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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, Novmeber 18th, 2014

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
November 18, 2014

Guest: Sheera Frenkel, Leon Wildes, Michael Wildes, Howard Dean, Jonathan
Cohn, Zach Bonner, Laurie Bonner


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: I love that story, Rachel. But I
have a confession about my high school biology textbook and please don`t
tell anyone this.

RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: I won`t.

O`DONNELL: But I was strongly tempted to tear pages out of that book,
especially ones that I couldn`t understand, which was most of them. But I
never did. I never did.

MADDOW: But if the school board had told you to rip them out, you
would all of a sudden know how valuable they are.

O`DONNELL: I would have a different attitude, absolutely.

MADDOW: Yes, thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Lawrence. Thank you.

Tonight, you`re going to hear the amazing story of how President
Nixon`s fight to deport John Lennon back in the 1970s first established the
legal basis for President Obama taking executive action on o immigration.
John Lennon`s lawyer, one of the great courtroom crusaders of our time is
here to explain.

But first, the attack on a synagogue today in Jerusalem.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the deadliest single attack in six years. It
comes at a time of already high tensions. Among the dead, three Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re following reaction out of Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s synagogue attack in Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five people dead, three of them rabbis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two attackers stormed a synagogue in Jerusalem
this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two Palestinians entered with cleavers, knives and
a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And attacked people while they were praying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say that the two alleged suspects were
from east Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both were killed in a shootout with Israeli
police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today ordered
the demolition of their homes in East Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The environment has been in free fall for much of
this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The attack follows several weeks of rising
tensions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The violence has been building the last few weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those have been fueled by a dispute over access.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Palestinians trying to access the Noble Sanctuary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To one of Jerusalem`s holiest sites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Israelis called the Temple Mount in East
Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far, the violence is mostly in Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jerusalem tonight is a city on edge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Four men, including three Americans with dual Israeli
citizenship, were killed this morning on an attack in a synagogue in West
Jerusalem, carried out by two Palestinian cousins armed with axes, knives
and a gun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: People who have come to worship God
in a sanctuary in a synagogue were hatcheted and hacked and murdered in
that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and
murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The two attackers and one police officer were later killed
in a shootout. Several people were injured.

President Obama today condemned that attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a tragedy for
both nations, Israeli, as well as the United States, and our hearts go out
to the families who obviously are undergoing enormous grief right now.

Tragically, this is not the first loss of life that we have seen in
recent months. Too many Israelis have died, too many Palestinians have
died. And this difficult time, I think it`s important to both Palestinians
and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and to reject
violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today`s violence seems related to a long history of
conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over praying at the holy site
Jews call Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary.

Two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back
against calls from right wing MPs and ministers to life restrictions on
Jewish praying at the site, insisting there will be no change in its status
quo.

Today, Netanyahu blamed Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for
spreading lies that incited the attack and ordered the demolition of the
attackers` homes and the homes of other Palestinian terrorists who had
carried out recent attacks.

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority condemned the
attack, the first time he`s condemned in this recent rash of violence.

Hamas, on the other hand, praised today`s attack, telling NBC News,
"We congratulate this operation and ask our people to revenge and to do
more attacks against Israelis. This is a normal action against the enemy."

Joining me now by phone from Jerusalem is Sheera Frenkel, the Middle
East correspondent for "BuzzFeed" news.

Also joining us, NBC News foreign correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin.

Sheera Frenkel, what is the situation in Jerusalem now?

SHEERA FRENKEL, BUZZFEED (via telephone): People are really tense.
They`re worried that this is just going to be the first of many attacks,
ongoing attacks in Jerusalem. I spoke to parents earlier today and they
told me that they were keeping their children out of school tomorrow
because they`re worried both sides might attack and this is going to
escalate further.

O`DONNELL: Ayman, the Palestinian Authority condemns the attack.
Hamas congratulates.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, two very
different narratives. Obviously, Hamas is seen by Israel as a terrorist
organization and at the same time, Hamas has been fighting over the course
of the last several years, very much against Israel by using these types of
tactics, terrorist tactics, and continues to call for them.

They believe in their eye what is they call armed resistance as the
only way for the Palestinian people to achieve their independence.
Obviously, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority very much
disagreeing with that, still believe in negotiations and a peace process.
And that`s why they condemned it.

O`DONNELL: And, Sheera Frenkel, what has Benjamin Netanyahu said
about Israeli reaction to this?

FRENKEL: He asked Israelis to be restrained about their actions going
forward. He asked vigilantes not take action and vengeance and not to take
matters into their own hands. That`s something Israel has seen in the
past. They`ve seen this kind of vigilante acts of revenge targeting
Palestinian and who`s worried about that happening again.

He`s also asked his own members of parliament not to (INAUDIBLE) known
al Aqsa Mosque, the Temple Mount, saying that`s going to enflame tensions
further and for people to just to be aware of report for the suspicious
(INAUDIBLE).

He`s basically making a call to people to calm things. He knows this
is not something Israeli police can calm on their own. They`ve seen sort
of random, what they call lone wolf attacks. And he`s hoping that by
calming tensions across the board, he`ll be able to sort of de-escalate the
situation.

O`DONNELL: Ayman, trace the history of us for this conflict at Temple
Mount.

MOHYELDIN: Well, it goes back to 1967, during the Six-Day War, when
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, and particularly the old city, as you
mentioned. It is one of the holiest sites for all three major religions in
this world. Since then, it`s been under the custodianship of the Jordanian
authorities, although it is controlled physically by Israel.

But there has been a status quo rule which is effectively allowing
Muslim worshippers to pray at the Noble Sanctuary, Jewish worshipers are
allowed to pray around the Noble Sanctuary at the Temple Mount. They`re
not allowed to actually pray inside or on the top of the Temple Mount as
they see it.

But in recent weeks, the Israeli government, as you mentioned, or the
Israeli parliament was trying to reduce legislation. There were calls by
right wing Israelis that they wanted to change that rule to allow Jewish
worshippers into the Noble Sanctuary and to pray on top of the Temple
Mount. That obviously led to this latest round of tensions.

The Jordanian government withdrew their ambassador at the time.
Secretary of State John Kerry flew to the region to try to negotiate some
kind of agreement. And we heard from the Israeli officials trying to calm
situations down by saying they are not going to change the status quo, that
the status quo would remain in place.

But in the past several years, the restrictions on Muslim worshippers
into the Noble Sanctuary has become increasingly difficult. They`ve
limited who can go in and who can`t go in to pray for Muslims, and that has
just continued to build up that tension.

O`DONNELL: Sheera, it sounds like to some extent that the Israelis
are trying to preserve a status quo while also slightly adjusting the
status quo over time.

FRENKEL: Yes, definitely. We`ve seen a shift. It`s become -- it`s
not mainstream, at least more acceptable for Jewish politicians, Israeli
politicians, to openly call for Jews to be able to pray on the temple
mound. And that`s something that we never would have heard five or ten
years ago.

The groups of Jewish visitors as well who go there and who try to sort
of make sneaky prayer. That`s something I saw myself, been down to the
floor pretend to tie their shoelaces and actually mutter a prayer. The
little acts that they see as rebellion are viewed as incredibly
disrespectable by Muslims who are there praying.

And so, we`ve seen an increase in this. That`s kind of gradually
escalated things to a point that we`ve gotten to today.

O`DONNELL: Ayman, what`s your judgment about what the next step might
be? Where might we be on this a week from now?

MOHYELDIN: Well, it`s going to depend on the leadership from both
sides. Friday is always a big day obviously in Jerusalem. It is the holy
day for Muslims. Thousands of Palestinians will try to enter the al Aqsa
mosque for prayers.

But it also will come down to the Israeli authorities and whether or
not they are going to attempt to destroy and demolish the homes of these
two Palestinians in recent days, or are they going to try to push that down
the road? I mean, keep in mind, when the Israelis killed the Palestinian
teenager, the Palestinian American teenager, some of the Israeli
authorities did not go destroy the homes of the Israeli perpetrators.

So, you can see why when Israel is going to destroy the homes of these
Palestinian attackers, there`s going to be a lot of anger and perhaps that
could once again trigger another round of violence. But right now on the
Palestinian side, there`s a disconnect between the Palestinian leadership
and the people on the streets. They are not necessarily responsive to the
calls of calm that may be coming out of the Palestinian authority.

O`DONNELL: Ayman Mohyeldin and Sheera Frenkel, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

Coming up, why before our criminal President Richard Nixon was forced
to resign from office in disgrace, he managed to shake hands with Elvis
Presley and try to deport John Lennon. Luckily for undocumented immigrants
today, John Lennon and his very brave lawyer did not back down from a fight
with President Nixon. John Lennon`s amazing lawyer will join me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s vote in the Senate to approve construction of
the keystone pipeline failed by one vote. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu
of Louisiana pushed the pipeline bill and in the end, she got 59 of the 60
votes needed for passage. Senator Landrieu is facing a runoff election in
December to retain her Senate seat. Republicans say they`ll bring the bill
back to the Senate floor when they have the majority in January.

Up next, how John Lennon opened the door that DREAMers and other
undocumented immigrants can now walk through.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN LENNON, MUSIC ICON: It`s still where I like to be. It`s still -
- it`s still Paris or Rome to me. Like they used to be thousands of years
ago and I want to be here. I want to be able to be here and be in England
and France or travel wherever I want. I don`t expect to be, you know,
hassled unless I`m going to Hungary or something, or Czechoslovakia, then I
would expect it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s John Lennon in 1975 outside the courthouse in New
York City where he was fighting deportation.

I learned something about John Lennon on this program last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MUZAFFAR CHISHTI, MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE: The Supreme Court has
recognized the action many times. It has recently -- the authority of the
government to exercise discretion (ph) as recently as 2012. And
regulations have recognized this since 1978 when for the first time the
first known beneficiary of deferred action was John Lennon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: John Lennon: People say I`m a dreamer, but I`m not the
only one.

The dreamer who wrote those lyrics was, of course, John Lennon, who
actually was America`s first immigration dreamer. Because the legal
precedent established in John Lennon`s immigration case 42 years ago is the
first legal building block that gave President Obama the authority through
executive action to in effect grant new status to the DREAMers in June of
2012.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is
taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.
Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to
national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief
from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The door that was opened by John Lennon`s immigration
court battle has now deferred deportation of more than 580,000 immigrants
who entered the country illegally when they were children.

President Obama is now planning to allow millions more people to pass
through that door.

Here is how John Lennon opened that door: President Richard Nixon, the
only president in history forced to resign the presidency because of his
own criminal conduct, was not a Beatles fan. Here he is in the Oval Office
with Elvis Presley in 1970, who by the time, could not have been more
uncool. Elvis` rock `n roll had quickly become old fashioned once the
Beatles made it to the United States.

John Lennon had picked up a conviction for possession of cannabis
residue in London in 1968, which is all the White House needed to deport
him during Richard Nixon`s reelection campaign when John Lennon was
planning a concert tour and voter registration drive -- a drive that would
help Richard Nixon out of office in favor of the most liberal anti-war
candidate ever nominated by a major party, Democrat George McGovern.

John Lennon hired a New York City immigration lawyer to fight his
deportation. The lawyer Leon Wildes was 39 years old, but couldn`t have
been listening to the radio very much in those days because he had to
actually ask a colleague, who is John Lennon?

Leon Wildes tried many approaches to win legal status for John Lennon,
including challenging the law that said convictions for possession of
narcotic drugs or marijuana was grounds for deportation. Leon Wildes
presented expert testimony that cannabis resin also known as hashish was
not marijuana and thereby not covered by the law. And he actually asked
John Lennon if hashish was marijuana to which John Lennon replied, "Oh, no,
much better than marijuana."

But most importantly, through the Freedom of Information Act, Leon
Wildes discovered that the Immigration and Naturalization Service using
prosecutorial discretion in deciding who to deport. Leon Wildes discovered
1,843 cases of such prosecutorial discretion, which was part of a secret
program then.

And after he made that secret program public, the agency was then
forced to issue public guidelines for the use of that kind of prosecutorial
discretion, thus enshrining in law for the first time that prosecutorial
discretion that President Obama has used to help DREAMers and expected to
use to help millions more immigrants remain in this country.

The 1986 immigration reform law further clarified prosecutorial
discretion to include deferred action on some immigrants who could then be
allowed to legally work while their immigration cases were pending. That
is the basic legal authority that President Obama is expected to use when
he takes action on immigration. It is an authority he might not have if
John Lennon didn`t bring in Leon Wildes to fight Richard Nixon`s
immigration and naturalization service.

It is my honor now to be joined by John Lennon`s immigration attorney,
Leon Wildes, and his son immigration attorney Michael Wildes.

Leon, first of all, thank you very, very much for being here. This
really is an honor. I remember as a kid watching you on television coming
out of the courthouse with John Lennon. In fact, I think we have a little
more video of that that we can show right now.

Let`s take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Your defense must be costing you a lot of money.

LENNON: Yes.

REPORTER: Is it worth it?

LENNON: It will be.

I don`t care about the money. I want to be here.

If I cared about the money I would be living in Switzerland. I
wouldn`t be living in England or America. Both the taxes are high. I
mean, it`s only that much difference between the English and the American
tax. And if I cared about money, I would be in Switzerland.

Wouldn`t I, folks? That`s a good idea, isn`t it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Leon, I know you went after this case in the
representation of an individual client, but did you realize at the time
that when you found this prosecutorial discretion that you could be opening
the door for more people than just John Lennon?

LEON WILDES, JOHN LENNON`S IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Yes, I did.
Actually, John asked me when I had explained to him that this has great
potential for other people, he asked me whether I would continue studying
it and publish some articles on it so that other lawyers might be able to
use it in the future. It was very important to him.

O`DONNELL: Tell us what it was like just to work with John Lennon.
John Lennon the person in this situation.

LEON WILDES: He was a very sweet, kind person. He was concerned
about everybody around him.

My children were -- he would find out how were they doing? How is my
wife?

We met in an elevator once going in the immigration building and he
was so kind. He would call to express his best on all the Jewish holidays,
because he knew that I didn`t answer the phone on Friday night and
Saturday. And he was so thoughtful and concerned about my well-being. He
was a very, very special guy.

O`DONNELL: And the case dragged on for years, didn`t it?

LEON WILDES: Yes. Actually, we dragged it on for years to -- until
we were able to get to a point where we could sue the government under the
Freedom of Information Act for all this important information.

And it needed -- we needed to prolong his stay in the United States,
because the government, Mr. Nixon`s administration charged him with being
an overstay by making up the rules as they went along. He was perfectly in
legal status. They had just given him two weeks to leave. And they cut
off his time within the two weeks and charged him with being an overstay
for about half a week.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

LEON WILDES: It was an outrageous violation of his constitutional
rights. And he reacted very well to it. He seemed to accept what the
government was doing as what governments do. He saw the approach that he
had. He only wanted to be able to live here peacefully and travel.

O`DONNELL: And, Michael, one of the extraordinary things about it
that we all saw when we were watching you and John Lennon on the courthouse
steps in these cases, this was someone who loved America, loved New York
City specifically. Really could live anywhere in the world, really wanted
to live here.

MICHAEL WILDES, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: John had developed an
extraordinary love for this nation. And I have to say, through my dad`s
scholarship in this case, he taught for 33 years in Cardozo Law School, an
immigration law class. And I had the privilege of having met my wife in
the class and I`m teaching the class now. But it was an enduring
relationship, of John and Lennon.

O`DONNELL: Do you teach the Lennon case?

MICHAEL WILDES: I do. In fact, my dad comes each year. I got into
the business just to carry his briefcase.

O`DONNELL: Right, yes.

MICHAEL WILDES: He comes each year and teaches that class which is in
a few weeks` time. And it`s an enduring case that was a snapshot of
America gone bad. And a dreamer and a scholar getting together and not
knowing the effect that this would have on our nation a generation later.

O`DONNELL: Now, Leon, this was a president with an enemy`s list.
This was as nasty a president as we have had in modern times, as we know.
You were going into direct battle with Richard Nixon when you took on this
case. J. Edgar Hoover, these were people who were willing to be vengeful
about lawyers like you and cases like this.

Did any of that enter your mind? Were you concerned about any of that
going in this?

LEON WILDES: Oh, yes. We were concerned because our phones were
being tapped. John was being followed. Two guys standing across the
street continuously fixing a bike would be in a car following him if he
left his apartment at anytime.

And it was a terrible pressure in the handling of the case. And I
have to say that John`s attitude was helpful even to me. He had a
philosophy that the government does these things and we will still succeed.

O`DONNELL: What was it like for you having -- as I said, represented
this one client in a case you knew could have implications for many, many
more. To be sitting here tonight with President Obama in office
considering taking executive action, using as the primary building block of
his justification for this the building block that you laid in the Lennon
case, that you could be responsible now for the entry of -- or the legal
unification of millions of families in this country.

LEON WILDES: Well, I`ll give John Lennon credit for it. I think he`s
entitled to that recognition. I`m a specialist that he hired to do the
technical work. But his love of America and his willingness to dedicate
himself to this case is something we should never forget.

MICHAEL WILDES: Lawrence, my father is doing this for the last 58
years in the same office that John used to call on my dad. Anecdotally --

O`DONNELL: Where the hold music really is --

MICHAEL WILDES: "Imagine."

Anecdotally, you should know I broke away this evening from dinner
with Elvis Presley`s granddaughter because she`s dating a gentleman we
helped get an old visa.

O`DONNELL: OK, this is way too small a world.

MICHAEL WILDES: Immigration has permeated just about every society
from the pickers of blueberries in Georgia to the corridors and the borders
that we have. We need strong border protection, but we also have to be
judicious and put our resources where they`re deserved.

If the president is going to focus on pushing murderers and rapists
out of this country, we`re all for it. But we want to unify families and
we really want the economy to be repaired by workers. And the greatest
entrepreneurial spirit that we have now, immigrants.

O`DONNELL: Wildes father and son, thank you very much tonight.

And, Leon Wildes, I cannot praise you enough. Heroic trial law
officers have done things as important as legislators as we all know, in
changing the way we live in this country. I can`t thank you enough. A
real honor to have you here. Thank you very much.

LEON WILDES: My privilege.

MICHAEL WILDES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the wall of snow that`s all over the Northeast.
We`re going to show you six feet of snow you feel in Buffalo. We`ve got
some video.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: More than a hundred cities could break low --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- temperature records by tomorrow. A brutal snowstorm that has
already caused four fatalities continues to hammer Western New York.

The storm is expected to dump almost six feet of snow on the Buffalo
area. "The Weather Channel`s" Mike Bettes has the latest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE BETTES, METEOROLOGIST, THE WEATHER CHANNEL (voice-over):
Whiteout, blizzard conditions. The Great Lakes region is under siege.
Buffalo, all but buried with more than 51 inches of snow, and it`s still
falling.

A hundred miles of I-90 is shut down, 100 vehicles stranded. Many may
be forced to leave with rescuers tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE NEWS ANCHOR: So, it`s a very serious situation.
Many travel bans and roads closed, highways closed.

BETTES: Semis and cars stuck with nowhere to go. From the air, you
could see it coming -- a huge wall of snow moving into the city.

And this time lapse video shows how it just hasn`t stopped.
Relentless, piling up overnight and all day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE BUFFALO RESIDENT: I`ve lived in Buffalo my whole
life and I`ve never seen it like this. It was scary.

MARK POLONCARZ, ERIE COUNTY EXECUTIVE: I have just received
confirmation directly from the governor that the National Guard will be
deployed.

BETTES: The Niagara University Women`s Basketball Team stuck nine
hours on the New York throughway while headed home from Pittsburgh.

VOICE OF NU WOMEN`S BASKETBALL TEAM MEMBER: The wind is blowing, the
snow is falling at a pretty high rate.

BETTES: People at home posted online -- "Snow Day," "Barely visible
backyard," "I`ve lost my house," and "No way this dog is getting through
the doorway."

Snow piled up outside this man`s garage door. Michigan also hit hard
by the Lake-effect snow. And, in Wisconsin, snow up to the stop sign, six
feet in one week.

The Milwaukee River, completely frozen over. Record low temperatures
for this time of year in 10 cities.

In Louisville, Kentucky, the Big Chill fell on Churchill Downs,
canceling racing for the first time in nearly 30 years. This morning`s low
in Florida, just 42 degrees near Jacksonville.

That`s colder than Oregon`s Mount Hood at 44.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: That was "The Weather Channel`s" Mike Bettes.

Later, it may not have been polite but what Jonathan Gruber said about
passing healthcare, is it true. Howard Dean and Jonathan Cohn join me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, The Gruber Gaffe. As Michael
Kinsley once observed, in Washington, a gaffe is when someone tells the
truth.

MIT Economics professor, Jonathan Gruber, whose work helped pass
healthcare reform legislation in Massachusetts, which Governor Mitt Romney
signed into law, and the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed
into law, is in trouble in Washington this week for using impolite language
while telling the truth about the political strategy for passing the
Affordable Care Act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN GRUBER, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, MIT: This bill was written in a
tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO
scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies, OK.

So it`s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, to get
a law which said healthy people are going to pay in, it made it explicit
that healthy people pay in and sick people get money.

It would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political
advantage. And, basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American
voter or whatever but, basically, that was really, really critical to
getting the thing to pass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was last year at the University of Pennsylvania. He
said something very similar on this program last year which caused no
controversy at all. Apparently, because he didn`t say anything about
voters being stupid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The politics of defending complex legislation is never
easy and, remember, what these Democrats are worried about is losing an
election next year to a Republican who will then replace them.

GRUBER: Yes, I think, look, there`s no free lunch. As E.J. said, if
you`re going to reform insurance market, so that everyone has to pay one
fair price for insurance, which is, by the way, what the majority of
Americans want.

The vast majority want fair, non-discriminatory insurance markets.
To do that, that means everyone has to pay the same price. That means some
healthy people are going to have to pay more.

You can`t have a world where no one pays more and some people pay
less. That just can`t happen. Some people are going to have to pay more.

O`DONNELL: I`ve got to stop you right there. That is the speech that
was never made by any Democrat supporting the Affordable Care Act -- that
little passage that you just said right there that some people are going to
have to pay more.

GRUBER: You know, that`s absolutely right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor for the
New Republic, and Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, former chairman of
Democratic National Committee.

Howard Dean, I know you`ve worked on legislation in your day. I have.
And I have to say that, certainly, in Washington, everything that Professor
Gruber said about it is exactly right.

When you`re trying to move legislation, especially a legislation like
this, through the Congress, the less people know about it, the better.
And you`re hoping that people don`t talk about all sorts of aspects of the
plan.

And when you talk about it, you always try to frame it in a certain
way and try to hide the ball in certain ways. And it`s just the way the
play is always run.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I think there`s a difference
between framing and being dishonest with the American people. I don`t have
patience at all for the argument -- a, that the American people are stupid
or, b, that it`s good idea to conceal what`s in the legislation in order to
get it to pass.

That is what is wrong with Washington in general -- is this contempt
for the American people. It`s a big mistake.

Maybe the American people don`t know everything about healthcare. I
don`t think they`re stupid. And I think you`ve got to be upfront with
people about what they`re getting.

In fact, I think the ObamaCare is a better deal than getting nothing
at all. There were some big mistakes made which, I`m sure, we`ll discuss.

But to take that attitude that Jonathan Gruber took, I think, is
outrageous. And I don`t doubt that lots of people in Washington have that
attitude.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to some of the things that President Obama
said about the plan while selling the plan that actually are not actually
in the plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: If you like your current plan,
you will be able to keep it. Let me repeat that -- if you like your plan,
you will be able to keep it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s the one that everyone now knows about. Every time
--

DEAN: My actual -- I`m sorry, go ahead.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Howard, go ahead.

DEAN: My view of that was the President himself didn`t understand
what he was doing or talking about. And I don`t -- I don`t blame him for
that.

This is very, very complex stuff. It didn`t have to be this complex
but that`s what they chose to do, is make it really complex because they
wanted to stay in the private sector, because the insurance companies were
essentially writing the bill in Baucus` committee.

And that`s what they chose to do. I think the President did not mean
to mislead the American people.

My guess is that he was told this is what was going to happen. And it
didn`t happen.

O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan Cohen, you know, especially any bill that
has taxes in it, whenever you try to move a tax bill out of the Finance
Committee -- this bill had 15 taxes in it, more than most tax bills that
moved out of the committee.

One of the things that`s involved is you want to try hide that ball as
long as possible. And it`s not about the American people. It`s about
lobbyists.

It`s about, for example, the medical device lobbyists, and you don`t
want them to know that you`re planning to do a tax on them. And so, this
ethos of hiding the ball, hiding what`s in here, it permeates the process
all the way through.

JONATHAN COHN, SENIOR EDITOR, NEW REPUBLIC: You know, it does. And
when you think about the obstacles they had to go through, you know, to
pass any legislation these days for particularly something affecting such a
large sector of the economy, you know, they really had to run a political
gauntlet.

They were conscious of all kinds of cross-cutting pressures, from
conservative Democrats, from industry lobbyists.

And that led them, obviously, both, I think, to write a bill that we
all knew and talked about at the time, and we still know has lot of flaws.
It`s tortured, to use Professor Gruber`s phrase.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

COHN: But, you know, I will say this -- you know, for all of that, if
you look at that -- by the standards of legislation and, Lawrence, you were
-- you know, you worked in Congress, you`ve seen this.

I actually think the process that led to the Affordable Care Act was,
you know, by all reasonable standards, relatively transparent. I mean, we
talked about everything in that bill and --

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, let me -- hold it there for a second,
Jonathan. We didn`t, in fact. I think, relatively transparent, I agree
with.

However, the Clinton bill, which lets everyone, remember, was defeated
and didn`t pass, was much more transparent, and much more widely-debated,
and had many more high-profile hearings in both the House and the Senate
than this legislation did.

But, remember, there`s a lesson in it. It did not pass because it was
so thoroughly debated.

And I actually think one of the things that is part of the lack of the
debate was how bad and ridiculously uninformed the Republican side of the
debate was. They were chasing mythologies like death panels that didn`t
exist.

And they didn`t spend any time talking about things like the real --
in real terms, about how the tax on healthcare plans might work or the tax
on medical devices and other things like that.

COHN: Well, you know, that`s a really good point. And when this
whole Gruber thing started, I went back again to some of the coverage.

And I thought about -- you know, we were talking -- you were talking
before about the -- you know, "keep your plan," which was a promise --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- that should not have been made, that was wrong. And I think we all
recognize that. And I was also looking at this fact that, you know, we
talked about the fact that some people were going to have to pay more for
their plans. And that`s what --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- Gruber was talking about. And, you know, the funny thing was, that
did come up. I actually wrote a story about it, lots of people did. But
it got blown past because everybody was talking about death panels.

O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly right. It did. A lot of those elements got
blown away.

I think, Howard Dean, I`m going to say it again, because the
Republican side of the debate was managed so badly, and it was basically
fact-free.

And I was shocked by it. They had all these taxes that they could
have gone after and they didn`t. They spent their time talking about
things that weren`t in the bill.

DEAN: Yes, I agree. The Republicans were totally unhelpful and
uninformed. But that`s -- and I wasn`t surprised.

This wasn`t something that they wanted to do. Look, there was an easy
alternative, and we`ve talked about this before.

Had Joe Lieberman not changed his vote at the last minute, we would
have a public option in this bill.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

DEAN: And if we had a public option in this bill, we`d probably still
control the Senate. It took me 10 minutes to sign up for Medicare last
year when I just turned 65.

If there had been a public option and the Web site had crashed which,
I think, is to be expected, people could have signed up for Medicare. End
of story.

The core problem that these guys blew is they invented this
complicated system, which was modeled after RomneyCare, I`ll grant you.
They could have simply expanded Medicaid and expanded Medicare, and then
expanded private insurance and widen the group of -- number of people who
are in Medicare and Medicaid.

Everybody understands Medicare and Medicaid and they like those
programs. That`s what they could have done.

They didn`t do that. They put this together, this Rube Goldberg
thing. The House did a good job. The Senate did not.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Cohn and Howard Dean. This will not be the last
word on this on this subject.

DEAN: No.

O`DONNELL: I`m sure we will all be back on this once again. Thank
you very much for joining me tonight.

DEAN: Thanks very much.

COHN: Thanks for having us.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, how an amazing teenager managed to collect half
a million pounds of food for the homeless in 24 hours. He`s going to join
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

And, now, for the "Good News," a woman in China is alive tonight.
Thanks to a group of complete strangers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

In this CCTV footage, you can see the woman is riding on a motorcycle
with her husband when a car suddenly hits them. While her husband is able
to escape, the woman becomes trapped under the car.

Her husband, the driver of the car, and dozens of quick-thinking
passersby go into action to lift the car. The woman was taken to a local
hospital where she is recovering from her injuries, watching them --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- lift that car. Amazing.

Up next, more good news. A remarkable young man with a very important
little red wagon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

There`s that remarkable video of those people in China lifting up that
car, so that woman could be pulled out from under it. And there it is.

That`s where they pulled her out from under it. We cut the video a
little too soon in that last segment. Remarkable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: All right, everybody. Quiet on the set. OK.

Last February, thousands of students from across the country worked
together to create more than 2,500 short films for the first ever White
House Student Film Festival.

You showed us how you were using technology in your classrooms to
connect and explore like never before. And, this year, we`re doing it
again.

I`m proud to announce that submissions are open for the Second White
House Student Film Festival. We`re, once again, collaborating with the
American Film Institute and our theme this year is "Service and Giving
Back."

So, whether you`re a kindergartner or a high school senior, we want to
see how you`re making a difference for your communities and doing your part
to change the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Seventeen-year-old high school student, Zach Bonner, has
been making a difference in his community for more than 10 years. And a
movie has already been made about him. After Hurricane Charlie hit Tampa,
Florida --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- in 2004, Zach, who was just six at the time began pulling his
little red wagon in his neighborhood to collect and then distribute
disaster relief supplies to families in need.

Since then, he`s done a series of walks to raise awareness and money
for impoverished Americans, including a walk from Tampa to Los Angeles
Los Angeles in 2010.

He has distributed more than 6,000 backpacks filled with school
supplies and snacks to kids in need. And, this month, Zach set a new
Guinness World Record for the most food collected in a 24-hour period.

Zach`s organization, the Little Red Wagon Foundation, focuses on
underprivileged and homeless children. Joining me now is Zach Bonner,
Founder of the Little Red Wagon Foundation. And his mother, Laurie Bonner.

Zach, how did you break that Guinness Record. How did you do that in
24 hours.

ZACH BONNER, FOUNDER, LITTLE RED WAGON FOUNDATION: With a lot of
support from the local community, as well as our national community. It
was a very collaborative effort.

But it was a lot of work. But it was a great project and we were able
to serve a lot of people.

O`DONNELL: You know, Laurie, --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- whenever I see, hear about amazing young people like Zach, first
thing I want to do is talk to mom or dad. How did you do it. He`s not
sitting there alone. He grew up, is growing up under your guidance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

And how did you do it. How did you steer him in this direction.

LAURIE BONNER, ZACH BONNER`S MOTHER: I don`t think I really did
anything special I think. You know, I just listened to what he wanted to
do and, you know, help support him. And he just kind of went with it.

O`DONNELL: Zach, what is your next big plan.

ZACH BONNER: Well, we have a lot of great ideas on what we can do
next. But, right now, we`re actually focusing on our holiday events this
year.

Every year, we host holiday events throughout November and December
for homeless youth in different cities across the U.S.

But, this year, we`re really focusing on a great program out in Los
Angeles, so we can provide a holiday event with meals, gifts and just a
great experience for youth in Los Angeles and --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- in Orange County, so we`re actually really looking for support for
that this year.

O`DONNELL: Zach, what about support from other kids your age.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

I don`t know too many or any -- I don`t know any, simply any, 17-year-
olds like you who are this committed to doing this kind of work.

ZACH BONNER: Well, we -- you know, we definitely -- we have great
support from people of all ages, ranging from, you know, young kids --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- you know, to older adults. So, it`s really great seeing that age,
you know, that whole entire age range coming together for this common goal.
People from all different walks of life coming together, you know, to unite
against this one problem of youth homelessness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, Zach, how are you going to fit college into your busy
schedule.

ZACH BONNER: Well, you know, I think that when I go to college, when
I graduate high school, that it will really just open up more opportunities
for me to continue to spread awareness about the problem of youth
homelessness.

And to incorporate a whole other demographic in being part of a
solution, you know, to a problem where -- you know, a recent study just
showed that we have 2 1/2 million homeless children here in the United
States.

So, I definitely think that it will be challenging, but it will be a
great opportunity as well to involve a whole bunch more people in it.

O`DONNELL: Zach, talk about what it feels like for you to do this
kind of work.

ZACH BONNER: You know, for me, I just -- I really love what I do.
You know, everyday, I get to work on solutions to really big problems --
you know, homelessness, poverty, hunger.

You know, these are really, really massive problems. Here in
Florida, one in four children are struck with hunger on a day-to-day basis.

Really, really big problems. But, at the same time, you know, I get
to be part of the solution. I get to create projects and programs to
really have big impacts on these kids` lives.

And, for me, that`s really, really exciting. And you`re looking back,
over the last 10 years of what the foundation has been able to accomplish,
it`s just -- it`s really exciting for me.

And there`s really no feeling that can -- there`s no words that can
describe the great feeling that you get when you know that you made a
difference in someone`s life.

O`DONNELL: Zach, thank you very much for joining us now. And,
Laurie, thank you very much for the great job you`ve done raising this guy.

LAURIE BONNER: Thank you. Thanks for having us.

ZACH BONNER: Thanks for having us.

O`DONNELL: Thank you both. Thank you. This holiday season, 10,000
U.S.-based groups are joining forces for something called "Giving Tuesday."
MSNBC is a partner in the global effort.

"Giving Tuesday" is on December 2nd. It`s a day to highlight
philanthropy and encourage everyone to donate time or money. Thank you for
watching. Chris Hayes is up next.

END

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