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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, March 9th, 2015

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Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: March 9, 2015
Guest: Steve Clemons, Howard Dean, Harry Enten, Isaac Hill, Mark Thompson,
Jim Hall, David Pierce


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: There`s one less -- consumption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is.

O`DONNELL: That`s all it is, Steve, thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, President Obama says Republican Senators now have
something in common with some of the leaders in Iran, and the University of
Oklahoma has one last racist fraternity tonight.

And Congressman Aaron Schock tried to explain to his constituents why he
spends so much of their money on decorating his office and luxury travel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s an unusual coalition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Responding to a letter sent by 47 Republican senators
to Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This letter is a hard slap.

SEN. THOMAS COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: It`s deeply irresponsible. Iran`s
leaders need to know that a deal not approved by Congress won`t be accepted
by Congress.

OBAMA: What we`re going to focus on right now is actually seeing whether
we can get a deal or not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sigma Alpha Epsilon has shuttered its chapter at the
University of Oklahoma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The video shows multiple people chanting racial slurs
against African-Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re disgraceful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madison, Wisconsin where demonstrators have packed the
city`s capital --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fallout over the police shooting of an unarmed
African-American teenager.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks are angry, and I get that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An Amtrak passenger train collided with a truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re trying to get the vehicle off the tracks as the
train approach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The real Hillary Clinton has not addressed the e-mail
scandal yet. Read them, you won`t find Jack Rodham squat.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this is just the same cockamamie stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t e-mail, I`ve never sent one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has never sent an e-mail?

TIM COOK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, APPLE INC.: The Apple watch is the most
advanced timepiece ever created.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t always want to take your phone out of your
pocket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are thrilled to announce our standalone streaming
service, "Hbo Now".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not going to stop the wheel. I`m going to break
the wheel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, 47 Republican senators signed an open letter to the
leaders of the Islamic Republican of Iran saying that they should keep in
mind that any agreement that Iran might negotiate with President Obama on
nuclear weapons could be undone by the next president two years from now.

President Obama responded today noting that extremists in Iran also oppose
any deal, limiting Iran`s nuclear capacity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think it`s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress
wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.

It`s an unusual coalition. I think what we`re going to focus on right now
is actually seeing whether we can get a deal or not.

And once we do, then we`ll -- if we do, then we`ll be able to make the case
to the American people, and I`m confident we`ll be able to implement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Iran`s foreign ministry responded today telling Iran news
agency, "in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a
propaganda ploy."

Joining me now is Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for "The
Atlantic" and an "Msnbc" analyst. Steve, David Axelrod tweeted today a
simple question.

Is this letter, this kind of letter unprecedented? And when I read that
tweet, since I didn`t know the answer, all I did was re-tweet it. What is
the answer? I haven`t been able -- I haven`t been able to figure a direct
answer for this --

STEVE CLEMONS, WASHINGTON EDITOR AT LARGE, THE ATLANTIC: I`ve been looking
at the tweets that have followed David, said tweet as well, and you know,
some people have had some analogies they don`t quite fit.

You know, Reagan and Iran-Contra and others, but nothing really stands up
to this level of major, you know, many major mainstream members of the
United States Senate deciding that they`re going to kneecap the President
of the United States in a fragile strategic negotiation.

I don`t think it`s ever happened before.

O`DONNELL: And Steve, they`re not telling Iran anything that they didn`t
know.

CLEMONS: No, I think that -- yes, everyone knew what was going on in terms
of Iran knew that there are hardliners in the United States that don`t
support this effort to make it strategically.

There are many in Iran that don`t support this either. What President
Obama has been trying to tell us all, is that if we make a deal with Iran
and Khamenei, the supreme leader cheats, we are on a track to war.

If we don`t get a deal, we are on a track to war. So, the President has
been trying to create a third option that allows space to begin considering
how Iran can prove itself, can demonstrate responsible behavior over a
period of time.

Not just us, but the Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany.
This isn`t an Americanized problem, this is a global problem, lots of
stakeholders.

And Iran needs to prove itself in that process, and if that doesn`t work
out, then we`ll be in a conflict.

But that third option that the President has carved out is what Tom Cotton
has been trying to undermine today.

O`DONNELL: And Howard Dean, Tom Cotton is trying to spread this to the
presidential campaign. Let`s listen to what he said about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COTTON: I re-encourage presidential candidates to join us. We already
have four senators on the letter who are thinking about running for
president.

Rick Perry last week said that he wouldn`t honor a deal that does not go
through Congress. I`ve spoken privately with other presidential candidates
who might join us.

And for that matter, I encourage Hillary Clinton to join us in saying that
Congress must approve any nuclear deal with Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Howard.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: I think this guy doesn`t know what
he`s doing. How long has he been a senator, two months? And now he`s -- I
mean this is -- this is ridiculous.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

DEAN: It`s really outrageous. You know Tom Cotton wasn`t a veteran of the
armed forces, I`d say this borders on treason.

I`ve never heard of them doing this before, you don`t undermine the
President of the United States, it`s never been done in the history of the
country before, it`s disrespectful not just to the President Obama, it`s
disrespectful to the office of the presidency.

You can disagree with a foreign policy, and in fact, I actually don`t think
that the Iranians are trustworthy. And I worry about a deal, but to do
something like this, it just is breath-taking.

O`DONNELL: And Joy, the response from Iran saying this is just propaganda.
I guess they actually can read these letters for what they are.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely. And I think that
there is this tendency among -- I guess, these members of Congress who want
to try to read Iran as this irrational country that it intend on attempting
to create these nuclear weapons in order to engage in some sort of
proactive war with Israel.

Let`s remember what we`re talking about here. Israel is already a nuclear
power. Iran would have to be completely irrational to attempt to engage in
a nuclear show-down with Israel.

That seems to me to be patently irrational. So the idea that they would
want to make a deal is perfectly rational.

And you have to ask these members of Congress, we cannot have 535
presidents of the United States.

This is unheard of. During the Iraq war, you had Congress saying they
needed to step back because they didn`t want to impede the generals and the
President from waging the war in Iraq.

And now we have the same forces that so vigorously encouraged us to go into
Iraq as the solution to the problems in the Middle East, I suppose deciding
that a war with Iran, three times the population, much more salient and
whole of a country.

That is a good idea, that`s an even crazier idea than invading Iraq.

O`DONNELL: You know this is --

REID: And so you have to ask these members --

O`DONNELL: Sorry --

REID: Of Congress is that what they want, a war --

DEAN: You know what this reminds me of? --

REID: With Iran? --

DEAN: This reminds me of Jane Fonda going to Hanoi --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

DEAN: During the Vietnamese war. I mean I just, you know --

O`DONNELL: Direct communication with the other side --

REID: Yes, I mean who ever heard of doing something like this? --

HARRY ENTEN, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST, THE FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: But
Lawrence, just --

O`DONNELL: Harry --

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN: You mentioned here that --

O`DONNELL: Yes, Harry Enten here for a second -- go ahead Harry --

ENTEN: Yes, I just want to say, look, these are highly polarizing times.
You know, 80 percent to 90 percent of the Republican base disapproves the
job that President Obama is doing.

That`s even greater than when George W. Bush was president, how Democrats
viewed him. And 75 percent plus of Republicans don`t believe they were
being aggressive enough when it comes to the Iran negotiations.

So this is completely plain --

O`DONNELL: You see a political calculation here based on exactly what the
polls are telling us?

ENTEN: Of course, I mean he`s talking about presidential candidates
jumping in, what else is it?

O`DONNELL: Yes, Steve Clemons, go ahead --

CLEMONS: So I think the thing that`s also been missing in this discussion
is that Tom Cotton gets the law wrong as do all 46 other senators who
joined him.

The President is either engaging in what he`s been saying is, which is an
international arrangement with other parties that`s non-binding or he`s
engaging in an executive agreement which they can provide information to
Congress.

Neither of which are subject to Senate approval. There is no treaty here,
there is no negotiation, this isn`t an arms-control treaty.

And so that`s what`s most astounding, is that 47 United States senators
signed on to a piece of paper that actually doesn`t apply at all to what
the President of the United States is doing.

And what he`s doing is the same measures by which we protect U.S. forces
stationed overseas, with status of forces agreement, it`s the same kind of
deal we did with Russia in getting Syria to get rid of its chemical
weapons.

You didn`t see Republican members standing up saying, we need to pass that
deal with Russia. So the legal dimension of this I find fascinating, that
so many lawmakers don`t understand the law.

O`DONNELL: Can you imagine the Democrats doing this to a Republican
president? --

REID: No --

O`DONNELL: I mean this is no --

REID: They were there, so --

DEAN: I just --

O`DONNELL: They got plenty of chances --

DEAN: I really -- I mean this is what -- this is going to have no impact.
And it is -- I think you`re right, it is playing to the base. But I just -
- I`m somewhat angry about this, I have to say.

REID: I mean, the question that has to be asked here is, is Barack Obama
the President of the United States or not?

There seem to be a certain percentage of people in this country, including
apparently 47 members of Congress --

O`DONNELL: Right --

REID: Who answer no, that they will not accept the results of two
elections that were not sneaks into the White House.

These were -- these were direct elections of the President of the United
States, he is president, it`s time for them to get over it and let him run
foreign policy just the way every other president has done.

O`DONNELL: And Harry, there`s a lot to be said for ignorance here. I mean
Senator Cotton I`m sure, prior to today has no idea and it never crossed
his mind what the precedent might be or not be for this.

ENTEN: Yes, look, the fact of the matter is that most Americans aren`t
paying attention to this at all. So we`re talking -- you know,
obliviousness all the way around.

You know, I think of what even conservative Republicans, less than 50
percent of people that really paying attention to this according to Pew.

So the fact of the matter is, it`s a complete play to the base whereby
they`re rousing people up who are perfectly fine with impeaching the
President.

I mean, look at this. You -- the fact of the matter is, in the House of
Representatives, you`ve had numerous measures that really try to impeach
the President, those haven`t really gone anywhere.

But in terms of playing to the base, they love doing this stuff.

O`DONNELL: Howard --

REID: But it`s not trivial, maybe alternative is that if we can`t reach a
deal with Iran is, what they are looking for a war with Iran.

That is not --

DEAN: See my --

REID: Trivial --

DEAN: Well, my problem is not that, is not the metrics(ph), my problem is
doing what they did, which I think is disloyal.

REID: Absolutely --

DEAN: I mean we can -- you and I would probably disagree, I don`t trust
the Iranians at all --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but --

DEAN: And I don`t -- I don`t know how you`re going to do verifications --

CLEMONS: But Howard --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Steve, give us your last word on this --

CLEMONS: I understand your position. But I think that it`s very important
to understand that your posturing is going on and the disdain that these
senators have for President Obama --

O`DONNELL: I agree --

CLEMONS: They`re putting that higher than one of the most important
potential strategic leaps that really matters, not only to the United
States.

It`s a deeply important security and strategic issue. It is not a trivial
issue what we`re doing with Iran. That is -- it`s a remarkable thing that
they`re posturing that way.

And sack -- it is -- that`s where the question of patriotism and whether
you stand by the nation comes in. And that`s what I fault Democrats on for
not holding their colleagues to account on that measure.

O`DONNELL: That`s going to have to be the last word on it tonight, we`re
going to take a break here, thanks Steve Clemons.

CLEMONS: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Coming up, another resignation in Ferguson after the Justice
Department report on the Ferguson police, and 50 years after Martin Luther
King Junior crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

A fraternity in Oklahoma sounds as racist as the people who opposed Dr.
King.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The more common mistake is to suggest that Ferguson is an isolated
incident, that racism has vanished.

So the work that drew men and women to Selma is now complete and that
whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play
the race card for their own purposes.

We don`t need a Ferguson report to know that`s not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The resignations continue in the aftermath of Justice
Department`s report on the Ferguson Police Department today.

Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned after the Justice Department showed that
he brought in millions of dollars to Ferguson through what they call
creative use of fines and fees.

Punishing the most vulnerable while at the very same time dismissing
tickets for himself and dismissing tickets and fines for his friends.

The Missouri Supreme Court also announced today that it will take what it
calls the extraordinary action of reassigning all Ferguson municipal court
cases to the circuit court to help restore public trust and confidence.

Last week, two veteran Ferguson police officers, a captain and sergeant
resigned over a reported connection to racist e-mails that were exposed in
the Justice Department report.

Up next, the nine seconds of video that exposed stunning racism at a
fraternity at the University of Oklahoma.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We just need to open our eyes and our ears and our hearts to know
that this nation`s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.

(APPLAUSE)

We know the march is not yet over. We know the race is not yet won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was President Obama in Selma on Saturday and here is the
president of the University of Oklahoma this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID BOREN, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: You have violated every
principle that this university stands for. Every (INAUDIBLE), in my mind,
you shouldn`t have the privilege of calling yourselves Sooners.

Real Sooners are not bigots.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Oklahoma`s former Democratic governor and senator who
is now the president of the University of Oklahoma.

David Boren condemning fraternity members at the university who were caught
on video chanting this racist song.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will never be an -- S.A.E, there will never be an
-- S.A.E, you can hang them from a tree but they`ll never sign with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That video became public last night when it was e-mailed to
both the university paper and a black student group on campus.

University president Boren announced today that he is launching an
investigation over the fraternity involved, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

And has cut all ties to the fraternity`s chapter on campus, closing the
fraternity`s house and giving its members until tomorrow at midnight to
remove all of their belongings from that house.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOREN: As far as I`m concerned, they won`t be back, at least not while I`m
president of the university.

(APPLAUSE)

They will never come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President of the university is hoping for more than just
shutting down the fraternity. He said he hopes the students involved leave
his university.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOREN: Some might decide to take themselves elsewhere. Well, I hope they
do. Even before we finish the investigation, it will be just fine with me
if they all -- they all take themselves to other institutions.

Just take them out of here, they don`t belong here, and I don`t want them
here. So I hope they do. I encourage them, I might even pay personal bus
fare for them --

(LAUGHTER)

If they go somewhere else, just go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Isaac Hill, the President of the Black Student
Association at the University of Oklahoma. Isaac, how shocking was this to
you down there at the university?

ISAAC HILL, PRESIDENT, BLACK STUDENT ASSOCIATION, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA:
Well, Lawrence, I have to say, unfortunately, it was not that shocking.

For most of us that have grown up in southern America, which so many of the
black students here have.

Is -- we have always come into some kind of situation where there was
unfortunately a racial tension on a racial divide. So for most students
and myself across campus, unfortunately, this video was not shocking.

O`DONNELL: What would you recommend to your university president David
Boren to -- on this?

HILL: Well, I want to first like to thank him for all of his swift action
and his decisive words about how he feels about this.

But I would just recommend not only just reprimanding them, but also taking
time to educate them and let them know why this is not OK.

I want them to have meetings with the Black Student Association, meetings
with the black community across campus, so they can see us in a face-to-
face interaction.

And know -- and look us in the eye, apologize and tell us that, that`s not
-- that, that was -- I mean, us be able to tell them that that was not OK.

O`DONNELL: Isaac, we can clearly identify a guy in the bow tie who`s
leading --

HILL: Yes --

O`DONNELL: The singing there. What`s been the reaction to him
particularly on campus?

HILL: There has been a couple of meetings made, but as far as I know, I`m
still not really aware of who he is. Unfortunately, I don`t really know
too many members of this particular fraternity chapter.

O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson, you are just back from Selma, you were there for
the weekend with your son who`s around the corner there somewhere.

And to come back from that, that amazing weekend, and to discover this, as
the first piece of news in race relations in America today.

MARK THOMPSON, HOST, MAKE IT PLAIN, SIRIUS XM: Well, first of all -- and
thanks always for having me, Lawrence.

I never dreamed I would find out this -- especially considering my son and
his cousins were in the van with me driving from Montgomery to Selma.

We first got there and I was explaining to them the history of that very
dangerous road and all the things that happened there.

And all of the trees along that road and how over the century, how many of
those trees bore strange fruit.

I was explaining that to those young people. I never dreamed I would get
back here this evening, and I just came from the Jackie Robinson Foundation
that are aware these are students in institutions of higher learning with
scholarships.

And they`re talking about going to these schools and seeing something like
this happen in places of higher learning in this day and age. It is
horrifying.

A report just came out, the equal justice initiative, and they -- it`s hard
to document and track all the lynching that happened.

But may have documented almost four thousand between 1877 and 1950. It is
completely unacceptable and irresponsible and downright racist for anybody
to make light of that, to include it in any chant or to say anything like
that in this day and age.

And lastly, when we look at what`s been happening with the police which I
dare say is really -- we just saw at Madison, Wisconsin, a modern-day form
of lynching, far more sophisticated.

Maybe not nooses, maybe not street -- trees. But still, far too much of
this is happening and it`s really something that needs to be addressed and
taken more seriously.

O`DONNELL: Joy --

REID: Well, I mean remember that, you know, what I love about studying
history is that it is a continual, right? So we were in Selma where the
attempt to keep African-Americans out of civil society, away from voting
was a direct response to the civil war.

It was a direct response to the emancipation of the formerly enslaved, and
the desire of the white citizens of the south to not get over slavery.

And to say even a 100 years after the civil war, we will not allow the sons
and the grandsons of former slaves and the granddaughters of former slaves
to participate equally in society.

This fraternity that has now been expelled from this particular university
was founded in the mid 1800s --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

REID: In the 1860s, years after the civil war. I don`t believe for ten
seconds that those kids made that chant up. You`re talking about an
institution that was reacting, probably in the same era when people were --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right --

REID: Marching across the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right --

REID: Edmund Pettus Bridge to the imperative from the federal government
to integrate. To allow the grandsons and granddaughters of former slaves
to be with you in society.

To eat with you in a restaurant. This was the fact that the south couldn`t
get over. And not just the south, we`re talking about the places where
former slaves migrated to, places like Illinois saying after dark, get off
our streets, don`t be here.

Clean our homes, take care of our kids, but when the sun goes down, you
better get out of here because they couldn`t get over slavery.

The inability of an entire tract of our country`s society, not to get over
slavery and to allow the formerly enslaved to become full citizens.

Is what all of this is about --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

REID: That chant, what it`s specifically saying is, you are not
integrating our fraternity. That wasn`t something these students made,
they all --

O`DONNELL: Right --

REID: Knew the words to it.

O`DONNELL: Right --

REID: This must have been something that was part of the body of this
fraternity, that`s what`s really frightening.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, how do you think David Boren is handling it? You -
- and I remember him as what we used to call a --

DEAN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Conservative Democrat --

THOMPSON: You`re right --

O`DONNELL: In the senate and he was -- he was the last Democratic senator
from Oklahoma. I`m not sure we are ever going to have another one --

DEAN: No, we will --

O`DONNELL: But how do you think he`s --

DEAN: We will --

O`DONNELL: Handling this?

DEAN: Just give him an A-plus. Really, you know, we`ve seen a lot of bad
stuff go on on college campuses, and I`ve not seen a college president be
this forthright, this determined and this definitive.

One might argue he stepped over the line when he pre-judged the -- you
know, the judicial process at the University of Oklahoma.

But he absolutely in some ways reached out to students of color and said
the institution is with you. And that is very important for a president to
do.

I think he --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

DEAN: Was remarkable in what he did.

REID: Indeed.

THOMPSON: I agree.

O`DONNELL: Mark, bring your -- bring your son up here, I want to get
another witness to Selma.

(LAUGHTER)

I need to hear -- I need to hear for a -- come over on my side, I`m going
to let you use my microphone. Now, he didn`t know this was coming.

DEAN: Totally unfair --

REID: The look of total embarrassment.

O`DONNELL: Introduce your son to America, Mark.

THOMPSON: This is my 12-year-old son Matsimela Mapfumo(ph), just fresh
back from Selma.

O`DONNELL: OK, I`m going to hold up my microphone for you, tell us what it
was like to be down there this weekend and see the president speak?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was really fun. I had a good time hearing the
president speak.

O`DONNELL: And what about that ride from Montgomery with your father on
that historic road, what did that feel like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It felt good, but it also felt kind of sad because like
he said, he explained to us like people were lynched and they were hung up
on those trees.

But for us to know those story because they still walked across the
highway.

O`DONNELL: Great, thanks very much, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. You`re going to have to come back with your own microphone some
night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s Vince(ph) --

O`DONNELL: All right --

THOMPSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: But we got to get out of here, we`ll be back and we`ll do some
more TV and I`ll put this microphone back on.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMPSON: Thank you, Lawrence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) oh, my God, oh, my God! oh! --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Lord Jesus, oh, my God --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: At least 59 people were injured today when an Amtrak train
collided with a tractor-trailer at a crossing in Halifax, North Carolina.

Amtrak said none of the injuries were life-threatening. An investigation
of the accident is under way. Joining me now by phone is former chairman
of the National Transportation and Safety Board Jim Hall.

Jim, this is the third rail accident this year. We have the big Metro
North crash here in New York, California Metrolink Train on February 24th.
What`s going on here. This seems as though we`ve got a phenomenon going on
here.

JIM HALL, FORMER NTSB CHAIRMAN (via telephone): Well, the NTSB has been
investigating accidents like this, Lawrence, for decades, and will continue
to do so until the industry and the FRA invest in rail crossing safety.

O`DONNELL: And what do we have to do. I mean, it turns out -- I`m reading
the statistics here. We have roughly 2,000 accidents at railroad crossings
each year, varying degrees of severity obviously.

What do you have to do to make a railroad crossing safe.

HALL: Well, for a small fee, at my house, I`m able to pay for an app in
which I can lock my doors and have video of my own house. You know, we
have the technology. We just don`t have the will to invest in safety.

O`DONNELL: And the stat I`m looking at here says that, last year, we had
239 people who were killed at railroad crossings. That seems to me -- so,
Jim, it is statistically more likely in this country for you to be killed
at a railroad crossing than in a plane crash --

HALL: That`s correct and --

O`DONNELL: -- a commercial airline craft.

HALL: -- we have made far greater advances in aviation safety and highway
safety than we have in rail crossing safety. And that`s a shame.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to have to leave it there. Thank you
very much for joining us, Jim Hall, really appreciate it.

Coming up next, we have breaking news tonight about Congressman Aaron
Schock -- new questions about his excessive spending habits.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. AARON SCHOCK (R), ILLINOIS: When I post an Instagram photo of me with
friends, you know -- you know, as Taylor Swift said, haters are going to
hate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Congressman Aaron Schock last month, being completely
oblivious about his "Downton Abbey"-inspired office design that initially
cost taxpayers $40,000.

The congressman has since paid for the costs, he says, out of personal
funds. Aaron Schock`s obliviousness to appearances includes not just
boasting about his office decor but also the regular posting to Instagram
of exotic travel photos and selfies with pop stars, who would never set
foot in his Congressional district in Central Illinois.

It was Aaron Schock`s Instagram account that allowed the "Associated Press"
to track his spending habits. By using location data, "Associated Press"
figured out the Instagram images were able to connect the location of Aaron
Schock in these photographs with flight records.

They linked them to flight records that were billed to his office and to
his campaign. The "Associated Press" found that he billed taxpayers
$24,000 for eight private plane flights in 2011 and 2012. The plane is
owned, of course -- of course, by one of his donors.

So, the "paying the donor" trick on the old plane that gave Aaron Schock
reelection campaign -- that donor gave Aaron Schock reelection campaign
more than $10,000 which, of course, he got back in the jet rental prices.

The "AP" also found that Aaron Schock`s political action committee paid
another donor $12,000 for a private jet use, and spent $24,000 on concerts,
festivals and events, including, of course, a Katy Perry concert. On
Friday, speaking only before local media in his district, Aaron Schock
offered this explanation of his spending habits --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHOCK: They`ve been a point of reflection, not only for what is the change
in my office, but also point of reflection of things that need to change
with me personally.

I know that when I take a trip and I post photos online, it can create the
misimpression of being out of touch, or an image that is not worthy of my
constituents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And, tonight, we have more breaking news about Aaron Schock.
"Politico" tonight reporting that the Illinois Republican misrepresented
federal campaign finance documents.

Schock claimed on forms that a $3,000-expenditure in November was for
software, but the company cited -- said it was actually the cost of an
airplane ride.

Harry , it`s your obligation to explain this guy because you`re his age,
OK.

ENTEN: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: His obliviousness is clearly an age-based thing, right.

ENTEN: First off, I`m far younger than him.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: I know.

ENTEN: I will have you know.

O`DONNELL: I know.

ENTEN: You know, I don`t know what the hell he`s doing, to be perfectly
honest. It`s the craziest thing.

I mean, the only people who can defend this are "Downton Abbey" fans. I
mean, --

(LAUGHTER)

-- maybe, my father and a bunch of his friends together. And then they can
form some sort of Aaron Schock support group based upon loving "Downton
Abbey."

But, beyond that, I don`t know what the heck he`s doing.

O`DONNELL: You know, Joy, I`ve always had this observation about politics,
which is defined in this case, which is officeholders, work within the
ethics rules that were there when they arrived.

REID: Right.

O`DONNELL: So, when you had guys who were there, arrived in the 1960s, by
the time you got to 1980 and 1990, they were way out of control --

(LAUGHTER)

-- because when they arrived, there were no rules.

REID: Right.

O`DONNELL: This guy arrived into a Congress filled with rules that say,
"You`re not supposed this kind of thing." And he didn`t read any of those.

REID: Any of those. And, first of all, I`d like to say that, as a big fan
of the Dowager Countess, --

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh. Here we go. Here we go.

REID: -- I take great offense to the previous comment but let`s move on.

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, and also arrived in the Congress, at least, outwardly, it`s all about
constricting spending, right.

DEAN: Yes, yes.

REID: You have to be really penny pinchers when it comes to those poor
people because they just want to take, take, take, take, take.

And they just want food and they want their electricity to work, and
they`re just greedy, and we have to restrict that spending. I mean, you
know, it obviously is ostentatious and crazy. But, at the same time, it
just illustrated they didn`t do anything. He`s in the House of
Representatives.

O`DONNELL: Right.

REID: They don`t pass bills.

O`DONNELL: Right.

REID: He`s got nothing else to do. I guess, selfies kill the time.

O`DONNELL: Right. And, Howard, there`s the horribly smelly item there of
the contributor gives him 10 grand.

HOWARD: Yes.

O`DONNELL: And then he spends more than that, with the contributor, on
renting the contributor`s plane.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: Just in defense of the millennial generation, two of which, I have
in my own family, and many of whom I teach at various universities, this is
nothing like the representation of his generation at all. In fact, most
millennials won`t go to Congress because they think politics is an
institution that doesn`t work.

And they`re out actually working very hard to make the world a better
place. So, I wouldn`t want anybody to think that Aaron Schock is sort of a
typical young person in the millennium in Congress.

REID: But, I mean, at the same time -- you know, we`re not saying that
it`s typical behavior, but the media, many of the mainstream media are
about to attempt to anoint, you know, as a potential president, Juan Marco
Rubio, who displayed much the same kind of behavior when he was Speaker of
the House in Florida.

That went by with nary a mention as he continued to rise as the potential
great Republican --

DEAN: Well, except -- I`ve got to say there, Joy, there`s no chance that
if he should actually get any traction that any of that`s going to go by.
I`ve long thought that he`ll never be president simply because he was
Speaker of the House in Florida.

And you don`t get to be Speaker of the House --

(LAUGHTER)

-- I`m not kidding. You do not get to be speaker of many houses and
especially in Florida, without having a lot of really bad stuff that you`d
rather not have in the paper the day before the caucuses in Iowa.

ENTEN: One thing I just want to say is that Aaron Schock is one of the
most moderate members of the House of Representatives for Republicans.

DEAN: That`s true, that`s true.

ENTEN: There`s not going to be any defense.

This is going to be a wonderful bipartisan bloodbath, where everyone is
going to go and attack him. And the fact of the matter is, most
Republicans want -- Republican voters want nothing to do with Washington.

So, you`ve got a Washington scandal, a Washington moderate Republican.
This is going to be great television because everyone --

(LAUGHTER)

-- it`s going to be an open game forum.

O`DONNELL: I could talk about this all night just to keep these pictures
going on-screen --

(LAUGHTER)

-- of the way -- the way this congressman does his job. But we have some
breaking news that refers back to our previous segment about Iran and the
letter by 47 Republicans to the Iranian leadership. Joe Biden has issued a
statement tonight about that letter from the Republican senators.

He refers to it here, saying that, "It was designed to undercut the sitting
president in the midst of a sensitive international negotiation. It`s
beneath the dignity of an institution I revere," meaning the United States
Senate.

He says, "This letter, in the guise of a Constitutional lesson, ignores two
centuries of presidents and threatens to undermine the ability of any
future American president, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate
with other nations on behalf of the United States."

And, Howard Dean, if the Republicans had precedent for this letter, we
would have heard about it by now.

DEAN: That`s what`s so appalling about this. You do -- look, I was
against the Vietnam War. I was also horrified when Jane Fonda went to the
Hanoi.

You do not undercut your country even if you disagree with the president on
a policy. That`s what`s so bad about what these guys did.

I`m just shocked. I`d actually like to know who the seven Republicans who
refuse to sign the letter.

O`DONNELL: Corker was one. We`ll get that. But Joe Biden goes on to say
this --

"The authors of this letter must know the vast majority of our
international commitments take effect without Congressional approval. And
that will be the case should the United States, United Kingdom, France,
Russia, China and Germany, reach an understanding with Iran."

And, Joy, that`s absolutely true. The vast majority of commitments and
agreements that we make with other countries do not involve any kind of
treaty or any kind of Congressional --

REID: Yes, absolutely. And then, I`m glad that you read the latter part
of that letter.

Because this is not just the United States making some sort of a bilateral
attempt at a deal with Iran. This is a multinational process that these 47
members are undermining.

And this follows the Republicans, essentially, attempting to undercut the
President by genuflecting before a foreign leader who was invited to
address the joint session of Congress.

Really, just, I suppose, to embarrass and humiliate and lecture the
President of the United States. So, the lack of respect for President
Obama is an ongoing thing, it has been since the day he was inaugurated.
This takes it to a level that does question whether they understand their
role as public servants. This is a multilateral deal being negotiated with
many countries, our allies.

DEAN: I`ll go a step farther. I think, the question is, do they
understand that they are public servants --

REID: Yes.

DEAN: -- or are they just serving some ideology that they are putting
before the country. And that`s what I think they`re doing.

REID: Yes.

ENTEN: I just want to say that this is the reason that Joe Biden was
picked to be Vice President, because he has such strong standing on the
Hill.

DEAN: Yes.

ENTEN: He can come in and make these types of statements. And people say,
"You know what, this is a guy who knows what he`s talking about."

Putting aside all the jokes with the pictures and all of that, Joe Biden is
a long-time senator, lots of respect there. And when he says something
like this, it means something.

O`DONNELL: That`s a good point. Also, I want to get to the latest
presidential poll. We have a new NBC News poll out tonight.

And it shows in its -- in an unusual kind of way, it asked the question,
"could support" versus "could never support." It`s not exactly a straight
reference.

But Rubio is up there on this list. At 56 percent, could support. Walker
is 53 percent, could support. Huckabee`s 52, Jeb Bush is 49. But the
interesting thing about the numbers is the "could not support" part of
this. Because Rubio and Walker have a pretty small "could not support"
piece.

Whereas, Huckabee and Jeb Bush, they each have 40 percent. And in Jeb`s
case, 42 percent of Republicans saying "could not support" that candidacy,
Joy, and --

REID: Yes. And I think a legacy. And it`s interesting that Jeb Bush is
the dyed-in-the-wool neocon in that group. Because that`s one of the other
potential pieces of baggage for a Jeb Bush presidential run.

He is truly a neocon and represents that wing of the party. Marco Rubio
has tried to represent the hawkish wing as well.

And, I think, what`s been clear for quite a while is that the candidate
with the biggest upside for the base of the Republican Party is probably
Scott Walker --

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm.

REID: -- because there is such antipathy to unions in the party that that
puts him in good stead, even though his foreign tour was a disaster. I
don`t think that that matters.

O`DONNELL: Scott Walker has the lowest number of Republicans saying that
they could not vote for him, which is to say, he has the biggest potential
for --

DEAN: Well, I do think that some of that is that they don`t know the
candidate.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

DEAN: I mean, Bush is -- everybody knows Bush, so they can have strong
opinions about him. But, they mostly don`t know Scott Walker or even
Rubio.

So, you know, polling numbers at this stage of the presidential campaign
are incredibly hard to interpret.

O`DONNELL: That`s the most generous thing you`ve ever said about them.

(LAUGHTER)

You usually say, "Forget it, ignore these idiotic polls."

(LAUGHTER)

That`s the most diplomatic way you`ve ever put it.

DEAN: But I`m not very diplomatic.

O`DONNELL: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

I knew we`re going to leave on your diplomatic high note right there.

(LAUGHTER)

Howard Dean, Joy Reid and Harry Enten, thank you all for joining me
tonight.

REID: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, this is never-before-seen in the case against
the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean just asked the question, "Which seven Republican
senators did not sign that letter to the Iranian leadership." And we have
that answer as I promised.

It is Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Thad Cochran, Lisa Murkowski, Susan
Collin, Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander and Senator Dan Coats. Those were the
seven who were responsible enough to keep their names off that letter.

Today in Boston, jurors in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were shown never-
before-seen surveillance footage of the Tsarnaev brothers` movements in the
minutes before they set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon.

NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams was in the courtroom today.
Pete?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, jurors saw some
critical evidence today in the form of surveillance video. The FBI says,
it shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother on the marathon route.

Then it shows Tsarnaev himself at the scene of the second bombing, and
later still, casually shopping.

Just after the second marathon Explosion, the FBI says, video caught
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev running away, while firefighters rushed toward the blast
scene to help.

About 12 minutes before the bombings, a surveillance camera mounted on this
corner captured video of two men carrying backpacks. They were on the
marathon route about 2 1/2 blocks from where the first bomb went off.

Jurors saw that video today, as well as pictures that the FBI says showed
Tsarnaev at the site of the second bombing, leaving just before the blast.

Among those killed, 23-year-old, Lingzi Lu, a student from China. Her
close friend, Danling Zhou, had to talk her into watching the marathon.

Severely wounded herself, she tearfully recalled waking in the hospital and
saying, "Tell the nurse and doctors and everyone to look for her."

And the cancer nurse, Jessica Kensky, said marathon day was the last time
she did anything on two legs. Both she and her newlywed husband, Patrick,
lost their left legs in the bombing.

Last month, Jessica gave doctors to remove her other leg, also badly
injured. "I just felt like I was on a rocket when the blast went off," she
said.

And when she saw her husband on the ground, "I thought he was going to
bleed to death on the sidewalk."

But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, barely an hour after running away from the bombing,
the FBI says, was in a grocery store, calmly buying milk.

And later that same day of the bombing, as doctors were desperately trying
to fix severe wounds and shattered limbs, the government said, Tsarnaev and
a friend checked into a campus gym. Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Pete Williams, thank you for that.

Up next -- and, boy, do we need it, it is time for the "Good News."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: And, now, for the "Good News," good police news. The New York
City Police tweeted this picture today. According to the NYPD, Officers
Steven Wood, James Fothos, James Farrell and Sergeants Daniel Ortiz and
James Skurro (ph) saved a man who fell onto the subway tracks after
suffering a seizure.

Officers Wood and Fothos heard someone yelling from the tracks and
immediately called for backup. Officers Farrell and Wood jumped down onto
the track bed and lifted the man back on the platform with the help of
Officers Fothos and Sergeant Ortiz, stood at the end of the platform to
caution any trains, to wave them off if they were entering the station.

The 60-year-old man went to a local hospital with minor injuries. Great
work by the NYPD.

Up next, Apple`s big day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM COOK, APPLE CEO: The Apple Watch joins a line of products that we are
incredibly proud of. But we continue to push all of them forward.

This is what everyone in Apple is focused on, pushing all of our products
forward and creating a better future.

In San Francisco today, Apple announced that the new Apple Watch will be
available on April 24th. The watch will cost anywhere from $349 to over
$10,000, depending on which model you buy.

HBO also announced in San Francisco today a new partnership with Apple.
HBO`s Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler said this --

RICHARD PLEPLER, HBO CHAIRMAN AND CEO: We are thrilled to be here this
morning to announce our stand-alone streaming service, HBO Now. And we
couldn`t be prouder that Apple is our exclusive partner at launch.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now from San Francisco is David Pierce, Senior
Writer at "Wired." David, let`s work backwards to the watch.

What Richard Plepler was just saying, "HBO Now." How is that different
from "HBO Go."

DAVID PIERCE, "WIRED" SENIOR WRITER: So, the big difference is that you
don`t need a cable subscription to use it. HBO has always been tied to
your cable subscription.

And they`ve been really good about letting you watch it anywhere but you`ve
always have to have cable. And this is -- for HBO, they`ve been talking
about kind of getting into having ways to not have to have this big, you
know, expensive service that you don`t want and that, increasingly, people
don`t want to pay for.

So, this is HBO just going straight to people.

O`DONNELL: So, David, every product, every item that the Apple Store
sells has a watch in it, has a clock in it.

The phone has a clock in it. The computer has a clock in it. The tablet
has a -- everything has a clock in it.

(LAUGHTER)

And so, they`ve decided that while you`re holding your phone in your hand
like this, with the time right there, you also need the time over here in
the old-fashioned way like I do.

PIERCE: When you put it that way, it just sounds so obvious.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much.

(LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: But, no, I think -- the thing is -- I mean, you put it exactly
right. And that was the big question that Apple really had to answer
today.

They came out in September and they told us about how they made something
beautiful and wonderful, and that everyone was going to wear it on their
wrist.

And all I`ve heard in the months since then is why. Why does this exist.
Why do I want it. What is this for.

And Apple started to answer some of that question. There are some really
interesting things that it can do.

And I think developers are really going to have tools to build really cool
apps. But this felt like the beginning. This was Apple saying, you know,
"Here`s another toe into this."

And, I think, the real answer about what this is going to be for is going
to take a lot longer to actually figure out.

O`DONNELL: Well, as I said to Steve Kornacki at the beginning of this
hour, Thorstein Veblen, in 1899, explained it all when he coined the term
"conspicuous consumption."

I don`t know what else that watch is other than that. But, explain this to
me. How does it get from being a $350 watch to a $10,000 watch. How does
that happen.

PIERCE: It`s a really terrific question. So, it all depends on materials,
right. There are three different kinds.

And the mainstream sort of watch is going to be either $550 or $600. But
if you really want to go crazy -- and Apple has said they`re going to make
a limited number of these and they`re going to be in only certain stores.

And the thing I keep hearing is that this is very much geared towards
markets like China, where there really is this growing market of
conspicuous consumption.

But if you want Rose Gold and the most expensive beautiful Milanese Loop
Bands, it`s going to cost you a lot of money. And in a couple of years,
it`s going to cost you a lot of money again.

But I honestly believe there`s going to be a market for some of these. And
some of these are going to make Apple a lot of money.

O`DONNELL: David, my $44 Timex tells me that we are officially out of
time. David Pierce, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

PIERCE: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.



END

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