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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, August 20th, 2015

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Date: August 20, 2015
Guest: Rick Tyler, David Frum, Walter Shapiro, April Ryan, Joy Reid,
Eugene Robinson, Steve Schale

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

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Are you beginning to wonder why
you have never seen Trump, the insult candidate in the same room with
Triumph, the insult dog?


TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: Our country is going down. We have to get
back our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rise of Trump would suggest that the party is
looking for, at least right now, people who are more emotion driven.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump is featured on the cover of this week`s "Time
Magazine" with the words "deal with it".

TRUMP: We are run by people that either are not smart, perhaps they`re

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems that Donald Trump has sort of moved the party
to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the Republicans struggling to figure out what
to do next.

TRUMP: One of the great honors is that everybody that attacks me seems to
go down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They kind of have a whiplash going from -- oh, he`s a
flash in a pan, he`s not a serious candidate to -- he`s a threat.

TRUMP: I don`t think I`m mean-spirited, we have to get back our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is who he was on TV, on "Nbc", on "The Apprentice"
and he called the rest of the politicians phony.

TRUMP: Mitt Romney let us down, he should have won that election, he
failed. He choked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Schieffer, he`s now telling the --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crowds to turn off their cellphones because they might
interfere with Mitt Romney`s circuitry.

TRUMP: Mitt Romney should have won that election. I said why aren`t you
doing more television? Why -- Obama is on every show -- where are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, everyone, excuse me, just trying to ruin the
shot, it took me a second.


TRUMP: I`m on "Fox News!".



O`DONNELL: Trump, the insult candidate never insults one candidate. There
is just one candidate who has escaped Donald Trump`s triumph-like machine
gun of insults.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald
Trump. I think he`s terrific, I think he`s brash, I think he speaks the


O`DONNELL: That`s what Ted Cruz says every time Trump, the insult
candidate insults his way into trouble.


TRUMP: But Frank, let me --


TRUMP: Get to it. He hit me --

LUNTZ: He`s a war hero --

TRUMP: He`s not a war hero.

LUNTZ: He`s a war hero.

TRUMP: He is a war hero --

LUNTZ: Five and a half years in a --


TRUMP: He`s a war hero because --

LUNTZ: Yes --

TRUMP: He was captured. I like people that weren`t captured, OK? I hate
to tell you.

She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions and


TRUMP: You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,
blood coming out of her -- wherever.


O`DONNELL: Between Trump`s insults to John McCain a month ago and his
insults to Megyn Kelly a couple of weeks ago, every Republican candidate
has found something to criticize in what Donald Trump has said except Ted

"Bloomberg`s" Al Hunt writes, "Ted Cruz is a man with a plan." And
according to Al Hunt`s article, the plan is to pick up Trump supporters
when the Trump novelty wears off.

In "The Daily Beast", Tim Mak reports a Trump insider saying, "Cruz is
playing the long game and hopes that if he survives and Trump doesn`t, the
billionaire will swing to him.

He`s the second choice for a lot of Trump voters." That`s a source
familiar with the inner workings of the Trump campaign.

This is the poll that the Cruz campaign is staring at as their route to
victory when Ben Carson inevitably drops out and Mike Huckabee inevitably
drops out and when Donald Trump finally drops out.

Ted Cruz believes those voters will come to him, giving him 53 percent of
the Republican primary vote. But why would Donald Trump, the frontrunner
ever drop out?

The reason is, every serious analysis of the polls shows that Trump is a
weak frontrunner as is common for Republicans at this stage of the

As Philip Klein points out in the "Washington Examiner" piece headline,
"Donald Trump has already peaked".

"On August 20th, 2007, Rudy Giuliani led the Republican pack with 28.2
percent of the national vote and a surging Fred Thompson was closing in
with 17 percent.

When the dust settled, Giuliani didn`t claim a single delegate and Thompson
dropped out of the race even before Giuliani did." Klein points out that
75 percent of Republican voters consistently refuse to support Trump.

And in this week`s "Cnn" poll, "respondents had an overwhelmingly
unfavorable view of him, 59 percent to 36 percent in contrast to 37 percent
never heard of Scott Walker, meaning he has room to grow whereas Trump does

When Republican voters were asked whether they had a better or worse chance
of winning the presidency with Trump as the nominee, 58 percent said the
party would have a better chance with someone else.

The bottom line, Trump has nowhere to go but down. Joining us now to
consider the question, has Trump peaked and is Al Hunt correct that Ted
Cruz is the most underrated candidate in the field?

Are Rick Tyler, national spokesman for Republican presidential candidate
Ted Cruz, Joy Reid, Msnbc national correspondent, Eugene Robinson, opinion
writer for "The Washington Post" and an Msnbc political analyst.

And April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for
"American Urban Radio".

Rick Tyler, I`ve spent the last hour still trying to figure out how to come
up with a trick question that gets you to say something critical of Donald

And I`m giving up right off the bat. But to Al Hunt`s point about what is
the long range plan of the Cruz campaign? The consolidation of those other
voting groups in that poll when the other candidates drop out.

Is that what the 50 million Super PAC is there to support? Holding Ted Cruz
in there long enough for the drop out of other candidates to consolidate to

Lawrence, I was fascinated with your analysis and that was pretty good.
I`m pretty impressed, I don`t know how much to add to that.

But I will say, Cruz is in it for the long haul. We are funded -- through
March 1st, we are organized through March 1st, a lot of the other
candidates are.

We`ve raised the most hard dollars, even more hard dollars than Jeb Bush.
And so -- and we just came off a seven-day, seven-state, 20-stop bus tour
through the SEC, through the south, this so-called SEC primary and we are
organizing those states for March 1st.

I`m here in Iowa because we`re paying attention to Iowa, we`ll be in New
Hampshire this month, we`ll be in South Carolina this month, so we`re
paying attention to early states, but we are built for the long haul.

And I would say that our strategy with Trump is really not unique to Trump.
Although he has most of the voters that we will like to come over to Ted
Cruz as you stated.

But I would like Mike Huckabee voters to come over to Ted Cruz, I`d like
Rand Paul voters to come over to Ted Cruz, I`d like Ben Carson`s voters to
come over to Ted Cruz.

And I think a lot of those candidates, what we look at, is a lot of those
candidates, should they drop out -- and I`m not making predictions whether
they will or they won`t, but I think Ted Cruz would be a good second choice
for a lot of those candidates.

If we can consolidate the broad spectrum conservative, we`ll wait it out to
see who`s going to win the establishment bracket. Remember, the
establishment bracket is rather crowded this time.

It usually is all by itself and funded. George -- sorry, Jeb Bush is now
almost relegated to second tier and he`s competing with Chris Christie and
John Kasich and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio.

So, we`ll see who comes out of that. Our task now is to consolidate the
conservative vote, we hope to do that and will match up with the -- with
the establishment candidate.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, when I read Al Hunt`s analysis of where the Cruz
campaign is and what their strategy is, and he has that quick line in there
that he`s the most underrated candidate in the field.

I realized, I think he is now and I think I`ve been doing the underrating,
the Al Hunt`s scenario which is in effect confirmed by Rick Tyler now is a
very compelling one.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, with the caveat
that I do not see Ted Cruz as the both underrated candidate, only in the
sense that I don`t think that he to my mind has a clear shot to the path of
the nomination either.

I do think that the insider-outsider game that Rick Tyler is talking about,
that is the game, right? So, you have the establishment candidate, the
Romneys of the world, right?

And then you have the people like Rick Santorum, and Rick Santorum played
the game almost to a win. If you can be the last person standing among the
authentic base candidate, and go head-to-head with the establishment
candidate, that`s a decent place to be to try to get the nomination.

And to Rick`s point you have a pretty crowded establishment field whereas
Jeb Bush thought that he could throw lots of money at it and consolidate
that early.

You still have other establishment types hanging around. A lot of them
probably won`t last very much longer, and I can see the Chris Christie
voters, the Rick Perry voters going basically in Jeb`s direction.

So, it`s not a bad idea to try to be there when and if the Trump phenomenon

O`DONNELL: And Gene, we`re seeing more than one analysis in print, and
that was where -- as you stare at these polls and Trump keeps hitting 25,
25, 25.

That that`s probably a ceiling, a lot of people looking at that. Stuart
Stevens who ran Mitt Romney`s campaign is going beyond that in an article
in "Daily Beast" today, saying that he believes Trump will drop out before
any votes are cast.

Stuart Stevens wrote, "Donald Trump believes losing makes you a loser and
he will do anything to avoid that label.

He will exit when polls still show he can win and forever he will be able
to argue that he could have won and in doing so, he will have won by Trump

let`s not get carried away, right, because remember, the track record of
sort of Republican professionals in predicting this primary campaign is
exactly zero.

They`re betting zero at this point. Nobody saw Trump coming, nobody saw
Trump getting to where he is. So now, everybody is saying, well, this is
his ceiling because of this high negatives.

I am not convinced because I`m not sure past this prologue here, I am not
convinced that this is his ceiling, he does have a ceiling because he has
very high negatives.

But you know, just this past weekend, I e-mailed Rick Tyler and said, I
like where your guy is. Because I think there are essentially two
Republican primaries.

There is the establishment primary, there`s the outsider primary. The
outsider primary is really outside of this time, more than it usually is.

And if, you know, Trump hits the ceiling and Carson drops out and Fiorina
doesn`t make it and you know, who`s over there with credibility to be the
outsider candidate?

I think Cruz is in a good position.

O`DONNELL: All right, let`s listen to what Ted Cruz said yesterday to
Michael Medved about birthright citizenship.


MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO HOST: Would you support a change in the 14th
amendment if necessary to achieve that?

CRUZ: Absolutely. We should end granting automatic birthright citizenship
to the children of those who are here illegally. Look, I would note that
has been my position from my very first days running for the Senate.

I was advocating for this back in 2011. And so I welcome Donald Trump
articulating this view, it`s a view I have long held.


O`DONNELL: And we just happen to have what he was advocating in 2011 ready
to go and it was of course exactly the opposite of what he just said.


It was -- let`s listen to Ted Cruz in 2011 on birthright citizenship.


CRUZ: The 14th amendment provides for birthright citizenship. I`ve looked
at the legal arguments against it and I will tell you as a Supreme Court
litigator, those arguments are not very good.

As much as someone may dislike the policy of birthright citizenship, it`s
in the U.S. constitution. I think it`s a mistake for conservatives to be
focusing on trying to fight what the constitution says on birthright


O`DONNELL: April Ryan, such are the contortions that some candidates are
willing to go through to get into the Trump camp.

URBAN RADIO: Well, you know, Lawrence, you hit it squarely on the head.
This is showing how much Donald Trump is a factor.

Whether you like it or not and what "Time" is saying, deal with it. For
Ted Cruz who seems to be trying to play this traditional run for the Oval

You know, being underrated, I could consider that being the underdog, you
know, that traditional term, the underdog where you get sympathy and he`s
also staying above the fray, not attacking Trump and trying to be
presidential in this.

But he has changed his decision on this -- the constitutionality of
birthrights. And it`s just showing how much Donald Trump is a factor.

And I don`t believe Donald Trump is going to throw the towel in anytime
soon. Because what I`m hearing from his camp, they`re looking at the long
game and they`re watching everyone, particularly the smaller percentile
candidates, watch them fall along the wayside.

So, once they don`t have money or enough money to go up against his money,
he`s spending like $6 to $7 to their $1. So, if they`re watching this,
they are strategically trying to make moves and it`s working it looks like.

O`DONNELL: Rick Tyler, do you have any kind of straight-faced explanation
as to why your candidate Ted Cruz in 2011 --

TYLER: Actually --

O`DONNELL: A Supreme Court --

TYLER: Actually --

O`DONNELL: Litigator --

TYLER: Actually, I do --

O`DONNELL: A former Supreme Court clerk --

TYLER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Would say --

TYLER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: He thinks it`s a --

TYLER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Mistake for conservatives --

TYLER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: To be focusing on trying to change that and now he`s saying,
oh, yes, sure, let`s just change the constitution.

TYLER: Well, it`s just what you said. It`s a matter -- it`s a matter of
focus. First of all, we produced today a survey in 2011 on whether he
supported birthright citizenship or not.

And from 2011, he said he did not. What you didn`t hear the question in
the YouTube, and anybody can go and look up that YouTube and listen to it
very carefully.

And what he is saying is, in terms of border security and immigration,
should we -- should we be focusing on today securing the border or some
constitutional amendment that will take years, decades, one took a 100

And so what`s the most effective thing to do? Birthright citizenship is a
problem, Ted Cruz has consistently been against it, but how are we going to
focus our energies on illegal immigration?

And his answer to that was focus on border security. Now, he also said
that he -- the arguments that he saw for legislation to effectively make
the 14th amendment loophole problem moot were weak.

Now, there could be other arguments. So, it`s not a static -- it`s not a
static equation. If there are -- if there are good arguments about
legislation to make the 14th amendment loophole weak.

That is, people will come here, give birth and those children are American
citizens, then let`s hear them.

His only point was, if you`re going to deal with the illegal immigration,
why would you focus all your energy on a constitutional amendment that
takes two-thirds of the house and Senate three-quarters of the state.

And it`s a years-long process, when we have to deal with this problem now.
That -- and so, these two -- what you just heard and both those things are
entirely consistent.

You just --

RYAN: Let them mark that --

TYLER: Turned two different arguments, but they`re entirely consistent.

O`DONNELL: All right --

RYAN: Let them mark --

O`DONNELL: Well, we`re going to let everyone rewind their DVRs to decide
how consistent they are.

TYLER: Please do --

O`DONNELL: Rick Tyler, Ted Cruz is lucky to have you, we`re lucky to have
you here tonight, thank you very much for joining us tonight, Rick --

TYLER: Thank you, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thank you --

TYLER: Appreciate being on.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, now it`s Republican versus Republican on birthright
citizenship, and later how presidential politics has evolved from the
humility and dignity of Jimmy Carter to the relentless vulgarity of Donald


O`DONNELL: Thousand people have signed a petition calling for
Jon Stewart to be chosen as a moderator for one of the 2016 presidential

The petition says that John Stewart is qualified because he has interviewed
heads of states, foreign dignitaries and members of Congress as the host of
"The Daily Show".

Up next, Jeb Bush calls them anchor babies, Hillary Clinton calls them



JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: If people are here illegally, they have
a legal -- they have a visa and they have a child who`s born here, I think
that they ought to be American citizens.

People like Marco Rubio, by the way, that`s how he came. You know, so to
suggest that we --


BUSH: Make it impossible for a talented person like that not to -- not to
be a candidate for president.


O`DONNELL: And with that Jeb Bush forced the issue of birthright
citizenship into Marco Rubio`s campaign today. Marco Rubio was born in
Miami in 1971, his parents did not become American citizens until 1975.

Today, "Cnbc`s" John Howard asked Rubio about being a beneficiary of
birthright citizenship.


JOHN HOWARD, CNBC: Isn`t birthright citizenship without which you would
not be a citizen or you would not have been at the time you were born.

Is not that one of the foundations of what American exceptionalism is?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, let me correct the -- my parents were
legal residents of the United States. They were --


HOWARD: They were not citizens --

RUBIO: No, but no one -- none of the candidates running are talking --
they`re talking about people that are illegally in this country, not having
access to citizenship.

Not people that are legally here like my --

HOWARD: Right --

RUBIO: Parents --

HOWARD: Be that as it may --

RUBIO: But let`s put that aside for a moment --

HOWARD: Is that birthright citizenship one of the things that makes
America exceptional?

RUBIO: Yes -- yes, and that`s why I`m not in favor of repealing the 14th


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is David Frum, naturalized citizen and senior
editor for "The Atlantic". David, your perspective as both a naturalized
citizen and a Republican on this argument?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Why has this issue suddenly
become so explosive? And it seems to me, it has a lot to do with the midway
President Obama`s deferred action program has taken effect.

The President has deferred action, he`s very large numbers of people who
are not in the United States with authorization. And among the categories
trying to benefit are people who are parents of children who are born on
U.S. soil.

The parents themselves in the country illegally and that raises the
question that by having this element in U.S. law, and of course, Ted Cruz
vintage 2011 was correct, you`re not taking it away, it`s not going

But it makes -- it makes possible big new categories of illegal
immigration. And that`s been true only in the past couple of years and
it`s one of the reasons Republicans are so revved up about this issue.

O`DONNELL: But Joy, this phenomenon has always -- has always been
available. And the term anchor baby that they`re throwing around has been
with us for many years.

There is nothing new about this -- the dimensions of this in the Obama

REID: Yes, and not -- and there`s nothing new about it, even within the
Republican Party. Chris Christie has advocated altering the birthright
citizenship clause in the 14th amendment in the past.

John Kasich, when he was in Congress was an advocate of this, Rick Santorum
has been on this bandwagon. It`s not as if even some of the people running
for president haven`t stumped on this before.

And if it`s not because President Obama did ducker, it is because President
Obama, period. Because he exist with the birther sort of movement that
started because President Obama exists.

You did have this revving up of this nativism and this idea that we have to
start checking for every candidate that might want to run for president
whether or not they`re a natural born citizen.

Which by the way, Canadian-born Ted Cruz had to get to the side of when he
was first contemplating a run.

So, I think the thing disproves is not that birthright citizenship is some
new phenomenon that conservatives are catching on to.

It proves that Donald Trump understands the base of the -- of his adopted
party more than the other Republicans running, who have been lifelong

He took an issue they run on -- they`ve talked about before for years and
he is the one who lit a fire under it because he`s on a roll, he`s on a
tear with anti-immigrant rhetoric.

He`s just on a roll.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Jeb Bush in New Hampshire today with reporters
asking him about the use of this term anchor baby.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the term anchor baby is offensive?

BUSH: No, if there is another term that I -- come up with, I`m happy to
hear it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you regret using the term anchor babies yesterday on
the radio?

BUSH: No, I didn`t.


No, I don`t regret it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t regret it?

BUSH: No, do you have a better term?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I`m asking you --



You give me a better term and I`ll use it, OK?


BUSH: Tell me your (INAUDIBLE) among though you though --




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re angry with anchor baby, is that not bombastic?

BUSH: No, it isn`t, give me another line, give me another word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to have another question --


BUSH: That`s like a seven -- that`s not another word, that`s a seven --


BUSH: What? --


BUSH: Here`s the deal. What I said was it`s commonly referred to that,
that`s what I said, I didn`t use it as it is my own language. What we
ought to do is protect the 14th.

You want to get to the policy for a second? I think that people born in
this country ought to be American citizens, OK, now we got that over with.


O`DONNELL: April Ryan, yesterday, after Jeb Bush started talking about
this term anchor baby, Hillary Clinton tweeted, "they`re called babies."

And then today when we kept asking for a better term to use, Hillary
Clinton tweeted, "how about babies, children or American citizens."

RYAN: How about that? I mean, when you start using terms, derogatory terms
for anyone, babies, older people, middle-aged people, you start using terms
for other people as well.

I mean, when did we start losing our political correctness? I mean, just
because Donald Trump is here, you know, and he doesn`t like being
politically correct or PC, it doesn`t mean it`s right.

And when you start going down that road, you get into a very slippery
slope. What we have to remember, too, we -- when you talk about babies
born here in America who are from illegal parents coming across the border
or from wherever, it`s not just Mexico.

We have people here from other countries that have babies here, China,
Africa -- I mean so many other places and we just continue to think that
it`s just about Mexicans coming across the border.

We have an immigration problem that`s not just about Mexico, it`s about --
it`s a global issue and a lot of people are coming here.

And now I find it interesting still though, that, you know, the Republican
Party likes to talk about the constitution, standing up with the
constitution for the constitution and now they`re ready to change it.

And they want to use a derogatory term to make the point. So, I just find
it all very interesting.

O`DONNELL: Let`s hear more of what Marco Rubio said to John Howard in that
discussion where John Howard brought up that autopsy that the Republican
Party did -- where they were going to change their tone about this.


HOWARD: After the last presidential election, your party did an autopsy
and said, number one priority is to repair the breach with Latino voters.

As you sit here in a campaign that`s got a decent shot to win, aren`t you
thinking that right now the Republican Party is dropping a giant homemade
bomb on itself and its chances in 2016?

RUBIO: But these are not -- it`s not the Republican Party. These are
individual candidates who are responsible for their own rhetoric no matter

HOWARD: But that`s the face --

RUBIO: What they say --

HOWARD: Of the Republican --

RUBIO: Well --

HOWARD: Party to the country right now --

RUBIO: Well, the face of the Republican Party is going to be our nominee.


O`DONNELL: David Frum, do you agree with Marco Rubio on that?

FRUM: The face of the Republican Party certainly will be the nominee. But
I don`t agree with him about this autopsy. It seems to me that after 2012,
the Republican Party at least tried to do exactly the wrong thing.

The party made the decision, we are going to go full steam ahead with our
Paul Ryan economic program, that is not very beneficial to middle-class

We`re going to make our left turn, our rethink, our turn to the center on
the issue of immigration. And that got a lot of a claim in media circles
because immigration going to have -- if there is one issue on which
American media types do tend to be unanimous, that`s the issue above all

But meanwhile, the correct answer was to have done the opposite. The
correct answer was to have moderated the party`s economic program to make
it more inclusionary.

And also to understand that immigration speaks to the economic anxieties of
middle-class Americans who -- there`s now a recovery. The economy is
growing, employment is rising, wages are not.

And immigration and past immigration policies are an important factor
weighing down the wages of ordinary Americans. The autopsy was completely
inside out.

O`DONNELL: David, if that had been done, if that was the Republican
strategy, what would you have suggested to them by way of economic policy
compromise with the Democrats moving in that direction?

FRUM: Well, I take a lot of kick into the head, but this I say the same
thing over and over again. The Republican Party has to recognize that
universal healthcare coverage is here to stay.

You don`t have to like Obamacare, you don`t have to like every detail of
the ACA, but that`s the law. And it`s -- millions of people receiving
coverage under that law right now.

And unless you have something terrific and some detail to propose -- to use
Donald Trump`s language, you`re going to have to work with the structure of
the law now. So, that`s what I would recommend. Nobody listens to that
but that`s my advice.

But if you`re going to have this tremendous expansion in healthcare
coverage to say at the same time, we`re going to legalize as Americans,
full Americans, millions, tens of millions potentially of people who enter
the country illegally.

That is a big -- that is an impossible thing to swallow, fiscally and

O`DONNELL: David Frum, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really
appreciate it. Coming up, a significant development in the draft Biden



JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Your strength can compensate for my
weakness and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes.



school of finance. You know, like really smart people go to the Wharton
School of Finance, I would say.


years to go from Jimmy Carter`s inaugural address marked by humility and
decency to a Front Runner for a presidential nomination, who has no
humility and virtually no decency.

Watching Jimmy Carter`s press conference today in which the former
president dignified and humane as ever described his planned cancer
treatment. Journalist Walter Shapiro tweeted, "This is a moment to
contrast the grace of Jimmy Carter with the grotesque egoism of a real
estate developer who thinks he is up for the job.

Joining us now is Walter Shapiro, fellow at the Brandon Center for Justice
and a former speechwriter for President Carter. Walter, please expand on
that point. You have the floor.

jimmy carter when he ran in `76 promised the American people a government
as good as its people. The way Donald Trump is running, he is promising
the American people a government as good as the worst elements and a
shallow as the worst elements of the American people.

The thing that gets me -- forget his positions on immigration. The thing
that just got me was with Chuck Tothd on Sunday when Trump was asked, "Who
are your military advisers." And, what he said is, "Oh, I just watch the
Sunday shows. That is all I need."

That, more than anything, is such a profound disrespect for the office.
And, the whole Trump circus is more than anything scarily -- he either sees
the White House as a branding opportunity or he is totally oblivious to a
job that Harry Truman decided as "The sun, the moon and the stars all
falling on you." I ca not figure out which is worse.

O`DONNELL: And, April Ryan, when we think about Jimmy Carter, where he got
his military advise. He is a graduate of Annapolis.


O`DONNELL: And a submarine commander, studied nuclear physics in relation
to the submarine program. And, then, very humbly, as Walter can tell us,
took his military advice in the situation room and elsewhere from the

RYAN: Right. I mean here, you had someone who served in the military, and
then you have -- I mean there is no similarity at all. They are total
opposites. You have Donald Trump, a man who is talking very negatively --
and I am saying it in the best terms I can, about a war hero, John McCain.

And, then here you had someone who served and someone who believed in
peace. He received a Nobel Peace Prize, because he was trying to work out
peace throughout the world. But, one thing also, that is blaring for me
with Trump versus Jimmy Carter.

You had Jimmy Carter, who was someone who came from the South, Georgia,
with steep still in racial problems in the `70s, and he took the high road.
He tried to stay away from that. And, he tried to build on integration,
not segregation. And, then here you have Donald Trump, talking about
minorities the way he does.

Particularly, Mexicans, but one thing that really is blaring to me. What
happened in Boston and how this homeless person was beaten up, urinated on
and they are blaming it on Donald Trump.

And, I will tell you this, Amos Brown, Dr. Amos Brown, a board member of
the National Board of the nAacp said, "You know, rhetoric like this is what
started the situation in Charleston, where that man went in and shot up
nine people, shot them dead in that that church.

So, we have to be careful. And, you had Jimmy Carter who is a man of peace
and you have this man who is not politically correct. We need some kind of
help in this time right now.

O`DONNELL: Listen to what Jimmy Carter said today when asked if he would
have done anything differently.


CARTER: I wish I sent one more helicopter to get the hostages, and we
would have rescued them and I would have been re-elected. But that may
have interfered with the foundation of the Carter Center. And, if I had to
choose between four more years and the Carter Center, I think I would
choose the carter center. It could have been both.


O`DONNELL: Gene, I think he could have had both if he sent that extra

helicopter and also if he appointed Paul Volker a couple of years earlier
and had time to get -- you know, let him get inflation under control get
through a quick recession, had the economy gone back up again. Then maybe
he could have gotten that second term.

O`DONNELL: Joy, the carter presidency is -- in America, we are I think as
a culture bought in to a Trumpian concept of winners and losers and you are
utterly worthless as soon as you lose an election in this country. Jimmy
Carter, certainly, has suffered that kind of imagery since losing the
presidential election.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, and I think it
does say something profoundly about who we are as a people that Carter`s
decency and goodness was taken for weakness and had to be remedied with the
sort of bluster of a Ronald Reagan.

And, that the idea that we needed a cowboy to replace what people viewed as
a man, who was not cowboy enough to be president, that he was too nice. I
remember growing up one of the things my mother would say was maybe he was
just too good of a man to be the president of the United States, and he was
just too nice.

And, I think it is a bit sad that we, as a country, take a cerebral man, a
gentleman, a kind man for a weak man, because that is not necessarily the

O`DONNELL: Walter, how did it feel inside the administration as you were
approaching that re-election.

SHAPIRO: Well, I did not get all the way through the re-election because I
did the smartest thing in the entire world. I believe, the Gallup polls --


SHAPIRO: And, I got out in `79 and went to a place called the "Washington


SHAPIRO: But the truth is, I have been thinking a lot about the Carter
years. And, part of it is the things he does not get credit for. Number
one, bringing human rights in to the entire vocabulary of foreign policy.
Number two, basically being pressing it beyond belief about energy.

You could read Carter energy speeches including the misnamed speech from
`79 and it reads like a Thomas Friedman column today. And, thirdly of all,
36 years, we have had an enduring peace in the Middle East. And, Israel`s
continued existence is the bedrock there. Is it negotiated by Jimmy
Carter, peace with Egypt.

ROBINSON: People forget how tenuous that was because of Carter. That was
a live issue.

SHAPIRO: And, it was also -- Bill Clinton to his credit benefitted and
helped along the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty, but that was in the works.
Jimmy Carter actually negotiated for two weeks at Camp David to bring the
two sides together. And, this is so air brushed out of history. But of
course, Jimmy Carter never opened a casino.


RYAN: He taught Sunday school, too. He was a Sunday school teacher --
well, he still is a Sunday schoolteacher.

O`DONNELL: And, he talked today about how he will be teaching Sunday
school class this Sunday in Georgia. He has stayed anchored in that

REID: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Walter Shapiro, thank you very much for joining us on this day.

Coming up, Eugene Robinson found his way into a Hillary Clinton press
conference without even being there. How did he do that? And, next, more
of your questions for Donald Trump.




BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: When I was in England, I experimented
with marijuana a time or two, and I did not like it. And, did not inhale
and never tried it again.



I have to ask this question again. Remember, senator, you are under oath.
Did you inhale?


BARACK OBAMA, (D) CURRENT U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, I was telling --
Somebody asked this question. I said that was the point.



O`DONNELL: Which brings us to tonight`s episode of questions for Donald
Trump. Since Bill Clinton answered a question about using marijuana in
1992, presidential candidates have been asked about their use of illegal
drugs on the campaign trail.

The only answer George W. Bush gave was, "When I was young and
irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Jeb Bush has said more than
his brother. The Boston Globe, quotes Jeb Bush saying, "I drank alcohol
and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover. Bush said it was high school
years, both of which could have led to expulsion. It was pretty common."

And, even Ted Cruz has admitted he used marijuana when he was young and of
course President Obama wrote about his drug use in school and college in
his memoir before he run for president. So, tonight`s question for Donald
Trump is from Ed Watkins, who tweeted, "Question for Trump, have you
cocaine, other drugs?"

Keep your questions for Trump coming. Use the #questionsfortrump to
@Lawrence, @TheLastWord, or on TheLastWord Facebook page, and maybe your
question will find its way into the next presidential debate.


O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson`s Monday "Washington Post" column found its way
into a Hillary Clinton press conference on Tuesday without Gene even being
there. It came in the form of a question from Fox News Ed Henry.


conservative, a liberal columnist for the "Washington Post" today said that
at the very least, you have stonewalled and he said you should tell the
American people, "I am sorry, I was wrong."

But, instead, in recent days, you have been talking about SnapChat, you
have been blaming republican attacks. Is not leadership about taking

take responsibility. Look, I just told Jeff in retrospect this did not
turn out to be convenient at all.

And, I regret that this has become such a cause c‚lŠbre. But, that does
not change the facts. And, no matter what anybody tries to say, the facts
are stubborn. What I did was legally permitted.


O`DONNELL: Eugene, Secretary Clinton takes responsibility.

ROBINSON: Yes. And, as she said the facts are stubborn. One fact is
that, if you are saying things like, "What I did was legally permitted,"
you are not doing as well as you might be doing. You are having to explain
something. That does not make a lot of sense to people at the very least.

And, one thing that does not make sense to me, and I think does not make
sense to many people, is that she would come in to office as Secretary of
State and somehow think it was more convenient to run your work e-mails
through a server that you set up in your house as opposed to having a state
department account.

It makes sense you would do that if you want the control, you want the
control of your input and output. You want a control of your archive and
you want to control who gets to run it through what. That is
understandable if you are Hillary Clinton, but that is not what she says.
She says, "Oh, it was just more convenient."

O`DONNELL: In your column, you say that the problem is that there is an
element of -- I do not know -- you correct me if I am wrong on this. But
there is an element of insulting your intelligence in some of these

ROBINSON: Yes. You know, I just did what prior secretaries of state did.
Well, no, they did not have servers in their houses, you know. I mean they
did not. A couple of them had private e-mail accounts. I do not know
through yahoo or whatever and we are unclear what they did, but it was not
the same thing.

Private account is not the same thing, because I thought that server --
that you control, you know, the physical machine. And, so I think that is
-- just say what it is and what you did and maybe we can move on. But do
not tell us, you know, a story that does not --

O`DONNELL: But, April, in Gene`s column he wants to hear the magic words
"I am sorry." And, I am wracking my brain trying to think of the
frontrunner or the viable candidate on the presidential race, who stopped
everything at some point and said, "I am sorry for anything at any point."


I mean is not that -- that one of the -- is not that maybe the phrase that
they just do not feel they can say because it somehow weakens them no
matter what the issue is.

RYAN: I do not feel they can say it. They should not say it because it
makes them look like they were guilty, particularly when you are running
for president. That would be a death now for her. She has to go through
this, but she does need to explain it better.

Gene is right. She got to get this behind her, because her poll numbers
are dropping. And, you got, you know, Bernie Sanders and even Joe Biden,
who has not thrown his hat into the ring, you know, giving her a run for
the money, and then Donald Trump.

So, she got to come out and do something, to say something. Gene is right.
She got to say something. I do not think she is going to use the words, "I
am sorry." But, one thing I had found out from the campaign is that, you
know, she feels she did not do anything wrong and she is going to keep
ongoing and do what she has to do.

And, even in September, we might even start to seeing her on "Saturday
Night Live" and on the "Ellen" show and things of that nature. And, she is
walking as if, nothing is wrong. She did not do anything wrong. So, we
will going to see, you know, how she plays that and then we will see what
happens with the investigation.

REID: Let us --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Joy.

REID: Is not it the case, though, that Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers are
very quite well. I mean I think as a media matter, this is the biggest
thing to talk about when it comes to Hillary Clinton but then her poll
numbers come out and she is still over 50 percent. Again --

RYAN: But, she is dropping , though.

REID: Dropping to 51 percent. I would not justify as a crisis, right?
And, I think the other issue is that the e-mail story -- I just have to be
honest, that when I have been out covering the Clinton campaign on the
trail, it is not just something that is spontaneously seems to be on the
mind of many voters, other than conservative voters, who already dislike
Hillary Clinton or some democrats already dislike her. I do think that
Eugene Robinson is just giving me the most sort of interesting angle that I
have heard on that story, which is that perhaps --

O`DONNELL: He always does. You can rely on him.


ROBINSON: We do what we can.

REID: it seems to be a Clinton thing that maybe the reason they wanted the
server was because they want to protect their forever archives. That is
actually kind of interesting. But, I do think with Darryl Isis still out
there, claiming that Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton are criminals because
of the server, that they need to -- that they committed a crime. I think
that we are in typical Clinton vortex. And, they cannot --


O`DONNELL: But a judge today -- A judge today told the FBI to specifically
look for references to Huma Abedin on the server if they can find any
references to her contract on that server..

ROBINSON: I mean the problem is --

O`DONNELL: And, you say this is a problem of Hillary Clinton`s own making.

ROBINSON: Yes, I do. I mean I do think it is a problem of her own making.
I think the decision was made at the beginning of -- you know, when she
took office as Secretary of State to have this sort of control. And, I
kind of understand why Hillary Clinton would want to do that given the
history because there are unfair and vicious attacks against the Clintons.

However, it was a bad decision. And, I think she has to deal more
forthrightly and more fully with the fact that it was a really bad
decision. Now, you have this investigation. It is going to go in all
sorts of directions and you cannot just wish away Darrell Issa or the trade
committee or any of that stuff.

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson gets the last word on how the Eugene Robinson
column found --


Eugene Robinson and April Ryan, thank you both for joining me tonight. I
really appreciate it.

Coming up, a new development in the draft Biden movement in Florida.


O`DONNELL: With 53 percent of democrats saying Joe Biden should run for
president, the draft Biden committee has drafted its biggest player yet,
Steve Schale who ran then Senator Barack Obama`s Florida campaign in 2008.
Steve Schale is now joining the draft Biden movement.

And Steve Schale joins us now by phone from Florida. Steve Schale, my
personal Florida Political Correspondent Joy Reid tells me, it is a very
big deal for the draft Biden campaign to have you. Why have you made this

STEVE SCHALE, DRAFT BIDEN COMMITTEE: Well, you know, listen. First of
all, Lawrence, Joy Reid, good to be on and I am very proud of Joy. I have
known her since she was nobody, and she is really had an amazing run, very
talented. I am just happy friend for her.

No, I mean -- you know, for me, this is really just a personal choice. You
know, frankly, after two big presidential election cycles I was looking
forward to a cycle, where I spent more time on the beach than I did in the

And, you know, then the word became more prominent that the vice president
was really thinking of doing this. Frankly, I sort of said, "Hey, I would
be happy to help. And, so, it happened pretty organically over the last
few days that I took on the role with the draft Biden people.

But, you know, I think this is really a unique moment in our history and I
think Joe Biden is really uniquely qualified to lead at this moment. And,
I am happy to be a part of it.

REID: You know, Steve -- we worked together before, Steve Schale, it is
always great to talk to you, my friend. Do you think that at this stage,
Joe Biden would be able to peel off significant parts of the demographic
base that Hillary Clinton has put in together.

You are after the numbers. And, that is one of the advantages Hillary has
for instance over Bernie Sanders. Can Biden eat in to that. And,
particularly the Ethnic voting base.

SCHALE: Well, I mean, I think -- it is sort of early to say. I think,
again, Joe has unique appeal obviously. He is comfortable working class
background. He has done sort of a remarkable job in his life at never
really losing his connection to where he came from.

And, you know, in a lot of these races, you know, Joy, I mean it really is
about sort of getting off the ground in the early states. He has I think a
very strong network of friends in places like South Carolina, Iowa, New
Hampshire, which are critical.

So, you know, I think that, you know, we look at our role here at draft
Biden, you know, my role here for the last 12 hours is beginning to really
think through, you know, how can we help engage activists and volunteers,
and people who want to help. So, if the vice president makes his decision
in the next coming weeks, he has a good foundation to jump off and go run.

O`DONNELL: Steve, what about drafting Biden. What communication have you
had with the vice president about this?

SCHALE: Absolutely none. Again, this was just purely organic. I got
talking to one of your colleagues in the media and next thing I know it
made the "New York Times" and 15 minutes later I got a phone call from the
draft Biden people and here we are today. So, this really is just a case
of me raising my hand and saying, "Hey, I respect the man a lot and if I
can play a little bit of a role to help build a foundation, so that if he
decides to run and he is in a little better shape, then I am honored and
happy to do it.

O`DONNELL: Steve Schale, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And,
Joy Reid, thanks for sticking with us for the whole show.

REID: Sure. Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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