'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
October 29, 2014
Guest: Norman Siegel, Lawrence Costin, Shawn Parcells, Nathaniel Herz,
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Great show. I
loved every minute of it.
But it`s very hard to top your last segment last night. Rachel Maddow
shopping for pot in Colorado.
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: Inexpertly.
O`DONNELL: More of that, please.
MADDOW: Sure, sure. Thanks, man.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, Chris Christie practiced campaigning for president today by once
again insulting a voter in New Jersey. Can`t wait to see how that plays in
And "The Washington Post" has finally responded to my criticism of its
reporting on the Michael Brown autopsy.
But first, why New Hampshire and Alaska and every state between them with a
Senate race matters next Tuesday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Less than a week to go into the big midterms vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a lot of uncertainty in this final push.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are still no closer to discovering who will
control the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The campaigning is at a fevered pitch all across the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have given rise to several very juicy subplots.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe the most high profile race in the country.
WARREN: The question is, can she beat him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans are looking for six Senate seats to take
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democratic Senator Mark Begich is running within a
few points of challenger Dan Sullivan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Causing a lot of people at the last minute to rethink
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not an easy year for Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re definitely more prepared. You see the turnout
game actually being implemented.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, it really is the Republicans` election to
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Colorado Senate race is basically a coin flip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will headline a rally
JEB BUSH (R-FL), FORMER GOVERNOR: This is an historic election that`s
going to make a huge difference in the future of our country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perhaps Jeb Bush is going to run in 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Christie has rivaled for the nomination.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christie`s impulse control, or lack of it, on full
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Somebody like you doesn`t know a damn
thing about what you`re talking about. Sit down and shut up!
O`DONNELL: New ads and new polls in key Senate races today with less than
a week left in the fight for control of the United States Senate.
In Colorado, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall`s latest ad continues
attacking Republican Cory Gardner`s sponsorship of a Personhood bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: As you`re making your decision, remember --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bill that everybody says is basically a personhood
bill at the federal level. You`re telling me it`s not?
AD NARRATOR: Cory Gardner is still sponsoring the Personhood bill in
Congress. His name is right there, but Gardner just keeps denying it.
Gardner`s denials even failed the independent fact check.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a less charitable interpretation is that you`re not
telling us the truth.
AD NARRATOR: Whether it`s with our rights and freedoms or his own word,
Colorado just can`t trust the real Cory Gardner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Republican Congressman Cory Gardner released this ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newspapers say Mark Udall is running an obnoxious one-
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to frighten voters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an insult.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has backfired, says "The Colorado Springs
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Denver Post" says Gardner`s election would pose no
threat to women`s rights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cory Gardner made clear he won`t support bans on
contraceptions, in fact, he`s a proponent of making the pill available over
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The country needs new leadership and fresh ideas. It
needs Colorado to elect Cory Gardner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The latest NBC News poll shows a tie in Colorado but that`s
before Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton went to Colorado
to campaign for Senator Udall.
Tonight, Jeb Bush campaigned in Colorado for Cory Gardner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The added benefit of a Senator Gardner is that there is a demotion
for Harry Reid. He`s no longer the majority leader of this country.
If you believe, like I do, that this is the greatest country, and we need
to prove it. We need to start fixing some big things so this country takes
off. And that`s why this election really matters. Imagine a Republican-
controlled House of Representatives and a Republican-controlled Senate
beginning to paint what that agenda looks like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa was released today. That poll
shows Joni Ernst ahead of Bruce Braley by four points, which is just
outside the margin of error.
This afternoon, Hillary Clinton appeared at a campaign event for Democratic
candidate Bruce Braley where she reminded voters that Joni Ernst canceled
an editorial board meeting with Iowa`s biggest newspaper, "The Des Moines
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You have a lot to be proud of
in this state. You test your candidates. You actually force them to be
the best they can be. I understand that.
And they have to be willing to answer the tough questions, which Bruce has
been willing to do and his opponent has not. It truly seems like it should
be disqualifying in Iowa of all states to avoid answering questions.
And I think the editorials that I read before coming here kind of make that
clear, don`t they?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Another former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, announced
her endorsement of Joni Ernst for Senate today. In a statement,
Condoleezza Rice said, quote, "Joni Ernst has dedicated her life to the
service of others, bravely leading troops in Iraq and safely bringing them
home to Iowa. We need more leaders like Joni who understand America`s role
abroad and the threat posed against us."
The only other Senate candidate that Condoleezza Rice has endorsed this
year is Republican Dan Sullivan in Alaska, where some polls show Democratic
incumbent Senator Mark Begich with a lead. Senator Begich and Dan Sullivan
will hold a debate later tonight. Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney are scheduled
to campaign for Dan Sullivan in Alaska.
And joining me now from Anchorage, Alaska, is Nathaniel Herz of "The Alaska
We`re going to have a little bit of delay on this satellite, Nathaniel.
But we`ll put up with that.
Going into this debate tonight, what will be the key issues in this debate
NATHANIEL HERZ, REPORTER, ALASKA DISPATCH NEWS: Well, you know, from Mark
Begich, his campaign theme has been true Alaska. So you will probably hear
things pretty consistent with what he`s being saying over the course of the
last few months. You know, he`s arguing that he`s been sort of independent
of the Obama administration and Harry Reid fought for oil and gas
development here, you know, constantly working for the interest of Alaska
And then, you know, you`ll probably hear from Dan Sullivan that that`s not
true, Mark Begich was the deciding vote for Obamacare. He decided with the
president 97 percent of the time in his votes. And that he needs to go so
that Alaska can have a better representative in the Senate.
O`DONNELL: And you`ve got Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney coming up there to help
Dan Sullivan. That seems to span the entire Republican Party to extreme
right to moderate Republican.
HERZ: Yes. I think it`s a pretty good move for Mr. Sullivan. You know,
he was in a really, really hard fought primary. He was up against Joe
Miller who ran in 2010. He actually got the Republican nomination in 2010
and ultimately lost to Lisa Murkowski`s run as a write-in.
Joe Miller had a lot of support from, you know, the far right Republicans
and I think Joe Miller`s campaign did some damage to Dan Sullivan`s
campaign. You know, that I`m seeing sort on the Conservative Patriot
Facebook groups, they`re incredibly excited to have Ted Cruz up here.
They`ll be out at those events. And Mitt Romney, he`ll kind of rally the
base. It just seems like this sort of pretty strong one-two punch.
O`DONNELL: Nathaniel Herz, thank you very much for joining me from Alaska.
And joining me now from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is MSNBC political
reporter Kasie Hunt, who was at the Jeb Bush rally tonight.
And, Kasie, I`m calling it the Jeb Bush rally because it looked like I was
watching a candidate when I was watching Jeb Bush. Was that the buzz in
the room tonight?
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: It certainly felt a lit bit that
way, Lawrence, especially when he took the time to take a swipe at Hillary
Clinton for suggesting that businesses don`t create jobs. He said that
businesses do create jobs. Mostly noteworthy that he would get up here and
say anything about her, just because he`s sort of viewed among Republicans
right now as maybe their greatest hope of beating Hillary Clinton. That`s
why I think you`re hearing a lot from Republicans privately urging Jeb Bush
to jump in to this race.
His speech here was pretty short. He focused, as you heard earlier, on
winning back the House and the Senate. But he also touched on this broad
national themes that could ultimately form the basis of a presidential run.
O`DONNELL: Kasie, I want to show a piece of an interview you did with Jeb
Bush where he`s responding to something his son said about the possible
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: He`s got an opinion, he didn`t talk to me. When you have kids,
you`ll probably have the same frustration. You love them to death and they
have their own opinions, but I`ll make up my mind just as I said at the end
of the year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t know, Kasie, I don`t think he`s too frustrated with the
way his son handled those questions.
HUNT: Kids, they say the darnedest things.
O`DONNELL: They do.
HUNT: No. Yes, I think he`s focused actually on not making news at this
stage. I think, you know, the people who are advising him behind the
scenes say that they`re telling him that he needs to keep the focus on the
midterm elections that are coming up next week.
And I think you`ve seen him sort of campaigning across all of these
competitive midterms, in a way that`s flown under the radar a little bit
until now. He`s been to more than 13 states. He`s focused particularly on
gubernatorial candidates. Some of whom he helped in 2010, some who have
adopted part of his education platform.
So, you know, I think this is a strong way for him to finish out this
O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, thanks very much for joining us from Colorado
HUNT: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And joining me now in studio, MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki.
Steve, you`ve got the big board up there, the Senate races. On election
night, where are we likely to get the first sense of what`s happening
nationally? Where will the returns come in that we can look at a result
and say, here`s what`s happening in this state and here`s what it should
STEVE KORNACKI, UP: Sure. There are a number of poll closings at the
7:00, 8:00 hour along the East Coat, and the Eastern Time zone.
But there`s one we can pay particular attention to, the first in the nation
primary state, that`s the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire, most of
the polls will be closed by 8:00. It`s a small state. We hope we can get
a result announced fairly quickly. That`s the state where Jeanne Shaheen,
the Democratic incumbent being challenged by Scott Brown, the former
senator from Massachusetts. I think that`s the state that might give us a
good sense of what kind of night this might be for either party nationally.
O`DONNELL: So, Steve, a Shaheen win means what for the coverage going for
the night in terms of other states, in terms of party momentum?
KORNACKI: Right. So, let`s take a close look here. We can explain exactly
why this is significant. So, this is where the race stands in New
Hampshire right now. This is the average of all the polling done in New
Hampshire to this point. It shows Jeanne Shaheen with about a two-point
lead over Scott Brown.
Again, when you`re talking poll averages, that`s fairly significant. Now,
the reason why New Hampshire is so interesting is let`s take a look at some
of the most recent results here from past elections. Excuse me, we did
that wrong. Going to this -- I`m still learning this board.
We got to go this way to get the past results. Here we go.
Now, this is 2012. This is the presidential election. In New Hampshire,
it`s a blue state. Voted for Barack Obama by six points over Mitt Romney.
It also voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
So, this is one of the states that voted for the Democrat in two
presidential elections. However, in between, in 2010, there really is no
other state that went for Obama twice where there was a bigger swing
towards the Republicans in 2010 than there was in New Hampshire.
Look at this, an open Senate race, Kelly Ayotte, the Republican. This was
a credible Democratic candidate, a member of Congress, was trounced, almost
25 points in New Hampshire that night.
So when you start to look at this, you start to say Republicans are talking
about, they think there`s gong to be some kind of a wave here in 2014.
They think candidates like Scott Brown running a few points behind right
now, they think those candidates are going to catch up in the end. Well,
in New Hampshire, if Scott Brown goes over the top after trailing by a few
points, that could be a sign that that could be happening elsewhere
nationally. If Jeanne Shaheen as, you know, as the polls show right now,
leading and continues to lead and wins this thing, then it`s a sense that
maybe there isn`t any that kind of a wave.
And just to quickly look, I`m calling up on the screen here, the map of New
Hampshire, a couple of things to look for very quickly, this is the most
interesting state to me. This is right over the Massachusetts border.
This is the most densely part of New Hampshire.
We`re always asking the question, Scott Brown coming up from Massachusetts
into New Hampshire. Is there a carpet bagger problem with him? Well, this
is interesting because this is the most heavily Republican and densely
populated part of the state. It`s filled with people who are like Scott
Brown. They left Massachusetts for New Hampshire for lower taxes.
So, the question is, what kind of a number is Scott Brown getting out of
here? Is he winning these and winning these big?
Conversely on the Democratic side, you have to look at the Connecticut
River Valley along the Vermont border city like Keene, where Dartmouth
College is and the seacoast like Portsmouth. These are big Democratic
areas. So, see how Shaheen is doing there.
But I think this will give us a good sense early in the night about whether
the Republican wave that Republicans say is going to be there. If Scott
Brown is winning, there`s probably a wave. If Scott Brown is not winning
I`m not so sure about it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Steve. Scott Brown has been running against President
Obama not so much against Jeanne Shaheen. So, if he wins that race, that
would indicate there is probably some anti-Obama fuel in the other
KORNACKI: Absolutely. I mean, the entire message of the Brown campaign
has been, if you`re unhappy with President Obama, don`t re-elect somebody
from his party, elect a Republican. It`s all based on that 2010 number we
showed you there, because that was there in New Hampshire in 2010.
Republicans are saying, yes, Brown is a few points behind right now, but
it`s in the air, it`s in the atmosphere and it will show up on Election Day
Democrats are saying 2014 is not a great year for us, but it`s not as bad
as 2010 will be. And I think New Hampshire, because it move sod
dramatically to the Republicans in 2010 and against President Obama gives
you a good sense of that.
O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, you`ve got less than a week to perfect that
O`DONNELL: I couldn`t do any of that stuff.
Steve, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
"Sit down and shut up" was Chris Christie`s message for New Jersey voters
who criticized him today.
And the nurse being told to stay in her house under quarantine even though
she has no symptoms of Ebola walked out of her house tonight.
And in "The Rewrite" tonight, "The Washington Post" is forced to rewrite
its reporting on the autopsy of Michael Brown.
O`DONNELL: Lava from that volcano in Hawaii is getting closer to a main
road on the big island. It has advanced about 100 yards in just the last
24 hours, 60 homes and buildings could be hit by the lava flow.
Up next, America`s wise guy governor, Chris Christie, is at it again.
O`DONNELL: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie marked the tragic second
anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by responding to criticism of his handling
of millions of dollars of rebuilding funding this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: Now, listen, you all know me. So, if we`re going to get into a
debate here today it`s going to get very interesting and very fun. So,
yes, I understand.
So, I`d be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you like, guy,
because somebody like you doesn`t know a damn thing about what you`re about
what you`re talking about except to stand up and show up when the cameras
are here. I`ve been here when the cameras aren`t here, buddy, and done the
work. I`ve been here when the cameras weren`t here and did the work.
So, I`m glad you had your day to show off. But we`re the ones here to
actually do the work. So, turn around, get your 15 minutes of fame and
then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves and do something for
the people of this state.
CHRISTIE: So, we`ll see. What we need --
CHRISTIE: Good. And there`s been 23 months since then when all you`ve
been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything.
So listen, you want to have the conversation later, I`m happy to have it,
buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, a man who was there, WNYC reporter Matt Katz.
You were up close to that one, Matt. What did that one feel like?
MATT KATZ, WNYC REPORTER: It was quite the extraordinary scene today,
Lawrence. The governor got out of his motorcade to show up at this event
about a block away. And he comes out of the motorcade and he got applause.
I mean, just a really warm reception at first. People were hugging him,
thanking him for the work he did for Sandy and the aftermath. There were
old women whispering in his ear to run for president.
And he sort of -- he got this her hero`s welcome and goes up to the podium,
starts to talk about the recovery from Sandy and this gentleman in a
pinstripe suit, very eloquent, and a couple of other people stood up and
raised signs above their heads. So, the cops come over and say, you`ve got
to put the signs down. And that`s when this exchange started.
And the guy, it was like, listen, Governor, you`re not doing enough for us.
There`s a ton of people still out of their homes.
And the governor went off. And it was really interesting because you see
two sides of this. He`s still seen as this fully swearing Sandy hero in
some quarters, from his time after the storm.
But other people still feel like they don`t understand why they`re not in
their homes. A quarter of them, only about a quarter of the federal money
that New Jersey got after the storm has been spent. Four out of five
people who were displaced a year ago are still displaced from their homes.
So, there`s a lot of pain still out there today. That`s what you saw from
this guy yelling at the governor today, and the governor responding.
O`DONNELL: Matt, two years after the event and 75 percent of the federal
money that Chris Christie is administrating in relief of the that event has
not been spent?
KATZ: That`s right. You know, there`s certainly issues. The biggest
contractor for distributing the residential money was fired halfway
through, about six months into its contract for not doing its job properly.
Whether the governor should have hired that company in the first place is
the question. But the governor says listen, he was -- he said today, it
was down in Biloxi, Mississippi. And he said it took eight years to get
all of their money out to distribute to people to get them back in their
homes. He said he`s dealing with onerous federal regulations that were put
into place after Katrina to protect from fraud. And that`s also been a
problem. He`s hamstrung by the federal government here.
He said they`re doing everything they can to do this as efficiently as
possible. And he points to the fact that all the boardwalks that were
destroyed in the Jersey Shore are back up and running. Infrastructure is
back, roads are back. But he says residential programs and getting
residents back in their homes is just going to take the longest amount of
Now, advocates say that he just -- hasn`t handle this whole issue properly.
They say poor and minorities have been neglected. They say the process has
been politicized and hasn`t been transparent.
And at this point, it`s really a war of words. You saw Senator Menendez, a
Democrat, coming out and blasting Christie today, and Christie firing back
at him. It`s gotten pretty ugly, the rhetoric around Sandy recovery.
O`DONNELL: Matt, my favorite line of Christie`s in that whole thing was,
I`d be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you like. And his
entry into that debate is, sit down and shut up. That was his version of
KATZ: That`s right. That`s the way the governor talks.
It`s pretty amazing the closer he gets to making an expected run for
president, the less he`s changed the way he speaks. He still tells people
who shut up who he doesn`t want to hear from. You know, when he was saying
anytime, anytime, I mean, it sounded to me, I was standing in the back, it
sounds to me like, anything like to fight. All right, buddy, let`s fight
anytime. That`s what it came across as.
And I`ll point out to you, I mean, the cheers you heard, those are for the
governor. I mean, people were loving it. People love this stuff.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Well, I want to hear what kind of cheers he gets on the
sit down and shut up tour in Iowa once he`s a declared candidate. I can`t
wait to see that.
Matt Katz, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
KATZ: Sure thing, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the nurse who Chris Christie could not find a kind
word to say about, the nurse who Chris Christie put under a quarantine,
what was an illegal quarantine when she returned from Africa. She now says
she will not remain in a voluntary quarantine at her home in Maine because
she has no symptoms of Ebola. We`ll talk to her lawyer about what`s going
to happen tomorrow.
And later, we have new video, new information about the spacecraft that
exploded six seconds after launch last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KACI HICKOX, QUARANTINED NURSE: I didn`t sign up for this. I flew into
Newark airport on the wrong day. And, you know, this has all been a little
overwhelming for me. But I still believe that I`m fighting for something
much more than myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Kaci Hickox just a few hours ago outside of the home
she shares with her partner in Fort Kent, Maine. Nurse Hickox who recently
returned from helping Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, has been moved from a
tent quarantine in Newark, New Jersey, to a home quarantine in Maine. On
"The Today Show" this morning, Ms. Hickox said that she did not plan to
stick to Maine`s quarantine guidelines.
Tonight, she said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HICKOX: It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community.
We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine and tried to
resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and
have any interaction with the public even thought I am completely healthy
and symptom free.
I am frustrated by this fact and I have been told that the attorney
general`s intention is to file legal action against me, and if this does
occur, then I will challenge those legal actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Maine governor Paula LePage had this to say about Kaci
Hickox breaking that quarantine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: She`s abiding right now. And she`s
threatened or she said she`s not going to abide any longer, so we are
preparing documents to go ask a judge to help us. So about a 21-day
incubation period, and I just want to protect Maine from that. That`s all.
And if the court says not to worry, hey, don`t worry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Flanked by health care workers who have worked or plan to work
with Ebola patients in West Africa, President Obama said today that the
country must encourage, not discourage, health care workers who want to
volunteer to serve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve got hundreds of
Americans from across the country, nurses, doctors, public health worker,
soldiers, engineers, mechanics who are putting themselves on the frontlines
of this fight. They represent citizenship and patriotism and public
service at its best. They make huge sacrifices to protect this country
that we love.
And when they come home, they deserve to be treated properly. They deserve
to be treated like the heroes that they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, two people who have spoken with Kaci Hickox,
her attorney Norman Siegel and bioethicist Lawrence Costin who is a
professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University.
Norman Siegel, thanks for coming back on the program. What is your client
going to do tomorrow?
NORMAN SIEGEL, ATTORNEY FOR KACI HICKOX: If we get the court order, we`ll
challenge it. There will probably be a hearing either next Monday or next
Wednesday in Maine. We`ll fly up there and we`ll defend her. We`ll argue
that the order is unconstitutional. There`s absolutely no justification
for the state of Maine to put her in a quarantine.
O`DONNELL: Are there things she wants to be doing, needs to be doing
outside of her home in Maine right now?
SIEGEL: Sure. She wants to get a slice of pizza or she wants to get a
quart of milk. She wants to associate with people that she knows in her
community. And the state of Maine is saying no. She is terrific. She`s
articulate, she`s a people person. She knows this disease. Part of this
is to have her voice representing the health workers of America be involved
in this public debate in this country.
I praise the president today. He should take on some of these governors.
Don`t be indirect. Be direct.
O`DONNELL: Lawrence Costin, the question I`ve been asking since this
episode erupted is, why is the governor of New Jersey, or the governor of
New York, not trying to quarantine the medical personnel who walk out of
Bellevue every day now who have been treating Dr. Spencer there? Some of
them live in New Jersey, some of them live in New York, under the
jurisdiction of these two governors.
What would be the rationale under -- under the policy they`ve announced for
not quarantining every medical worker in New York -- working in New York on
that Ebola case in New York?
LAWRENCE COSTIN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: I mean, I think the
inconsistencies really baffling. If you`re going to be quarantining one
person who`s treating somebody and you`re not going to be quarantining
another person who`s got the same exposure, I think the public will just
scratch their head and wonder.
And you know, remember, there are a lot of people going back and forth to
West Africa including U.N. diplomats.
COSTIN: World Bank and others. Are we going to really be quarantining
them all? I think the justification here is very weak.
O`DONNELL: And that`s what makes it looks so clearly, Norman Siegel, like
political grand standing on Chris Christie`s part. It seems to me he
wanted -- he wanted this very much. He wanted this kind of confrontation
so he could look like the tough guy protecting New Jersey and America from
this disease. Stupidly ignoring the fact that the frontline of this battle
is in West Africa. It`s not at Newark Airport.
SIEGEL: I agree with you. They want to look like they`re tough guys.
They`re coming out looking like dumb guys. And the bottom line is, is that
they`re misleading their constituents. They`re telling them certain things
that are not accurate. They should be telling them how this disease is
transmitted and then they should be able to say people who don`t have the
symptoms should not be quarantined.
And there`s an important issue here, and that is we have a history in
America that if, in fact, the health decisions are merely based on fear,
that is unconstitutional. And we`ll have to make this argument and through
this case we`ll be able to educate the public about how Ebola is
transmitted and how America should deal with this issue rather than some of
these renegade states that are involved in putting quarantines in.
O`DONNELL: Lawrence Costin, health workers in America tonight thinking
about going over. They know they`re needed in West Africa. Going over to
help. They`re trying to figure out their schedules. You know, if I take
two weeks off and go over there, if I take three weeks off, they now have
to look at their schedules and not be able to determine, depending on what
state they live in, just how much time they have to carve out for this.
COSTIN: You know, the ironic thing about all this is that, you know, some
of the governors think that they`re actually protecting the residents of
their state, but in fact they`re putting them at greater risk because the
only way we can protect America is by stopping Ebola spinning out of the
control in West Africa.
We have to really put this in perspective. The real fight here is in West
Africa. The suffering there ultimately, if this just rages in West Africa
more and more cases will come here. We want to protect America, we have to
deal with this at its source. And this is just going to discourage people
from going. And these are heroes. We want to encourages these heroes.
SIEGEL: There`s another issue here, and that is following the rule of law.
SIEGEL: And the Constitution is sacrosanct in my opinion. And if you have
these policies, the mantra is we`re being extra careful. We`re concerned
about our constituents. But the other factor here is that they have to do
whatever they`re going to do consistent with constitutional principles.
And that`s a lesson that all of America should learn.
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Doctor. Go ahead.
COSTIN: I was just going to say, you know, in fact, the Supreme Court has
said that if you confine somebody who hasn`t committed a crime, in their
words, a massive deprivation of liberty. You have to have good reason for
COSTIN: Believe me I would support this if the public was at risk, but
O`DONNELL: Norman Siegel and Lawrence Costin, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight. Thank you.
SIEGEL: Thank you, Lawrence.
COSTIN: Great. Thanks.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, "The Washington Post" rewrites its terrible
reporting on the autopsy of Michael Brown.
And later, new information and new video of that spacecraft that exploded
just after liftoff last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: One of the country`s most important newspapers has a very
important headline that it should rewrite. This morning, Washington woke
up to a front page headline in "The Washington Post" that is not true and
was proven not true last night on this program at the very moment when that
headline was actually being printed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It took "The Washington Post" one full week to respond to my
criticism of their coverage of last week`s autopsy of Michael Brown --
leaked autopsy -- who was of course shot and killed by Ferguson police
officer Darren Wilson.
Last week`s inaccurate and misleading front page story about the autopsy
was followed today by a story on page three of "The Washington Post" under
the headline, "Michael Brown autopsy quotes were taken out of context
expert says." The expert the article is referring to there is forensic
pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek who first said her quotes were taken out of
context by the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" on this program last Wednesday at
the very moment that "The Washington Post" was printing what she says were
her out of context quotes.
Here is the first sentence of today`s "Washington Post" article. "A
forensic pathologist quoted in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story about the
shooting death of Michael Brown said, some of her statements concerning the
autopsy were taken out of context."
Wow. So you`d never know in that first sentence that she was quoted in
"The Washington Post," saying those same things, out of context. So this
story reads like it`s about the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" getting Dr.
Melinek`s comments wrong, not "The Washington Post." So why would "The
Washington Post" be so excited about the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" printing
a statement out of context?
Well, for those very few readers who made it all the way to paragraph 13 of
the "Washington Post" story today, they discovered this sentence. "The
Post`s" article quoted from "The Post-Dispatch`s" interview with Melinek.
That was one of my primary criticisms of the "Washington Post" article that
the authors of it irresponsibly lifted Dr. Melinek`s quotes from the "St.
Louis Post-Dispatch" without ever calling Dr. Melinek and checking with
And if "The Washington Post" reporters had bothered to contact Dr. Melinek,
she would have warned them against using those quotes. Why "The Washington
Post" simply lifted those quotes from the "Post-Dispatch" without checking
with the source remains a mystery that today`s "Washington Post" article
very carefully refuses to address.
"The Washington Post" did a terrible job of reporting on that leaked
autopsy, but they still can`t bring themselves to openly admit that the way
that the "New York Times," for example, admitted it when I criticized a
terrible report on the Michael Brown investigation that ran on "The New
York Times" front page. "The New York Times" graciously accepted that
criticism of mine.
"The Washington Post" actually runs an article today where they interview
an editor of the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" about why that paper quoted Dr.
Melinek out of context, but no one at "The Washington Post" is interviewed
in that article and asked why "The Washington Post" used that quote without
checking with the source.
It is a pathetic correction by "The Washington Post" to a pathetic piece of
reporting by "The Washington Post." In which "The Washington Post" does
not have the courage yet or the integrity to acknowledge what it did wrong
in framing Dr. Melinek`s comments for "The Washington Post" readers. And
the only reason "The Washington Post" ran this correction today is because
I exposed "The Washington Post`s" terrible reporting here on this program.
Now we can hope that this is the last time that I have to force one of
America`s great newspapers to rewrite their reporting on the killing of
Michael Brown. The reporters at "The New York Times" and "The Washington
Post" whose mistakes I`ve exposed know a lot more than I do know a lot of
things. But none of them, none of them know more than I do about police
use of deadly force both legal and illegal police use of deadly force.
I wrote a book about it 30 years ago. I started studying the subject long
before that and I`ve been studying it ever since. There is no subject that
I know better than police use of deadly force. And since "The New York
Times" graciously accepted my criticism of their reporting, I have not
found fault with any of their reporting in the Michael Brown case.
Knowing that critics like me are looking over their shoulders has sharpened
"The Times" approach to the story. Because "The Washington Post" still
refuses to honestly come to terms with their faulty reporting last week,
I`m not confident that they even know how to sharpen their reporting of the
Michael Brown case.
Up next, a man who participated in one of the three autopsies of Michael
Brown will give us his analysis of the most important part of the autopsy.
The gunshot wound that killed Michael Brown.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is a man who assisted in a private autopsy
requested by Michael Brown`s family. Shawn Parcells is a forensic
And Shawn, as you know, the big news last week in the leaking of the
official county autopsy was that there was gunpowder residue of some sort
on Michael Brown`s hand. And the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" and "The
Washington Post" falsely reported that that indicated, and in their
language proved that Michael Brown had to have been wrestling for the gun.
We established on this program that there were many other possible
alternatives that that finding was consistent with in terms of that.
But what I want to concentrate on tonight is not the first gunshots inside
the car. But the separate incident. And it is a separate incident where
the officers steps out of the car, after Michael Brown has run away from
the car and no one disputes that Michael Brown ran away from the car. We
know he ran away from the car. And he is shot then at some distance. And
there is -- there`s a -- there are two shots into his head including one
shot very high toward the top of his head that goes straight down into his
And one of the things I was pushing last week on the issue of the autopsy
is what does the evidence of the autopsy tell us about that shot, which is
the -- those two shots to the head, much more important shots because those
are the shots that killed him. And those are the shots that have to be
individually justified by the officer.
SHAWN PARCELLS, ASSISTED IN MICHAEL BROWN`S AUTOPSY: Correct. Correct.
Well, thanks for having me again. The shot to the very top of the head,
the apex, occurred right here at the skull. And everyone has been --
O`DONNELL: Shawn, could you just hold that there?
O`DONNELL: Hold that pen there for a second? That far back on the skull?
PARCELLS: Correct. This far back on the skull.
O`DONNELL: See, I`m learning this now. I thought it was inches forward
toward the hairline.
PARCELLS: No, no. The very top of the head. The apex of the head.
PARCELLS: That -- what attorneys called as the kill shot. Actually
entered at almost the very top of the apex of the head.
O`DONNELL: So his head had to be bent much farther over than I had
imagined that it had to be bent over.
PARCELLS: Correct. And to go with that, understand that the shot was not
actually going straight down in the head like this. It was actually going
at a forward angle like this.
O`DONNELL: Wow. Wow.
PARCELLS: So if I`m --
O`DONNELL: And he is 6`4", so he really has to bend over to get that --
PARCELLS: Yes, exactly. And what it indicates is that if he turns -- if
he`s charging at the officer -- and understand, this shot does not prove or
disprove whether he was charging the officer or not. But if he`s facing
Darren Wilson and Darren Wilson`s gun is facing straight on at him, he
would almost have to be bent over this far to get that angle.
PARCELLS: Almost like a linebacker or a lineman coming off the line on a
PARCELLS: It`s more consistent with his head falling and Officer Wilson`s
barrel of the gun pointing towards the ground and as it enters Michael
Brown`s head, the bullet is coming down and Michael Brown is almost at or
on the ground when it goes into his skull.
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
PARCELLS: The gunshot wound that actually entered above the right eyebrow
actually comes at a slightly backwards angle this way. And what that tells
us is that it hit the skull prior to the bullet hitting the top of the
skull because of the difference of the angles.
But forensically, if you really look at this, what it really tells us is
that Michael Brown was already falling and almost at or on the ground when
those two gunshots were received.
O`DONNELL: And what Officer Wilson is going to have to explain is what was
the threat that Michael Brown posed to him when he -- when his head was
bent that far over down close to the pavement, it looks like, in that
angle. What was the threat posed to him, at what distance before he put
that final bullet into his skull.
PARCELLS: Correct. You are absolutely correct.
O`DONNELL: Shawn Parcells, thank you very much for joining us tonight and
thank you very much for showing us that wound trajectory. I just learned
something that was not clear to me before you used that exhibit for us.
Thank you very much.
PARCELLS: No problem. Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Now and coming up, we`re going to have new video of that
spacecraft that exploded last night. That`s coming up next.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, NASA completed an initial assessment after an unmanned
commercial spacecraft exploded last night seconds after liftoff. The
incident response team found some damage to the launch site and buildings
in the immediate area. A journalist watching the launch last night took
this video of the explosion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, god. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) oh, god. (EXPLETIVE
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s going to be (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is NBC News space analyst Jim Oberg. He is a
former NASA Mission Control operator.
Jim, there`s some report today indicating that it is possible that the
controllers of the flight actually brought it down, something -- they saw
something going wrong, knew it could only get worse and they wanted to stop
it in flight before it could travel into an area where it coming down would
do more damage.
JAMES OBERG, NBC NEWS SPACE ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, that`s their job and
that`s what they would do, but exactly when that order was given and when
it was actually performed has to be determined. They have to do a timeline
of all these events. It looks to me like something was going wrong on the
rocket about six seconds along with a lot of, what we call deflagration or
conflagration at the back end.
Not an explosion, but a burst of hot gas. It then settled back down again
and disappeared in that cloud. The explosion occurred about when the
rocket would have reached the ground, or it could have been these explosive
charges. We can`t tell yet.
O`DONNELL: And there`s a lot of talk now about the old Russian engines
that are -- that were used on that rocket, rebuilt Russian engines. What`s
your reaction to that?
OBERG: My reaction is that we can speculate, but the investigators can`t.
Because they cannot set up theories going into the accident. They have to
keep their minds clear so that they don`t unconsciously bias their
selection of clues that they detect.
To me, as the rocket rose, and I watched this video several dozen times, it
rose, hesitated, and then after the base of it became enveloped in flame,
began to settle straight back down. And that suggests that both the engine
had turned off at the same time. Otherwise it would have tilted or
tumbled. Straight back down, run but straight into the ground. That might
suggest that there was a failure upstream with the engines. Again we don`t
know yet. Everyone is doing a rush to judgment on these engines. I think
O`DONNELL: Jim Oberg, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
OBERG: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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