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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

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Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: June 30, 2015
Guest: David Axelrod, David Corn, Kasie Hunt, Brian Murphy, Tom Hartman


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, in addition to that Maine
special prosecutor, if they get one, it sounds like there are some issues
for the U.S. Attorney to look into here, too.

MADDOW: The fact that Governor LePage admits that he did this --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

MADDOW: He doesn`t like it to be called blackmail but he --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

MADDOW: Admits every piece of it. It`s seems pretty blatantly illegal, I
think this is probably not going to end well for him.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s an amazing story, thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, President Obama was asked a ridiculous question today.
Was last week his best week ever, and his answer did not surprise any of
the husbands or the fathers who were listening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve had some good weeks in
my life, I will tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new polling out today showing the President`s
approval at a two-year high, topping 50 percent.

OBAMA: I think last week was gratifying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That may have something to do with President Obama`s
recent leadership and victories --

OBAMA: The Affordable Care Act as I said before, the results I think speak
for themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For all the people that kept saying he is a lame duck
president, I think that was proven wrong last week especially after the
eulogy in Charleston.

OBAMA: My remarks to Charleston were heartfelt, it wasn`t a celebration.
In many ways, last week was simply a culmination of a lot of work that
we`ve been doing since I came in office.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: President Obama lives in his own
world, not in our world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris Christie`s attempt at a comeback.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He couldn`t be elected dog catcher if he run now in New
Jersey.

CHRISTIE: And that is why today I am proud to announce my candidacy for
the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America.

(CHEERS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixty nine percent of his fellow citizens felt he did
not have the temperament to be a president.

CHRISTIE: America is tired of handwringing and indecisiveness and weakness
in the Oval Office.

OBAMA: The results I think speak for themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama`s approval numbers are up in a "Cnn"/ORC poll
released today, the President`s overall approving ratings at 50 percent for
the first time in two years.

His approval rating on handling the economy is at 52 percent, that`s the
first time that has gone above 50 percent in that poll in the last six
years.

And after his eulogy for the Reverend and Senator Clementa Pinckney in
South Carolina, 55 percent say they approve of how President Obama is
handling race relations, that`s up from 50 percent just last month.

At a White House press conference today, President Obama was asked if last
week was his best week ever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In terms of my best week, now my best week, I will tell you was
marrying Michelle, that was a really good week. Malia and Sasha being
born, excellent weeks.

There was a game where I scored 27 points --

(LAUGHTER)

That was pretty good week. I`ve had some good weeks in my life, I will
tell you and I`m blessed to have had those.

In many ways, last week was simply a culmination of a lot of work that
we`ve been doing since I came in office. How am I going to spend whatever
political capital that I built up?

You know, the list is long and my instructions to my team and my
instructions to myself had always been that we are going to squeeze every
last ounce of progress that we can make when I have the privilege of -- as
long as I have the privilege of holding this office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The President is planning to announce more progress tomorrow on
normalizing relations with Cuba.

The President`s Secretary of State John Kerry will formally announce
tomorrow that the United States and Cuba have reached an agreement on
opening embassies in each country.

Joining us now is former Obama senior adviser and Msnbc senior political
analyst David Axelrod, the Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" and
an Msnbc political analyst David Corn and Msnbc political correspondent
Kasie Hunt.

David Axelrod, in that game where he scored the 27 points, was that --

(LAUGHTER)

One of those presidential basketball games where everyone gets out of the
way and just lets him go?

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO BARACK OBAMA & SENIOR POLITICAL
ANALYST, MSNBC: I think not, I think he was harkening back to his high
school days.

I don`t -- I think he has enough humility to not count these as actual best
day of his life games. So -- but don`t ask me, I`m the guy who almost
broke his nose once in a basketball game as he whisked by me. So, I`d be
the last guy to judge.

O`DONNELL: Where do you place last week, David, in the Obama presidency?

AXELROD: Well, you know, obviously, it was a strong week, you know, for a
variety of reasons. He had worked hard on this trade bill that was thought
to be dead, it came back.

You know, but the other -- he said today and I think he was right that
really what it was, was a culmination of a number of things.

The affirmation of the healthcare Act was a culmination of, you know, a
six-year effort on his part and it was -- and so it was very satisfying.

But it wasn`t like a lightning bolt. The Supreme Court ruling on same-sex
marriage was the result of a series of actions over a long period of time.
Some, his, and some, by others.

And obviously -- you know, the thing that I thought was most striking last
week, you know, those things were momentous and I was in tears on both of
those days.

But the speech, the eulogy down in South Carolina to me was also part of a
continuum. It was a theme about America`s progress and its difficult
wrestling with the issue of race over our long history.

This is something that I have heard him come back to again and again. It`s
really been a theme of his life.

So, yes, it was a really good week, but it was a week that was a
culmination of a lot of work and a lot of thought over a long period of
time.

O`DONNELL: And --

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Yes --

O`DONNELL: David Corn, what I was --

CORN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Struck by when he was asked the question was, well, wait a
minute, a week in which you have to go to that funeral and give that eulogy
that is a tragic and horrible circumstance.

But the President did manage to weave it into the whole fabric of the week.
He didn`t forget about that by any means when he was talking about the good
things that happened last week.

CORN: And of course, the title change and the attitude towards the use of
the Confederate flag were not part of the Obama agenda.

And while, you know, very sad, you know, event led to that consequence was
also a step forward I think for the country. And his speech at that moving
eulogy was sort of part of all that.

You know, it`s hard to claim that as a political win given the horrific
event that came out of that, but if you can get any good out of something
like that, I mean, part of that, well, that`s a good week, too.

But you know, David Axelrod will remember that there have been other good
weeks after the -- in the lame duck session after the Democrats lost
control of the house in 2010.

They passed a second stimulus, a smaller stimulus that did don`t ask, don`t
tell, they got a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, all things that people
thought were impossible.

So I mean, you know, I hate these athletic metaphors, but there do seem to
be times when the President is able to sort of just really turn it on and
get the points on the board, whether he is playing basketball or not.

And the past week, you know, showed the ability of his agenda to sort of
prevail very strongly at key moments.

O`DONNELL: And Kasie Hunt, I would normally be reluctant to score Supreme
Court decisions as presidential wins, except when the President has put two
justices on that court without whom you wouldn`t have these wins.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that`s certainly true.
But you have to remember the architects of this particular decision or any
particular one architect Justice Kennedy obviously has been a long time in
coming around to this.

But I think if you pulled the lens back a little bit here and think about,
maybe not in terms of, is this the best week of his life, but what does
this week mean in the context of history?

I think David was talking about the speech he gave in Charleston, how
that`s going to fit into the context, those are the evolution of the
President on race.

But also how as a country, we`ve wrestled with that. I mean, you`ve seen
grappling with this in such a difficult way in places like Ferguson and
Baltimore.

And you know, is this the end of the story? Absolutely not. But is it a
note that I think the fulcrum of history might turn on? Absolutely. And
for this president, that`s really remarkable -- a remarkable point.

He`s really been freed in this last -- you know, he`s not running for
anything anymore, maybe that`s part of why we`re seeing his approval
ratings go up the way they are because suddenly the country is looking at
him a little bit differently.

But it`s clear, he`s looking at his job a little bit differently, too.

O`DONNELL: And David Axelrod, the victory on the trade bill I think was
the thing -- was the first thing that happened in the week and I think it
was the thing that made Washington go, oh, wow.

You know, because here was the President strategizing and legislating in a
way that we`d never seen before, working with the Republican leader of the
Senate, Republican leader of the house and doing it as well and as
masterfully as he had done when working with Democrats getting things
through.

AXELROD: That`s true. And it was noteworthy because of that cooperation.
You know, I just want to say we should think back, David mentioned that the
surprise bounty of things that got done in the wake of the midterm in 2010.

Well, let`s think back eight months ago, and everyone was hanging crepe on
the White House, people were suggesting that he might just take the next
two years off because he wasn`t going to get anything done.

And I think it`s important looking back on last week to see how wrong that
was. And part of the reason it was wrong, at least in the case of trade,
was that there is an impetus on the part of the Republican leadership to
prove that they can govern and do some things with this president.

And I`m not sure that they`re done. I think there are other things -- he
mentioned one today and infrastructure, maybe criminal justice reform.

There are other things that can yet get done between now and the end of his
administration.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the President said today about what he
hopes they can get done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I am really interested in the possibilities, the prospect of
bipartisan legislation around the criminal justice system.

And we`ve seen some really interesting leadership from some unlikely, you
know, Republican legislators. Very sincerely concerned about making
progress there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: David Corn, a little reach out to Rand Paul there.

CORN: Oh, yes, a little, we`ll see how far that gets. You know, I think
the whole business over the Trans Pacific Partnership though, might be a
little bit overblown if we`re talking about a new bipartisan era.

That was an agenda item that was very much on the Republican agenda. You
know, corporate America, the Chamber of Commerce wanted this and the
Republicans almost botched it.

You know, they have majority in both chambers and they almost blew it on
certain, you know, way they structured the rules in the house and other
matters.

So, the President was able to get that. If you turn to other issues that
may be important to him, you may not find the Republicans now are ready to
put aside obstructionism and work with him on criminal justice reform,
immigration reform on these other matters.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break here, in the next
segment, I`m going to ask the most difficult question of the night and I
need some time to decide who is going to get that question.

Also coming up, will Elizabeth Warren endorse Bernie Sanders? The "Boston
Herald" got a very interesting answer to that question.

Chris Christie tells Matt Lauer how he is doing with anger management and
there is a huge enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans about the
presidential campaign and Democrats are on the wrong side of that gap.

And presidential candidate Ted Cruz may not sound like a viable
presidential candidate, but he thinks he sounds like most of the characters
on "The Simpsons".

Ted Cruz will actually do his impression of "Simpson" characters next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Since Harry Shearer leaving "The Simpsons", BuzzFeed decided to
start auditioning replacements. First up, Republican presidential
candidate Ted Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Smithers, release the hounds, excellent.
Hidely-ho neighbor, okely dokely neighbor, well, you know, one of the great
exchanges between Homer and Lisa.

But dad, I`m a vegetarian, I don`t eat animals, but Lisa, animals are so
delicious. Kang and Kodos, in one of the great classic episodes when they
run for president, I`m running for president now and you know, it`s really
tough.

Forward, not backwards, upwards, not downwards and always twirling,
twirling for freedom. I have been told many times, I have a face for radio
and I have a face for animation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: All right, Kasie Hunt, you`re next, go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

Any "Simpsons`" character as you want, take your time.

HUNT: I`m going to show my age by saying that I was not allowed to watch
"The Simpsons" --

O`DONNELL: OK, yes, because --

(CROSSTALK)

It`s poisonous TV, yes --

HUNT: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

HUNT: So, I mean, you know, I had to watch --

O`DONNELL: You want to think about it --

HUNT: I should really start over --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: During the commercial break --

HUNT: I can think about it during the commercial break --

O`DONNELL: OK, we`ll do that. Up next, why are Chris Christie and all the
other Republican losers; the ones who have no chance of winning, why are
they actually running for president?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I am not running for president of the United States as a
surrogate for being elected prom king of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Then why is Chris Christie running for president?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: We need a campaign of big ideas and hard truths and real
opportunity for the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: No, really, seriously, why is that guy running for president?
He has no chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination.

He has no chance of being selected as the vice presidential nominee. And
so the question tonight is not just why is Chris Christie running for
president?

But why are so many obvious losers running for president? Here is the
official LAST WORD list of Republicans who are not crazy to run for
president.

The ones who the show thinks actually have a chance of ending up on the
ticket including the vice presidential slot.

Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Lindsey Graham has a
chance of getting the vice presidential nomination, just the way Joe Biden
did by performing well in the campaign without ever attacking the
frontrunner.

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz seem to be running to advance their brand of
conservatism and raise their profiles in the Senate, Ben Carson, Carly
Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum can hope to come out of this with
higher speaking fees.

Donald Trump is running his relentless lifetime campaign to maintain his
fame. Then you have a group of absolutely hopeless loser governors and
former governors; Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, George Pataki and Chris
Christie.

They will be the first to drop out of this race, but why are they even
getting into this thing?

We`re joined now by Brian Murphy, he`s a former reporter for politics
NewJersey.com. He is also -- he`s currently a professor at the (INAUDIBLE)
college, he`s been reporting on the George Washington bridge scandal.

David, I have this question, David Axelrod, you`ve worked with candidates
and I have this theory about why Chris Christie is running.

And I think it`s because for him, not running would feel to him like
pleading guilty in the George Washington bridge scandal.

He would rather have his presidential campaign dream publicly end in a
concession speech instead of just staying home with his family and never
getting into this race.

Because I think for Christie, that would feel like surrender to his
enemies. What do you think, David?

AXELROD: Well, I mean, that may be. I can`t crawl into his head, I know
that a couple of years ago, he was -- before his -- he got into a jam of
his staff`s own creation, he was the hottest ticket in Republican politics.

And in some ways you can see why? Because he is sort of the anti-Obama, he
is bombastic and he is discourteous and he is a guy who`s going to take you
by the neck and lead in that way.

And he -- so, he is the antithesis of the President`s style. And
Republicans loved that until he hit this gigantic speed bump and I just --
it`s hard to part with that notion that you were that close to being a real
contender.

And beyond which, Lawrence, where is he going to go? He`s never going to be
governor of New Jersey again. He can`t -- his numbers there are atrocious.

So what does he have to lose here really? And we`re in a new age by the
way. He may not qualify for this, but we`re in a new age of politics where
all you have to do is get yourself in oligarchy to and they`ll put a lot of
gas in your tank and you can go as long as you want.

It used to be, you run out of money, you get out of the race. That`s not
even true anymore. You find an oligarchy, and you go as long as he`s
willing to write checks.

O`DONNELL: Yes, term-limited governors and politicians with nothing to
lose can really crowd up a field. Brian Murphy, you`re closer to the
Christie story than any of us, why is he doing this?

BRIAN MURPHY, FORMER POLITICS REPORTER, NEWJERSEY.COM: I think he`s doing
it because his in-state situation is so bad, his approval numbers are so
low, the record --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: He is -- I think Jindal is the least popular governor in the
country and Christie is the second least popular --

MURPHY: I mean he`s going tomorrow to go visit Paul LePage.

O`DONNELL: In Maine --

MURPHY: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

MURPHY: Yes, maybe an endorsement --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

MURPHY: In the works here. I mean, that`s sort of where things are,
right? He delivered money around the country to all these governors, he`s
not well liked at home.

He spent a lot of time at his state, the state is 48th in job creation,
they have nine credit downgrades, right, a record number.

The story, the Jersey story here is to tell us, it`s not a good story. And
I think the only thing sort of keeping him alive at home domestically,
right? Within in-state politics, his domestic politics is the aura of his
presidential run.

He has to do this because if he doesn`t, he`s dead, he`s dead at home.

O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, you were there for this historic day, the
announcement day.

HUNT: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Were they at all helpful about when he might give the
concession speech? Because you`ve got a lot of travel to plan --

(LAUGHTER)

And you know, it would be nice to know that now.

HUNT: Not yet, but look, Lawrence, he`s a natural. I mean Christie is a
natural. And --

O`DONNELL: A natural what?

HUNT: A natural politician. He is good at this, and that is a lot more
than you can say --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Can we hold on the good at this thing? What are the --

HUNT: He is --

O`DONNELL: What`s the approval numbers here?

(CROSSTALK)

Thirty seven percent of voters say they will never vote for -- Republican
voters will never vote for him for president.

And the -- let`s see, the New Jersey thing, his popularity in New Jersey is
like 30 percent, something like that, favorably --

MURPHY: I would think --

HUNT: I would just challenge you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Kasie is going to make the point that --

MURPHY: Out there --

O`DONNELL: That this guy possibly, the second worst politician in America
is good at politics.

CORN: Well, good --

HUNT: I would just challenge you to go and stand in the same room and --

MURPHY: Yes --

HUNT: Watch him work it. I mean --

MURPHY: Yes --

HUNT: You`ve done this --

O`DONNELL: I`ve seen him, I`ve seen --

HUNT: You know --

O`DONNELL: Him do it in New Hampshire --

MURPHY: He`s good --

O`DONNELL: For Mitt Romney --

MURPHY: Yes --

O`DONNELL: He was --

HUNT: Great --

O`DONNELL: Very good at that when he was out there for Mitt Romney. His
life has changed since then, he`s caught in this horrible scandal.

CORN: You know, I --

O`DONNELL: Right, go ahead David Corn.

CORN: I think the media had a -- you know, had a big role in playing him
up because he`s a larger-than-life character. He`s not a -- you know, a
sort of a milk-toast type of politician who kind of like characters like
this.

But also think he`s well passed his shelf life. That you can only be
bombastic and a bully for so long and it works well if you`re, you know,
out there seemingly helping a state in a time of disaster.

And you`re talking about working, you know, bipartisan wing, Washington and
kicking butt to make things happen.

But he`s had nothing to show -- his bullying actually produces in a good
way. I think after a while, people get tired of a bully no matter how good
he maybe at a town hall meeting.

You can only say, sit down and shut up so long before people think, maybe
you should sit down and shut up.

HUNT: Been --

O`DONNELL: Brian, is he completely deluded? Or does -- I mean, does he
actually think there is a possibility here or is this just to say to
everyone, you know, I said I was going to do it and I`m going to do it?

MURPHY: It`s hard to tell. I mean, the strategy that they have sort of
laid out is, you do well in New Hampshire and --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

MURPHY: You sweep the New England primaries and then somehow, you know,
there`s a magic third step and then somehow you win the GOP nominating
electorate over to you.

Right, it`s not a -- in the laws of the universe that we operate in, it`s
not possible.

O`DONNELL: All right, I`ve got the toughest question of the night, and
Kasie Hunt --

HUNT: Right up --

O`DONNELL: Do you want it?

HUNT: Pass all --

O`DONNELL: Or do you -- or do you want to pass? You can pass, you can pass
--

(LAUGHTER)

HUNT: Why don`t -- why don`t you ask it and then I`ll like to --

O`DONNELL: All right, here is the toughest question of the night, you can
pass after I ask it. Why is George Pataki running for president?

(LAUGHTER)

He has no speaking fee number to get up, he -- I -- this is the biggest
mystery --

MURPHY: OK --

O`DONNELL: On the list, do you need more time? Do you need --

HUNT: I really don`t have a good answer --

O`DONNELL: Let`s go to David Corn, let`s see if he`s got it. David --

CORN: I can --

O`DONNELL: Come on --

CORN: I can, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: George Pataki, why is he running for president? Does he --

CORN: I can only think of one thing, Lawrence --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Does he hate living in New York that much that he wants --

CORN: I think --

O`DONNELL: To get out --

CORN: I --

O`DONNELL: Of the state?

CORN: I can only think of one thing, it will get him out of the house.

O`DONNELL: It will get him out of the house.

(LAUGHTER)

CORN: And that`s about it.

O`DONNELL: Brian, you want to take a shot?

MURPHY: No.

O`DONNELL: OK --

MURPHY: That`s a --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Brian Murphy, thank you very much for your guidance on Chris
Christie in New Jersey. We`re going to take a break, coming up, Chris
Christie talks to Matt Lauer about his biggest problem -- anger management.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: Well, I think what sets me apart is the state where I come from.
I mean, this is hand-to-hand combat every day. And it`s a Democratic
legislature who is fighting me all the time.

Who you have to learn how to bring in, how to craft compromise. And in red
states, they don`t have a lot of experience in doing that. And after all,
the same party and they all basically agree with each other.

What I have experienced in New Jersey is much more like what you`re going
to experience in Washington D.C., no matter who makes up the Congress.

And that president has got to understand compromise isn`t a dirty word, has
to learn how to develop relationships and also has to know where to draw
the line when the line needs to be drawn.

MATT LAUER, JOURNALIST: I know how to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Chris Christie told Matt Lauer how he is doing with his
big project -- anger management.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER: It`s been a long journey, governor, to this announcement. Back in
2012, a lot of your fellow Republicans really urged you to run and you
declined.

And some of those Republicans now look and go, that was his moment. Do you
worry that you can`t capture that genie and put him back in a bottle?

CHRISTIE: No, because here`s the most important thing, in 2011 and `12, I
was not ready to be president. And you don`t run just because you think
you can win.

You have to think you can win and that you`re ready to do the job, and I
wasn`t ready, Matt.

LAUER: Following Bridgegate, I saw a quieter Chris Christie, a more
reflective Chris Christie. Today, it almost seemed like a re-launch of the
blunt Chris Christie of old.

CHRISTIE: There is no question that the badgering and battering that I
took in the media and the stress of having something bad happen on your
watch. No doubt made me more reflective and I am still that reflective
person and more reflective now than I was in 2011 or 2012.

LAUER: If that old brand of Chris Christie was the combative, straight-
talking in your face guy, what is the brand today?

CHRISTIE: It is that same guy, but with more wear on the tires. Little
more wear on the tires. A little more wisdom. And, I think that is great
for anybody who is going to be president of the United States.

LAUER: Some republicans worry about your temper. Do you have the
temperament to be the President of the United States?

CHRISTIE: Absolutely. There have been very few times, Matt, in the course
of my governorship where I have lost my temper. It has happened but very
few times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: If you want to have the conversation later, I am happy to have
it, buddy. But until that time sit down and shut up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: When you look at most of these moments, Matt, it is an absolute
controlled anger -- a controlled anger. I am angry about the fact the
taxpayers were being ripped off in New Jersey.

I am angry about the fact that our urban kids cannot get a good education.
I am angry about those things. I think America wants someone who is
willing to fight for that, as long as the anger is controlled. And in with
me, it is almost all the time.

LAUER: How do you think you will stack up against those other 13
candidates?

CHRISTIE: I believe in myself and I believe in what I have to offer the
American people. And, I believe that I have always been able to connect
with real people. And, I think if I do those three things over the course
of next 18 months, I am going to be the next President of the United States
and if I do not I will not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST OF THE "LAST WORD" SHOW: You can see more
of Matt Lauer`s interview with Chris Christie including behind the scenes
access tomorrow morning on "Today."

Coming up, with every democratic presidential candidate sounding like
Elizabeth Warren, who will Senator Warren endorse?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(22:34:58) O`DONNELL: There is a huge enthusiasm gap about the next
presidential campaign. And, democrats are on the wrong side of it. 67
percent of republican voters say they are extremely interested in the 2016
presidential campaign, and only 52 percent of democrats are extremely
interested in the presidential campaign. It makes you wonder if democrats
really understand what is at stake in presidential campaigns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: A bottom line here is big victory for the
administration. This saves for the second time the Obamacare Law. It will
go forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD CHANTING

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Those Supreme Court decisions would have been impossible
without Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagen on the Supreme Court. In other
words, they would have not been impossible, Barack Obama had not won the
presidency.

Republican voters seem to understand that, which is why their candidates
are always pressed on who they would appoint to the Supreme Court in almost
every republican candidate always. As Mitt Romney did in 2012, always says
they would nominate judges like Anton Scalia.

Justice Scalia is always the most common name uttered by republican
presidential candidates as the model of who they want to send to the
Supreme Court but has Scalia finally delivered to the democrats the
ammunition they need to finally make the Supreme Court important in
presidential campaigns?

David Axelrod, when you look at what we have from Justice Scalia just in
the last week, all of those strange words and phrasings, you know,
referring to applesauce and all of that stuff. Will democrats, if it comes
to it --

Would some democratic super PAC be able to do a T.V. ad, where they are
showing you what is at stake using the language of Scalia and how he
referred to marriage equality? How he referred to the affordable care act,
using that language to get some enthusiasm for voters to go to the polls
and vote for this?

DAVID AXELROD, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I am sure some super PACs
will do that. We have seen this before. And, they should -- I mean there
is no question that you framed it the right way. We have had examples in
the last week of just how important these appointments are.

And, you have four justices, who are elderly and the high likelihood that
the next president is going to have several appointments to the Supreme
Court that could be significant in the social legal and legal history of
the country.

But, the truth is Lawrence, in my experience, these bank shots rarely work.
You know, they should, but I cannot think of an election in which the
Supreme Court has ever been determinative in the outcome of the election.

I think that, ultimately, the candidate is going to have to enthuse the
party on her own or his own, and around a series of issues that people see
as presidential leadership issues. And, I am not sure that the Supreme
Court is the one that is going to get people storming the ramparts.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: David Corn, there seems to be a fascinating difference between
democrats and republicans on this. Republicans and republican voters seem
very aware of it and they want to hear that magic word, "Scalia." That is
what they want to hear from anybody, who wants to be in the nominee, that
you will put more Scalias on the court.

CORN: Well, if Hillary, you know, is the candidate, I am sure she will be
talking about putting more RBGs, Ruth Bader Ginsburgs, on the court. And,
in some ways, the court helped the republicans this past week by resolving
issues that are probably not good for them in a general election.

That is repealing Obamacare, took that off the table and gay marriage,
which is an issue that is trending against republicans. But, I also think
at this point that the poll you point to 67 percent interested in the
republican race and 52 percent of democrats.

Well, at this point in time, the republican race is a lot more interesting.
There are 137,000 different candidates. And on the democratic side, there
is not yet a strong challenge. Bernie Sanders may get there, but it is
less interesting.

O`DONNELL: Let us take a look at the Supreme Court and the ages of these
justices. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest at 82, Scalia 79, Anthony
Kennedy 78, Stephen Breyer 76.

It certainly looks like, Kasie Hunt, as David Axelrod said that the next
president, especially if the next president serves eight years, there is a
strong possible of replacing three or as many as four of these justices. I
am not sure the court has ever been more important in an election whether
the voters realize it or not.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you mentioned Scalia as
the person conservatives always focused on. I actually think in the
primary, one of the names that is going to keep coming up is John Roberts
over that health care decision. And, I think you are already seeing it
creep it. I think you are going to see Jeb Bush --

O`DONNELL: You mean, as who is not to appoint?

HUNT: Right.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

HUNT: I think that you are going to see Jeb Bush, that was Hugh Hewitt
show this week and said that Roberts was a man of unimpeachable integrity.
He is going to get pushed on whether or not he would appoint a John Roberts
to the court.

(22:40:00) And, I think that, that is going to be one of the ways in which
this plays out between the evangelical wing of a part and the more
establishment wing. Absolutely, the court has always been at the crux of
the culture wars, right?

And, I think the question overall is what role are these culture wars going
to play in this election. Because a lot of argument over whether the gay
marriage decision is going to line up like Row V. Wade.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

HUNT: They galvanize the religious right or there is something that is
essentially going to quietly into the night as the next civil rights battle
of our time. And, I think most people, I talk to you on the republican
side, probably say they think it is the latter.

O`DONNELL: All right, let us listen to what the candidate who is running
closest to Jeb Bush and the republican polls is saying about the Supreme
Court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, AMERICAN BUSINESS MAGNATE/TELEVISION PERSONALITY: Well,
Justice Roberts is a disaster. He was put there by Bush. Jeb Bush
actually wanted him to get that position. And, Justice Roberts is the one
that gave us Obamacare.

It should be called "Roberts Obamacare,: because A year ago, if you
remember, the original he voted shockingly in favor of Obamacare. Now, he
has done it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, just in case, Kasie Hunt said it in a way that
some viewers may not have gotten the connection, there is Donald Trump --

(LAUGHING)

HUNT: I was thinking of -- Mike Huckabee.

AXELROD: Yes, he --

O`DONNELL: I mean there is Trump --

AXELROD: He does have a way of crystallizing things, does not he?

O`DONNELL: Yes. He is going to crystallize that point and try to put this
on Jeb Bush.

AXELROD: Yes. I also think, you know, among the conservative base, I
mean, the really rabbit conservative base, the bushes are already on
probation in this regard, because of David Suitor and who was thought to be
--

O`DONNELL: But the same president gave them Clarence Thomas. George H.W.
Bush gave them Clarence Thomas.

AXELROD: Right. No question about it. But -- Look, I agree with Kasie.
This will be battled around in the primaries. I also agree with David that
I think that it is early to discern really how much enthusiasm democrats
will have relative to republicans.

After all given the number of republicans who are running, it could very
well be that some of the candidates were polled in that poll. There are so
many of them on the ballot already. So, I think that republican enthusiasm
maybe up because there is a failing of candidates.

And, I think it is customary for the party out of power to feel that
enthusiasm, the possibility that they might take the white house back.
But, I have think once the race settles in, and there is a candidate and
once the Donald Trumps of the world light up the republican sky in the
primary debates, democrats may become far more motivated.

O`DONNELL: And, David Corn, enthusiasm is never the whole story. There is
a lot more to a campaign than enthusiasm.

CORN: Well, there is organization. There is message. And, at the end of
the day after the interesting excitement on the republican side, if Jeb
Bush ends up being the candidate, and we assume Hillary Clinton is the
candidate, though, you know, Bernie has a chance; but if that is what we
are left with, you have the prospect of a third Bush or the first woman
president. I think then the enthusiasm question will be a lot different.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Bernie sanders is the candidate, who is getting the
most -- biggest crowds right now. We are going to take a break. Coming
up, the endorsement that every democratic presidential candidate wants,
Senator Elizabeth Warren.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(22:46:35) O`DONNELL: If President Obama continues to stay out the
democratic presidential primary and not endorse a candidate for president,
then the most important endorsement in the democratic party will belong to
the women who many democrats wish was running.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BURON, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR: This is really a great
pleasure to have her here. 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 (EXPLETIVE WORD) champion of the American
people.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: All the democratic candidates are trying to sound like
Elizabeth Warren, but Bernie Sanders supporters believe he has earned
Elizabeth Warren`s endorsement. Elizabeth Warren told the "Boston Herald"
that it is too early to tell -- Her words, "Too early to tell" if she will
campaign for Bernie Sanders.

And, she said, "Bernie is out talking about the issues that the American
people want to hear about. These people who care about these issues and
that is who Bernie is reaching. I love what Bernie is talking about. I
think all of the presidential candidates should be out talking about the
big issues."

We are joined now by Tom Hartman. He is the host of "The Big Picture" on
R.T. Television and the host of the Tom Hartman program, a political radio
talk show. And, back with us David Axelrod, David Corn and Kasie Hunt.
Tom Hartman, do you see it as Bernie Sanders has earned the Elizabeth
Warren endorsement?

TOM HARTMAN, HOST OF "THE BIG PICTURE" ON R.T. TELEVISION: Hey, Lawrence,
it is great to see you. I think not only has he earned that endorsement,
but I think that he is actually the best guy for the job. The best person
for the job of president of the United States.

Bernie has a depth and a gravitas to him that I think most people are
unaware of. Although, I think they are catching it. You are seeing these
huge crowds, all the enthusiasm. You see he has kind of taken over the
Facebook sphere and this Twitter sphere and what not.

And, because he is speaking about things like the destruction of the middle
class, you know, that our crazy trade policies, the taxing the rich.
Basically, let us go back to what worked in the `40s, `50s, `60s, `70s, and
discard the Reaganism experiment that has guttered America over the last 35
years.

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, I am not one, who predicted that Bernie Sanders
would be getting the biggest crowds out there? Are you surprised by this?

AXELROD: No, actually, I was one who said Bernie Sanders would attract
big crowds, because he speaks to a base within the party that feels very
strongly about these issues as Tom suggests. He is a thoroughly authentic
person.

I mean nobody -- I mean Bernie Sanders clearly is speaking his mind as he
has throughout his career. And, there is something really charming and
energizing about that, whether that, as Tom suggests, would make him a good
President of the United States, I think is a different issue.

But, I also think -- you know I got an e-mail from a friend the other day
saying, "I will be for Hillary in the end, but I think I will vote for
Bernie Sanders just to annoy her. And, I think that there is a lot of that
going around. I said on another show that Bernie is a great -- he is a
great exhilarating fling because, you know, he is the date you know is
going to be leaving town soon.

(22:50:00) And, ultimately, people will go -- you know, I think Hillary
Clinton -- I believe going to be the nominee of the party. As to Elizabeth
Warren, though, the question for her is how can she best leverage her
influence in this debate? And, is it by endorsing Bernie Sanders or by
hanging loose and trying to put maximum pressure on all the candidates to
respond to her agenda?

It would be a risk on her part to endorse Bernie because in some ways, it
would be a measure of her influence and if he does not work out, you know,
I think that will be on her account. Whereas right now she does have that
leverage, and I think she is enjoying that leverage.

O`DONNELL: Tom Hartmann would you put it as a matter of political
integrity that Elizabeth Warren should endorse Bernie Sanders, that he is
the closest representation of her views in this campaign?

HARTMAN: Well, yes, I understand the political calculus that David was
talking about. I do not disagree with that, but, yes, I think so. I mean
basically they are saying the same things. They are saying it is time to
bring transparency, openness, integrity back to the political process.

And get money out of the political process, overturn citizens united, put
the middle class back together, strengthen social security. These are
solid issued. These are genuinely solid issues.

And, I think that Bernie Sanders -- and I say this -- I would not -- you
know, for a long time I did not actually think this, and now I am
absolutely convinced of it. He has the potential to be the next FDR.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, what is Elizabeth Warren going to do?

CORN: I would be shocked if she endorsed Bernie Sanders during the
primary. You know, she has --

O`DONNELL: What about Hillary Clinton? Would you be shocked if she
endorses Hillary Clinton in the primary?

CORN: I -- over Bernie, I would be shocked about that too. I think she
has shown in the last year that what she cares about most are the issues.
And, she wants candidates, whether Bernie or Hillary or anybody or O`Malley
talking about her issues.

And, the best way to get all of them doing that is by not endorsing any
single one but by putting pressure on and getting the democratic base
excited about those issues; so they then look at the candidates who want
their votes, particularly in the case of Hillary Clinton and say, "Where
are you on this point?" That is where Elizabeth Warren`s power is within
the Democratic Party.

O`DONNELL: All right. Quick break and back with more on Bernie, Hillary
and Elizabeth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Rand Paul is holding a fund-raiser tonight in Denver at the
Cannabis Business Summit. Rand Paul is now the first major presidential
candidate to publicly court donations from the marijuana industry.

Rand Paul has joined senate democrats on a bill to end the federal ban on
medical marijuana. Kasie Hunt, why could not you have gotten assigned to
that tonight, Rand Paul`s pot party in Denver?

HUNT: I am going to have to take it up with my editor.

(LAUGHING)

O`DONNELL: We take it up. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH WEARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: All of the gross and income
from Reagan forward has gone to the top 10 percent in this country.
Instead of working for all Americans, this country is working only for
those at the top. That is not the American dream. That is the American
nightmare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Back with us Tom Hartmann, David Axelrod, David Corn, and Kasie
Hunt. Kasie Hunt, a little Warren factor out there on the campaign trail,
how do you see her decision playing out here and how do you expect her to
play on the endorsement?

HUNT: I think it depends on what kind of power Elizabeth Warren wants to
have, not just in this campaign, but over the course of the next four or
even eight years. Let us assume that Hillary Clinton is the likely
democratic nominee, you know, even though she may face this challenge from
Bernie Sanders.

The Clintons have very, very long memories. And, it is one thing to be on
the sidelines talking about issues. Focusing -- I mean to a certain extent
the Clinton campaign wants people out there talking about issues. What
they do not want are attacks on her character or betrayals.

And, if Elizabeth Warren is really out there pushing her energy behind
Bernie Sanders, they are not going to forget that and that would really
change whatever relationship might evolve between a Senator Elizabeth
Warren and a President Hillary Clinton. And, that is a real long-term
proposition that I think if you are Senator Warren, you really have to
think about.

O`DONNELL: Well, Tom Hartmann, I think -- and David Axelrod can help us
with this, I think Barack Obama thought about that when he was elected
President and decided that he would rather bring Senator Clinton in to his
administration rather than leave her out there, where she might be
freelancing and able to get in to arguments here and there.

HARTMAN: Yes, I think so. And, I think that also Bernie is now burning
his bridges.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He has been burning bridges.

HARTMAN: He has been absolutely unwilling --

O`DONNELL: Yes.

HARTMAN: Yes, to get into the mud. And, I have said, many times, you
know, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee I will do everything I can to get
her elected. I think she is great. I just think Bernie is better. So,
you know, we will see where this goes.

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, what about that? I mean it seems to me no
matter what Elizabeth Warren does, Hillary Clinton if she is president is
going to need a good relationship with a star in her party like Elizabeth
Warren.

AXELROD: I think so and she has already made it clear. I mean I think she
has responded very much to Elizabeth Warren already in this campaign.
Elizabeth is an influential figure and she is speaking to an issue that is
not just a democratic issue. The viability of the middle class is going to
be the central issue of this campaign.

O`DONNELL: And, David Corn, cannot leave this subject without noting the
two big power brokers -- two big power brokers in the democratic party, two
women, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.

CORN: Yes, and you have to think that, that will be an important factor
for Elizabeth Warren, too. Seeing a woman elected president. And, I
really think Hillary will need her to campaign hard for her in the general
election. She will bring out voters in some very key areas. And, so, I
expect there to be no ruptures in that relationship between now and then.

O`DONNELL: And, Tom Hartmann, you would expect to see Bernie Sanders out
there campaigning hard for Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination?

HARTMAN: He has said on my program that he would do that. That he will
absolutely support her if she is the nominee and I believe him.

O`DONNELL: Tom Hartman, Kasie Hunt, David Axelrod, and David Corn, thank
you all for joining me tonight.

HUNT: Thanks Lawrence.

AXELROD: Thanks.

CORN: Thanks.

HARTMAN: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.

END

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