And, look, I mean, in general
Brownback was trying to make Kansas kind of a far right conservative
utopia, right? I mean, he was trying -- I mean, there are a number of
things where Republicans in Kansas obviously the tax cut is being top of
the line. But there were a number of things, a lot of stuff going that has
been going on with regard to women and access to abortion care and birth
control and some of those kinds of thing that is a lot of moderate
Republicans said that`s too much.

So I do think that creates an interesting dynamic in Kansas and a good
opening. It`ll be interesting to see, remember, Orman has also said he
hasn`t said who -- he`ll caucus with whoever is in the majority. So when
you said in the intro literally if he wins and we are, you know, at a tie
it could come down to this one state.

O`DONNELL: Well, yes, it`s amazing when an independent is running for
Senate, the most important question is, OK, if you`re elected who will you
vote-for-majority leader, you know, the Democrat or Republican? His
answer, I`m not going to answer that -- he`s get ago way with it and he
says -- he says like Karen said I`ll vote with the majority. OK, that`s
your answer, OK, what if there are 50, you know, Republicans elected and 49
Democrats elected, he can at that point decide who the majority is. He can
go 51 for Republican or he can be the 50th vote for the Democrats and then
Joe Biden casts the 51st for the Democrats so there is -- and that, Karen,
is the movie scenario I personally am hoping for because that`s the moment
that I want to see. I want to see him make that decision.

Karen Finney and Ari Melber, thank you both very much for joining us
tonight.

Coming up you have by now heard plenty of bad news, bad father news from
the NFL, well, now it`s time for some wonderful dad news from the NFL and
that is in "the rewrite."

And later, President Obama is sending 3,000 troops, ground troops, boots on
the ground to fight a disease.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Some good NFL news, that`s in "the rewrite" next.

O`DONNELL: And now for the good news, good football news, in fact, good
NFL news. Cincinnati Bengals Defensive tackle Devon Still had a tough
preseason this year. We now know that he was distracted by something
deadly serious in his family and his performance suffered to the point
where he was cut from the team at the end of preseason.

When the coach was giving him the bad news that he was cut, Devon`s
reaction was surprising saying this meant he got to spend more time with
his daughter. The coaches knew Devon was crazy about his daughter Leah and
had taken a day off during preseason to go to her first dance recital. But
they had never seen anyone take the news of being cut as if it wasn`t just
the worst thing in the world that could happen to a football player.

Devon explained that the day he had gone home for his daughter`s dance
recital she actually got sick and had to be taken to the hospital instead
of the dance recital. And at that hospital 4-year-old Leah was diagnosed
with cancer.

Devon later told "Sports Illustrated" how that felt. "Football stopped
crossing my mind. When I heard she had a 50 percent chance of survival and
then I heard the cancer went into her bones I just wanted to spend all my
time with her in case her time ran out. You know, that`s not time you
could ever get back."

When Bengals coach Marvin Louis heard about the cancer Devon`s seemingly
distracted performance in preseason suddenly made sense and the coach
rewrote the team`s plan for Devon. He offered Devon a spot on the practice
squad which allowed him to keep his health insurance. Here`s Coach Lewis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARVIN LEWIS, CINCINNATI BENGALS HEAD COACH: Devon came to me in May and
said, coach, you know, Leah has a recital. Her dance recital. Can I be
gone on Monday and attend? And I said, yes, you know, yes, please do that.
And you don`t get a chance to do that as much as we need to. And then he
gets the -- when he gets back there, that`s when, you know, her cancer is
identified. Particularly that particular weekend that she wasn`t feeling
right and took her to the hospital. So it`s been quite a ride for him and,
you know, coming back and overcoming what he had last season with us as far
as injury wise, going through the off-season surgery and then this is
dumped on to him and this is bigger than all that. And so he`s been a
great father. We`ll continue to allow him to do what he needs to do, you
know, as far as attend to her care and so forth because it`s important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The Bengals then put Devon Still, number, 75 jersey on sale
with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Cincinnati children`s hospital to
support pediatric cancer research. The coach of the New Orleans Saints,
Sean Payton, immediately bought 100 Devon Still jerseys, $10,000 for cancer
research. A pledge it campaign was launched. Cinci shirts starting
selling still strong t-shirts.

Tonight Devon Still offered his update on the fund-raising efforts,
$500,000 raised from jerseys, $35,000 from pldgit campaign and $10,000 from
cinci shirts sales. Thanks for stepping up for a great cause.

Before Leah`s chemotherapy Devon shaved his head so they could both have
bald heads when the time came and he posted this Instagram video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEAH STILL, DEVON STILL`S DAUGHTER: My dad got a bald head now.

DEVON STILL, CINCINNATI BENGALS DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: You want to be just
like this and we`re going to look just like twins.

L. STILL: No.

D. STILL: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Devon posted this picture of Leah in her hospital bed
yesterday. There`s not too many things that can take the smile off her
face. Devon told "Sports Illustrated," this has hit me harder than any
obstacle I`ve faced in my life. I never heard of neuroblastoma before and
now I am an expert on it. But the Bengals have been so good to me. People
I don`t know have been so good to me. Fans have been so good, the whole
experience I have just been stunned it has helped so much. I can`t believe
that in this sport that has no so-called heart iit`s really so full of
heart. That`s the truth. Football is full of heart."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. STILL: Thank you, everybody, for my toons and my balloons and my cards.
I really like them. Watch me beat cancer. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: America`s good war, the war on Ebola is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here`s the hard truth, in
West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen
before. It`s spiraling out of control. It is getting worse. It`s
spreading faster and exponentially. Faced with this outbreak, the world is
looking to us, the United States and it`s the responsibility that we
embrace. We`re prepared to take leadership on this to provide the kinds of
capabilities that only America has and to mobilize the world in ways that
only America can do. That`s what we`re doing as we speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama is sending 3,000 troops including medical
engineering and security forces building 17 treatment centers in Liberia,
shipping 10,000 sets of protective equipment and supply, training health
care workers and assisting with security.

President Obama met with American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly and his
wife, Amber, in the oval office this morning just before Dr. Brantly
testified to Congress. Dr. Brantly who called Ebola a national security
concern agrees with the president`s action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOCTOR KENT BRANTLY, EBOLA SURVIVOR: I think the U.S. military is the
ideal organization to step in at this point because they have the chain of
command, the ability to be immediately operational. They have the
logistical expertise to do just what you`re saying, build new facilities,
set up air bridges to provide support and supplies, do training for local
health professionals to help protect them against Ebola. And I think they
can play a very critical role in the leadership of this Ebola response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Dr. Alexander Van Tulleken, senior fellow at
the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs. Doctor, what can the
president accomplish with this 3,000 troops?

DOCTOR ALEXANDER VAN TULLEKEN, SENIOR FELLOW, INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL
HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: I think most of what he`s going to get done with
this is logistic delivery of goods and services so he`d be able to deliver
health care, they`re talking about 1700 beds. If you imagine a big
teaching hospital have a few hundred beds, this is like building several
large hospitals for very sick people, so things like that work really well.

And I think this is a really good thing to be doing. There`s a whole other
side to the epidemic which is changing people`s behavior. And that`s
harder for a military organization to do. That will involve lots of other
partners but he mentioned that. I thought he spoke very, very well to the
diversity of tasks --

O`DONNELL: The beds are people for who already have it.

VAN TULLEKEN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: And then there`s the additional problem of who is about to get
it. Who is in danger of getting it, how do we contain it and how -- what
is the way -- the right decision of attention between treating people who
have it and trying to prevent spread.

VAN TULLEKEN: If you want to stop the en epidemic and that is the emphasis
at the moment, treating those people doesn`t accomplish that except that it
encourages them to seek care early. And so alters their pattern of
behavior and exposes them to fewer people. But in terms of spending money
and actually stopping the epidemic, the most important thing is going to be
educating Liberians about how to not catch it further, but how to seek care
early, altering their burial practices, things like that.

O`DONNELL: How about educating these troops about what they have to do not
to catch Ebola, what do they have to do?

VAN TULLEKEN: I think, you know, the U.S. military is just very good at
training its personnel in this kind of behavior. I think they are very
good in preparing for all manner of biological and disease threats. If I
was -- had a family member, if I was deploying myself I would not be
worried about that. I don`t think that is a significant --

O`DONNELL: What are the key things if you had a brother or sister or
soldier going over there, what are the three or four things you would say
to them?

VAN TULLEKEN: Listen to your commander officer mainly. But particularly
this is a disease that`s transmitted by contact with bodily fluids so
avoiding vomit, blood, diarrhea, those sorts of things, which is relatively
straightforward to do. I mean, wearing your protective gear, but they will
have protocols in place to do this. These people are going to be trained
very carefully and they, themselves, will be involved in the training of
Liberians.

O`DONNELL: Does the contact point with that fluid have to be --

VAN TULLEKEN: Through broken skin or it`s a mucus membranes so eyes and
mouth and nose would do it, as well.

O`DONNELL: Right. And so presumably most of these soldiers have
absolutely no familiarity with this and so they`re going to be getting
crash training possibly even on the aircraft on the way over there.

VAN TULLEKEN: Yes. But I don`t think -- this isn`t going to be some mad
rush this. I mean, this is not an easy virus to catch. This is why we`re
not worried about it coming to -- to another major city. Just doesn`t --
it is not like fluids, it`s not airborne, it doesn`t transmit itself in
that way.

And so, preventing soldiers catching it, most of those soldiers are not
going to be on the frontline treating Ebola. They are going to be involves
in the operation of building hospitals, moving goods and equipments and
training other people. To that extent, their exposure to things like blood
and other bodily fluids can be limited.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Alexander Van Tulleken, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.

VAN TULLEKEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.

END

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