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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: September 10, 2015
Guest: Allan Lichtman, Eugene Joseph Dionne, Jonathan Alter, Sabrina
Siddiqui, Jeff Greenfield, Tad Devine, Scott Cooper

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening, Rachel, we`re going
to expand on both of those stories --

MADDOW: Right --

O`DONNELL: And a lot more in the next hour --

MADDOW: Great, thanks Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel. You know, no one, and I mean no one crushes
Donald Trump the way President Obama crushes Donald Trump. Remember what
the President did to Trump at the White House Correspondent`s dinner.

Donald sure does.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You, Mr. Trump recognize
that the real problem was a lack of leadership, and so ultimately, you
didn`t blame little John or Meatloaf --

(LAUGHTER)

You fired Gary Busey.

(LAUGHTER)

And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, today, President Obama crushed Donald Trump once again on
something much more important.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER, SENATE: The Senate has spoken. The
historic agreement with Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon will stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats blocking a Republican resolution, rejecting
the deal.

MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER, SENATE: The issue is not over.

REID: I understand my friend`s frustration. This is a situation where
he`s lost the vote.

MCCONNELL: Break out the champagne, celebrate, take credit for it, you own
it.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: There`s one particular
candidate who just seems to delight in insulting women every chance he
gets.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER,
TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: I probably could say that about Carly or
something about in a --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes --

TRUMP: Jocular manner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that face, why would anyone vote for that?

TRUMP: I`m talking about her persona --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, then, why don`t you --

(CROSSTALK)

Talk about her brain --

TRUMP: We need somebody --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Instead of her face?

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: I think those comments speak for
themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have all this back and forth with Ben Carson --

BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: Humility and the fear of the
Lord. I don`t get that impression with him.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Trump responded with some things about Ben
Carson obviously are not true.

TRUMP: I don`t think he`s a great religious figure.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: It`s clear Donald Trump`s never read the
Bible. We know he`s never read the Bible, he`s not in the Bible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much can Donald Trump get away with in speaking
offensively about women?

CLINTON: If he emerges, I would love to debate him.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The day after Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck rallied
outside the Capitol to try to stop the Iran deal, the United States Senate
gave President Obama the biggest foreign policy victory of his presidency
in what may turn out to be the most important foreign policy achievement
since the end of the cold war.

An achievement that could lead to a much safer world with Iran no longer
pursuing nuclear weapons. President Obama released this statement.

"Today, the Senate took a historic step forward and voted to enable the
United States to work with our international partners to enable the
implementation of the comprehensive long term deal that will prevent Iran
from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

This vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national security and
for the safety and security of the world." Forty two Senate Democrats
voted against cloture on a resolution opposing the deal.

Republicans needed at least 60 votes to prevail, such outcomes on cloture
votes are normal in the Senate. But Republican leader, Mitch McConnell
responded bitterly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: Democratic senators just voted to filibuster and block the
American people from even having a real vote on one of the most
consequential foreign policy issues of our time.

REID: I understand my friend`s frustration. This is a situation where
he`s lost the vote. And it`s a situation, Mr. President, where he is
simply not in touch with reality as it exists.

We`re not in any way stopping debate as was done by my Republican
colleagues hundreds of times in years past.

So, this can be re-litigated -- first total of 60 times to try to break the
Affordable Care Act record if you choose, but this matter is over with.

MCCONNELL: So, no amount of saying the issue is over makes it over.

It`s on the floor of the Senate, we`ll have an opportunity again next week
to move past this procedural snag to give all members of the Senate an
opportunity to vote up or down on a resolution of disapproval, which we
know is supported on a bipartisan basis.

And I end with this, there`s bipartisan opposition to this deal.
Bipartisan opposition to this deal, only Democrat support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, E.J. Dionne, opinion writer for "The Washington
Post" and an Msnbc political analyst, Allan Lichtman, presidential
historian and distinguished professor of history at American University and
Jonathan Alter, Msnbc political analyst and columnist for "The Daily
Beast".

Professor Lichtman, I`d like you to put this in historical context for us
and on the assumption that the deal works.

Now, let`s all agree that if the deal doesn`t work and if Iran is cheating
within a year and the whole thing falls apart, then this was not a big
historic day.

But now, let`s entertain the possibility that what Iran has agreed to in
this deal, it actually does do, and we -- and this deal ends up working and
removing Iran from the possible nuclear powers in the world.

ALLAN LICHTMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: This deal is of great historical
importance.

And by the way, it`s going to work for the same reason that the Soviets
back in the cold war days a much more formidable foe adhered to treaties
because it is greatly in Iran`s interest to adhere to this treaty.

You don`t build a nuclear weapon in a truck under a top, it will be
detected and all the sanctions will snap at you and they`ll be a pariah
state.

But why is this so important? Number one, it preserves the peace in the
Middle East and the peace around the world.

A nuclear armed Iran threatens the peace not only of the region but perhaps
could lead to a worldwide conflagration.

No doubt about that. In addition, let`s not forget, Iran in many ways is a
very sophisticated country with a very large middle class. About a third
of its people are middle class and they are yearning to join the world`s
economy.

They are yearning to become part of the world community. You don`t produce
positive change by isolation, as we learned with so many decades in Cuba.

You can only produce it by integrating nations into the world community and
this opens up that possibility.

Finally, look at the alternative, the opponents, including sadly my home
state Senator Ben Cardin in Maryland say tighten up the sanctions.

They are the very people who`ve said sanctions don`t work. Moreover, the
other world powers that negotiated this treaty are not going to go along
with tightening the sanctions.

You vote down this treaty, Iran has every incentive to build a nuclear
weapon and indeed, the alternative may well be another disastrous war in
the Middle East.

So, this is an accomplishment of historic importance that avoids what could
be a catastrophic situation for the world.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Donald Trump has said about how he would
handle this deal on the assumption that it was going to go through -- which
it did, how he would handle this deal if he becomes president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get that --

TRUMP: When I`m --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if it`s -- you`ve made --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: When I make this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You --

TRUMP: Let me tell you, but I will police that deal -- you know, I`ve
taken over some bad contracts, I buy contracts where people screwed up and
they had big contracts --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which you could abide by --

TRUMP: But I`m really good at looking at a contract and finding things
within the contract that even -- they`re bad. I would police that contract
so tough that they don`t have a chance, as bad as the contract is.

I will be so tough on that contract.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, and that`s the fault line in the Republican Party
on the -- with the Republican presidential candidates. Do you rip up the
deal on the first day as some of them say they would or do you take the
Trump approach, which used to say the deal is a reality, police the deal?

EUGENE JOSEPH DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, well, the
irony here is that, Donald Trump is on the responsible side of that
argument --

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Right --

DIONNE: Because --

O`DONNELL: That`s --

DIONNE: He was saying --

O`DONNELL: Is why I wanted to show that rare piece of video --

DIONNE: This is very open-minded of you --

O`DONNELL: Where Donald is being on the responsible side --

DIONNE: You know, the likelihood that the next president will actually rip
up the deal even if it`s a candidate who says it now, is just very small.

This is a historic deal, by the way, I agree with that. I was thinking
that analogies are to Kennedy sort of opening talks and working toward a
test ban treaty, Nixon is a top policy.

And then, if Iran starts to change, this could even be like the opening to
China, and that`s the hopeful scenario that you cannot count on but that
might be down the road, is at least the possibility now.

And I think for all those reasons and for the simple fact and John Kasich
said this himself, this isn`t just about the United States being able to do
this alone.

The sanctions worked because our allies went along with us. And that if we
walked away from this, we`d also be walking away from real allies, and not
just China and Russia.

And so I think Trump is describing reality.

O`DONNELL: I want to listen to something Chuck Schumer said today, it was
a very awkward day for Chuck Schumer. He`s one of the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right --

O`DONNELL: Four Democrats who voted with the Republicans on this against
the president. He`s also presumably the next Democratic leader of the
Senate. Let`s listen to how Chuck Schumer handled this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Regardless of how one feels about the
agreement, all fair-minded Americans should acknowledge the president`s
strong achievements in combating and containing Iran.

I also have a great deal of respect for the careful thought and
deliberation my colleagues went through before making their final
decisions.

While I came to a different conclusion than many in my own caucus, I
recognize for them that this is a vote of conscience, just as it is for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, that speech reminds me of other foreign policy votes
that I have seen in the Senate a long time ago when it was considered
perfectly reasonable for -- to vote one way or the other on a given
question, it didn`t have to be bitter --

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Right --

O`DONNELL: The way Mitch McConnell was today. It didn`t have to be
questioning patriotism, anything like that.

ALTER: It`s really unfortunate that it`s gotten so partisan. I mean, if
you go back to something like the Panama Canal treaties, which was a very
intense, very hard-fought debate in 1978, it was bipartisan.

There were -- there were Republicans and Democrats on each side of the
issue, it wouldn`t have gone through if it wasn`t for Republican Howard
Baker joining with Democratic president Jimmy Carter.

So, those were the days when -- as the saying went, politics ended at the
water`s edge. And there was a sense that as a nation really did have to
think about the national interest, not a narrow political interests when
something very important like nuclear weapons was on the table.

And so, even though I am -- I am -- you know, really gratified that this
deal is going to go through, I`m worried about the political climate in
which this debate is taking place.

Because with just a few changes in the composition of the Senate or with a
certain kind of president, we could be in a very irrational foreign policy
climate.

O`DONNELL: Allan Litchman, E.J. Dionne and Jonathan Alter, thank you all
for joining me tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, Glenn Beck, Glenn
Beck, that`s right, tells Donald Trump to grow up.

And Bernie Sanders surge in the polls continues, a new poll tonight has a
shocking result for Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson.

And later, your government at work is one way of watching Scott Cooper`s
brilliant new movie starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, the Boston
gangster and FBI informer Scott Cooper will join us later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I should go now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you should go now.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It`s official Carly Fiorina will be on the main debate stage in
the next Republican presidential candidates debate.

"Cnn" announced tonight that Fiorina will be joining Donald Trump, Jeb
Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand
Paul, John Kasich and Chris Christie.

And in the second-tier debate, there will be Rick Perry, Rick Santorum,
Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore did not meet the minimum threshold to
qualify this time around, despite making that lower tier -- he was in that
lower tier debate in August.

Up next, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have a problem with Donald Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Glenn Beck has had enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, TELEVISION PERSONALITY: Enough of the third grade politics.
Grow up, Donald Trump, grow up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Even Glenn Beck has had enough of Donald Trump. But Glenn Beck
clings to the optimism that Donald Trump might someday actually grow up.

Glenn Beck`s disgust with Trump comes on a day when Donald Trump continues
to explore what he can get away with, saying that no other presidential
candidate can get away with.

Saying this time, it`s about the only Republican woman running for
president. In a "Rolling Stone" magazine profile, there is the following
scene of Trump and the Trump entourage on the Trump jet watching Carly
Fiorina on TV.

"Look at that face", he cries, "would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine
that, the face of our next president." The laughter grows halting and
faint behind him.

"I mean, she`s a woman and I`m not supposed to say bad things, but really,
folks, come on, are we serious?"

This morning, Donald Trump made the rounds on TV doing his version of
damage control, pretending that when he said, look at that face, he didn`t
mean that face.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Probably, I did say something like that about Carly. I`m talking
about persona, I`m not talking about looks. When he and other people hit
me on things, nobody ever comes to my defense.

So, I`m just saying this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You come to your defense --

TRUMP: Carly had a terrible time in business, she destroyed a company.
I`m talking about her persona.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But then why don`t you --

TRUMP: She`s got --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talk about her brain --

TRUMP: We need somebody --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Instead of her face --

TRUMP: We need somebody that --

(APPLAUSE)

I`ve made a tremendous fortune, we need people that can change our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump also attacked Republican presidential candidate
Dr. Ben Carson after Dr. Carson questioned just how religious Donald Trump
really is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don`t think he`s a great religious figure, and I saw him
yesterday quoting something and he was quoting on humility and it looked
like he had just memorized it about two minutes before he made the quote.

So, you know, don`t tell me about Ben Carson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well --

TRUMP: I don`t know Ben Carson. He was a doctor, perhaps, you know, an OK
doctor, by the way, you can check that out, too. If you look at his past,
which I`ve done, he wasn`t a deep man of faith.

All of a sudden, he`s become this man of faith and he was heavy into the
world of abortion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh has an audience full of Trump supporters and so
Rush Limbaugh has been very careful not to criticize Trump, but today Rush
Limbaugh had to come to the defense of Ben Carson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: I don`t know what the value is in ripping into Ben Carson as an
OK doctor. Trump responded with some things about Ben Carson obviously are
not true.

In a "Rolling Stone" interview, Trump sort of mocked Carly Fiorina`s face.
I fully expect to have people defend Trump.

It may be totally inappropriate, but we`ve -- you know, appropriate in
American politics have been strangers for who knows how long now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Sabrina Siddiqui, a political reporter for "The
Guardian" and Jeff Greenfield, political analyst, author and columnist for
"The Daily Beast".

Sabrina, Trump has gotten away with everything else he has said up to now
in this campaign. I suppose this ramps up to a very interesting possible
exchange between Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump on the debate stage next
week.

SABRINA SADDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: It does. I think one
of the interesting things about Donald Trump is, up until now, he`s been
tapping into this conservative frustration with the Republican
establishment field.

Notice that, a lot of his attacks have been targeted toward Jeb Bush who he
can argue is cherry-picked by the establishment to be the next Republican
nominee.

But now, he`s seeing the rise of other outsiders as primary voters have
this anyone, but DC attitude toward the election, at least for the time
being.

You have Ben Carson, you have Carly Fiorina, you have these other outsiders
who are on the rise in key states like Iowa and he`s having to contend with
the fact that they could tap into his share of support.

Ben Carson of course is one of those people who threw a couple of punches
at him so Donald Trump hit back. Carly Fiorina has also been very
aggressive in taking on Donald Trump over the last few weeks.

And it`s very different to hit back at someone like Jeb Bush, but when
you`re hitting back at Ben Carson and questioning his credentials and his
faith, you`re not going to get the same kind of responses when you question
Jeb Bush and try to tie him to his brother and tie him to political
establishment.

O`DONNELL: Conservative radio host, Steve D.C. tweeted this today -- he`s
an Iowa radio host. He said, "if Donald Trump gets 32 percent of the
evangelical vote in Iowa on February 1, I will quit my job -- not
happening."

Jeff Greenfield, promising to quit your job based on a vote threshold that
Donald Trump either might not get has now become risky business.

JEFF GREENFIELD, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, I think anyone
who makes that statement -- and I think I have said if he`s elected
president, I will take a permanent vow of silence.

(LAUGHTER)

So, I`m on the hook. But anybody after what we`ve been through just really
ought to stop this. You know, this is -- this is chapter 28 and now he`s
gone too far.

Maybe this is the moment. Maybe on the debate stage Carly Fiorina will
deliver a Joseph Welch(ph) to Joe McCarty fatal blow.

My skepticism is that, unlike lonesome roads in the face in the crowd who
is destroyed really when the public learned what he really thought.

Donald Trump tells us his darkest thoughts. His id is out on national
display and what has built momentum for Trump among weirdly desperate
groups; evangelicals, moderates, college-educated people is something
that`s much more rooted in the enormous disaffection and contempt for the
political establishment that Trump now reflects that anger.

And so, the betting that any one comment is going to unhorse him, I think
flies in the face of everything we`ve seen in the last two months.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Carly Fiorina said about this on "Fox".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: And I`m not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald
Trump means. But maybe, just maybe I`m getting under his skin a little bit
because I am climbing in the polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Sabrina, she climbed the polls enough to make it into that
debate which is the important thing.

And so, now it`s all about what happens -- and this little story is all
about what happens between the two of them at the debate.

SIDDIQUI: It is, and I think that obviously it`ll -- remains to be seen
whether we`re going to see any kind of fireworks in this debate. I still
think Donald Trump is going to be the center of attention certainly by
topping the polls.

He gets to be center stage and that`s what we saw in the first "Fox News"
debate. I think it`s going to be a little bit more of a challenge for
Carly Fiorina to stand out when you`re standing on a stage and one of 11
candidates.

And this is of course the top 11. It`s not going to be quite the same as
when she was in that second tier debate, but she`s been preparing.

A lot of people within the Republican Party are very impressed with Carly
Fiorina at this point and she`s been a very effective messenger according
to the Republican Party against Hillary Clinton.

I think she`ll be really trying to reposition herself as a -- as a -- not
only a potential credible nominee but also with someone who can really
carry the party`s message against Hillary Clinton and kind of hit back on
that front among women voters.

And also, you know, she`s clearly shown that she`s not -- that she`s --
that she`s willing to stick it to Donald Trump. So, a lot of people are
kind of anticipating this matchup.

But we saw in the last debate that you have to be a little careful when you
get too engaged with Donald Trump. It`s really unpredictable what might
come out of his mouth.

So, you know, it really remains to be seen how that`s going to play out.

O`DONNELL: And Donald Trump is at a new all-time high in the "Cnn" poll
just released today, it`s among registered voters.

And it has Donald Trump at 32 -- and the last version of this poll, he was
at 24, Ben Carson is at 19, Jeb Bush at 13, Ted Cruz 7, Mike Huckabee 5,
Scott Walker 5.

And so, Jeff Greenfield, there it is, the Trump star continues to rise.

GREENFIELD: The most important part of any number -- and you know how I
feel about polls this early, right? --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREENFIELD: We go back a long way --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREENFIELD: We should go to Delphi and bring gifts to the oracle and have
her, you know, go under those spells. And this is -- this is the crack
cocaine of our industry.

But the one number that struck me from an earlier poll --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: It`s -- Jeff, it`s just a little -- it`s a little safer than
crack cocaine and that`s why we use it here on the show.

GREENFIELD: Well, perhaps -- OK, I will grant you that. I`ve never -- I
have read a lot of polls, I haven`t -- but the point I`m making is, at this
point now, roughly half of the Republicans believe that Donald Trump is
likely to be the nominee.

If they -- if that credibility continues to be that high -- in other words,
if disaffected voters say, wait a minute, we can do this just like they did
in California with Schwarzenegger and in Minnesota with Ventura.

Then the unlikelihood of Trump as a presidential nominee begins to fade,
all bets are off. That`s the number that struck me today.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a quick break, coming up, more
crack cocaine for Jeff Greenfield -- shocking news for Hillary Clinton in a
new poll released tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The surprise and strength of Bernie Sanders presidential
candidacy can no longer be considered surprising. A new Quinnipiac poll of
likely Iowa Democratic caucus goers shows Bernie Sanders edging ahead of
Hillary Clinton for the first time.

Bernie Sanders is at 41 percent up from 33 percent in the July Quinnipiac
poll. Hillary Clinton is now in second at 40 percent, down from 52 percent
in July. And, Joe Biden is third at 12 percent. Earlier tonight, Chris
Hayes asked Bernie Sanders about the new poll results.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST OF "ALL IN" PROGRAM: Were you surprised?

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I was. Look, this is
what I thought from day 1 --

(LAUGHING)

HAYES: What is going on?

SANDERS: Well, yes. What I thought from day one is that we had a message,
which said, you know what? We got to start creating a government that
works for all people. We got to create millions of jobs. We have to make
public colleges and universities tuition free.

We had to control the outrageous increases in prescription drug costs. We
have to have pay equity for women workers. We have to rebuild our
infrastructure. All of those ideas I knew in my heart will going to
resonate with the American people, but I did not believe that they would
resonate quite so fast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The "New York Times" reports that Democratic Party officials
who are concerned about Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers and the rise of
Bernie Sanders are talking about coming up with a plan B to Hillary
Clinton.

Quote, "Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry,
Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Al Gore, each has been
discussed among party officials in recent weeks as an alternative to Mrs.
Clinton if she does not regain her once dominance standing in the 2016
presidential field." And, here is what Joe Biden told Stephen Colbert
tonight about running for president.

He said, "I do not think any man or woman should run for president unless
number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president and two
they can look at folks out there and say, `I promise you have my whole
heart, my whole soul, my energy, my passion.`

And, I would be lying if I said I knew I was there. I am being completely
honest. Nobody has a right, in my view, to seek that office unless they
are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are."

Joining us now, Ted Devine, Senior Adviser to the Bernie Sanders
Presidential Campaign. Tad 41-40 in a poll, we all know is really a tie,
but we will report it as Bernie Sanders having the lead over Hillary
Clinton. In South Carolina, there is still a very huge gap favoring
Hillary Clinton there. So, this is one state we are talking about. But
what does that mean to the Sanders` campaign going forward?

TAD DEVINE, SR. ADVISOR TO BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I think it is very
important, Lawrence. This process begins in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Bernie has been making great progress in New Hampshire in recent weeks. We
have seen three public polls in New Hampshire where he has the lead.

The most recent one where he is nine points ahead. We have now seen a
poll, a respected public poll in Iowa saying he is ahead as well. I think
Bernie Sanders is connecting with voters in the early states. And, I think
if he can make that connection and he can break out of the Pac, you gain
enormous momentum and it accelerates you to the rest of the process. So,
we are very pleased with what is happening.

O`DONNELL: Let us take a look at the just released CNN National Poll of
democratic voters on the democratic side. It shows Hillary Clinton in the
lead of this poll at 37 percent. That is down 10 points. Bernie Sanders
at 27 percent, basically holding where he was. Joe Biden at 20 percent.
That is 7-point increase for him. Martin O`Malley 3. Jim Webb 2.

And, Sabrina, there we see, again, Hillary Clinton holding the lead but the
numbers are slipping and that is giving the democrats something to think
about in terms of a plan B.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER AT "THE GUARDIAN": Yes. And, it is
not only giving -- the democrats only think about is giving the Clinton
campaign something to think about. And, I think that they have been very
honest within team Hillary to say that the initial response to the e-mail
was not as forceful as they thought it could have been.

So, you saw her come out and apologize finally for using her private e-mail
server. Recognizing that clearly cost her some points when it comes to key
questions like honesty and trustworthiness. And, I think that they are
also trying to at least telegraph. You know, there was a report in the
"New York Times" that she is going to show more humor, more spontaneity.

They recognize also that Bernie Sanders has been able to come out very
strong on some of the issues that matter the most to the progressive base
within the Democratic Party. They put out on Hillary Clinton`s side a big
campaign, a finance reform proposal this week.

So, they are seeing that there are some challenges ahead. There are
obstacles ahead and they do have to be -- I think more forceful in how they
respond to them. I do not think that they are in full panic mode yet
having said that nationally. She is polling very well.

Nationally, she still looks in a very strong position to be the eventual
nominee. But, there are certainly I think being a lot more cautious and
they are not taking anything more granted.

O`DONNELL: The electability argument for Hillary Clinton has always been
supported in the polls when they do one on one matchups of Hillary against
republicans at the beginning of the campaign season. Not so much now. The
latest CNN polls has one really shocking result.

Actually, they might all be shocking in their way compared to earlier
polls. In a matchup with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton in this poll is
tied 48-48. She no longer has the big lead over Donald Trump that she has
had in the past.

In a matchup with Jeb Bush, Jeb Bush edges ahead of her, 49-47. That is
statistically really a tie in polling. But then the big shocker here is
Hillary Clinton matched up with Ben Carson. Ben Carson beats her in this
poll with the majority of the vote 51-46 in a one-on-one matchup.

Jeff Greenfield, this is the real crack cocaine of polling because they are
talking about a general election more than a year away. But that Ben
Carson number is really shocking. 51 percent to Hillary Clinton`s 46.

JEFF GREENFIELD, DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Except that we are at a point now,
we are treating people`s preferences is a lot like trying on hats. I mean
I can go back and show you Gary Hart beating Ronald Reagan. I can show you
a 1980 John Anderson being competitive with Carter and Reagan.

The numbers really are -- they form a hypnotic effect on people. What I
also would like to point out to you there is not any frontrunner in the
modern era since the primaries began, who has not at one point or another
had to take a punch.

There is no question that Hillary has taken several. There is no question
that Bernie Sanders is talking to a progressive wing of the party. I do
not know, maybe there will be a socialist wing of the democratic party out
of this.

Maybe we will actually have something that really Europeans would recognize
as a left wing, other than what we would pass for that in the past several
decades, which has mostly been identify politics.

I think that might be healthy, but I just do not think that you can say
anything about where the Democratic Party race is going based on what is
happening this early. One more thing, the idea that there are democratic
power brokers planning a Plan B is really the funniest thing that we have
heard tonight.

(LAUGHING)

I mean they have mentioned everybody but Mike Dukakis and Mike Gravel --
There are no power brokers. That does not happen anymore. There is no
smoke-filled rooms because you cannot smoke anymore. This whole notion,
this dream of the professionals getting together and hammering out a
compromise candidate, if this were 1952, I am with you.

O`DONNELL: All right, we are going to have to leave it there for tonight.
Tad Devine please come back and make your case for Bernie Sanders as the
Plan B, which is the Sanders` argument here. Sabrina Siddiqui, thanks for
joining us and Jeff Greenfield, thank you for joining us tonight.

Coming up, the brother of the president of the Massachusetts senate was a
gangster, a murderer and an FBI informer. And, now his story is told in
the new movie "Black Mask" with Johnny Depp starring as Whitey Bulger.
Scott Cooper, the director of this stunning new movie will join us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The Obama Administration announced today that the United States
will take in 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year in an effort to help
the growing migrant crisis in Europe on the border of Macedonia and Greece.

Police with batons and riot gear confronted migrants in Hungary. The
government has now mobilized the army to the boarder to stop the influx of
refugees as thousands of migrants struggle through difficult weather
conditions. NBC`s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has this
report from Hungary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: If things were not hard
enough in Hungary, now it is raining and cold. We watched as refugees,
like this family from Syria, picked through donated clothing for something
warm and dry.

Mothers swaddled their babies. Others huddled at bus stops. Hungarian
volunteers have come to the border area to give out ponchos, food and
clothing. Not the government, though. It is still treating this as a
police problem. Peter Bouckaert is emergency director of Human Rights
Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER BOUCKAERT, EMERGENCY DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: It appears the
Hungarian government wants to make this experience as miserable as possible
for them. They take them from here on these buses to camps, where they are
held in fence like cattle really with very limited food and no information
about what is about to happen to them.

ENGEL: Why do you say Hungary wants to make this a miserable process?

BOUCKAERT: Well, Hungary has the most right-wing government of Europe. It
has billboards up all over the country talking about, against immigration,
saying the migrants will take jobs. So, this is really a government, which
is campaigning on the basis of keeping these people out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENGEL: But then we saw something extraordinary. Sally, whose family is
from a Damascus suburb completely destroyed was smiling, cradling her 1-
year-old daughter.

ENGEL: "I am happy," she tells us, "Because no matter how hard it is, it
is better than the life we were living." Sally and other relatives said
good-bye, sending a message to worried loved ones back home that they are
OK. The power of the human spirit to keep going. Richard Engel, NBC News,
Roszke, Hungary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Up next, a tough question for Donald Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: A new book coming out later this month tells the story of
Donald Trump`s relationship with the military. The book is "Never Enough:
Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success" by Michael D`Antonio.

The "New York Times" obtained an advanced copy of the book and reports why
Donald Trump has quote, "Always felt that I was in the military." Donald
J. Trump, who received draft deferments through much of the Vietnam War
told the author of a coming biography that he nevertheless always felt that
I was in the military because of his education at a military-themed
boarding school.

Mr. Trump said his experience at the New York Military Academy, an
expensive prep school where his parents had sent him to correct poor
behavior. OK, Let us hold it there. That was a failed mission in that
school, correcting poor behavior.

All right. Back to the teleprompter. His experience at that military
school gave him more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go
into the military. Despite sitting out the Vietnam War because of
deferments followed by a high draft lottery number of 356 out of 366, Mr.
Trump said he endured the rigors of military life.

"My number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number. Anyway,
so, I never had to do that, but I felt I was in the military in the true
sense because I dealt with those people." So, you see the military is just
dealing with those people

Which brings us to tonight`s episode of questions for Donald Trump. John
Wilson wants to ask Donald Trump. "Since I attended 11 years of Catholic
school, does that make me a member of the clergy? #TrumpLogic." You can
send us your questions for Donald Trump via Twitter or Facebook.

Coming up -- Come on teleprompter, coming up. The thing that is coming up.
That is it. Roll the teleprompter up to the thing that is coming up.
There you go.

The best movie I have seen this year by a giant order of magnitude. And,
yes, it stars Johnny Depp doing a wicked, scary Boston accent.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now the director of "Black Mask," Scott Cooper.
Scott, the day the trailer for this movie was released was a big day on
this show. We have never gotten excited about a movie trailer before. It
was -- and it is that scene -- during that table scene that I think a lot
of people now have seen.

It was the most powerful pop I have ever seen in a movie trailer. And,
that is even a factoring in all my biases as a Boston guy and knowing a lot
of these characters. This movie is a stunning work from start to finish.

SCOTT COOPER, DIRECTOR OF "BLACK MASK" FILM: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Just amazing. What drew you to it in the first place?

COOPER: Well, anytime you have the most notorious crime figure in
Boston`s history, while his brother is the most powerful politician in the
city of Boston. And, then you add a childhood friend who is sent to the
FBI. It just becomes an intoxicating talk tale -- in which truth is often
stranger than fictions. It is just too difficult for me to mess up.

O`DONNELL: Without the government component, the Whitey Bulger story is a
third of what it is in this movie. First of all, you have the federal
government. The FBI getting in here, making a gigantic mistake in a
gradual way as they move through this so-called arrangement with White.

You have his brother Billy Bulger, the president of the senate in
Massachusetts. We have never seen anything like this in the crime world.
Everyone in Boston knew this one. Billy Bulger was running that his
brother is a killer.

COOPER: Well, what really interested me that in South Boston, during the
1970s and the 1980s, the truth was that certain lawmen and certain
criminals were virtually indistinguishable. These are men who are raised
in the projects of South Boston, who would play cops and robbers -- are now
playing cops and robbers for real, but you do not know who is who.

And, it was a fascinating story and so complex with its intersection of
both politics and crime that we say play out in Boston or Los Angeles, here
in New York, around the world. It is -- you cannot make this stuff up.

O`DONNELL: Nobody thought in that culture back on those days that there
was anything peculiar about a Boston family having a priest, a politician,
and a cop and a gangster in the same kind of family.

COOPER: Right.

O`DONNELL: It was just there is nothing surprising about that. The
performances are absolutely stunning beginning with Johnny Depp that
everyone is seeing, and I want to talk about that; but Jesse Clemens, I did
not recognized him.

COOPER: Yes.

O`DONNELL: I watched every second of him. I did not recognized him. It
took me a while watching -- opening that movie to say, "Who is this? Who
is this?" I know the characters. These are stunning supporting actor
performances that you have.

COOPER: Thank you. You know, Jesse Clemens, I think is one of the best
actors of this generation. I recall watching Paul Thomas Anderson`s film
"The Master," and I was of course mesmerized by what? Philip Seymour
Hoffman was doing, "Joaquin Phoenix." And, I turned to my wife in the
theater and I said, "Honey, who is that guy?"

O`DONNELL: Yes.

COOPER: She said, it is Philip Hoffman`s son. He is incredible. So, as I
was casting the film, I remembered him. And, we came in and we met and we
read some scenes together, but he was much slighter. And, then he put on
about 40 pounds for the film and he was so mesmerizing in the movie that I
wanted to start the film on this really tight 75-mm lens on his great face.

O`DONNELL: Stunning.

COOPER: And, he is a great actor. Johnny Depp said to me after many
occasions. He said, "Scott, who is this guy? He is incredible."

O`DONNELL: Yes. He is one of those actors. Who is this guy? Johnny
Depp, you just told me watched this movie, which is something he does not
usually do.

COOPER: Johnny does not like to watch his own work.

O`DONNELL: Very common among actors.

COOPER: Indeed it is. And, we were just recently in the Venice Film
Festival and the film was opening there for the first time in front of the
worldwide audience. And, Johnny sat through the film and he said to me --
he said, "Scott, for the first time in watching myself, I was able to watch
this as though it was another actor." He said, "It was completely apart
from reality in what I remember from shooting the picture."

He said because -- the thing about Johnny Depp is not only is he a national
treasure, but this is a guy who is so soulful and sweet and really, really
a caring man. But what you see is this transformation into a diabolical
sociopath. I could not believe it.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Well, I mean no one recognizes him in this movie. So, he
can watch that movie.

COOPER: Well, I will tell you when we were shooting the picture in South
Boston, the first time Johnny stepped on the set. Many of the people who
are working on the movie were from there and they said to me --

They said, "My God, Scott, it was almost like seeing a ghost coming back to
haunt us." It really left an emotional scar on what Whitey Bulger`s
exploits were, left an emotional scar in the city of Boston and Johnny`s
performance is just mesmerizing.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He really is that guy. What is it like to direct Johnny
Depp. This is in many ways the most imposing actor of our time.

COOPER: Well, as a former actor, I understand that all actors have
different processes and Johnny is different than Joel Edgerton, who is
different in Benedict Cumberbatch or Kevin Bacon in the film or very
different than just producing my first film "Crazy Horse." You have to
really understand, their approach to the craft of acting. And, once you do
that, you can really help guide them or you can help alter performance.

And, Johnny is so giving and this part really meant a lot to him. We often
discussed the fact that there are many victims and many victims` families
and they were always in the forefront of our mind as we are making the
picture, which is why at times, it can be a little unflinching, because I
wanted to honor those people who unfortunately suffered through Whitey`s
years of notorious criminal.

But Johnny takes direction beautifully. And he has no ego and he was there
like all the other actors were to serve the story, because we were not
making a fictional gangster picture.

O`DONNELL: Right.

COOPER: All of these people had their own stories to tell. And, the truth
is we did not want to glamorize or romanticize White Bulger because of that
reason.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

COOPER: It is too easy to do.

O`DONNELL: Can you stay for a few minutes. We will do a little more and
posted online.

COOPER: I will be delighted.

O`DONNELL: Scott Carpenter gets the last word tonight -- Scott Cooper, I
am sorry, last word tonight. You will be hearing that name a lot in award
season. You are going to hear it acceptance speeches.

This is a big movie. "Black Mask," opens next Friday, September 18th.
Scott Cooper, thank you for making this movie. Thank you for being here
tonight.

COOPER: This is a real pleasure. Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.

END

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