'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
October 7, 2014
Guest: David Phillips, Megan Garber, Mitchell Matorin; Sister Simone
Campbell, Susan Crabtree
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Jennifer Lawrence wants stronger laws to
go after people who stole her private pictures and former Defense Secretary
Leon Panetta wishes President Obama had made some different choices.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Ii think we would be in a much
better position if we had left the presence in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says, if no
one else will put boots on the ground, the U.S. may have to do it.
PANETTA: In order for us to be able to win against ISIS, you have to have
some boots on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His book "Worthy Fight" is critical of the
president`s Middle East policy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He writes, too often in my view, the president relies
on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader.
PANETTA: My experience in Washington is that logic alone doesn`t work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More on the U.S.-led fight against ISIS.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ISIS takeover. The terror group takes control of a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ISIS fighters are moving closer to seizing a key city
along the border with Turkey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People saw ISIS, walk up, drive up to Kobani, enter the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turkish troops just a mile away have done nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And nothing stops them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will it take to degrade and destroy ISIS?
PANETTA: I think that`s the question.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, we have a new perspective on President Obama`s
decision making, thanks to a new book by Leon Panetta, entitled "Worthy
Panetta served as President Obama`s first director of the Central
Intelligence Agency and as the president`s second secretary of defense. As
with all cabinet members and advisers to presidents, he agreed with the
president on many policy issues and disagreed on some others.
The news media, which is populated almost entirely by people who have never
been in a working meeting in the cabinet room or the Oval Office, always
registers shock when disagreement within a presidential administration is
revealed in memoirs such as Panetta`s new book. The media shock is always
good for book sales, but doesn`t reflect the reality of how normal and,
indeed, helpful disagreement inside administrations actually is.
Here is Leon Panetta explaining to Andrea Mitchell this afternoon, one of
his disagreements from two years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PANETTA: We then had an obligation to try to work with the rebel forces to
develop the moderate forces, to support those forces, in order to make sure
that we could establish some kind of group there, that would be able to do
the right thing in Syria.
The only way you could do that is by providing arms to the right group. It
was the right thing to do at that point. I think the president was
concerned that those weapons might wind up -- to be fair to him --
concerned that they would wind up in the wrong hands.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Would ISIS have been able to grow as it
PANETTA: I think we would at least be in a better position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here`s how Joe Biden explained why the president didn`t take
Leon Panetta`s advice on arming the rebels in Syria.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So this idea that
somehow it was within our power early on in this process, and there were a
couple former members of the administration that were arguing, we should
give, quote, "the opposition," which we couldn`t identify as moderate, by
the way. I`m serious about that. Give them ground air launch missiles.
Can you imagine what would have happened if that had been done? Has
anybody doubt they would have been in the hands of al Nusra or al Qaeda or
Khorasan group or ISIL?
So, this idea that there was an option there is fiction. It did not exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Bill O`Reilly gave half of his show to Leon Panetta tonight,
hoping to emphasize a rift between the president and his former adviser.
O`Reilly tried to reduce Panetta`s carefully constructed observations into
something quite simple.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: It`s very possible Barack Obama is just
not up to the job.
PANETTA: I don`t believe -- I don`t believe that.
O`REILLY: You don`t want to believe it.
PANETTA: I don`t -- no, because I want this president to be successful.
O`REILLY: I know.
PANETTA: And I want this country to be successful. And I think deep down,
you know, he knows what needs to be done. What he`s got to do is develop
the will to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is NBC News foreign correspondent, Ayman
Mohyeldin, David L. Phillips from Columbia University`s Institute for the
Study of Human Rights, and David Corn, "Mother Jones" Washington bureau
Well, Mr. Washington bureau chief, here goes Washington again, all excited
that a member of the administration actually, believe it or not, has some
disagreements with the president.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: This is not the first time. Robert Gates had
disagreements, others have come out and said the same. And, you know, if
you read a book that I wrote called "Showdown," you would see that when it
came to the bin Laden raid, what to do in Egypt and what to do in Libya,
there were some profound differences among the foreign policy experts
themselves, at the highest levels of Obama`s government. So, it`s really
not that unusual.
I do think that the main point that people are latching on to here, that
Obama, you know, could have, should have left troops in Iraq, is, you know,
some of the argument that Mitt Romney`s been making, that somehow
magically, Obama, if he had tried harder, could have convinced Nouri al
Maliki to keep troops there when Maliki didn`t want them there for all
sorts of reasons of his own.
And, you know, the Bush administration, Bush and Cheney, said fine to
taking him out when he couldn`t get a status of forces agreement. Obama
took a stab at it and couldn`t succeed either. So, I`m not even sure it
would make much difference, given how the Iraq army itself completely caved
at the first sign of a real ISIS advance.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Leon Panetta told Andrea Mitchell today
about the president not bombing Syria when chemical weapons use was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PANETTA: I really believe, when your commander-in-chief, of the United
States of America, that when you lay down a red line, when you put our word
on the line, if they use chemical weapons, that we will take action. And
they use chemical weapons, and there are innocent men, women, and children
that are killed as a result of that.
Everybody confirmed that that was the case, that when that happens, we have
an obligation and the president has an obligation to take action, because
it`s not just Syria. It`s the rest of the world is watching, whether or
not the United States will stand by its word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: David Phillips, your reaction to that?
DAVID L. PHILLIPS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: It`s good that we didn`t take
action at the time. But in the process of making that decision, we
subcontracted our foreign policy to the Russians, and we showed real
Since that decision was taken, the world has taken advantage of the lack of
U.S. resolve. And we`ve seen it play out in other situations around the
world, and we`re seeing it playing out today in Kobani and Syria.
O`DONNELL: Ayman, one of the things that Joe Biden was talking about is,
here are the possible unintended consequences that we don`t have in front
of us because the president didn`t make the choice that Leon Panetta wanted
to make. And what we`ve seen with every choice made in this region is,
there is always a set of unintended, unpredicted consequences, negative
consequences, that were not part of the intended policy.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS: Yes, in this case, I think if you take a step
back and look at Syria early on, the fact that the U.S. did not get
involved immediately in a way that some of the Arab allies in the region
wanted the U.S. to, left a void that ultimately allowed groups like
Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran to say, well, we can actually now support
this regime in a very aggressive, robust way, sending in advisers, military
advisers, sending in weapons, and in the case of Hezbollah, sending in
I think that`s what some of the Arab allies say that as a result of the
United States not taking definitive action early on, allowed these
countries to come in and prop up the Syrian regime, despite the fact that
there was growing opposition.
And to use a line from David, that foreign policy got outsourced, because
we do know that Arab countries including Qatar and Kuwait and others
actually began sending funds and weapons to some of the groups that ended
up being involved in the Syrian opposition.
So, that was not a hidden secret. That was very well known, that these
countries were providing arms and finance to the groups that Joe Biden was
saying that the U.S. was not.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to something that David Ignatius has written in
his review of the book in "The Washington Post." He says, "Panetta
confides that he thought Obama was wrong on some key decisions, just as
Gates and Clinton was in his memoirs, which makes this reader ask, why did
officials continue to serve a president with whose policies they often
seemed to disagree? Retrospective candor is fine, but wouldn`t it have
been better to speak out at the time and perhaps even resign on principle?
The country would have done poorer without their service, but we need
officials who will tell the truth publicly in real time before they make
the book deal."
David Corn, you would have cabinet resignations every week, were they to
use the Ignatius standard.
CORN: It depends on the nature of the disagreement.
CORN: What to do in Syria, what to do in Libya. These are very
complicated questions. Often, there is no obvious right or wrong. What to
do with the bin Laden raid?
You know, several people who did not want Obama to do that, who were
advising him. Bob Gates, even Joe Biden said he was in favor of this.
Should they have resigned because Obama went ahead?
I think David, who I like, is making too much of this. And I think it`s
really easy to play this sort of armchair game of looking back.
You know, we have never done a good job of giving arms to anybody overseas
in territories and areas that we don`t know well. You know, whether it`s
the Hungarians, the Cubans, you know, the Contras.
Time and time again, we don`t play this game well. The Brits didn`t do it
well before us in the Middle East. So, the idea that we could have gotten
and done something better in Syria two years ago, at best, that`s a flip of
the coin, and I think that`s giving it really the benefit of a very big
O`DONNELL: Yes, you know, I know Leon Panetta and I worked with Leon
Panetta. I have absolutely no doubt, David, that he would resign on
principle if a matter of principle was crossed with him and if he thought
he was in a pattern with an administration where he was -- his role was
being ignored and his advice was being ignored.
And, David Phillips, what I`m sure, very clearly, the way Leon Panetta
presents this, is that these decisions were a close call. He understands
in each case why the president made the decision that he made. And he also
knows that there were people advising that course of action, as well as
people advising the other course of action.
And what you don`t have in Leon Panetta`s memoir is any situation where he
says, this was outrageous and the president absolutely had no justification
or no reasonable position in making some of these decisions.
PHILLIPS: Of course, it`s a close call. These are difficult decisions
about national security.
What`s important is, what do we learn from that decision-making? David
Corn just talked about not giving arms to people that we don`t know. We do
know the Kurds in Iraq and the Kurds in Syria. They`re on the point of the
sphere, confronting ISIS.
If we`re going to be launching air strikes, there needs to be some sort of
combat force on the ground. If we`re not going to send in U.S. troops, we
need to align ourselves with forces that we know and can trust. And the
Peshmerga and the Kurds have shown that they`re reliable.
O`DONNELL: Ayman, as I said -- I want to go back to that Biden point,
which is that every action we don`t take in this region can always be
claimed to have been the superior choice, because it was never tested in
the field and we never saw those outcomes.
And that`s where I think this debate that will occur now for the next
couple of weeks probably in the media between, say, the Biden side of the
world on behalf of President Obama and Leon Panetta on a book tour, it
seems to me that`s what this debate is going to reside.
MOHYELDIN: It`s going to be like that for some time. I think we`ve
already started seeing that debate a little before the book actually came
out in the comments of Leon Panetta, because we are already starting to see
questions about whether or not the military campaign against ISIS is
actually working. You know, for the past several weeks, we`ve been
hearing, the U.S. is degrading the capability of is, taking out targets.
But we`ve seen over the past 48 hours that ISIS has made strong pushes
against towns like Kobani on the Syrian border with Turkey.
So, as a result of that, you`re already getting people saying, is the
military campaign going to work. I think that also goes to your point,
which is there`s always going to be a criticism of the decision taken and
the consequences of those not taken.
MOHYELIN: Had the U.S. not participated in any military operations,
everyone would still be sitting around saying, here we are, we`ve lots
hundreds of thousands of lives and the U.S. is still not doing anything.
When they are doing something, everyone is complaining saying, well, is the
campaign actually working? Why aren`t they doing enough to stop ISIS`
attack on Kobani and elsewhere? So --
PHILLIPS: Words matter. And when the president says he`s not going to
allow a genocide of the Yazidis in Sinjar, and then ISIS turns and starts
massacring Syrian Kurds, it degrades the authority of the United States.
And that has ramifications not only in the region, but worldwide.
O`DONNELL: Ayman Mohyeldin --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, David Corn, very quickly.
CORN: At the same time, we`ve given billions of dollars in aid to the
Iraqi army, and it really hasn`t worked out that well. I just think it`s
very easy to say, give aid, give money, do this, and things will go forward
in a positive way. We haven`t seen a lot of evidence of that.
O`DONNELL: Yes, the Iraqi army, that`s a great example, because that`s an
organized group. We know exactly where they are. We know their names, we
know how to give them paychecks, and they failed completely with all of the
support we gave them and they`re supposed to expect these unnamed, unknown
rebel groups to work better than them.
Ayman Mohyeldin, David Corn, David Phillips, thank you all very much for
joining me tonight.
CORN: Sure thing.
O`DONNELL: Coming up: Jennifer Lawrence speaks for the first time about
the theft of her private photographs. She calls that a sex crime.
And Rock the Vote is back.
O`DONNELL: It was another day of big wins for marriage equality. The
ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down same-sex
marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. The court has ordered an immediate
start to same-sex marriage in Idaho.
Judge Steven Reinhart concluded, "Idaho and Nevada`s same-sex marriage
proscriptions are sex-based and these bans do serve to preserve invidious,
archaic, and overbroad stereotypes concerning gender roles. The bans,
therefore, must fail as impermissible gender discrimination."
Up next, what Jennifer Lawrence has to say about her stolen private
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I -- I -- I -- I think this one is my favorite. This
is just --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just for fun, mom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I`m glad to know it`s not a job. It`s that
Todd, isn`t it? There`s one where you can see his face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that what bothers you? That I did those things or
that I did them with Todd?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gee, whiz, Julie, there`s so many things that bother
me about this, I don`t know how to separate them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That scene from the 1989 movie "Parenthood", before the
invention of digital photography. It seems public reaction to private
photography has not matured in the 25 years since then.
It`s not a scandal. It is a sex crime. That`s what Jennifer Lawrence told
"Vanity Fair" if her first public statements about her stolen photos posted
on the Internet. The Academy Award-winning actress told the magazine that
she took the pictures while she was in a four-year, long distance
relationship, and makes no apologies for the pictures.
Jennifer Lawrence called the leak a sexual offense and violation, "Just
because I`m a public figure, just because I`m an actress does not mean that
I asked for this. It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It`s
my body and it should be my choice. And the fact that it is not my choice
is absolutely disgusting.
It is a sexual violation, it`s disgusting. The law needs to be changed and
we need to change. That`s why these Web sites are responsible. Just the
fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated and the first
thought that crosses somebody`s mind is to make a profit from it, it`s so
beyond me, I just can`t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can`t
imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside."
Joining me now, Megan Garber, a staff writer for "The Atlantic", and
Mitchell Matorin, an attorney who specializes in Internet law.
Mitchell, we talked about this before. First of all, Jennifer Lawrence is
hoping for stronger laws in this arena. What possible laws could be
strengthened in this arena?
MITCHELL MATORIN, INTERNET LAW EXPERT: Well, one thing that she says is,
that that`s why these Web sites are liable. In fact, she`s wrong. The Web
sites are not liable. They have immunity under federal law, under the
Communications Decency Act, which provides that the websites can not be
held liable for, as if they were a speaker, or publisher of information, if
it`s put up there by somebody else.
So, what needs to be done, in my view, is to change that law. Remove that
immunity for this particular type of Web site. You can keep it for the
things it was intended for, which is amazon.com or Trip Adviser, that
should not be help liable for things that other people say on their Web
But insert an exclusion that makes these Web sites that are knowingly and
intentionally, really, providing a platform for publishing these private
photographs, making them liable under traditional defamation and invasion
of privacy and that kind of law.
So, the changing the Communications Decency Act, immunity, I think, would
go a long way towards solving this problem.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Lawrence told "Vanity Fair" that she tried to make a
public statement about this early on and she said, "Every single thing that
I tried to write made me cry or get angry. I started to write an apology,
but I don`t have anything to say `I`m sorry` for. I was in a loving,
healthy, great relationship for four years, it was long distance and either
your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he`s going to look at you."
Megan Garber, there is a normality to this, certainly within a certain age
group, and it has been with us for a very long time. That movie clip we
just showed is 25 years old.
And so, what Jennifer Lawrence is saying, in effect, in that last statement
I just quoted is, come on, everybody does this. This is perfectly
reasonable, especially in a long distance relationship.
MEGAN GARBER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes, exactly. I mean, I think
this idea of, I have nothing to apologize for is a very powerful one. I
think, you know, one of the reasons that this story resonated with so many
people is that this could really happen to anybody.
So, yes, I think what she`s getting at is we do need legal changes,
perhaps, but we also need just sort of cultural decision making when it
comes to how we treat these pictures and how we as a culture and as a
society and almost as a network view the images themselves.
O`DONNELL: I think the most important thing she`s saying is about, is how
people should feel about these kinds of pictures, if they do become public.
And let me just quote her. It can`t be said better.
She says, "Anybody who looked at those pictures, you`re perpetrating a
sexual offense. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and
love say, oh, yes, I looked at the pictures. I don`t want to get mad, but
at the same time, I want to say, I didn`t tell you that you could look at
my naked body."
And, Mitchell, that`s the point. It is -- and it may be why Jennifer
Lawrence is a perfect messenger for this, because she does, as an actress,
make choices to exhibit her body in certain ways, in certain places, in
certain kinds of photography, including, by the way, by "Vanity Fair," but
it is her choice. And then she has private choices about what she can do
with private photography and this violates that.
MATORIN: I think that`s exactly right. The fact is that if Jennifer
Lawrence were walking down the street and somebody came up to her and tore
her clothes off, they would be arrested for sexual assault. This is the
same thing, except it`s on the Internet.
She took personal photographs of her naked body. She had them in her
private space. Somebody broke in and stole them. Rather than tearing her
clothes off in the street, they`re tearing her clothes off and exposing her
body on the Internet.
And it`s actually in some ways worse than a sexual assault on the street,
because the entire world sees it. And the photographs don`t go away at the
end of the day. You can`t hide them from your future employer or your
father or your grandmother. So, it really is a sexual assault.
O`DONNELL: Megan, she talks to "Vanity Fair" about the difficulty of
calling her father and telling him these pictures were coming out. You`ve
written brilliantly today about this issue and about how important it is
that women in these -- in a situation like this, have complete control over
these kinds of photographs.
GARBER: Yes. I mean, I think part of what was so striking about the
presentation of her thoughts was, you know, it came in the package of this
image, you know, which was very -- I mean, she was essentially naked on the
cover of "Vanity Fair," yet, that was an image that she controlled and she
decided she wanted that image out, and I think that is definitely the most
I mean, so much about selfies and so much about these images is really just
a matter of controlling what we allow people to see of us. So, certainly,
that was, I think, one of the biggest parts of this.
O`DONNELL: You made a great observation, actually, about the bird we just
showed. Get that picture back up. And, Megan, give us -- tell us your
comment about that bird.
GARBER: Well, I think on some level, I think my line was, all of us are
cockatoos. But I do think -- I mean, the bird is sort of looking away from
her, but it`s part of the image. It`s sort of complicit in her nakedness,
in some ways, but not part of it at all, and she ultimately is controlling
And I think that is kind of a metaphor. We are all that bird.
O`DONNELL: And I don`t want to get carried away with the notion of "Vanity
Fair`s" naked picture, especially for people who can`t see this and are
just hearing it on Sirius radio on their cars.
But, I mean, that photograph reveals nothing more than an evening gown
would reveal, was the important point about it is this was her choice and a
photographer`s choice and a magazine`s choice about how to do this
presentation. It was a carefully considered choice. The lines in the
photograph are drawn very carefully and that`s not what happens when stolen
private photographs get revealed.
Megan Garber and Mitchell Matorin, thank you both very much for joining me
GARBER: Thank you.
MATORIN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we will combine -- this is going to happen -- Lil`
John and Sister Simone in one segment about the same thing. What do they
have in comment?
And later, what the acting head of the Secret Service had to tell lawmakers
today about the failures of the Secret Service agents and officers at the
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: In the spotlight tonight, rock the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
LIL JON, RAPPER: I`ll swing by later after I`m done voting.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: Don`t tell me you`re still watching "dancing
with the stars".
LIL JON: No, it`s November 4th, it`s midterm elections.
LIL JON: I`m voting in midterm elections.
LIL JON: Midterm elections.
GOLDBERG: I can`t hear you, you`re breaking out. What are you saying?
LIL JON: I`ll call you later, Auntie. Bye!
GOLDBERG: I love you too, yes!
LIL BEN, RAPPER: Mr. John, I`m a big fan. I saw you perform last weekend
in the club.
LIL JON: Yes.
LIL BEN: It was pretty, pretty great. Sometimes people think we kind of
look like. I don`t know if it`s the glasses.
LIL JON: No. Can I have the ballot?
LIL BEN: All right. There are voting booths from the windows over the
wall and rock the vote, dude. All right.
LIL JON: Thank you.
LIL BEN: (Inaudible)
LIL JON: Rock the vote turn out for what? Turn out for what?
DARREN CRISS, ACTOR: I`m Darren and I`m turning out for education.
E.J. JOHNSON, ACTOR: I`m E.J. and I`m turning out for marriage equality.
LENA DUNHAM, ACTRESS: My name is Lil Lena and I`m turning out for
LYONA: Hi my name is Lyona and I`m turning out for human rights.
NATASHA LYONNE. ACTRESS: Hi, I`m Natasha and I`m turning out for prison
SOPHIA BUSH, ACTRESS, GLEE: I`m Sophia and I`m turning out for women`s
DEVENDRA: I`m turning out for d deforestation.
LIL JON: What`s up you Lil Jon? And I`m turning out for the legalization
IRELAND BALDWIN, ACTRESS: I`m Ireland and I`m turning out for global
GABRIEL VALENCIANO, ARTIST: I`m Gabriel and I`m turning out for racial
FRED ARMISEN, ACTOR: Hi, I`m Fred and I`m turning out because I want to
impress my friends. That`s the only reason to ever do anything.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Sister Simone Campbell, leader of the Nuns on
the Bus Tour, and the Executive Director of the National Catholic Social
Justice Lobby. She is on day 21 of her current bus tour.
Sister Simone, so, you and some very hip young people have something in
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, LEADER, NUNS OF THE BUS TOUR: We absolutely do.
And that`s the key message of our bus trip, is that we have got to get out
the vote. That is urgently required in our society and in our democracy.
We`re really concerned about it. So, we`ve been on the road these 21 days,
working really hard to get out that message.
O`DONNELL: And what do you -- what are the issues that you think are --
when you`re trying to get out the vote, it means you`re talking to people
who weren`t intending to vote, because they didn`t necessarily see
something at stake for themselves. Because it`s not a Presidential
election or they just generally don`t see something at stake for themselves
And so what are the issues that you bring to their attention that could
turn them into active voters -- voters from no-show voters?
CAMPBELL: Well, I think what we see, Lawrence, is so much, so many people
are so depressed by the big money in politics, all the negative ads that
are really so present on the air waves. And what they`re feeling is, why
does it matter? So what we talk about is the issues that touch their
Tonight we had a town hall here in Charlotte. And there the conversation
was a lot about issues of prison reform, about the issues of the safety net
that`s been shredded here in North Carolina, how the importance of making
living wages a possibility in our nation or at least raising the minimum
wage. And the urgent requirement that folks who work full-time not
continue to live in poverty.
When folks see the connection to those living, breathing issues, then they
say, well, maybe they can turn out. But the second pieces, what we know
is, people don`t do it alone. It`s all about community and that we do it
together. If I feel like if I do it with you, together we can make a
difference. We`re finding that people are more committed to turning out.
O`DONNELL: Wherever I hear about get out the vote drives, it always sounds
like, get out the Democratic vote, or get out the Republican vote because
the issues that are animating the people trying to get out that vote tend
to fall on one side or the other of these parties.
CAMPBELL: Well, that`s true. But I must say, we were in Louisville at a
food pantry, and I was talking to one of the men there, waiting to get food
because it was the end of the month and he was having a really hard time,
he needed food for his family. And he told me that, yes, he needed food
and this was important to him, but he was a Republican and he was voting
Republican. And from my perspective is, great. Do it, just get out the
vote because here`s the thing. In a democracy, we have got to be about
everyone`s vote, that we value it as much as I value my own vote, which may
But the important thing is, is that we exercise our power as citizenships
and claim it. Citizenship is all about being responsible and voting in our
society. So however you vote, we`re out to try to get you out.
O`DONNELL: And this is one of those elections where, you know every vote
is going to count, as they say in the clich‚. There`s an estimate one
analyst that says that 3.4 percent of the U.S. population is going to be in
a position to decide the control of the United States Senate.
CAMPBELL: Absolutely. It`s a very close race. We are here in North
Carolina where it`s very close. And the fact is that having conversations
with people to understand how close it is and how much their vote counts.
In Kentucky, we found a woman who had won her election by ten votes. That
is critical, that we make a difference.
O`DONNELL: Sister Simone Campbell, thank you once again for joining us
CAMPBELL: And honor to be with you. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up in the "rewrite," the court rewrites Virginia`s Republican
gerrymandered Congressional Districts.
And later, the culture of the Secret Service and why that has created a
risk for the President and his family.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news from California. Rescue crews are trying
to get to an air tanker that has crashed fighting a wildfire near Yosemite
National Park in Northern California. There is no word on the condition of
the pilot who was the only person on that plane.
The plane went down within a mile of the park`s west entrance. Rescue
crews are working their way through the rough terrain right now to try to
reach that downed plane. The 130-acre fire started this afternoon near
state highway 140, which leads into the heart of Yosemite National Park.
Several dozen homes have been evacuated.
Up next, in the "rewrite," a Republican attempts to minimize the political
strength of African-American voters in Virginia is ruled unconstitutional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Virginia, I introduce to you my husband and
our president, President Barack Obama!
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Virginia!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the "rewrite" tonight, the battleground state of Virginia.
President Obama kicked off his 2012 re-election campaign in Virginia, which
he went on to win with 51 percent of the vote over Mitt Romney. He won it
with 53 percent of the vote over John McCain in 2008 and before Barack
Obama won Virginia twice, George W. Bush won Virginia twice.
In recent elections, Virginia has alternated between Democrat and
Republican governors and Democrat and Republican senators. It is a classic
swing state. Power shifts back and forth between the parties, but only in
statewide elections. In Virginia`s 11 congressional districts, power
Although a majority of Virginia voters voted for President Obama twice,
only three of Virginia`s 11 members of Congress are Democrats. One of
those Democrats is the only African-American member of the Virginia
Congressional Delegation. Bobby Scott, who first won his seat 22 years
ago. Congressman Scott has never won with less than 69 percent of the
vote. And that is not necessarily a good thing for Democrats.
In 2012, after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a redistricting
bill that was signed by then-Republican Governor, Bob McDonnell, now
convicted felon Bob McDonnell, Congressman Scott won with 80 percent of the
vote in his newly redrawn district.
Three voters in that district, Virginia`s third congressional district,
sued the Virginia state board of elections and Virginia`s eight Republican
members of Congress, challenging redistricting as racial gerrymandering,
saying that African-American voters were being packed into the third
Congressional District and kept out of neighboring Republican-held
Today, in a two to one decision, Judges Allyson Duncan and Liam O`Grady,
both George W. Bush appointees, agreed. The third Congressional District
is the least compact congressional district in Virginia. The legislature
used water contiguity as a means to bypass white communities and connect
predominantly African-American populations. The third congressional
district splits more local political boundaries, counties or cities, than
any other district in Virginia.
"Tellingly, the populations moved out of the third Congressional District
were predominantly white while the populations moved into the district were
predominantly African-American. The legislative record here is replete
with statements indicating that race was the legislature`s paramount
concern in enacting the 2012 plan."
Upon review of those facts, the judges concluded, "Because plaintiffs have
shown that race predominated in Virginia`s 2012 plan and because defendants
have failed to establish that this race-based redistricting satisfies
strict scrutiny, we find that the 2012 plan is unconstitutional and will
require the commonwealth to act within the next legislative session to draw
a new congressional district plan."
Congressman Scott issued this statement after the ruling.
During the last round of redistricting in 2011, I was a strong proponent of
an alternate redistricting plan, which made all congressional districts in
the commonwealth were compacted and contiguous. I hope and expect the
general assembly will more equitably and appropriately balance the
influence of all Virginia`s voters, as man dated by this decision when they
redraw the third congressional district and adjacent congressional
districts next session.
The legislature has until April 1st of next year to rewrite the boundary of
Virginia`s congressional districts. The new redistricting plan that the
Republican-controlled Virginia legislature and the democratic governor,
Terry McAuliffe, agree on will be the product of political compromise.
But thanks to today`s court decision, it just might nudge the Virginia
House Delegation into being a bit more representative of the people of
O`DONNELL: The secret culture of the secret service and how that puts the
first family in danger, that`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH CLANCY, ACTING DIRECTOR, SECRET SERVICE: We`re anxious to get
started. We`re happy to be here today and looking forward to working with
the men and women in the Uniform Division and special agents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: On his second day on the job, Acting Secret Service Director
Joseph Clancy visited Capitol Hill for a closed-door briefing with staff
members from both the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees.
Director Clancy also met with President Obama today in the Oval Office.
Clancy was the former lead agent on President Obama`s security detail
before Clancy retired from the Secret Service in 2011.
A new report from "The New York Times" today says " had last month`s White
House fence jumper made his dash across the north lawn just a few minutes
earlier, he would have found the building teeming with dark-suited Secret
Service agents and a counter assault team trained to repel surprise attacks
on the President.
But when President Obama left the White House for Camp David, the night of
September 19th, responsibility for protecting the White House fell to a
lesser known branch of the Secret Service, the Uniformed Division, whose
officers have traditionally been younger, less experienced, and paid less."
The two tiers of the Secret Service were created when the Congress folded
the White House police force into the Secret Service in 1930. A former
member of the Uniform Division told "The New York Times," "there`s a
disparity between agents and officers. It is an agent-run organization."
Joining me now is Washington Examiner and White House correspondent, Susan
Crabtree. She`s been covering the Secret Service breach and stories of her
Susan, this article makes much of this culture difference, but I don`t see
what`s -- how that should then translate into inadequate performance by the
SUSAN CRABTREE, WASHINGTON EXAMINER, WHITE HOUSE: That`s right. I`ve
heard about this, that there`s been a long time resentment between the
Uniform Division and the Agent Division and the Protective Division.
So you know, I don`t think that this really gets at what the problem here
is. And the senior leadership is involved and what their sources tell me
is a culture of cover-up, and that they operate as a family and they choose
who they`re going to punish, even though they pick and choose who they`re
going to punish and the punishment is not uniform across the ranks.
So I think that this is -- this is longtime held resentment between those
divisions. But I don`t really think that gets at the real problems with
the Secret Service right now. The more I look into this, the more mind-
boggling it becomes. You know, you have this incident that I wrote about
this morning, with a gun, an agent lost his gun, he left it in his car
overnight in his bag. That`s supposed to be verboten in the Secret
Service, you`re not supposed to do that, and he actually ended up getting
promoted afterwards. And his supervisor decided they were not going to do
any type of formal report. So he didn`t get any discipline action at all.
So I mean, these are just these types of stories that I`m hearing over and
over again. It`s becoming almost like I can`t write fast enough about this
O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, your report this morning about that gun and about
the processes there with that agent is just, I think, so much more
important an indicator of what`s going on there than, you know, one of the
items "The New York Times" points out is that the starting salary for the
Uniformed Branch is $56,000 a year, as if I don`t want to be unfair to the
article, but it carries the suggestion that because that`s lower than the
agents, then you`ll get, you know a lesser performance.
But that`s higher than the starting salary for a Washington, D.C. police
officer, it`s higher than the starting salary for most police officers in
America, who could do a great job, most of whom could have grabbed that guy
on that lawn without any specific training about how to protect that
building. And so I just don`t see what explains such a terrible
performance that day.
CRABTREE: I know, I think that that incident -- there is true that the
training is a problem in the Secret Service and the pay, they`re leaving in
droves to go to the transport -- to the TSA. And that`s -- I mean that`s a
real problem. You want this to be an elite agency. But there`s also other
-- the problems stem from senior leadership. And that`s what I keep
hearing over and over again.
You have Operation Moonlight, you know, where they diverted senior agents
from the Washington field office, diverted agents patrolling the perimeter
of the White House to La Plata, Maryland, to get involved in a domestic
neighborhood dispute. And we still don`t know, that story broke five
months ago. We still don`t know who ordered Operation Moonlight. Was it
Mark Sullivan, was it the two agents in charge of the Washington and field
The Secret Service will not tell me and they won`t tell me whether they`ve
been disciplined and whether there`s been a formal report. The Department
Of Homeland Security has been investigating this matter, so I asked the DHS
Press Office today, what`s the status of that investigation into Operation
Moonlight? They say they did not even get back to me.
So the members on Capitol Hill, lawmakers want answers about that incident
and it has directly to do with controlling the perimeter of the White House
and diverting agents to then Mark been -- Director Mark Sullivan`s
assistant in a neighborhood dispute.
O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s story is absolutely extra ordinary and if you`re
pulling resources away from the White House for that that is just
unconscionable and as you say has never been publically explained.
Susan Crabtree, thank you very much for your coverage for this and thanks
very much for joining us tonight.
CRABTREE: It`s my pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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