Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, June 15th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed


Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: June 15, 2015
Guest: Robert Costa, Maria Teresa Kumar, Kasie Hunt, Tim Pawlenty, Anne
Gearan, Lincoln Chafee, Peter Bart



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Days as well, so -- the Supreme Court that
could have a big effect on not just the presidential race, but also the
country at large.

Usually, we only get rulings on Mondays, they`re now saying we`re starting
-- going to start getting them now on Thursdays as well.

So, this is going to be a great week for news. I mean it already is a
great week for news and it`s only Monday. Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD
with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I wasn`t ready for those Supreme
Court decisions today, so I`m glad they held off for today.

MADDOW: When we get to do more homework, we change our own Thursday
morning --

O`DONNELL: Exactly --

MADDOW: That`s exactly right.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, we are exactly 13 hours away from Donald Trump`s big
announcement tomorrow, but you are just a minute away from hearing what
Donald is going to say tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I have decided I`m a candidate for
president of the United States of America.

(CHEERS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we are off to the races.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The crowd was incredibly fired up.

(CHANTS)

BUSH: Mom, can you ask them to sit down, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bush`s new campaign logo getting a lot of buzz.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb`s exclamation point, like the way I`m talking
right now, I will put exclamation points at the end of all of these
sentences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The official logo is just Jeb without --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Bush --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is trying to say that his last name doesn`t matter,
any piece of advice for him on that?

(LAUGHTER)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I have to say to you,
that`s a very tempting question to answer, but I won`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big rally over the weekend for Hillary Clinton.

CLINTON: I may not be the youngest candidate in this race --

BUSH: There are a lot of good people running for president, quite a few,
in fact.

CLINTON: But I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the
United States.

(CHEERS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could this be the 2016 matchup?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: After months of being an illegal candidate for president,
according to some experts in campaign finance law, Jeb Bush today finally
became a legal candidate for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: And in this country of ours, the most improbable things can happen
as well. Take that from a guy who met his first president on the day he
was born --

(LAUGHTER)

And his second on the day he was brought home from the hospital.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

The person who handled both introductions is here today, she is watching
what I say, and frankly, with all these reporters around, I`m watching what
she says, too.

Please, say hello to my mom, Barbara Bush.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The protesters that you just heard shouting there were calling
on Jeb Bush to support immigration reform. Jeb Bush then went off script
to say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: By the way, just so that our friends know, the next president of the
United States will pass meaningful immigration reform so that that will be
solved, not by executive order.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Many Republican conservatives were immediately outraged by that
remark with the "Breitbart" website saying, "that should be the give-away
for so many Republicans.

When he`s on script, Jeb is a conservative with the rhetoric, no different
than Senator Ted Cruz`s, when he`s off script, Jeb turns against
conservative policy in a heartbeat."

Tomorrow`s big announcement will be from the man who announces his
announcements this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION & FOUNDER, TRUMP
ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: June 16th at Trump Tower, 11:00, major
announcement, let`s see what happens.

Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., let`s make America great again. We`re going to
have a fantastic time, stay tuned on all social media, we`re going to be
all over the place, everybody wants to watch. Make America great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now you may have noticed that I have not yet included Donald
Trump in our coverage of the Republican presidential campaign this season,
and that is because he is obviously never going to be president.

He is obviously never going to be the Republican nominee for president, and
he is obviously never going to be a candidate for president.

What he is going to be is the host of a TV series in which former
celebrities are mean to each other, the same job he has held throughout the
Obama presidency.

Donald Trump is going to announce tomorrow that he is thinking about
running for president. And everyone who`s been tricked into thinking he
was going to announce something else will realize this is the 2015 version
of the game Donald Trump enjoys playing during election seasons.

And by the time they`re counting the votes in the New Hampshire primary,
Donald Trump will be back doing what he does best.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Gary, you`re fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now from Miami, Msnbc Political Reporter Kasie Hunt.

From Manchester, New Hampshire, Robert Costa, the national political
reporter for "The Washington Post" and Maria Teresa Kumar, the president of
Voto Latino and host of "CHANGING AMERICA" on shift by Msnbc.

I would like to get rid of the Trump issue first of all, do we have any
people left who suspect that he is going to break his perfect record of not
running for president?

Robert Costa, is this the moment where Donald Trump finally does what he`s
pretending he`s been interested in doing for years?

ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I spent
all day reporting around Donald Trump`s world.

And it`s a tough world to report on, a lot of different, mixed signals
coming out of Trump Tower. It`s hard to read exactly what`s going to
happen on Tuesday.

But I do know this, he is -- wants to be part of the 2016 process, he wants
to be on the debate stage, and he is going to announce tomorrow that he`s
worth $9 billion.

That doesn`t mean he`s actually going to file to federal government about
his financial disclosures, he`s just going to publish a memo and says --
that says he`s worth $9 billion.

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, he is never going to file candidacy papers and
he`s never going to make it to a debate stage, and I`m not sure when
everyone else is going to give up on this.

But --

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: Well, you know --

O`DONNELL: You know, it`s always --

KUMAR: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Fun, he makes it fun, I got to give him that.

KUMAR: Well, here is that, but I also want to know, does he really -- is
he really worth $9 billion or is it just paper that he actually has
mortgages on --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: He`s right, he`s really going to do --

(CROSSTALK)

He`s going to hand out a piece of paper where he has typed, I am worth $9
billion, that`s --

KUMAR: Right --

O`DONNELL: That`s as far he would go --

KUMAR: But it is where he just -- that he could actually have a toe-to-toe
conversation with the American people, they all actually understand what
the burn of mortgage payments mean.

That the fact that he is just going to go and say that he is worth $9 --
really, and that doesn`t mean anything.

But if you`re right -- again, but if you were to say, look, I actually have
doubt that Americans might actually pay attention to Donald for a change.

O`DONNELL: All right, Kasie Hunt, the Trump spinners, the people who he
uses to spin these things for him every season when this comes up, they do
a remarkable job of getting people in the media and elsewhere to believe
that he`s actually going to do this.

Do any of the other Republican candidates who are seriously in this thing
think that they`re ever going to have to contend with Donald Trump on a
debate stage?

KASIE HUNT, POLITICAL REPORTER, MSNBC: I mean, Lawrence, the thing is
every single time we`ve been convinced that somebody wasn`t going to jump
into this race they have.

And we`re now at 11 contenders, and I think that Donald Trump wants to be
part of the conversation, and I think, this time around, being part of the
conversation requires being a candidate.

Because if you`re not a candidate, there is plenty of other people who pay
attention to who are in fact actually running.

So, it`s possible that you`re right and that we`re just going to get
another tease up from Donald Trump tomorrow.

But I think that they might know that they have to take that leap if they
want to continue to be a part of this.

O`DONNELL: Well --

(CROSSTALK)

I have never been wrong --

COSTA: I think Trump wants to be on the debate stage --

O`DONNELL: About Donald Trump the politician.

(LAUGHTER)

So my perfect record on Donald Trump the politician, I think will be in
tact at this hour tomorrow night. Well --

KUMAR: You`re doubling down, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

KUMAR: You`re doubling down --

O`DONNELL: Let`s move on to the real candidates who actually will be on
the debate stage, like Jeb Bush.

Robert Costa, that unscripted moment, is that the most important thing that
happened in that speech today politically for him?

COSTA: Because it is -- because those voters and activists in Iowa and
South Carolina, those conservative primary states, they`ll acknowledge that
Bush had a stellar speech today.

They think he was impressive on the stump, but when it comes to immigration
and education and Common Core, they just don`t see him as one of them and
that`s still a problem for the former governor.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the story he told about meeting his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: In 1971, eight years before then Ronald -- candidate Ronald Reagan
said that we should stop thinking of our neighbors as foreigners, I was
ahead of my time in cross-border outreach.

(APPLAUSE)

Across a plaza, I saw a girl, she spoke only a little English, my Spanish
was OK, but really not that good. With some intensive study, we got that
barrier out of the way in a hurry.

(LAUGHTER)

In the short version, it`s been a gracious walk through the years with the
former (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, your reaction to the parts of the speech where he
talked about not just his experience meeting his wife which was clearly
political outreach moment in the speech, but also that unscripted part
about immigration reform.

KUMAR: Well, I think that he knows that in order for him to win the White
House, he has to have -- he has to be really strong on immigration reform.

But to be fair for him, I don`t think it`s just about politics, I actually
think it`s personal. He has someone that he loves that is Latino.

He has a family that is a mixed family, and as a result, he is able to
basically understand what many -- what many Hispanics around the country
and a lot of immigrant communities are undergoing.

And I think that`s where the challenge of the extreme right of the
Republican Party just doesn`t seem to understand. Now, is it going to be a
hindrance for him when it comes to actually mobilizing the extreme base?

So the primary, absolutely, and that`s why he has to tread carefully.

O`DONNELL: And Kasie, is there -- is there another Republican campaign
that is so overtly trying to strategize an increase in Hispanic voting?

HUNT: Well, I`m not sure that it`s necessarily so overt, but I do think
that Marco Rubio is somebody who is focused on this particular group of
people by virtue of his own background upbringing, his parents.

I covered him a little bit out in Utah over the weekend and he was actually
asked this question by all those business leaders and donors that Romney
had gathered there.

This was a question that a lot of those business types in the party are
really grappling with, and he was asked how do we win the Hispanic vote?

And his answer was, well, first of all, the Hispanic immigrant vote is
often a working-class vote, they`re people who have come to the country,
who have immigrant aspirations.

They want to be able to work for a living for themselves and they want a
better life for their children.

And second of all, the immigration issue is one that it`s not necessarily
at the top of their agenda, but if you talk about it in a certain way, it`s
something that is just a blanket turnoff for them.

And that was -- that was Rubio`s message to this particular group of donors
about what the Republican Party should be doing.

So, I think that the fact that Rubio is able to say that in such a
compelling way is part of why the Bush campaign --

COSTA: And what --

HUNT: Is a little concerned about how well he`s doing.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Robert.

COSTA: I think Kasie is so right. I mean this -- when you listen to Jeb
Bush today, this is about tone. He made sure when he made that straight
comment at immigration, he was saying he disagree with the President`s
executive order.

But his is a pitch to the Republican Party. The general election theme is
that, do we really want to expand the electorate? Do we want to win against
the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or not?

I`m going to try to expand the party by reaching out to Latinos. And we`ll
just have to see if Republicans accept that argument, is something they
actually want to have as their nominee.

Can Jeb Bush get through --

HUNT: All right --

(CROSSTALK)

KUMAR: And I think it --

COSTA: With a different --

KUMAR: Right --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTA: Kind of tone that`s not like Steve King.

KUMAR: Right, and I think Robert what you`re saying and I think what Kasie
is saying is that, they actually have to really figure out how to thread
that needle.

But in this case, I would actually argue that Jeb Bush has a higher
likelihood of winning the Hispanic vote than Marco Rubio, and that`s
because of two things.

One is -- folks recall, when he was running for Senate, he basically said
that he believed in English only, when he was losing English only, he
basically started doing a lot of Spanish language TV, and that basically
sent a mixed message to all Latino community that basically put them on
pause.

When he was one of the champions of the -- of the immigration bill with the
Senate, he then actually backtracked when he found out that there`s not
enough Republicans on the house were going to -- were actually going to
carry it through.

So, he has a harder time being Hispanic I would argue than Jeb Bush because
of his policies.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break here, but as we go, I
just want to put up one graphic of the most important poll facing the non-
candidate Donald Trump who will never be a candidate.

And that is that question to voters -- Republican primary voters, who would
you never vote for? Never ever vote for, 59 percent would never ever vote
for Donald Trump.

The next one down from that 37 percent would not vote for Chris Christie.
Donald Trump knows how to read that poll.

We`re going to take a break here, Democratic candidate for president
Lincoln Chafee will join us later.

And the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination Hillary
Clinton finally took some reporters questions today in New Hampshire.

And later, "Jurassic World" had the biggest Box Office opening weekend in
the history of movie making. There is good and bad news in that for
moviemakers, that`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: And now it`s time for tonight`s episode of campaign adventures
with Kasie Hunt. Let`s take a look at what she did this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Then you got to hate the pigeons,
do you hate these --

HUNT: Hate the pigeons --

GRAHAM: Pigeons? These things --

HUNT: Hate --

GRAHAM: They will turn on you. And those shotguns for an old guy, there
we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: Is the safety off of this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just above the prep(ph) --

GRAHAM: Yes, just push it up, this off, it`s live, ready to fire. Just
look down the barrel, hold it tight, because it will kick you in the face.

HUNT: Ready?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --

HUNT: Pull.

(GUN FIRE)

GRAHAM: It`s about leading the pigeon. It`s about staying out in front
enough, but not too far. That`s what politics is like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So Kasie, did the pigeons survive?

(LAUGHTER)

HUNT: The pigeons that I shot at were fine, they totally made it out.
Lindsey Graham actually -- he hit a few, he won our game of -- I think it`s
called Annie Oakley, where you go one after the other after the other, and
if you shoot -- if you shoot and you miss, you`re done.

So Lindsey actually came out -- Lindsey Graham, excuse me, came out on top.

O`DONNELL: OK, so --

HUNT: Think he actually is good at it --

O`DONNELL: If they -- if they give them all rifles on the debate stage, he
might come up the winner?

HUNT: He might. There was a point at which they -- he was -- he was with
one of the attendees who said watch one of the pigeons fall to the left,
and said hey, that`s an Elizabeth Warren.

And the next one up, Lindsey Graham said, oh, that`s Bernie Sanders, sorry
about that, Bernie, after he splintered the pigeon.

O`DONNELL: Naming his pigeons, all right, we`re going to take a break,
we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I know that there are a lot of good people running for president,
quite a few, in fact.

(LAUGHTER)

And not one of us deserves a job by right of resume, party, seniority,
family, or family narrative. It`s nobody`s turn. It`s everybody`s test,
and it`s wide open, exactly as a contest for president should be.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: One part of that contest, the previous Republican candidates
for president had to endure has now been eliminated.

The Iowa Republican Party unanimously voted on Friday to cancel the Iowa
straw poll, normally scheduled for the Summer before the presidential
election year.

George W. Bush won the Iowa straw poll in 1999. But last time, the winner
was Michele Bachmann, which upon reflection convinced Republican Party
officials in Iowa the straw poll had officially become useless.

We are now joined by a victim of that last Iowa Republican straw poll,
former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

All right, Governor Pawlenty, you bet it all, bet the ranch on Iowa and was
that straw poll that knocked you out.

You -- and so this is -- this is an improvement I imagine in your view
about how to conduct campaigns in Iowa?

TIM PAWLENTY, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, Lawrence, long time no see,
good to be with you. And yes, as to the Iowa straw poll, I say good
riddance.

There`s a little bit of more to the story as it relates to my campaign.
The fact of the matter is we were running out of money, in fact, out of
money in advance to the straw poll.

We were hoping to do well there so that might create some momentum, so we
could try to get some traction back in terms of the fundraising.

But regardless of how that went, if it didn`t go very well, the fact is, we
were just out of money, and we didn`t have a Super PAC.

In fact, when I started my campaign, I didn`t even know what a Super PAC
is, now it`s a prerequisite to run.

But it`s an event that long ago outlived its usefulness, it was a poor
predictor of anything, so I say, again, good riddance to it.

O`DONNELL: Do you -- have you chosen your candidate out of this field?

PAWLENTY: I have not, Lawrence, no.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt has a question for you, governor.

HUNT: Governor, nice to see you. One of the other things that happened to
you in the 2012 race was that punch that you pulled against Mitt Romney in
one of those early debates.

You were going to go after him for Obamneycare I think it was, and you
didn`t ultimately end up doing that.

Do you regret that? And what did you learn from it that you would offer as
advice to this enormous field of candidates facing down another slate of
debates?

PAWLENTY: Yes, that was in response to a question I got in the debate, I
just mishandled it. I think had we been able to stay in the race and had
more debates and more time to be heard, you know, I think that would have
been just a bump in the road, it wouldn`t have been terminal.

But because it came at a time where we were financially vulnerable, we
didn`t do well in the Iowa straw poll not too long after I did that in that
debate.

You know, kind of compounded. But I think had I had a, you know,
opportunity to be in the race longer, I think that would have been more of
a speed bump than a terminal illness.

O`DONNELL: Robert Costa, go ahead.

COSTA: Governor, good to see you. This field is so big, so crowded,
what`s your political perspective on who is going to emerge as the
conservative favorite?

That alternative from the right, who is going to get the most -- the most
buzz?

PAWLENTY: Well, it`s interesting, I think in my opinion it`s going to boil
down to a few candidates. It`s going to be Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Scott
Walker.

I`d put an asterisk by maybe John Kasich, but those three I think are going
to be -- one of those three is going to be the nominee.

I think in Jeb`s case, he`s going to have a lot of money. And there`s a
big gap though between the donor class and the grassroots activists --

COSTA: Right --

PAWLENTY: So that money is going to be able to allow Jeb to buy some time
to try to convince those activists and those base voters that he`s worthy
of a second look.

And by the way, in this big of a field --

COSTA: Well, what about Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, right? I mean --

PAWLENTY: And I don`t think --

COSTA: What about those activists, who are they going to rally around?

PAWLENTY: I think initially they`re both going to be diffused -- and by
the way, that helps some of the folks who need some time before the votes
starts to aggregate and the fields starts to a trid.

Because if you`re Jeb Bush for example and Ted Cruz doesn`t do well and
blows a tire at some point, those Cruz votes aren`t going to be
redistributed to the so-called establishment candidate.

They`re going to be redistributed to, you know, different candidate within
the race. But I do think Rubio has got a lot of upside, Walker is kind of
a hybrid candidate, he can appeal to the base conservatives without scaring
the establishment.

Rubio can do the same, Jeb is going to have time to try to convince, you
know, like I said earlier, the base voters that he`s worth a second look.

And those three I think are going to represent the sub field that`s going
to be -- the nominee is going to come from.

O`DONNELL: And Maria Teresa Kumar has got a question for you --

KUMAR: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Governor.

KUMAR: Hi governor, so a quick question for you. You -- everybody
basically thought that you had a very strong candidacy until the Iowa straw
poll.

Could it be that one of the reasons that folks are abandoning the straw
poll is because there -- the -- a lot of these -- all believe that, one,
that their frontrunner is, but two, they actually are afraid of the base?

(LAUGHTER)

PAWLENTY: Well, the Iowa straw poll had a lot of problems, and one
commentator called it an extortion game. You know, you got to pay to play
there in terms of the Iowa party using it as a fundraising mechanism.

But more to the point is proving itself over and over again that it`s not a
good predictor of anything. It doesn`t predict the winner of the Iowa
caucuses, it doesn`t predict the nominee, it doesn`t predict the president.

So it`s turned out to be sort of a, you know, pointless event, and most
candidates said, you know, just the heck with them, I`m not going to
participate it anymore.

This time I should have probably done that last time as soon as Michele
Bachmann got in the race, Congresswoman Bachmann --

KUMAR: Right, but -- so do you actually feel then perhaps that the tea
party is losing their -- losing their energy?

PAWLENTY: It`s not so much the tea party as it is, you know, a combination
of the libertarians as well as the social conservatives. And that they`re
overrepresented a bit in Iowa.

But again, the base voters in the Republican Party are going to be very
conservative no matter where you are. It`s just that particular event was
distorted in terms of its methodology.

O`DONNELL: We`ll have to leave it there for tonight, Tim Pawlenty, thank
you very much for coming back to the show, really appreciate it.

PAWLENTY: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And Rob Costa, thank you for joining us tonight. Coming up
next --

COSTA: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton takes questions from reporters after -- on the
campaign trail. And tonight, we have one of Hillary Clinton`s Democratic
challengers, Lincoln Chafee will join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush is running today, he`s going to announce, he`s
trying to say that his last name doesn`t matter. Any piece of advice for
him on that?

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Well, I have to say to you, that`s a very tempting question to
answer, but I won`t. I would say this, I`m going to let the Republicans
decide who their nominee ends up being.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: While Republican presidential candidates carefully avoid
mention of the most recent Republican presidency, Hillary Clinton very
deliberately reminds voters of the most recent Democratic presidencies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I have to tell you, each of them inherited some problems.

(LAUGHTER)

I mean, you know, we`re going to talk a lot about this in the campaign,
because I want to make sure voters have an informed choice.

The records of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are cleaning up the messes
they inherited, is something that speaks to Democratic values.

And it`s also historically factual. Both my husband and President Obama
created more opportunity coming from a lower base, because they believed
fundamentally that real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and
shared by all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Anne Gearan, she`s of "The Washington
Post", she is in New Hampshire today with Hillary Clinton. Back with us,
Kasie Hunt and Maria Teresa Kumar.

Anne, it`s so interesting to see that moment where Hillary Clinton is
completely relaxed and it seems eager to talk about the most recent
Democratic presidencies, and you can`t find a Republican with that same
feeling on their side.

ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, not at all. She is quite loose and
relaxed and extremely complementary of Obama, particularly on getting out
of what she calls the great recession.

And she credits him with not making it into a Great Depression. She`s
talking about her husband, as she says, much more frequently on the trail
right now than she has at any time, really, over the last year or so.
We`ve got the first glimpse of him on the trail at her big rollout on
Saturday.

And, sure, she`s kind of, you know, embracing the pantheon of recent
Democratic presidencies. But she also, on trade in the last week or so, is
making a big break with both of them. I mean, she is distancing herself
quite markedly from the trade deal that the current Democratic president
wants, and by association, with the kind of massive package trade deals
that her husband inaugurated with NAFTA.

O`DONNELL: And she`s saying that she`s still undecided on it, but if the
president can make the TPP, the trade deal, better without being exactly
precise on how that would be made better, then she could get on board, but
-- but, the same person said these words when she was secretary of state.
"This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free,
transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law
and the level playing field."

And, Maria Teresa Kumar, that`s kind of juxtaposition of Hillary Clinton
commentary that makes people nervous, especially on the Bernie Sanders side
of the party.

KUMAR: Well, I have to say, no one was more surprised on her current
stance on TPP than labor. They were blown away, and it`s from different
conversations I was having. They were actually surprised that she wasn`t
espousing more closely what Obama was.

But you`re absolutely right. This idea, is Hillary Clinton going to be
consistent or constantly flip-flopping. And unfortunately, it`s something
that people have a big question mark. Most people understand what her
positions are, but is she going to be able to come and help the little guy
at the end of the day. And that`s what was surprising that she didn`t --
she backed away from TPP in this case.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And I`d like to see someone ask Hillary Clinton, if
anyone gets a chance out there, ask Hillary Clinton if she wants to have
trade promotion authority as president or if she wants to be, assuming
President Obama gets it, then she would be the only president who doesn`t
have it.

KUMAR: That`s right.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It does seem to me that yes,
that`s the fair question. She`s still trying to have it kind of all ways,
in this, even if as Maria Teresa was saying, that labor is surprised how
far she went.

I mean, I`m just struck by how much, and I can`t tell if it`s that Hillary
Clinton has changed, the country has changed, or if the real Hillary
Clinton is coming out of her shell. But if you think about the way Bill
Clinton ran as a new Democrat and the era of big government is over and all
of the policies that you put in place, many of them have had to be unwound
almost one at a time whether you look at some of the way he loosened up the
financial regulations or whether you look at policies like "don`t ask,
don`t tell" and, you know, the Defense of Marriage Act.

I mean, these are all things that, you know, were implemented under Clinton
and, yes, she`s harkening back and saying, hey, look at these glory days of
my husband`s presidency. But in some ways, the policies are much different
now.

O`DONNELL: Anne Gearan, is the Clinton --

KUMAR: She was asked --

O`DONNELL: Is the Clinton camp worried about the favorable/unfavorable
polls that are now trending in the direction where her unfavorability
rating is higher than her favorability rating?

GEARAN: Well, they knew this was coming in one form or another. She had
sky high favorability ratings as secretary of state and coming out of it
that just couldn`t possibly last. Some equilibrium was going to happen.
But, yes, the part of the polling where people say they think she would be
a good president, they could see her being president but they also don`t
think she`s trustworthy is deeply worrisome to them.

And it should be. It`s going to be an ongoing problem. It`s something
that she`s really got to overcome, and she`s got a number of really sort of
tactical problems between now and there. She`s got to get past this trade
thing, which is just a giant nightmare for them. It`s split the party.
It`s got -- you know, it`s every kind of wrong for her. And she`s got a
few other hurdles after that.

KUMAR: But I think that one of the reasons why in many ways she was ahead
of her time is because she`s talking about family leave policies and other
health care policies. And in general, talking about things that people
weren`t talking about in `96, because we were uncomfortable about it, but
they were things that she had espoused early on. So, in some ways, I
actually think that she was ahead of her time and the times are catching up
to her.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt -- sorry, the Republicans out there want to spend
all their time running against Hillary Clinton if they can. But the big
strategic dynamic for them is, how much do I run against Hillary Clinton
and then who do I pick as an individual Republican to run against today to
try to knock out of that polling spot ahead of me?

HUNT: And the strategy of Hillary Clinton, Lawrence, is to try to force
Republicans to run against each other and to run to the right as far as
possible.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

HUNT: I mean, they`re sitting here and looking at this primary calendar
thinking the longer we can drag this fight out the better we`re going to
be, because the question at the end of the day, I mean, we can talk about
whether voters think Hillary Clinton is trustworthy all day long, but at
the end of the day, one these Republicans has to be capable of stepping up
and beating her.

And I am not convinced that anyone has proven that`s the case yet. And I
think if you talk to people who are close to Hillary Clinton, they believe
that Jeb Bush is the closest to that at this point. But I think, you know,
it still remains to be seen whether or not he can survive this gauntlet
that the Clinton campaign is going to try to stretch out.

O`DONNELL: Anne Gearan, that question about trustworthy, that`s so far in
the polls, it`s only been asked about Hillary Clinton, and they haven`t
been asked about the Republican candidates. As they get more mileage on
the campaign trail, their polls on that question, if it ever gets asked
about them, presumably are going to go in one direction. Tend to only go
down when you were a candidate.

GEARAN: Right. I mean, in one measure, that`s a backhanded compliment of
the highest order, right? There aren`t any Republicans, with the possible
exception of Jeb Bush because of his name ID, for whom you could really ask
that question of a general polling audience, because they don`t know who
they are.

I mean, they`re all polling in the 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8s. She`s only the one
in the field right now who has universal, you know, name identification,
and about whom people have formed the kind of opinion that it would allow
them to reliably answer that question.

So, yes, I mean, Jeb Bush is the one to watch for Hillary Clinton. He`s
the one that they think has the staying power in terms of being a general
election candidate for her.

O`DONNELL: Anne Gearan, Kasie Hunt, and Maria Teresa Kumar -- thank you
all for joining us tonight.

KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.

HUNT: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Up next: Democratic candidate for president, Lincoln Chafee,
will join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With their phone-it-in foreign
policy, the Obama/Clinton/Kerry team is leaving a legacy of crises
uncontained, violence unopposed, enemies unnamed, friends undefended and
alliances unraveling.

(APPLAUSE)

This supposedly risk-adverse administration is also running us straight in
the direction of the greatest risk of all, military inferiority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln
Chafee.

Senator Chafee, I can`t -- should I call you senator or governor, since you
were formally both a senator or a governor? Which is your preference?

LINCOLN CHAFEE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the most recent one is
the protocol. The most recent is governor.

O`DONNELL: All right. Then, we`ll go with governor. We`ll go with the
most recent one.

So, Governor Chafee, your reaction to what Jeb Bush said today about what
he called the Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry foreign policy.

CHAFEE: Well, my blood was boiling when I heard that, because that`s his
brother`s war, his brother and Dick Cheney, and all the neocons got us into
this mess, on a false pretense that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction. A false pretense got us into this quagmire that here these 12
years later, we`re still involved in.

So, it made me mad to try to blame that war on Barack Obama and John Kerry.
That`s his war. That`s his brother`s war. That`s a Republican war.

O`DONNELL: As president -- the next president on inauguration day is going
to inherit this quagmire. Certainly, it doesn`t look like any of the major
problems there will be solved by that time. What would you do as president
in that region?

CHAFEE: Well, first of all, I would like to say that it`s important for
the Democratic Party to have a nominee that opposed the war. I think
that`s very, very important, because we need to label this quagmire, this
chaotic mess over there as a Republican chaotic mess. And so, I firmly
believe that the Democratic Party can`t have a nominee that supported the
war.

This is important for the American people. It`s costing us, obviously, a
great deal of money that we could be better spending back home on
education, infrastructure, health care, all the good things.

So, the way to fix it is first have someone that understood back when they
were saying that Saddam Hussein had WMD, that that wasn`t true. And
listening to our allies in the region, someone who did that back in 2002
and 2003 -- and I did that. And I voted against the war.

So I do think, as we look ahead, the answer`s going to be a multi-lateral
approach. We just have to work with our allies in the area, our friends in
the region, and even the Iranians who aren`t friends, but Russians,
Europeans, Jordanians, Egyptians, just everybody is going to be the answer
to how we solve this unfortunate, chaotic mess the Republicans gave us.

O`DONNELL: What is your reaction to the initial framework of the nuclear
agreement that John Kerry has been working on with Iran?

CHAFEE: I`m all in favor of dialogue. In this age of nuclear weapons, we
just have to talk to each other. And don`t forget that Pakistan, a country
of 160 million Muslims, has nuclear weapons, and they have a sophisticated
military.

So, we just have to talk to each other, and I`m all in favor of what John
Kerry and President Obama are doing with the Iranians.

O`DONNELL: I want to go to some of the things that Hillary Clinton has
talked about over the weekend, since she is kind of the agenda-setter,
politically on the Democrat being side of the campaign. You heard her in
her speech this weekend talked about having a right to earn paid sick days.
She also talked about the -- if necessary, a constitutional amendment to
undo Citizens United, the Supreme Court`s decision on that, ban
discrimination against LGBT people, offer paid family leave so that no one
has to choose between a paycheck and caring for a new baby.

Did you hear anything in that list of things that Hillary Clinton has
mentioned this weekend that you disagree with?

CHAFEE: I served with her for since years in the Senate, so I know there`s
going to be a lot of areas of agreement. And we worked together on
environmental issues, health care issues in our time in the Senate
together.

Of that list you mentioned, I don`t agree with the constitutional amendment
on Citizens United. I`d rather have a Democratic president appointing to
the Supreme Court to change that ruling rather than a constitutional
amendment. So, I disagree on that.

But what I didn`t hear in her speech is any mention of her secretary of
state years. I didn`t hear any mention of the free trade -- the fair trade
agreement that President Obama`s working on. It`s more what I didn`t hear
in that speech. What I did hear, I agreed with lot of it, and my record
will support that.

O`DONNELL: And do you support President Obama on the Pacific trade deal?

CHAFEE: Yes, I do. I believe trade is going to occur in the Pacific Rim.
Let`s have some rules on labor, on the environment, on intellectual
property, protection of intellectual property, addressing currency
manipulation.

So, let`s work together and have some good rules, because trade is going to
occur anyway.

O`DONNELL: What do you say --

CHAFEE: I`ve been in favor of free trade in the past. I`m consistent on
that. I`m not a flip-flopper.

O`DONNELL: What are you going to say to Bernie Sanders when he says that
this deal is bad for America and bad for American workers?

CHAFEE: Trade is going to occur anyway. It`s going to occur. We have to
at least work on rules on labor and on, especially environment -- as I
said, currency manipulation, intellectual property protection. So, I`d be
in favor of it, and I know that labor -- big labor is opposed. And that`s
important in Democratic primaries. So, that`s a factor in Senator
Clinton`s flip-flopping on this issue.

O`DONNELL: Former Governor, and former Senator Lincoln Chafee, thank you
very much for joining us tonight. I hope you`ll come back. We have so
many issues to get through this these presidential campaign segments and
never enough time.

CHAFEE: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Up next, President Obama`s words of wisdom and kindness for graduating
students at the White House today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: At the White House mentorship and leadership graduation
ceremony today, President Obama called all the participating students
outstanding, and he shared a story about one of the graduating seniors who
has big dreams.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of these young men,
Girard, told me that his goal was to become the attorney general of the
United States. And I told him -- well, that`s a big goal. I wasn`t sure
whether he understood how big it was. I did tell him, he`s probably going
to have to get a new hairdo if he wanted to be attorney general.

And then I walked him through all the other steps. He had to go to
college. He had to graduate from college. He had to take the LSAT, the
LSAT. He had to get into law school. He had to pass the bar, and, you
know, do the work as attorney and then potentially join the U.S. attorney`s
office and work your way up.

I took ten minutes just going through the whole path that it might take for
you to become attorney general, and I thought maybe that would make Girard
back off a little bit. Instead, he said, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

He didn`t seem too fazed by it.

And then a couple weeks later he spent the day shadowing Eric Holder, who`s
been an outstanding attorney general, and apparently he still wasn`t fazed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The college acceptance rate for the White House college
leadership program this year is 100 percent.

Coming up, remember when Ronald Reagan was a liberal? None of the
Republican candidates remember that, but we will show you one of the great,
Reagan liberal moments, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: On this very day in 1967, Ronald Reagan had one of his great
liberal moments. A moment forgotten by today`s Republicans. As historian
Kevin Kruse reminded us in this tweet, "On June 15th, 1967, Governor Ronald
Reagan signed California`s abortion legalization law. Knowing a veto would
be overridden by the state legislature, Governor Reagan signed the
Therapeutic Abortion Act which allowed for abortion in cases of rape,
incest or where pregnancy would gravely impair the physical or mental
health of the mother."

Up next, huge, joint, record-setting box office for "Jurassic World" this
weekend, and why that worries some people about the future of the movie
business.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not about control.

Stand down.

It`s a relationship based on respect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "Jurassic World" is now one of seven sequels that are among the
top ten box office movies of this year, which may mean that movie studios
have never valued originality less than they do now.

Joining us now is editor at large for Variety, Peter Bart.

Peter, you`ve been on this subject for years, what the giant box office of
these giant sequel franchise movies means for creative movie-making,
original movie making and how difficult it is to get the studios to go in
that direction now.

PETER BART, VARIETY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, I disagree when you say "may
mean." It does mean that essentially, it`s impossible to get an
independent picture made at a major studio. The major studios want tent-
pole pictures that appeal to an international box office, 70 percent of
that audience is overseas.

O`DONNELL: And when were you running back in the day one of the, part of
the team running Paramount, big studio, you guys had a rule about never
doing sequels. You just thought that was creative death.

BART: That`s right. Actually when I first spoke to Francis Coppola about
doing a sequel of "The Godfather", he said he wouldn`t do it in a million
years, it`s an admission of the filmmaker that you don`t have anything
going for you creatively.

Things have changed. You know, the irony, Lawrence, is that "Jaws" started
this whole tent-pole mania. And that was exactly 40 years ago. And Steven
Spielberg, who of course is a major profit participant in "Jurassic" now,
Steven made "Jaws" as a sort of small thriller. It was kind of an
independent picture.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And it was in that spirit of the day. So, I`m looking at
some of the pictures you were making at Paramount in those days, instead of
these giant tent-poles, little things like "Bonnie and Clyde", "Easy
Rider", "Midnight Cowboy". There`s no major studio that would make one of
those movies now.

BART: Well, for one thing, that`s true. The numbers have changed. Even
"The Godfather" cost $7 million, which was the original budget for "Jaws".
Now you have pictures averaging $180 to $280 million. I mean,
"Tomorrowland", which was a big, giant, mega picture that didn`t take off a
couple weeks ago, it`s a $180 million-movie.

So, there`s an awful lot at stake here.

O`DONNELL: But how much should we be worried creatively, because when you
-- every year you go to Sundance and you can see that`s amazing pieces of
work, highly creative, original pieces of work that are being done, you
know, on credit cards.

BART: Yes. Well, when a young filmmaker asks me for advice about how to
get an indie picture made, I will usually say something dopey like, look,
find yourself a billionaire who would prefer to own a movie rather than a
politician, because it`s come to that. You really need someone who is
willing to put their butt out there and take a big risk because everyone is
predicting, in independent movie, everyone is predicting nothing but bad
news.

O`DONNELL: So, Peter, how many of these top ten movies, box office movies
of the year have you seen so far?

BART: Well, I diligently try to see a few. Of course, you should stay in
touch. I`m one of the editors of "Variety", and it`s important to do your
homework.

Do I love doing that? Not, not exactly. It is homework. How many of
those do you see, Lawrence?

O`DONNELL: So far, I`m at zero for the top ten of the year so far. We`ll
see if I catch up with them.

BART: I think it`s important to stay part of the pop culture, to
understand what`s going on. But the trouble is that most of the giant
pictures out there are really remakes and sequels.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Peter Bart --

BART: So, you`ve seen them before. You saw them 15 years ago. You don`t
want to see a new "Jurassic". You`ve seen it already.

O`DONNELL: That`s kind of the way I feel, and I work nights. It`s late --
it`s hard for me to get to the theater.

Peter, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

BART: Good to talk to you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.




END

<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