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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, May 18th, 2015

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Date: May 18, 2015
Guest: Richard Clarke, Jim Gaffigan

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: While out on bond on sex -- if Mr. McAlister(ph) is
convicted before then, he would then automatically lose his seat.

But if his trial is ongoing, he could remain a state senator for the whole
rest of the year while out on bond on sex crime charges.

Politicians disgrace comes in lots of different varieties, but disgrace and
ceasing to be an elected official are two very different things.

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, with that one, you have
left me speechless. That is absolutely stunning.

MADDOW: You and the entire state of Vermont who can`t believe this is
happening to them --


MADDOW: That`s exactly right --

O`DONNELL: That`s amazing.

MADDOW: Thanks --

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much, Rachel --


O`DONNELL: Former White House counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke will
join us to discuss the situation in Iraq tonight, and how Republican
presidential candidates are handling questions about Iraq.

And Senator Elizabeth Warren got a presidential candidate`s welcome in
California this weekend, and an introduction that we will have to bleep.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq`s security forces retreating in chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The key Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen to ISIS.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This is really serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no whitewashing this, this is a disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ramadi, of course, a city where hundreds of American
troops gave their lives a decade ago.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This question continues to trip up these presidential

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And all this was on "Fox News" where the anchors are
ordered to pre-like you.


WALLACE: Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: It`s two -- there wasn`t --

WALLACE: I`m asking you to --

RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that`s not the same question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t believe you`re hesitating.

WALLACE: But I`m asking -- that question I`m asking you. Was it a mistake
to go to --

RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq,
because at the time he was told --

WALLACE: I`m not asking you that.

It`s a huge decision, knowing what we knew then --


PELOSI: It was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush was the only one who even thought to link 9/11 to

dictator must not be permitted to threaten America.

PELOSI: It was misrepresented by the Bush-Cheney administration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy Pelosi is the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elizabeth Warren.

of the American people.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This country isn`t working for
working people, it`s working only for those at the top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a passion and a sentiment that she

WARREN: Now, we can whine about it, we can whimper about it, or we can
fight back. Me, I`m fighting back.


I am fighting back, are you ready?


O`DONNELL: Richard Clarke, the former senior White House adviser on
counterterrorism is here to help us analyze the Republican presidential
candidates answers to the first big question of the campaign -- "knowing
what you know now, would you as president have gone to war in Iraq?"

But first, in Iraq tonight, the city of Ramadi just 70 miles from Baghdad
has been taken over by the Islamic State after Iraqi troops gave up
fighting and fled.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The retreat from Ramadi was fast and humiliating.
Iraqi troops in dozens of armored vehicles in a race for their lives.

Forcing them out, ISIS fighters who shot this propaganda video showing a
city abandoned by the army. ISIS gunmen controlling the hospital in the
city center.

Iraqi troops fought for just two days, leaving behind American supplied
weapons and tanks. But it`s a setback for the U.S.

A decade ago, "Nbc News" was in Ramadi where hundreds of American troops
gave their lives to hold the city. Today, Ramadi is held by the world`s
biggest terror group and it will be tough to retake.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Richard Clarke who served the previous three
presidents as senior White House adviser on issues from cyber security to

He also served as counterterrorism advisor on President Obama`s first
campaign. He is the author of the new book, "Pinnacle Event".

Richard Clarke, the situation in Ramadi tonight, what`s your analysis of

PROTECTION & COUNTER-TERRORISM: Well, Lawrence, I think the terrorist
victory in Ramadi over the weekend just points out the fact that they have
a very large amount of territory.

And they`ve held a large amount of territory now for over a year; the city
of Mosul, a city of over a million people, they`ve controlled that for a

We used to say after 9/11 that we learned our lesson and we would never
again let a terrorist group have a sanctuary. Well, they have a very large
sanctuary, much larger than anything al Qaeda ever had.

And we have no strategy at all that I can see, and no realistic strategy to
deal with that.

O`DONNELL: Secretary of State John Kerry actually sounds optimistic about
getting control of the Islamic State. Let`s listen to this.


been reduced, their funding and financial mechanisms have been reduced.

And their movements by and large most certainly where there are air patrols
in other capacities have been reduced. But that`s not everywhere.

And so, it is possible to have the kind of attack we`ve seen in Ramadi, but
I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed.


O`DONNELL: I gather you don`t share that confidence.

CLARKE: No, I think it`s possible that in a week or two, the Iraqi forces
might be able to retake Ramadi. But they have no chance at all of retaking
Mosul this year or Fallujah this year.

And no one is going into Syria and throwing them on Ar-Raqqah. So they
control these large cities and a huge swaths of land in between.

They have established the Islamic State, and just in Iraq and Syria, it
crosses the border. They`ve had it now for a long time. It is a terrorist

And we as a nation have to decide whether that bothers us or not. Do we
think they are going to use it as a jumping off point to attack the United
States at some point?

If we do, then this is a worrisome problem that we should do something
about. If we don`t believe that, then we shouldn`t really care what goes

O`DONNELL: The -- much is made every time we take out an individual in al
Qaeda or, you know, number two in al Qaeda.

I think we`ve had that report about -- I don`t know a hundred times that
we`ve taken out the number two in al Qaeda.

And now most recently taking out the -- basically the accountant as it
were, the business manager of the Islamic State. How much do those
individual removals either by death or capture of those kinds of players

CLARKE: Most of them do matter. And I think this one over the weekend
matters. Because he wasn`t an accountant, he was actually the manager of
their oil operation.

And it was their oil operation, smuggling oil from the oil fields that they
control into Turkey, and that was making them millions of dollars and
sustaining their operations.

And to the extent that he was the key player in that operation. I think
it`s important that they got him, they probably also got a lot of
intelligence that will allow them to understand the organization better and
maybe to get other people.

I think using special forces like that, Lawrence, is fine. The question is
whether or not we`re going to allow U.S. advisors in with the Iraqi army
units like the ones we just saw fleeing.

Without U.S. advisors in those units, I think we`re going to see them
continuing to flee and we`re not going to be able to get all that we could
get out of the U.S. air power that`s there.

O`DONNELL: I want to play Jeb Bush`s evolving statements about what he
would have done as president if he was in his brother`s place, facing the
question of invading Iraq.

Let`s listen to how he handled that.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized
the invasion?

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I would have, and so would have Hillary
Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that
was confronted with the intelligence they got.

BUSH: I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.


O`DONNELL: So, that was a four-day evolution into getting it down to I
would not have engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.

What do you make of the way these Republican candidates are facing this

CLARKE: Well, let`s split. You see that with Bush, you see Rubio saying
something similar. On other hand, you see Senator Cruz saying of course it
was a mistake.

So they`re split. I think that the larger issue here is, are they willing
to admit that all of what we`re seeing in the region now, the rise of ISIS,
the falling apart of all of these governments, is because of the Pandora`s
box that Bush opened.

Are they willing to own up and take the blame for that? Not as an
individual, not as a party, but are we as a nation willing to own up and
take the blame for that?

I think the American people are. I think the American people have been
there for a long time. That does not dishonor the service of our veterans
who did what they were asked to do.

And we thank them for that, and it was important that they did that. But
it does mean that we as a nation made a mistake as we did in Vietnam.

And unless we can say that, there is the possibility of we`ll do it again.

O`DONNELL: We saw that college student in Nevada last week say to Jeb
Bush, your brother created ISIS.

And that line of discussion it seems to me raises the question of, can a
presidential candidate see and understand the ramifications of presidential

CLARKE: Well, few presidential decisions have been as obviously
consequential as the terrible mistake of going into Iraq. The American
people supported it at the time, but about five years later, they didn`t.

And about 80 percent of them didn`t eventually. And I think that number
probably still stands, that most American people recognize that this was a
decision that George Bush and Dick Cheney took on made-up grounds and that
we`ve all paid the price.

The taxpayers, the soldiers, the Iraqi people and now the people throughout
the region, enormously consequential.

And what it says to me more than anything else is that who you elect as
president and whether or not you vote for president really does matter.

O`DONNELL: Richard Clarke, the question being phrased now, they do two
versions of it. They say was it a mistake? Meaning, given the information
they had at the time, was it a mistake to go into Iraq?

And then the other version of it, is the knowing what we know now. There`s
a third question that isn`t being asked which is, given that the
intelligence on Iraq was wrong, and it`s not the first time that we`ve had
incorrect intelligence presented to a president.

Given that that`s a phenomenon we know is likely to recur, that you`ll be
sitting in the Oval Office with either inadequate intelligence or
incorrect intelligence.

What do you as president bring to that moment that requires the ultimate in
analytical clarity? What is it that you bring to that moment that might
pierce the failure of intelligence?

CLARKE: Well, that`s exactly the right question. Because intelligence for
50 years on key issues has always failed us.

And I thought secretary -- former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates over the
weekend said it pretty clearly.

He said, I`m a Republican, but none of the Republican candidates have any
experience whatsoever in national security and that bothers me.

I don`t know how any of those people with their limited background in
national security could tell the difference when intelligence was right or

It took me a long time in order to figure out how to do that. Presidents
need to have that intuition and staff who can figure out when the
intelligence is right and when it`s wrong.

O`DONNELL: Richard Clarke, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

CLARKE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what Chris Christie just said on "Fox News" about
Iraq and the George Washington bridge.

And Elizabeth Warren flew across the country this weekend to talk about the
importance of the 2016 election and attack the Republican presidential
candidates without saying a word about the only Democratic Party-declared
candidate, Hillary Clinton.

And Comedian Jim Gaffigan is here to talk about his new show and his visits
to David Letterman`s late-night show.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cupcake to someone who is gay, of course you have to do
that, obviously.

This is more about the vendor issue as it relates to, do they want to
provide a service for same-sex weddings?

Are you OK if they don`t provide those types of services, is that OK?

BUSH: Yes, absolutely.


BUSH: If it`s based on a religious belief. Irrespective of the Supreme
Court ruling, because they`re going to decide whatever they decide --


BUSH: And I don`t -- I don`t know what they`re going to do. We need to be
stalwart supporters of traditional marriage.



O`DONNELL: It was Chris Christie`s turn tonight to answer the big question
of the Republican campaign season.


KELLY: You`ve said over the past week that knowing what we know now, you
would not have authorized the war in Iraq. Any qualms about sending that
message to the families of the fallen?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: No, because the honor that we give to
the families of the fallen is still the same. This is about the strategic
decision as president of the United States.

And if we knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I
just don`t believe we would have gone into Iraq, and certainly, if I were
president, I wouldn`t have authorized it.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, the former
chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Also joining us, Msnbc
political analyst Kasie Hunt.

Msnbc Political Reporter Steve Clemons -- this teleprompter is pulling
things that aren`t true.


Let`s go back, Kasie Hunt is not an Msnbc political analyst, she`s an Msnbc
political reporter, she will leave the analysis to us.


O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, according to my card here, Steve Clemons is the
Washington editor-at-large of "The Atlantic" and an Msnbc contributor, an
introduction I don`t yet have memorized.


So, Howard Dean, Chris Christie actually just handled that question in a
way that made perfect sense finally.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: He did. You have to look straight
ahead and answer them in a very matter of fact way. And it helps to tell
the truth which I think he was telling.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Kasie Hunt --

DEAN: In this particular case.

O`DONNELL: Kasie, have they settled down now? Have they all gotten the
question enough? I mean even Rick Perry got it right the other day.

Have they -- is it at the point now where they all understand it and they
all have, you know, a smaller index card than this --

HUNT: Right --

O`DONNELL: With the right answer on it?

HUNT: When I was at -- out at the Republican National Committee meeting
this week talking to a lot of people in the party`s establishment.

Somebody told me, the answer to this question is so easy, it`s hell no.
Why is it so hard for particularly Jeb Bush? And I think we`ve basically
gone around the table now and everybody has gotten to that point.

Including Bush, I think he does obviously have it the most difficult
because he saw it as a question of loyalty. None of these other candidates

O`DONNELL: Right --

HUNT: Are hung up on that question of loyalty because it was his brother.
But I mean, the reality is, Hillary Clinton doesn`t want to have this
conversation either.

So, once the GOP primary gets it out of its system I think, no one is going
to want to bring it up here.

O`DONNELL: Steve, the question now includes an agreement among Republican
candidates, that the intelligence was wrong.

They don`t go all the way into that other space that some people are in
saying, oh, no, it was a deliberate lie and all that.

But at least there at the point where they say the intelligence is wrong.
Which to me as I said with Richard Clarke, raises this much more important
future question.

Which is intelligence has been wrong, presented in the Oval Office and been
wrong. Predictive intelligence, from the Bay of Pigs to Vietnam right up
to the Iraq war.


O`DONNELL: What are you going to bring to it --


O`DONNELL: As president when these difficult questions come up where the
intelligence may be imperfect?

CLEMONS: Well, another dimension to this is, not only what was just talked
about in terms of them not having the experience of being able to look at
what is good and bad intelligence is.

That Bush administration, particularly the people like John Bolton and the
Cheney wing of the foreign policy establishment was cherry picking raw

And that`s something we haven`t gone through. They were looking for the
stories they wanted to have because they wanted to invade Iraq regardless
of whether there were WMDs there or not.

And so, it`s one thing to sort of look at the fact that they don`t have
national security experience, it`s the other thing to admit the fact that
they have a number of people who said, you know, to hell with that, we
don`t really care one way or another.

We`re going to go after Saddam Hussein and finish the Gulf War that we
didn`t finish before.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, you were a governor who was on the way to the
White House until voters got in the way at a certain point in the

Think about that, though. You`re in the Oval Office, you`ve never dealt
with CIA briefings before and all of sudden -- and you know, you know the
history, they`ve been wrong a lot.

They didn`t tell the President that Pakistan was developing a nuclear bomb,
would have been pretty --


DEAN: Important to know. They never predicted for the President that the
Berlin war was going to fall.

They never predicted that the Soviet Union was going to collapse. So, you
know all this, all these mistakes they`ve made, now they`re presenting you
with possibly a war decision based on intelligence.

How do you analyze?

DEAN: Well, I can tell you how I came out against the war. I`m not
actually particularly a dove, I supported the previous wars including
President Bush the first war in Iraq because I thought we had treaty
obligations to Kuwait.

I figure this out from reading online, "The Guardian" and "The Independent"
who were publishing data from MI6. And Britain -- MI6 is a British
Intelligence Agency.

They have the closest relationship in the world with the American
intelligence, more closely than our relationship with Israel has been.

I knew that the British Intelligence Agency said there were no weapons of
mass destruction as said as Cheney was trying to hint, there was no atomic
weapons program that our CIA knew it.

And that`s why --

CLEMONS: We did know it.


CLEMONS: Richard Perle I debated in --

DEAN: Right --

CLEMONS: October 2002 --


CLEMONS: Directly, Richard Perle and I debated, and he said that Colin
Powell had created one of the greatest traitorous acts by forcing us to go
through the United Nations.

Because he said we would not find weapons of mass destruction. Richard
Perle said that in October 2002. So, there was great deal of knowledge
that we would not find WMDs --

DEAN: Right --

CLEMONS: Before then --

DEAN: So, I think we deliberately went to war knowing that they weren`t
there or we should have known they weren`t there. And so, I think wanted
to answer the major question you asked.

In order to do an adequate job analyzing anything, whether it`s
intelligence or foreign affairs or your healthcare bill, you have to hear
from sources outside the government.

Because if you only hear from sources inside the government, there is no
guarantee that you`re going to get the right perspective.

O`DONNELL: Kasie --

HUNT: I think that there were questions too about whether, were we going
to war because there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or was the
Bush administration trying to build the case the other way around?

And I think there are a lot of people who would argue that the Bush
administration wanted to go to war, and the question was, how do you line
up the evidence to back that up?

And there is a lot of glossing over that --


HUNT: Particular aspect of the memory, I think, in the debate that the
Republicans are having.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Chris Christie just said on "Fox News",
because we`re not going to get to talk about the Chris Christie
presidential campaign for very long, I don`t think.


DEAN: I do --

O`DONNELL: So, let`s hear him talk about --

CLEMONS: Right --

O`DONNELL: His polling numbers. Let`s listen to that.


KELLY: The polls in New Jersey right now say, by a 65 to 29 percent
margin, the New Jersey voters say you would not make a good president.
Now, they know you the best, why shouldn`t we trust them?

CHRISTIE: They want me to stay. A lot of those people in that 65 percent
want me to stay, and I`ve heard that from lots of people at town hall
meetings -- don`t leave to run for president because we want you to stay.

KELLY: But they say you would not make a good president.

CHRISTIE: Oh, no, I -- you know, I think people hear the question they
want to hear.


O`DONNELL: They want him to stay.


DEAN: He is in big trouble. I mean, look, my numbers went down when I run
too, and so, it`s a very clever thing he said. But the -- first of all, if
they don`t like you in the first place, they`re going to give you bad

And they don`t like him right now. They do not like -- I was in New Jersey
last week, Chris Christie, punching bag in New Jersey. Twenty five percent
favorability, that`s really bad.

O`DONNELL: Right, all right, nobody move, we`re going to take a break.
Coming up, we have a new champion of the American people.


WARREN: Being here, thank you, thank you Sean, thank you Shonda(ph).




O`DONNELL: John Burton has seen it all in American politics. He is the
83-year-old Chairman of the California Democratic Party, he served as a
Congressman from California and was president of the California Senate.

This weekend at the California Democratic Party Convention, he gave himself
the honor of delivering the introduction of the convention`s most important

And after a career of introducing America`s most important Democrats,
including Democratic Presidents John Burton dispensed with the political
niceties and invoked his beloved apparently tough-talking grandmother to
deliver the most enthusiastic introduction he`s ever delivered in the
fewest possible words.


BURTON: This is a real honor for me. You know, I have been lucky to
introduce people that have been my idols, introduce people that I heard of
and never met.

But this is a great -- this is really a great pleasure to have her here.
And as I kept thinking about what I would say, and you could say a lot.

But I summed it up in words that would make my grandmother proud. She is
the -- champion of the American people.


WARREN: Thank you! Thank you! All right! Just fun, thank you, thank you.


O`DONNELL: Senator Elizabeth Warren got the reception that only
presidential candidates get at the California State Party Convention. And
if she was running for president, she wouldn`t have had to change a single
word of her speech.


WARREN: Just last week, Jeb Bush said that the way we`ll fix devastating
problems in Baltimore is -- wait for it, to blame the teachers.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker --


Recently announced a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin
system, that is 13 percent of their public university system`s budget.
Senator Rand Paul has justified voting against the minimum wage by saying -
- and I want to quote here, "It`s a fact, an economic fact, that when you
raise the minimum wage, the people that are hurt the worst are minorities
and kids."


Now, we can whine about it. We can whimper about it, or we can fight back.
Me, I`m fighting back.


I`m fighting back. Are you ready.


That`s right.


And -- that`s right. And here`s the best part -- it`s not just us.
America is ready to fight back.


O`DONNELL: Senator Warren went where most Democrats are afraid to go,
attacking Republican economic policy at it`s origin, Ronald Reagan. And
she did it in Ronald Reagan`s home state.


WARREN: For more than 30 years, starting with Ronald Reagan, the
Republican leadership latched on to an idea it called "Trickle Down


And then they got to work. They attacked wages. They attacked pensions.
They attacked healthcare. They attacked unions.

They attacked education. They attacked science. They attacked financial
regulation. They attacked all the pieces that had built America`s great
middle class coming out of the Great Depression.

Why, why, why go after hardworking people. Why go after seniors and
students. Why? To give bigger breaks and more special deals to those at
the top.

Trickle Down Economics was nothing more than political cover for helping
the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful.


Trickle Down Economics cut the legs out from underneath America`s working
class. And those policies didn`t end just in the 1980s.

I want you to just look at the Republicans who are running for president in


Sometimes, I listen to them and I think, "Whoa, you didn`t go to Legoland."


"You went to Fantasy Land."


I mean, really. Some of these guys took one spin
Too many on the teacups ride just to cross the street.



O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a break here, come back and talk about
this. But during commercial break, I want you to think about this -- can
you imagine Hillary Clinton giving that speech, complete with the raised

So, what is Elizabeth Warren really up to? Is she really laying the
groundwork for a presidential campaign in case your candidate, Hillary
Clinton, stumbles. That`s next.


Here`s how Senator Elizabeth Warren wrapped up her speech at the California
Democratic Party Convention.


WARREN: This next election is up to you. It`s up to the people in this
room. Because you, you are the heart and the soul and the living spark of
the Democratic Party.

You are the ones who will make change happen.


So, this one`s for me, from my part to yours -- I truly believe, if we
fight for our values, we will win.


WARREN: And I have only one question to ask you. Are you ready to fight.


Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fight?
Then, we`re going to win this.


Ready to fight! Thank you for being here. Thank you. Thank you.


Thank you. Thank you.

I won`t back down. You can stand me up and --


O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, we don`t know if Elizabeth Warren was allowed to
choose her own music --


-- at the end of the speech. But, I think, that`s what she would have

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: It`s entirely possible, Lawrence. I
mean, look, I will say here the -- what you heard from her right there,
fighting for something, do you feel like you see Hillary Clinton out there
fighting for something.

I`m not sure --

STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No, Hillary Clinton`s out there being
careful, cautious, --

HUNT: Yes.

CLEMONS: -- not taking any risks.

HUNT: And I think that what you`re doing --

: And looks like a manufactured candidate who --

HUNT: I think that the appearance --

think that`s true.

HUNT: -- the appearance -- part of why all the stuff with the Clinton
Foundation is such a problem is that the appearance is as though she and
Bill are fighting for themselves, and not for other people.

DEAN: I disagree.

HUNT: And I think that`s the root of the political issue.

DEAN: I disagree. If you look at the first three or four meetings that
she had in Iowa and she was talking about immigration, income inequality
and same-sex marriage, I think she is saying things this time that was not
saying the last time.

And I think she`s very clear about that.

CLEMONS: Howard Dean, I remember seeing you when you were on fire. I
cannot recall the last time I saw Hillary Clinton on fire.

DEAN: Hillary Clinton isn`t a fire person. She`s here. She`s going to be
a great managing president.

CLEMONS: Does Cerebral Hillary beat On-Fire Elizabeth Warren.

DEAN: I think, in the general election, I think yes.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, what I`m watching when I watch Elizabeth Warren is
I`m watching someone who, every day, in everything she does, everywhere she
goes, everything she says, it`s perfect for a presidential candidate, just

And so, as she starts to accumulate these days and these trips to all these
different places, it starts to look like there`s one person in the
Democratic Party who`s in a perfect position in case Hillary Clinton, in
some way, stumbles.

HUNT: You know, there`s not -- there are definitely concerns. I mean, Joe
Biden is another person who is, essentially, waiting in the wings, kind of
watching, carefully saying, OK, if Hillary can`t actually pull through,
isn`t as strong as we think she is, he`s ready to step in there.


I don`t know that we`ve gotten any indications. At least, in my reporting,
I`ve not gotten any indications that that`s the posture of the Warren camp.

I mean, publicly, they`re, you know, all about her staying in the Senate,
being the advocate --


-- that she is. But, you know, I mean, I think anything is possible,
especially -- I mean, you know this as well as anyone. In the Democratic
Party, they`re much more willing, historically, to take a risk on some of
the --

DEAN: I think that`s true.

O`DONNELL: And they love getting excited by those Howard Dean candidacies

DEAN: They do. But, you know, -- but those Howard Dean candidates just
don`t often win.

They really excite the hell out of the party, and then the party picks
somebody who`s going to appeal --


-- to the middle and who can feel -- the middle can feel very confident

CLEMONS: But her message is one that that middle, what you would call the
middle where Hillary might be, has sold out --


-- the middle class that the American corporation has taken over as a human
being in the American legal system, that this gets special status legally,
internationally, to sue against --


-- U.S. laws. And I think she -- when she ended that speaks, she actually
talked about Citizens United and the importance then throughout all of

There`s a consistent line of thinking that it`s the company versus the
average working family. And that`s something Hillary Clinton has not been
able to --

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Hillary --

CLEMONS: There`s a lot of those companies that supported her.

DEAN: She actually did talk about Citizens United in her second outing
into Iowa.

CLEMONS: But it`s not a consistent thread through her entire message,
which is, what I think, Elizabeth Warren is doing when she talks about
trade, when she talks about working family, wagers, jobs, unions, talks
about investing in ourselves and infrastructure.

It`s a broad-based thing that it`s a --

DEAN: And I think --

CLEMONS: -- against people.

DEAN: -- of these two are extraordinary women. And that is, Elizabeth
Warren is that person who has a really strong point of view and a class
analysis and so forth and so on.

I think Hillary actually is interested in running the country. And not to
say Elizabeth Warren is not. I think Elizabeth Warren is terrific. But I
think Hillary --


-- Clinton is equipped to be the president for everybody. And I think she
has an aversion to beating the hell out of the other side, the way I like
to, --


-- and Elizabeth Warren better.

O`DONNELL: But, you know, the key phrasing in John Burton`s "Beautiful," -


DEAN: And dropping the "f" bomb.


O`DONNELL: It was right before the f`ing part of it, when he said she --
he said, she is the champion of the American people, not one of the
champions of the American people along with Hillary Clinton.

And she`s got that title, Kasie. And Hillary Clinton`s not going to be
able to take that title away from her.

HUNT: I just wonder, if he were introducing Hillary Clinton, would she
warrant an expletive from Mr. Burton.


DEAN: For the sake -- just for the record, --

CLEMONS: You`ve been introduced by John Burton.

DEAN: -- I got introduced and the same word was used by him.


DEAN: He dropped the "f" bomb on me. I was shocked.

CLEMONS: But was it with enthusiasm or frustration.

DEAN: I was running for president.


I don`t know. He was very -- he was right -- he was with me. He was

CLEMONS: Well, you were the Elizabeth Warren candidate.

DEAN: I was his candidate.

CLEMONS: John Kerry was the Hillary Clinton candidate.

DEAN: I was his candidate.


And if he approves of you, he uses "f" bomb when he -- I was horrified. I
was running for president of the United States and some guy drops the "f"
bomb in front of the whole press corps.

I`m just going, "Oh, my God. How do I get out of this shot."

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to break there. Howard Dean and
Steve Clemons, thank you.

And when we come back, we will be joined by the one and only --


-- reporter --


-- who has actually sparred, literally sparred, with Mitt Romney.



There is now exactly one political reporter in the bunch who has literally
sparred with Mitt Romney. It happened Friday night in Salt Lake City.


HUNT: I would like you to show me some of your new moves.



HUNT: Or teach me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- we`ve been waiting a long time to --

ROMNEY: Oh, oh, I see. Oh, I see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- you`re going to put them on.

HUNT: I`m going to put them on, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you guys are going to -- we`ve been waiting a
long time to do this with the press.

ROMNEY: She`s exactly right. Exactly. You`ve got to --

-- normally, what you do is you jab a couple of times, --


ROMNEY: -- you know, you jab and then you come --

HUNT: Oh, right.

ROMNEY: -- with a right or a hook around the side. That`s what Evander
told me.

HUNT: Like that?

ROMNEY: Exactly right. Knock me out and I`m in trouble.


O`DONNELL: So, did you get to pick the white gloves. Was that your --

HUNT: I actually did pick the white gloves. They were selling them right
behind us. And so I -- well, I borrowed the pair they gave to him.

I bought the white pair for myself.

O`DONNELL: Because you don`t own your own boxing gloves.

HUNT: I do not my own -- now, I do, --



HUNT: -- actually.

O`DONNELL: Now, you do. So, did he --

HUNT: I`m sorry that I bring them.

O`DONNELL: -- did he practice at all for this thing. Did he --

HUNT: He did. And, in fact, he told me when we were chatting that he and
Evander Holyfield had a little sparring match ahead of time.

And Evander said that he taught Romney a couple things mostly for both
Romney and his own safety. He was a little concerned that Romney was going
to take an actual punch, maybe in the wrong place --


-- and landed funny. So, the two of them practiced and sparred ahead of
time. And Romney was actually going to wear a shirt during this boxing.

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes, tell us how that came about --

HUNT: Yes, well, you know, I actually -- I covered Romney for years.
We`ve seen him in all sorts of situations, you know, on the beach with his
kids, never seen him without a shirt on.

Apparently, he said he wanted to box with a shirt on and Evander said, "No,
no, no, dude. That`s not how you you do it."


"That`s not how you box," so --

O`DONNELL: And so -- and you tweeted about Romney without a shirt, and I
can`t find it right here --


-- but it was something about --


-- his dad bod --


O`DONNELL: -- not being so bad.

HUNT: Well, I mean, you know --


HUNT: -- I`m going to let you guys judge for yourselves, so --

O`DONNELL: Well, he`s like 112 years old --


-- and he -- let`s see him up there again, out there -- he is, without --


-- question, the healthiest man of his age in the United States of America.
Look at that guy.

HUNT: For a grandfather, he`s pretty good.

O`DONNELL: He`s like 69 or something, right. He`s almost --

HUNT: About that age, yes.

O`DONNELL: And, I mean, you know, this is more boxing than I thought it
was. They actually kind of --

HUNT: They went two rounds, yes, you know. And they pushed each other
back and forth.

At one point, Romney had Holyfield on the ropes a little. I`m not sure
that may have been a conscious decision on Evander Holyfield`s part.

But he also took a fall to the mat at one point, Evander, and -- but, in
the end, Romney actually threw in the towel literally, ran away, shouted,
"Help! Help!" And ultimately --


-- let Evander take home --

O`DONNELL: Look at that.

HUNT: -- the victory.

O`DONNELL: It`s almost real boxing.



So, and then -- was that after the match when you went out --

HUNT: No, we did that a little bit beforehand. It was a little bit of a

O`DONNELL: OK. And what`s his next bout. Who`s he going shirtless with
next time.

HUNT: You know, we didn`t talk about that. I haven`t talked to him since
they actually wrapped it up.

I don`t know how he felt about how it actually went on in that ring. But,
you know, this is obviously all for a good cause, in that this match will
fund, for a whole year, this charity, Vision Charity, that does surgeries
for underdeveloped countries, people who are blind.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And they took in like a million bucks for this.

HUNT: They took in a million dollars. And it`ll fund -- basically,
everything they did last year will be funded by this one event.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, thank you very much for sparring and --

HUNT: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: -- for giving us that ringside report.


Coming up, Jim Gaffigan will tell us about his new --


-- show and what it`s been like to sit beside David Letterman in the Ed
Sullivan Theater 22 times.



California Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez spent the weekend
literally running --


-- from reporters after this video surfaced on Saturday when she was -- a
video of her talking about Native Americans.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m going to his office thinking
that I`m going to go meet with -- right? Because he`s an Indian American.


O`DONNELL: The Democratic Congresswoman from California apologized
yesterday while speaking to the delegates at the California Democratic


SANCHEZ: I said something offensive and, for that, I sincerely apologize.

O`DONNELL: So far, Congresswoman Sanchez is the only declared Democratic
opponents to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for Senator Barbara
Boxer`s seat.

Kamala Harris said that Congresswoman Sanchez`s comments were, quote,

Up next, Jim Gaffigan is here. He`s right beside me, right here. The Jim

between you and I, I hear.

O`DONNELL: All right, just go to a commercial and we`re going to talk
about some stuff here. So, we`re going to talk about your new show --


And we have a new winner for most cameos by cable news hosts in a half-hour
comedy. It`s "The Jim Gaffigan Show" --


-- premiering this summer on TV Land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: And in entertainment news, stand-up comedian,
Jim Gaffigan, --


UNIDENTIFEID CHILD ACTOR: It turns your brain to mush.

GAFFIGAN: I`m doing research. Get daddy another bagel.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: I think it`s refreshing to see a comedian who
is not afraid of his faith. Although, what kind of knucklehead would put a
holy text in a garbage bag.

GAFFIGAN: Oh, come on.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: I always thought that Gaffigan guy was weird.

O`DONNELL: I`m tired of celebrities using their fame as a platform to
promote their twisted personal agendas.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Embattled comedian, Jim Gaffigan, appears to be
losing even the support of his peers. Right, Judy.

JUDY GOLD, STAND-UP COMIC: Rachel, Jim has always been a bigot. We all
have known it for years. I mean, he`s obsessed with bacon.

That`s all he talks about. You want to know who can`t eat bacon? Jews and
Muslims, that`s who.

GAFFIGAN: Come on.

GOLD: Shame on you, Jim Gaffigan.


O`DONNELL: Jim, I`m sorry, I have no bacon. I meant, I knew I was
forgetting something.

GAFFIGAN: You know, I ate 10 minutes ago, so I think I`ll be alright.

O`DONNELL: So, the new show is actually available right now.

GAFFIGAN: Yes. We`re doing something a little interesting. We`re putting
an episode on my Web site and we put it up last Tuesday --


-- and, already, 1.3 million people have gone there.


And over a hundred and thirty thousand --

O`DONNELL: Including me.

GAFFIGAN: -- have watched the whole thing, which is amazing and pretty
rare. And I was thrilled that the Viacom people were into it.

You know, the show is eventually going to be on TV Land but we wanted to --
you know, rather than me talking about it for a couple of months, I just
wanted to show an episode and let them know that, hopefully, it`s not
garbage. You loved it.

O`DONNELL: Now, I don`t want to scare the audience --


O`DONNELL: -- into thinking it`s you and some kids and a bunch of cable
news hosts. Let`s look --


-- let`s look at someone else they might recognize, Mr. Chris Rock.


CHRIS ROCK, ACTOR: What do you got there.

GAFFIGAN: It`s Moby Dick. You see, it`s like a harpoon on the side.


ROCK: So, that the version of Moby Dick where Jesus comes back from the
dead and slays the whale --


-- and then Blames it on the Jews.

ADAM GOLDBERG, ACTOR: Well, it`s always our fault. And you`re up. Don`t
worry, Ishmael, I`ll hold your bible for you.

GAFFIGAN: Oh, thank you.

GOLDBERG: Yes. Whoa, all right, let`s try and find the part where the
dinosaurs don`t exist.

ROCK: It`s probably right next to the part where Jesus is a blonde white


GOLDBERG: Exactly.


O`DONNELL: You stand-ups stick together. How did you get Chris Rock to
squeeze that into his --

GAFFIGAN: I mean it`s -- it`s amazing, some of these favors that I`ve
called in. And, you know, I know Chris a little bit. But I know you a
little bit.

O`DONNELL: Yes, right, yes.

GAFFIGAN: And you did it, too. And Rachel did it, and Glenn Beck did it,
and you know, it`s -- Jon Stewart did it.

And some of it is, I think -- hopefully, the content was an interesting
idea. It`s not some kind of gag. It`s using these characters and these
individuals to kind of tell a story in an interesting way.

And this episode is about me being out of the -- as a Christian and I know
that, you know, people thought that was interesting, so it`s --

O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s a really fun take.

You sat beside Dave 22 times --


O`DONNELL: -- in the Ed Sullivan Theater. What was it like that first
time, first time you`re doing the big show.

GAFFIGAN: Well, it`s pretty insane because, you have to understand,
Lawrence, I`m also from Indiana.

And so, he and John Mellencamp were, you know, essentially, the only two
people that got out and did something in the --


-- entertainment industry. So, as a teenager, I think that -- I think Dave
and Bill Murray informed sensibility for an entire generation.

And so, being from Indiana and eventually doing stand-up on that show was -
- you know, it was the only goal for all comedians but it was especially,
you know, important for me.

And when I shook his hand, it was very strange. It was -- you know, I kind
of described it as meeting Mark Twain.

It`s very odd but it was -- you know, it`s the pinnacle, you know. I knew
I could die after that.

O`DONNELL: He found a new tone -- and I`ve heard you talk about it. This
is a very hard thing to capture in words but --


O`DONNELL: -- but we`ve all internalized so much of his style, of comedic
turn -- and I actually knew all of the "Letterman" writers when they were
doing the show in this building, at the beginning of the NBC late night
version of the show -- because he did a morning version of the show --


O`DONNELL: -- which lasted six months. And all those guys internalized
it, too. When we would go to dinner, we all ended up talking in a way that
spun off the way Dave talked.

GAFFIGAN: Yes. And I think there`s something about Dave where, you know,
I kind of -- I also refer to it as the absence of phoniness.


GAFFIGAN: And there`s signature styles, you know, there`s an irreverence.
I mean, him going after NBC -- you know, even before there was the problem
with who`s going to take over, there was this rebellious side.

But there was this civility and politeness to his populous rabble.

O`DONNELL: He kind of acknowledged that the audience knew more about show
business and about what he does than anyone else had previously

GAFFIGAN: Yes, and he -- you know, he also remained mid-western.


GAFFIGAN: You know, I mean, he`s from Indiana and -- you know, George
Clooney is from Kentucky. I don`t think --

O`DONNELL: Really?


GAFFIGAN: I don`t think of George Clooney as Kentucky. I think of David
Letterman as Indiana.

O`DONNELL: Jim Gaffigan, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GAFFIGAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Here`s the promo. The first episode - you want to read this?
It`s right on the prompter.

GAFFIGAN: Very good.

O`DONNELL: The first episode of "The Jim Gaffigan Show" --

GAFFIGAN: -- is available at It`ll be up there for
another week or so.

O`DONNELL: Why don`t you tell America what`s going to happen next?

GAFFIGAN: You know what, Chris Hayes is up next. What a great fellow that
guy is.

O`DONNELL: He is; he`s a great guy.

GAFFIGAN: He`s a great kisser too.



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