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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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November 11, 2014

Guest: Arthur Caplan, Karen Huster, Adrian Karatnycky, Michael Stutman

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, shouldn`t you and I maybe go
over to France and help them investigate this thing? And, you know, kind
of --

RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: We should at least go to France and talk
about it over dinner.

O`DONNELL: Exactly. That`s a plan. Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, Congress comes back to work tomorrow with just days
left until the Democratic Party control of the United States Senate.
Howard Dean is here to tell us what the Democrats should do now.


STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: It is time for Republicans to govern.
Before this, they were just paid extras on C-Span.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a whole new team coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Congress is going to cooperate, then God love

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What, if anything, is going to get done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s in both of their interests to get something

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to fight, they want to destroy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hatch is going to put Obamacare under a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitch McConnell is smart enough politically to not
try to repeal the entire law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCain at Armed Services.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Now, it`s time for us to sit down and
develop a strategy.

COLBERT: The obligation to enact the agenda of the angriest man in
the smallest county in Iowa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re coming back and will be all over it.

COLBERT: Could they drive his approval rating all the way up to zero?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican Party wants to make everything a
fight over the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama is expected to act on immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did promise to act.

COLBERT: Nobody likes people who actually govern. I mean, look at

eventually solve problems. We`ve handled Ebola well.

COLBERT: He turned the economy around and give millions of people
health care. What a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hole.


O`DONNELL: After a seven-week recess, Congress returns to work
tomorrow for an important lame duck session. The first and possibly only
order of business will be the funding of the government of the United
States, which is scheduled to run out of funding on December 11th.

"The Washington Post" reports House and Senate negotiators have been
at work for weeks on a comprehensive bill to fund federal agencies through
next September. An aide said they hope to bring a measure to the vote
before the December 11th deadline.

Republican leaders, including Senator Mitch McConnell, would rather
get the bills for fiscal 2015, which began in October, out of the way, so
they can focus on crafting a budget for fiscal 2016.

Unelected Republican leader Rush Limbaugh doesn`t understand that
Republican budget strategy.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Now, if I ran the Republican Party and I
had just skunked the Democrats and I had just gotten more seats in the
House and Senate than I`ve had in 55,000 years, I would say OK, spending
authority ends December 11th. And we get sworn in on January 5th or
whatever it is, I`ll come up with a funding bill for three weeks. And then
we budget so as to give ourselves opportunity to defund that part of
Obamacare and defund that part, knowing he`s going to veto it, but we still
do it. We make him the obstructer.

But what I`m seeing in this story is the Republicans don`t want to do
that. They want to take care of 10 months of spending before December
11th. If you`re serious about repealing parts of Obamacare, to say if he`s
serious about he`s not going to get away with executive amnesty, the only
tool they`ve got, the power of the purse and they`re going to throw that
away, I understand.


O`DONNELL: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who will be the Budget
Committee chairman in the Republican-led Senate next year, agrees with Rush
Limbaugh, writing in an op-ed in "Politico" today, "Why would any member of
Congress who opposes executive amnesty provide President Obama the funds to
carry it out? A Republican majority must force congressional Democrats to
answer this question through their votes. We cannot surrender Congress`
most powerful constitutional tool before a single, newly elected Republican
is sworn in."

Joining me now, Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and former
Democratic National Committee chairman, and David Corn, Washington bureau
chief for "Mother Jones" magazine, both are MSNBC contributors.

Howard Dean, so what do the Democrats do now?

HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, if we can get the budget
through, that would be a good thing. It`s interesting some of the
Republicans are interested in responsible government.

But, of course, the outliers are not. The Jeff Sessions and Rush
Limbaughs of the world, who we know, in fact, does run the Republican
Party. So, we`ll see.

I mean, the first thing is to fund the government, and the second
thing is going to be a brawl, because the Republicans are going to have to
compromise for the first time in four years. If we do, we can get some
stuff done. If they don`t, we`ll see what happens in 2016.

O`DONNELL: It`s a huge test for McConnell right off the bat, this
budget issue, because if he does go for the 10-month budget, and he can do
it because he would have enough Republican votes to add to Democratic votes
to do that. He can do that.

DEAN: Right.

O`DONNELL: It would be the responsible choice. It would be in
defiance, no doubt, of the Ted Cruz wing of that party, and it would tell
us a lot about what Mitch McConnell intends to do as leader.

DEAN: This is an interesting position McConnell is in because he
knows that if he is irresponsible, probably, he strengthens Hillary
Clinton`s hand, assuming she`s the nominee, greatly. And he doesn`t want
to do that.

On the other hand, if he`s responsible, he`s now got to confront the
Tea Party such as it is. He`s got a tough choice ahead of him.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, it seems like the tough choice is, do you want
to do that now, Mitch, or do you want to do that later? Because at some
point, the Tea Party, the Cruz party, will try to push him to a level of
nuttiness, like not raising the debt ceiling or something like that. Is
the McConnell move, let me show them right now that I`ve in charge, I`m
going to crush them on this budget thing.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, it`s only been about a
week since the last election, and it`s already time to play Republican
civil war. I mean, you know, Governor Dean, I agree with what he said, but
he called some of these folks outliers. Often in the past, they`ve been
the in-liars. It`s not just in the Senate, it`s what happens in the House.
They have to pass the bill, too.

And you could have one of these wonderful dances on Capitol Hill where
Ted Cruz mobilizing not Senate Republicans, but House Republicans to oppose
the Republican leadership.

Mitch McConnell right after the election said there will be no
government shutdowns on my watch. Now, a lot of Republicans didn`t like
the fact that he took away that threat, the ability to hold the government
hostage, which he once upon a time embraced.

And so, I think -- but I think it`s right. There will be a crunch
time when we`ll see whether John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are in charge,
whether the Tea Party tail is still wagging the dog.

O`DONNELL: Governor Dean, you`re widely quoted on what you said on
"Meet the Press" this weekend, about the Democrats running way from
President Obama. In fact, if we have that in the control room, I`d like to
show that now. We`re going to show that now.


DEAN: The Republican message was, we`re not Obama. No substance
whatsoever. We`re not Obama.

What`s the Democrats` message? Oh, well, we really aren`t either.

You cannot win if you are afraid. It sounded and felt like it. Where
the hell is the Democratic Party? You got to stand for something if you
want to win.


O`DONNELL: Is that a lesson learned for the Democratic Party?

DEAN: They`ve been trying to learn this lesson for quite a number of
years. I haven`t seen any evidence that they have. It`s not that they
don`t stand for anything, they just don`t seem to be able to articulate a
message that connects with people`s values.

Democrats inside Washington have been trying to explain issues for
years. People don`t vote on the issues. They vote on values. For
Democrats, issues are a proxy for values.

So, now, in fairness, Kay Hagan ran a great campaign and she lost
because there was a tide. But you can`t blame her for this stuff.

But these people are trying to run away from Obama. You don`t have to
run away from Obama. They say, well, this guy is always for Obama, he
votes with Obama.

The retort for that is, of course, I voted with Obama, because you
wanted to gut social security, you wanted to give it to corporations and
take it from the working people. I`m for the working person.

You want to see a great indication of how you should message, look at
Bill Clinton`s campaign in 1992. He was asked about gay marriage. What do
you think about gay marriage, governor? Very interesting issue, but I`m
here to talk about the economy -- boom, boom, boom, there was none of that.
Virtually none of that.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, what do you think the chances are it`s a
lesson learned for the Democrats.

CORN: Well, I think the governor is right now, and it`s a lesson that
has to be learned, if it`s ever learned again and again and again.

You know, the Democratic Party, historically, I think, has had more
ideological divisions within it than the Republicans. They usually have
historically been on the same page. Their message is simple, anti-
government, anti-taxes, and anti-Democrats, anti-liberals and a little
fear-mongering on the side.

The Democrats get into these positions so much when they`re explaining
too much. And, you know, in 2010, they said they lost, the White House
lost the Democrats, because they didn`t sell their issues strongly enough
and their successes. The same thing happened in 2014.

O`DONNELL: I want to consider something the "American Spectator" said
in an encouragement for Ted Cruz about the government shutdown. It said
the shutdown worked.

It says, "What Ted Cruz accomplished last fall was drawing a very
bright Reagan-esque line that differentiated Republicans from Democrats.
Political disaster was uniformly predicted. Instead, the exact opposite
happened. Will Republicans learn anything here?"

Howard Dean, are they right? Ted Cruz`s shutdown was a success for

DEAN: "The American Spectator" is a nutty right-wing magazine, along
with "The Daily Caller" and all that stuff. Why anyone would take it
seriously I have no idea.

O`DONNELL: But a lot of people predicted that was a political
disaster for Republicans and then they come back and win.

DEAN: To be honest with you, that`s because Boehner and McConnell
pulled back from the precipice. They basically threw Cruz over the side
and they passed -- Boehner did something which was I thought fairly
courageous. He passed a bill that would fund the government over the
objections of the majority of his party and passed that bill with roughly
125, 130 Democrats and 130 Republicans. That`s a tough thing to do. He
did the right thing.

So, they actually undid all the damage that Cruz did. I only wish
that were true. I wish Cruz had, in fact, been able to carry the day.

O`DONNELL: So, Republicans actually had to live with the damage.

DEAN: Yes, but they didn`t have to live with it, because the people
in the Republican Party pulled back from the abyss.


CORN: And don`t forget, after that, there was the failure of the
health care Web site, there was the V.A. scandal, which might not have been
as big a scandal as people thought. And, of course, this year, Ebola,
Syria, a lot of things came afterwards to set the tone for the election. A
year in politic, as we all know, is a lifetime.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, "The New York Times" editorializing today
that there`s no reason to wait on confirming the next attorney general. I
made that point here last night. Loretta Lynch has been confirmed by the
Senate twice unanimously. They`ve done the background check. They know
who she is. Shouldn`t that be something that Harry Reid pushes for?

DEAN: Yes, I think Pat Leahy as the head of the judiciary committee
is the most likely to hear that one and I think he will. And he`ll try to
do the right thing, and we`ll see if the Republicans want to delay.

I can`t think of why the Republicans would want to delay. I have some
hopes that McConnell and Boehner will actually want to try to govern for
the first time. If they do, that`s going to be good for the country.

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

DEAN: Thank you.

CORN: Sure thing.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, how a long time ago Ted Kennedy taught Jeb Bush
what to say if Jeb Bush runs for president.

And, Chris Christie was once again proven wrong today, shamefully


O`DONNELL: Chris Christie desperately wants to be president, but in
his last term on the national stage, in making a governing decision, he was
driven by sheer ignorance, fear and panic. And America has never been much
inclined to elect terrified panic victims president of the United States.
That`s next.



GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There`s no question the woman is
ill. The question is, what is her illness?


O`DONNELL: And there is no question that New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie was lying when he said that about nurse Kaci Hickox who had
recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. Kaci
Hickox was never ill. And Chris Christie was never given one shred of
evidence that she was ill.

Chris Christie illegally quarantined nurse Hickox in New Jersey after
she arrived at Newark Airport from West Africa, and a forehead scan at the
airport measured her temperature at 101. That same day at the hospital
where Chris Christie illegally held Kaci Hickox, her temperature was
measured by professional medical personnel at 98.6.

And while under Chris Christie`s illegal quarantine, nurse Kaci Hickox
tested negative for Ebola. But the Ebola panicked governor of New Jersey
insisted to his state and the world that Kaci Hickox was a threat to
America, not an American hero. When able lawyers who Chris Christie feared
rushed to nurse Hickox`s defense, Chris Christi Christie, who had no legal
or medical basis for quarantining nurse Hickox released her, whereupon she
went home to Maine and defied the Ebola-panicked governor of Maine`s
attempt to keep her locked in her home. Her lawyers convinced a Maine
judge to rule against the governor`s anti-scientific plan for Kaci Hickox.

Today marked the 21st day since Kaci Hickox was in the Ebola region,
and the point at which medical scientists agree, she is officially outside
the incubation period of Ebola, and has proven to Chris Christie and the
world that she was never a threat to anyone.

Today, outside of her house in Maine, Kaci Hickox said this.


lot of people have messages for him that are better than mine. I will bite
my tongue on that one. But like I said, I just -- you know, I hope that we
continue asking politicians hard questions and really holding them up to a
standard that they should be held to. I want them to be more accountable
for what they say and what they do. And right now, I just don`t see any


O`DONNELL: Before we show you what nurse Hickox had to say about the
utterly incompetent and consistently foolish governor of Maine, here is an
example of what that governor had to say about this hero when she arrived
home in Maine.


REPORTER: So, you don`t want her getting among other people?

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: I don`t want her within three feet of
anybody. Let`s put it this way -- I`m going to use the legal provisions to
the fullest extent that the law allows me. And I just hope that she
recognizes that.


O`DONNELL: When asked about Maine`s governor today, nurse Hickox said


HICKOX: I think it`s specifically disappointing when you have
politicians who treat people in such a way, you know, LePage said a lot of
things about me that were just, first of all, untrue, and of course, he
doesn`t know me. And to use that tactic I think says a lot about his


O`DONNELL: The United States of America officially became Ebola free
today when Dr. Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who tested positive
for Ebola last month was pronounced cured and was released from Bellevue


DR. CRAIG SPENCER, CURED OF EBOLA: My early detection, reporting and
now recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that
are in place for health staff returning from West Africa.


O`DONNELL: Wile incompetent governors like Christie and LePage were
panicking, which is the worst thing a leader can ever do, there was one
political leader who consistently told the country there was no reason to
panic and never lost sight of who the real leaders are in the war against


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. When they come home, they deserve to be treated
properly. They deserve to be treated like the heroes that they are.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now are: Arthur Caplan, director of medical
ethics at NYU Medical Center, and via Skype, nurse Karen Huster who is
planning to return to West Africa as a health care volunteer on Saturday.

Karen Huster, what are you expecting when you return to this country?
Are you expecting the returning hero treatment that President Obama would
give you? Or something like treatment that one of these panicked governors
might give you?

that science prevails. And I hope that I do not get the treatment Chris
Christie gave nurse Hickox. I think that there was evidence that was
proven by her that she did exactly the right thing. She requested science
and evidence. And so, fought back the system and she won.

And I think this country as President Obama said, its Constitution
such that it`s prevailed and allowed her to be free.

O`DONNELL: Arthur Caplan, what have we learned from this? What was
your sense of where this is today? And if another nurse gets off an
airplane at Newark Airport, has Chris Christie -- do you think he has
learned something about how to deal with this?

ARTHUR CAPLAN, NYU MEDICAL CENTER: First, I think we`ve learned that
thank goodness the election is over so we don`t have any more terrorists
bringing Ebola here, which is another myth that got circulated. Ebola
would be one tough thing to use as a weapon. You`d be dead before you
could control it.


CAPLAN: I`m nervous. I think the leadership of this country,
particularly those governors, did set an atmosphere where there would still
be a lot of support. You see it in polls about quarantine. The American
people are now nervous, they`re afraid. They`re worried that somehow or
another, we`ve got to lock up noninfectious, non-symptomatic people.

If there`s one thing we have learned from Ebola is if that if you
don`t have pretty severe symptoms and if you`re not in intimate contact,
you`re not going to transmit. So, it`s not easy to get. The quarantine
policy that was advanced, it will hold up in court, but I`m nervous it`s
not going to be the last time we see it.

O`DONNELL: President Obama called Dr. Spencer from China and had a
conversation with him. I want to show you something else that Dr. Spencer
said today when he was released from the hospital.


SPENCER: Please join me in turning our attention back to West Africa,
and ensuring that medical volunteers and other aiders do not face stigma
and threats upon their return home.


O`DONNELL: Karen Huster, we are trying to turn our attention to West
Africa, where it belong, which is the first line of defense against this.
You`re going there. Your focus is clearly on that.

How do you suggest the American media, as this story goes forward,
keep its focus on the story in West Africa?

HUSTER: I think it`s exactly right.

Dr. Spencer wants the attention back in Africa, and that`s exactly
where it should be. The media should be very alert as to how the epidemic
is unfolding. I think it`s changing a little bit right now from the
Liberia to Sierra Leone, which has seen worsening up cases. And it would
be great for the media to keep on pushing for good attention to all those
countries, Sierra Leone, to guinea, which are seeing recurrences of cases.

And then at the same time, just showcase some of the issues that
exist, for example, in the lack of staff, in the lack of Ebola treatment
unit, and the lack of systems. Just show all the areas that we need to
strengthen still in Western Africa.

O`DONNELL: Arthur Caplan, you know, there`s an impression, there`s
always been an impression that people go to medical school to get rich.
It`s a very high-paying profession, and that`s one of the big reasons to
go. It turns out there`s a lot of easier ways to get rich in this country
that people have figured out, especially on Wall Street.

But what we`re seeing in doctors like Dr. Spencer and in medical
people like Karen Huster is these people are obviously not about how do
they maximize their income? This hurts their income to do this and now we
have added potential risks to their income by saying, when you come back,
we`re not at all sure what might happen to you for a month or so.

CAPLAN: And there`s stigma, too. Bellevue staff by NYU doctors, I
know some of the people who took care of Dr. Spencer. They`re kids, some
play dates got canceled. People said, I`m not sure I want to go out to a
restaurant with you.

So, there`s a lot of burden. Unfortunately, these are the best we`
got. We`ve got Karen and others who are heroes willing to take the risks,
willing to go out there. It`s not just Ebola. These are tough countries.
They were bad to visit before Ebola. Very poor, no infrastructure.

So, what really want to do is thank them for their service. I feel
like we ought to treat the same as we do people who have come back from
military service in Iraq and Afghanistan, acknowledge their courage and try
to encourage more people to do what they`re doing and use them as role

O`DONNELL: Karen Huster, why are you doing it? Most people with your
training, as well as we have, we do have hero doctors and nurses in this
country. Most of them choose not to leave the country and take risks and
do this kind of work in foreign countries. Why are you doing it?

HUSTER: You know, I work in trauma units in big hospital in Seattle
that does a lot of care for homeless people, for indigent people. So, my
focus has always been to the underserved. I think this is an extension of
my passion, which is to serve the people who don`t always -- or who cannot
always have the care that they deserve.

And so, that`s also why I chose to go with Partners in Health, which
is an NGO that does social justice work. And to reach out to those spaces
has been so weakened that they cannot take on today the response by

O`DONNELL: Arthur Caplan, thanks for joining us tonight.

And Karen Huster, thank you for your bravery and for your service.
Thank you very much.

HUSTER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Obama had a few chats today with
Vladimir Putin at a summit in Beijing, and a few awkward moments were
caught by photographers. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: In "Spotlight" tonight, President Obama meets President
Putin. In just a few minutes, --


-- President Obama and Chinese President Xi are expected to hold a
joint press conference in Beijing. But, yesterday, at the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation Summit, the focus was on the chilly interaction
between President Obama and Russia`s president, Vladimir Putin.Ms112230

According to Reuters, "At the start of the summit on Tuesday, Chinese
President Xi walked in with Obama and Putin, both unsmiling on either side
of him."

"`It`s beautiful, isn`t it?` Putin was overheard saying in English in
Obama`s general direction, referring to the ornate conference room. `Yes,`
Obama replied coldly, according to journalists who witnessed the scene."

When the three presidents went to sit at the head table, Putin put his
arm on President Obama, making for another awkward photo op.


Though tensions between the two presidents have never been worse, a
National Security Council spokesperson confirmed that President Obama --


-- and Putin did speak on three separate occasions Tuesday, for a
total of 15 to 20 minutes. The sideline conversations covered Iran, Syria
and Ukraine.


U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said this Tuesday in
Beijing --


deeply troubled by Russia`s activities. We`ve seen the continued provision
of supporters and separatists, including heavy weapons that are in complete
violation of the spirit of the Minsk Agreement.

What Russia will finds is, if they continue to do that, it`s a recipe
for isolation from a broad swath of international community. At the same
time, we`ve had differences with them on Ukraine.

We`re working to pursue an Iran agreement. We`re working in a range
of areas where we can make progress together.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Adrian , a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic
Counsel. And Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large for "Atlantic"
magazine and an MSNBC Contributor.

Adrian, is it your sense that these conversations today were kind of
unscheduled little snippets of two men moving around the same conference
center in the course of the day.

clearly, they were not prepared.


ADRIAN: I think Putin really craving acceptance as one of the big
major leaders. And I think one of the things that drives him as certain
kind of megalomania, and I keep reminding people that Russia`s economy is
about the size of Italy`s --


-- and is about 1/18 the size of the NATO alliance countries. But
Putin, you know, certainly, Putin can beat up on Ukraine.

But I think he is a smaller player in all this. And he`s craving this
kind of acceptance at a different level.

But he`s not behaving in a way to be acceptable so, I think, he`s
causing oodles of trouble to kind of get into the club.

O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, what`s the most we can hope for in these
encounters today.

STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think, you see two leaders
that are not completely riding each other off.


I generally agree with Adrian, with the exception that Russia still
has quite a number of nuclear warheads as a member of the Permanent Five
and has, --


-- what it believes to be, a sphere of influence in which it`s
engaging right now in intimidation tactics against Sweden, against Denmark,
against Moldova, against The Baltics and, you know, trying to sort of
stretch itself.

And within Russia itself, Vladimir Putin`s popularity continues to be
extremely high with this kind of obnoxious behavior because, I think, he
is, you know, pretending the matter in a way.

So, I think that what`s important between Obama and Putin is that they
demonstrate that they`re not completely isolated from one another because
there are fundamental key strategic interests that overlap.

Russia has been cooperating with us on the whole with Iran. It plays
a key role, potentially, with issues like ISIS. And I think that that all
needs to happen.

So, Obama himself is also showing that all eggs are not in one basket,
that we`re not all just about Ukraine. That would be a terrible failure of
strategic thinking on the U.S. part. But Ukraine matters, but it`s not

O`DONNELL: Adrian, do we know enough about the man, Vladimir Putin,
to know the best methods of dealing with him for the present.

KARATNYCKY: Well, I think that the general read -- I just came back
from Western Europe and I met -- Central Europe and I met with a lot of the
leaders and the advisors to the --


-- to the leaders of the NATO, the countries that matters inside NATO
and inside the European Union. And the general read on Putin is that he is
an extremely emotional, not a very stable guy.


And that`s a very dangerous reality. People believe that you have to
engage him. You have to give him a place to kind of -- to move, to exit if
he wants to exit.

But he has shown no inclination for months to exit this crisis in
Ukraine. He`s accelerated, he has escalated, every time, he has escalated
the violence.


And, today, there is the massing of new forces. He`s training new
fighters. He`s sending in unit tanks, howitzers and weapons to these
insurgents. Half of them come Russia.

There`s no sign that he wants that exit ramp. But people are still
looking. I think that`s the only way out.

And that is pressure against him -- support for Ukraine to defend
itself to the extent that it can. And, maybe, some hope that he will look
at the --


-- decline of the ruble, the stagnation of his economy, the fact that
they`re now talking about massive inflation in Russia -- all of these
things coming to a head because this guy is kind of petulant and wants to
exert a sphere of influence where, I think, he really --


-- cannot. I mean, he doesn`t have the economic capacity to absorb,
you know -- I mean, he`s threatening Sweden, he`s threatening the
Scandinavian countries.

I mean, it`s preposterous to think that Russia would have a sphere of
influence beyond its economic means.

True, it has a sort of a nuclear capacity to threaten the world, but
that is, you know, that is not a -- you know, that is not a weapon that
Russia is likely to exercise. It`s going to threaten, it`s going to

So, I think, all he does is he beats up on the weakest states. He
beats up on Ukraine, he beats up on Moldova, he beats up Georgia. That`s
all he can basically do.


And, so far, it`s working. But there are polls that actually show
that about 70 percent of Russian people would argue against anyone in their
family fighting against Ukraine, on the Ukraine front.

There are only about 10 to 15 percent of people who would support what
Putin is clandestinely doing in Russia. So, the calculus may change.

I think we just have to be ready for a dialogue. We have to have a
relationship on these other issues.

Steve is absolutely right. We have to have a relationship to solve
problems, if we can, on Iran and on Syria. But, fundamentally, you know,
we`ve got to be tough.


We`ve got to be tough with Putin. But we all, at the same time, have
to kind of respect and give him a kind of an exit ramp should he choose to
use it.

O`DONNELL: And Steve Clemons, given all that economic strain --


-- that Vladimir Putin is facing, why haven`t the sanctions had more
of an impact on his decision-making.

CLEMONS: Well, I think, Vladimir Putin wants what`s happening to
happen. I think he`s willing to pay --


-- a very high price. I think we tried -- one of the mistakes that
was made during the Cold War is that we were constantly applying our
calculus and mirror-imaging how we would respond if, you know, looking at
how the Soviets, at that time, were behaving.

I think, when we saw Vladimir Putin, you know, tolerate pretty well,
you know, the confinement of the wealth of his cronies, seeing banks and
sectors of his economy sanctioned and then continue to proceed, means that
-- you know, I don`t think he`s just, you know, has personal personality

I think that he had a design in which he is calculating right now that
the United States looks weak and is doubted in the world. He is looking at
Obama and the election that just happened, and calculating that this is the
time to make his move, to muscle out a bit, to demonstrate Russia`s
strength in the world.


O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons and Adrian Karatnycky, thank you both very
much for joining me tonight.

CLEMONS: Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jeb Bush just might be the first candidate for
office who finds being related to a president is a political negative.

Ted Kennedy, whose brother was also a president taught Jeb Bush how to
handle that problem over 50 years ago. That`s in tonight`s "Rewrite."




me late. Come on. Oh, baby, don`t you want to go to that same old place.


O`DONNELL: And, now for the "Good News," that`s the Delta Blues
Museum Arts and Education Program --


-- Band playing at the White House late yesterday. The Delta Blues
Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi was one of the organizations receiving
from the President`s Committee on the Arts and Humanities at the White

Twelve programs received the award, plus $10,000 and an invitation to
the White House for the awards ceremony. One of the 12 recipients was an
11-year-old musician my old neighborhood of Dorchester in Boston, Johnny

First Lady Michelle Obama presented the Humanities Award to Johnny
Boyd and Mary Jaffee of Project Step, which promotes classical stringed
instrument training for young students.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I also hope that events like this show
our kids that they`ve got a lot of people behind them, right. There are
just so many people around the world who have your backs.

Sometimes, it doesn`t feel that way but, look, you`ve got all these
folks who have your back. You`ve got a president and a first lady.


We`ve got your backs. We believe in you.


We really do.


O`DONNELL: Next in the "Rewrite," what Ted Kennedy taught Jeb Bush a
long time ago.



was Edward Moore, with his qualifications -- with your qualifications, Ted,
if it was Edward Moore, your candidacy would be a joke. But nobody is


Nobody is laughing. Nobody is laughing because his name is not Edward
Moore. It`s Edward Moore Kennedy.


O`DONNELL: That was Ted Kennedy`s first debate in his first campaign
for public office. He had just turned 30 years old, the minimum age for
United States senators as required by the Constitution.

And he was running for what had been his big brother, John`s, Senate
seat before his big brother became president. Massachusetts voters had
never seen a less qualified candidate for Senate except for one thing -- if
elected, Edward Moore Kennedy would always be able to get the President of
the United States on the phone.

His opponent for the Democratic nomination, Edward McCormack, who you
just saw there, found that unseemly.


MCCORMACK: You are not running on qualifications. You are running on
a slogan.

You can do more for Massachusetts. And I say, do more how? Because
of experience, because of maturity of judgment, because of qualifications?

I say no. This is the most insulting slogan I have seen in
Massachusetts politics because this slogan means vote for this man because
he has influence, he has connections, he has relations.

O`DONNELL: The man who you just saw decrying the fact that Teddy
Kennedy had connections and had relations was himself, the nephew of the
then Speaker of the House, the U.S. House of Representatives, South
Boston`s own John McCormack, the most powerful Massachusetts politician of
all, until Massachusetts won back the presidency with JFK in 1960.

Eddie McCormack, the nephew of the most powerful legislature in
America, had trouble making connections seem like a bad thing in that
campaign, especially for an Irish politician in Boston or, in those days,
for everyone, having connections was everything.

No one thought having connections was a bad thing. What we`re hearing
now from Team Bush is a "Rewrite" of what Eddie McCormack said about Teddy

Eddie McCormack said that if Teddy`s name was Edward Moore instead of
Edward Moore Kennedy, then his candidacy would be a joke. George W. Bush`s
Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card said this today --


-- "I`m convinced if his name was John Ellis and he had the same
resume, everybody would say he should be President of the United States.
The fact that he`s John Ellis Bush, Jeb, means that he is carrying biases
of the past."


So, Jeb Bush may be the first candidate for office who finds being
related to a president is negative. Teddy Kennedy couldn`t possibly have
won a Senate seat at age 30 in 1962 if the president wasn`t his big

Hillary Clinton never would have run for Senate in New York if her
husband had not been president. George W. Bush would not have been the
frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 if his
father had not been president.

But, now, the only apparent drag on Jeb Bush`s potential presidential
campaign is that his brother was president -- a presidency that turned Bill
Clinton`s budget surplus into massive deficits as far as the eye could see
-- a presidency that recklessly led this country into an unnecessary war
over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, a presidency that no one
wants to return to.

If Jeb Bush does become a candidate for president and any of his
opponents try to pin the George W. Bush presidency on him, we know just
about word-for-word what he`s going to say --


TED KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: We should not have any talk about
personalities or family. I feel that we should be talking about the
people`s destiny in Massachusetts.




O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night`s "Last Word" is going to be a very special
program. One possibly for the record books.


Al Roker, the Al Roker, the real Al Roker is going to be my very first
guest tomorrow night. And he, on this program, is going to take his shot
at getting --


-- into the Guinness World Records. Tomorrow night on this program,
Al Roker going for the Guinness World Record of -- guess what.

You will find out tomorrow night when Al Roker joins me. We`ll be
right back.


In a courthouse in Oklahoma, there has been a "Do Not Enter" sign
outside one of the courtrooms for most of the last couple of months.
Inside that courtroom, County Judge Howard Haralson was presiding over what
may be the biggest divorce trial in American history.

NBC`s Betty Nguyen has the story.


BETTY NGUYEN, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: After a nine-week closed-door trial, a
judge in Oklahoma City has ruled that oil magnate, Harold Hamm, must pay
his ex-wife, Sue Ann Hamm, $995.5 million.

So, how does one pay out that much money? One word -- installments.
According to the filing, just over $322 million by the end of 2014. The
remaining $650 million will be paid out on a monthly basis, at least, $7
million a month.

HAROLD HAMM, OIL MAGNATE: Pretty comfortable here.

NGUYEN: Sixty-eight-year-old, Harold Hamm, is an Oklahoma oil man,
the 24th richest man in the U.S. Industry experts estimate his company,
Continental Resources, owns more unrefined oil in the United States than

The Hamms married in 1988 before Harold earned his fortune and without
a prenuptial agreement. Sue Ann Hamm filed for divorce in 2012, claiming
her husband was unfaithful.

Her lawyers argued she deserved half the Hamm Family fortune. The
billions of dollars at issue in this case, eclipses Tiger and Elan Woods`

Michael and Juanita Jordan`s breakup, even actor, Mel Gibson and his
split from wife, Robin Moore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the King Kong of divorce cases.

NGUYEN: Proof that breakups can come at a colossal cost.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Michael Stutman, the President of the
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, New York State Chapter.

Michael, one question I have is, she`s got a billion dollars. Why
didn`t she get more. He`s got way more than that. Why didn`t she get
something closer to half of his wealth.

NEW YORK: That`s a really good question, Lawrence -- one that I`ve asked
myself -- why he could walk away --


-- with nearly 89 or 90 percent of the assets that were created during
the marriage, while she only walks off with about six percent. And she has
to finance his payout as well.

The judge found in the decision that, of the $14 or $15 billion that
was amassed during the marriage, only $2 billion was marital. So, he gave
her half of what he felt --

O`DONNELL: And that has something to do with the peculiarities of
Oklahoma law, I presume, in these matters. I mean, obviously, look, --


-- I mean, she`s got a billion dollars, so no one`s --


-- so one`s saying she`s not more than well taken care of.

STUTMAN: And he`s got $14.

O`DONNELL: But what about the -- how surprised are you that there was
no prenup in this -- because this is his second marriage. This marriage
occurred after his first wife filed for divorce on the --


-- suspicion that he was having an affair with the woman who turned
out to be his second wife who he just divorced.

STUTMAN: Well, I guess, to be in the oil business, you need to be a


And it sounds like he took that quality to his marriage as well. And
they were married for 24 years, I think. I guess, he felt it wasn`t


O`DONNELL: And, also, my other -- my question to him is -- why even
struggle over this in court. She wants a billion, she wants $2 billion, $3

What`s the difference. Why not just say, "What do you want? OK,
that`s it." And not pay all the lawyers and waste all the money on his

STUTMAN: That`s a really good question, Lawrence. And it is a
question that you can ask almost any couple --

O`DONNELL: It`s amazing, isn`t it. Don`t you sit there amazed that
these people waste all their money on legal fees when they could just
amicably give it to each other.

STUTMAN: My colleagues and I are often amazed at the amount of
vitriol and anger that has taken out in this form and how much it costs

O`DONNELL: Michael Stutman, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. Chris Hayes is up next.


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