THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
April 2, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Asa Hutchison, Dick Harpootlian, Larry Thomas, Kimberly Motley
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Three months ago, Wayne LaPierre said he and
other NRA officials would answer questions on any television program.
Since then, Wayne LaPierre and everyone at the NRA have refused our
invitations to come on this program every night, until now.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: The NRA has just announced new proposals.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: Detailed of a plan they say will make school
ASA HUTCHISON, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Good morning. I`m Asa Hutchison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson.
HUTCHISON: The false and misleading statements by William Jefferson
Clinton were repeated by witnesses to the grand jury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spearheading the NRA charge.
HUTCHISON: Our first recommendation is for model training programs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Training teachers and personnel to carry weapons.
HUTCHISON: Designated arms school personnel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which could include side arms, shotguns to AR-15s.
HUTCHISON: The second recommendation, changing the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To allow for weapons to be carried on school
HUTCHISON: There`s going to be requirements for changes in state law.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: It is a different story in the states.
HUTCHISON: I would be interested what Connecticut is doing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Connecticut is leading by example.
MITCHELL: Passing some of the strictest gun control measures.
TODD: The bill includes a registry for existing magazines.
HUTCHISON: I would say it`s totally inadequate.
TODD: To expand the state`s assault weapons ban.
HUTCHISON: I would say it`s totally inadequate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Calls for background checks for private sales.
HUTCHISON: Totally inadequate, totally inadequate, totally inadequate.
JANSING: They`re against background checks.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Ninety percent of Americans
believe that universal background checks are absolutely essential
HUTCHISON: There`s no guarantee the NRA will accept these recommendations.
The National Rifle Association is the natural, obvious choice to sponsor
I`m employed as a consultant.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: I`d like to introduce, the head of the effort, Asa
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: He`s involved in a same-sex political marriage
with Wayne LaPierre.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NRA leaders showed no signs of giving in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need common sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just common sense gun regulation.
SCHULTZ: Common sense reforms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we fail, it can only get worse.
O`DONNELL: The National Rifle Association released its taskforce`s report
on how to reduce a modern American way of death. Gun massacres by
America`s uniquely, well-equipped, mass murderers, who used rapid fire
weapons with high capacity ammunition magazines to gun down children and
teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, men, women, and children at a
movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and a congresswoman and her constituents
in Tucson, Arizona.
After three months of study, the NRA taskforce recommendation was exactly
what the NRA said it would be three months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAPIERRE: We should put armed security in every school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Wayne LaPierre three months ago, and here was the
director of that taskforce on his first day on the job three months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHISON: Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one
element of that plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who also served as
head of the DEA and undersecretary of Homeland Security Department in the
Bush administration, and, of course, first came to national attention as
one of the House prosecutors in the impeachment trial of President Clinton.
Joining me now is former Congressman Asa Hutchinson.
Congressman, first of all, I have to thank you for very much for coming on
this program. We have been trying to get anyone from the NRA on for the
last three months. You`re the first person to do this for us. So, I want
to first thank you for that.
HUTCHISON: Well, you`re welcome, and I`m not with the NRA nor do I
represent the NRA, nor am I spokesman for the NRA. I am in here as the
director of the taskforce that just looked at the school safety issues.
And, Lawrence, I am delighted to be here, but that introductory piece
really misrepresented the background that led up to this taskforce and our
For example, Philadelphia uses magnetometers for every high school student
to go through, but they don`t used armed school resource officers. We`re
not trying to change that. That`s their prerogative. We are delighted
with the security measures that they have in place. We want to help them
You go out to Los Angeles, they choose a different model with armed school
resource officers. About 300 of those in their unified school district.
That`s their prerogative there.
And so, our report makes recommendations that are useful for whatever model
the schools adopt. But yes, if you`re going to use a school resource
officer, have greater training. If you`re going to use armed school
personnel, have 40 hours of training, make sure they`re trained properly,
and then have many other tools far beyond simply an armed officer that will
help these tools, particularly Middle America, that is faced in the
challenge of few resources, but they want to be able to protect the
And our 252-page report provides some solutions for them.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, you made much today of your independence from the
And so, I want to go through some checklist items on that, because on the
taskforce report like this as you know when you were in Congress and the
administration, when the report comes in, you want to know what is the
independent standing of the report, where biases might be.
When you`re a congressman, what was your voting score card with the NRA?
HUTCHISON: You have to check.
O`DONNELL: Somewhere close to 100 percent.
HUTCHISON: Like I said, I hope it is. But I come from Arkansas, that`s
O`DONNELL: OK. Well, I mean, that would --
O`DONNELL: That`s kind of a beginning point on just how independent this
The second question I would have about that, did you select the members of
this taskforce, you personally select them?
HUTCHISION: Yes, I did.
O`DONNELL: And why, if you selected them, did you not select a single
person who has spent one day of his or her life in a classroom as an
HUTCHISON: Well, I`m not sure that`s a true statement that you`re saying.
O`DONNELL: Well, it is. I`m going to clarify it is. There are 13
members, including yourself, all have law enforcement backgrounds and
security backgrounds. There wasn`t one person in there with any form of an
education background or any experience as a teacher or school
administrator. And this taskforce was charged with and you accepted that
charge of school security exclusively.
HUTCHISON: Well, for example, I have met with principals and
superintendents and heard their viewpoints and their concerns. They`ve
greatly impacted the report that we`re producing.
Michael Dorn (ph) is a school safety expert out of Georgia that`s
nationally recognized. We have consulted with him.
We have consulted with the National Association of School Resource Officers
and, you know, like I said, administrators across the country.
So we brought in a broad viewpoint. But it`s also important that the
former Secret Service, they`re the ones that were called in to look at the
Virginia Tech after incident report, the Homeland Security officials, law
enforcement training, we wanted to look at better training models for those
that work in sensitive environment, and I can`t think of anybody better.
And you`re looking at -- they`re recommending 40 to 60 hours of training
for anyone who utilizes for a school resource officer, for enhanced
training for them, for enhanced training if you have armed school
personnel, it would be very substantial training. And so that`s the
expertise we brought in for this review.
O`DONNELL: And I`m looking at the members now. RBT Solutions is a
company, there are 13 members of your taskforce, five of them work for that
same company. Another company that is not listed on here, six people are
affiliated with, command consulting group.
RBT Solutions is actually in the business, isn`t it, of training school
security officers. They would make money, a lot of money, if these
recommendations that they voted for on your taskforce were actually carried
HUTCHISON: Well, I doubt that. They`re actually -- they do work primarily
for overseas military is my understanding.
O`DONNELL: So is it your understanding no one is involved in the taskforce
who`s involved with any company that would in any way profit from the
recommendation made by this report if it was carried out nationally?
HUTCHISON: I don`t think so because nationally if this is carried out,
schools are going to make decisions as to who in their school, are they
going to expand school resource officers. Those are relationships with the
local sheriff`s office, the local police department.
O`DONNELL: But Congressman --
HUTCHISON: They`re training, you interrupted me.
O`DONNELL: Go head.
HUTCHISON: Their training is provided by local law enforcement, the law
enforcement training center, for example, for the state.
If you go to armed school personnel, I hope they utilize the private
sector, not just a state function, generally would be state by state that
would provide this training.
O`DONNELL: And how much were you and the taskforce members paid for this
HUTCHISON: Well, we`re not going to provide you with a line by line.
O`DONNELL: Why wouldn`t you do that, Congressman?
HUTCHISON: Because it is none of your business, primarily.
O`DONNELL: Well, if you`re submitting a report to be evaluated as an
independent report and you`re being paid by the people who you are giving
the report to, the credibility of the report rests on a lot of things,
including that payment relationship.
So I would like to ask you how much did the National Rifle Association pay
you individually to do this, and are they still paying you?
HUTCHISON: Lawrence, let me tell you, I have compiled this group of
experts to prepare this report. Have you read the 252-page report?
O`DONNELL: Yes, I have, it is right here on my desk. If there`s any page
you want to refer to, I am happy to go straight to it.
HUTCHISON: Let`s go to the best practices.
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
HUTCHISON: And if you look at best practices, if you look at the interior
lock section, where it talks about the importance of the right kind of
locks to protect the teachers in the school, if you look at the perimeter
fencing, it has the examples there of the best practices across the
This has nothing to do with firearms, this has nothing to do with school
resource officers, this has something to do with assessments schools do to
develop the right security plans.
Have you looked at the section which recommends that school safety become a
part of the adequacy standards for school education by the states? This is
not money, this is local control. This is saying safety is important to
I have been very frustrated that we present a comprehensive report that
will do something good for the safety of our children across this country.
Mark Mattioli (ph) came as a sandy hook parent, said I want to express my
thanks that someone is doing something about safety. I wish the debate
would move in that direction because that`s exactly what will save
O`DONNELL: Congressman, I`d like to talk about two children in particular,
a 6-year-old, Veronica Moser Sullivan, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor
Green and your report. Your report is concerned exclusively with keeping
children safe in schools. That`s what the NRA charged you to do. That was
the limit of it.
And so, you and the NRA are concerned with keeping children safe in school,
but when they leave the school, it is the NRA position that those children
are on their own. If one of those children goes to a movie theater, say in
Aurora, Colorado, as Veronica Moser Sullivan did when she was 6 years old,
she can be shot to death, and the NRA will make no comment about that and
make no recommendations about what to do about that.
And Christina Taylor Green at 9 years old after going to school can go
watch her congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, in a shopping mall parking lot and
you and the NRA have absolutely no recommendation how to keep that 9-year-
old girl safe in America if she`s in a shopping mall parking lot.
Why aren`t you and the NRA doing a taskforce on movie theater safety and
shopping mall safety?
HUTCHISON: Every instance you refer to is an incredible tragedy. I have
been a federal prosecutor. I have dealt with crime. I`ve had to deal with
victims. Those are all individual tragedies.
How do you respond as a society to those individual tragedies that we see?
You respond by law enforcement, you respond by security, you respond by
addressing the problems of society.
I tackle one thing at a time in life. I am tackling school safety. We
believe we made some very good recommendations.
I wasn`t asked to look at the safety of movie theaters. I was not asked to
look at the safety of members of Congress. I was asked to look at the
safety of schools.
We have done that. We have performed that, we made some very substantial
recommendations that I hope will be considered by the federal Congress, by
our states, and I hope the NRA. They haven`t made decision to accept these
recommendations or not.
One of them is a mental health component for our schools that we need to do
better in so that whenever we have incidence of bullying or other anti-
social behavior that`s dealt with promptly in the schools -- these are part
of our recommendations that I hope will be accepted by the NRA, but also
will be looked at by individual schools as better practices.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Hutchinson, you said -- you made reference there to
tackling this problem. I want you to listen to someone who literally
tackled this problem. I want you to listen to Patricia Maisch, who was one
of the people that tackled the shooter, the man who tried to kill
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Let`s listen to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICIA MAISCH, TACKLED SHOOTER: I immediately got to my knees and they
were shouting, "Grab the gun, grab the gun." And I couldn`t reach the gun
because it was in his right hand and that was the distant one from me.
As they were doing that, he pulled out a magazine from his left pocket and
had it in his hand, but he dropped it on the sidewalk, and I was able to
recover it before he could get it. By then, the gun had been secured and I
noticed he was flailing his legs, and I was afraid he might be able to get
free, so I knelt on his legs, on his ankles. I did that for a couple of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Congressman, that gunman was stopped because he had to reload.
He was using a magazine that carried 33 bullets. He obtained that legally.
He showed no interest in obtaining any weapons illegally.
If we had still been living under the law that Dianne Feinstein helped push
through this -- into law in this country and that you opposed, he wouldn`t
have had access to a 33-bullet magazine. He would only be able to shoot 10
And so, I said publicly I blame the shooter for the first nine or 10
bullets, but I blame the government and people in the government that
allowed him to have those extra bullets to shoot the rest of those people,
kill Christina Taylor Green and other people there.
Isn`t it reasonable as you sit here tonight to think that we should not be
equipping our mass murders with the highest capacity magazines we can
possibly equip them with?
HUTCHISON: Well, we need to certainly keep weapons out of the hands of
those that are prohibited by law from having those weapons, and that is
those that are convicted criminals, those who have been adjudicated
O`DONNELL: Congressman --
HUTCHISON: Can I finish?
O`DONNELL: You and I both agree that they will get those weapons. When
they get them, what kind do you want them to have?
HUTCHISON: Let me finish what I was saying.
O`DONNELL: Do you want lower capacity weapons when crazy people and
criminals get their hands on them?
HUTCHISON: I want to have laws that are enforced. I want to have
background checks that are meaningful and that means you have to put
information into a system, and 32 states right now are not even putting
information into the system to make sure we have adequate background
checks. So let`s improve that system.
You`re wanting to reduce -- have the gun control laws, whether it is
magazine capacities or whether it is the type of weapon that somebody has,
that is a debate you can have. My debate -- although I don`t agree with
that as a solution because I don`t think that`s going to save children`s
I think what we are proposing will help address, help schools to address
from a local standpoint, improve security in their schools.
And regardless of all of the protections, all of the laws you pass in
Congress, you`re always going to have someone that will get a gun illegally
that will go into a school and what is going to be the response there. Are
you going to let a teacher put her life on the line without any officer in
the school that can come as response person? I don`t think that`s the
I think teachers should teach and others should protect. And that`s an
option that our school should have. I don`t think it needs to be
demagogued by saying that`s -- you know, President Clinton proposed and put
in armed guards in schools, is that an irrational concept that President
Clinton opposed? That has been adopted by many of the schools as a good
You can debate the other items. This is an important part, an important
feature for school safety in our generation.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, I`m not arguing with you over your proposal. What
I will argue with you about is the efficacy of it and what we might expect
For example, as we know, there was an armed guard at Columbine and that
didn`t stop anything. And as you know, most bullets fired by police
officers in America who have much more training than the school officers
you`re talking about, most of the bullets American police officers fire
miss the target they are aiming at.
And as you know, the NYPD has much more rigorous firearms training than
anything you`re proposing for these school officers, and the hopes that
you`re suggesting for the school officers are very unrealistic, especially
when you consider that incident we had here in Manhattan in front of the
empire state building where two officers fired 16 bullets, they had to kill
a gunman there, then they wounded nine bystanders, trained New York City
police officer bullets wounded nine bystanders.
So when you say let`s have these they had to kill a gunman there, then they
wounded nine bystanders, trained New York city police officer bullets
wounded nine bystanders. So when you say let`s have these minimally
trained gun officers in schools, you have to recognize that what you`re
suggesting is something that has a very limited capacity for success.
As do many of the other proposals that come from my side of this debate.
We understand that there are limited capacities to the proposals we are
making, that none of them are perfect. What bothers me, Congressman, you
make it sound like the good guys with the gun can solve every problem we
have with mass murders.
HUTCHISON: One point you made, you said minimal training. If you read our
report, you will see we are enhancing training.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, that`s nothing compared to NYPD officer, and you
know it. It is a joke compared to what police officers get.
HUTCHISON: I`m sorry, I thought I was supposed to be able to answer
questions that you would ask. I really misunderstand the purpose of these
O`DONNELL: I`m sorry.
HUTCHISON: You made the comment there was minimal training that`s
recommended in our report, yet our report enhances training to 40 to 60
hours for school resource officers. You have to remember that they already
have gone through what a New York police officer goes through. They go
through the law enforcement training. They`re sworn officers. And then
they`re assigned to the school with specialized training.
We want to enhance that even to a greater extent because it is in a
sensitive environment, and no one that carries a firearm in a sensitive
environment should have a minimal amount of training. And they should
coordinate that with the law enforcement.
But whenever you look at whether it is Sandy Hook, whether you look at any
other incidents, it is a law enforcement officer arriving with a firearm,
which dismantles the circumstance and causes the shooter either to kill
himself or to put down his gun or be killed. But it takes that officer who
arrive arrives. We want to reduce response time, so they`re quicker,
reducing response time will save lives.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, I just have on more question, I thank you for
staying with us this long, and that is something that Wayne LaPierre said.
This is the man you`re working for at the NRA on this contract to deliver
him a report he asked for.
Before our last presidential election, he sent out a fund-raising letter
filled with ways to I guess put fear into the hearts of NRA members. One
of the things he said I am going to quote to you now. He said, "If
President Obama is reelected," this is a quote, "the night of November 6th,
2012, you and I will lose more on the election battlefield than our nation
has lost in any battle, any time, anywhere."
Now, Congressman, that, of course, is spoken by someone who evaded military
Have you ever heard a more despicable thing dishonoring our war dead than
you have heard from Wayne LaPierre? Have you heard anything more
despicable than that from anyone that ever hired you or anyone you have
voluntarily associated with?
HUTCHISON: Let me just say this about the NRA. It is a very serious
initiative that they have engaged in for school safety. As Mark Mattioli
today applauded the NRA for doing something to protect our children.
O`DONNELL: What do you think about what LaPierre said about the country
war dead? He said all of the war dead in the history of this country would
not be -- the suffering that we would have, with President Obama reelected,
which is the world we`re living in now -- in other words, the suffering
that he said you would be going through right now is worse than what
American war dead have gone through? How does it feel to work for a man
like that and take his money?
HUTCHISON: Quite frankly, Lawrence, I don`t trust your recitation of his
statements, and so I`ll just have to read that for myself and comment after
I read it myself.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, this audience you`re talking to knows exactly
where that came from. That`s been on this program before. That`s the guy
you`re working for.
HUTCHISON: My task was school safety. We`ve looked at it. It is a
serious commitment of the NRA. I applaud them for that. I hope they adopt
the recommendations we made.
And I hope that it does something long term for school safety, and I think
that should be applauded and I don`t think you need to demonize someone
that wants to support that effort.
O`DONNELL: I think, Congressman, I think Wayne LaPierre demonized himself
when he said that if Barack Obama wins that this country will lose more on
the election battlefield than our nation has lost in any battle any time,
anywhere. Those are the words of the man you`re working for.
Congressman Asa Hutchinson, we`re out of time. I thank you very much for
doing this tonight. I obviously have a lot to talk about this, and you`re
the only person involved with that organization who has come here, and I
really appreciate you doing that and giving us this time. Thank you,
OK. That will be it.
Coming up, we`ve got the congressional campaign in South Carolina and we`ll
see what we have left in the show, because I think I just blew out the
whole schedule of the rest of the night.
O`DONNELL: We have a winner in South Carolina tonight and now we have the
most interesting congressional race in the country, maybe ever. Elizabeth
Colbert-Busch versus Mark Sanford. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The votes are in and America now has the greatest congressional
campaign ever. Stephen Colbert`s sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, versus
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford who won the Republican nomination
tonight and made political history in his victory speech by thanking the
woman who was his mistress during his governorship and is now his very
helpful fiance, though even he admitted she is not nearly as helpful
politically as his former wife was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, I
guess, to my fiancee Belen for her long suffering, put up with me being on
the road for more than just a few months, and I thank you for that as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson, you`re from South Carolina. WTF here, what
the -- what the -- explain this to me, how did it come to this?
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I so love this. You know I spent
four years in Buenos Aires. I`m just loving this so much.
Here is all you need to know about the place. The (INAUDIBLE), the
Charleston newspaper sent out reporters to interview voters at the polls,
they couldn`t find very many, turnout was light, but they found a few.
They saw one woman who said she voted for Mark Sanford because, quote, "I
believe in recycling." And so, that and thought that was just perfectly
summed it up. To me, brought to mind, perhaps a plastic water bottle
discarded on the Appalachian and trail.
O`DONNELL: Well, if she believes in recycling, she`s Mark Sanford`s most
Dick Harpootlian, you are down there watching this thing. The polls, it
looked like Elizabeth Colbert-Busch polled better against Mark Sanford than
against the other possible Republican. Is this a good outcome for her?
DICK HARPOOTLIAN, CHAIRMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I think it is
because it is a very clear, a very distinct, very contrasted choice. On
one hand, we have a business woman who has success in business, hasn`t been
in politics, who is beloved in the community. And then, on the other hand,
we have a guy that`s lied to South Carolina time and time again.
You know, none of the Republicans, especially Bostic, the most recent
opponent, ran any negative television or radio. And I think you`re going
to hear and see independent expenditures and the Colbert Busch campaign and
the Democratic Party peeling the bark off him. And it is so easy to do.
O`DONNELL: Eugene, the national Democrats have a decision to make about
how much money to try to pump into this race. Where do you think the
outcome will be on that?
ROBINSON: Well, it is worth putting a few bucks in to tell you the truth.
Normally, you think of this deep in South Carolina as basically a
Republican district and you would say hard time winning this one.
But against Mark Sanford with Colbert-Busch who is a very good candidate, I
think they are going to end up putting money into it and seeing if they can
steal the seat.
O`DONNELL: And Dick Harpootlian, does Stephen Colbert help or hurt if he
comes down to the district?
HARPOOTLIAN: Well, he helped because he is a state treasure. They love
him in Charleston. They love him throughout the state. He has been great
for the state. He is a great through his comedy. He is great to the state
of South Carolina. He is raising money for Elizabeth. And you know, I
think he is a big, big plus. And I think she`s going to win this thing.
O`DONNELL: Elizabeth does have a higher approval rating than Stephen now.
Eugene Robinson and Dick Harpootlian, thank you both for joining me
HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, you`re not going to believe this. We actually have
the soup Nazi, the real soup Nazi, Larry Thomas, the actor on Seinfeld.
And he is upset. I know you think he is always upset, but he is upset
about what gun nuts have done using his image. And he is going to tell us
why. That is coming up.
O`DONNELL: There is one more senate Republican tonight in favor of
marriage equality, and one more Senate Democrat. That`s next.
And later, a truly moving story from Afghanistan, a six-year-old girl who
was in effect sold to pay a debt in Afghanistan was saved from her fate by
a lawyer in Afghanistan. That woman, that lawyer, will join us live from
Afghanistan to tell that story later. You really want to hear about this.
That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Recently, a number of leftwing media folks
tried to drum up a phony feud, citing divisions within the so-called
conservative community. Let a like, they point to me and Limbaugh as the
primary example. (INAUDIBLE), you simply dishonest, the loons are taking
my commentary out of context as they always do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Loons? What loons could he be talking about?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You know the king and queen of Republican media hate each
other, right? I mean, I am not telling you anything you don`t know,
nothing that is not looking obvious. Limbaugh and O`Reilly hate each
other. They never acknowledge each other`s existence. They never mention
each other`s names, ever.
Until today when Rush just couldn`t take O`Reilly`s rewriting himself on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And today, another Republican broke with the Limbaugh line on
marriage equality, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk became the 50th U.S.
senator to support marriage equality and the second Republican senator to
do so. Republican Ohio senator Rob Portman announced his support last
month. Senator Kirk who had a debilitating stroke last year released this
statement on his blog today.
When I climbed the capitol steps in January, I promised myself I would
return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others.
Same sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this
earth is limited. I know that better than most. Life comes down to who
you love and who loves you back. Government has no place in the middle.
Democratic senator Tom Carper of Delaware also endorsed marriage equality
Coming up, what happens when a man can`t pay a debt he owes in Afghanistan?
His child, his daughter, is taken as payment. The story did not end
tragically, thanks to a woman in Afghanistan who will join me live from
Kabul. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medium turkey chili.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medium crab bisque.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t get any bread.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just forget it, buddy. Go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, I think you forgot my bread.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bread $2 extra.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $2? Everyone in front of me got free bread.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want bread?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $3!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No soup for you!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "rewrite," rewriting the Soup Nazi. That, of
course, was the unforgettable Soup Nazi played brilliantly by Larry Thomas
on Emmy-winning NBC series Seinfeld.
No soup for you was the verdict Jerry, Jorge and the gang risked if they
didn`t follow the soup Nazi`s ultra strict code of conduct. That concept
was recently transferred to this T-shirt using Larry Thomas` image saying
no Serbu for you. That T-shirt is the brain child with mark Serbu and it
is the only product mark Serbu has made not designed to kill people.
His company, Serbu firearms based in Tampa, Florida produces one of the
weapons that is now banned in New York State under the new gun and
ammunition control law pushed through the legislature by Governor Andrew
Cuomo. The banned Serbu weapon is a 51.5 inch sniper rifle that costs
$7,000. Serbu has been publicly bragging that he has refuse to sell that
rifle to the New York city police department because, quote "we have a
policy of selling to state law enforcement agencies only what is allowed to
be sold to private citizens in that state."
And so, the no Serbu for you is aimed at every police agency in the state
of New York, including the NYPD.
Joining me from Los Angeles, a man who is not happy about any of this,
actor Larry Thomas, Seinfeld`s Soup Nazi.
Larry, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
LARRY THOMAS, ACTOR: You`re welcome, thank you.
O`DONNELL: So, how did you find out there you were on this crazy T-shirt?
THOMAS: Well, it was on Facebook. And a Facebook friend of mine said hey,
did you see this? I looked at it and went oh, yes, that`s great, you know.
I mean, I`ve already got a problem with people using my image illegally,
and you know, whatever to make money. But that was kind of a hot button
issue on top of it.
O`DONNELL: And how close was that T-shirt to your feelings about gun and
ammunition control in this country?
THOMAS: Well, I didn`t want to get complicating about this. It really
doesn`t behoove a work a day actor to let everyone know his politics. But
I am advocate of gun control and crime prevention. And you know, I don`t
see the point of not allowing the police force to have a better weapon than
the criminals on the street. So, I kind of disagree with Serbu on that
O`DONNELL: Well, you may be glad to know that in fact, the NYPD never made
an offer to actually buy one of these firearms, so his refusal to sell them
to the NYPD is a little bit like my refusing to sell, you know, a last word
mug to the NYPD. So, there wasn`t as much reality to this as may have
But Larry, the issue underneath this is also the use of your image. What
rights do you have in a situation like this?
THOMAS: Well, it really is sketchy, you know. You might have to go to
court, but I immediately went to Facebook to say this is infringement on my
personal rights. Somebody is using my face to sell something. And they
said it didn`t meet their criteria, so they refused to take the post down,
and I thought that was pretty wild, you know.
So anyway, I went to the post, "The New York Post," and they said we will
print a story on it. After that, both Serbu and the T-shirt company called
me and said we`re not doing this anymore, so we are pulling it.
O`DONNELL: Larry Thomas, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
THOMAS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Up next, we go live to Afghanistan with an amazing story about a woman that
saved a six-year-old girl from a terrible fate. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The United States has spent at least $600 billion on war and
repairing the damage of war in Afghanistan. The first pile of money we
sent to Afghanistan was all cash, before an American soldier`s boot hit the
ground in Afghanistan, the CIA was already there handing millions in cash
to rent the temporary allegiance of warlords.
Untold amounts of 600 billion we have spent in Afghanistan have been cash,
completely totally unaccountable cash. How much of that cash has been
wasted? We are talking cash in Afghanistan here. It certainly did not go
to building schools.
A bipartisan commission created by Congress has estimated that as much as
$60 billion have been lost in Afghanistan and Iraq, just lost. They can`t
tell you where it went. And you know this kind of commission has every
incentive to low ball the number. Their job is not to sow further doubt
about the efficacy of operations in Afghanistan.
So of 600 billion that the United States admits to spending in Afghanistan,
how much do you think was lost or corruptly siphoned off in the wrong
direction, 10 percent, 60 billion?
Let`s be modest. Let`s say only 30 billion, five percent, went the wrong
way in Afghanistan. That`s roughly a thousand dollars per capita for the
people of Afghanistan. That would be $1,000 for Taj Mohammad and his
family. And that would have meant that he would not have to sell one of
his daughters to pay his family`s medical bills, including the cost of
trying to save the life of his 3-year-old son who died this winter.
Alyssa Rubin of "The New York Times" told this gripping story yesterday on
the front page. There is Taj`s 6-year-old daughter, Naghma, happily
sitting in her school which she loves attending, oblivious to the fact her
father had lost her in a debt collection case decided by the village elders
in a tribunal they called a Jerga. The Jerga ruled that since Taj couldn`t
pay the $2500 that he borrowed to pay the medical bills that he would have
to surrender his 6-year-old daughter next year to be married to the 17-
year-old son of the man he owed the money to.
The most Taj Mohammad can possibly earn as an occasionally hired laborer is
$6 a day, not enough to buy the basics the family needs. Naghma, whose
name means Melody, is growing up with barely a roof over her head in a
refugee camp with 900 refugee families from war torn areas, mostly in
Taj Mohammad told "The Times", "A 6-year-old girl doesn`t know about having
a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, or having a husband or being a wife. You
know, my daughter loves going to school and she wants to study more and
more, but the boy she is marrying, he sent his mother yesterday to tell my
wife, look, this is dishonoring us to have my son`s future wife go to
school. I cannot tell them what to do. This is their wife, their
As I read this story yesterday, the newspaper was shaking in my hands. I
was thinking I will pay the $2500. How do I get there? I`ll go this
weekend. What do I have to do? And as the last word staff began making
phone calls to Afghanistan yesterday, we discovered quickly that I wasn`t
the only one who had that reaction to this story. And in fact, the debt
had already been paid and Naghma`s childhood had been saved.
Joining me now, the angel in the story, the woman that saved the day and
may have saved the life of 6-year-old Naghma Mohammad. Kimberly Motley is
an attorney who joins us now from Afghanistan.
Kimberly, there will be a little delay in the way we speak here. But tell
us how you found your way into this case and then how you solved the
KIMBERLY MOTLEY, ATTORNEY: OK. Well, basically I found myself in this
situation. I was contacted by an anonymous donor who basically wanted to
pay the debt off, in addition to many other donors.
They contacted me because basically what I do in Afghanistan is I`m the
first and only international that actually litigates in Afghanistan. So,
people are sort of aware that I deal with such human rights cases here on a
pro bono basis.
So, once they contacted me, you know, there are a lot of really great
people that wanted to give the money. I then sort of explained to them it
is just not that easy. You can`t just give people money here necessarily
for something like this. What needs to occur is that there needs to be
another Jerga that takes place that in is essence an extradition proceeding
that appeals the decision of the first Jerga, which basically has already
given her hand in marriage.
And so, in order for this to happen, I was happy to help because I have a
six-year-old daughter. Actually, I was a six-year-old girl. So, you know,
and obviously this story is just something that obviously like with many
other people resonated with me and my heartstrings.
So I contacted Taj Mohammad and I contacted the person to whom he owes the
debt to, Dos Mohammad. In order to have a second Jerga done, you basically
need to get all parties to agree, the two parties that are there. And in
addition to that, you need to have the village elders agree, the Moolahs,
which are the religious leaders of the situation to agree to basically
having another Jerga. And so, that`s exactly what they did.
But because I wanted to make sure the money went to where it was intended
to do, which was basically to save Naghma, I basically told them if we had
another Jerga, that I wanted to be the judge of that Jerga and that
whatever decision I made would stand.
And so, basically all the parties agreed. We had another Jerga. They all
agreed that I could b the judge of the Jerga because I wanted to make sure
that it was as transparent as possible. I told them that I wanted to
videotape the Jerga because I didn`t want --
O`DONNELL: Kimberly, we are going to stop you there. We have actually
been showing video of the Jerga while you have been speaking on the split
screen here. But we are out of time. If you could stay with us, we will
continue this conversation. We`ll post the rest of it online on our Web
site. So stay with us, Kimberly. We`ll continue the conversation the Web.
Kimberly Motley, thank you very much for joining us on the show tonight.
And up next, of course, is Chris Hayes.
Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL