Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, April 20th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: April 20, 2015
Guest: Mary Koch, Jack Young, Marq Claxton, Dan Smolen, Steve Latourette,
Dave Wedge

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we will see you again
tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good
evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel, thank you.

MADDOW: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Well, it`s 420, and the majority of Americans support the use
of recreational marijuana according to a new "Cbs News" poll, 53 percent in

That is the highest percentage supporting legalization since "Cbs News"
began asking that question in polls in 1979.

And of course tonight, we have more video of police abuse, abuse of use of
force, but we also have the exact opposite.

Video of the most heroic kind of police restraint. An officer who refused
to shoot a murder suspect when that suspect actually was asking him to



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Protests are taking place over the death of Freddie

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He died a week after he was arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, get up, you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family`s lawyer says the man`s spine had been
partially severed in police custody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has called for
an independent review of the incident --

on the police looking at the police, and we don`t depend on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is defending the training of Reserve Deputy Robert

STANLEY GLANZ, SHERIFF, TULSA COUNTY: I know that he has received a lot of
training --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attorneys for the family of Eric Harris say that the
documents released so far do not prove that he was adequately trained.

JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: To power-phrased Danny Glover, a
73-year-old man is literally too old for this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we`re back into the political season.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton is back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Campaigning in New Hampshire today.

talking only about me.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: When Hillary Clinton travels, there`s going
to need to be two planes, one for her and her entourage, and one for her

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an
activity, not an accomplishment.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Hillary Clinton is going to raise $2.5
billion, that`s a lot of Chipotle, my friends.


CLINTON: Now I don`t know what they talk about, if I wanted to raise --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marco Rubio says being gay, is it a choice? But Marco
Rubio also says --

RUBIO: Marriage should be between one man and one woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has stale old -- ideas.



O`DONNELL: Tonight, six Baltimore city police officers are suspended after
a 25-year-old Baltimore man died from a spinal injury that was apparently
sustained during an arrest.

Part of what happened was captured on cellphone video and released by
lawyers for the victim.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure, the guy was acting, they tased him -- like that.
Man, I`ve been recording this -- I`ve been recording it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is mummy, you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been recording it, what car they come out of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He on a bike -- yes, right there, him, right there, you
on a bike.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got it, don`t worry about it. Don`t worry about it,
don`t worry about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they need to tase you like that, you wonder why he
can`t use his legs.


O`DONNELL: According to the autopsy report released today, Freddie Gray
suffered a spinal cord injury that resulted in his death after a week in a

The lawyer for Freddie Gray`s family said, Freddie Gray`s spine was 80
percent severed at his neck. Today, protestors gathered for a third day
outside of western district police station.

Here is Baltimore`s city mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.


RAWLINGS-BLAKE: This is a very tensed time for Baltimore City, and I
understand the community`s frustration. I understand it because I`m

I`m angry that we are here again. That we have had to tell another mother
that their child is dead. I`m frustrated that not only that we`re here,
but we don`t have all of the answers.


O`DONNELL: Here is Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez at that same
press conference where the mayor spoke.


that when Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk, he was
upset, and when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk and
he could not breathe.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Mary Koch, one of the lawyers for Freddie
Gray`s family, also joining us Jack Young, president of the Baltimore City
Council, and Marq Claxton, the director of the Black Law Enforcement

Mary Koch, what questions do you wish were answered at that press
conference today that were not?

MARY KOCH, LAWYER: One of the first questions I would have wanted answered
is why was Freddie Gray arrested? Because there really is no answer to why
Freddie Gray was arrested.

I`ve read the application for statement of charges, it gives no real
information. It actually amounts to what I would call and refer to in my
days at the prosecutor`s office when I would get things like this from
police officers as felony running.

I mean, the man, there is no indication that he did anything wrong. And
then the other question I have is, is that he was being loaded literally
into the wagon and he was not being belligerent at all.

As a matter of fact, he was crying out in pain and it`s clear from that
video he could not use his legs.

Why didn`t someone stop right then and there and have the compassion and
the wherewithal to call for medical help immediately.

So what happened in that van was not answered either, but those questions
weren`t answered at all. Where is the knife that they say they -- was

It says in the application for statement of charges that, knife was
recovered by the police officers, that`s their reason why he was arrested,
because he had the knife.

Of course, the knife comes after they`ve already "apprehended" Mr. Gray.
So where is that knife?

Why didn`t Deputy Commissioner Rodriguez bring that knife to show the
members of the community what exactly it was that the officers found.

And we`re talking about -- and I`d like an explanation of how it was they
actually found that. So those are some of the questions that you -- that
you have initially.

And then, you know, just the idea that people think that somehow it`s not
OK for a young man to run. How did they even know that he was running from
the police?

I mean all the questions that haven`t been answered, all the questions
about the training of these police officers, how they conduct their
investigations, how they determine whether or not there is reasonable

Or how whether or not there`s probable cause and the fact that they need to
learn that you don`t apprehend someone and then try to look for some reason
to justify that apprehension.

O`DONNELL: City Council President, Young, last year, you wrote an Op-ed
piece calling for a Justice Department investigation of your Police
Department, your Baltimore Police Department.

You saw problems with it then. Do you have confidence that this
investigation underway now will be conducted properly now that it has the
mayor`s attention?

conducted properly.

But I want it conducted a full civil rights investigation of the entire
police department because of these allegations of police brutality and
people being shot and murdered at the hands of some police officers.

Now, I want to make it clear, the whole police department should not be
indicted for a few bad apples. But when we find those bad apples, they
should be punished to the fullest extent of law.

And I think a complete investigation -- a civil rights investigation of the
Baltimore City Police Department is in order.

And I also think that we should have independent investigation outside of
the Baltimore City Police Department.

O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, with your experience in the NYPD as an officer,
what is it you think you`re watching in that video?

I mean, speaks for itself.

I mean there was some sort of interaction and there was what should have
been a pretty routine prisoner transport situation itself.

So what`s on the video is not really in question. What is in question is,
what happened once Mr. Gray was in the -- in the transport vehicle itself
and the time that it took between being placed in the vehicle, who
interacted with Mr. Gray, who conducted an investigation or interrogation
of Mr. Gray, what occurred within that period of time that he was inside
the transport vehicle.

And they had to call for EMS to come and render life-saving aid at that
point. So, I mean there are huge questions, all of the questions that the
attorney presented, they are valid questions.

What is painful and disturbing and unfortunately has become routine
throughout the nation when you have these type of incidents is that these
investigations take --

YOUNG: Well, my --

CLAXTON: Painfully long. They are protracted and unnecessarily so, it
does not take two weeks to engage and conduct interviews --


YOUNG: Well, I said -- I said earlier that -- I didn`t want to cut him
off, but I said earlier that I`m concerned about what happened once he got
into the police van also.

Because they said he was talking, he was, you know, hollering about, you
know, he wanted to get some help.

So my question is, when they left the scene and start traveling with the
police van, what happened between that time?

They -- understand they stopped --

CLAXTON: And let me just say this and --

YOUNG: It is a medical information --

CLAXTON: And what I`m saying is --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead Marq --

CLAXTON: And Mr. President, what I`m saying --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead Marq --

CLAXTON: What I`m saying exactly is that at this point or some point
really close, like maybe tomorrow, there should be a more open and honest
transparent explanation about some of the major details and some basic
details that the --

KOCH: Well --

CLAXTON: Attorney raised, and other people have raised, et cetera. I
mean, you can`t pretend --

KOCH: Well, there is certainly --

CLAXTON: You can`t hide behind as --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead --

CLAXTON: I`m sorry --

KOCH: The problem --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead Mary Koch, go ahead --

KOCH: It`s OK, I agree that the problem -- obviously the problem is what
happened. Everybody wants to know what happened inside that van.

Because you know, we all know the condition of Mr. Gray when he was taken
out of that van. We all want to know that.

But I still want to back up for a minute and say, why would you transport
someone who is obviously in pain?

If you look at the video he cannot --

CLAXTON: That`s correct --

KOCH: Use his legs, he cannot go into the van unassisted, he is not in any
way -- he`s not yelling -- I mean often times we`ve seen video with people
who are using profanity with the police, being belligerent, arguing about
the fact that they`ve been arrested.

That`s not what this young man was doing. This young man was crying out in
pain and it was obvious he could not use his legs. Why was he even placed
in the van in the first place?

And then I have to back it up --

CLAXTON: And no --

KOCH: And say, but why was he even arrested? Why was he even apprehended?
I mean that is the first question --

CLAXTON: And those are the questions --

KOCH: That has to be asked --

O`DONNELL: And Marq Claxton --

CLAXTON: And those are the questions and quite honestly --

O`DONNELL: Would you say in your experience as an officer that the only
reason they would have put him in that van instead of call for an ambulance
is they just didn`t believe he was injured.

They just believed he was kind of faking this screaming thing?

CLAXTON: And that --

YOUNG: Well, it was --


CLAXTON: Could be the possibility in their minds --

YOUNG: The way -- the way --

CLAXTON: But it --

YOUNG: But the way that he was screaming, I doubt that they had to know he
was hurt.


YOUNG: Because from what I heard, he was screaming pretty, you know, loud
that something was wrong. Even when they were taking him to the van, he
was crying out --

KOCH: Well --

YOUNG: In pain.

KOCH: And you know what I think is really interesting, when you hear the -
- you hear the gentleman who is actually videotaping and he says -- he
talks about that Mr. Gray was tased.

That the police officers tased him and they saw him tased. Now, Deputy
Commissioner Rodriguez said there is no indications of any kinds of marks
on autopsy.

Which I assume would include any markings from having been tased because it
would burn --

YOUNG: Well, I didn`t hear anything about him being tased?

KOCH: But --

YOUNG: I didn`t --

KOCH: I just heard that from the -- from the person on the street --

YOUNG: OK, well, I couldn`t hear that --

KOCH: So, the bottom line is --

CLAXTON: And there --

KOCH: Something was wrong that they should have recognized --

CLAXTON: And there lies the -- and there lies the situation --

KOCH: OK, we`re going to have to --

CLAXTON: And there lies the point that I --

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there for tonight, Marq
Claxton, Jack Young, Mary Koch, thank you all very much for joining me
tonight, I really appreciate it.

We will be coming back to this story, thank you very much.

Coming up, the Tulsa County Sheriff holds a press conference to try to
answer questions about his friend who shot and killed Eric Harris.

And an Ohio police officer stands his ground and he refuses to shoot a
suspect. The entire thing was caught on video, the suspect was asking him
to shoot him.

That looked like a case where the suspect wanted suicide by cop. Also
tonight, it looks like we have a glimpse into who the Koch Brothers have
chosen as their candidate for president of the United States.


O`DONNELL: Today, the Michigan police officer who beat a man after a
traffic stop was charged with mistreatment of a prisoner and assault with
intent to do great bodily harm.

Officer William Melendez is seen in this dash cam video placing 57-year-old
Floyd Dent in a headlock and punching him in the head 16 times.

The Wayne County prosecutor said today that a drug possession charge
against Floyd Dent will be dropped, there are no charges left against Floyd

Video of excessive use of force like that seems to have been flooding
American television this year, but we now have a truly heroic example of
restraint on the use of force by officer Jesse Kidder in New Richmond,

In the video, you are about to see captured on officer Kidder`s body cam, a
murder suspect approaches officer Kidder in the dark and repeatedly asks
the officer to shoot him.

Officer Kidder had been warned that the suspect might be armed, but officer
Kidder remarkably keeps his cool in the face of danger.


JESSE KIDDER, POLICE OFFICER: Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get
your hands up right now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me, shoot me --

KIDDER: Stop! stop right there!


KIDDER: I don`t want to shoot you, man --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me, man, shoot me --

KIDDER: I don`t want to shoot you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me, man, I said shoot --

KIDDER: Stay right there (INAUDIBLE), don`t do it, man, shoot you, shoot
you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is right here, you ain`t (INAUDIBLE), Shoot me!
Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me (INAUDIBLE) -- shoot me (INAUDIBLE) --

KIDDER: No, man, I`m not going to do it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me, shoot me, shoot me --

KIDDER: (INAUDIBLE) -- shoot you, backup! Get down on the ground! --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All cars -- all cars be advised, subject is running,
subject is running.

KIDDER: Keep your hands out, keep your hands out if you want to get shot,
do you understand that?



O`DONNELL: The camera that captured that heroic police work was not issued
by the police department, it was a gift from officer Kidder`s family.



GLANZ: I know that he has received a lot of training, and that`s
documented, and he has those documents. And I believe they were released
by his lawyer.

I just know that Mr. Bates has been to the range several times and is
qualified and that`s documented.


O`DONNELL: That was Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz today at a news
conference insisting that 73-year-old volunteer Sheriff`s Deputy Robert
Bates was properly trained to work as a volunteer deputy.

But Sheriff Glanz could not confirm that Robert Bates was trained to use
the 357 Smith & Wesson that he says he confused with his taser when he shot
and killed Eric Harris.

The "Tulsa World" reports that the 357 revolver was not on the approved
list of firearms deputies can carry on duty.

Three years of firearms qualifications from Mr. Bates records and most of
the records of his officer field training are missing.

Over the weekend, attorneys for Robert Bates released 65 pages of
documents, they insist show that Robert Bates received the necessary

Last week, "Tulsa World" reported, according to multiple anonymous sources
that Mr. Bates training records had been falsified. Today, Sheriff Glanz
was asked about that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there an investigation into these allegations of
falsified records that you guys actively investigating?

GLANZ: No, we are not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were through the --




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given the magnitude and the power of those kinds of
allegations, why wouldn`t you be looking --

GLANZ: Apparently, they don`t want to talk to me, but they`re welcome to,
they can go to the FBI and talk to them.


O`DONNELL: Robert Bates gave his first public account of how he mistakenly
used his gun instead of his taser in an interview with Matt Lauer on "The
Today Show".


MATT LAUER, JOURNALIST: Would you do me a favor, would you stand up for me
for one second and show me, where on your body when you are in your uniform
you keep your taser and where you keep your weapon?

Your revolver. Can you stand up and show me?

taser is right here on the front tucked in a protective vest, my gun itself
is on my side, normally to the rear.

LAUER: And people are going to look at that, Mr. Bates, there to say, how
could you make this mistake?

How could you think you were going for your taser on your chest tucked into
that vest and accidentally pull your weapon?

BATES: Well, let me say, this has happened a number of times around the
country. I have read about it in the past, I thought to myself after
reading several cases, I don`t understand how this can happen.

You must believe me, it can happen to anyone.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Dan Smolen, the attorney for the family of
Eric Harris and back with us is Marq Claxton, former NYPD detective.

Dan Smolen, what was your reaction to hearing Mr. Bates describe where
those two weapons were to Matt Lauer.

DAN SMOLEN, ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, you can see the picture of the taser
in a still frame from the video, and I think it`s much higher even than Mr.
Bates` referencing in that interview with Matt Lauer.

It`s a bright yellow taser that`s up high here, and based on what I know of
the shooting that day, Mr. Bates walked from his vehicle again over to
where Mr. Harris was and shot him.

He didn`t pull his weapon.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen -- let`s listen to what Sheriff Glanz said today
about his friend and how he made that mistake with his taser and his gun.

And I warn you, listen to this very carefully because I have trouble making
sense of it no matter how many times I listen to it. Let`s listen to what
the Sheriff said.


GLANZ: Bob didn`t mistake a gun for a taser, he mistaken having a gun in
his hand and thought it was the taser. He didn`t transition from a gun to
a taser.


O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, I hope you`re going to explain to me what I just

CLAXTON: My eyes are rolling around in my head. I mean it`s really
amazing to me -- I mean, let`s be clear about something.

That gentleman had no business being even in a position to commit this, you
know -- to commit this killing of this individual.

He should not have been in close proximity with a firearm with professional
police officers. We have to be mindful, we`re talking about public safety.

Public safety and we can`t just give this to anyone who`s had "some
training" or similar training or likes the police or has a title of reserve
or auxiliary, anything else.

The perfection policing requires certain professional standards, there is
extensive training, there is tactical training. There is a whole
examination process, perhaps psychological interviews.

Not everyone who wants to be the police should be treated as if they are
the police, regardless if their friend is the sheriff or not.

And the explanations coming forth are extremely troubling and detrimental
to the wellbeing of professional law enforcement. It`s inexcusable and the
sheriff really should be ashamed of himself.

O`DONNELL: In addition to everything else you just mentioned, Marq, there
are also mandatory retirement ages. And NYPD is ten years younger than
Robert Bates --

CLAXTON: Sure --

O`DONNELL: Is the maximum age. I want to -- sure, hear one part of this
news conference today that explains actually just how friendly the sheriff
is with his friend, Bob, as he just described him, including taking
vacation trips together to the Bahamas.

Let`s listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Allegations of you and some other members of the
sheriff`s office taking trips to the Bahamas, things of that sort paid for
by Robert Bates, is that true?

GLANZ: No, let me say, part of it is true, yes. But I paid for part of it
because I went too. And it was -- wasn`t just Bates that went with me, it
-- or I went with him.

The undersheriff was there along with another reserve.


O`DONNELL: So Dan Smolen, Robert Bates supervisor, his ultimate supervisor
here, the sheriff, he`s paid for vacations to the Bahamas for him.

SMOLEN: Absolutely and what I`m furious about is, not only the Bahamas,
but how many times have they been to Bates` home in Florida?

How many times have they been to Bates` home in Colorado together? How many
times have the members of the violent crimes task force traveled with Mr.

And that`s the exact issue that we`re dealing with here. You`ve got a guy
out there that`s got no training, they`ve been unable to establish anywhere
close to the necessary training.

And it leads one to believe the only reason he is out there is because he`s
providing vacations and weapons and vehicles and money to this violent
crimes task force.

O`DONNELL: Dan Smolen and Marq Claxton, thank you both for joining me
tonight on this, thank you --

SMOLEN: Thank you, Lawrence.

CLAXTON: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the "New York Times" reports that the Koch Brothers
seemed to have picked their candidate for president.

And Hillary Clinton says she is ready for Republican attacks against her.



GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: People want three things. They want a
new, fresh face, particularly if we`re going to support or we`re going to
take on Hillary Clinton. They want someone from outside of Washington
who`s got big, bold ideas.

And most important, they want someone who`s got a proven track record, not
just talk to someone who`s fought and won for the hardworking taxpayers.

I think, out of anyone who`s thinking about running, we`re the only one
that can say yes to all three of those.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The Koch brothers just might agree in
Manhattan today, at a closed fundraiser for the New York State Republican
Party, "The New York Times" reports the two attendees said David Koch
indicated Scott Walker should be the nominee.

The Koch brothers have already committed to spend nearly a billion dollars
to their political organizations in the next two years to put a Republican
in the White House, who they are clearly hoping is Scott Walker.

"The Times" reports that --


-- "at today`s fundraiser, Mr. Koch suggested that the political
organizations they oversee, which include Americans for Prosperity, The
Grassroots Organization and Freedom Partners, a donor trade group with an
affiliated super PAC, would not intervene in the Republican primary process
on behalf a single candidate."

"But according to two attendees who spoke on the condition of anonymity to
freely describe the remarks, Mr. Koch indicated that the Koch Family might
personally offer financial support to Mr. Walker."


Tonight, David Koch released this statement --


-- "While I think Governor Walker is terrific, I am not endorsing or
supporting any candidate for president at this point."


Joining us now, Kasie Hunt, MSNBC Political Reporter, Charlie Cook, Editor
of "The Cook Political Report" and a political analyst for the "National
Journal" and NBC News, and Former Ohio Republican Congressman, Steve

First of all, Casey Hunt, are you lost.


This is New York City.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: I wandered into your studio.

O`DONNELL: You`re sitting -- this is not New Hampshire, this is not Iowa.

HUNT: I don`t think New York is officially on the campaign trail.


O`DONNELL: No. Charlie Cook, is New York in doubt in the presidential

the -- that`s not "The York Times" story I read three minutes ago.


But it said that he would be -- he predicted that Scott Walker would be the
nominee, and it was a little fuzzier, I think, than that.

O`DONNELL: Well, what strikes me, Charlie, is it`s -- it`s great to say,
"I`m not endorsing anyone." But I do think this guy should be --


-- the winner. You know, in my country, that`s what an endorsement sounds

COOK: Well, I`m not sure. That`s how I read it but, anyway, that`s OK.

O`DONNELL: Right. Steve Latourette, Scott Walker does seem to be the new
darling. I mean, if --


O`DONNELL: -- if everyone`s going to get their 30 days or whatever it was
that last time around -- everyone seemed to get at least 30 days as the new
darling, he is certainly it. Do you think he can sustain it.

LATOURETTE: Well, the interesting thing to me, and Charlie is the expert
on this, but this is the first time that I can remember a Republican field


-- this broad, where everybody`s trying to be the guy that represents
something. So, you`ve got Rubio, who wants to be the foreign policy guy.
You`ve got Cruz, who wants to be non-Obama. You`ve got Bush who was the
Senate right guy.

And I think there`s one more lane that`s available. And I don`t know if
Scott Walker can maintain it or not. And that one lane belongs to a
governor, who`s going to come in and say, "I`m outside Washington, I`ve got
fresh ideas, I`ve got good ideas."

And, until a little while ago, there were five of them -- Jindal, Walker,
Christie, Mike Hansen, and my governor, John Kasich. And, I think, you`ll
see one of them come out of that pack.

But I don`t think that the field is going to sustain more than one of them.
And, you know, Scott Walker -- everybody had a flirtation with
Scott Walker earlier out of Rush Limbaugh and that bunch.

And that seemed to have faded. So, we`ll see.


O`DONNELL: The question of the day has become, for Republican candidates,
"Would you attend a gay wedding." Let`s see how Scott Walker handled that
with you, Kasie.


HUNT: Would you attend a gay wedding.

WALKER: Well, in terms of -- that`s a -- certainly a personal issue for a
family member. So, that night, our family -- we`ve had a family member
who`s had a reception.

I haven`t been to a wedding. But when -- that`s true, even though my
position on marriage is still that is defined between a man and a woman,
that supports the Constitution of the state, and for someone I love, we`ve
been to a reception.


O`DONNELL: So, Kasie, it sounds like a yes.

HUNT: It does sound like yes. Although he seemed to make a distinction
there between a wedding ceremony and a wedding reception. I don`t know if
that`s a thing --

O`DONNELL: Yes, ceremonies are generally more boring.


And so, he is willing to go to the reception.

HUNT: He wants to go have fun, I would think. No, but, you know, I think
-- look, I think to a certain extent, there`s a little bit of a
generational divide in the Republican field on this, right. I mean --

O`DONNELL: Rubio is a yes.

HUNT: Right.

O`DONNELL: He was the first one to get it.

HUNT: And, Ted Cruz, of course, I guess, is in that younger generation.
But he`s somebody who`s, so far, has punted on this question.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He`s a maybe at this point.

HUNT: Yes.

O`DONNELL: He said something like, "The situation hasn`t presented

HUNT: Right. "It`s never been something I`ve had to make a decision
about." Rick Santorum, on the other hand, said, "You know what, this is
something I`m opposed to."

But it`s amazing how fast this issue has gone from something Republicans
once used as a cultural wedge. I mean, no Democrat, no major Democratic
candidate in the 2008 race supported legalizing gay marriage.

And, now, it`s something that`s becoming a difficult question for the
Republican field. It`s astonishing.

And for young people, the latest NBC poll shows 74 percent of Americans, 18
to 35, support legalizing gay marriage. That`s an overwhelming number.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, if the campaign teams are just sitting there
studying polls to try to get their answers to these questions, is there a
polling that indicates what the winning answer is to that question of
"Would you attend a gay wedding," -- winning question for the Republican

COOK: I think the winning way is to avoid the question.


I mean, just fuzz it up. I mean, the thing is, --

HUNT: Charlie, you`re making my job so difficult here.


COOK: It depends on which Republican part. Look, if you`re a Rick
Santorum, a Mike Huckabee, a Bobby Jindal, running in that lane, of course,
you can`t say you would do it.

But for the sort of more secular Republican Party, you know, we`re looking
at numbers at 40 percent in the last NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll, that`s
43 percent in CBS, 42 in CNN of Republicans support same-sex marriage.

This number is moving so rapidly. But this is not a subject Republican
presidential candidates are trying to go out and talk about.

I mean, when you stick a microphone in their face, they`ve got to say
something, or maybe not.

But this is not something that they`re trying to talk about. And as Kasie
said -- Kasie said that this issue has changed so fast just in four years.

And that, by four years from now, eight years from now, this is going to be
a non-issue even on the Republican side.

O`DONNELL: Steve Latourette, if this question chases the Republican
election, isn`t the answer there much more important than it is now.

LATOURETTE: Well, I think it`s important than the Republican primary
because there`s a certain part of the Republican electorate that isn`t
going to like the answer that seems to be the right answer.

And that is, of course, they would. I mean, it`s kind of a silly question.
The question is "Would you attend," and not "How do you feel about gay

I mean, that`s really the question. And I think the Republican nominee has
to be where the public is on this issue.

O`DONNELL: In defense of Kasie Hunt`s question, I suggested that everyone
be asked that question in the campaign.


And, in my view, there are no silly questions. There are just silly
answers. And I think we`re going to continue to get some.

We`re going to take a break here. When we come back, we have breaking news
about what could actually --


-- be the collapse of the Chris Christie campaign for president before it
officially starts.



We have breaking news about the Republican presidential campaign. Robert
Costa is reporting in the "Washington Post" at this --


-- hour that Chris Christie`s 2009 chairman of his gubernatorial campaign
is now backing former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in Jeb Bush`s presidential

New Jersey State Senator Joseph Kyrilllos has also made a $10,000
contribution to Bush`s Political Action Committee. Kasie Hunt, this is
sounding like there isn`t even going to be a Christie announcement at this

HUNT: Well, look, I wouldn`t count him out just yet.

O`DONNELL: Well, I counted him out over a year ago --


-- as soon as he had that press conference about the bridge.

HUNT: I mean, we`re still waiting on whether or not there are going to be
indictments. If there are indictments in this Bridgegate case, I think all
bets are off the table.

I will say, I was up in New Hampshire this weekend. He`s mounting a sort
of town-to-town town hall strategy in New Hampshire that, years, in some
ways, what John McCain did, that ultimately won him that primary.
And I do think that Christie has enough raw political skills that that
could potentially work out. But I do think that this is a sign that the
Bush strategy is working.

They`ve set out, from the beginning, to be the team that was sucking up all
of the money, all of the support. And this is really a signal from the
Bush campaign to the Christie campaign that, "You know what, we are making
some progress here."

And it should be a warning sign to him.

O`DONNELL: Steve Latourette, it sounds like a signal to all the campaigns,
not just the Christie campaign.

LATOURETTE: Yes, it does. And I think that that`s the Bush strategy.
It`s a good one.

I just want to correct, I misspoke. I thought Kasie`s question was
brilliant, by the way.



HUNT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: That`s what I thought you meant to say.


LATOURETTE: Well, yes, I did. You know, you misspeak and that happens but


HUNT: In fairness, I wasn`t the first person to ask the question, so --

LATOURETTE: The fact of the matter is that I wouldn`t count anybody out at
this moment of time. I sat in a room with John McCain`s team. There were
like six of us at that time and he only had a couple hundred thousand
dollars in the bank.


And he thought he was toast. And he wound up being he nominee. So, you
never know.

But I do think that the Bush strategy, the same one his brother used in
2000, is effective. And I think it`s going to begin to move people to the

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, if Chris --


-- Christie tries to keep the dream alive, do you see any place for him in
this field.

COOK: I really don`t. To me, early on, you had the Republican
establishment, this sort of legacy Republican Party desperately wanting Jeb
Bush to run.

And up through September, October, up until pretty much Thanksgiving, it
really looked like Bush was not --


-- going to run. And that`s when you started seeing this ground swell for
Chris Christie build up. It was someone looking for a sort of center-right
but not right-right candidate.

The day it started looking like -- right after Thanksgiving, it was
starting to look like Jeb Bush was going to run, that was the end of the --
to me, that was like the end for Chris Christie.

I mean, the bridge stuff is, to me, that`s sort of -- unless he`s indicted,
it`s beside the point.


But all the air has been out of his sails for a couple of months now. And,
you know, to me, if there is a competitor for Jeb Bush in that sort of
center-right space, it`s more likely to be --


-- Marco Rubio than Chris Christie.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Hillary Clinton today at a round table.


She went to a factory store that makes furniture for schools -- for
elementary schools. Let`s listen to what she had to say there.


thinking that, you know, you have this equipment here. If you could get
some kind of grantor, other support from either local government, state
government, even the community college or the college and, you know, you
could have a program at night.

I mean, you know, if somebody were to come in and basically say, "We`re
going to designate Whitney Brothers as one of our training facilities."

And your expert employees would get some kind of wage bump because you`d be
the instructors.


O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, I was counting on all of those things to be just
incredibly boring. But I watched every minute of this one on C-SPAN today.

And when we got there, what was fascinating to me is it actually looked
like this was a live, spontaneous moment of her getting this idea in this
exchange with these people.

It actually looked like, "Hey, wait a minute, this discussion might
actually turn productive."

HUNT: I think so. And I think that`s exactly their goal. I think you`re
hearing it, too. And she talks to reporters at some length.

She`s bringing up ideas that we haven`t necessarily heard from there. She
mentioned substance abuse in particular. And this is something that Joe
mentioned --


-- earlier today. He was talking about how it`s such a huge problem in
West Virginia. And I think that`s something we hadn`t heard her talk about
before but it`s something we`ve heard about.

O`DONNELL: But it`s the people raising the question.

HUNT: Right.

O`DONNELL: It was the people there who raised the question.


Charlie Cook, she does seem to be getting smoother and more relaxed at
these round tables.

COOK: Yes. I think her campaign seems to be trying to do everything
exactly --


-- the opposite of how they did it last time. And, so far, I think it
looks pretty impressive. I think the rollout -- I think the rollout was

And, you know, the question is, to me, this thing is not going to be about
Benghazi or e-mails or the foundation or any of this stuff. It`s does she
seem to be relevant to the future. Does she seem to have new ideas.

You know, does she seem -- you know, presidential elections are about the
future, not about the past. Midterm elections are about the past.

And so, to me, if she`s striking these kinds of chords, that`s good for
her. And these other -- these other things, they`re not -- you know, I
don`t think they`re going to be that big -- a big a deal with swing voters
or certainly not in the Democratic primary.

O`DONNELL: Steve Latourette, quickly before we go, the Republicans seem to
be --


-- competing with each other about who can attack her the hardest. Is
there a danger of overkill there.

LATOURETTE: Well, sure, there is. You know, as a husband and a father of
daughters, I`m really proud that the lead candidate of one of the parties
happens to be a woman.

I wish she was a Republican woman but I`m happy that it`s a woman. And you
do -- you can do overkill and you can overplay your hand.

And I think that they should come up with the ideas that Charlie is talking
about. This should be a campaign of --


-- who`s got the best idea to take the country forward. And they should
point out why it`s them and not Hillary Clinton.

O`DONNELL: Steve Latourette gets the last word on --


-- presidential politics tonight. Kasie Hunt, Charlie Cook, thank you all
for joining me tonight.

HUNT: Thanks, Lawrence.

COOK: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, deadly results --


-- for nearly a thousand Libyan migrants fleeing the Islamic State as a
ship capsizes on the way to Europe.



The "Associated Press" is reporting tonight that Italian authorities have
arrested the captain and one crew member of the boat that capsized off the
coast of Libya on Sunday.


Hundreds of migrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa are feared
dead. And the accident has put a spotlight on a growing humanitarian
crisis in the Mediterranean.

NBC`s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has more on two different
disasters in the region.



bodies recovered off Libya`s coast were brought ashore in Malta, disaster
struck again.

Further east, a ship packed with Syrian refugees ran aground off the Greek
island of Rhodes. At least three were killed, but more than 90 rescued,
many dragged from the surf, close to shore.

Those lost off Libya this weekend had no such luck. Their ship sank in
deep water, at night, miles from shore.

Only a few dozen survivors have been found, a tiny fraction of the 950, one
survivor claims, were on board.

Survivors say, when this cargo ship approached, many thought they were
being rescued and rushed to one side to be seen. Their boat capsized,
reportedly, with hundreds locked below.

Just last week, 400 migrants drowned when their ship capsized off Libya.
Why so many now? Conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Libya and across Sub-Saharan
Africa are pushing people to escape economic and political hardship.

Many are running for their lives.

ADRIAN EDWARDS, SPOKESMAN, UNHCR: People fleeing in desperation aren`t
fleeing out of choice. They`re fleeing because their lives depend on them
finding safety.

ENGEL: And with Libya in chaos, its coast has become a springboard for
migrants desperate to escape to Europe, thousands of them. This past week
alone, some 1,500 have died trying, equal to the number who perished on the


O`DONNELL: That was NBC`s Richard Engel. Coming up, should Boston
Marathon bomber, --


-- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, get the death penalty. Some victims of the bombing
say no.




An MSNBC programming note -- tomorrow, Chris Matthews will be interesting
President Obama at 7:00 p.m. on "HARDBALL." Right here --


-- on MSNBC, President Obama plays hard ball. Up next, the 119th Boston
Marathon was today. And the penalty phase of the Boston Marathon Bombing
Trial begins tomorrow.


Today was the second running of the Boston Marathon since --


-- the bombing attack on the race in 2013. Other 30,000 people
participated in the 119th Boston Marathon, including the female wheelchair
race winner, Tatyana McFadden, who raced on Team MR8, a team of
participants, who included the actor, Sean Astin.

They all ran in memory of eight-year-old, Martin Richard, who was killed in
the bombing. After the race, Tatyana McFadden gave Martin Richard`s
father, Bill Richard, her Golden Winner`s wreath.

Tomorrow, the penalty phase is set --


-- to begin in the trial of convicted Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev. The same jury --


-- that found Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts will return to the federal
courthouse in Boston to decide whether he should get the death penalty.

"The Boston Globe" published an appeal by Martin Richard`s parents, asking
the prosecutor drop the death penalty option.

They wrote, "We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the
death penalty. But the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring
years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives."

"We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the
lingering painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which
years of appeals would undoubtedly bring."

Joining us now is Dave Wedge, --


-- a former investigative reporter for the "Boston Herald," and a co-author
of the book, "Boston Strong."

Dave, it was quite a day there today, with a lot of remarkable things,
including Rebekah Gregory, who ran the last 3 1/2 miles. She was a bombing
victim there.


What else was part of the emotion of today.

always an emotional day, Lawrence, you know. You`re from Boston, I`m sure
you`ve seen it many times.

But since the bombings, last year was incredibly emotional. This year was
about moving on but we also have the backdrop of the trial. So, the
emotion is high anyway.

But, as you said, Rebekah Gregory -- there`s another survivor, Roseann
Sdoia, who lost a leg in the bombing. She ran the last half mile.

There were several survivors that ran for the first time today. Another
woman named Michelle L`Heureux from Maine, was severely injured at Marathon
Sports, was never a runner before, wasn`t able to run last year because she
was still recuperating.

And, today, she ran the race, the entire thing, with her fiance, who she
was there watching run that day. So, it was an incredibly emotional day in

O`DONNELL: And, Dave, this question of the death penalty has become the
question of the day --


-- in Boston. I want to quote another victim of the bombing, Mark
Fucarile, who said to "The Boston Globe," -- "I think there are pros and
cons --


-- about both a life sentence and a death sentence. My thoughts change
constantly, they really do." And then he said, "I don`t really want to
comment on it."


Is that something you found with victims of the bombing, that they`re not
particularly ready to comment on that death penalty.

WEDGE: Yes, I think, absolutely. I think there`s a lot of moral struggle
here. I mean, look, Massachusetts is not a death penalty state for a

It`s something that people here struggle with. It`s not a clear-cut issue,
even in a case as egregious as this.

I mean, if there was one person that deserves the death penalty in this
country, it`s certainly Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

There`s no doubt about his guilt. His defense team admitted his guilt.
Yet, these people here, even the Richard Family --


-- who suffered so tragically from that day, they don`t want to see the
death penalty.


And, you know, the other couple, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, made a
similar plea to "The Boston Globe." So, there`s a lot of -- lot of folks
there that are wrestling with it, for sure.

O`DONNELL: Well, we`ll be watching it.

Dave Wedge, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it..

WEDGE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

Watch The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

Sponsored links

Resource guide