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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: March 31, 2015
Guest: George Mitchell, Mike Maroney, George Reinblatt

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Great interview with Elizabeth
Warren tonight, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence, thanks --

O`DONNELL: Really great to watch, thanks --

MADDOW: Appreciate it.

O`DONNELL: Well, the battle over so-called religious freedom laws has
spread to Arkansas tonight where the biggest employer in the state, Wal-
Mart has gotten involved.

In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence went into full-scale damage control mode
today, and last night, Justin Bieber got his wish, he was roasted on
"Comedy Central", we`ll get the inside word on how all that went down from
someone who wrote a lot of the jokes that you heard last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: It`s been a tough week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indiana Governor Mike Pence today tried to again
clarify his state`s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

PENCE: This law does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and
lesbian couples, I could handle that better this weekend.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, TELEVISION JOURNALIST: Yes or no, should it be
legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians?

PENCE: George --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one is better at playing yes/no on George than
Governor Mike Pence.

PENCE: I abhor discrimination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants legislation on his desk this week --

PENCE: That makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right
to deny services to any.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world`s top diplomat missing their own midnight
deadlock --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To nail down a framework for a nuclear deal with Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But making enough progress they said, to justify
keeping at it until tomorrow.

JOSH EARNEST, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: If we are making progress
towards the finish line, then we should keep going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tried to do it in overtime --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is only going to give the critics more armor --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight
9525 --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New details surrounding co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lufthansa now says it knew of Lubitz depression --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wrote this in a 2009 e-mail to the flight training
pilot school, the key question is, when did it know about the e-mail?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense has rested its case in the Boston Marathon
bombing trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defense lawyers claim that the major steps in preparing
for the bomb attacks were taken by the older brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was someone roped into this
conspiracy --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Closing on until it begin on Monday --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justin Bieber, roasted by "Comedy Central" last night
--

KEVIN HART, COMEDIAN: We are about to give this boy -- whipping that he
deserves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Justin Biber(ph) -- Justin Bieber --

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He made this promise.

JUSTIN BIEBER, MUSICIAN: You have my word, I will not end up broken,
pathetic, bitter or sitting on the desk of somebody else`s roast.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight. The CEO of Arkansas-based Wal-
Mart has asked Governor Asa Hutchinson to veto Arkansas` Religious Freedom
Restoration Act which just passed the state house today.

In a statement released tonight, Wal-Mart`s CEO Doug Mcmillon writes,
"every day in our stores, we see first-hand the benefits diversity and
inclusion have on our associates customers and communities we serve.

It all starts with our core-base belief of respect for the individual,
today`s passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion
present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we
probably uphold.

For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this
legislation." Earlier today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence held a haste-less
schedule press conference in response to widespread public criticism,
including much corporate criticism of the version of the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act that he signed last week.

Governor Pence began the press conference by saying it`s been a tough week,
and called on the legislature to do something fast, right now, to fix the
problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: It`s been a tough week here in the Hoosier state. We got a
perception problem here because some people have a different view and we
intend to correct that.

After much reflection and in consultation with leadership of the general
assembly, I`ve come to conclusion that it would be helpful to move
legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give
businesses a right to deny services to anyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: At today`s press conference, the governor was asked the same
question that he refused to answer this weekend when George Stephanopoulos
asked it.

He was asked if Indiana`s law allows a florist to discriminate against gay
and lesbian couples, this was his answer this time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: This law does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and
lesbian couples. And look, I could handle that better this weekend.

On Sunday, my intention was to set that record straight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Even though the governor says the legislation has to be fixed,
he claims he doesn`t regret signing that flawed legislation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you regret having signed this?

PENCE: Absolutely not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Matthew Tully, an editorial board member and
political columnist for "The Indianapolis Star", Garrett Epps, a
contributing editor of "The Atlantic" and a law professor at the University
of Baltimore.

Joy Reid, an Msnbc national correspondent and Beth Fouhy, a senior editor
at Msnbc and host of "REPORTER`S NOTEBOOK" on shift by Msnbc.

Joy Reid, there`s a great moment that I wish we`d had in the opening
tonight in "Cool Hand Luke", Paul Newman movie where his jailer says to
him, what we got here is a failure to communicate.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes --

O`DONNELL: And Mike Pence says we`ve got a perception problem, that`s all
it is --

REID: That`s all --

O`DONNELL: Perception problem --

REID: I know, and it was a really extraordinary news conference. I mean,
the defense included everything from `I used to be a Democrat to I`m
friends with John Lewis(ph), to Martin Luther King Junior`, something about
that.

But the core of the argument he was making was that the national press
mischaracterized the law, and that bad journalism is really the biggest
problem.

So therefore, he had to be on the phone with CEOs clarifying the real law
which he says doesn`t give that florist a license to discriminate.

But here is the problem, not that it gives them a license to discriminate,
but it gives them a defense if they do in court.

And he also tried, Mike Pence, to lay the law at the feet of Bill Clinton
and even Barack Obama saying they signed, they were for the exact same
thing.

Another problem, the Indiana law very specifically says that the government
doesn`t have to be a party to any of the actions, that if a business wants
to avail itself of the protections of this law, that doesn`t have anything
to do with government.

It can really just be a business and the people they don`t want to do
business with.

O`DONNELL: Beth Fouhy, an extraordinary situation in Arkansas, Wal-Mart is
the biggest employer in Arkansas. Governors --

BETH FOUHY, SENIOR EDITOR, MSNBC: Biggest employer in the country.

O`DONNELL: Biggest in the world.

(LAUGHTER)

OK, so governors listen to their biggest employers. And Wal-Mart is
accustomed to being listened to by the governor of Arkansas.

This again seems like a governor or a legislature any way that has stepped
into an area where they had no idea how hot that`s going to become.

FOUHY: Yes, and you know, I think Wal-Mart`s action today, and in fact
what`s going on with Pence in Indiana is kind of giving Governor Hutchinson
a very easy out here.

He can veto the law, and he can say Wal-Mart doesn`t want it and we need to
keep the businesses in my state very happy.

And he could have walked away very easily, not taking the kind of political
flak that we see Mike Pence now getting.

But you know, Lawrence, these religious freedom laws are here and they are
going to be an issue going into 2016.

They are the gay marriage bans that we saw in 2004 that many states were
voting on, and that helped push President Bush that year to victory because
so many conservatives came out and voted.

That`s not tenable anymore. The tide has shifted on gay marriage and
people are not rabidly against it the way they were.

And yet, religious freedom becomes the thing that conservatives will point
to and say, OK, well, if gay people want to get married, I`m not going to
get into that.

But I want religious people to have religious rights and religious freedom.
And for them, that -- this is -- this is that benchmark.

O`DONNELL: Garrett Epps, you masterfully took us through what is different
about the Indiana law last night?

I would like you to do that again because I continue to hear commentary
today by well-meaning people, not biased players in this game, saying hey,
it`s the same as the federal law.

So, take us through what`s different about the Indiana law, and then also
what do we see in the Arkansas law?

GARRETT EPPS, NOVELIST & LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE: Well,
let`s start with the fact that it has the same title, and as far as I can
tell, there`s a lot of people that`s as far as they`re going to go.

Couple of same title must be the same law. it`s not. It has a couple of
features that the federal law doesn`t have.

The first is, and this is laid out earlier, is that it says this is a
defense in an action brought by a private party, even if the government is
not a party.

Now, the only other statute that has that language is Texas. And Texas
then goes on after that language to say, but it`s not a defense to a civil
rights lawsuit.

So if this were not about discrimination, Indiana could have put that
language in, they did not. It also has a harder test for the government to
pass.

It has to be essential, the government`s interest has to be essential,
which is tougher than the federal RFRA.

And finally, it explicitly applies to, as far as I can tell, virtually any
for profit business that can say our religion forbids us to do something.

It isn`t a license to discriminate, that`s absolutely right. It`s a
license to get into court and make it as hard as possible for your
customers to get equal treatment.

O`DONNELL: And take us through the Arkansas law.

EPPS: Well, the Arkansas law is, you know, as far as I can tell, pretty
much identical. It has the same features, there is some language in it as
I understand it, that says this law cannot -- that complying with federal
civil rights law is a compelling interest.

Which, you know, sounds very reassuring.

But of course, there is no state law anywhere that can overrule federal
civil rights law. So in essence, that`s a -- that`s a concession that
means nothing.

It has the same language about private parties, it has the same language
about for-profit business. You know, it seems to have been the product of
a lot of behind-the-scenes contact among the people who are lobbying for
these bills in a number of states.

O`DONNELL: And last week, before this became a total subject as it is now,
Governor Hutchinson in Arkansas said this about the bill, "I will sign this
bill as amended.

The bill is designed to protect the religious freedoms of all Arkansans,
it`s no different than legislation that has passed in 20 other states from
Illinois to Connecticut.

Arkansas is open for business and we recognize and respect the diversity of
our culture in the economy."

So again, Garrett Epps, there`s the governor of Arkansas last week, saying
that this bill is no different from what has passed from Illinois to
Connecticut.

EPPS: Well, you know, it`s just -- it`s just not so. If you sit down, and
actually you can do it in about half an hour, if you got half an hour.

Read all the statutes and you will see they are very diverse. They mostly
have some language about a compelling interest, but in terms of what kind
of actions they apply to, who can be a party, who can bring the action,
they`re quite different.

And as I -- as I said last night, Texas passed this in 1999, and they said
we want to make it clear, this is not about discrimination, it doesn`t
apply to a civil rights lawsuit.

That actually is not hard. And if Governor Pence or the people in Arkansas
are -- want to fix their statute, it`s a paragraph.

You could adopt it in ten minutes. I don`t anticipate that will happen,
but that`s what they should do.

O`DONNELL: Matthew Tully, your newspaper have an extraordinary cover
today, front page editorial about this law in Indiana demanding action from
the governor.

Tell us how that came about. It must have been an extraordinary decision
from the newspaper to make, to do this editorial this way.

MATTHEW TULLY, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR: It was. It was
also very easy. Our state has been -- has taken out on the chin for over a
week now, and it`s doing significant damage to the state, and not just the
reputation.

This is not a perception problem. This is -- this is real, and it`s
already done serious damage to the state and it`s going to do worse damage
going forward.

Every time a convention cancels, every time a rock band cancels their
concert, every time visitors cancel their hotel stays, that`s real money
out of real pockets of people that work in downtown Indianapolis as
servers, hotel workers, you name it.

It`s what our economy in Indianapolis is based on. I will say Indianapolis
has a very strong human rights ordinance that have passed several years
ago, that makes clear that among the protected classes of people along with
gender and race and religion is sexual orientation.

So Indianapolis has been a very open city for a long time. And sadly, what
the state legislature has done has hurt Indianapolis more than anywhere
else in the state.

And so for us at the paper, we just saw that something had to be done,
something bold had -- step had to be taken, a message had to be sent and
the times have changed in newspapers.

But that front page can still be a powerful thing and I think we found
today that given that issue over to the front row -- the front page over to
that issue really did have an impact.

O`DONNELL: Matthew Tully, help me with what we`ve been watching here. On
Sunday, I wasn`t sure whether I was watching Mike Pence happily being out
there in the front of this issue nationally and becoming a national figure
on this particular issue being identified with it.

Today, I was watching someone who it seemed to me was surprised by how this
had turned out. Did not anticipate that he would be in this position where
he is this week.

TULLY: Yes, I think you`re right, I don`t think there`s any way anyone
could have predicted that this would become what it has become.

And he certainly didn`t. Though, I will say he raced to sign this bill
very shortly after it was passed by the legislature, he did so in private.

So clearly by Thursday of last week, while the full scope of this hadn`t
come to fruition, it was pretty clear that people were pretty upset and
there was a lot of opposition, or else he wouldn`t have signed it in
private, surrounded solely by a small group of people who pushed for this.

So I think they knew something was going on, but I think you`re right,
there is no question that he did not anticipate this story becoming what
it`s become.

O`DONNELL: Matthew Tully, quickly, before we go, this week, will the
legislature act this week?

TULLY: Yes, I think they`ll do something, if not this week very soon. The
question is, will it be anything really significant?

And then for Indiana, the question is, is it anything that changes the
narrative or has the damage just been done and it`s too late?

O`DONNELL: Matthew Tully and Garrett Epps, thank you for joining us
tonight.

TULLY: Thank you --

EPPS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Up next, a new poll in few battleground states shows the
effects of Hillary Clinton`s e-mail controversy. And we are watching
developing news in Iran tonight, those negotiations.

Former majority leader of the United States Senate and President Obama`s
foreign Middle East envoy George Mitchell, experienced in these kinds of
negotiations will join us.

And later, the inside word about the Justin Bieber roast from someone who
was writing a lot of those jokes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has conceded defeat in
that country`s presidential election. Nigeria has been governed by
President Jonathan`s party since the end of military rule in 1999.

But voters have apparently chosen Muhammadu Buhari, a former military
leader. President Jonathan was criticized for his handling of the economy
and his response to the kidnappings of hundreds of school girls by Boko
Haram.

Up next, Hillary Clinton`s e-mail problems and a new poll.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: When I got to work as
Secretary of State, I opted for convenience to use my personal e-mail
account, which was allowed by the State Department.

Because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work
and for my personal e-mails instead of two.

Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used
two devices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, the "Associated Press" reported that Hillary Clinton did
use at least two devices while she was Secretary of State.

In addition to her BlackBerry, Hillary Clinton also used an iPad to send
some e-mails. A spokesman told the "Associated Press" that Secretary
Clinton used her iPad primarily to read news clippings.

Here is Hillary Clinton in February discussing how she handles electronic
communication before there was any controversy about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I want to ask the big question --

CLINTON: OK --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: IPhone or Android?

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: IPhone.

(APPLAUSE)

OK, in full disclosure --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: BlackBerry --

CLINTON: And a BlackBerry. I have, you know, an iPad, a mini iPad, an
iPhone and a BlackBerry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Just to be clear, that was after she was Secretary of State. A
new Quinnipiac poll released today shows that the e-mail story may be
having an effect in some swing states.

Hillary Clinton has a solid lead in Ohio against all potential Republican
challengers. But in Florida, former Governor Jeb Bush leads Hillary
Clinton 45 percent to 42 percent.

And Pennsylvania, Rand Paul leads Clinton 45 percent to 44 percent.
Joining our panel now is Washington`s bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and
Msnbc political analyst David Corn.

David, these polls are pretty far-fetched notions to begin with, they are -
-

DAVID CORN, CHIEF, WASHINGTON BUREAU, MOTHER JONES: Yes, sure --

O`DONNELL: They are general election poll a couple of years ahead of time.
But one of the things they do show is an increase in the number of people
who doubt Hillary Clinton`s honesty and integrity.

It`s up around 51 percent in each one of those states.

CORN: You know, we like to say that a poll is just a snapshot in time. I
like to think of these polls as maybe cavemen paintings.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: By the time -- by the time we come around to the actual voting in
the caucuses, a lot of this will be long forgotten. And I do think, you
know, her numbers did drop on honesty, trust issues.

But by the time there`s actually voting going on, I expect her and
everybody on the Republican side will have very high negatives, low
positives, because this is going to be a very tough campaign.

The Koch Brothers and their pals are spending $900 million to go after
Hillary Clinton, the other Republicans will be fighting amongst themselves.

I think by the time you get to the general election, the two candidates who
are standing for each party will probably not be standing.

And there`ll be very -- a lot of the high negatives for them they have to
deal with, it`s going to be a very dirty, depressing, discouraging election
because a lot of negative attacks into what we`ve seen in the last few
months with Hillary will likely be overshadowed by what`s to come.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, one of the reasons in these polls, in our polls, I
look at the negatives a lot. Is there the hardest thing for a politician
to change?

Politicians negatives almost never go down during a campaign. And -- for
example, last time, she run in 2008, Hillary started off with a very high
negative, higher than anyone else in the campaign.

Barack Obama had virtually no negative, and that`s the advantage of being
unknown as you haven`t --

REID: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Built up any kind of negative. So she`s got that struggle of
trying to get a negative number to go down, the others all have lower
negative numbers than she does.

REID: Well, in my -- the sort of experience with campaigns is that, most
of the time people don`t try that hard to get their own negative down, they
just try to get the other guy`s negatives way up.

O`DONNELL: And they succeed --

REID: And they succeed --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

REID: So that`s when you try to dirty-up the other guy, and that`s of
course what`s going to happen.

Look, I assume both the Republican and the Democrat, let`s say Jeb Bush and
Hillary Clinton just for example are going to start with mid 40s, and then
they`re going to try to get to 50 from there.

That`s the way it has become in American politics. It`s very even. You
look at a state like Florida, it is going to be a toss-up, it`s both Jeb
country and it`s Hillary Clinton, it`s Clinton country.

So I think this is going to be a nasty, ugly dog-fight, just like David
Corn said.

O`DONNELL: Beth, one of the things that ignited so much excitement about
Hillary Clinton as a possible nominee is how good her polls looked a year
ago.

How good her polls looked back then, and she was just prohibitive across
the board in general election and any poll you`d run.

FOUHY: Yes, but she wasn`t in office and that`s the big difference.
Everybody`s polling is great when they`re not --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

FOUHY: Really doing anything. As soon as she became a serious credible
candidate, I mean somebody that people finally saying yes, she is running,
this isn`t a hypothetical thing anymore.

It`s real, then the scrutiny gets higher. Which is why I think that --
while the polling is showing that her negative script crept up, I`m not
sure this has anything to do with the e-mails, I think it was inevitable.

Suddenly, people are looking at her in different eyes than they were a year
ago when she was just out giving speeches and you know, taking -- getting
awards all over the world.

And you know, gardening back in Chappaqua. Like suddenly, they`re looking
at her and saying OK, wow, this woman who has been of our public life for
20 years, she`s a prohibitive favorite now to be president.

Do I want this woman to be president? And every bit of scrutiny that comes
along with that is on her now. And that`s why we`re seeing the polling
going up.

But you know, you said Florida is Clinton country and Bush country, true,
and we now know that Jeb Bush is making a very big play for Florida, both
at the primary state and if he wins a nomination in the general.

But you know what? He has to win Florida. Democrats does not have to win
Florida in order to --

O`DONNELL: Right --

FOUHY: Commandingly win the electoral votes out there. So that`s the big
disparity here. If Jeb and the Republicans really need Florida, they have
to compete for it even now.

And this polling shows that even so, Hillary still had the --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: David Corn, go ahead --

CORN: I would say, Beth makes an interesting point. It really seems, and
in most cases voters like the idea of a candidate better than the actual
person.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

CORN: People like the idea of Mitt Romney, you know, a businessman, maybe
a bit moderate, governor experience, more than they like Mitt Romney.

And so it`s -- our campaigns are longer and longer each cycle it seems, and
about the same with this cycle and the last cycle.

And candidates are overexposed and there`s just a lot of more emphasis on
the negative and it`s very hard for any of us, any human being to sustain
that sort of attention and that sort of scrutiny of these.

Let alone, you know, the negative, you know, you know, muddy attacks and
cross the finish line with people kind of feeling good about them.

O`DONNELL: Now we know why David Corn is not running for president.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: That`s exactly right.

O`DONNELL: Surviving that scrutiny --

CORN: The only reason --

O`DONNELL: David Corn, Joy Reid and Beth Fouhy, thank you all for joining
me tonight.

REID: Thank you --

FOUHY: Thanks --

CORN: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell will
join us as negotiations continue with Iran.

And later, a man who rescued dozens of people during Hurricane Katrina is
now looking for just one; one little girl he saved nearly ten years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If it`s midnight and a deal has
not been reached but the conversations continue to be productive, I think
they`d be prepared to continue the talks until tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A midnight deadline has passed in Switzerland but negotiations
on an Iran nuclear agreement will resume at 8:00 a.m., local time, just
about 3 1/2 hours from now. The White House released this update, --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- along with a photo. Tonight, the President convened a secure video
teleconference with members of his National Security team to discuss the
P5+1 negotiations with Iran.

The President received an update on the current status of the negotiations
from Secretary of State John Kerry and other members of the negotiating
team in Lausanne, Switzerland and thanked the team for their continuing
efforts.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained why the official updates
are light on details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EARNEST: -- that we have declined to get into the play-by-play, if you
will, of the negotiations. And, principally, that`s because we`ve been
guided by this notion that nothing is agreed to until every element of the
agreement has been agreed to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, the Former Majority Floor Leader of the United
States Senate, George Mitchell, who recently served as President Obama`s
special envoy for Middle East Peace.

Senator Mitchell, you`ve been through so many last-minute negotiations in
the Senate, also in your negotiations over the peace process in Northern
Ireland as Middle East negotiator.

I can`t think of anyone better to read what this situation tells us
tonight. What is your reading of where you think we are now.

GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE: I think
they`re close to an agreement, but both sides are jockeying for position in
the closing hours, a very common event in high-stakes negotiations,
certainly both in the Senate that I went through and in Northern Ireland.

But I think there`s good reason to continue as long as there is a
reasonable possibility of success. Lawrence, one of the things that
strikes me on this issue is that before Prime Minister Netanyahu came to
Washington and spoke to the Congress in opposition to the President`s
position, about 2/3 of Americans supported continuing these talks.

Afterward, about 2/3 supported continuing these talks. Before 47
Republican senators wrote to the leader of Iran, criticizing the American
position, about 2/3 of Americans supported the talks.

And, after the letter, about 2/3 still support the talks. On this issue,
at least at this time, there is a lot more common sense in the towns and
cities and farms all across America than there is on parts of Capitol Hill.

It clearly makes sense to continue talking as long as there is a reasonable
possibility of getting a strong agreement. That, I think, is what the
administration is doing.

The President has made clear that if he can`t get a strong agreement, he`ll
walk away from it. I think we should allow our government and crucially
remember there are five other governments on our side of the table --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France. All of them together have
brought pressure to bear on Iran through sanctions. And that`s really why
Iran is there.

Their economy has been devastated by the sanctions --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- and the low oil prices. And I think that`s why we have to bring this to
a conclusion and, hopefully, successfully.

And one final point, the President`s opponents keep saying, "Let`s stop the
negotiations and increase the sanctions." There is no evidence that I`m
aware of, none whatsoever, that the other five countries involved --
Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain, will, under those
circumstances, join us in increasing the sanctions.

So, if we did, as the President`s opponents on Capitol Hill want us to do,
we would transform the sanctions from universal sanctions, which are
effective, to unilateral sanctions, which are ineffective.

They would, in fact, achieve the precise opposite of what it is they say
they want in terms of sanctions.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I want to ask you about a personal dynamic that the
negotiators experience. And I think -- and some of this comes from critics
of a deal -- people who don`t want to deal at all.

I basically hear them saying that they fear that, you know, Secretary Kerry
is so enamored with the idea of making a deal that as he inches up to this
finish line, in the end, he`ll accept anything so that he can have that
moment, so the administration can have that moment at the microphone,
announcing a deal.

They`re kind of playing on the notion that there`s just a human dynamic to
this that will lead them across what is, in effect, a false finish line
because the deal isn`t any good.

MITCHELL: That is a real concern, and you can be absolutely certain that
the opponents of a deal in Iran are saying exactly the same thing about
their negotiators.

It is inevitable in these circumstances that those who are involved at the
table, in the arena, in the fight, are subject to criticism by those who
are not.

And that`s a valid concern, one, I think, that our negotiators have to be
on guard against. And, I`m sure, from the Iranian perspective, they`re
saying the same thing about theirs.

O`DONNELL: Just a word about John Kerry. You served with him for many
years in the Senate.

What is your sense of his ability to keep his head clear about those kinds
of issues as he gets down to that finish line.

MITCHELL: Well, I think, the most important thing is to keep in mind what
President Obama has said. In the end, this will be a decision by President
Obama, not by the secretary of state or any other official, although, I`m
sure that the President will listen to the counsel of all of his advisors.

But the President has made it very clear, first, that Iran is not going to
get a nuclear weapon. Secondly, that the most effective way to prevent
Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is through an agreement with proper
verification and safeguards.

And that`s the course he`s going to pursue. And as long as there is a
reasonable prospect of getting that, he`ll stay with it.

But he`s also made clear, if an agreement of that type cannot be obtained,
then we will walk away from the table and it will be the Iranians who will
face the consequences thereafter.

They will be severe, negative for all concerned. But far more severe and
far more negative for Iran. In the end, Iran must decide whether it, like
dozens of other nations in the world, is not going to have a nuclear
weapon, although they may possess the capability to produce one, because it
is not in their interest to do so.

Remember, Lawrence, there are nine countries in the world with nuclear
weapons. There are dozens of countries who could produce nuclear weapons
but who voluntarily refrain from doing so because they have judged it to be
in their national interest not to go for a weapon.

Iran should join that large group of nations. That makes the most sense
for it. And, ultimately, their leader will have to make that decision.

O`DONNELL: Senator George Mitchell, thank you very much for your
invaluable experience and perspective on this issue tonight. Thank you,
Senator.

MITCHELL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Up next, Stephen King --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- responds, as only Stephen King would, to Maine`s Tea Party governor who
said Stephen King fled Maine because of the high taxes there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR: You folks take that money, put it in your pocket,
keep it then go back and get some more if you can because times are rough.

(LAUGHTER)

But when you get into that voting booth, I want you to vote for whomever
well you damn well pleased. Well, sir, we won the election by damn near
what, Sonny?

GEZA KOVACS, ACTOR: Twenty-nine.

SHEEN: Twenty-nine percentage points. We`ve been winning ever since. And
those people spent that money with a clear conscience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Martin looks like such a kid there. That was the 1983 screen
adaptation of Stephen King`s "The Dead Zone," with Martin Sheen playing a
politician named Greg Stillson.

We now know, that is how Stephen King sees Governor Paul LePage of Maine,
who still refuses to apologize to Stephen King for saying last week that
Stephen moved to Florida to avoid paying state income taxes in Maine.

Stephen King is a lifelong resident of Maine and says he has paid more than
a million dollars in state taxes in just the last two years. He demanded
an apology. The governor was asked about this on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you intend to apologize to Stephen King for
the untruth that you told about his failure to pay Maine income tax.

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: I never said that, sir, so I`m not going to
apologize. I never said -- I never said Stephen King did not pay income
tax.

What I said was, Stephen King`s not in Maine right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The next day, Governor LePage joked about it at a Republican
event, reportedly saying, "Just make me the villain of your next book and I
won`t charge you royalties."

Stephen King e-mailed this response to that to THE LAST WORD.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Stephen King said, "I`ve already used Paul LePage-type characters twice in
my books -- Greg Stillson, the nutty right wing congressman in `The Dead
Zone` is one."

"The other is the monster clown in `It.` Like the clown, Governor LePage
is penny wise and pound foolish. Good luck with the show, Steve."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Thanks, Steve. And let`s take another look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEEN: My destiny.

SEAN PATRICK FLANERY, ACTOR: This is not necessary, Mr. President. We
have a diplomatic solution.

SHEEN: Mr. Vice President, Mr. Secretary, the missiles are flying.
Hallelujah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It`s been almost 10 years since Air Force --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- Staff Sergeant Mike Maroney was sent to New Orleans to help rescue
people from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Maroney and his fellow service members spent two weeks descending onto
rooftops and rescuing New Orleans residents, including this little girl and
her six family members, who he hoisted from their flooded neighborhood.

At the end of that rescue mission, the little girl threw her arms around
Maroney and smiled, a moment that was captured by Air Force photographer,
Sergeant Victoria Pierce.

Little did Maroney know that the image would spread far and wide, ending up
on magazine covers, military coins and even phone cars.

And, now, 10 years later Mike Maroney, along with the "Air Force Times," is
trying to find that little girl. Joining me now is Air Force --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- Master Sergeant Mike Maroney. Mike, how is the search going. You don`t
have her name, right. You never got her name, so you`re working with a
blank here.

MIKE MARONEY, AIR FORCE MASTER SERGEANT: Yes, sir, I never got her name.
I thought it would have been rude to ask somebody who had been through such
traumatic event what their name was, so I never got her name and -- well,
it is all over the Internet.

We haven`t had any luck yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, we`re posting some information. If you recognize this
girl -- I want to keep her picture up as much as possible, too.

And so, it`s 10 years ago. So, what do you think, Mike, she`s about four
years old, five years old in that picture maybe?

MARONEY: Yes, sir. We`re pretty sure she`s about 13 -- or she`s about
three or four. And so, she`s about 13 or 14 now.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And maybe living in New Orleans, maybe living in Houston.
A lot of people got moved over to there and a lot of people stayed there.

So, not even clear exactly where to look, right.

MARONEY: No, sir. They were shipping people to Phoenix, Houston, San
Antonio, Minneapolis. Like you said, you know, New Orleans was destroyed,
so they were shipping people everywhere.

O`DONNELL: Well, it looks like you really made her day that day, Mike. I
love the look on both of you in that picture, but she is absolutely
priceless.

And I can understand that feeling of "Let me check in." And that`s really
-- that`s what you want to do, right, you just want to see how she`s doing?

MARONEY: Yes, sir, she touched my heart. But, actually, I`ve been looking
for her for a number of years and haven`t had any luck.

And a young kid named Andrew, out of Michigan, high school student, he
heard my story. And he was so touched by it, he said that he was going to
make it his life`s mission to help me reunite with her.

And so, he`s responsible for all this, and the power of the Internet and
just -- you know, just putting the message out there to help me find her.

And It`s been amazing. I`m touched by, you know, you guys and everybody on
Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, just putting the message out there and
just trying to help me find her.

TEXT: #FINDKATRINAKID, #FINDKATRINAGIRL

That hug, that smile. Those were dark days in New Orleans. It was very
depressing, you know, to see such a beautiful city destroyed.

And when I went to pick her up and take her off the helicopter, when she
wrapped me up in that hug, --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- everything disappeared. The only thing that was there was --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- happiness. And everything floated away. And, I think, that smile is
everything. That smile is resiliency.

That`s, you know, the human spirit that we can triumph through anything.
And she had it at such a young age. And it`s helped me through my life.

O`DONNELL: Mike, if you get to give her that hug again, what do you want
to say to her.

MARONEY: I just want to know how she`s doing. I just want to let her know
that her smile affected me as much as, I believe, it affected her.

O`DONNELL: All right. Well, high school kids of America, one of you, some
of you are going to high school with her right now somewhere.

So, take a look at that picture. Think about it.

I hope we can help, Mike. I hope this gets us closer.

MARONEY: Yes, sir.

O`DONNELL: Master Sergeant Mike Maroney, thank you for what you did in New
Orleans. Thank you for your service there and thank you for joining us
tonight.

MARONEY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thanks. Coming up -- you know, I started to like Justin Bieber
a couple pf months ago --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- after he recorded that middle-of-the-night video apology of sorts for
his bad behavior, and after last night`s Comedy Central roast, which I
watched the rerun of in the middle of the night, I started to like him a
little bit more.

We`re going to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Justin Bieber roast
next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

All right, Justin Bieber fans, we are going to talk about the Biebs, I
promise you that. But some of you Justin Bieber fans, especially in New
Orleans area and Texas, where it`s an earlier enough time zone that you
might be watching some of this right now, take a look at this little girl.

That`s 10 years ago. Some of you Bieber fans might be in high school with
her right now.

And Mike Maroney, that Air Force officer there, is trying to get in touch
with her just to see how she`s doing.

So, if you have any information about that, try to help us -- try to help
us reunite them. And your reward for helping us out is the next segment,
is of course, starring Justin Bieber.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Justin Bieber actually asked to be roasted by Comedy Central. Two weeks
ago, he got his week. And, last night, Comedy Central aired it for all of
us to see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN HART, ACTOR: Tonight, we`re going to do what his parents and the
legal system should have done a long time ago.

(LAUGHTER)

We`re about to give this boy a (bleep) that he deserves.

MARTHA STEWART, BUSINESSWOMAN AND TV PERSONALITY: Let`s get to the reason
I`m here tonight, which is to give Justin Bieber some tips to use when he,
inevitably, ends up in prison.

(LAUGHTER)

The first thing you`ll need is a shank.

(LAUGHTER)

I made mine out of a pintail comb and a pack of gum.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: This kid has spunk, moxie, and probably a few other
STDs, OK.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

CHRIS D`ELIA, ACTOR: You literally are a guy who has it all, except for
respect, love, friends, good parents, and a Grammy.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, George Reinblatt, one of the writers for Comedy
Central`s roast of Justin Bieber.

George, I loved it, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

It`s as simple as that. And I know some people are shocked -- they`re
shocked to discover, as they see you sitting there, that Shaquille O`Neal
did not make up all of his joke, standing there at the podium, live as we
were watching him.

There are writers. And you guys did a great job. Tell us what it was like
working with Justin Bieber on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE REINBLATT, COMEDY CENTRAL WRITER: Well, Bieber was great, but I`m
going to go back one.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

REINBLATT: Shaquille actually showed up with his own pile of jokes for us.
So, while we did write about a lot of the Shaquille stuff, the Writers`
Room did, Shaq had one or two of his own in there, too, that he wanted to
bring to the table.

O`DONNELL: All right. You`re right, another big surprise.

REINBLATT: But working with Bieber -- you know what, it was awesome. It
was way better than you ever -- normally, we roast somebody at the end of
their careers, and this really, in some people`s opinion, is no exception.

But Bieber has so much on the line, but he gave us no restrictions. He
just said, "Bring it. Bring everything you got. No holds barred."

And it`s really cool for somebody to be a good sport like that. And I
think -- I think the world wanted to see him get it. And he took it. He
took it really, really well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, in the reaction shots that we saw of Justin Bieber, he --
every funny joke he thought was as funny as I thought was funny. I mean,
he got the whole thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

One thing that struck me, George, in the audience shots, I saw something
that I haven`t seen before.

I saw all sorts of big-name celebrities like John Legend and his wife and
others, just sitting in the audience, not playing any role in the show, in
the stage.

Is that a thing now in Hollywood that people want to go. I mean, big
celebrities who want to go and just sit in the audience and watch this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REINBLATT: It has traditionally not been like it was this time. This was
the hottest ticket in town.

Even Justin, we had to say, "You only get a certain amount of seats." And
him and his manager had to sit down and cross off their friends who
couldn`t` come.

This was literally the hottest ticket. There were tickets going on
Craigslist for like ridiculous amounts of money.

It was the toughest ticket to get in. And every --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- celebrity seemed to want to get in there. And some of them might have
regretted it, because some of them seemed to get a bit of abuse in the
front row but it was still fun.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it was -- they were kind of silent, interactive partners.
Some of them got picked on.

Will Ferrell, not sitting there throughout the show, so -- none of us knew
he was coming and then, suddenly, there he is on the stage. How did that
happen.

REINBLATT: That was -- you`ll be shocked how much of a secret that was
from everybody. The majority of the Writers` Room did not know he was
coming out.

He wrote all his own material. He had a separate trailer way away from
everybody.

We knew that was a secret guest. We didn`t know who it was. And here was
a surprise, by the way, Justin had no idea.

So, when you see Will Ferrell come out as Ron Burgundy, and you see the
look of surprise, everyone is legitimately surprised -- the people on the
stage, everybody, because nobody knew that was coming.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it was a real -- I guess, Kevin Hart pulled him in since
they co-starred in that movie.

George Reinblatt, great job last night. It`s one of the best, one of the
best roasts you guys have ever done. Thanks for joining us tonight,
George.

REINBLATT: Thank you. You are our key demographics, so --

O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

All right, thanks a lot. Chris Hayes is up next.



END

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