Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: May 7, 2015
Guest: David Corn, Jeremy Peters, Annie Karni, Kavitha Davidson, Jordan
Schultz, Dan Roberts

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Approved, so the park service will -- at least it`s
our mock-up. Today, the temporary anti-climb feature was approved so the
park service will start affixing doodads just like this one for the
lighthouse fans in the next few weeks.

They`re removable, but they`re supposed to sit there at a wacky angle and
keep you from trying to climb it. They need help to fixing them, I`ve been
practicing all day. I`m good at it.

Oh, good. That does it for us tonight, we`ll 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: Rachel, you`re making me wish I
had props with me down here in Washington.

MADDOW: I can get in the atelier(ph).


O`DONNELL: You know, I`m very proud of Tom Brady tonight, I`m sure all New
Englanders are, because when he was asked about his balls tonight, he said
the only thing a gentleman could say -- absolutely nothing.


MADDOW: Rules to live by, rules to live by. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. Well, the new self-appointed leader of
America`s liberals wants to follow the example of, of all people, Newt

And right now, President Obama is speaking live in Portland, Oregon, where
he will probably be arguing against Senator Elizabeth Warren.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton is in a middle of a three-day swing
through California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s beginning to fashion a progressive agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill de Blasio wants to be sort of an Elizabeth
Warren-like figure.

straightforward, clear, sharp, progressive agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re doing what a lot of Democrats have been afraid
to do --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who knows what he would like to parlay that into.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris Christie and his dimming White House hopes,
first swing through New Hampshire after those indictments.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: What I said in January of 2014 has
turned out to be exactly what happened.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: And he shut down that bridge is
retribution -- was my senior staff who were handpicked --

CHRISTIE: I have no misgivings about it.

STEWART: Christie 2016!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That so-called deflategate report.

digest it fully --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More probable than not, Brady was "at least generally

BRADY: But when I do, I`ll be sure to let you know how I feel about it.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: I just hope that this doesn`t
change Bill Belichick`s happy-go-lucky attitude towards the press.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The United Kingdom is facing (INAUDIBLE) election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without a big enough lead to declare an outright
victory, Cameron will have to form a coalition in order to stay in power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel a coalition will still work --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Order! I`m sick and tired of hearing you shout out.


O`DONNELL: President Obama is speaking at a DNC fund-raiser in Portland,
Oregon. He is expected to talk about the biggest problems he has had with
congressional Democrats in his presidency.

The international trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership,
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is leading Democratic opposition to
the President in Congress.

Here is what President Obama has said about Senator Warren`s opposition.


allies on a whole host of issues, but she`s wrong on this.


O`DONNELL: But in "POLITICO" today, unnamed administration officials are
privately calling Senator Warren`s attacks baseless and desperate.

Today, Senator Warren teamed up with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to
co-write an Op-ed in "The Washington Post" outlining what they say will be
the new progressive agenda.

By increasing the minimum wage, allowing families to refinance student
loans at lower rates, giving every child access to full care pre-
kindergarten, investing in infrastructure, roads, bridges, rail, water,
power and broadband.

Strengthening and expanding Social Security, strengthening the rules of the
marketplace, ending billions in tax breaks for corporations and promoting
fair trade policies that strengthen our economy.

Create good jobs and good wages and establish fair rules of the road for
companies around the world.

Yesterday, on "MORNING JOE", Mayor Bill de Blasio said his strategic
inspiration for this new policy agenda came from what Newt Gingrich did 20
years ago.


DE BLASIO: I obviously disagree with Newt Gingrich on many things, but in
1994, he put forward a contract with America.

It had a crystallizing effect for his party and for conservatives. It was
a clear, sharp set of ideas about how to change America. In my view in the
wrong direction.

But as an organizational tool, it was very effective. On Tuesday, May
12th, we`ll offer a straightforward, clear, sharp, progressive agenda for
addressing the income inequality.



O`DONNELL: Joining us now here in Washington, Jeremy Peters, a political
reporter for the "New York Times" covering the 2016 presidential race.

He`s also an Msnbc political analyst, David Corn joining us, Washington
Bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and an Msnbc political analyst.

And Annie Karni, a reporter for "POLITICO" covering Hillary Clinton. David
Corn, the description of fair trade that Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth
Warren say they`re going for is exactly what President Obama would say and
would probably say tonight.

Is --


O`DONNELL: In the deal he is making.

CORN: Well, this probably really goes back to NAFTA, if not even before
that, when Bill Clinton promoted NAFTA with Al Gore taking a lead on this.

You know, kept saying again and again, we`re going to take labor rights,
environmental rights and other issues into account when we do this deal.

And I think by and large, a lot of the unions and a lot of the -- you know,
economic critics on the left to that deal -- or even some on the right, you
remember Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot were against it.

Feel at the end of the day, those things always secondary. And I think
like we`ve seen a replay again, where people like Bill de Blasio and
Elizabeth Warren see that these are not the top priorities.

They wonder, they look back and after they don`t see how it really helped
American -- you know, workers here.

And Elizabeth Warren adds another ingredient to the mix when she`s been
talking the last few days of how -- you know, Wall Street-types and
Republicans want to use these fair trade agreements to -- or free trade
agreements, I should say, to undermine Dodd Frank and other Wall Street

So she has sort of a lot of skin in this game from very different

O`DONNELL: And Jeremy, what is -- what is Elizabeth Warren up to here?
This is -- why did she need Bill de Blasio to co-write an Op-ed piece?

This is -- this is strange to me, this part of it.

seemed fairly smart to me from whole perspective. Because that way she kind
of tamps down on a little bit of the speculation about whether or not she
has presidential aspirations.

She can --


PETERS: Put it on de Blasio and say no, you know --


PETERS: Well, this is -- this is a joint effort. So one thing though that
I think the Democrats need to be very careful about is assuming that
Republicans can`t talk about these issues that they -- that she and de
Blasio outlined in this Op-ed.

So smart Democrats are very concerned that Republicans are co-opting their
messages on the middle class, on economic --

O`DONNELL: Who is doing that --

PETERS: Opportunity --

O`DONNELL: Which Republican?

PETERS: I think Jeb Bush is actually doing it quite well. I was with him
last week in Puerto Rico when he spoke to an audience, and he talked --

O`DONNELL: What specific guys, I mean they got into some pretty specific
items today. What --

PETERS: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Does he get into?

PETERS: He talked -- at this point, it is a lot more general talk of
providing economic opportunity to the poor, to making sure that people who
are born poor are not condemned to a life of poverty.

And it`s a very -- it`s a message that Marco Rubio has, it`s a message that
Rand Paul has. And Republicans --

CORN: But it`s all inspirational to get in, I mean in terms of -- from a
policy perspective, we aspire to give you policies --


CORN: From Ronald Reagan`s day that will do these things --


PETERS: The policy are vastly different and I don`t --


PETERS: Want to -- I don`t want to leave any ambiguity there.


PETERS: Like what was in the Op-ed today that de Blasio and Elizabeth
Warren wrote, almost none of those policies would be something that you
would see a Republican endorse.

But their tone is softening and they`re learning how to get at this issue
in a way that I think is going to open some ears.

O`DONNELL: Annie, what is the Clinton campaign`s strategy for dealing with
Elizabeth Warren? And by that, I mean, she is this very powerful force in
the party.

She`s probably -- Hillary Clinton has been careful not to take a solid
position yet on this Trans-Pacific Partnership in her candidacy, although
she did take that position as Secretary of State.

She`s going to have to contend with Elizabeth Warren, it seems to me,
whether Elizabeth Warren were to be a candidate or not.

ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO: She does, and one thing about the Op-ed, aside from
the free trade piece, a lot of their bullet points are things that Hillary
Clinton has been talking about herself.

Whether she is being pushed that way because of Elizabeth Warren, I don`t
know, but she`s talked on the trail about paid family leave, she`s talked
about raising the minimum wage.

She hasn`t said how much, but she says she`s in favor of raising it. She
is definitely -- I`m hearing, going to make student debt a huge part of her

We`ll probably hear something about that in the next few months. And what
else is in there? She`s been talking about cutting tax breaks to

So a lot of those bullet points, if you took off the bylines, I think you
could still tell who wrote it, but they`re -- she`s taking some of those
messages herself.

And even some of the language, I think, in the Op-ed, it talked about the
game is rigged. Hillary Clinton`s line right now probably for some
(INAUDIBLE), the deck is stacked against you.

So even the language that they`re using is similar. I don`t know --

O`DONNELL: Listen --

KARNI: If it`s in reaction to them that she`s taking on these messages or
there is less difference there than people are making it out to be, I`m not

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Bill de Blasio said on "MORNING JOE"
yesterday about Hillary Clinton.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are waiting to see what Hillary Clinton`s message
is and you are not there yet.

DE BLASIO: I`m optimistic, I`m seeing some very powerful signs, but I
think it`s important to hear how she will address the income inequality.


O`DONNELL: David Corn, this is --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: One of the most fascinating things this political season --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: That someone whose political career basically was based on
working for and with the Clintons --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Is now waiting for her to say something that in her entire
political career apparently, she hasn`t yet said to make him endorse her
for --

CORN: What --

O`DONNELL: President --

CORN: I think is interesting here too is like -- and having spoken to and
listened to Elizabeth Warren, is that these people, you know, really care
about issues.


CORN: I mean, this is like -- it is basically usually in a -- in a
political campaign, a presidential campaign, we`re seeing this a lot on the
-- on the right, on the Republican side because they have real differences,
they on national security.

People care about politics and policy get to fight these things out.

O`DONNELL: Let`s --

CORN: And I don`t think --

O`DONNELL: Let`s --

CORN: People like Bill de Blasio --


Want to give up -- give this up yet --

O`DONNELL: I`m told he is on the subject of the trade bill now, let`s

OBAMA: We are not afraid of competition, we are concerned if the playing
field is not leveled. And that`s why we`ve got to have the kinds of
enforceable, tough, fair trade deals that are going to make sure that
American workers and American businesses aren`t locked out of these

That`s part of a middle class economic agenda and it is a priority for us.
We`ve got to make sure it happens.


We`ve got to make sure that we are training our young people for the jobs
of the future. And that`s why I proposed to make sure that the first two
years of community college in this country are free, just like public high


That every young person can at least get that kind of start for the jobs of
the future. And for folks who still want to go on for four years, it`s not
bad having two years free.

That will cut our debt. The student debt that is such a burden on so many
young people all across this country. So that`s got to be a priority and
we`ve got to make sure that early childhood education is our priority.

Because we know that young people, when they get a chance early on in life,
it is the best investment we can make.

Every dollar we invest in early childhood education means higher graduation
rates, lower teen pregnancy rates.

It means that kids are going to do better, they are going to be successful
citizens, they will pay taxes, we will get that money back. They`re not
going to be going straight from school to jail.

They`re going to be going into college and they`re going to be going into
jobs and that`s the kind of America that we want. That`s what we believe


We`ve still got to make sure that we get comprehensive immigration reform
passed in this country.


I couldn`t be prouder -- I couldn`t be prouder of the work that we`ve done
to executive actions to make sure that our young dreamers, young people who
were brought here as children and are Americans just like our kids except
they don`t have the right documents.

Notion that we would be keeping them in the shadows made no sense. But
we`ve got to solve that larger problem and only Congress can do that and
you`ve got some great members of Congress who understand that.

Now we`ve got to get all members of Congress to understand that and we`ve
got to get that thing passed. It`s the right thing to do.

It`s good for our country --


O`DONNELL: We will monitor that speech in the control room, now we`ll go
back to it if he gets back into anything controversial.

Jeremy Peters, he`s in Oregon where the leading Democrat on the Senate
Finance Committee is Ron Wyden who is with him on this trade bill.

The Pacific states tend to be more in favor of this because this is Asian
trade -- Pacific trade that we`re talking about. So that is as positive an
audience as he is going to get on this.

PETERS: It absolutely is, and I also think that -- for most of America,
they`re thinking trade what?



PETERS: I mean this is -- this isn`t exactly --

O`DONNELL: The Trans-Pacific Partnership. You hear it everywhere you go -

CORN: Right --

O`DONNELL: In Washington --

CORN: He --

O`DONNELL: I don`t get it --

PETERS: Right?


PETERS: It`s an acronym, it`s going to --


PETERS: Become like the TVA and all --

O`DONNELL: Right --

PETERS: The -- you know, the new deal programs, right?


PETERS: We`re all going to know what that is and --

O`DONNELL: Right, David, the President finds himself in a fight he`s never
been in before, and this is --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: With his own party. That`s what`s standing in his way to get
fast track authority --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Which every president prior to him has had. Fast track trade
authority and to get this bill done and you know, when I think back of the
way NAFTA moved through --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: To Congress, Democrats were against it, Dick Kephart(ph), you
know, Majority --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Leader of the Democrats in the house was against it. But he
didn`t fight it. If anything, he facilitated it and let it slide by. This
is real fighting against the President --

CORN: And I think there is -- there is some Republican opposition to it
too, which say, you can get this --

O`DONNELL: And that`s new --

CORN: This --


CORN: Populist coalition of left and right. We may see some of -- you
know, some of the Republican presidential candidates speaking out against
it too.

You know, Nancy Pelosi is kind of an interesting figure here. You
mentioned she`s from California, she leads the Democrats, she has always
been in the president`s corner, but she has been more liberal than a lot of
her party has been.

Comparing her to say, to Steny Hoyer. So how she finesses this is going to
be pretty interesting and I think Reid will be there, you know, slugging
away and trying to get as many Democrats as he can on the Democratic side.

KARNI: It`s in -- it`s also probably --

O`DONNELL: Annie, what about Hillary Clinton, how is she going to finesse

KARNI: I mean, this is -- she`s between a rock and a hard place. I don`t
know how she finesses it, and I do wonder if Obama`s big speech tonight
will make her have to answer more questions next week.

So far, she`s avoided answering it. Her problem is, you know, as Secretary
of State, she supported these TPP free trade negotiations.

So, she now says she`s against it, that`s a problem and people can bring up
NAFTA and her husband. And she`s for it, she alienates the unions who she
really needs them once they support for her election.

So it`s really threading the needle and so far she`s given out one
statement that was kind of bland and managed to not piss anyone off.

But didn`t really give any answers and just -- she`s still on the hook for
kind of telling us where she stands on it and seems to be in no rush to
choose a side right now.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break here, when we come back,
in Massachusetts tonight, Tom Brady answered a couple of questions about
the NFL report on his deflated balls.

But of course, he refused as any gentleman would, to say anything about his
balls. He`s just so modest, that guy.

And in New Hampshire today, Chris Christie had a big problem with being
asked about the indictments of Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni.

The reporter who asked that rude question will join us around -- Kasie


O`DONNELL: New revelations tonight about that terrorist attack in Garland,
Texas. The FBI says that it sent police in Garland a secure electronic
message with Elton Simpson`s picture and license plate number three hours
before Sunday`s event began.

The FBI says it acted as soon as it developed information that he was
interested in going to that event, but had no reason to believe that he
wanted to attack it or even that he had left Phoenix.

Police in Garland declined tonight to say what they did in response to that
information. FBI Director James Comey today told reporters, I know there
are other Elton Simpsons out there.

FBI Director Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Johnson will participate
in a secure video conference with police around the country tomorrow.

Up next, Msnbc`s Kasie Hunt asked Chris Christie about those indictments.


O`DONNELL: Governor Chris Christie made his first appearance in New
Hampshire since the indictment of his former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget
Kelly and former political ally Bill Baroni on charges related to the
George Washington bridge lane closures.

The presidential hopeful was asked this by -- this by "Nbc`s" Kasie Hunt
during one of his stops in Manchester.


Christie White House wouldn`t end up facing indictments?

CHRISTIE: You know, it`s such a silly question I`m not even going to
answer it.


O`DONNELL: But he did say this about how he handled the George Washington
bridge lane closures.


CHRISTIE: It`s how you respond to that crisis, that`s what leadership and
management is really all about. It`s not the normal ever-make a mistake in
judgment, it`s that how do you respond to that mistake and judgment.

What do you do in reply to that? We acted honestly, directly, swiftly. I
don`t think fair people looking at it will have misgivings either.

They will understand that mistakes get made and they want to know, do they
have a leader who is strong enough to be able to own up to those mistakes,
be accountable and then take the action that`s necessary to fix them.


O`DONNELL: A recent poll shows that 18 percent of Republican primary
voters in New Hampshire think Chris Christie is the least honest of the
current Republican hopefuls.

The worst showing of all the candidates and one asked who they would least
likely vote for, Chris Christie comes in second just behind Mr. Donald

Joining our panel now is Msnbc political reporter Kasie Hunt. Kasie, keep
up the silly questions, please.

The -- I can guarantee you that he -- if he gets into this race which I
think now is in doubt, but if he gets into it and he is on the debate
stage, he is going to hear this question -- how can Americans trust that a
Chris Christie White House wouldn`t end up facing indictments?

There is no question that debate moderators will be asking that. Is his
strategy going to be to simply deal with -- once I discovered how bad my
administration was, then I immediately did what I had to do to fix it?

HUNT: Well, it certainly seems that way, Lawrence. I mean, I`ll let you
judge whether or not that was a silly question, but it seemed to me to be
the question that is raised primarily by these indictments.

To me, why is it that Christie has fallen in these New Hampshire polls? It
is questions that have been raised by this conduct that has ultimately been
proven to be criminal.

And while he does say on the one hand, look, I led on this, I stepped out
there, I was honest, wasn`t the fact that this happened at all a failure in

I think there are questions about, you know, whether or not -- you know,
how is it that he was playing the role of a strong leader if he didn`t even
know that this was going on, right?

So --


HUNT: I think that these questions are going to dog him all along the way
and I think that one of the other things you`re seeing in those polls is,
the reality is, this is a wide field with a lot of quality candidates to
choose from.

If Christie was the only dog in this Republican fight, it might be a
different story. But the fact is, Republican donors, Republican voters
have so many choices here, it puts Christie at a serious disadvantage.

O`DONNELL: But Kasie, I watched Christie campaign in New Hampshire last
time for Mitt Romney, and he was very well received, probably better
received by -- than any Republican I saw speak in New Hampshire.

How is that going for him now?

HUNT: He`s absolutely very well received here. His brand of politics fits
a lot with this state. This idea that he is going to tell it like it is,
he is doing it both in policy.

He gave a very -- a strong speech on entitlements. He took some stances
that would normally be considered controversial.

His slogans, you know, appear, reflects this idea that he is going to -- he
is never going to -- you`re always going to know where he stands.

And that plays well. I think the issue is whether or not he can convince
people that there`s no disconnect between what`s going on that they can see
in front of them in that diner or on their TV screen and what he and his
people are doing behind the scenes, the things that they can`t see.

And I think there is this real demand right now in the electorate for a
government that is honest and accountable and it just works.

And I don`t think that they`re seeing that from -- whether it`s the bridge
scandal, whether it`s pensions in New Jersey, I think Christie has --


HUNT: A disconnect that he`s going to have to solve if ultimately he`s
going to sell it. I think he`s --

O`DONNELL: Well --

HUNT: Well on his way to doing it. I think voters here are very
receptive, but I think it still remains to be seen.

O`DONNELL: Kasie, I just want you to know, we took a vote of the panel
while you were speaking and it`s unanimous, it was not a silly question.

CORN: Yes --


O`DONNELL: David Corn, go ahead.

CORN: But the --

HUNT: Thank you --

CORN: Thing is, Christie`s position seems to be, I`m shocked, I`m shocked,
find out that there was -- that there was bullying going on in my

Who could believe that I would have aides that would bully a political
opponent in this manner.

But also the investigation is supposedly continuing on some pay to play
issues, and his pension law that the -- they are the biggest thing he sees
-- celebrates in terms of an accomplishment might be overturned by this --
by the courts in New Jersey.

Economically, New Jersey is not doing too well. So I think he has a boat
load of problems and I`d be surprised if even the Koch Brothers at this
point are willing to invest a dime in him.

PETERS: I mean it is the aura, the tone that this scandal sets. The idea
that the people who carry this out were acting in his name, in -- acting
the way that they would expect him to respond favorably to, and that`s the
biggest problem he has to get over.

What I would say is, you mentioned the debates earlier and kind of -- you
know, it got me thinking, that`s where his strength is going to be.

If he makes -- if he runs -- if he makes it through to the first debate, I
think that, that is his first opportunity to kind of show the country the
real -- the Chris Christie that was so popular that was able to win
election in New Jersey in a very blue state.

And it almost kind of reminds me, you think -- makes me think of Newt
Gingrich. Now, of course that`s in more --


O`DONNELL: Right --

PETERS: That`s --


It cuts both ways --

KARNI: You know --

CORN: It`s -- but --

O`DONNELL: Annie --

KARNI: I don`t know what --

O`DONNELL: Karni, what --

KARNI: They could be would love that comparison, Jeremy.


CORN: Yes --

PETERS: Yes --

O`DONNELL: But Kasie, what it does make him, though -- what these polls
are starting to make him is the candidate with nothing to lose.

And if he decides, look, I`m going to go into New Hampshire even though I`m
polling below Carly Fiorina and --


I just -- you know, and I`m going to go -- I`m going to try that --
whatever, he -- what he has nothing to lose and that can make him pretty
dangerous on a debate scale.

KARNI: I think -- sorry to cut in here, I think that he has to -- like New
Hampshire is his best hope. He knows -- he knows he is not going to win

He already has a little infrastructure in the state party, I think someone
from his constituent services went and worked there. Like Kasie said, he
plays well in those forums.

He`s this independent guy who tells it like it is. So New Hampshire, he`s
got to give it all he`s got there.

If it`s not -- if he doesn`t win New Hampshire, I think -- like New
Hampshire is the reason he can be considered a presidential candidate.

I was also going to say, I found the comparison between Tom Brady and
Christie and Bridgegate, I found it funny that he defended Tom Brady,
they`re both in a similar position.

O`DONNELL: Yes, let`s -- we have that clip, let`s listen to what he said
about the Tom Brady thing.


CHRISTIE: The Wells report came out, doesn`t seem all that conclusive to
me. People in public life wind up becoming targets for various reasons.

So here is Tom Brady, great-looking guy, wealthy beyond imagination,
married to Gisele Bundchen and four Super Bowls.

You know, I think -- you know, there`s some people who just want to take a
shot at Tom Brady because, you know, it seems like Tom Brady`s life is just
almost too perfect.



O`DONNELL: And we have the Republican ticket, Chris Christie, Tom Brady.

CORN: How is that not a silly question?

O`DONNELL: Yes, Kasie --

PETERS: I know --

O`DONNELL: Now that`s a winner in New Hampshire --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Isn`t it?

HUNT: It is -- and you know, I`m impressed that he can pronounce Gisele`s
name correctly. You know, that just shows --

O`DONNELL: Yes, well --

HUNT: That shows a lot of knowledge there.

O`DONNELL: Now, you just talked to him --


Probably he didn`t -- and he -- I love that he did not think that that was
a silly comparison.

KARNI: I love that he -- oh, no, didn`t --

HUNT: Right --

KARNI: Like came out at least, and he would have looked like even more of
a hypocrite I think to come out --


KARNI: And blast Tom Brady. So, at least it`s a reminder, sort of in the
same position, people thinking that they knew more than they`re claiming,
if they do and they`re not right now doing anything to prove it.

So, they`re --

CORN: Two -- you know, they`re just two --

PETERS: Two good players --

CORN: They`re just two good-looking guys --


CORN: You know, and they have a lot in common.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to leave it --

HUNT: Hey --

O`DONNELL: There for tonight --

HUNT: You know, two --

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt --

HUNT: Good-looking guys --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead -- go ahead Kasie --

HUNT: Thank you, Lawrence. I would still like to see both Tom Brady and
Chris Christie`s text messages, for what it`s worth.


O`DONNELL: All right, we`ll see what we can do. Kasie Hunt, Jeremy
Peters, David Corn and Annie Karni, thank you very much for joining us, all
of you.

Coming up --

HUNT: Thanks Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Tom Brady spoke tonight, his big moment and his first public
appearance since the report on deflategate, he said absolutely nothing
about those footballs.

He said he`ll think about maybe saying something about it in the future.


O`DONNELL: The headline writers from New York`s oldest newspaper have
never had an easier day. The front page of this morning`s "New York Post"
says, "NFL Probe Has Brady By the Balls."

Earlier tonight in Salem, Massachusetts, Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady,
was asked about the NFL report that says he probably knew Patriots
personnel were deflating footballs just the way he liked them.


digest it fully but, when I do, I`ll be sure to let you know how I felt
about it. I dealt with a lot of things in the past.

I dealt with this three months ago before the Superbowl. I`ve dealt with a
lot of adversity over the course of my career, of my life. And I`m very
fortunate, so many people that love me and support me.

We earned and achieved everything that we got this year as a team. And I
am very proud of that.


And our fans should be, too. As a human, you care what people think. I
certainly care what the people that are close to me think and what they
care about.

I think, also, as a public figure, you learn that there`s not everyone is
going to like you either. So, good, bad, indifferent, there`s a lot of
people that don`t like Tom Brady.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now from Salem, Massachusetts is the host of MSNBC`s
"UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI." Also joining us is "Huffington Post`s" Sports
Columnist Jordan Schultz.

Steve Kornacki, so he said absolutely nothing. After all that build-up, he
just said, you know, "I haven`t really read the report." A little flurry
of softball questions around his feelings about the situation, and that was

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Yes. And that was it. And then, of course,
there was the -- the clock was ticking, the rule coming in. There was we


And then after 10 minutes, they pulled the plug. The local affiliates that
were broadcasting it went to color bars.

That`s how abrupt they were. They stuck to their word on that one.

I was a little surprised, I have to say, that he said as little as he did.
I wasn`t expecting too much. I wasn`t expecting, you know, a lengthy
statement here.

I was expecting he would say something at least though. So, even at the
sort of low threshold I had, he didn`t quite reach that level.

But, at the same time, you kind of look at the posture that Brady and his
camp are taking. His agent, today, put out a really defiant statement,
just sort of, you know, throwing back everything the NFL said, trying to
throw it right back into the NFL`s face.

In some cases, using the same kind of language that the NFL had used in
that report that said that Tom Brady, you know, probably knew or probably
had some level of knowledge.

And I think, what it comes down to here is there`s a realization on Brady`s
part and there`s a realization on the people around this -- their part
that, look, in the court of public opinion, outside of where I am right
now, outside of New England, --


-- he`s never going to win this. People think the Patriots are cheaters as
an organization.


Maybe they`re right. People think John Brady is a cheater. Maybe they`re

And this report is only going to add fuel to that fire in New England.
They`re always going to stand by.

And what Tom Brady is thinking about right now is this question of his

Are they going to make him sit for a game next year -- for two games, for
four games. Some people even suggested half the season, eight games.

And what Brady`s people are looking at is from that standpoint. What the
NFL has produced here is a lot of sort of qualified statement -- "We think
it`s likely," "We think it`s probable, "We need it`s more likely than not.


But no smoking gun. And that`s what they`re sort of hanging their hopes on
right now.


O`DONNELL: Oh, the gun is smoking like crazy. The language couldn`t be,
you know -- Jordan Schultz, because they say fair preponderance of the
evidence, people are saying, "Oh, wait, that`s not proof."

Yes, it is. In American courtrooms, that is the standard of proof for
everything that is not a criminal case. If this was civil litigation, if
the NFL was suing him, they won.

unfortunately for Tom Brady, I think the legacy question now comes into

And, Steve, I know you`re a big Patriots fan. You know I`m from Seattle
and a big Seahawks fan, so we kind of got to go out of here.

I look at it like, OK, this is going -- this is probably going on across
the whole league. And, you know, a lot of teams are doing this, a lot of
quarterbacks are doing this.

Some of them happened to get caught during the playoffs, on the heels or on
the verges of Superbowl, I should say. And, obviously, the pin has fallen.

So, I`m disappointed though, on a bigger scale, in the league because they
have taken this and they`ve just continually drawn it out over time.

The fact that we`re talking about this a week after the NLF draft, to me,
is appalling. And, Tom Brady, this is unacceptable.

I mean, at some point, you have to take responsibility, Steve. And I know
you`re saying there`s no smoking gun but don`t you feel like, after the
report --


-- that came out, well, over 240 pages, Tom Brady being implicated and then
not sharing text messages to me. That`s the ultimate.

O`DONNELL: Couldn`t be more guilty. But, hey, Steve, before we reply, I
just want to remind Jordan that Tom Brady beat your team using the
regulation footballs, OK.

That`s not in doubt. He won the --


O`DONNELL: Superbowl using regulation footballs. And that, ultimately,
Steve, in the world of sport, that, ultimately, is his best defense.

I could have won the games if I was using regulation balls even though,
obviously, I was conspiring not to.

KORNACKI: Well, right, you know. It would raise the question, too, that
why would they even do this in the first place.

And I also think that -- look, realistically, yes, as a Patriots fan, I can
admit this doesn`t look like they were up to something here. Yes,


Does 95 percent of the country believe that. Yes, absolutely. But the
analogy that`s been drawn for me and that resonates with me, as somebody
says, think about the game of hockey.

The game of hockey, every player takes the stick and they try to bend it,
right. They try to put a little arc, a little curve in the stick.

And there are rules in the NHL about you can only have so much of a curve
in your stick. And every player tries to get away with adding a little

O`DONNELL: Jordan, Jordan, these guys sound desperate, don`t they.

KORNACKI: If they get caught, two minutes in the box.

O`DONNELL: These Patriot fans sound so desperate.

SCHULTZ: Yes, I mean, they`re living in a puzzle.

O`DONNELL: All right, listen, because we did not get to hear Tom Brady
talk about his balls tonight, we`re going to have to go back to a little
video of the last time where you heard Tom Brady talk about his balls.

Let`s listen to this.


BRADY: To me, they`re perfect. I don`t want anyone touching the balls
after that. I don`t want anyone rubbing them, you know, putting any air in
them, taking any air out.

To me, those ball perfect. And I go in there and I choose, you know,
however many balls are necessary.

You go through that process of breaking the balls in and getting
comfortable with them. Everybody has a preference.

Some guys like them round and some guys like them thin. Some guys like
them khaki, some guys like them brand new. Some guys like old balls. I
mean, they`re all different.


O`DONNELL: And that`s going to be THE LAST WORD on Steve -- on Tom Brady`s
balls tonight.

Steve Kornacki, thank you for bearing with us on this. Really appreciate

KORNACKI: No problem.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, tonight`s "Good News Report" courtesy of Stephen



Unfortunately for Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, today, people -


-- aren`t talking about their win last night over the Chicago Bulls.
Instead, they`re talking about a promotional video that was inside the
arena during the game.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Bulls fan? I didn`t know you were a Bulls fan.


I can`t believe she`s a Bulls fan.

NARRATOR: When it`s playoff basketball time, you have to be "All In." So,
don`t make the same mistake she made.

ACTOR: I thought you were "All In."

ACTRESS: Well, I`m "All In" now. Let`s just watch the game.

ACTOR: Go, Cavs.


O`DONNELL: The Cavaliers have, of course, apologized for the video today,
saying, --

TEXT: "Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a
parity video that plays in an entertainment venue. We sincerely apologize
to those who have been affected by domestic violence, for the obvious
negative feelings caused being exposed to this insensitive video."

Joining us now is "Bloomberg View" Sports Columnist Kavitha Davidson. Also
with us, "Huffington Post" Sports Columnist Jordan Schultz.

Kavitha, this is really stunning. I mean, they put out an apology that
says, you know, "This was obviously bad."

And the same people who put out this apology looked at this video and said,
"Oh, this is great. Let`s show this. This is just great."

really what you have to ask here, is how many levels of --


-- approval did this have to go through. And was there not a single woman
in the room when this video was being approved.

And we know the answer to that question actually. The NBA has the best
record of the four major sports when it becomes to gender hiring.

And it`s really just mind-boggling that a spot like this can be approved.

O`DONNELL: And, Jordan, you know, when I look at it, it has all those --


-- great production values of a Cleveland production.


O`DONNELL: You can tell this was -- this just wasn`t done by the pros in
L.A. or New York, who really do this kind of thing for a living, someone
there would have said, "Are you guys out of your mind. This thing is

SCHULTZ: Well, Lawrence, a man or a woman or somebody in the building.
This is appalling for a lot of reasons.

On the heels of what`s happened with domestic violence in the NFL, the NBA
knows better, Adam Silver knows better. And this is not on him. This is
on Dan Gilbert --


-- as well, whoever hired -- he is the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers --
whoever hired this video department, this is a joke.

And the Houston Rockets recently fired an employee on social media for
tweeting out, basically, "Go home, Dallas Mavericks, it will all be over

This is just, on a whole, another level of disgusting to me.


As an NBA fan, for this to happen, it`s almost worse that it happened in
the arena. You can only imagine how many kids were there.

This is awful. And it`s also just an embarrassment during what`s already
been one of the best playoffs we`ve had in a very long time.

O`DONNELL: Kavitha, do we know anything about what the reaction was from
the crowd in the arena. I mean, a lot of times, these things play and they
don`t exactly capture the attention of the crowd.

DAVIDSON: Well, I think that that`s exactly what happened here. I think
there was a lot of stunned people. But, for the most part, it seems to
just kind of play as a normal kind of thing.

You had a couple of journalists on Twitter who reacted and said, "This is
really appalling." And, you know, frankly, in a year, in which we`ve
talked about, obviously, domestic violence, with Ray Rice and everything,
the thing that gets lost in this is how lucky the NBA has been that a Ray
Rice-level incident hasn`t come to national attention.

Because the NBA has itself a really poor record with dealing with domestic
violence offenders. And for something like this to pass through, it`s
really appalling.

O`DONNELL: And, Jordan, you know, when I first looked at it, I thought,
"Oh, the actor, the guy made a mistake because he made this look like it
was deliberate."

And then you see the rest of the ad, and I was like, "Yes, that`s the
point," like, yes, he was throwing her. That is a deliberate violent act.

SCHULTZ: Yes. And, you know what, Lawrence, not only was it deliberate
but the Cavs, specifically going back to Gilbert, they`ve been incredibly
active in the community to try to get Cleveland sports fans to buy into
this whole, "Lebron is back for round two. We`re going to do things right
on and off the floor."

And, for the most part, they have. They kind of gotten rid of some bad
apples. They brought in a new coach, David Blatt, and things have been
going pretty well.

And for this to happen, it`s embarrassing, it`s appalling. It`s also
shocking to me because we think of the NBA -- you mentioned the history of
domestic violence but Adam Silver, the new commissioner has done a really
good job of taking a strong stance on numerous issues including domestic
violence and how unacceptable it is.

And, obviously, the NFL, you would think the Cavs would have learned from
it. Clearly, they haven`t.

But how many sets of eyes, back to your point, had seen this and okayed it.
It`s unbelievable.

DAVIDSON: Well, and it`s just poor business also, in addition to it being
morally reprehensible and horrible to watch and enabling of a culture that
really doesn`t take violence against women very seriously.

Thirty percent of NBA fans are women here. It`s totally alienating to
those people who love watching basketball and hate watching violence
against women.

O`DONNELL: Kavitha Davidson and Jordan Schultz, thanks for joining us.

SCHULTZ: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, voters in the United Kingdom are deciding between
their current --


-- prime minister and the challenger who has been described as being weird,
too weird for the job.



And, now, for "The Good News," Stephen Colbert has donated $800,000 to fund
almost every request made by South Carolina public school teachers on the
crowd-funding site,

Stephen Colbert is on the board of directors of More
than 800 South Carolina teachers have projects on that site.

Coming up, why all of the pre-election polls in the British election turned
out tonight to be wrong, very wrong.


NBC`s "MEET THE PRESS" gave us an important reminder today via Facebook.
Today, --


-- we remember Tim Russert on what would have been his 65th birthday. He
served as moderator of "Meet the Press" from 1991 to 2008.



"Breaking Election News." It is almost 4:00 a.m. in London and the votes
are furiously being counted in the general election in the United Kingdom.
As of now, it appears --


-- British Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative
Party, will keep his job. Joining us now is Dan Roberts, Washington Bureau
Chief --


-- for "The Guardian." He`s the Former National Editor For "The Guardian."
Dan, what happened here.

All the polls leading up to this said it was going to be, not just a
squeaker, but a really strange one in which, you know, Labor would be
trying to pull a couple of votes out of one little party over here, and
conservatives will be trying to cobble something together. What is this.

are the ones looking for new jobs. I mean, --


ROBERTS: -- the biggest upset probably in British politics since 1945.

O`DONNELL: But it`s an upset of the polls though, right. I mean --

ROBERTS: Yes. I think, also, everybody is pretty shocked at what`s
happened to Labor in Scotland in particular. I mean, you are saying, the
break-up of the United Kingdom really speeding up here.

O`DONNELL: Because, in the results in Scotland, the Independence Party,
the people who want to have Scotland leave the United Kingdom, they won
every seat but one?


ROBERTS: Pretty much. We haven`t seen yet. We`re just finding out now
but it looks like Labor got wiped out of their, sort of, socialist
heartland in Scotland.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that used to be a strong hold for them.

ROBERTS: And that is a sign that the forces of the evolution that we saw
in the independence referendum --


-- are really speeding up and the country is fragmenting. And the choice
that the government that we formed is also committed to a referendum on
leaving Europe as well.

So, you could see the U.K. split, Europe split. I me an, this is momentous

O`DONNELL: Talk about that, this possible referendum. Cameron has
promised a referendum on leaving the European Union.


ROBERTS: Against his better wishes. I mean, he was forced into it by the
forces of English nationalism -- the Right, his party, the UK Independence

They forced him in that direction. He`s in a strong position. I mean,
he`s clinging on to power, something very few people expect him to do so.

He can resist a bit. But he`s going to have to hold that referendum. And
that`s going to be nervy time by --

O`DONNELL: And how does he handle that. Does he campaign against that

ROBERTS: It`s a good question. I mean, I think a lot of people don`t
think his heart is in it.

But his party will force him to, at least, be neutral. And Labor, which
would be the one --


-- party fighting strongly to stay in Europe, decimated. The third party,
the Liberals, are also decimated.

I mean, you`re seeing a real remaking of British politics here. And it`s
unclear, the next year or two is going to go bumpy.


O`DONNELL: There was this theory that I`ve read about prior to today
saying that they call it this kind of torrid shyness when it comes polls,
that there are people who are -- who know they`re going to support the
conservative candidate but they just don`t want to say that to a pollster.

And it`s kind of unique to the conservative side of polling.

ROBERTS: I think it`s spot-on. I think it`s some sort of one of the
issues globally.

We`ve seen polls badly wrong in the U.S. midterms, the Israeli elections.
And it`s conservatives that often do badly.

And I think people are not ashamed to vote for these parties but they`re
sometimes ashamed to admit they`re voting for these parties.

O`DONNELL: Dan Roberts, thank you very much for joining us on what turned
out to be not so suspenseful an evening.

ROBERTS: All right. It`s been fun.

O`DONNELL: I thought we were going to be, you know, looking at this much
more closely. Thank you very much, Dan.

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