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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, August 31st, 2015

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Date: August 31, 2015
Guest: Jonathan Chait, Howard Dean, David Frum, Jonathan Allen, Leonard
Campanello, Frank Greenagel

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Up on covering these stumps, but your uncle --
but if you were looking to place that in the next thing that right-wing-
talk radio and Republican TV is going to go crazy about, you can set your
watch for 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

This is it. The mainstream press is mostly given up on covering these
stumps(ph), but your uncle who watches "Fox News" all day is due to send
you an all capital-letters e-mail about this one in three, two, one -- that
does it for us tonight.

We will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD, Alex
Wagner sitting in for Lawrence tonight, good to see you, Alex.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: You too, thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Absolutely.

WAGNER: Republicans holding their breath and waiting for the Trump bubble
to burst are going to have to wait a little longer to exhale.





We`re going to have so many victories. You know, right now we don`t have
victories anymore, do we agree? And we`re going to have victories, so many
victories they`re going to be coming out of your ears.

You may get tired of winning so much, is that possible? We will win on
healthcare. We will win on everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump`s favorability is surging.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: He`s been dominating all the polls
in every state, and it turns out he`s getting into the heads of his
opponents as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now is not the time to put in place someone who hasn`t
been tested.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a big difference between
Donald Trump and me. I`m a proven conservative with a record.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what do you do if you`re trying to get attention
and Donald Trump is taking all of the oxygen?

can tell you where that package is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie talked over the weekend of tracking
undocumented immigrants.

CHRISTIE: We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you
come in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stumping people, I guess with bar codes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all, we`re bored, this is pandering --

TODD: What happened to Scott Walker?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walker has been swept away these days by the Trump

that goes into these races. For us, I think the biggest spark for us is
getting the message out.

TRUMP: I`m going to win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump! You had my vote, but now Kanye West!

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: I have decided in 2020 to run for president!



WAGNER: Every day of this Summer of Trump, the Republican establishment
has hoped for the bursting of the Trump bubble, the ending of his carnival

And passage of Trump`s White House ambitions into the night like those of
Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.

And tonight, there is a new poll that shows Donald Trump losing, but
unfortunately for the Republican establishment, he is losing to Dr. Ben

Public Policy Polling did head-to-head matchups of Donald Trump versus his
Republican rivals, Republican primary voters preferred Trump to Senator
Marco Rubio by eight points.

They preferred Trump to Governor Scott Walker by 14 points, and they
preferred Trump to Jeb Bush by 25 points. But they prefer Dr. Ben Carson
to Donald Trump, 49 percent to 43 percent.

What might explain Carson`s edge? Evangelical Republicans. Donald Trump
gets more support from evangelical Republicans than Rubio, Walker or Bush.

But he loses evangelicals when pitted against Dr. Ben Carson. Tonight`s
poll comes after a new Iowa poll showing Trump tied with Carson at the top
with 23 percent.

Carly Fiorina is at 10 percent and everyone else is in single digits. So,
if the Summer of Trump becomes the Autumn of Carson, what`s the Donald`s
next move?


TRUMP: Of course, third-parties concerned, the Republican Party has been
treating me very fairly. All I ask is fairness. And I`m leading in every
poll by a lot.

We`re leading in every state by a lot and a lot of things are really
happening in terms of victory that would certainly be the best path to
victory and we`re going to make a decision very soon.


WAGNER: "New York Magazine`s" Jonathan Chait has a solid bet on what that
decision might be, "add it all up", he writes, "an egomaniacal candidate
who refuses to accept the role of a loser.

A party justifiably weary of sucking up to him in a public way, what do you
get? One very strong possibility is that you get Trump declaring a third-
party run.

Remember, we are gaining at the scenario where Trump entered the race
without much planning, more as a way to keep the media circus going from
one day to the next than as a long-term strategy.

And the most logical end-point of that assumption is that he bolts the
party, claiming some slight and keeps the circus going all through

Jonathan Chait joins us. Now also with us, Howard Dean, former governor of
Vermont and former chair of the Democratic National Committee and David
Frum, senior editor at "The Atlantic".

Jonathan Chait, Trump going all through November, those are chilling words
for any Republican who has watched this race.

JONATHAN CHAIT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It`s pretty terrifying for them because
Donald Trump`s third-party candidacy would eliminate any chance they have
of winning the presidential election.

So, that`s absolutely the atom bomb that Trump has his finger on. And
they`ve got to figure out a way to defuse that without accepting the slower
placing of being associated with Donald Trump in a way that makes it
impossible for them to make any in-roads at all among the Latino vote.

Which has just been growing as a share of the electorate and becoming more
Democratic. So, they`re caught between this vice of these two unpalatable
options and Trump has two different ways of killing them. And I don`t know
how they can avoid both of them.

WAGNER: And then Governor Dean, you look at the man who is climbing up and
maybe eroding a little bit of Trump`s lead, Dr. Ben Carson, he has the
highest favorable and lowest unfavorable of any Republican candidate.

Seventy nine percent favorable to 8 percent unfavorable. Are you surprised
about Dr. Carson`s staying power and his ascendance?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: I`m a little surprised because I
don`t see much of him. He doesn`t -- he`s not a big player in the debates.

He doesn`t get in the press of visiting Iowa and New Hampshire and all
these places. Nearly, I mean, the oxygen has been sucked out of his room
just like it has been about everybody else by Trump.

Here`s the really -- the interesting thing for me though is, as far as I
know, Ben Carson has no organization whatsoever, neither does Carly
Fiorina, neither these -- a whole lot of the other -- these other

You cannot win in Iowa, I don`t care what your numbers are. You cannot win
in Iowa without an organization. Now, we don`t even know if Trump has an

We do know that he has the means to put one together if he wants to. So, I
-- you know, this is -- this poll, I mean, I`m sure it`s a true poll, an
accurate poll, but it really is -- doesn`t reflect anything about anything.

And we`re really not going to know what`s going to happen in this race
until February 1st.

WAGNER: David, it feels like if you`re trying to unpack the popularity of
Dr. Carson, he seems like a conservative folk hero and so far, as he is the
most potent weapon against Obamacare.

He is a doctor who`s spoken out vociferously against it and continues to.
I want to play a little bit of sound right after Dr. Carson criticized
President Obama to his face at a national prayer breakfast.

This was the reaction from the right. Let`s take a listen.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Dr. Carson, I got to tell you, that speech moved
me deeply, very well done. What`s with the -- the reaction been so far?

BEN CARSON, NEUROSURGEON: The reaction has been overwhelming. We`ve been
just deluged with e-mails, with calls.

HANNITY: Would you ever run for president, sir?

CARSON: If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would.


It`s not my intention.

HANNITY: I wouldn`t wish that on you, but I think that I would vote for
you in a heartbeat.

CARSON: Well, thank you. I have so many e-mails from people saying that I
could probably finance my campaign if each one gave me a nickel.


WAGNER: So David, here we are, and now we`re talking about Ben Carson as a
legitimate, viable candidate for the Republican nomination.

You know, what do you think his staying power is in this? Is it going to be
an Autumn of Carson?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, somebody has to speak for
the conventional wisdom and I`m not afraid to do it.


I think -- I think both Trump and Carson will deflate. I think as the
governor said, organization matters. That`s why every winning candidate
builds them.

I think also they`ll discover and people who have been in politics know
this, when you run for a big-time office, every day you have an
opportunity, dozens of opportunities to commit a lethal mistake.

And people who have not been through a lot of elections to other offices
usually avail themselves for the opportunity to make that lethal mistake
and some -- and things go wrong.

That said, I think particularly this Summer of Trump has been for all these
many difficulties on balance, a positive thing for the Republican Party.

Because it has been a cold mackerel in the face of reality to the whole
Republican Party that an economic agenda that the party offered in 2012 and
is on the verge of offering again in 2016, it doesn`t offer much to
ordinary Republican voters.

I mean, never mind the country as a whole, to most of the people who make
up the Republican Party, that agenda is being rejected and this is a
reality check.

And it`s an opportunity to learn and to do better and to say, you know,
Donald Trump has not made removing healthcare subsidies the center of his

And if the Republican Party in 2016 advances on the proposition that vote
for us and we`ll take away health coverage for millions of people, that is
not a successful formula.

WAGNER: Well --

FRUM: And this is maybe an opportunity to rethink.

WAGNER: And to that point, Governor Dean, I mean, there`s a "New York
Times" headline today talking about Republican fears over Donald Trump`s
ideas that he wants to raise taxes on hedge fund managers.

That Donald Trump wants to raise taxes which we have been told is an
anathema to the Republican Party.

He has figured out a brand of economic populism that seems to be working
well with the grassroots that is not at all what the establishment has been
proposing, and in a weird way has some real through lines with occupy and
the Tea Party movement of 2007.

DEAN: Well, Trump is nothing if not a master showman, and he`s pretty
insightful. We all at the beginning all thought this was a blowhard, it
was going to fall apart.

He survived error after error that would have killed anybody else in the --
in the field. So -- and he gets -- he gets what populace economics is

The numbers are incredible on both sides of the aisle in terms of people
who feel like they`ve been left behind in this economy. So, I think he`s
on to something.

Now, you know, I expect him to blow himself up too, but I have been
expecting that for a long time and I haven`t seen it. And he`s pretty --
he`s pretty damn good on this stump, I have to say.

WAGNER: Pretty damn good on the stump, says Governor Dean. But in the
words of the indomitable David Frum, Jonathan Chait, a cold mackerel to the
face to Jeb Bush.

I mean, Trump has been --

CHAIT: Yes --

WAGNER: Unrelenting in his criticism of the presumed Republican
establishment frontrunner --

CHAIT: Right --

WAGNER: He released a video on Instagram today, criticizing Trump`s
comments from 2014 where he called illegal immigration or parts of it an
act of love.

Let`s look at that short video.


BUSH: Yes, they broke the law, but it`s not a felony. It`s kind of a --
it`s a -- it`s a -- it`s an act of love.


WAGNER: OK, so Jonathan, on the issue of immigration, I don`t understand -

CHAIT: Yes --

WAGNER: How the Republican, sort of, narrative is rehabilitated post Trump
even if he splinters off to become a third-party candidate.

CHAIT: You`re right, it doesn`t -- so, for the first thing we have to say
is that ad is just a lie, because Jeb Bush there is talking about people
immigrating to United States as an act of love.

He`s not saying that murdering people is an act of love. So Trump is just
completely misrepresenting what Jeb Bush was saying there.

But the problem for the party from that perspective is that Donald Trump
has almost broken through popular culture and out of the -- out of the
political debate into popular culture as the symbol of anti-Latino racism.

He`s not making sophisticated points about immigration reform or saying
that maybe we should cut back on levels or enforce the laws better.

He`s just making bigoted and nasty comments about people who came to this
country in violation of immigration laws, but they did it for a noble
reason of giving their family a better life.

And I don`t see how Republicans are going to win back those communities if
they have this man as their face.

WAGNER: And David Frum, what if Jeb Bush -- I mean, Steve Schmidt,
presidential soothsayer for many Republican candidates or a few, said every
day Donald Trump is emasculating Jeb Bush.

And Republican primary voters are not going to default to the establishment

FRUM: Right --

WAGNER: Candidate who`s been weakened by these attacks. I mean, what do
you do if you are Jeb Bush?

FRUM: You don`t respond. Jeb Bush -- I wrote an article of this a few
days ago in "The Atlantic", though what happens when a campaign is in
trouble, your supporters call you up and they have always the same advice.

Take off the gloves. And Jeb Bush who is -- raised 125 million people, he
has a lot of donors to -- whose calls he has to take. And eventually,
enough people telling you to take off the gloves, you take off the gloves.

Which means that Jeb Bush is now drawing into an insult contest with
America`s all-time -- not all the time, but current reigning insult

You don`t want to be in that contest. You want to leave that contest to
other people if you`re Jeb Bush. The $125 million is supposed to give you
the staying power to keep ignoring Trump until Trump blows up on his own.

But the next Trump ad will be even worse. Because it will talk about Jeb
Bush who is on record as saying this may be a distortion too that he wanted
to phase-out Medicare at least for people under 55.

WAGNER: Cold mackerels all around. And in the indomitable words of
Darrell Issa, step away from the Trump. That`s paraphrasing him. David
Frum, always good to see you, thanks for your time.

FRUM: Thank you.

WAGNER: Coming up, Donald Trump`s latest line of attack has nothing to do
with China or Mexico and everything to do with these so-called perverts and
his access to classified information.

And if Kanye West actually runs for president -- I just said that sentence
-- what should be his campaign slogan? The Twitter-burst responds, it`s
just ahead.



WALKER: Oh, yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to build a wall north of the border? It
bothers you --

WALKER: Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They
raised some very legitimate concerns including some law enforcement folks
that brought that up to me in one of our town hall meetings about a week
and a half ago.

So, that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.


WAGNER: Governor Scott Walker`s campaign is trying to do damage control
after he caused an international incident this weekend.

A Walker spokeswoman told "POLITICO", "despite the attempts of some to put
words in his mouth, Governor Walker wasn`t advocating for a wall along our
northern border."

But it seems to have been a little too late, candidates. Defense Minister
Jason Kenney responded, "as you know, we often find there are some American
political actors who are not aware of the progress that has been made on
continental security.

Frankly, I can tell you as the former minister of immigration that Canada
has a much greater legitimate concern about the northward flow of illegal
migration than the United States does of a southward flow of illegal

Senator Rand Paul said a northern wall was a "dumb idea" while Twitter had
much fun at Walker`s expense. Scott Lyle(ph) tweeted, "I wonder if Scott
Walker`s Canada wall will have a beautiful door.

Will Trump and Scottie have a door off?" Haden Black tweeted, "Scott Walker
wants to build a wall on the Canadian-U.S. border to keep Americans from
escaping if he`s made president."

And "Politics USA" used the headlines, "Scott Walker`s wall along the
Canadian border, too late to keep out Ted Cruz." Up next, Donald Trump
versus Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton.


WAGNER: Just over an hour ago, the State Department released its biggest
trove yet of Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.

More than 7,000 pages from the former secretary of state`s private e-mail
account have now been made public.

Earlier today, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner estimated that
about 150 of those e-mails contained classified information.

However, none of the e-mails were classified at the time Hillary Clinton
sent or received them. It is still unclear what will come out of this
latest release, but that doesn`t matter to Donald Trump, who is already
sounding the alarm on one of Hillary Clinton`s staff members.

In a speech on Friday, Trump targeted Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary
Clinton for her alleged role in the controversy.


TRUMP: OK, here`s the story. So Huma now is one of the people -- that it
all sort of came through Huma. Who is Huma married to?


TRUMP: One of the great sleazebags of our time.


Anthony Weiner, do you know that? She`s married to Anthony Weiner; you
know, the little bing-bing, bong-bong. I love you very much.



So, think of it. So Huma is getting classified secrets, she`s married to
Anthony Weiner, who is a perv -- do you think there`s even a 5 percent
chance that she`s not telling Anthony Weiner, now of a public relations
firm, what the hell is coming across?

Do you think there`s even a little bit of a chance? I don`t think so.


WAGNER: The following day Donald Trump defended those attacks.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you too hard on Huma Abedin, Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: No, not at all, no. I think it`s a very dangerous thing when she
is the receiver of so much of this very important information, and she`s
married to a guy who obviously is psychologically disturbed.

I think it is a very fair statement that I made and a lot of people have
congratulated me.


WAGNER: As if that is not enough, the Donald reconfirmed his position
today, tweeting "Huma Abedin, the top aide to Hillary Clinton and the wife
of perv, sleazebag Anthony Weiner was a major security risk as a collector
of info."

Joining us now is Jonathan Allen, chief political correspondent for "Vox",
and back with us are Jonathan Chait and Governor Howard Dean.

Jonathan, this seems to be an excuse to A, mispronounce Huma Abedin`s name,
but also to keep -- to -- so that Donald Trump can keep saying the phrase,
wife of perv, sleazebag Anthony Weiner.

And therefore associate the Clinton brand with that of so-called perv,
sleazebag Anthony Weiner.



WAGNER: Go ahead Jonathan Chait.

CHAIT: Yes, there`s two of us. There`s so many bizarre things about this
episode that you could have showed.

One of them is that this was a political speech by a candidate for
president who`s just kind of rambling on and on about, you know, inside
Washington politics in a way you just don`t see presidential candidates do.

And the second thing that you almost may not have noticed because the first
thing was so weird, is that Donald Trump is running on the theme of marital
and sexual propriety.

I mean, no one expected this to be one of his themes.

WAGNER: Yes --

ALLEN: I mean, this is a guy who --

WAGNER: Jonathan Allen -- yes, let me ask you, for -- I mean, to Jonathan
Chait`s point, Huma Abedin is known inside the beltway, but Donald Trump
has -- in this sort of fashion elevated her.

And I guess I wonder what you think of that strategy.

ALLEN: Well, I think there`re a couple of things involved here. Number
one, obviously as Jonathan suggested, definitely wants to tie her and
Hillary Clinton to Anthony Weiner in that scandal, which isn`t that
difficult to do, obviously.

Look, I think Donald Trump also likes going after anybody who is foreign or
whose parents are foreign. We`ve seen that in a lot of venues, part of his

We heard -- even before this goes back a long time, there were allegations
against Huma Abedin from Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, that she was, you
know, somehow in with bad guys overseas.

I mean, this is a long time sort of slur against Huma Abedin. Now, it may
turn out that she had some classified material in her e-mail, what that has
to do with her telling Anthony Weiner about it, something completely

Nobody`s accused her of that happening. And from Donald Trump`s
perspective, calling people a perv, I mean, this is a guy that once joked
that he would have dated his own daughter were she not his daughter.

WAGNER: And joked that apparently recently, Jon Allen.

ALLEN: Yes, I mean, so, Donald Trump is living in a big, fat glass house
on a lot of this stuff including his psychological analysis of other

WAGNER: Howard Dean, no, you know, the news of this particular hour is
also that there`s a new trove of Clinton e-mails being released.

And I want to call your attention to a "Washington Post" report on Saturday
that said, "inside the Clinton team, there is an acknowledgement that the
issue has been badly handled and that it has given rise to broader worries
about Clinton`s trustworthiness and sense of entitlement."

I mean, how much do you think it is of concern that we continue to have to
talk about this.

DEAN: Look, we`re going to have to talk about it until the press gets
something more than Donald Trump to talk about.

I mean, this is -- there is -- I`ve had the position that there`s no
"there-there" in e-mail stuff that -- which she said on the very first day,
was completely accurate.

There were no classified information sent or received by her because at the
time, they either weren`t marked classified or if they were classified --
or the State Department as it often does, its standard operating procedure
to classify stuff after the fact, which is what`s going on right now.

So, I don`t think, you know, in the long run, I don`t think it`s going to
hurt Hillary, but it`s hurt her some because the Republican talking points
are pretty good.

And the press corps not as a -- not as up to speed as they ought to be. I
mean, the "New York Times" just acknowledged to be one of the best papers
in the country has printed two stories that were completely wrong.

But one about the e-mails and one about the financial donations, that`s
pretty bad. These guys just to make -- need to get a life and when the
campaign gets more life than Donald Trump`s nonsense, perhaps these issues
will be more seriously -- taken more seriously.

WAGNER: What -- Jon, the --

ALLEN: To cover the Inspectors General of the State Department and the
intelligence communities were concerned enough that there was a breach of
national security to recommend that the FBI open an investigation into it.

Not a criminal one, a security one, but they obviously concerned about the
way that this e-mail was handled. I mean, that`s not --

DEAN: Yes, but --

ALLEN: Something the reporter should just ignore, is it?

DEAN: I don`t think reporters should ignore, but I think they ought to put
down the facts when they -- know the facts and they ought to find what the
facts are.

The facts are that Hillary Clinton had very little to do with anything that
the FBI is investigating. The FBI is wondering if somebody divulge
classified information.

It was -- it`s been pretty clear that Hillary Clinton has not been accused
of that other than partisans and reporters that are too lazy to get it
straight; the facts straight.

WAGNER: Jon Chait, there`s also another X factor here which is the rise of
Bernie Sanders. And we have new polling, show that he`s eroding her lead
in a "Des Moine Register"-"Bloomberg" politics poll of Iowa -- like the
Iowa Democratic caucus, caucus goers, I mean.

If you look at support for Clinton and Sanders, her support is -- we look
at a Bernie Sanders lead that`s increasing, and I guess I wonder, do you
think that has anything to do with the e-mails?

Is that about economic populism? And is there some concern that Bernie
Sanders is a real threat, especially in early states like Iowa?

CHAIT: I don`t think he`s got the chops to go all the way, and I don`t
think anybody does. You know, I don`t think that Bernie Sanders is really
running to be the nominee.

He is running because he has ideas he cares about. He wants to use the
forum of the presidential race to get people to talk about those ideas and
maybe push the eventual nominees who he probably knows is going to be
Hillary Clinton, his way.

The fact that he`s having more success is probably going to make that
easier for him to do, to get more attention. But I don`t think he`s really
built to hold up to frontrunner-type scrutiny.

And if he gets into that position, then you know, he may not be talking
about the things he really wants to be talking about.

Then maybe he`ll be getting examined as a person, and, you know, throughout
his whole history in a way he doesn`t necessarily want.

I`m not saying there`s any scandals. I`m not trying to imply anything.
But where he wants to be is the guy who is talking about ideas.

He doesn`t want to be examined as a person and scrutinized as a

WAGNER: Everyone wants to be an insurgent. Howard Dean --

CHAIT: Yes --

WAGNER: And Jonathan Allen, thanks for your time.

ALLEN: Thank you.

WAGNER: Coming up --

CHAIT: Thank you --

WAGNER: Your suggestions, your suggestions for Kanye West`s 2020
presidential campaign slogan. And later, President Obama versus President
McKinley, a battle 114 years in the making.



WAGNER: Last night, in a 12-minute speech filled with growls and
profanities and in the middle of it, he had just smoked something to take
the edge off. America got its newest candidate for president.


could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for



WAGNER: In fact, nobody had guessed it by that moment. Nobody. But in
just 24 hours since the announcement, Kanye West for president 2020 has
seen a wave of support. Several websites dedicated to the candidate have
popped up, including which features a countdown to the
election, only 1,653 days away.

Proving West already has his party loyalty. The Democratic Party tweeted
last night, "@KanyeWest declared his candidacy for president in 2020.
Welcome to the race, Mr. West. Glad to have you." And, today paperwork
was filed for the ready for Kanye political action committee.

According to the Associated Press, "The White House is thinking the same
thing as rest of us. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says at the
announcement that he looks forward to seeing what slogan Mr. West chooses
to embroider on his campaign hat.

We asked you guys at home for your suggestions on the West 2020 slogan, and
you certainly delivered. Joe tweeted, "Yesus we can." Debbie suggestion
for the slogan was, "Beyonce deserves to run for president." Karen
tweeted, "Yes, we Kanye." And, our very own producer, Casey Dolan, "For
the win. No one man should have all that power except me."

Coming up, President Obama, reality T.V. star.





is not just a preview of what will happen to the rest of us if we do not
take action. It is our wakeup call. The alarm bells are ringing. And, as
long as I am president, America will lead the world to meet this threat
before it is too late.


WAGNER: President Obama began a three-day trip to Alaska today as part of
his administration`s effort to draw attention to the effects of climate
change. On top of meeting with native Alaskans and touring melting
glaciers, President Obama will use an unorthodox method to spread his
climate message.

He is going into the Alaskan wilderness with Bear Grylls, star of NBC`s
"Running Wild with Bear Grylls." President Obama will become the first
sitting U.S. President to star in a reality T.V. show with Bear Grylls, in
case you were wondering.

According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, "It is just sort of
an admittedly unorthodox but legitimately interesting way for the President
to reach an audience that obviously cares about this conversation."

The president is also stirring controversy by changing the name of Alaska`s
Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. Interior Secretary
Sally Jewel signed a secretarial order on Sunday making that change
official. Earlier today, @Podest tweeted, "Today, we are returning, "Mt.
McKinley to its native name, Denali. A step to reflect the heritage of
Alaskan natives."

Joining us now is Josh Barro, Reporter for the "New York Times" and an
MSNBC Contributor. All right, Josh, where is the silent majority? Is it
the McKinleyites or is it people looking for more of a return to native

JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in Alaska, the clear majority is on
the Denali side. There was a video message released by republican Senator
Lisa Murkowski thanking the president for making this name changed.

Alaska has wanted this change for about 40 years, and it has been blocked
successfully by members of congress from Ohio, which is President
McKinley`s home state. I think in the other 49 states, almost nobody
cares. Like elected officials from Ohio get all indignant about this and
how it is offensive to the memory of President McKinley and whatever.

But, the idea that anybody actually really cares that much about McKinley
especially to the point that they might say vote on an election on this
issue of whether this should be named after McKinley I think is about zero.
But, it does feed into this broader narrative from republicans, that how
the president oversteps his bounds and uses executive authority, where he
opted in front of the congress.

It is not a made up narrative. There have been a number of Supreme Court
decisions actually striking down generally, relatively minor actions by the
president, but still, he has been slapped back a few times on that.

But, I think this is sort of a clever way for the president to draw out
that reaction on an issue that seems so silly, that republicans look
ridiculous attacking him for his executive overreach in renaming a mountain
that most people around the mountain wanted renamed anyway.

WAGNER: Right. William McKinley is not usually uses as political football
Dante, but Josh does bring up two, I think, interesting pieces of subtext
here. One is the fact that the president is circumventing congress and
issuing secretarial order of the secretarial of interior is.

And, the other issue, I think that is kind of interesting is, we are going
into an election season, and here is the president sort of taking a risk as
far as his popularity in the state of Ohio, which is not something you
usually see, given Ohio`s electoral importance.

CHAIT: Right. Well, I am from Michigan originally. So, anytime you can
stick it to Ohio, I am in favor of it, regardless of the ground which are
sticking it to Ohio.


But, the bigger risk he is taking is with his climate initiatives where he
really is making aggressive, unilateral regulatory moves that are probably
going to be the most important thing he ends up doing as president, if he
can pull off this international agreement later in the year.

And, that is what he is trying to build support for. So, if he actually
does it, you know, there are the republicans will be right. They will be
right legally, because I think he really does have the authority. But,
they will be right, that he went completely around them and did something
huge and lasting, which is going to really leave an imprint not only on the
United States but on the whole world.

WAGNER: Yes. You know -- I mean and that is sort of "The" thing for us to
talk about, vis-a-vis Alaska, Josh. President Obama is the first sitting
U.S. President to visit the Alaskan arctic, right? And, it is again, to
draw attention to the climate and -- the changing climate up there and to
encourage action on it one way or the other.

At the same time, this administration has come under some criticism for
issuing permits to arctic drilling. It is something that environmental
movement has not been happy with. They have pointed that out at the
beginning of this trip and will likely continue to point it out. And, I
guess I wonder, is that all, are those criticisms sort of way laid by the
broader inroads that he is making as Jonathan Chait`s point?

BARRO: I mean -- Yes. I mean if you have an effective regime for limiting
carbon emissions then you should sort of be able to go issue as many
drilling permits as you want. The key issue is how much carbon gets
released into the atmosphere.

And, if there is regulatory scheme is effective and basically causing power
utilities to move away from coal toward natural gas and toward renewables
and other things that reduce the output, then there is no particular need
to regulate the input.

And, I think that is what the administration would say is we have an
effective regime around the input. I think also the politics of this are
complicated even within Alaska. I mean you have these villages along the
coast that are very seriously impacted by climate change. You also have an
immense number of people who work in the oil extraction industry in Alaska.

Most people in Alaska do not live in the Arctic. Half of them live in the
Anchorage Metropolitan area, which is very heavily dependent on the oil
industry for its economy. So, I think the message to be sent in Alaska is

It is that we are going to have a national strategy toward climate change
that focuses on restricting emissions without particularly aiming at Alaska
by say, preventing the expansion of the oil extraction industry there.

WAGNER: Josh Barro and Jonathan Chait, always good to see you both.
Thanks for your time.

Coming up, the surprising issue that both democratic and republican
candidates are talking about on the campaign trail.



WAGNER: The war on drugs is not working. An estimated $51 billion is
spent on that so-called war every year. And, the latest statistics from
the FBI show that more than 1.5 million arrests were made for drug abuse
crimes making drug abuse the number one reason for an arrest in the United

But the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts is trying to change all of that
with an innovative new program that will offer a chance at rehab, instead
of prison to those who were addicted to drugs.

And, today, the White House announced that September will be national
addiction recovery month. In a video that MSNBC produced in partnership
with, this is one town story of how it is trying to fight the
war on drugs.



When you spend enough time with people who are addicted, especially in the
capacity of law enforcement, at first, you know, you feel like you are
doing a great job by cutting off the supply. After a while, you realized a
complete helplessness of the person that is suffering from addiction and
how arrest is not the answer.

We wanted to make a bold and provocative statement and push that statement
further up the ladder to the legislature and say as a police department, we
are simply not going to arrest for the possession of this drug if the
person presents to the police department and asks for help.



CAMPANELLO: No matter what happens with you, from today on, the Gloucester
Police Department is here. And, that means that today is the first day of
your last recovery, ever. There is no way we are going to arrest our way
out of the addiction crisis in this country.


ALLYSON LAMOTHE, MOTHER OF NATHAN LAMOTHE: The hardest part about having a
family member with a heroin addiction is watching -- watching my son die
right before my eyes. And, I was watching him die. He denied that he was
using any kind of drugs. But there was a moment that he came and said, "I
think I need help."



NATHAN LAMOTHE, PROGRAM PARTICIPANT: The way I was living, I was trying to
kill myself. And, I told myself, if the Gloucester Police Station did not
get me help that night, then I was just, I was going to take care of it.



ALLYSON LAMOTHE: You sound mentally stronger than I have heard you sound
in probably the last five-plus years.



NATHAN LAMOTHE: Ma, I mean, I owe you a lot. You have helped me when
nobody else would.



NATHAN LAMOTHE: And, when I first walked through the door, I felt like I
was going to jail. I was just really nervous. I had a lot of anxiety. I
thought for sure I was going to get arrested for a crime that I did not
even commit, but when I walked through the door, it was the complete
opposite. They asked if I was hungry. They asked if I was thirsty.

I mean Chief Campenello, I went in probably at 8:00 at night. He came in
at 9:00 at night from home. I mean, that was so empowering. I say it all
the time. I got the strength to go to the Gloucester Police Station from
my mother, but I got the hope to stay clean from the Gloucester Police
Station while I was there.



CAMPENELLO: This is not an unsolvable issue. If law enforcement is
willing to change how we view this, then other entities had better step up
to the plate.


WAGNER: Chief Campenello joins me next.


WAGNER: The Supreme Court has ruled against the Kentucky County clerk who
has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. There will be no question
when Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis arrives at work tomorrow that the
federal court has mandated she issue the licenses.

If Davis continues to turn them away, the couple`s attorney can ask a judge
to hold her in contempt of court, which can carry fines or jail time. We
will be right back.



SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The criminal justice system
has not worked the same for everybody. You know, if one of your kids gets
caught with drugs, you get them a lawyer, and you are not going to let them
spend time in prison, hopefully. But you know what happens if you are
poor? Particularly, if you are poor and black? You get arrested at a
higher incidence and you spend more time in prison.



FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hear this all the time,
the heroin challenge that exists. The first time I started hearing about
it was here in New Hampshire, but it is all over the country now. Look, I
have some personal experience in this just as a dad, and it is the most
heartbreaking thing in the world to have to go through.



surprised. And, I did not expect that I would hear about drug abuse and
substance abuse and other such challenges everywhere I went.


WAGNER: 2016 presidential candidates are finally realizing what much of
America already knows. That drug abuse is a problem that can affect any
family anywhere, especially when it comes to heroin.

Perhaps, because the problem is hitting those in the rust belt and in the
northeast, including in the state of New Hampshire, hitting those places
the hardest. And, perhaps that is why addiction is finally getting the
attention it deserves.

Joining us now is Leonard Campenello, the Police Chief of Gloucester,
Massachusetts, who has developed an innovative new program that offers drug
rehab to anyone who asked for help.

A program that has resulted in help for more than 130 people so far. And,
Frank Greenagel, the chairman of the New Jersey Task Force on Heroin and
other opiates. Chief Campanello, let me just start with you in terms of
the regional effects this epidemic is having. Why -- you are from the
northeast. Why is heroin getting a foothold in these parts of the country?

think it is getting a foothold all over the country. I think the northeast
has typically been in the forefront of discussing the problem openly. And,
I think that is why we are poised here in the northeast to make strides
against it.

WAGNER: Frank, give us a sense of how this has happened. I mean, if you
look at the numbers on the ferocity and the depth of the heroin epidemic,
two out of every 1,000 Americans are addicted to heroin. That is a number
that I think is staggering and completely under discussed.

OPIATES: So, I am a fourth generation English teacher, and words are very
important to me. And, so, I do not like hyperbole, but I think this is a
case where epidemic absolutely makes a lot of sense.

So, when we were holding our task force hearings, there was a man from
Philadelphia who gave some testimony. And, he said that in 2011, more
people died from overdose deaths in America than from car crashes. So, we
are looking at 35,500 in 2011 versus 35,000 car crashes on highways.

And, this is really the result of prescription drugs. People get on
prescription drugs. I think it has safely gone peer. They start doing it.
You know -- her grandmother had it from a hip replacement. Maybe they get
introduced to Percocet or Percodan through their dentist.

And, then their prescription runs out or the money runs out. And, so, they
find something that is 20 percent the cost, and that is heroin. And, so
people who never would do heroin now do it because they got introduced to
it through training wheels, which is prescription drugs.

WAGNER: So, let us talk about how we are changing the way we combat this
epidemic. Chief Campanello, I mean incarceration, up until a certain point
has been this sort of default position. What do you do with these people?

You throw them in jail, and perhaps hope for the best. Talk to us a little
bit how your department has changed the thinking on that, on that mode of
treatment or dealing with the issue by throwing people in jail.

CAMPANELLO: Well, where has it gotten us historically? You know,
incarceration has gotten us nowhere in this so-called war on drugs. So, I
did a plain-clothes narcotics work for years, arrested everybody who
crossed our path. And, we saw the spin dry cycle, back on the street with
no help and back in the system.

The figures we get are telling us that for every $1 we are spending in
treatment, we are spending $7 in incarcerating people. And, in order to
make a statement, you know, the Gloucester Police decided that we would
refuse to arrest, someone who came in to the station and look for help for
this addiction.

And if we are changing the way we do things, we expect others to do the
same. And, that includes the health providers, health care plans and

WAGNERS: OK. So, the other piece of this that is hard to sort of fathom
to your point, is that the gateway for this -- the gateway for heroin
addiction seems to be prescribed painkillers, which are legal, right?

GREENAGEL: Yes, ma`am.

WAGNER: And, so I guess I wonder when we are talking about how to stanch
this epidemic, I mean do we need to rethink the way we are prescribing pain
killers and is there a momentum afoot to stop the over prescription of pain

GREENAGEL: There absolutely is. So, 49 of 50 states in America, not
Missouri, has prescription drug monitoring programs. And 20 percent of
those programs are mandated, which means that if you are a doctor or nurse-
practitioner and you prescribe, you have to enter it into a database
system, and the pharmacist has to check that.

And, then each time someone comes in, you have to check to see if they have
gotten too many prescriptions before, have they gotten too many lately, how
long has it been going on for. And, we have seen some curbing of the
prescribing practices. And, so that has been good. We need more education
of nurses, pharmacist, doctors, nurse practitioners and you know, we are
doing that.

Some states are doing better than others. And, so, I think we have made
some head way. And, we have seen a transition from larger abuse
prescription drugs and now we are seeing heroin surging, partly because of
the crackdown, but also really it is driven by economics. It is 20 percent
of the cost.

WAGNER: Yes. Let us talk a little bit about the socioeconomic piece of
this, Chief Campanello. Tell us a little bit about whether class place
into this at all, whether you have seen any sort of change in the general
picture we have about opiate addiction.

CAMPANELLO: Well, I think that is part of the problem is we are dealing
with 2015 problems with a 1955 mind-set. We think that, you know, there is
still a stigma attached to addiction. That it is the crazy old guy under
the bridge with the needle in his arm. It is not.

This is a drug that crosses every socioeconomic boundary we know of. It
has no regard for race or ethnicity. It crosses every boundary we know.
And it is in everybody`s home or in the home of somebody they know.

And, I think that is why it is getting the attention that it gets. And,
law enforcement can definitely be a voice to further the conversation about
what we are doing as this reaches that epidemic level.

WAGNER: Frank, real quick. 8,200 heroin-related overdose deaths every
year. Is that number going to go down next year?

GREENAGEL: No, it is going to continue going up until we do more about
this. You know, I just want to say I am so pleased and proud of what the
chief is doing. We need that local law enforcement to act. We do not have
enough time.

But chief, you know, you also have done a lot of great stuff with the
Narcan. And so, I just hope other people copy and you get celebrated more
so. Thank you for what you have been doing.

WAGNER: Important changes. Chief Leonard Campanello and Frank Greenagel,
thank you both. Chris Hayes is coming up next.


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