'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: August 26, 2015
Guest: Wendy Sherman, Jonathan Alter, April Ryan, Austan Goolsbee, Jeffrey
Marks, Isabella Gutierrez, Mohamed Hassan
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Side by side, hand in hand -- anniversary of
bloody Sunday, she was back at the bridge with President Barack Obama, side
by side, hand in hand.
She was -- her in the wheelchair there, making their way across the bridge
and the great Amelia Boynton died today. The White House released a
statement praising her quiet heroism.
She died today at the age of 104. She was at the White House when
President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, it`s
something that might have never happened without her.
Amelia Boynton Robinson was already 54 years old when she helped organize
the Selma March in which she almost lost her life. She was 104 years old
today when she passed.
Gone today, a hard life well lived. That does it for us tonight, we`ll see
you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thanks Rachel --
O`DONNELL: The father of the television reporter murdered on live TV this
morning just issued a powerful statement about the need for gun control
But first, one of the key negotiators of the Iran nuclear deal will join
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER,
TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: Look at the deal we have with Iran.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It reflects the best of
American foreign policy.
RICK PERRY, FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: The single worst thing that the
President has done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a national embarrassment.
TRUMP: Countries are going to line up for nukes.
OBAMA: A deal that is going to make sure that Iran does not get a nuclear
TRUMP: You ever see a deal take so long to do? The deal has been going on
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Ripped to shreds this catastrophic Iranian
OBAMA: This historic diplomatic breakthrough.
TRUMP: We should have doubled and tripled up the sanctions and negotiated
PERRY: We negotiate from a position of weakness.
CRUZ: Stop financing radical Islam and terrorism!
OBAMA: You know rely(ph) on bluster or bravado.
CRUZ: They have Kerry that goes on a bicycle races, he falls, he breaks
his leg. This is their chief negotiator -- he is walking and they`re
looking at him like what a schmuck.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exports across the board have lined up to support it.
OBAMA: We focus on strong principle diplomacy, showing once again to the
entire world what American leadership really means.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When Secretary of State John Kerry led the United States and
five other countries to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, there was probably
no one in the room wondering what Donald Trump would say about the deal.
They all knew there would be critics of the deal. The American negotiating
team was certainly concerned about what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu would say, also what Senator John McCain would say and other
prominent Washington critics of the negotiating effort.
But now, there is no critic of the deal with a bigger microphone than the
frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Look at the deal we have with Iran. Look at this deal. It is
going to -- in my opinion, lead to an arms race, the likes of which there
has never been.
Countries are going to line up for nukes. You`re going to have perhaps
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump in Iowa last night. Today, in the
"Washington Post", retired General David Petraeus, the former CIA director
in the Obama administration and Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to
President Obama for the Middle East, co-authored an Op-ed piece supporting
Saying, "there can be little doubt that a deal leaves us far better off.
We also don`t believe that if Congress blocks the deal, a better one is
going to be negotiated."
The support of General Petraeus comes just weeks before a Congressional
vote on the deal. Twenty nine Democratic Senators have announced their
support for the deal, only two Democratic Senators have announced their
Senator Schumer of New York and Senator Menendez of New Jersey. Fifteen
Democratic senators are undecided.
The President needs only five of them to support the deal and sustain his
veto if Congress votes against the deal.
Joining us now is one of the key negotiators who was at Secretary Kerry`s
side throughout the process, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs,
Ambassador Sherman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
WENDY SHERMAN, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Thank you
for having me, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: It must come as something of a surprise to you that you are now
in a position of having to respond to criticisms being offered by Donald
Trump who clearly now has a bigger microphone than any of the Republicans
in Washington who are arguing against this deal.
I wanted to play something that Donald Trump said last night because it`s
an echo, it`s the Trump version of what you`ve heard from many Republican
senate critics about the inspection periods and the possible delays
Let`s listen to the way Donald Trump put it last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a 24-day wait period, so if we think they`re doing nuclear,
we have to wait 24 days. But see, that`s not the worst part.
The worst part is, the clock doesn`t start ticking, it could be months, we
have to notify, it is a whole process.
I mean, they could build, shoot and build a couple of more shoots and by
that time, we still wouldn`t be in there checking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Your response Ambassador Sherman.
SHERMAN: Well, my response is, I hope that Mr. Trump has read the
agreement because if he has, then he`d understand that what he said is
actually not accurate.
Indeed, the International Atomic Energy Agency which will do the
verification of this agreement, an agreement that is based on verification
monitoring, not based on trust, can ask for access to any site that it is
suspicious of with 24 hour`s notice.
And if Iran under the protocols in the international community is allowed
to have a conversation with Iran about whether they can go.
Because it might be to a military site, same kind of conversation we or any
other country might be able to have with the IAEA in every other country in
the world, that conversation can go on forever.
In this agreement, we negotiated a special access agreement. Which means
that the IAEA and Iran can only have that debate for 14 days, after which
there will be a vote among the P5 Plus 1 in Iran.
And if a majority rules and I suspect it will with the United States, now
European partners, then Iran must give access within three days.
So, it could be as quickly as 24 hours, it could be at the most 24 days and
as Secretary Ernest Moniz of the Department of Energy has said, you can`t
hide nuclear material for 24 days or 24 months, probably for 24 years, it`s
hard to get rid of it.
O`DONNELL: And I`d like to raise another point that Donald Trump mentioned
last night because it`s a fairly obscure point.
But there was an "Ap" report indicating that there would be a form of self
inspection that Iran would be granted in one particular location.
The "Ap" since scrubbed that report. They erased to the point where you
cannot find anywhere some of the paragraphs that were contained in that
They`ve never issued a formal correction about it, but Donald Trump seized
on that and this is the way he referred to it last night. Let`s listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We just found out that they`re going to do -- in the most important
section, they`re going to do their own inspections. Did you hear this?
Iran is going to do their own inspections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Could you clarify that point for us ambassador?
SHERMAN: Well, again, Lawrence, that`s just not true. The International
Atomic Energy would never allow Iran to do a self inspection.
I think Mr. Trump is referring to Parchin which has to do with Iran`s past.
And this is a project that the IAEA has had under way for four years.
They use the leverage of this negotiation to finally get access that they
want to that site. They have worked out a technical arrangement that they
think will get them the information they need.
We have great faith and confidence in the International Atomic Energy
Agency, the entire world does. And so again, Mr. Trump just doesn`t have
O`DONNELL: There`s another element to the deal which frees up certain
financial resources that will be available to Iran over time.
And that`s an issue that`s been attacked by many critics of the deal.
Let`s listen to how Benjamin Netanyahu phrased it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: This cash bonanza will fuel
Iran`s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to
destroy Israel, which are ongoing.
Amazingly, this bad deal does not require Iran to cease its aggressive
behavior in any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ambassador Sherman, your reaction to that.
SHERMAN: Well, look, I understand all of the concern and all of the
anxiety about Iran`s destabilizing activities in the region.
I share those, the President does, Secretary Kerry does, but no deal can
carry all of the problems that we face with Iran.
The real objective of this deal was to make sure that Iran does not have a
nuclear weapon. Because if Iran had a nuclear weapon, their ability to
wreak more havoc in the region would just be unthinkable.
And their ability to deter our efforts and our efforts with Israel and with
our Gulf partners to stop their nefarious activities would be nearly
So, I share the concern but the President of the United States believes,
Secretary Kerry believes, I believe that if we don`t get the nuclear weapon
issue resolved, then we`re not going to be able to get all of these other
And all of our sanctions against Iran`s actions of state sponsorship of
terrorism, their abuses of human rights, their arms sales, all of these
things remain on the books.
What we are talking about in this deal is once they take all the nuclear
steps to severely limit their program, to invite the IAEA in, so that they
can see anything they want to see to verify what they`re doing.
To make sure they cannot acquire nuclear weapon, and they`ve made that
commitment forever, not just for 15 years or 20 years or 10 years, but
forever is that commitment.
Then that`s what we have to be focused on in this deal, it just can`t carry
the weight of all these other things.
But we have plenty of strategies, plenty of tools and plenty of work we`re
doing with Israel and our Gulf partners to deal with the other problems
which are real.
O`DONNELL: We have a Quinnipiac poll that indicates that 86 percent of
Republicans oppose the deal, which is an indication of what`s happening in
For example where you don`t have any Republicans supporting it. But it`s
also an indicator of how Donald Trump as vague as his statements may be and
as inaccurate as some of them may be, it`s clearly mirroring the Republican
voter out there.
And I want to go back to another point raised by General Petraeus in the
Op-ed piece today where he endorses the deal. He says, we`re better off
with this deal than without it.
But there are two things that concern him. One, he would like the
President to overtly and clearly announce that a violation of the deal
would absolutely provoke an American military response.
And then he would also like the administration to provide Israel with an
extra powerful bunker-busting bomb, more than anything Israel is in
possession of now.
What`s your reaction to those two suggestions?
SHERMAN: Well, my reaction is that the United States has an absolutely
indivisible bond with Israel. We will do everything we have -- can do to
have Israel`s back.
We always have. President Obama has provided more security assistance to
Israel than any other president, and he, in fact, developed the weapon that
Dave Petraeus mentioned.
He not only developed it, commissioned it, paid for it but deployed it, so
that it`s ready. And the President has been quite declarative that if in
fact, he needs to take military action he will.
But I think -- you know, I had a reporter ask me today, what is in this
deal for the average person?
Why should they care when they care about their wages, they care about
their kids education, they care about their future, they care about
security on the streets, not necessarily first and foremost security in the
And what I said is, if Iran has a nuclear weapon that`s a threat to the
United States, that`s a threat to Israel, that`s a threat to the Gulf,
that`s a threat to the world.
And that means that American men and women who might be some of those
families or friends of some of those families are going to have to go off
and fight a very difficult, complicated and explosive war.
We will use up all of our blood and treasure for that when we could be
increasing wages, when we could be ensuring jobs, good educations and
getting crime off our street.
So, I think the President has got the right priority, let`s ensure that
Iran can`t ever have a nuclear weapon. Let`s have the option, all of the
options on the table if Iran doesn`t comply, we`ll know if they don`t.
This is not about trust, but let`s see if we can give peace a chance,
diplomacy a chance first. If it doesn`t work -- because we`ve done this
with six other countries.
And the U.N. Security Council has endorsed it unanimously. We will have
the world on our side to take whatever other action is needed, but I think
the American people prefer peace over war if a solution can be found.
O`DONNELL: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
SHERMAN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the father of the reporter killed on live TV this
morning just issued a passionate plea for gun control legislation. And
later, the general manager of that TV station will join us to remember the
friends they lost today.
O`DONNELL: After Donald Trump had "Univision" and "Fusion" host Jorge
Ramos removed from the press conference last night. Jorge Ramos came face-
to-face with a Trump supporter in the hallway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very rude, it`s not about you.
JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: It`s not about both of --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my country. Get out!
RAMOS: This is not --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not about you --
RAMOS: I`m a -- I`m a U.S. citizen too --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, whatever, no, "Univision", no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Up next, the father of one of the victims of the Virginia
shooting, the reporter who was shot on live television this morning says
tonight that he wants new gun laws. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: In the last hour, the father of that Virginia television
reporter who was murdered on live TV this morning appeared on "Fox News".
He discussed his daughter`s life. He discussed the horrors of what he has
been through today and at the end of that discussion with Megyn Kelly, he
said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF ALISON PARKER: Everybody that she touched loved
her, and she loved everybody back. And you know, I`m not going to let this
This is, you know -- we`ve got to do something about crazy people getting
guns. And on -- you know -- and the problem that you guys have is that --
and I know it`s the news business, isn`t it?
This is a big story, but next week, it isn`t going to be a story anymore
and everybody`s going to forget it.
But you mark my words, my mission in life and I talked to the governor
today, he called me and he said -- and I told him -- I said, I`m going to
do something and whatever it takes to get gun legislation to shame people,
to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and
background checks and making sure crazy people don`t get guns.
And he said, you go, I`m right there with you. So, you know, this is not
the last you`ve heard of me, I got to -- this is something that is Alison`s
legacy that I want to make happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, April Ryan, White House correspondent and
Washington Bureau Chief for "American Urban Radio Networks", she is the
author of the book "The Presidency in Black and White".
Also with us, Austan Goolsbee, former chair of the Council of Economic
Advisors to President Obama. He is currently a professor of economics at
the University of Chicago.
And here in New York with us, Jonathon Alter, Msnbc political analyst and
columnist for "The Daily Beast".
Jonathan, it had been a day in which various politicians from Hillary
Clinton, Terry McAuliffe made comments about this.
They came in for some criticism on "Fox News" where there`s always an
objection to raising anything about possible legislation on the day -- the
inevitable continue days of coverage that we have of these kinds of events.
And then on "Fox News" tonight, that dramatic moment, something that is not
a very welcome message on that network that we have to do something
JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, you know, we have seen
this before -- I hate to say it. You know, after these terrible tragedies
where family members come forward and pledge to do this.
The point is, you have to have a tenacity about it. Political struggle,
change in this country is hard and it`s a long slog.
And the problem is that, the people who are in favor of common sense gun
control, most of them don`t have the passion that those loved ones do about
And they have to develop the passion if this is going to change. And it
requires movement building.
It requires people who have not had somebody in their family who`s been a
victim of gun violence to decide, you know what? I`m going to pitch in.
I`m going to lobby. I`m going to make this important. And when that
starts to happen, then change is possible.
O`DONNELL: April Ryan, Andy Parker, who we just heard on "Fox News" and
this -- the worst imaginable day of his life or any parents life said that
he wants to shame legislators into doing this.
That`s what he told Megyn Kelly. Closing loopholes and background checks,
making sure crazy people don`t get guns. That seems like something that
there should be a unanimous agreement on.
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT & WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AMERICAN
URBAN RADIO: Well, the way we understood it, there was an agreement
between Democrats and Republicans on it, but it just wasn`t acted upon.
And one of the main reasons was because of a powerful gun lobby called the
NRA. And I just understand that this is happening, we have seen this
happen in Columbine.
We`ve seen this happen with the little school children. We`ve seen this
happen so many times, over and over again.
We saw it most recently I guess in Roanoke, I mean, just before that we saw
that -- the situation in Charleston.
And it happens over and over again. And the calls go out, but we`re not
hearing the ground swell that we would think would be happening,
particularly on Capitol Hill and Republicans who are listening to the
powerful gun lobby of the NRA.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Chris Hurst said tonight. He is actually
the boyfriend of Alison Parker who was murdered this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HURST, FRIEND OF ALISON PARKER: I think we need to be very careful
with how we identify this man and we don`t label him and then discriminate
against everybody else who has a mental illness in this country.
Who needs access to services, but clearly something went wrong here between
him leaving our station and being able to purchase a gun and commit a
What happened behind us was clearly wrong. But there had been ample time
beforehand where many other things went wrong, those need to be addressed.
Not any of the allegations he is saying about the love of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Austan Goolsbee, there is -- this becomes political no matter
how much people try to keep the politics out of this, especially in the
first day of coverage.
There is a -- there`s -- some people have this feeling that there should
not be any political references to it, but we saw the father of this
murdered reporter tonight going straight to that.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Yes, I
mean, God, your heart is just broken for this -- for this father. I mean,
for the day that this is going to happen and then you`re going to be thrust
into the national spotlight in that way.
I guess I would -- my only feeling on this is, this has happened so many
times, you know, we`re kind of stuck in this -- in this rut.
We know what the advocates of gun control are going to say, we ought to
pass these laws and the opponents are going to say, no, we`re going to
I wonder if the approach that he -- that the father is advocating of --
we`re going to shame them, we`re going to try to confront them. Maybe,
we`ve got to take a different approach.
One, there are in this case and in some of the other cases laws on the
books that weren`t enforced properly or things like that where you could
take action, the executive -- by executive order, you could take some
actions just in keeping with the laws that are on the books perhaps.
And then second, I kind of think we almost had -- as April said, a
bipartisan agreement on the issue of, should those with mental illness be
able to purchase weapons?
It feels like that`s an area that -- let`s press on that and you know, see
where there might be some overlapping agreement rather than just get it
into confrontational again.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Hillary Clinton said about it today in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We have got to do something
about gun violence in America and I will take it on.
There are many people who face it and know it but then turn away because
it`s hard. It`s a very political, difficult issue in America. I feel just
great heartache at what happened.
And I want to reiterate how important it is we not let yet another terrible
instance go by without trying to do something more to prevent this
incredible killing that is stalking our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jonathon Alter, we just heard Andy Parker say that -- he says,
I know this is the news business, this is a big story, but next week it
isn`t going to be a story anymore and everybody`s going to forget it.
That`s what he feels tonight will happen about the story of his daughter`s
ALTER: Well, I am sorry to say that he`s right. I mean that`s just the
nature of the news business, that`s the nature of the short attention span
of the American people.
It`s up to the politicians and the people whose job it is to mobilize and
pressure those politicians to keep the issue going in state legislatures
and in Washington.
I think Austan Goolsbee`s suggestion is a very interesting one for the
White House to take another look at whether there`re some things that could
be done by executive order to better enforce the laws that are on the
And the rest of us have to be willing to develop arguments against people
on the other side that we`re not doing.
For instance, you always hear well, a law wouldn`t have stopped this guy,
he would have gotten a gun any way.
And that`s like saying all laws are futile. Just because, you know, people
commit murder, does that mean we shouldn`t have laws against murder.
Because people commit tax evasion, we shouldn`t have laws against tax
evasion. So, that`s a nonsensical argument that you hear all the time.
Just because a law wouldn`t have prevented this particular case doesn`t
mean it might not prevent some other cases of gun violence.
And you know, the people who are engaged in this debate just have to get
more serious about confronting the NRA on each of its arguments.
GOOLSBEE: You know, Lawrence, I would also highlight, we have had a
background check environment structure in place for some time.
And yes, there are loopholes in it. But I think it`s worth highlighting
that there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of gun homicides in
the country over that period that we`ve had that background check structure
I think just highlighting that these things can work I think is also part
of the -- part of the equation.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and there`s never going to be a news story about the
person who was denied access to a gun who was never able to pull this off.
That story will never make it up to our attention.
ALTER: And the states that have more gun safety laws do better in
restricting gun violence than those that don`t. And the NRA lies and says
O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to have --
ALTER: Says the laws don`t work --
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to take a quick break in here. Coming up,
we will be joined by the general manager of the "Virginia Television
Station" whose reporter and camera operator were murdered on live TV this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY MARKS, WDBJ GENERAL MANAGER: It is my very, very sad duty to
report that we have determined through the help of the police and our
employees that Alison and Adam died this morning shortly after 6:45 when
the shots rang out. I cannot tell you how much they were loved, Alison and
Adam by the WDBJ7 team.
They both were in love and we will talk about that a little more with other
members of the team here. And, our hearts are broken and our sympathies go
to the entire staff here, but also the parents and families of Adam Ward
and Alison Parker, who were just out doing their job today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Jeffrey Marks who will join me next. He is the
general manager for WDBJ TV. Speaking about the murders of Alison Parker
and Adam Ward that occurred on live television on his stations morning news
broadcast at 6:45 A.M.
The shooter reportedly sent a 23-page fax to ABC News two hours after the
shooting with a list of grievances including how he was treated when he was
a reporter at that station, himself. He also apparently posted his own
video of the shooting on social media, which was quickly taken down by
Twitter and Facebook.
The New York Times said the shooting and the graphic images that resulted
mark to horrific turn in the national intersection of video, violence and
social media. The gunman has owned 56-second video showed him deliberately
waiting until the journalists were on air before raising a handgun and
firing at point blank range, ensuring that it would be seen live or
recorded by thousands.
Joining us now, Jeffrey Marks, the general manager of WDBJ TV in Roanoke,
Virginia. Mr. Marks, first of all, I am very sorry for your loss today,
your personal losses in this. I cannot imagine what this day has been like
for you. And, I very much appreciate you staying with us here tonight.
Could you tell us where you were at 6:45 A.M. and how this event came in to
MARKS: Actually, I was running an errand and I was very near the
television station. So, right after the incident occurred my news director
called me and said, "Did you see that? And, of course, I had not seen
that. She told me what immediately had happened and I was here within five
O`DONNELL: And, Mr. Marks, at the point where you are being called, they -
- I assume in the control room they do not really know what happened, what
the actual results were there on the ground?
MARKS: Yes. I think they were not sure whether it was fireworks or
something else. I think some of them knew instantly but did not want to
imagine it. But they immediately lost touch with both Adam and Alison,
could not reach them on their cell phones, so that was a very bad sign.
O`DONNELL: And, after the camera went down, they heard in the control
room, was it about eight shots were fired when the camera was not picking
MARKS: I guess that is right. I did not count them. I watched the video
once or twice, but it was such a horrifying scene, I did not stop to count
O`DONNELL: And, what was it like on a personal level? I saw you go
through an extraordinary day where on the air at WDBJ, you had to bring
this to your community, your viewing community and share everything you
were going through live because the community was going through it, too.
What was that experience like?
MARKS: Well, we were grieving while doing our jobs. We were trying to
breathe while doing what journalists do. And, we have such a fine team
here of people on the air and behind the scenes and every department of our
building rallied, came through the newsroom and said what can we do?
Our friends at the station down the street, offered to help us in any way
they could. We heard from folks around the world and around the community.
And, there are flowers everywhere here and signs at our entrance expressing
people`s solidarity with us and their sense of community of loss. It was
the worst day for all of us in terms of our careers.
O`DONNELL: Tell us what you would like us to know and remember about
Alison Parker and Adam Ward.
MARKS: Well, first of all, they had both found love here. They were both
above in love and those relationships were going strong. And, those of
course -- there is no way to even imagine how awful the other parties feel.
And, you saw one earlier, I believe in Chris who was speaking to another
The sense of loss for everybody in our building was palpable. And, Alison
was exuberant and fun and smiling and jumping at every opportunity she was
given, whether it was to co-host a parade or work on a very intensive child
abuse special we aired last week.
Adam was with the life of the party. He was a cut up in Latin class at the
university, I am told, and he was a cut up in our newsroom but he was also
a serious journalist, who made instant friends with everybody he covered.
I cannot imagine that if you put a thousand people in front of me for
candidates for those jobs that I would not have picked out Alison and Adam.
O`DONNELL: You have really brought them to life for us throughout the day
with everything you have had to say about them. And, since we are in the
same business, I think we here all feel like we know them because we know
so many people like them, with that same kind of commitment and same joy
about doing this kind of work.
O`DONNELL: And, in my experience, that depends almost entirely on the tone
set by the boss. And, so, there is definitely a tribute to you here in how
that place operates and how everything worked at your station today.
MARKS: Well, let me also pay tribute to the senior management team, who
worked with me to create an atmosphere in which these people can flourish.
I am not in their in the newsroom every day slugging it out.
Our news director, Kelly Zuber and team of fabulous news editors really try
to bring out the best in everyone and let them be themselves. And, they
certainly did that with Adam and with Alison and you saw the results in the
performance we got on the air.
O`DONNELL: Jeffrey Marks, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I
am very sorry for your loss and I wish you all the best in trying to get
through the coming days. Thank you very much.
MARKS: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton both talked about Joe
Biden running for president today.
O`DONNELL: All right, the rest of the show is going to feel much lighter
after what we have just been through the last couple of segments. Today in
Iowa, Hillary Clinton for the first time discussed the possibility of a
Biden for president campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me start by saying Vice
President Biden is a friend of mine. He and I were colleagues in the
senate. I worked with him as first lady. I worked with him, obviously, in
President Obama`s first term. And, I have a great deal of admiration and
affection for him.
I just want him to reach whatever he thinks the right decision is, and he
has to do that. And, it has to be a really, really hard one. And, I was
at his son`s funeral. I mean I cannot even imagine the grief and the heart
I mean Joe has had more terrible events than most people can even
contemplate, losing his first wife, losing his first daughter, now losing
his son. I think everybody should -- He has to do what he has to do, but I
am just going to continue with my campaign. I am going to do what I
believe I should be doing, and he will have to decide what he should be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, after a quick break, what Joe Biden had to say today about
running for President.
O`DONNELL: NBC has confirmed that Vice President Joe Biden discussed the
possibility of running for president on a conference call this afternoon.
The vice president spoke with democratic national committee members about
the Obama Administration`s nuclear deal with Iran.
But according to a democratic source familiar with the call, the vice
president also said this, "We are dealing at home with whether or not there
is the emotional fuel at this time to run. And if I were to announce to
run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give
it my whole heart and my whole soul and right now both are pretty well
Vox.com editor in chief, Ezra Klein, writes in a new piece that a Joe Biden
campaign would be a good thing, but it would be a good thing for Hillary
Clinton. Ezra Klein writes, "An actual fight will give the press a
democratic presidential campaign to cover rather than simply a frontrunner
to investigate. And, an fight will sharpen Clinton`s political instincts."
We are back with the panel here. Jonathon Alter, I am always intrigued by
people who think, "It will be good for the candidate"--
O`DONNELL: -- "if another strong candidate gets in there and campaigns
against the candidate. I do not think any campaign has ever felt, "Boy,
this would be -- the only thing that could make this campaign better is if
we had a stronger candidate running against us.
ALTER: I used to actually agree with Ezra that I thought the batting
practice might be good for Hillary Clinton, but my Daily Beast colleague,
Mike Tomasky, wrote a good column convincing me otherwise. Because when
you think about it, they do not disagree on the issues.
So, what would that mean for a Joe Biden campaign? He would have to get in
and start attacking her integrity. It basically, say I got in to this race
because Hillary Clinton is not trustworthy enough to be our nominee. That
means a very angry, tough bitter campaign that would make Hillary versus
Obama look like pinnacle. So, what else is he going to run on except for
O`DONNELL: OK. April Ryan, two information about that. One is what we
just saw Hillary Clinton do in talking about Joe Biden. I think it is one
of her most touching moments of this campaign --
O`DONNELL: It was one of her most human moments if not the most human
moment. It was real what she was saying about the suffering he has gone
through was heartfelt. And, then the model that Bernie Sanders has laid
down here, which is not one negative word about Hillary Clinton.
Bernie Sanders is not running against another democrat. And, to step in to
this campaign at this stage with the table that has been set by Hillary
Clinton and Bernie Sanders who are not attacking each other, it would be
hard to see how Joe Biden or any other democrat could get in here and start
some kind of negative campaign.
RYAN: Because of the closeness of some of the candidates with one another,
I think they would have to stay above the fray and deal with the issues.
Not necessarily personal attacks as of yet, and I say as of yet, right now.
So -- but I think if Joe Biden were to jump in, it would make Hillary
Clinton a strong candidate.
It would fine tune her a little bit more than what she is because there
would be competition. But, on another note, when it comes, when it comes
to Joe Biden -- Lawrence, I will never forget, in December of last year,
political had an event. It was a woman`s role even, and Joe Biden and
Ashley Biden were the guests of honor or the speaker of the hour.
I guess they were the speakers of the hour, I guess you would say. And,
Ashley and Joe Biden talked about 201 6. And, Ashley, the daughter of Joe
Biden said, you know, I want him to kind of have some downtime and I wantto
work on some projects with my dad. And, he really took it to heart.
And he is a real person, who lets his realness show. And, the lost of a
son and someone that you are very close to is a very real situation. And,
what he said today, I really firmly believe. In listening to that report
that Kristin gave, you know, basically, I think he maybe letting us know
that he might be leading more towards not running with that --
GOOLSBEE: Lawrence --
O`DONNELL: Austan Goolsbee, you know something here. Come on. You are on
the inside --
GOOLSBEE: And, I know the vice president pretty well.
O`DONNELL: And, has the Biden campaign reached out to you for their
advice yet? Has the Clinton campaign --
GOOLSBEE: No. I have not spoken with the vice president in any way. What
I would say is this. First of all, we know Joe Biden. If you could wave a
wand and became the president, he ran for president twice. He would like
to be the president.
That said, I find it extremely unlikely that there is going to be the kind
of extended primary battle, like what we had in 2008. I think it is
really, really unlikely. Hillary Clinton is a very formidable candidate.
I think Joe Biden would only get in the race if he thought there was with a
very good chance that he could get the nomination.
And, I think that, that is sort of a cloud over his head at this point.
Could he actually do it? I do not think if he did enter that he would
attack Hillary Clinton or her character at all. I think he would be kind
of taking a populous line.
I think it would be chewing in to the support of Sanders or chewing in to
the support of some other candidates, maybe on the left. But, I really do
not think that he would enter unless he thought there was some way that he
actually could get the nomination.
ALTER: The problem for him is when you get in, your numbers usually go
ALTER: Because voters want what they cannot have. And, so, the guys who
are on the sidelines are, generally, higher than the ones -- you know, if
they are very well known, than the ones who get in. So, you know, he could
actually go down after he got in and got in to the scrum.
The trap that he is in is I agree that, you know, he is not going to want
to go out there and wail on Hillary Clinton, but what else does he have?
He is not a populous. He is not a Bernie Sanders. He cannot really
disagree with her on the issues. So, then why is he running?
O`DONNELL: Can he run, April, as the kind of proper inheriter of Barack
RYAN: Oh, yes, yes, he would be. He would be, I guess you would say the
prince, Prince Biden 3.0 who could wind with up becoming -- well, I guess
you would say king to a certain extent but could be president. So, he
would have to be above the fray and keep it going even hilled.
O`DONNELL: April Ryan --
ALTER: I think he would go after the banks.
O`DONNELL: All right, that is going to be the last word on the campaign
that might or might not happen. April Ryan, Austan Goolsbee and Jonathan
Alter, thank you very much for joining us.
Coming up, a very special edition of questions for Donald Trump starring
some of your questions and a couple of very special guests who have their
own questions for Trump.
O`DONNELL: And, tonight`s episode of "Questions for Donald Trump," where
joined by Isabella Gutierrez and Mohamed Hassan. And, it says here on your
cards, it says you are -- Isabella, an intern for "The Last Word with
Lawrence O`Donnell." And, Mo, it says you are an intern for "The Last Word
with Lawrence O`Donnell." Of course, you are the summer interns.
MOHAMED HASSAN, MSNBC INTERN FOR "THE LAST WORD" PROGRAM: Yes.
ISABELLA GUTIERREZ, MSNBC INTERN FOR "THE LAST WORD" PROGRAM: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And, as the tradition goes here, as your service comes to a
close you of course come on the show and tune things up. And, Mo, you are
following the old intern tradition of wearing one of my ties.
HASSAN: I am.
O`DONNELL: Yes. It looks pretty good.
O`DONNELL: And, by the way, that you have now, that is yours. You now own
that tie. OK. So, you are not leaving here with nothing.
O`DONNELL: Isabella, you have a question for Donald Trump. What is your
GUTIERREZ: I do. My question is, you recently said that the U.S. economy
should be decoupled from China`s. How would you deal with the $1.3
trillion of debt the U.S. owes China? Would you default on it?
O`DONNELL: Such a good question. Decoupling is trickier than he seems to
O`DONNELL: Mo, your question for Donald Trump?
HASSAN: Sure. Mr. Trump, if you are president and a member of your
cabinet asks you a hard question are you going to have them removed from
the White House.
O`DONNELL: And, will it be that same guy that got Jorge Ramos out of the
room last night.
HASSAN: That is right.
O`DONNELL: That is going to be his job. You know, we keep getting great
questions online. And, Michael Barkley, I read this question from him last
night. And, I said this question in the office, I think two days ago, word
for word almost.
Here is what Michael Barkley read my mind, and here is his question for
Trump. "Dear Mr. Trump, why do you say, `excuse me,` when you really mean,
`Shut up, I am interrupting now.` He goes excuse me like every other
paragraph begins with excuse me and then he just kind of keeps pushing
O`DONNELL: Now, this is going to be -- will this be your first
presidential election that you vote in?
GUTIERREZ: My second.
HASSAN: Second as well.
O`DONNELL: Wait, how old are you?
O`DONNELL: Oh, OK. No, wait a minute. How can you be 20, voting in your
second presidential election. It is your second election --
O`DONNEL: -- But it will be your first presidential election, right?
O`DONNELL: That you are voting into.
GUTIERREZ: It is my second. I am 21.
O`DONNELL: OK. All right. You have been at this for a while.
GUTIERREZ: I have.
O`DONNELL: Here is another one from Michael Moskowitz. He says to trump,
"Say I am undocumented. Do I get a letter, a call, a knock on the door, a
hearing, 30 days, 10 days?"
And, Mo, this is one of the things that he is not talking about is how are
you physically going to go and get these people, 11 million, you are going
to drag out of here.
HASSAN: Well, you know he is a very blunt talker and I just think, you
know, whatever Trump says will go. And, we are not really hearing much,
but you know we are supposed to take his word for it. So --
O`DONNELL: Yes. Isabella, you get to witness another historic election.
What is now the Trump election.
GUTIERREZ: The Trump election, it certainly is and I totally agree with
Mo. I mean he just, you know, makes all of these brash statements about
the economy, related to my question or immigration, and Mr. Trump where are
O`DONNELL: We just went 28 seconds overtime for you, guys. Isabella and
Mo get tonight`s last word. Thank you very much for joining us.
Chris Hayes is up next up.
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