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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, August 17th, 2015

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Date: August 17, 2015
Guest: Tom Davis, Ann Gearan, Josh Barro, Zeke Miller, Kay Henderson

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC: Now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Melissa, great to see you,
thank you very much. Well, we learned this weekend how Donald Trump is
prepping for the presidency.

He does it by watching "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump arrives for jury duty --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a bit of a circus actually out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) justice will be served, you`re in good
hands now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People thought last week, that after the debate
performance Trump would go away.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you`re so silly.


TRUMP: You know, every time somebody says I made a mistake, they do the
polls and my numbers go up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is leading this recent "Fox News" poll, 25 percent -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other leading Republican campaigns, they now
believe Trump can win Iowa.

TRUMP: Does anybody want to take a ride?


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: What should we take seriously?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you have to say Mr. Trump --

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: When was the last time America was
great? Who was the worst before her then?You want to get rid of birthright

TRUMP: You have to get rid of it, yes --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should end birth citizenship --

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Yes, to me, it`s about enforcing the
laws in this country --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make it proud --

are just Trump without the pizzazz or the hair.


TRUMP: I`ve had a lot of fun, I`m leading in the polls -- my year, how are
you? A year of me, taking this, because it`s my year!


O`DONNELL: Trump, the insult candidate has called Chuck Todd a dummy, a
moron. This is a quote, "one of the dumbest voices in politics", and
recently, he said this to Bill O`Reilly.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Do you believe there`s an anti-conservative bias
at "Nbc"? You`ve worked for them a long time.

TRUMP: Absolutely, you have sleepy eyes Chuck Todd who does "MEET THE
PRESS" which is failing in the ratings.


O`DONNELL: So, what did Trump do this weekend? He did his longest
interview of the campaign season so far on "Meet the Press" with Chuck
Todd, where he told his fans who he taught to hate Chuck Todd, that he,
Donald Trump, actually gets his military advice from Chuck Todd.


TODD: Who do you talk to for military advice right now?

TRUMP: Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great --
you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have
the generals.


O`DONNELL: And when the interview was drawing to a close, there was this
deeply confusing moment for Trump supporters.


TODD: A lot more to get to, but actually, I`m going to have you back

TRUMP: It was a great honor.


O`DONNELL: It was a great honor. So Donald Trump who in January of this
year said so many people have told me that I should host "Meet the Press",
replace the moron who is now on.

That same man, yesterday tells the world and Chuck Todd that it was a great
honor to be on Chuck Todd`s show.

If you`re looking for consistency, Trump is not your candidate as 75
percent of Republicans seem to realize.

The "Fox News" poll released -- the new Fox News poll released today shows
that Trump`s debate performance had no effect on his candidacy.

But it did shift the ground underneath Trump with a 5 percent margin of
error, it shows Ben Carson at 12 percent and Ted Cruz at 10 percent, Bush
at 9 percent, Donald from 15 percent before the debate, Carly Fiorina
jumped to 5 percent and John Kasich is at 4 from 3 pre-debate.

Chuck Todd is the first person to figure out how to interview Donald Trump,
and he may be the very first interviewer to not waste a single question on
Trump`s poll numbers.

Chuck used a couple of the questions that have been suggested on this
program for Donald Trump, including a question about Trump`s campaign


TODD: Your slogan, we`re going to hear a lot today at the fair, "we`re
going to make America great again". When was --

TRUMP: That`s all good --

TODD: When was the last time America was great?

TRUMP: I would say during the administration of Ronald Reagan, you felt
proud to be an American, you felt really proud. I don`t think since then
to any great extent people were proud.

TODD: Then let me ask you this, I`m not trying to play a little got you
here. But in 1987, you took out a full-page ad, this is during the Reagan
administration and you said this to the American people.

"For decades, Japan and other nations have been taking advantage of the
United States -- on message by the way, consistent.

The world is laughing at America`s politicians as we protect ships we don`t
own, carrying oil we don`t need, destined for allies who won`t help."

Message-wise, very consistent. But this --

TRUMP: From day one, including during the --

TODD: Let`s --

TRUMP: Reagan --

TODD: Let`s -- I was just going to say --


TODD: Let`s not let our great country be laughed at any more.

TRUMP: Right --

TODD: If that`s the last time America was great again, you didn`t think
America --

TRUMP: No --

TODD: Was great then --

TRUMP: No, I thought America was excellent.


O`DONNELL: America was excellent. And there was the question about
Hillary Clinton that I`ve been urging interviewers to ask.


TODD: You`ve regularly --

TRUMP: Winning --

TODD: Called her the worst Secretary of State.

TRUMP: I think she`s --

TODD: Thought if they --

TRUMP: The worst --

TODD: If they --

TRUMP: Secretary of State in the history of our country. Look what
happened --

TODD: Mistake it will --

TRUMP: During her reign --

TODD: It begs the question, I`m a history buff, who was the worst before
her then in your mind?

TRUMP: Well, I`ll tell you who`s the worst after her, Kerry. Because --

TODD: Right --

TRUMP: Of what --

TODD: Who is --

TRUMP: I mean, look --

TODD: Who do you believe is the worst --

TRUMP: Oh, yes, I don`t want to get into names --

TODD: Oh, no, because --

TRUMP: You know, what I`m insulting -- Chuck, I`m insulting so many
people, I don`t want to insult people, I want to be nice to people --

TODD: I understand it --


O`DONNELL: And so Trump, the insult candidate suddenly wants to be nice to
people. So we left that interview without any evidence that Donald Trump
knows any of the names of any of the Secretary of State before Hillary

Joining us now, Zeke Miller, political reporter for "Time Magazine", Josh
Barro, reporter for the "New York Times" and an Msnbc contributor, Ann
Gearan, political correspondent for "The Washington Post".

Former Republican Congressman from Virginia, Tom Davis. Tom Davis, the
poll numbers are interesting with Trump.

He seems to be holding pretty solidly there at about 25 percent of
Republicans responding in these polls.

But we`ve seen Herman Cain, last time around at 30 percent, Rick Perry had
a spot last time around where he was at 38 percent.


O`DONNELL: Trump does not seem to be moving up. What do you make of that?

DAVIS: Well, I think he`s flavor du jour, you know, he`s got to remember,
this is a marathon, this is not a sprint.

Now, he`s out in front right now, he`s the new-new thing, but we`ll see how
well he wears down the road.

I think given the inconsistencies and the fact that a lot of his opponents
haven`t really opened up on him yet, he`s kind of a -- but a high

But we`ll see. I mean, you learn something every week. You think maybe
he`ll drop and you know, he`s kept that percent.

So, he`s the current frontrunner and there is -- you know, among
Republicans, a lot of angst out there.

What I would call a lot of anti-establishment feeling, and he seems to be
capturing that in a bottle right now.

O`DONNELL: Just full disclosure here, Chuck Todd and I had no
communication before the interview. And, you know, those questions were
pretty good and obvious questions to ask.

DAVIS: Yes --

O`DONNELL: He didn`t need my suggestion for them. Let`s look at some of
Chuck`s great questions that provoked answers, including Donald Trump`s
plan for defeating ISIS.


TRUMP: ISIS is taking over a lot of the oil in certain areas of Iraq. And
I say you take away their wealth, you go and knock the hell out of the oil,
take back the oil, we take over the oil which we should have done in the
first place.

TODD: It`s --

TRUMP: And --

TODD: Going to take ground troops.

TRUMP: If you -- it`s OK --

TODD: What you`re talking about --

TRUMP: Yes --

TODD: Is ground troops.

TRUMP: It`s OK --

TODD: Maybe 25,000 --

TRUMP: We`re going to circle it --

TODD: I`ll make --

TRUMP: We`re going to circle it --


O`DONNELL: Ann Gearan, one of the great things Chuck, I think realized he
had to do in the middle of the Trump answers is, because the Trump answers
can veer off wildly in any direction, Chuck actually had to grab his words
and translate them into -- so you`re going to need ground troops, to which
we get an OK.

And so there we have that announcement via Chuck Todd that Donald Trump is
all for sending in ground troops to get that oil.

now it actually is Donald Trump putting some specifics to a rather vague
statement that actually sounds pretty good, right? Yes, sure, like let`s
cut off ISIS` access to oil.

That sounds like an excellent idea. And in truth, it`s part of the theory
of what the Obama administration is trying to do right now without great

But as Chuck Todd pointed out, to actually make that happen, to ensure
that, that those forces could not -- I mean, the ISIS forces could not
actually control individual oil wells, it requires encircling those oil
wells with somebody else, with something else.

And that can`t simply be done from the air. And so you had Donald Trump
who is no dummy, actually recognizing that, yes, in truth, what he had just
said means what Chuck Todd said it said.

O`DONNELL: And we also got -- thanks to Chuck, this fascinating response
about the membership of NATO.

This is one of the strangest things in the whole interview, this quick
exchange about Ukraine joining NATO. Let`s look at this.


TODD: So you wouldn`t allow Ukraine into NATO.

TRUMP: I would not -- I would not care that much to be honest with you,
whether it goes in or doesn`t go in, I wouldn`t care.


O`DONNELL: So Josh Barro, Donald Trump would be the first president in
history who officially does not care who is a member of NATO.

JOSH BARRO, NEW YORK TIMES: This is such a strange answer. I think it
does not occur to Donald Trump that whether a country is in NATO or not
means the difference between whether or not we`re promising to go to war
with Russia if Russia invades that country.

If we let Ukraine into NATO, that means if Russia invades Ukraine, we have
a treaty obligation to go and defend Ukraine. So either he doesn`t care
whether we get in the land or in Europe with Russia.

Or he doesn`t know that that`s the implication of NATO membership. But I
thought there was something very odd about this interview broadly.

Which -- it`s a long interview, it`s like a 37 --


BARRO: Minute interview. Watching it --

O`DONNELL: By the way --

BARRO: In spite --

O`DONNELL: Not all of it was shown --

BARRO: Right --

O`DONNELL: Could fit into "Meet the Press" and some of what we`re showing
you didn`t make it on the air.

BARRO: Yes, and in spite of myself, I found myself liking Donald Trump in
this interview. No, I mean, objectively, Donald Trump is kind of obviously

This interview shows him to be ill-informed, his answers about policy are
incoherent --

O`DONNELL: We`re now learning more about you than Donald Trump --

BARRO: Well --


BARRO: No --

O`DONNELL: Be careful where you go with it --

BARRO: I actually did -- I`ve -- because I didn`t under -- it`s -- but
part of the -- part of what I think is the magic of Donald Trump and what
people have not been able to understand, you know, how can he survive the
awful things he says about Mexicans and John McCain and women and
everything else.

There is something about the way Donald Trump carries himself where people
don`t take it too seriously when he insults you.

I think he can go out and say that Chuck Todd is a dummy and his ratings
suck and then come on his show eight months later and say it`s such an
honor to be there.

And it doesn`t sound weird or disingenuous --

O`DONNELL: Right --

BARRO: Coming from Donald Trump in the way it would from anybody else. He
has a very compelling personality, you know, I`m not saying he should be
president, but I think that strength of personality helps to explain how
he`s managed to stay at the top of the polls for so many weeks.

Tom is right that this is a marathon, not a sprint, but he`s getting far
north into this, and he`s kind of winning it like a marathon.

O`DONNELL: But Zeke, he is kind of the Don Rickles of the campaign.
Everybody knew when Don Rickles was making jokes about his friends that he
didn`t think his friends were actually idiots.

When he would come on and call David Letterman an idiot, we understood he
doesn`t mean he`s an idiot.

Which would suggest that the 25 percent who are saying yes when asked about
Donald Trump in the polls -- or like Josh says, obviously, they just don`t
actually believe the words he says.

Like they don`t believe what he was saying about Chuck Todd and stuff, so
there`s no inconsistency when he appears on Chuck`s show.


And even among that 25 percent, you know, you know, you talk to them on the
road, you call them back in the surveys, and they`ll tell you that, you
know, they just like the idea of Donald Trump being where he is in this
race right now because he`s fulfilling their frustrations with the -- with
the Republican establishment.

That they just want to prolong this, cause some pain for the Republican
Party, their own party just because they`re so frustrated with it, and we
saw this on the ground in Iowa this weekend.

Trump being mobbed by 1,500 people at point, just a crush of people at
Illinois, the Iowa State Fair and they were cat-calling, hey, Trump, go
Trump, love you, Donald.

And then you talk around, you know, there`s a whole bunch of reporters
there -- would go and ask, so are you Donald Trump`s supporter? Do you like
Donald Trump? Like, no, well, this is just what you do.

O`DONNELL: You were there actually asking --

MILLER: Yes, I was down there, yes, this --


MILLER: Is what you do --

O`DONNELL: And so you`d ask them after they cheered for him --

MILLER: Exactly --

O`DONNELL: And they say?

MILLER: This is just what you do around Donald Trump.



MILLER: And it is amazing, it was amazing -- it seems like everyone is,
you know, is captivated by this, you know, by his personality, his ability
to get everybody sort of riled up about his own candidacy.

Because everyone is in on this joke, but it`s not really a joke anymore,
it`s now -- you know, it`s something of a movement, they -- sort of a
living, walking parody of our political process.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have to take a quick break here,
we`re going to come back with more of this.

We`ll also have some of the other candidates, Republican candidates who are
working in Trump`s shadow, trying to figure out a way to get back in the

And on the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton makes a joke about her e-mails,
Bernie Sanders still trying to figure out how his campaign should be
dealing with Black Lives Matter Movement.




TRUMP: Thank you.


O`DONNELL: Reporters shouted questions at Donald Trump as he arrived for
jury duty at lower Manhattan today.

Trump didn`t really answer any of the questions, much like his answer to
this question that Chuck Todd delivered on "Meet the Press".


TODD: A quick Facebook question, Michael Martinez(ph), "as residents of
the District of Columbia currently pay federal taxes but have only a none
voting delegate and house of Representatives.

No representation in the Senate, should that policy continue as should D.C.
become a state? Should it have -- not have to pay taxes? Should it be more
like treated like Puerto --

TRUMP: Well --

TODD: Rico --

TRUMP: Base, I have a --

TODD: A state --

TRUMP: Conflict of interest because I`m building the greatest -- you know,
I`m building at the old post office, I think what will be maybe one of the
great hotels --

TODD: So, I`ve heard --

TRUMP: In the world.


O`DONNELL: And so we have a great follow-up question tonight, it comes
from Nicole, New York, who tweeted: "Why does your D.C. hotel exempt you
from commenting on D.C. representation?

You aren`t shy about commenting on New York issues or any other issues in
any other state anywhere for that matter where he has all sorts of business

Keep sending us your questions for Trump. You saw Chuck Todd used a couple
of them this weekend, who knows where they`re going to be used next.

We will read your questions for Trump here, the good ones and we will be
right back.


O`DONNELL: This weekend, Donald Trump made his first appearance on "Meet
the Press" in 16 years. The last time he was on "Meet the Press", it was
to explain why he was quitting the Republican Party.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, welcome to "Meet the Press".

TRUMP: Oh, thank you very much, Ted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a registered Republican.

TRUMP: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a form that is being filed Monday, tomorrow,
with the board of elections which says what?

TRUMP: Well, it says that I am joining as of Monday the Reform Party,
which in New York is the Independence Party and I look forward to doing so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you joining the Reform Party?

TRUMP: Well, for one thing, I really believe the Republicans are just too
crazy right, I mean just what`s going on is just nuts.


O`DONNELL: Tom Davis, how many times does a guy have to quit your party
before he`s not taken seriously by Republican voters?

DAVIS: You asking me?


DAVIS: But Larry, but Winston Churchill changed parties several times --


But I think Donald Trump has been given a pass on all of this.


DAVIS: He has -- his philosophy has obviously evolved overtime and then
re-evolved again. And I think at this point, the voters that are
supporting him are more interested in just showing their anti-establishment
bona fides that he seems to show them.

And he is speaking out against them and they`re really not at the policy
stage yet. I will tell you this. You get closer to the elections, closer
to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the focus of voters becomes
much more different.

And the nuances and all this becomes more relevant. Right now it`s kind of
celebrity, real TV.

O`DONNELL: And Chuck Todd reached back to what only in Trump world remains
an unsolved mystery, and that is, where President Obama was born. Let`s
listen to that.


TODD: Do you believe President Obama is a citizen who was born in the
United States?

TRUMP: Well, I don`t like talking about it anymore.


O`DONNELL: Ann Gearan, that was it, he doesn`t like talking about it
anymore and one of the principles of Trumpism is never back down, except
every once in a while he does, he waffles and shifts a little bit.

But I think on the big pillars of ideas that he`s identified with, like the
birth certificate, his rule is, I can never show any glimpse of reality
about that.

GEARAN: Well, right, I mean, he`s excellent at changing the subject and
that`s actually what we`re starting to see happen now on the trail as he --
I mean, no one expected, I`m sure at least about him, to be the kind of
phenomenon he is this long into the race.

And now there is a lot more pressure on him to be specific. To do a 35-
minute interview with "Meet the Press", to, you know, spend a long time at
the Iowa State Fair and take questions.

Although, he -- I will note that he did not come to the "Des Moines
Register" soapbox nor did Hillary Clinton and just about every other
candidate who has gone through the fair this week has done so.

But nonetheless, he`s had great exposure over the last few days, and he`s
been pressured to get more specific. And that will only continue and it
will be harder and harder for him to change the subject.

O`DONNELL: In his "Meet the Press" interview, Donald Trump predicted
nothing less than nuclear holocaust as a result of President Obama`s Iran
deal, let`s listen to that.


TRUMP: They`re going to have nuclear weapons, they are going to take over
parts of the world that you wouldn`t believe, and I think it`s going to
lead to nuclear holocaust.


O`DONNELL: OK, so that`s very clear. Nuclear holocaust and then within
the same answer, he added this.


TRUMP: I`ve heard a lot of people say we`re going to rip up the deal.
It`s very tough to do when you say rip up the deal, because I`m a deal
person -- because I will police that deal.

You know, I would police that contract so tough that they don`t have a
chance, as bad as the contract is, I will be so tough on that contract.


O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, the guy who just said it`s going to lead to nuclear
holocaust says he will actually make that deal work.

BARRO: Well, so the remarkable thing about this answer is, this was
actually one of the substantively best answers that Trump gave in the

Now, that partly reflects the poor substance in --

O`DONNELL: Which part, the nuclear holocaust part or I will make the deal

BARRO: The part where he understands that the question of whether we
should make the Iran deal today is different from the question of what we
should do about the Iran deal 18 months from now if he`s president, given
that it`s already been made.

He goes on and says -- sort of basically say, look, you know, once you`ve
made the deal, you`ve released the money to Iran, the deal is in place, you
can`t just put toothpaste back in the tube and get the international
sanctions back together.

And he`s basically saying, look, I have to play the cards that I have, I
wouldn`t have made this deal, but given that the deal would have been made,
I`m going to have to work with them.

He talks about, you know, in his business career, he`s gotten bad deals
that people negotiated before he bought into something. And you have to
work within that deal.

Jeb Bush is the one other candidate in the Republican field who is not into
this, and that he`s been very critical of the Iran deal but hasn`t been
willing to say, rip it up on day one, because it recognizes that fact on
the ground that this deal is not just between the U.S. and Iran.

It`s the U.S. and Iran and a lot of other world powers that we can`t just
rip back with us 18 months from now because of a partisan election in the
United States.

So, I thought, you know, not all of this answer was good, I think nuclear
holocaust is a substantively incorrect thing to say as a -- as a
consequence of the Iran deal.

But I think we`ve seen this in a number of the places where Trump talked
about policy. He understands that on the ground situations actually matter
for figuring out what the correct policy choice is.

It`s not just you look into your ideology, figure out what the Republican
rule book says you should do and then do that.

He says, well, look at the facts and circumstances and do a different thing
maybe today than we would do tomorrow depending on what the circumstances

It`s actually a nice lack of absolutism. Now, maybe that`s just because
he`s incapable of absolutes and changes his mind all the time.

But I think in a way, it`s a refreshing shift from the incredible
ideological rigidity of the Republican primary.

O`DONNELL: Zeke Miller, I think in these interviews we`re always looking
for those hooks, those things that Trump was leaving out there, that the
Jeb Bush Super PAC and others will use to crush him if they have to, a
couple of months from now with TV advertising.

It seems like this seemed to be -- we had a bunch of them.

MILLER: Yes, I mean, you have a few of them, I mean, saying that he got
his foreign policy advice from -- but -- from "Meet the Press" and
certainly he`s very high on the list.

You`re not been able to manned the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
will be up there not standing by Ukraine, his answer on Planned Parenthood.

Again, make matters no -- sort of from the left of where the mainstream
Republican Party is, in fact, last week on Sean Hannity, he only seemed to
be making the case -- the Democratic case for continuing to fund Planned

Hitting Jeb Bush for saying he would cut funding for women`s health meant
little -- hinders, you know, what Jeb Bush said he misspoke.

And so, that`s a really -- you know, interesting controversies he`s giving
them all a hook to work with.

O`DONNELL: All right, we got another quick break, when we come back,
Republicans reacting to Donald Trump`s immigration plan.


O`DONNELL: Most of the presidential candidates were in Des Moines over the
weekend for the Iowa State Fair.

Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina continued campaigning there
today where the issue of the day became Donald Trump`s immigration plan
which the Trump campaign released yesterday.

The Trump plan continues to insist that Mexico would pay for an
impenetrable 2,000-mile wall along the southern border.

The Trump plan would also call for the largest police action in American
history, rounding up over 11 million undocumented immigrants and deporting

The Trump plan would do this by increasing the number of immigration and
customs enforcement officers from five thousand to fifteen thousand.

And those fifteen thousand officers would then find every one of those over
11 million undocumented immigrants in all 50 states, apprehend them and
deport them.

Fifteen thousand just as a frame of statistical reference is less than half
the size of the New York City Police Department.

The Trump plan would end the automatic grant of citizenship to all children
born in the United States, ending birth right citizenship would require a
constitutional amendment, which the Trump plan does not acknowledge.

Today in Iowa, Scott Walker, who used to favor a path to citizenship for
undocumented immigrants tried to sound as much like Donald Trump as


KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: We should end birthright citizenship?

enforcing the laws in this country. And, I have been very clear, I think
you enforce the laws, and I think it is important to send a message that we
are going to enforce the law, no matter how people come here. We need to
uphold the laws.

HUNT: And you should deport the children of undocumented immigrants or not

WALKER: I did not say that. I said we need to enforce the law, which to
me s focusing on E-Verify,


O`DONNELL: Republican Presidential Lindsey Graham said this about the
Trump plan.


backward for the Republican Party. We are having a problem with Hispanics
and women. We are digging a big hole. Not only is this plan worse than
other people have talked about. It is absolutely going to receive no
support in the senate or the house from democrats and most republicans.
Giant step backwards.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now from the Iowa State Fair is O. Kay Henderson,
News Director for Radio Iowa. Kay, you have survived that weekend out
there with all the candidates. Is immigration a top issue for caucus goers

segment of the party. You know that Congressman Steve King represents a
good chunk of Western Iowa here. This is a big issue for him. All of the
candidates on the republican side have been going to his events and trying
to catch his ear, and if you will, catch his eye.

And, so, it has been a big issue on the campaign trail. One of the really
interesting things that happened today about not only what Scott Walker
said about birthright citizenship, but what Lindsey Graham also said.

He said, once you do secure the border several years on down the road, we
can talk about that issue, but we cannot talk about it now until these
other issues, regarding the immigration reform package, that he worked on
in the senate, are addressed.

O`DONNELL: Tom Davis, strategically, for the Republican Party, is Lindsey
Graham right or wrong about this is a setback for the Republican Party to
go on the Trump direction?

TOM DAVIS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN (R-VA): Well, if you adapt the trump
direction, it is not going to help them with Hispanic voters, which are the
largest, you know, fastest growing group in the electorate. And, I think
republicans make a mistake if they try to outtrump, Trump on this issue.

Having said that, there are number of things that Trump talked about that
probably scored with the majority of voters and certainly with the vast
majority primary voters. But republicans, I think, have got to go after
that Hispanic vote in the general election.

And, I think given the tone of Donald Trump`s remarks and some of the
substance of that at this point, if you follow that, you are going to end
up reducing the percent we get. We cannot afford to do that.

O`DONNELL: So, Tom Davis, your advice to republican candidates would be
keep an eye on the general election, because Donald Trump is not going to
be in the general election. And, if you are on that ticket, you are going
to need to appeal to precisely the voters Donald Trump is alienating right

DAVIS: Well, that is right. You do not have to throw away everything
Trump has said, because some of the things he said resonate with the
majority of Americans.

O`DONNELL: Which things do you think the republican nominee could

DAVIS: Well, everybody wants that, you know, you talk about the fence.
You know, you can get through stronger border protections. Actually, the
birthright issue, when you look at the polling on that, even though it
takes a constitutional amendment does not have the overwhelming support,
but it is probably got majority support, which is why Lindsey Graham says
let us talk about this down the line.

But some of the other issues about deporting people, that is just not going
anywhere, I think, with the general electorate. And, with Hispanics, that
will drive turnout against the republicans. You need to be very careful on
that because I think they have some issues that appeal to them on other
grounds, but this is the fastest growing group in the electorate.

O`DONNELL: Kay Henderson, who are the -- outside of Trump, I think is the
way, we have to phrase this. Who are the big stars out there at the state
farm -- state fair?

HENDERSON: At the state fair?


HENDERSON: I do not think anybody could compete with Donald Trump. Bernie
Sanders even acknowledged that Trump was flying over the fairgrounds during
his own speech. One of the big stars right now actually is Carrie
Underwood, and there is a huge crowd cheering, not this conversation, but
they are cheering her in the grandstand here.

The other big stars here of course were Hillary Clinton. She had a smaller
contingent, obviously, restricted by secret service, how she could interact
with folks. I think what will be interesting to see tomorrow is how Marco
Rubio draw the crowd here.

Everywhere he goes in Iowa, although he does not do it very much, he draws
enthusiastic crowds. He has not invested any campaign time here. It will
be interesting to see what he does here to present himself to Iowa voters

O`DONNELL: Zeke Miller, Iowa, last time Rick Santorum won it. It has this
record of producing some irrelevant results, ultimately for who is going to
end up in the general election. Are they at risk of that now?

is something they are very worried about. There were discussions a couple
years ago about potentially even stripping Iowa of its First-In-The-Nation
caucus status, build New Hampshire Maximis. Iowa picks corn. New
Hampshire picks presidents. In the past couple of cycles, that has been


MILLER: So, that is really a challenge for Iowa voters. It is a challenge
for the Iowan Republican Party to show them -- to prove really that their
judgment actually matters. That it is sound, that it is in line, that it
is a proper barometer for the rest of the party.

What it certainly does, it does not pick a president, it does pick the
conservative alternative to the establishment candidate, whether that
person will win the nomination or not. So, that is how you elevated Rick
Santorum to run against Mitt Romney, that both finished -- Rick Santorum
won the night of the caucuses in 2012.

He certainly would have edged out the Newt Gingrich rise in South Carolina.
So, that certainly a big point. It narrows down the field. This time
around, it will narrow down the fields of the Bobby Jindals, Mike
Huckabees, the Ted Cruzes, the Rick Santorums, Ben Carsons. One, maybe two
of them will have a pathway out. And, that will help narrow down the field
from 17 right now.

O`DONNELL: And, Anne Gearan, in the past, everyone wants to be a
republican candidate who would say, "I am not even going to try to compete
in Iowa in effect, because they are just too right wing out there." And,
that candidate would always try to be make it up in New Hampshire. But,
they are all jumping in Iowa this year.

mean I think everybody learned some lesson from Hillary Clinton last time,
right? I mean Iowa is a forcing event on both sides, maybe more so even
for the republicans.

But, certainly her strategy of -- I mean she did not skip Iowa, it is
called the skip Iowa strategy, but she did not skip Iowa. She just sort of
went lighter on Iowa, than in hindsight she needed to. And, she is going
heavy in Iowa this time, and so are all the republicans.

O`DONNELL: Kay Henderson and Tom Davis, thanks for joining us tonight.

DAVIS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Up next. Civil rights leader, Julian Bond on "Meet The Press"
in 1966.



O`DONNELL: President Obama issued this statement in reaction to the death
of Julian Bond this weekend. "Julian bond was a hero, and I am privileged
to say a friend. Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his
life from his leadership of the student non-violent coordinating committee
to his founding roll with the southern poverty law center to his pioneering
service in the Georgia legislature and the steady hand at the helm of the

Michelle and I have benefitted from his example, his counsel and his
friendship, and we offer our prayers and sympathies to his wife, Pamela,
and his children. Julian Bond, helped changed this country for the better.
And, what better way to be remembered than that. Here is Julian Bond on
"Meet The Press" in 1966, when he was 26 years old.


else do you equate civil rights with the Vietnam? A lot of the other civil
rights groups, for instance, the head of the Atlanta chapter of NAACP says,
you should not equate the two.

JULIAN BOND, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Well I equate it, and I think the
opposition to the war in Vietnam in this country, among a great many
people, is moral opposition. That it is not political opposition. It is
opposition of people who feel that war is wrong.

It is opposition of people who feel that, that particular war is wrong on a
moral ground. And, I think that is the same sort of opposition that the
civil rights movement has been engaged in against segregation. It has been
moral opposition to segregation as well as political and physical
opposition to segregation.


O`DONNELL: Julian Bond was 75 years old.


O`DONNELL: An informal straw poll at the Iowa State Fair shows Bernie
Sanders with a small lead over Hillary Clinton. The poll organized by the
Iowa Secretary of State, Paul Pate, shows Bernie Sanders at 48 percent.
Hillary Clinton at 47 percent. Martin O`Malley down to 4. Lincoln Chafee
and Jim Webb at 1.

On the republican side, that same poll shows Donald Trump at 29. Ben
Carson at 20. Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina at 7. Marco Rubio and Scott
Walker at 6 percent. Jeb Bush at 5. Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Rand
Paul at 4 percent, and John Kasich all the way down to 2.

And, in the international poll, released yesterday by Fox News, shows
Hillary Clinton at 49 percent. Bernie Sandes at 30 percent. Joe Biden at
10 percent. Jim Webb and Martin O`Malley at 1 percent.

In the two weeks since the last Fox News Poll was conducted, Bernie Sanders
has jumped 8 percentage points. Back with us, Zeke Miller, Josh Barro and
Anne Gearan. Ann, this straw poll was in Iow, I am informed by Zeke Nur,
who was there was a terribly informal poll.

You could whack up and respond to that poll as often as you wanted to.
And, so, we are going to struggle to apply any kind of scientific
credibility to it. But, in spirit, it is not that different from the Iowa

GEARAN: Yes. I mean it is also sort of, you know, I think it is a bit of
fun for people who are at the fair to feel like they have something in the
moment to participate in. I would not set a great deal of store by it.
The Fox News Poll out yesterday, though, you know, had some pretty
interesting numbers, certainly on the democratic side.

It shows, you know, Sanders still running strong and Biden, who has not
obviously said that he, that he is running yet, you know, marking in double
digits. And, some pretty significant numbers on the republican side as
well, Jeb Bush following to single digits, primarily.

O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what Bernie Sanders said on "Meet The Press"
yesterday about the Black Lives Matter.


CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Buzzfeed has an article out this
morning. Headline is this, "Sanders campaign reaches out to Black Lives
Matter Activists. Quote, I apologize it took our campaign so long." Tell
me more about it.

staffer, not by me.

TODD: I understand that, but you said a staffer put it out. You felt an
apology was necessary?

SANDERS: No. I do not. I think we are going to be working with all
groups. This was sent out without my knowledge.


O`DONNELL: Zeke Miller, how is Bernie Sanders handling this?

MILLER: That quote was, certainly, not the quote he wanted to -- he wanted
out there that he wanted to be replayed on the show right now. He has for
the past month or so now been struggling how to show the Black Lives Matter
Movement that he understands their issues, that he is responding to them,
and he has done fairly well with that on the stump.

You know, over the weekend in Iowa -- In Dubuque, he had this town hall
where he spoke very passionately about the issues, in a sort of tying in
his own personal story. And, that was the type of thing that he needs to
get out there. At the same time, here, not refusing to or being unable to
admit that maybe he was a little late to this.

Even if he personally feels that he was not too late to it, just
acknowledging what the Black Lives Matter Movement wants to hear, is that
they feel that the politicians have generally been slow to address the
issues of concern to them.

That they have been deaf to their issues over the years. And, even if you
do not believe it fully, just do not go out and give them a sound bite that
they can turn around and then only re-enforces the problem, makes --

O`DONNELL: Well, I think there is a softer way of saying similar things to
what Bernie is saying. And, Josh, he has just got one of those tones that
sounds gruff to people. And -- and, but, what that campaign has to
recognize, and they do, obviously, is that one of the big buffers between
them -- the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign in those polls is the
African-American vote.

deeply believes that economic and equality and the consolidation of power
among the wealthy that is getting wealthier and wealthier is the key issue
of our time. And, if that is the ball game and everything else is sort of
secondary to it.

O`DONNELL: And, he believes that is a crucially important issue for the
future of African-Americans.

BARROW: Right, but so I think there are a lot of voters who do not see
that as the most important issue when they go in and vote. And, they may
agree with Bernie Sanders substantively on both what should be done about
economic matters and about what should be done on issues of sight civil

I mean it is not that they are finding that Bernie Sanders is failing to
check issue boxes, taking the wrong positions on things. But, he is not
good at talking to people and basically convincing them that he cares
deeply about the issues. They care deeply about and understands its
importance to them.

Whereas Hillary Clinton, people talk about Hillary Clinton being scripted,
being poll tested. That is another way of saying that Hillary Clinton is
good at figuring out what people want to hear her say and then sing. And,
that is an advantage in elections.

And, I think she is much better at that than Bernie Sanders is, and I think
that is something that is going to be an advantage to her over time. I
think these polls reflect a certain dissatisfaction with the Clinton

I think they reflect a desire to have a more left wing or at least
stylistically left wing campaign in the democratic party. But, I think
ultimately, Hillary is just better with the blocking and tackling of
campaigns and just still be overwhelming favor to win.

O`DONNELL: And, Anne Gearan, is not it also just simply a reflection that
Hillary Clinton has a lot more experience talking to audiences nationally,
talking to audiences outside of Vermont?

GEARAN: Yes. Sure. I mean, Hillary Clinton has handled the Black Lives
Matter Phenomenon not perfectly by any measure, but certainly better, point
by point, than Sanders seems to have. I mean, she has not hit any big, you
know, wrong notes publicly. I mean, there is a -- this is a tough one.

I mean, a national candidate wants to talk about civil rights issues
generally, and certainly the tragedy in South Carolina put a lot of that at
the forefront. And, yet the, what the Black Lives Matter Movement
represents is something rather different. And that makes, it makes it

I mean that is not a traditional civil rights movement. It was not sort of
-- it was not something that Hillary Clinton or anybody else, you know, had
as sort of a poll tested and organized strategy ahead of time. It has come
at them side long. And, I mean so far, I think she has done OK in figuring
out how to calibrate her response.

O`DONNELL: All right, another quick break. We are going to be back with
some very good news and with more on the democratic campaign for president.



O`DONNELL: And now, for the good news. Tracy Morgan will return to this
building to host "Saturday Night Live on October 17th. In June, Tracy
Morgan appeared on the "Today" show in his first interview since the
accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, in which he was severely injured.
And, then he said he could not wait to make his fans laugh again. Today,
he tweeted, stoked to be going home, #SNL.

Up next, more on Hillary versus Bernie.



HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have said in the past that, you
know, I used a single account for convenience. Obviously, these years
later, it does not look so convenient. I never sent classified material on
my e-mail, and I never received any that was marked classified. So, I am
going to let whatever this inquiry is go forward. And, we will, you know,
await the outcome of it.


CLINTON: That was Hillary Clinton in Iowa on Saturday. Today, in a court
filing from the state department, it was revealed that the Intelligence
Community Reviewers looking at Hillary Clinton`s private server have
flagged 305 e-mails for review.

It has not yet been determined if any of those messages contained
classified information. Hillary Clinton has maintained that there were no
classified markings on any of her E-mails. Anne Gearan, where does this
story go from here?

GEARAN: That is the question that democrats are asking and supporters of
Hillary Clinton are slightly worried about, because nobody really knows. I
mean once you get -- there are a couple of different inquiries here. The
305 e-mail that you referred to is part of a FOIA request and that is
separate from a potentially criminal operation that the investigation that
the FBI is leading into whether any classified material was mishandled.

She is not the target of it. But anybody who has been through any kind of
political scandal machinery once or twice or many times knows that these
things can go in unpredictable ways. And, so, that is actually what is
most worrisome here is something hanging over her campaign going on into
2016 is nobody really knows where any of these things might lead.

O`DONNELL: Josh Barrow, Tim Harkin, former Iowa Senator endorsed Hillary
Clinton, said it is too late -- said the other day, it is too late for Joe
Biden or anybody else to get in, this race has already locked. And, he is
pretty confident that none of this stuff is going to take her out of that
number one position.

BARRO: We are nearing like 40 years of Clinton scandals, going all the way
back to 1978 and the cattle futures. The Clintons have been embroiled in
scandal longer than I have been alive. And, at this point it is background
noise. Everybody is formulated on opinion about whether they think the
Clintons are above border or whether they care about whether the Clinton s
are above border or not.

And, I cannot imagine this breaking through in a way that the previous 25
or 35 scandals did, unless she were to be indicted, which I do not think is
going to happen and I have no reason to believe will happen. I do not
think the campaign has any reason to believe it would happen.

So, I think, you know -- certainly, I think Hillary`s perspective is, if it
were not this, it would be something else. And, they think the media
Trumps all of this up because it is good television and certainly
republicans trump it up because they think that it can undermine the

And, there is an element of that. Although, there is always an element of,
"Why did you do this thing?" "Why did you have a private e-mail server?"
It starts from some little thing, and then the question is, is it big
enough that people care. And, my guess is that this is something that is
not big enough that people care.

O`DONNELL: And Zeke, no democratic candidate -- well, certainly, Bernie
Sanders is not mentioning any of this.

MILLER: None of them, Martin O`Malley does not bring it up. To disagree a
little bit with Josh, the difference here is unlike the cattle futures.
Everyone has an email account. Now, everyone has a cell phone. Everyone
understands how this things worked in a way --

O`DONNELL: I still do not know what a cattle future is.

MILLER: Yes, in a way that is the most simplest --

BARRO: Nobody knows where their e-mails are, but people can totally relate
to the idea of not knowing how to work your blackberry, and even though
like the "I wanted one account" thing is not a great explanation. I think
it is one that people find relatable. People do not like dealing with
their technology. People would not know what to do about a server full of
e-mail in their basement.

O`DONNELL: All right, we are going to have to leave it there for tonight.
Zeke Miller, Josh Barro and Anne Gearan, thank you all very much for
joining me tonight. I really appreciate it.

BARRO: Thanks.

MILLER: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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