'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, April 1st, 2013

April 1, 2013


Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, Ana Marie Cox, David Sheff

RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Mr. O`Donnell, good evening.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Rachel, I`m reading your lips because I
have no real sound in my ear.

I just heard your laugh. OK, that came through.


O`DONNELL: We have been having some control room trouble. But April
1st, it turns out, to America is, of course, April Fools` Day and to us
here at MSNBC, it is the happiest day of the year, the Rachel Maddow

What are you doing? You`re running out of the building now. Where
are you going?

MADDOW: I`m going to go home and try to imagine that I`m not 40
because apparently turning 40 means that I feel 80.

O`DONNELL: Here is how it is going to be easy to imagine you`re not
40. Go home.


O`DONNELL: And look in a mirror.

MADDOW: You are very, very nice to me.

O`DONNELL: You look like a 25-year-old in that mirror.

MADDOW: You are very kind, Lawrence. Thank you very much, I am
crawling under the desk.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.

There she goes.

Tonight, the Republicans trying to rebrand themselves have actually
finally met the real enemy. And he is, of course, a very crazy Republican.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: April will bring in immigration bill to Capitol

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: If the Democrat version of this happens,
it is going to be amnesty.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Break through on immigration.

LIMBAUGH: And if that happens, it won`t matter. The Republican Party
is finished anyway.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: It appears the major road blocks have
been worked through.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Every major policy issue has been

JANSING: Just trying to iron out the details.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: Republicans were more cautious.

JANSING: Keep your eye on Senator Marco Rubio.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rubio released a statement.

TODD: Rubio second go slow warning in two days.

HALL: No final agreement on immigration legislation yet.

SCHUMER: I talked to Marco yesterday, it`s semantics.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Politics is more important than

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The strategy is to get the deal done.

LIMBAUGH: If that happens, it won`t matter.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Without antagonizing Rush

LIMBAUGH: The Republican Party is finished anyway.

MILBANK: You have Marco Rubio engaged in a 50-state butt-covering.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Republican Party establishment and social
conservatives are girding for a battle between themselves.

HALL: Conservatives feel like they`re not being respected.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a civil war but culture war.

ISRAEL: They did autopsies.

MATTHEWS: GOP autopsies.

ISRAEL: They did postmortems.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Our message was weak. We weren`t

ISRAEL: What happens after the extreme makeover?

REP. DON YOUNG (R), ALASKA: My father had a ranch. We used to hire
50 to 60 wetbacks.

ISRAEL: They are who they are.

LIMBAUGH: They`re never going to win another election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they`re thinking of standing in the way, the
tsunami could wash over them.

LIMBAUGH: If that happens, the Republican Party is finished anyway.


O`DONNELL: We are in the third week of the Republican Party struggle
to rebrand itself, and that effort continues to get derailed by crazy
Republican congressmen, the very same group that kept delivering harmful
messages during the last presidential campaign, which Mitt Romney was
always afraid of condemning because he knew that the Republican base did
not trust that he was a real conservative.

When former Republican congressman and wannabe Republican senator,
Todd Akin, said in August, if it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has
ways to try to shut that whole thing down, Romney lamely issued a press
statement through a spokesperson. "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan
disagreed with Mr. Akin`s statement."

And then Romney had his campaign stonewall reporters from asking him
about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political specialist Shaun Boyd finished an
interview with Romney.

SHAUN BOYD, POLITICAL SPECIALIST: One stipulation to the interview
was that I not ask about abortion or Todd Akin.


O`DONNELL: When wannabe Republican Senator Richard Mourdock said in
October that when life begins at the horrible situation of rape, that is
something that God intended to happen, Mitt Romney once again had his
spokesperson speak for him.

"Governor Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, but still, of
course, supports him."

And then Romney ran away when reporters asked about it.


REPORTER: Governor, do you disavow Mourdock`s comments on rape?

Governor, do you disavow Mourdock`s comments on rape?


O`DONNELL: The newest bat crap crazy Republican to take stage has
actually been on the stage quietly, very quietly, for 40 years. He has
been over in a dark corner of the stage as the lone member of the House of
Representatives from Alaska. Last week, 79-year-old Don Young was back
home in Alaska saying a bunch of crazy stuff. He was a featured speaker at
a rally against domestic violence held on the capital steps in Juneau where
his advice to potential wife beaters was to drink alone.

"If you want to drink by yourself, you may do it. When you drink
together, the possibility of harm becomes greater every day."

John Boehner issued a statement saying, "Congressman Young`s remarks
were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds."

But Boehner wasn`t talking about the drink alone recommendation.
Boehner was talking about this.


YOUNG: My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks and
--to pick tomatoes.


O`DONNELL: John Boehner was not in a Romney mood about that statement
as Congress prepares to deal with immigration reform. The presidential
campaign seems to have taught Boehner that it`s time to crackdown on the

"I don`t care why he said it -- there`s no excuse and it warrants
immediate apology."

The chairman of the Republican Party was also unforgiving. "The words
used by representative young emphatically do not represent beliefs of the
Republican Party. Everyone in this country deserves to be treated with
dignity and respect. Offensive language and ethnic slurs have no place in
our public discourse."

Krystal Ball, you would think it would have no place in our public
discourse were it not for this collection of crazy Republican congressmen.

KRYSTAL BALL, "THE CYCLE": Well, you shake your head and you just
say, I cannot believe that this person was elected to start with and has
gotten been reelected time after time. But I think when you take a step
back, it illustrates a couple things. I mean, number one, it illustrates
the problem that the leadership of the party has, just getting their flock
in line to not use offensive language. They had to have to these
intervention sessions to talk about how to speak about women and
minorities. Obviously, it didn`t totally break through. So, that`s one of
the things.

The other thing I think it illustrates is the problem that Republicans
are nervous about for 2014 because this is the type of person who can
emerge from a Republican primary, where the far right, where the Tea Party
still holds a lot of sway. So, when we get details about immigration
reform, they are not going to be satisfactory to a significant part of the
Republican base. They`re afraid more Don Youngs are going to come out of
the wood work in primary, some of the more reasonable members of the
Republican caucus.

O`DONNELL: And, Ari, Boehner knows just how memorable a statement
like that is compared to whatever the Republican House of Representatives
might then choose to do on immigration reform.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Sure. He knows it can completely rebrand the
rebranding they`re working so hard on.

Let me take the perspective of the bigoted and confused elderly
Republican candidate for a moment.

They are starting from the position of being told dog whistles are
great, the birth certificate is great.


MELBER: Donald Trump is a reputable figure who will be granted fund-
raising platform status with the nominee. You can understand why they
think it`s cool, because they don`t believe it when they have training
sessions because they have been a party and working in concert with a whole
communication strategy that tries to get the, quote-unquote, "political
benefit" out of being bigoted without ever paying a price. And they`re
running out of steam and that`s why they`re confused, because this was a
nod and wink for a long time.

O`DONNELL: I think that`s a hugely important point, that if your line
is here --

BALL: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- then you must put your behavior line inside that. And
Boehner didn`t do that. He let members of the House, forget Donald Trump,
real members of the House talk about the birth certificate ad nauseam, and
Boehner never cracked down. And now, he`s finding these guys are way out
here on the line because he made them think all of this stuff is OK, this
stuff close to the line is OK.

BALL: Right. And now, we`ve shifted the line. But these guys like
Ari is saying haven`t totally gotten the memo. I think you`re going to see
the same problem with the Republican electorate itself, because they not
only used this, that politicians used it to drive up turnout, to stoke fear
about other people in this country who are coming to take your job and take
your stuff, and you can`t just turn on a dime and change that. There is
going to be some reckoning for years of hateful and xenophobic rhetoric
that they used.

O`DONNELL: And Don Young went through a series of apologies trying to
get it satisfactory, ended up using a phrase where he said he thinks this
term that he used should be left, he said, it should be left in the 20th
century. That was in his big apology.

I think what he`s saying is this used to be OK. You all recognize
that it used to be OK.

MELBER: Yes. I found that the weirdest part. I mean, look, you know
the rules, you work for senators, you have to say I`m sorry I messed up,
full stop, if you were issuing a genuine apology.

He did a few iterations, he had some trouble. I don`t think the word
he used had a glorious period. You can think of other words, I mean, the
United Negro College Fund is named after a period when that was considered
the more respectful word, but it`s not one we say applied today.

So, that example does exist, but it doesn`t apply to the words he
used. And I think it`s a problem to split the difference. He should just
be clear that he messed up.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Republican Lindsey Graham said
yesterday about where we stand on immigration reform.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Conceptually, we have an
agreement between business and labor, between ourselves. It has to be
drafted. It would be rolled out next week. Yes, I believe it will pass
the House because it secures our borders. It controls who gets a job. I
think it will pass both houses. We`re going to need the president`s
support. And I`m proud of the work product and look forward to rolling it


O`DONNELL: Krystal, I haven`t heard anything like that in I think as
long as I can remember. When is the last time a Republican said we`re
going to roll something out with the Democrats and we think it`s going to
move smoothly.

BALL: It`s incredibly encouraging and it`s surprising. And it speaks
to the fact that the leadership of the party has gotten that they have to
do something. They cannot continue to alienate minorities in the country
in the way that they have. They have to, quote-unquote, "solve this
problem" to be able to move forward.

So the political dynamics here have shifted. Now, I do think there`s
still a critical test. I think once the details come out, the gang of
eight is one thing, but the other Republican members of the House in
particular have been very cagey about where they stand on this proposal.
They`re waiting to see the details. So, I think we still have to get past
that bar of having a broader acceptance within the Republican Caucus or
else it could be really ugly in Republican primaries for 2014.

MELBER: And just to jump, I think this is actually remarkable. We
are on the cusp of a bipartisan achievement which we haven`t seen a lot of
in Obama`s tenure. And, you know, if you look at big things, health care,
financial reform, a lot of the foreign policy victories, this president had
to work basically in spite of a Congress that`s been obstructionist. Not
in had with them.

The only thing that`s happened bipartisan I think was the original
stimulus, which a lot of Republicans turned on when they weren`t taking the
money. So, if we get to a policy breakthrough with the parties working
together, I think that will be a huge contribution to the president`s

O`DONNELL: This was said Republican started saying, literally the day
after the election, we`ve got to do something on this. Fascinating to
watch one presidential candidate who`s involved in this gang of eight,
Marco Rubio, he`s found his tight rope to walk on there. Yesterday, he had
to say not so fast so that the anti-immigration reform Republicans wouldn`t
think Marco Rubio was betraying them. He wants this to move, what they
call, regular order, hearings, committee, votes in committee, in a nice,
steady way, so that he can monitor it every day to make sure he is not
risking anything politically.

BALL: Well, it was interesting. Everybody else who was on a show
from the gang of eight said basically we`ve worked everything out. Then he
is like wait, not so fast, not so fast.

O`DONNELL: He had to issue a written statement before those shows so
they wouldn`t go too far.


BALL: I mean, from my perspective, he`s already waded into the
waters, right? He is already associated with if there`s an immigration
reform deal, he is already there. What he really needs to do is if he
wants to be a leader in his party, be a leader in his party. Work on
convincing some of the people who might be on the fence, both appearing on
TV and advocating for these reforms and by doing the work in the back room.

MELBER: In one sentence, he wants the judiciary committee involved so
he can get those Republicans on record. That`s what this is about for him.
He needs that roll call covered.

O`DONNELL: He needs that cover as much as anything else.

Krystal Ball and Ari Melber, thank you both for joining me tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, another episode of they were right. The
senators who stood with Diane in 1993 and voted for the assault weapons

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, the people who refused to rewrite their
continued opposition to marriage equality.


O`DONNELL: On this day, April 1st, 2013, this actually happened at
the White House.


ROBBIE NOVAK, COMEDIAN: It looks like you were expecting somebody
else. But April Fools on all of y`all. I`m kid president. I hope
everyone has an awesome day.

It is everybody`s dream to give the world a reason to dance. It is
the White House, I am here, peace!

I think I`m stuck. Oh. I don`t know what this is doing, it is like
an iPad, it shows the White House, wanted me to click it, I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t click it.

NOVAK: How do you guys stand these lights?


O`DONNELL: That is the now world famous 9-year-old Robbie Novak as
kid president. You can see more of his work on Rainn Wilson`s Soul Pancake
Channel on YouTube where you will see that Robbie is on the fast track to



absolutely represent a failure on my part for which there were and always
will be at some level consequences. But that does not mean because you`ve
had a failure in your personal life that you cannot step back into the life

should the governor be the candidate facing the Democrat, we will lose this
seat and lose it needlessly because of this issue of trust. A compromised
candidate is not what we need. It`s just not what we need.


O`DONNELL: That was the Republican runoff debate in South Carolina
last week. We are just one day away from finding out which Republican will
face Stephen Colbert`s sister Elizabeth Colbert-Busch in special election
for South Carolina`s now vacant first district congressional seat.

Former Governor Mark Sanford faces former Charleston County councilman
Curtis Bostic Tuesday in a Republican primary runoff, despite a number of
recent high profile endorsements for Curtis Bostic, including Rick
Santorum, many of today`s headlines declared Sanford is well-positioned to
win, mainly due to bigger name recognition and a lot more money.

A new internal poll today from Elizabeth Colbert-Busch`s campaign
shows she leads Sanford 47 percent to 44 percent. Colbert-Busch has a
larger lead over Bostic, 48 percent to 39 percent.

Joining me now: Nia-Malika Henderson, "Washington Post" political
reporter, and Ana Maria Cox, correspondent for "The Guardian."

Nia-Malika, you are the senior South Carolina political analyst since
you are from there. What are we hoping for here just in terms of fun? Are
we hoping that Governor Sanford wins so we can take him all the way through
the general election here against Elizabeth Colbert-Busch?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: You know, I think that`s right
for fun. Here is a guy who has this checkered past, but is a charismatic
guy, he comes across in early ads like a preacher with a slow drawl in the
way he talks. And I think he has, so far, at least resonated with South
Carolina voters there.

Of those internal polls, I think, in some ways, you have to take any
sort of internal polls with a grain of salt, but I think they do show a
close race. They also remind us that in 2008, a woman named Linda Ketner
(ph) ran as a Democrat, ran as an openly gay woman, campaigned openly with
her partner, and came within 2 percentage points of winning this seat.


HENDERSON: Of course, that was in 2008, it was an election year. So
she was able to ride the Obama wave and the Obama coalition showed up.

But there does seem to be real energy on Colbert-Busch`s team. And I
think in a lot of ways, that internal poll is a signal to the DCCC and
national Democrats to get involved in this race.

O`DONNELL: Wow. So that district of capable of a more liberal lean t
than we thought.


O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch leads Mark Sanford by a
couple points, and she`s tied with the other guy. So, I want to see the
Sanford race, because what I really, really want to see in the end is
Congresswoman Colbert-Busch.

ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Right. I have to say if someone is
rooting for Congressman Colbert-Busch, I`m not actually sure that the
Sanford candidacy or the Sanford nomination is the way to go. He does have
this amazing name recognition and it turns out the voters have a flexible
definition marriage than you would think.

You know, we have been pushing marriage equality on the show a long
time. I would hope that the conservative Christian voters of South
Carolina`s congressional district would apply that flexibility, that
ability to forgive people that might be a little unorthodox in personal
lives, apply it to definition of marriage as well. But I think this is a
case of name recognition, even more name recognition than Colbert-Busch.

And I also think this is a case where he really has been able to
campaign as a fiscal conservative. He is able to say he was a governor who
cut lines in the DMV, who he was rated number one by the Cato Institute as
campaigning against government waste. And I think that that`s something
that voters are really going to pay attention to.

And people like to think they`re forgiving. Let`s not forget that,
especially when it comes to politicians.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Well, I`m very forgiving about all of that.

Now, let`s listen to more of that debate last week.


SANFORD: People kept calling, they kept calling, and they said, Mark,
you need to do this because here is a chance for you to learn not only from
your experience in Congress and governorship, but more significantly what
you learned on the way up and on the way down and apply it to what is
arguably one of the great conundrums of our civilization, which is how do
we get our financial house in order. And should I make it, that`s what I
intend to do.




O`DONNELL: OK, Nia-Malika, what fascinates me there is, exactly what
do you think he learned on the way down about how to get our financial
house in order?

HENDERSON: Right. Absolutely nothing. On the way down, he had to
pay a $70,000 ethics fine. The largest ethics fine in South Carolina

But there you have him trying to explain where he is and where he
wants to go. I think he benefits from the fact he was never somebody who
led social conservative issues. He served as a box checker, was always
much more leaning forward in terms of fiscal issues, and that`s what he led

And so I think if he actually wins this race, we`re going to see
somebody that makes some noise on the Hill, who might challenge either Tim
Scott or Lindsey Graham in 2014. People don`t love Lindsey Graham down
there. They see him as a RINO. Tim Scott has not been setting the world
on fire as a senator, so far.

But also, people think it would be more likely should he win this
race, he is more likely looking at the governor`s race in 2018.

O`DONNELL: Well, at this hour tomorrow night, we should probably know
who the Republican candidate will be. And in the last poll we`ve seen,
Mark Sanford is leading Curtis Bostic 53 percent to 40 percent.

And, Ana Marie, I am not sure anything happened to change that around
for Bostic.

COX: No, I don`t think it did. Mark Sanford is probably going to
walk away from this. I would like to point out as far as making noise on
the Hill, he didn`t successfully co-sponsor a single piece of legislation
during the three terms he was representing this Congress, you know, 10
years ago. So --

O`DONNELL: Details, details. Come on.

HENDERSON: These days, people make their mark on FOX News. It isn`t
necessarily doing the work of legislation. It is making noise and, you
know, crafting sound bites on FOX News.

O`DONNELL: Nia, that`s what you call nitpicking in South Carolina,
isn`t it?

HENDERSON: That`s right.

O`DONNELL: Nia-Malika Henderson, and Ana Marie Cox -- thank you both
for joining me tonight.

HENDERSON: Thanks, guys.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Why the war on drugs never worked, never will work, and
has only made things worse.


O`DONNELL: The man known as Egypt`s Jon Stewart was questioned by
Egyptian prosecutors on charges that his jokes insulted President Mohamed
Morsi and Islam. Television satirist Bassam Youssef turned himself in on
Sunday morning and was released on bail after several hours of questioning
in which he had to watch his own show, while they asked him about each

Bassam Youssef is a heart surgeon, who treated protesters in Tahrir
Square before he began doing commentaries on Youtube in March of 2011. By
July of that year, he had his own television show. And, it is now seen by
30 million viewers across the middle east. Bassam Youssef considers Jon
Stewart his inspiration. In last year, Egypt`s Jon Stewart met our Jon
Stewart on "The Daily Show."


JON STEWART, HOST OF THE DAILY SHOW: How difficult is it to do show
like you`re doing, a comedy show, when the stability of the country is
still in question.

BASSAM YOUSSEF, TELEVISION SATIRIST: Because it is difficult for me
and we`re pretty stable. But, I still get the hate with the people that
don`t like me.

STEWART: Yes. What happens with you?

YOUSSEF: Death threats. Check.

STEWART: We`re not so different, you and I.


YOUSSEF: Sometimes I got beaten. No, I`m just kidding. It`s
actually -- it has been quite a ride and what we do has actually -- we
broke ground in the television programming because now people say, "Wow, he
actually says what we want to say." And, we are trying to be funny. We
fail in most of the time. But we try.





O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, another episode of they were
right. Connecticut legislators announced a bipartisan deal tonight for
tough new gun laws that will include background checks for private sales
and new registry for existing magazines and carrying ten or more bullets.

And, and eligibility certificate to buy a rifle, shotgun, or
ammunition. It also includes a ban on new high capacity ammunition
magazines like the ones used to kill 26 people Newtown, Connecticut. The
NRA is trying to make sure nothing like that gets passed in the United
States. And, tomorrow, the lobbying group will release what it calls
school safety proposals, which are expected to be proposals for armed
guards in schools.

The Gun Bill coming to the senate floor in Washington will not contain
an assault weapons ban, but Dianne Feinstein says she will introduce
assault weapons ban as an amendment in the senate, which is the way she got
the first weapons ban passed in 1993. That amendment passed then 52-47.
In tonight`s episode of "They Were Right" some of the 52 democrats and
republicans, who have the political courage to do the right thing in 1993.

it`s time to stop the sale, the manufacture and the -- what further
evidence in this tragedy do we need to classify semi automatic assault
weapons as those of mass destruction?

SEN. HOWARD METZENBAUM (D), OHIO SENATOR: How can we consider passing
a crime bill that doesn`t do anything about getting rid of these semi
automatic assault weapons that are mowing down Americans every day of the

support of the senator from California`s amendment. It is time to send him
a bill that will end production of these military style assault weapons,
and I emphasize military style assault weapons.

a co-sponsor of this amendment to ban assault weapons. I hope that my
colleagues will stand up to the NRA. Do what is right. Let`s ban these
weapons. Let`s protect our law enforcement people. And, moreover, let`s
say let`s show that we mean it while we say we want to fight crime.

want to join voicing my support for the amendment. These matters of
violence are not statistics, real human beings, real people, real families,
real tears, real blood, and they deserve to have some action here in the
United States senate. And, I hope the senator`s amendment is accepted.

CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN SENATOR: Who are we going to listen to,
that`s the issue. Is it going to be the lobbyists of the NRA or is it
going to be men and women who put their lives on the line every day
defending us? Who are we going to listen to? I suggest we listen to the

JOHN DANFORTH (R), MISSOURI SENATOR: Madam President, I support the
very thoughtful amendment offered by Sen. Feinstein. Guns are terrific
killers. That is what they are made for, to kill. People kill people.
Yes, and guns kill people, terribly, efficiently, easily.

HARLAN MATTHEWS (D), TENNESSEE SENATOR: The amendment is confined to
weapons that have one purpose, and that purpose is blowing human beings to
bits. Our future is in doubt because we are slaughtering one another, and
that is why I urged every member of the senate to support it.

designed explicitly, exclusively to spray large groups of people with
gunfire in a short period of time. Guns that have no other purpose but to
kill as many human beings as quickly as possible.

SEN. FEINSTEIN: It really comes down to a question of blood or guts?
The blood of innocent people or the senate of the United States having the
guts to do what we


O`DONNELL: Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey is the latest democrat to
announce his support for marriage equality. While republican show no sign
of rewriting their position any time soon and that is next in the


O`DONNELL: On tonight`s "Rewrite" some of the people who won`t be
rewriting their position on marriage equality anytime soon. Conservative
intellectual leader Bill Kristol actually said in 1993, "I think this is
the high watermark of the gay rights movement in the United States." He
said that on Larry King`s CNN show.

Larry then asked it`s downhill after this? And, Bill Kristol said, I
think so. And, Bill Kristol is still considered a conservative republican
intellectual leader, because intellectual leadership in republican circles
means never having to say you`re sorry for being like totally wrong. Let`s
listen to what Bill Kristol said this weekend on the weekly standard


establishment ever looked like a herd of, you know, totally conformist,
pathetically kind of running to catch up with the trends minds, don`t even
have minds maybe, but just political beings trying to sort of, "Hey, let me
join this parade, you know."

And, if they`re going to get much credit for joining it at this point,
and as if it is just not going to earn the contempt of course people, who
believe defending traditional marriage. But, also I think the contempt of
a lot of people who are uncertain where they ultimately come down on this.
I don`t like seeing political leaders and alleged intellectual leaders just
kind of jumping on the train because it looks fashionable and because some
poll shows it is 58 percent popular. In five years ago was only 43 percent
popular. I mean, there`s something pathetic about it.


O`DONNELL: So, the republican establishment is trying to jump on the
marry band wagon of marriage equality? I did not know that. It would be
true if the republican establishment consisted of exactly one person, the
mild mannered Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who recently became a convert to
marriage equality after discovering two years ago that his son is gay.

Of course, Bill Kristol actually is part of the republican
establishment, and the republican establishment continues to agree with him
that marriage equality is an abomination that they will not abide.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I know what our principles are, and I
know our party believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.


O`DONNELL: Republicans are actually so adamant about refusing to
rewrite their positions on marriage equality that having a gay son does not
lead to a Portman-like enlightenment for some of them. Here is Republican
Congressman Matt Salmon, the proud father of a gay son.


marriage. My son is by far one of the most important people in my life. I
love him more than I can say. I`m just not there as far as believing in my
heart that we should change 2,000 years of social policy in favor of
redefinition of the family. I`m not there.


O`DONNELL: Not there. Congressman Salmon who is a Mormon apparently
has no problem with his religion redefining marriage from a partnership of
one man and as many women as he wants to one man and one woman at a time.
Card carrying republican establishment member Ed Gillespie said this on Fox
News this weekend.


would ever see the Republican Party platform says, "We are in favor of
same-sex marriage."


O`DONNELL: So, republican intellectual leader Bill Kristol is not
just wrong about marriage equality. He is also wrong about his own party
rushing to support marriage equality. The Republican Party is almost as
dug in against marriage equality as the Catholic Church is.

Catholic bishops in Ireland had issued a threat that if same-sex
marriage becomes legal there, they will no longer carry out the civil
component, which is to say the legal component of marriage in their church
ceremonies. In other words, the Catholic Church will still have marriage
ceremonies, but they will be purely religious and sacramental.

But, in order to be legally married, the couple will then have to go
down to the town hall and get married there in order to actually have a
real legal marriage in Ireland, which might sound terribly disruptive and
difficult and redundant and all of that, unless you know that that`s
exactly how they`ve been doing it across the channel in a much bigger
catholic country since 1792.

In France, you see smiling couples in white gowns and tuxedos emerging
joyously from Catholic Churches all the time. But, everyone knows they
were legally married before they entered that church that morning to get
married once again. Because, in France, a religious marriage ceremony can
only be performed after, never before, after a marriage performed by a
French civil authority. That`s what real separation of church and state
looks like. The bishops have lost their grip on this issue in Ireland and
they have here in the United States.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULUS, ABC HOST: What do you say as a minister, as a
pastor, to a gay couple that comes to you and says, "We love god. We love
the church. We also love each other and we want to raise a family in
faith." What do you say to them?

first thing I say to them is I love you, too, and god loves you and you
were made in God`s image and likeness.


O`DONNELL: OK. So, far so good.


CARDINAL DOLAN: And, we want your happiness. But -- and you`re
entitled to friendship.


O`DONNELL: Happiness, check. Friendship, check. We are on the same
page there. We want your happiness and you`re entitled to friendship. OK.
So, how about same-sex marriage?


CARDINAL DOLAN: But, we also know that God has told us that the way
to happiness, especially when it comes to sexual love that is intended only
for a man and woman in marriage where children can come about naturally.


O`DONNELL: And, so the men of the hierarchy of the holy Roman
Catholic Church know the way to happiness, especially when it comes to
sexual love. They are experts on that. And, in their wisdom, they have
concluded that the way to happiness does not include same-sex marriage.
And, in fact, the way to happiness never includes same-sex sex.


CARDINAL DOLAN: We got to be -- we got to do better to see that our
defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And, I
admit we haven`t been too good at that.


O`DONNELL: No. You have not been too good at that.


O`DONNELL: That was brilliant John Spencer in his Emmy-winning role
as Leo McGarry in "The West Wing" discussing the worst problem in America.
In seven years and 154 episodes, "The West Wing" discussed just about every
problem in America, but none more important than addiction.

Addiction kills 350 people in this country every day. Addiction costs
society more than any other single problem you can name. $600 billion a
year in crime control costs, health care costs, job losses, productivity
losses, and it devastates families and neighborhoods as nothing else can.


RICHARD NIXON (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: America`s public enemy
number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and
defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new all out offensive.


O`DONNELL: Forty years ago, Republican President Richard Nixon
declared a war on cancer and a war on drugs. One war has been fought as a
health problem. The other war has been fought as a criminal problem.

Medical science has made great strides in cancer treatment, but
according to my next guest, we are in worse shape than ever on drugs. He
says the war on drugs actually increases drug use.

Joining me now, David Sheff, author of "Clean," overcoming addiction
and ending America`s greatest tragedy. David, I love this book. I have
been filling it up with notes. First of all, there are so many things to
get through. Start with why the war on drugs has made the situation worse?

DAVID SHEFF, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK "CLEAN": Because we`re dealing with a
problem that is devastating people with devastating families. It is a
health problem. And, it doesn`t help to treat it as a criminal problem.
We end up locking people up. We end up destroying families. We end up
increasing the stress on communities, which all increase drug use.

One thing after the other, we have -- now, we have 20 million addicts
in America. A hundred million families are affected. It continues to get
worse and we`re doing everything wrong because we`re treating this in
exactly the wrong way.

You mentioned that Richard Nixon not only started the war on drugs,
but he also started the war on cancer. What we need now is a war on
addiction because it is an illness like cancer.

O`DONNELL: Yes, you make this point in the book that we need to think
of addiction as a disease and treat it as a disease. You know, when I was
working for Senator -- Senator Moynihan, when he is anti-drug laws would
come in, his fight was always and exclusively. How do I get treatment
money in there? He didn`t care about any of the law enforcement money
there he is putting in.

SHEFF: Right.

O`DONNELL: He knew other people are going to be fighting for that.
He was always trying to push that ratio, so that there will be more
treatment money in relation to law enforcement money. And, if the
government is involved here, that is where it should be involved, right?

SHEFF: Yes. We have to shift. But, right now we are spending in the
official budget, there is $25 billion a year for the war on drugs. There
is actually about $40 billion actually being spent. About 60 percent of
that is going to interdiction and it is going to criminal justice. It is
going to law enforcement.

And, a minority has spent on what we need to be spending all of it or
at least a majority of it on, which is treatment. We can prevent this
disease. We can treat addicts, but we`re doing everything wrong. We are
funding the national institute of drug abuse, gets $1 billion a year of
this $25 billion. I mean it is a crime and it is killing people every day.

O`DONNELL: You have a lot of controversial points in here. You think
marijuana should be legalized. You also think it can be harmful.

SHEFF: Yes. And, one of the problems I have with the marijuana
debate, the legalization debate is that people -- it has become a black and
white issue.


SHEFF: The people who want drugs, who want pot to be legal say that
it is safe. It is natural, you know. And, the people against it say that,
you know, it is going to lead someone to shooting heroin in the streets.

Well, neither of those things are true. Marijuana is harmful to kids.
That`s, what I worry about. I don`t care, you know, if an adult wants to
go home at night and, you know, instead of having a cocktail.

O`DONNELL: The teenage brain is more susceptible.

SHEFF: The teenage brain is developing from when they are -- when the
kids are about 15 to 25 years old. And, marijuana does have an impact. It
really changes the way kids` brains develop. It slows the development. It
affects their cognition. It affects their memory.

So, you know, I think it is really important that we educate people,
that we figure ways, strategies to help children understand. But, even
more than that, we have to help them grow up in a way that is alleviates --
that some of the problems. Some of he stress factors that lead to
addiction and lead to, you know, drug use and drug problems.

But, kicking kids out of school, you know, you want to set a kid up
for more failure? Certainly, throwing them into the criminal justice
system, you know, those are the kinds of things that will increase the
stresses on a person`s life, increase the anxiety and those things lead to
drug use.

O`DONNELL: This is your second book in this area. Your first book
was entitled "A Beautiful Boy." And, that was the story of your son`s
problem with addiction, which is what brought you into this.

SHEFF: Yes. Yes, my son, he is 30, which is a miracle, because we
didn`t think he was going to make it to 21. He became addicted when he was
a teenager to every drug you could name. I almost lost him many, many
times. And, I had him in treatment over and over and over again. And,
none of the treatments worked.

And, that`s when I learned what a disaster this system is. And, the
only reason he is alive now is because we are lucky. And, this shouldn`t
be about luck. This is a disease. It is a medical problem, and we have to
treat it as such.

O`DONNELL: I think that`s the way people I know who have addiction in
the family, addiction in their lives that have come close to death. It
feels like luck is the only differential that keeps you alive or dead.

SHEFF: Yes, and it shouldn`t be about luck.

O`DONNELL: This is a very important book for anyone who has addiction
in the families, "Clean" by David Sheff. David, guest tonight`s "The Last
Word." Thank you, David.

SHEFF: Thank you Lawrence so much.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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