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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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Date: May 28, 2015
Guest: Jeffrey Sachs, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, David Corn, Russell Sullivan,
Ezra Klein, Don Valdez, Sid Goodfriend

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

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: There are now eight official
candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, but the newest entry
will only have a chance if he can find a Republican billionaire crazy
enough to back him.

Luckily for that candidate, we`ve got some pretty crazy billionaires.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Looks to me like they`re going to
jail for all the money they stole!


SEPP BLATTER, PRESIDENT, FIFA: Many people hold me ultimately responsible

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gee, I wonder why people would hold him ultimately

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The buck doesn`t stop here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Payments were carried out by U.S. banks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A global story bringing together sports politics and
business --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s like three thousand people --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for the Republican nomination.

GEORGE PATAKI, FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: This morning, I announce I am a
candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have too many MCs and not enough mics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve got so many Republicans dividing up the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elections are bought and sold now by billionaires.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: They stay in the ear of enough
of the folks in Washington --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans, Democrats, it`s all green in the dark.
You know what I`m talking about.

WARREN: Has made it almost impossible to get any kind of change.

STEWART: Americans may not watch soccer, in fact, we will gladly finance
them longer, it`s dirty money.



O`DONNELL: Of all the long shot candidacies for president this year, none
so far is a longer shot than former New York Governor George Pataki who is
a fading memory in New York and a virtual unknown in the rest of the

He made his candidacy official today in an announcement in New Hampshire.
Now, this is normally the spot where we would show you video of the
candidate`s announcement, but this segment isn`t about George Pataki.

We will probably never do a segment on George Pataki as he languishes on
the bottom of every poll. But what if George Pataki can convince some New
York billionaire he knows to back his candidacy?

What if? Money changes everything in politics, and today politics is all
about money. We have what Nicholas Kristof calls in his "New York Times"
column today "a disgraceful money-based political system."

In that system, all it takes is one billionaire to turn an irrelevant
candidacy into at least briefly a real candidacy. Four years ago, Newt
Gingrich said everything that billionaire Sheldon Adelson wanted to hear.

So the Gingrich candidacy was able to last long enough to have its moment
of surging in the polls before surrendering the nomination to Mitt Romney.

But the Gingrich candidacy would have flamed out much earlier and would
have always been irrelevant, were it not for that one billionaire.

If you`re thinking a billionaire would have to be crazy to back George
Pataki, I wish I could tell you, but none of our billionaires are crazy.

There are now eight officially, Republican candidates for president. There
they are, they are the announced ones right up there.

Joining us now is Jeffrey Sachs, he is a professor of economics and the
director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

David Corn is the Washington Bureau chief of "Mother Jones", Msnbc
political analyst and Katrina Vanden Heuvel is the editor and publisher of
"The Nation" magazine.

Professor Sachs, I go to you as an economist to try to put this whole ugly
money around the world picture together, from bribery in the World Cup
which I feel is surprising no one, to this gigantic money mess that we are
seeing in our politics now.

UNIVERSITY: Well, I think there`re two things to say.

One is, there is so much money at the top, 1,826 billionaires at last count
around the world with $7.1 trillion, trillion dollars of net worth.

And the second word I would use is impunity. We live in a period of such
unbelievable cynicism.

We laugh, we cry, but basically, you look at this Sepp Blatter beast of an
irresponsible, corrupt guy and he`s likely as we read in the papers, to
win, you know, re-election tomorrow in an utterly corrupt organization.

But you don`t have to go to FIFA for that, just go to Wall Street. We have
CEOs of our top Wall Street firms that have paid tens of billions of
dollars of fines for financial malfeasance and they`re seated(ph) at the
White House.

They keep their top positions, they take home massive pay. This is an age
of impunity, it`s a disgrace. And eventually, it`s going to lead to an
explosion. The question is when?

O`DONNELL: And Katrina, we`re watching this game being played by Jeb Bush
now, which is just a mockery of these campaign finance laws.

He is pretending he`s not yet officially a candidate for president, simply
so he can raise more money very directly with the Super PAC that he would
not be able to officially coordinate with if he was a declared candidate.

Larry. I mean, you said it at the top of the program.

I mean, the question is, are we a government of by, for the people or are
we one of these oligarchical countries which we issue human rights reports

The Super PACS have redefined the systemic corruption that already existed.
Ari Berman in "The Nation" this week writes about how the wealth primary is
undermining voting rights.

Fifty years ago, African-Americans were discriminated against by poll
taxes, literacy tests, today, the skyrocketing costs of campaigns,
including the Super PACS, you mentioned these billionaires have made
everyday Americans rightful vote mean not enough, mean too little.

And the other thing I`d say is, it`s not just about access and influence,
it`s about the ability to shape the debate that goes on in this country.

That is why there is a striking disconnect between what is going on inside
the beltway in Washington and the views of everyday Americans.

Whether it`s on job creation, on higher minimum wage, on affordable college

SACHS: Taxes of the rich --

HEUVEL: Taxes, progressive taxation and finally, to pick up on what
Jeffrey said, we live in an age of impunity. There is an inequality of

Why is it that those who took us into war in Iraq or the bankers are not
held accountable, while someone in Louisiana has life without parole for
stealing a $149 coat?

I mean, all of this just doesn`t make sense, we need to find a new way.
And there are solutions -- I`ll let David speak, he is my long time

But there are solutions, whether it`s President Obama issuing an executive
order to force federal contractors to disclose their contributions.

Public financing, which this city of New York has and it has changed the
political landscape, and there are bills -- one -- with only one Republican
co-sponsor, so don`t let people tell you there are no difference between
the parties.

They both are in hoc to the systemic corruption.

O`DONNELL: And David Corn, so far in this campaign season, the easiest
thing I`ve heard candidates say about what to do about this is, oh, we`ll
push for a constitutional amendment to change citizens united, which they
know is never going to happen.

The constitutional --


O`DONNELL: Amendment process isn`t going to get them there.

CORN: You know, in some ways, I mean, we`ve been talking about this in one
form or another for a couple of decades now.

Every couple -- you know, every couple of years, there is some reform and
then a Supreme Court decision comes along or a new way to scrap the rules
and we`re back to the races with money having outside influence.

It seems to me that until there is, you know, enough of a scandal or enough
of a persistent, you know, wheel of corruption that is -- that is accepted
by 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent of the public and they care about it,
things won`t change.

Because, you know, you can poll this again and again and again and everyone
thinks that the system is corrupt, but they don`t make voting decisions
based on this.

They don`t give money to common -- you know, to public interest groups and
so on, to fight the stuff. They kind of -- you know, the public kind of
accepts this.

You know, unfortunately, and there can be a great Kristof column, a great
piece in "The Nation" magazine, "Mother Jones", professor Sachs can come
out with a great analysis.

But at the end of the day, if American voters and American people decide
that -- you know, unless they decide they care about this enough, the
people with the money who have a strong investment in this stuff are still
going to have the upper hand. And --

HEUVEL: But the people -- the people have -- people have an interest, too,
David, and I think --

CORN: Well, they do --

HEUVEL: We`re at a risk of being too cynical about this, because this is
going to feed the view that -- government, let it go, any government views.

We got to take back government and clean it up, not say it doesn`t work.
And by the way, we`ve moved from a discussion of campaign finance, not
blocking money, but small donors, public finance.

Look at Bernie Sanders, in 24 hours, he raised $1.5 million, the median
amount was $42. There are people around this country, if you have public
financing -- small donors, who can make a difference?

CORN: All this is --

SACHS: I think that`s why -- I think that`s a very --


Important point that one way that we`re going to make a break through, I
think, in the end, it`s not going to be starting with the legislation much
less an amendment, but a candidate saying I am not bought.

I am not taking big money, I`m taking small money and then free media,
social media --

HEUVEL: Yes --

SACHS: The public being -- you know, having all the revulsion that the
public really does say, I`m for that person.

HEUVEL: And break that TV consultant industry, just as you want to break
the lobbying industry. It`s a disgrace that there are five lobbyist for
every member of the house or seven lobbyists.

But the TV consultants are turning around and putting money in their
pockets as they get money from the campaigns. We need, as Jeffrey said,
social media internet.

It will make campaigns -- and by the way --

CORN: The interesting --

HEUVEL: The other thing, look at the U.K. election, our former colleague,
David`s and mine, Edward Miliband, former intern of "The Nation" didn`t
quite make it, but --


CORN: I don`t know --

HEUVEL: It was a two-month campaign --

CORN: Say that --

HEUVEL: And it cost so little.

SACHS: That was -- yes --

HEUVEL: We can take lessons --


CORN: But we know, we know the reforms that are needed. We know --

HEUVEL: I know --

CORN: There are lots of good ideas out there and we`ve seen some
candidates, remember when Barack Obama run in 2008, you know, he set a
record in terms of small donors --

SACHS: And big donors.

CORN: And big -- and big donors, too. But people -- but people did flock
to this small donor message.

Now, the question I really have is, will there come a time when a candidate
on a statewide level or a national level really can, you know, can use
social media and use these small, you know, donor delivery mechanisms
through social media to outdo and show this can be done in a way that other
people will repeat.


HEUVEL: It may take city by city, David. Again, I was sitting in New York
City --

CORN: Yes --

HEUVEL: Mayor de Blasio credits the small donor public financing system to

CORN: Yes --

HEUVEL: With his election. The city council in this city has changed, the
landscape has changed, issues that were off the radar, paid sick leave,
living wage, these are all issues that can move forward.

But you know, the rules are rigged right now. Elizabeth Warren says it is
as good as anyone.

CORN: Yes, I know --

HEUVEL: And until that shifts, and that`s the money, and then making the
connection, but I agree with you, though Jeffrey and I looked at you when
you said we need more scandal.

How much more scandal do we need? What`s the tipping point?

CORN: Well, yes, that is a -- that is a good question. Remember like, we
didn`t get the last, you know, the dose of reform until after we had
Keating Five and yet John McCain and others --

HEUVEL: That`s true --

CORN: Became Feingold being, you know, the reformers out there. And then,
you know, the Supreme Court came along and basically undid all that reform

But the history of American political reform going back to the 1900s is
that people respond when there is a very identifiable individual scandal
and the corrupt institutional scandal -- I mean, Jeffrey knows this better
than anyone, is the stuff that they`re able to get away with on a day-to-
day level.

You know, sort of under the radar, even though --

HEUVEL: Yes --

CORN: It`s in plain sight.

O`DONNELL: And the Watergate scandal helped give us our first big wave of
campaign finance reform, so the question of a candidate leading this

The question is, is Bernie Sanders that candidate? Katrina, so far, he is
the guy who is raising the money in that straight up, you know --

HEUVEL: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Small donor way.

HEUVEL: And it`s not just the way he is raising the money now, Larry. He
has a long track record of speaking out against the corrosion, the
corruption of our country by these oligarchs.

I think the fact that there will be six debates, that`s what, you know,
we`ve seen, very important. Because Bernie Sanders is not going to run an
anti Hillary campaign as much as an issues campaign.

And to drive those issues into this campaign could lift it up. And he has
allies. Again, you know, in the -- in the house, there is a very good
bill, government by the people, 146 co-sponsors, one of them Walter Jones,
a Republican.

If people can know their ways to get involved and do something and mobilize
around candidates, around these issues, then it will be a move.

SACHS: And I think we have to say the Clintons are not a pretty picture in
this story. They are the ultimate schmoozers. Bill Clinton is the one
that opened the Democratic Party to Wall Street.

Really wrecked the party in ideological terms I would say, and created a
lot of mischief that led here, and now we see just how frankly, you know,
in utter pursuit of money they are all the time.

So this is a -- they`re vulnerable --

HEUVEL: Damn it --

SACHS: Now, where is the candidate? Maybe it is Bernie Sanders --

HEUVEL: Bernie Sanders --

CORN: Well --

SACHS: But somebody can stand up and make this point and get a --

CORN: Well, the issue --

SACHS: Quite far down the road on this.

CORN: An interesting thing --

O`DONNELL: Quickly David, the last word --

CORN: Just an interesting thing is that, I don`t disagree with anything
that Jeffrey just said, but one of the four issues that Hillary --


CORN: Identified is, the thing, you know, going after big money. She
knows she is vulnerable and I think she`s going to try to address that.

SACHS: Yes --

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break here, David Corn,
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, thank you both --

HEUVEL: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: For joining me tonight. Professor Sachs, please stay with us,
I need a --

SACHS: Oh, man --

O`DONNELL: Tutorial from you later on something else. Coming up, in the
rewrite tonight, what Bill O`Reilly got wrong last night in his so-called
"Truth Serum" segment, that`s what he calls it, a "Truth Serum" segment.

He apparently forgot to drink the truth serum. And later, Jon Stewart has
an idea that he really wants you to steal.


O`DONNELL: A former Republican speaker of the United States house of
Representatives Denny Hastert was indicted today for banking crimes and
lying to the FBI.

According to the indictment in 2010, Hastert agreed to pay someone more
than $3 million to keep quiet about some prior misconduct.

To get that money, the FBI says Hastert withdrew less than $10,000 at a
time which is just under the amount that has to be reported to the FBI.

Hastert was the longest serving Republican speaker in history from 1999 to
2007. Coming up next, the man who supervised the writing of the Affordable
Care Act will explain how that -- the specifics of that writing is -- ended
up in the Supreme Court and is now being decided by those justices.


O`DONNELL: Next month, the United States Supreme Court will make a
decision about the meaning of one line in the 900-page Affordable Care Act.

At stake is health insurance for eight million people, that line says that
subsidies for people who cannot afford insurance will be available to
people who purchase their insurance in, "an exchange established by the

The Obama administration has argued that, that phrase should be interpreted
to mean an exchange established by the state or the federal government
since it was the federal government that established the exchanges in most
of the states because most of the states decided not to establish

People who had got their health insurance through those federal exchanges
could lose it if the Supreme Court reads that sentence to mean only the
words contained there.

Joining us now, the person who supervised the writing of that law, Russ
Sullivan, former staff director for the Senate Finance Committee and Ezra
Klein, the editor-in-chief for and an Msnbc policy analyst.

Russ, what happened here? We got -- we got ourselves a legislative language
mess here.

it`s a complicated statute, Lawrence.

And it was a big bill and what happened, I believe was that when we merged
two different versions of the bill, the bill from the finance committee and
the bill from what`s called the health committee.

That we took different pieces and when we decided that the tax credits
should be available, but that was the finance committee version.

And we added that to the health committee version which gave the states the
option to establish their own exchange or to rely on the federal

We failed to bring over a -- a small piece of language that would have
clarified that when there is a federal exchange operating in the state,
that the tax credits are available for all the citizens in that state as

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Ezra, this kind of thing happens a lot, as you know,
and when you`re dealing with a massive bill like this, with a lot of moving
parts, the likelihood of a little flaw like this showing up is very high.

Which is why they always used to -- a few months after the big bill passed,
maybe a year later sometime, they would pass the so-called technical
corrections bill where you`d go in and you would say, oh, well, this is
what this part here meant to say.

But in this Congress, there was no real chance of passing any kind of
technical corrections. So, the Supreme Court is basically deciding whether
they`re going to do a technical corrections bill.

EZRA KLEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, VOX.COM: Right, and I think a different way
of putting this is that, there is one version of this that is about the law
and clarity within the statute, and another version of this which is about
sort of sabotage, right?

There`s one version of this which I think is a probably possible reading of
what`s going on here. Which is that you have unclear language in section

If you read it in context, it`s perfectly clear what`s going on. If you
read it in context of everything else in the bill, everything legislative
history and the Supreme Court is not going to gut Obamacare over a
reasonable interpretation of that section.

They gave too much deference to the other branches of government to do
that. And so you`ve developed or watched Republicans develop this sort of
other argument which is that, in fact, that section of the bill is not
unclearly worded.

That section of the bill is not a grammatical mistake, but in fact, that is
exactly what Congress meant to do. That Congress gave states an option to
let the federal government build their insurance market place.

But if states took that option, the federal government would then basically
work that state`s insurance market.

And then the federal government didn`t tell, Congress didn`t tell itself it
was doing this, and it didn`t tell the Obama administration and nobody told
the states.

And that side of it, which is the argument that is being made because they
want the Supreme Court to actually gut the bill and in order to convince
them to do that, they need the Supreme Court to believe it is respecting
congressional intent.

That is a ridiculous argument that is almost acting more like a Jedi mind
trick than like a literal reasonable interpretation of what happened in
this bill.

O`DONNELL: And Russ, the only support for that, that anyone has been able
to find is Jonathan Gruber speaking at a Washington -- to Washington group
one time saying, oh, yes, this was absolutely deliberate.

It was to make an incentive for the states to create their own exchanges.
He has since said he was wrong about that.

But in all of the staff, the people who really know are you and the staff
people who really wrote this bill; Republicans and Democrats.

And in Robert Pear`s report in the "New York Times" the other day
interviewing all of you, he couldn`t find anyone on the Republican side, on
any side, who said there was ever a moment where we contemplated the
possibility of not giving subsidies to people who got their insurance in
the federal exchange.

SULLIVAN: And that`s right, and the reason is because it did not happen.
I mean, I was there for virtually all the discussions leading up to the
Senate passage.

Many of them with Republicans in the room, most of those discussions not
public and so are not on the record. And there was a lot of discussion
about how these tax credits were going to work.

Who was going to benefit, what income levels, how big the tax credit would
be and what kinds of insurance product, be it high deductible plans,
catastrophic plans or more basic plans would be eligible under the

But everyone assumed and knew that these tax credits going to be available
for all Americans.

O`DONNELL: And Russ, you were in a lot of closed-door private
conversations in which Republican senators would easily, comfortably have
said to you, what`s going to happen in my state if my Republican governor
declines to create an exchange?

What`s going to happen to those subsidies? If there was ever a whiff of the
possibility that this kind of interpretation was available.

SULLIVAN: Well, and it was not just the Republicans who might say that.
The Democrats in the room, including the chairman that I reported to, Max
Baucus of Montana would have had the same concern.

Look, when the -- when the senators ask how this is going to work, we
explained it to them that this is like you`re going to and
you`re going to purchase an airline ticket or you`re going to reserve a
rental car.

You`re going to have a variety of choices, like categories, compare the
price and make your selection.

Now, when we explained that to them as we moved down the line, they
ultimately said well, but we`re going to have states set up these
exchanges, right?

And we explained to them that, well, yes, this is going to be like the
college savings plans under section 529 of the code. Each state can
establish an exchange but everyone is eligible for the tax advantages under
that provision.

And the senators said, great, yes, we understand this.

O`DONNELL: OK, Russ, before we go, you don`t have to name me the names,
but how many of the senators knew what you were talking about when you
mentioned Expedia?

SULLIVAN: They all know what we are talking about, Expedia. This was


O`DONNELL: OK, Russ Sullivan, Ezra Klein, thank you both for joining us

KLEIN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what is the worst possible threat facing the Middle
East in the long term? It might not be what you`re thinking.

And Jon Stewart has one idea that he really wants people to steal. Now,
comedians are very protective of their ideas, but not this time.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The Middle East may be torn by uprisings
and terrorism led by the Islamic State and other groups. But, in the
longer term, possibly the most extreme challenge to life in that
residential could be something much more basic -- water.


JEFFREY SACHS, ECONOMIST: When you look at a world map of drought, lo and
behold, the
Middle East, which is already dry, it`s been drying. And so, places like
Syria, like Iraq, the hot zones in the world from the point of view of
violence and conflict, those are also drought-stricken places.

And it`s not a coincidence. Drought is one of the factors that`s leading
to instability already.

And we are just playing with unbelievable danger to think, "Oh, that can
just go one and the world will remain safe."


O`DONNELL: Back with us, economist, Jeffrey Sachs, author of the book,
"The Age of Sustainable Development." Professor Sachs, does this drought
in the Middle East, does it offer the possibility of more cooperation
because of this desperate need to get water and to transport it across

SACHS: Possibly, but probably not. And, in fact, what happened in
Syria already is showing how these things roll out. The whole decade from
around 2000 to 2010 was a very bad drought decade.

And the years from 2006 to 2010 were the worst drought in Syria`s modern
history, devastating. People fled the drought-stricken places, farmers
abandoned their farms to go to the cities, food prices spiked.

That led to unrest. The government then responded, being a very brutal
government with a sharp crackdown, that led to an insurrection.

That led to a flood of arms flowing in from all the regional powers, from
us through the CIA, and so forth. And you have a bloodbath.

I wouldn`t say the drought was the only cause, the miserable governance,
all of the other reasons for fighting prevail in Syria. But you get deep
instability when people are hungry, when places become unviable.

We see it, as that clip pointed out, --


-- not only in Syria. We see it in Yemen today. We see it in Somalia. I
see it all over the world, as I`m traveling on behalf the United Nations,
how much instability there is --


-- because people can`t be secure in their homes and communities. And
we`re weeing it in the United States, in the terrible tragedy in --


-- Texas right now. We have created, and are creating all over the world,
major climate disruptions because we haven`t gotten on top of this reality
of human-made climate change and done something about it, which we
could do.

And we could do it quite low cost, actually.


O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what President Obama said about that today.


in the world are telling us that extreme weather events like hurricanes are
likely to become more powerful. When you combine stronger storms with
rising seas, that`s a recipe for more devastating floods.

Climate change didn`t cause Hurricane Sandy but it might have made it
stronger. The fact that the sea level in New York Harbor is about a foot
higher than a century ago certainly made the storm surge worse.


O`DONNELL: Now, Professor Sachs, you said that, this year, 2015, could be
a crucial turning point on this issue. Tell us about that.

SACHS: Well, first, it`s going to be the hottest year in the instrument
record. That means going back to around 1880. We`re going to have a
blowout hot year --


-- this year. Because, on top of the ongoing trend of human-made warming,
we ave a big El Nino that is shaping up. And this is going to add to the
Earth`s average temperature.

But, at the same time, we have kind of a make-or-break summit in Paris at
the end of November, beginning of December. When, after 23 years of
failure to implement a climate treaty that was adopted back in 1992, we`re
going to have what is, in effect, our last chance to implement this treaty.

So, that meeting is called COP21, Conference of the Parties 21st --


-- Session, of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate
Change. It`s a mouthful, but what it means is that, back in Rio, at the
Earth Summit 23 years ago, the world said, "We`ve got to get on top of

Twenty-three years later, we still have not been effective in doing so
because of the powerful interests of oil, gas and coal, because of the
difficulties of getting global agreements, because of the opposition we
face in the United States --


-- from the right to taking this issue seriously. And, now, our backs are
to the wall because, if we don`t have an effective agreement reached in
December, we`re going to breach all conceivable measures of safety, we`re
going to reach temperatures that are absolutely dangerous planetwide.

O`DONNELL: Professor Jeffrey Sachs, thank you very much for joining us


SACHS: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: The book is entitled "The Age of Sustainable Development."

Coming up, Bill O`Reilly has a segment on the show that he calls --


-- "The Truth Serum" segment. Now, the reason I don`t have a segment
called "The Truth Serum" segment is I am just a little too afraid that,
what if, in that segment, I said something that wasn`t exactly --


-- totally, completely true. Bill O`Reilly is not afraid of that. It`s
coming up.


North Carolina`s Republican Governor says he will veto a bill, letting
court officials recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-
sex couples based on their religious beliefs.

Governor Pat McCrory issued this statement -- "Whether it is the President,
governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer or magistrate, no public
official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and
to discharge all duties of their office, should be exempt from upholding
that oath."

Coming up, Jon Stewart doing push-ups. Seriously, we`ve got the video.


In tonight`s "Rewrite," "Truth Serum."


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: "Truth Serum" segment tonight, proposal to
ban members of Congress from using first class air fare will not -- will
not get a vote in the House, which shouldn`t.


O`DONNELL: So, if you`re going to call a segment the "Truth Serum"
segment, one of the essential ingredients, if not the only ingredient, has
to be truth.

Let`s see how true last night`s "Truth Serum" segment was.


elected to the House or Senate, can fly first class anytime they want.
They get an allotment of money through the budget that`s passed every year.

And this year, this Legislative Operations branch got $3.3 billion. And,
essentially, it`s divvied up among the different members.

They get different amounts based on how far away they live from


O`DONNELL: OK. So far, so good. All true.


O`REILLY: It`s a lot of money. And then, therefore, the Senators and
Congress people, they lay out, and usually through their chief-of-staff who
they have to pay, you know, $200,000 a year or whatever -- these people
don`t come cheap -- all right, how the money is being allocated.


O`DONNELL: OK. Well, you have to listen a little more carefully when that
guy is talking because the truth suffers a little bit, especially if
numbers are involved.

No chiefs-of-staff in the House or Senate, none of them, get paid $200,000
a year. Senators and members of Congress don`t make that much money.

Senators and House members are paid --


-- $174,000 and their chiefs-of-staff are all paid less than that. Members
of Congress and --


-- senators wouldn`t be paid much more if they simply got cost of living
increases like they used to. But, in the age of O`Reilly, members of
Congress have tried to profit politically by voting to, in effect, cut
their own salaries by ending cost of living increases.

And because members of Congress don`t want the likes of Bill O`Reilly to
think they are living large, they have gone without a pay increase for six


O`REILLY: Wouldn`t it be interesting to see how many of them are living
large because that`s always the accusation, --

BREAM: Right.

O`REILLY: -- that not only do they make a decent salary, and then we don`t
begrudge them that, but they have perks, they have parking, free gym
membership, cafeteria perks, cheap food, whatever it may be, and how many
of them fly first class. I bet you, most of them do.


O`DONNELL: Well, since we don`t actually know how many of them have flown
first class at government expense -- and it`s really just a matter of
betting -- I`m going to bet that most of them don`t do that on a regular

A lot of their flying is paid for by campaign funds, not taxpayer money,
because they are to campaign events. More of that campaign-paid flying is
likely to be first class than the government-paid flying, especially if
they`re flying to raise money for the party, not their own campaigns.

And then, of course, a certain amount of first class seating is due to free
upgrades that frequent flyers get. And all members of Congress are very,
very frequent flyers.

And, surely, some of the government-paid first class flying members of the
Congress do is because the only seat available on that plane was in first
class, and they had to get back to Washington for an important vote, or
they had to get back to their districts or state for what they considered
an important event.

Members of Congress tend to make those flight reservations at the very last
minute because they never know until that last minute when the
Congressional schedule will allow them to travel.

So, it`s not all about Washington fat cats living large.


O`REILLY: there`s really no oversight on how they spend the money.
They just give them a block of money. But if you run out, that`s it, you
don`t get any more, right.

BREAM: Yes. And heaven forbid that you`d have too much and have to give
some back. I don`t think that happened.

O`REILLY: They always -- well, can`t they use that money though if they
don`t spend it all for their campaigns and stuff.

BREAM: Well, you could use it on office supplies.


O`DONNELL: OK. Now, they`re both wrong. Bill O`Reilly actually thinks
that they can use money from their government office budget for their

He doesn`t know that that would be a federal crime. The maestro of the
"Truth Serum" segment, who talks about politics and government every day,
talks about money in politics and government every day, complains about the
use of money in government is offended -- offended at the idea that members
of Congress or senators would ever sit in first class.

That guy actually thinks that members of Congress and senators can use
their government office money on their campaigns. They can`t even use
their government office telephones for their campaigns.

And then, the bit about giving some of the money back?


BREAM: Heaven forbid that you`d have too much and have to give some back.
I don`t think that happened.


O`DONNELL: Now, that sort of thing would never happen on Fox News but it
does happen in reality. And the politicians who do it make a big deal of
it, as if they`ve done something significant to reduce the federal

Senator Rand Paul gave back half a million dollars of his Senate office
budget last year. He has given back almost $2 million of that budget since
he`s been in the Senate.

And Rand Paul is not the only one who gives back money to the government
every year.


BREAM: Heaven forbid that you`d have too much and have to give some back.
I don`t think that happened.


O`DONNELL: Well, at least she admitted she wasn`t absolutely sure of what
she was saying, "I don`t think that happens." But admitting that you might
not know what you`re talking about is not Bill O`Reilly`s style.


BREAM: I have seen it many times myself. I fly in and out of D.C. all the
time. But, do I know if they`re traveling on their own dollar, which they
can do over and above what they spend in public -- public spending --

O`REILLY: No, they`re not. I can tell you they`re not.

BREAM: -- or if it`s their own money. But we`ve all seen them in first
class. That`s not where I`m sitting.


O`DONNELL: Well, you knew it was bound to come to that. Any discussion of
air travel always gets down to where you sit on the plane.


ROSE BYRNE, ACTRESS: Here. She can have my seat, OK. Everyone should
experience first class at least once in their lives. And Annie shouldn`t
miss out just because she can`t afford it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: No, ma`am, I`m afraid that`s not allowed.

KRISTEN WIIG, ACTRESS: Help me, I`m poor.


O`DONNELL: OK, now, we`ve got to roll the "Truth Serum," take back just a
bit, because we were just about to learn where Bill O`Reilly sits on


BREAM: We`ve all seen him in first class. That`s not where I`m sitting.

O`REILLY: OK, all right. So, right now, the system is going to stay the


O`DONNELL: So, we never did learn that. I guess, the idea of the "Truth
Serum" segment is that the guest takes the truth serum and the host just
continues to drink water because, at no moment at last night`s "Truth
Serum" segment did we learn where Bill O`Reilly actually sits on airplanes

Of course, there`s no reason to discuss that unless you`re doing a segment
complaining about people living large in first class. And, yes, there is a
huge difference between government-paid flying and privately-paid flying.

But when you`re doing a "Truth Serum" segment about members of Congress
flying first class, if you have just an ounce of truth serum in your system
or just an ounce of self-awareness, you`d probably say something, something
about your own experience on airplanes, just as Bill`s guest did.

I`ve never seen Bill O`Reilly in an airport. But, if I do, I do not expect
to see him standing at the gate, staring at his name on that upgrade
waiting list, just hoping that this is his lucky day.


Coming up, Jon Stewart as you have never seen him, doing something you`ve
never seen him do, something I wasn`t sure that he could do.


Jon Stewart`s last "Daily Show" will be on Thursday, August 6th. In his
16-year --


-- run with the show, he has shown himself to be a singular presence on
television. And as he leaves the stage, he is doing something that no
stand-up comedian has done before.

He is urging people to steal his idea. "The New York Times" reports that
Jon Stewart has been running a boot camp to help military veterans break
into the film and television industry.

"The Daily Show" Veterans Immersion Team began two years ago with the help
from American corporate partners. Jon Stewart has also accepted the --


-- "Give Them 20 Challenge," 20 push-ups in a salute to veterans.


JON STEWART, COMEDY CENTRAL HOST: Here we go, here we go, here we go. My
name is Jon Stewart. I`m giving 20 for "The Daily Show" Veterans Immersion


Here we go.


I`m giving 20.


I hope you have slow motion capabilities.


Here we go. You guys have got to count me through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE AND FEMALE: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.


STEWART: Thank you, guys. I`m calling out Nate and Maggie Stewart. I`m
calling out young John Oliver. And I`m calling out my beloved New York
metropolitans. "Give Them 20."



O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Sid Goodfriend, the Founder and Chairman of
American Corporate Partners, and Don Valdez, an Iraq War veteran and
participant in "The Daily Show" Veterans Immersion Program.

Don, tell us how you found out about the program and how has it worked for

DON VALDEZ, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: So, I was searching online and I saw an
ambiguous posting about an immersion program for veterans.

And, at the time, I was working at Simon and Schuster and I thought -- in a
business function -- and I thought that it`d be a nice step away from, you
know, the daily spreadsheets and whatnot.

So, they said that it was geared towards veterans and I decided to sign up
for the program, and you had to write a necessary -- apparently, there were
thousands of people that signed up for this program and I happened to be
chosen for it.

O`DONNELL: And, Side, Jon Stewart has said, "This is ready to franchise.
Please steal our idea." You helped him get this started. How would people
steal this idea.

Veteran Immersion Program could be used in wide variety of companies,
different industries. Jon started it for the media industry in part
because we didn`t have a lot of media mentors in our mentoring program.

But it could be used by banks, it could be used by energy companies, big
companies, small companies. And if they like help, all they have to do is
reach out to us and we`ll do our best to teach them what Jon taught us.

O`DONNELL: And, Don, what was it like in the boot camp in those -- is it
classes, is it a classroom environment. How does it work.

VALDEZ: Well, it`s over several weeks, about five weeks. And, the first
week, you get a whole day at "The Daily Show," from like 7:30 in the
morning to the end of taping.

And you get to see a holistic approach about -- into how the show is
actually taped. In the remaining weeks, you have access to Jon`s staff and
he brings in executives from, you know, different entertainment companies.

You get to ask the writers, the production, the crew questions of anything
that caught your interest. And the culminating event was a job fair where
the program invited few -- more than 20 companies that you could either
interview with or you could inquire about job opportunities.

O`DONNELL: Boy, I wish I could have gone to that boot camp before I
started this show. Sid, what is this "Give Them 20" campaign that we saw
Jon Stewart participating in there on the video.

GOODFRIEND: We launched the program over Memorial Day. Jon`s video was
played on Monday. It`s received --


-- almost a million views in the last couple of days. Al Schorzi, the
Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, launched his effort.


I nominated the two of them. J&J launched theirs yesterday. What we`re
trying to do is ask Americans to use this period between Memorial Day and
Labor Day, really focusing on July Fourth, to spend a moment and think
about those who serve the country, "Give Them 20."

Our tagline is to thank them, salute them and give them 20.

O`DONNELL: Sid Goodfriend and Don Valdez, thank you both very much for
joining us tonight.

GOODFRIEND: Lawrence, let me ask you a question before we go.

O`DONNELL: We`re so out of time.


Go ahead, quickly.

GOODFRIEND: Will you give them 20 for the troops?

O`DONNELL: Do they have to be consecutive, these push-ups? All right,
I`ll give them -- I`ll give them close to 20. I`ll do what I can.

GOODFRIEND: They can be sit-ups if you like but just do your 20.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`ll give them 20-something. OK.

Chris Hayes is up next.


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