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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

June 27, 2013
Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Mary Gonzalez, Nina Turner, Ezra Klein, Faith
Jenkins, Yamiche Alcindor

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Texas senator, Wendy Davis, stood her
ground at the filibuster, and now Governor Rick Perry is trying to take her


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not yielding for any questions at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something incredible happening in the Texas state

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: A one-woman filibuster that lasted for 11

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is sweeping the abortion bill, a
bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, Wendy successfully
filibustered and the bill died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Governor Perry vows to bring lawmakers back for
another special session.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Incredible to see the legislative process be made a

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I am all about honest, open debate.


REID: Does the Republican party, in your view, understand the core value?

PERRY: She took a shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Perry took a shot, direct shot at Senator
Davis` --

PERRY: Unfortunate that she has not learned from her own example.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would do anything to pass this measure.

PERRY: They will resort to mob tactics to force their minority agenda on
the people of Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still the capitol.


PERRY: What we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of
the democratic process.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It became the people`s filibuster, and they were
loud, and they were heard. And that is what democracy is about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Wendy Davis`s epic filibuster, where she stood
for over 11 hours in Texas and somehow did not win a brand-new pickup


O`DONNELL: Good evening, from Colorado, where I`m participating in the
Aspen Institute`s annual ideas festival.

Texas state senator, Wendy Davis, rocketed to political stardom on Tuesday
when she led a successful 11-hour filibuster of a Texas bill that would ban
abortions 20 weeks after conception and add a regulation that would shut
down nearly after abortion clinics in the state, which got Governor Rick
Perry`s attention.


PERRY: Even the woman in the filibuster in the Senate the other day was
born into difficult circumstances. She is the daughter of a single woman.
She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from
Harvard law school and serve in the Texas Senate. It is just unfortunate
that she has not learned from her own example. That every life must be
given a chance to realize its full potential. Every life matters.



O`DONNELL: Senator Davis released this statement today.

"Rick Perry`s statement is without dignity and tarnishes the office he
holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of
view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Governor Perry
fails that test. "

And tonight in Ohio, the state general assembly passed a budget bill that
includes a provision requiring doctors who perform an abortion absent a
medical emergency to first determine whether there is detectable fetal
heartbeat of the unborn human individual, the pregnant is carrying. Then
inform the pregnant woman to the best of the person`s knowledge of the
statistical probability of bringing the unborn human individual possessing
and detecting the fetal heartbeat to term.

Planned Parenthood also was put last on line and thus effectively cut off
from federal family planning dollars. Republican John Kasich has until
Sunday night to line item veto those budget provision.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I have a few days to look at the provision.
And everybody should understand that I am pro life, but we`ll look at all
the language, and we`ll make a decision on all of this when we get closer
for me to sign.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now from Texas, democratic state representative Mary
Gonzalez from Ohio, Democratic state senator Nina Turner, and from
Minnesota Guardian columnist, Ana Marie Cox.

Representative Gonzalez, can you explain to us what your governor was
trying to say about senator Wendy Davis?

STATE REP. MARY GONZALEZ (R), TEXAS: I think it is a continued message
that women don`t know better than he does with our own bodies. And it is
unfortunate that he would talk about one of our state leaders like he did

O`DONNELL: And the Wendy Davis filibuster as it played in Texas, what is
your sense of how Texas voters received it?

GONZALEZ: I think Texas voters are inspired and empowered and motivated to
now finally get involved in politics. For a long time, Texas leaders have
told voters that their vote doesn`t matter. And what happens in the past
week as far as the citizens filibuster, is that it re-engaged people in
Texas to see that what they do actually does make a difference in Texas.
And so, I think that will continue to roll over in the 2014 election.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what senator Davis had to say about this, this


STATE SENATOR WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS: I do think that something tremendous
was accomplished. And that was there was an incredible focus put on what
is happening here in Texas, women and men across Texas are in an uproar
about it. And I don`t expect that their concerns on this issue are going
to go away with the passage on the law. And I think there will be
political consequences in the future as people exercise their opinion about
this issue at the ballot box.


O`DONNELL: Senator Turner, the Ohio legislature just couldn`t let Texas
have this week alone in this spotlight. They had to jump in with their
legislation, too, I see.

STATE SENATE NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: Yes, Lawrence, it is terrible, you
know, we had hundreds of folks at the state house today protesting this.
And particularly we had doctors that talked about how wrong-spirited the
provisions are. You know, they tucked them into the budget bill, Lawrence,
like thieves in the night, like cowards because they`re too cowardess to
have anti-women stand alone so we can debate the issues. It makes
absolutely no sense.

But to hear the doctors talk about the fact that the legislature is
standing in the way for them to be able to provide quality health care
options for women, their patients, for their family. There is something
wrong with that. And I will tell you, senator Davis`s name was invoked
several times in Ohio today as she was an absolute hero for all of us
throughout this country, standing up for the rights of women to choose.

O`DONNELL: Now, what are we to make of Governor John Kasich saying he has
to think about this one?

TURNER: Well, I am hoping the governor will. We offered him a red pen and
we would like for him to line item veto the defunding of planned parenthood
and to line item veto all the craziness that is in that budget.

You know, Lawrence, this is about options. This is about elections have
consequences. And I agree with the representative, I think folks all
across this country are going to wake up in the country and see that we
have extremists in the legislature and in some governor`s mansion and we
can`t stand there. We cannot go back in this country.

And if we keep the types of people elected right now from Texas to Ohio, we
are going back to a time where women are treated like second class
citizens. So my plea to our governor, Governor Kasich, is to line item
veto those anti-women provisions that are in the budget and have nothing to
do with lifting Ohioans but have everything to do with putting their feet
on the necks of women and the progress we`ve made in this country.

O`DONNELL: Anna Marie Cox, political generation Tip O`Neil famously said,
all politics is local and it seems in the way of today`s media works, all
politics is national. In a way, these activities go on. The Republicans
do these things in Texas and Ohio and all 50 states hear about it. And the
impression of the Republican party continues to be a party that is much
more concerned with what women are doing in terms of reproductive choice
than anything else.

that re-branding, right, Lawrence? You know, over 100,000 people wound up
tuning into Wendy Davis` filibuster the other night. And all 100,000
people saw a legislature dominated by white men, putting -- you know,
trying to put down the women among them, literally not calling on the
female senator that tried to get attention when Wendy Davis was being shut

It was really an amazing display of what the conservative Republicans in
Texas, and I think we can say a lot of the rest of the country, the way
that they behave, and how terrible that behavior can be, when we see it,
when it is not done in the dark of night as the female politician from Ohio
put it.

I think this is a really amazing moment in American politics. I think that
Rick Perry had exposed himself yet again as being rather ignorant. I think
the legislation in Ohio, again is with the attention we`re putting on it.
One thing it shows is that people seem to think that women don`t understand
what is going on with their bodies when they get abortions. I think it
should be important to point out here most women who get abortions have had
a child. Sixty percent of women that get abortions have already had a
child. They know what is going on inside their bodies when they make this
terrible, terrible decision, the difficult decision to go ahead and do it.

So, I think Americans recognize that that relationship between a woman and
her doctor is the one that needs to be protected. Not the relationship
between Republicans and each other, I guess, which seem to be the only
people benefitting in this legislation.

O`DONNELL: Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood action
fund was in Texas for that filibuster the other night, cheering on senator
Davis. She is from Texas, as I think most of you know. And her mother was
Ann Richards, the governor of Texas. She issued this statement about the
current governor of Texas.

Rick Perry`s remarks are incredibly condescending and insulting to women.
Women are perfectly capable of deciding whether to choose adoption, end the
pregnancy or raise a child. And they don`t need Rick Perry`s help making
that decision.

Representative Gonzales that is the huge disconnect, it seems to me,
between you and Rick Perry on this. He does seem to believe that the state
has a role here. And he, in particular, is a better judge of what to do in
any given pregnancy than the woman who is carrying that pregnancy.

GONZALEZ: I think what Ann Marie said was completely correct. The
Republicans believe that women are not smart enough to understand what is
happening. Over and over again whether on the Senate floor or the House
floor, the Republican colleagues will say this will help women, we`re doing
this to benefit women. But closing down all the abortion clinics with the
exception of five in the state, as big as Texas, is not healthy to women,
it is hurting women. It is limiting their access to legal and safe

So the fact that Republicans can continue to use talking points thinking
that women are not smart enough to realize the truth of the situation is
insulting. And so, I think women and men and allies are seeing really what
is happening. And that is why they`re so frustrated because they don`t
want to be patronized, treated as if they don`t understand the consequences
of this piece of legislation.

O`DONNELL: Texas state representative Mary Gonzales, Ohio state senator
Nina Turner, and Anna Marie Cox, thank you for joining us tonight.

TURNER: Thank you.

GONZALEZ: Thank you.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, another day, another hearing on the IRS so-called
scandal. This time Republicans are very, very angry that there is no
evidence of wrongdoing by any IRS employee. Ezra Klein will join me with

And in the rewrite tonight, when is a football injury a combat injury? You
will watch Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who is disabled face a man in a
congressional hearing who claims to be a disabled veteran because of a
football injury he suffered in high school. I am going to hand over the
"rewrite" tonight to Tammy Duckworth to let her give that guy exactly what
he deserves.

And we will have today`s testimony in the second degree murder trial of
George Zimmerman.

All that coming up.


O`DONNELL: After three weeks of debate, the Immigration reform bill passed
in the Senate today with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32. Fourteen
Republicans joined all 52 Democrats and two independents to support the
bill. The Senate bill provides a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11
million unauthorized immigrants in the country as well as tough border
security provisions that must be in place before the immigrants can gain
legal status. The bill now heads to the House where it faces extreme
Republican opposition. Speaker John Boehner promises even before today`s
vote, quote, "we`re going to do our own bill.`

Up next, why Republicans just cannot take no for an answer when it comes to
scandal at the scandal at the IRS.


O`DONNELL: The House Ways and Means Committee called the acting IRS
commissioner today to testify at yet another hearing on the non-scandal.
Today, Republicans were angry about a new report that the commissioner
Werfel ordered the IRS to do showing all the evidence of intentional
wrongdoing on the part of IRS employees targeting conservative groups for
extra scrutiny. The trouble for Republicans is the report did not find any
evidence of intentional wrongdoing.


REP. TIM GRIFFIN (R), ARKANSAS: The public report, whether it is intended
to be or not is a political report. People are going to seize upon what is
in that report, and they`re going to -- statements like the one that you
made, we have not found evidence of intentional wrongdoing on behalf of IRS
personnel. They`re going to seize on statements like that. And they`re
going to hold that up and say ah ha, see there? No evidence.


O`DONNELL: Commissioner Werfel had to explain to the ways and means
committee exactly what intentional wrongdoing means.


DANNY WERFEL, IRS ACTING COMMISSIONER: At this point we don`t have any
evidence of intentional wrong doing. And what we mean by that is that it
is a different situation if a manager thinks and an employee thinks, this
is the right thing to do, this is how I`m supposed to conduct my business,
and it could be mistaken, and they could be incompetent and it could be --
how they may think they`re appropriately carrying out their duties, which
is different than them saying I know this is wrong. But I`m going to do it
anyway because I have a particular agenda in mind. What we don`t have is
evidence that something did something knowingly wrong, that evidence has
just not materialized yet.


O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein, I`m in Colorado tonight because I need to talk to
you about the IRS.



O`DONNELL: He told me he is in Colorado. I said all right, we`ll go
there. So, yet another, hearing this time after the new acting IRS
commissioner does a study finding no intentional wrongdoing, meaning what
I`ve been saying from the start. It seems to me, and there could be more
investigation, we could find out more information down the road. But it
seems to me these people were supposed to do out exactly what kind of
politicking, which is what they are supposed to find out, these
organizations were doing. And so, they had no guidelines for how to do
that and to figure that out what those guideline were.

KLEIN: Correct.

O`DONNELL: And the commissioner is saying, yes, that is what they were
doing. And it was not because they had any, you know, negative intent.

KLEIN: Right, and I think there are two interesting tells in today`s
hearing. One is you heard it in the congressman`s comments to acting
commissioner Werfel, which is he wanted a scandal, much more that he wanted
and not scandal. And I think it is actually worth pausing on that minute,
right? Because the kind of scandal we`re talking about, if you actually do
have a significant portion of the IRS doing the maligned politically
motivated screening, is a very significant one for (INAUDIBLE). It is
something people who care about the country really should not want to
happening. But there was an evident sense of disappointment out was coming
these report that said this is not happening which one would think, is what
you think they would cheer over it.

O`DONNELL: That would be the Republicans to go as oh, OK, what a relief.
We were worried our people were treated badly for a reason.

KLEIN: Right, we took this situation seriously because we should have
been. We are happy to hear, nobody is sick. You know what I mean? And
then, the other piece of it and this goes to your point is it, clearly,
there is a clear and evident and serious problem uncovered across the
investigation which is it there is real confusion over what to do with the
501(c)(4) designation.

And to my knowledge, at this point, and I have been trying to watch
(INAUDIBLE) and talked to people involved. There has not been one serious
attempt, and certainly not among the Republicans in the House to begin
moving forward on a legislative fix that would define how do you determine
who is and who is not a viable 501(c)(4) in the future.

O`DONNELL: Well, that will be impossible. There will never be a
legislative fix for it because, I mean, as you know, the law says they have
to be exclusively engaged in social welfare, and that regulation change in
1959 saying primarily if you ever tried to write a piece of legislation
that would define what primarily is, it could never get rid of it.

KLEIN: But they could back it up, right? I mean, it would completely be a
viable solution to say we are just going to take this political part out of
it entirely. You can just be a political 501(c)(4). That would be
consistent, I think, with what is implicit in a lot of Republican argument
on this which is as far as I can tell, that no key party group should have
been scrutinized at all. That would be (INAUDIBLE). We will solve the
problem. It is not -- I`m not sure I forbid. Taxpayer should subsidized
highly political 501 (c)(4). But, if that is what Republicans believe,
they should put that in legislation. But there has been no effort to solve
the problem in either direction.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, their attitude was what do you care how much
politicking they were doing? Well, the regulation says that is precisely
what we`re supposed to do.

KLEIN: And not paying for it. I, the taxpayer, I`m subsidizing these
groups. They don`t have to pay taxes, the otherwise would. I`m paying for
it. I should care.

O`DONNELL: Where does this particular scandal go from here? You already -
- Darrell Issa has started to make Benghazi noises recently, you know.
People say, well that is an indication that he doesn`t have anywhere to go
with the IRS.

KLEIN: Unless he finds something new, it doesn`t have anywhere really to
go. And Issa has to be careful, because I think at a couple of junctures
in the scandal looks like he has done things totally not above board. He
was trying to suppress evidence, and one thing we recently found out, there
was screening for words like progressive. Is that the nature of the
investigation was pointed, are you screening against any tea party groups?
Not just are you screening political groups, in general, it was a very
narrowly targeted investigation seemingly to get a result. So Issa, if he
is going to have credibility for when the day may come, that there is an
investigation, he needs to have credibility to pursue, he has got to have a
struck being little bit more careful here.

O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein, thank you for receiving me here in Colorado. You
are giving me some of your time here. I very much appreciate it.

KLEIN: I appreciate you guys coming out just for me.

O`DONNELL: Just for you.

Up next, today`s developments. The case of Florida versus Zimmerman.

And later, Barack Obama and Chris Christie could not disagree more on
marriage equality.


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Rachel Jeantel`s nearly four-hour
interrogation. For the second day in a row, George Zimmerman`s defense
team cross examined 19-year-old, Rachel Jeantel, the last person to speak
with Trayvon Martin on his cell phone before the altercation with George
Zimmerman in which Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. George Zimmerman
has pled not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, claiming self defense.

Like yesterday, defense attorney Don West dug into the discrepancies
between what Jeantel testified to in court, and what she said in prior
statements, particularly whether or not she heard Trayvon Martin say get
off, get off. Because in her first discussion of the case with Trayvon
Martin`s family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, she did not quote Trayvon Martin
saying get off, get off.


DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But nowhere in that interview did
you say in response to any question, specific origin -- or, in general,
that you had heard Trayvon Martin say get off, get off.

RACHEL JEANTEL, WITNESS: He asked me, did you hear any fighting going on?
I had told him that (INAUDIBLE). Did you hear when he was fighting going
on? Did you hear something that was going on between the fight. No, he
did not ask me that, the state asked me that, sir.

WEST: So you made the decision, then, not to tell Mr. Crump that you
actually heard Trayvon Martin say get off, get off, because you were in a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, asked and answered.

additional part of that question so I will allow it, you may answer.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir, that was one of the voices.

WEST: So you were not worried about telling him, first of all, the truth,
the whole story.

JEANTEL: First of all, Crump is not a lying person. And he is not an
officer. I knew that he was not an officer, so like I told the mother from
the beginning, if the officer wants to talk to me and know the exact story,
everything about what happened that night they would reach me at my number.
You got it?


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Faith Jenkins, a former criminal prosecutor,
and Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter of "USA Today" who was in the courtroom

Faith, I think -- I would like you to summarize what you think the effect
is of Jeantel`s testimony was. But, I think one of the things that has
happened in the media, is people got carried away with what her testimony
was supposed to do, calling her a star witness, and all of this. She was
never an eye witness. She was an ear witness, and what we knew she could
establish from the start and what from her cell phone records is going to
establish is, this is what Trayvon Martin was doing up to a certain point.
Meaning he was talking on his cell phone right up to this second, as the
records will show. And then you can measure from that point how much time
went by before the gunshot was fired. That was very, very helpful.

What else should people or should either the prosecution or the defense
expected to have established with her testimony?

to do one key thing in their summation. They`re going to take her almost
five hours on the witness stand and they`re going to focus the jury on the
key elements, the points that really matter. And that is the time when she
was on the phone with Trayvon. They are going to argue, yes, maybe she has
been a little inconsistent in the past. But is she being truthful? Do you
believe her? Does she have a certain credibility when she talks about what
happened. And that is what I really got from her examination in this case.

Don West, no matter how he tried to ask her different ways to come in with
different testimony, different prior statement, she stuck to the core of
her testimony about what she heard that night on the phone -- when she was
on the phone with Trayvon.

What I -- another thing I noticed is, she didn`t try to censor their
conversation. There are certain words that she said that Trayvon used.
The defense tried to really hard on with her, but she didn`t try to censor
that for court. She said this is what he said. And if she wanted to make
him -- paint him in a better light, she could have used different words.
But she didn`t, she said that used the word "cracker," and use the word "n"
word. And I think that lad additional credibility to her testimony. She
just came in and she told it like it was. This is what I heard. This is
my testimony.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to Don West discussing actual, that word
description that she says Trayvon Martin used for Zimmerman in her first
description -- in his first description of him to Jeantel. Let`s listen to
that now.


WEST: Describing the person is what made you think it was racial?


WEST: And that is because you described him as a creepy ass cracker?


WEST: So it was racial, but it was because Trayvon Martin put race in


WEST: You don`t think that is a racial comment?


WEST: You don`t think that creepy ass cracker is a racial comment?



O`DONNELL: Yamiche, the jury is going to have to decide what to make of
the discussion that Jeantel has said she had with Trayvon, and what that
has to do with the final outcome that night. What is your sense of -- if
there is any way of telling in the courtroom there what the jury was kind
of leaning in toward -- in her testimony the most?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, REPORTER, USA TODAY: I know that they were definitely
paying attention. I think has soon as it got contentious with Don West,
they paid a little more attention, they would lean in, and they would look,
first back at Don West and back at her. I saw a lot of heads turning left
and right, left and right. So I knew they were definitely paying attention
to the conversation. One juror was almost leaning out of the jury box
because she was so almost enthralled in the back and forth between them.
So, I can`t tell you whether or not if she believed her. But I can tell
you they were paying close attention to her and taking a lot of notes.

O`DONNELL: The jury heard another 911 tape today. Placed in evidence by
another witness. Let`s listen to that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, do you need police or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both, I`m not sure. There is just someone
screaming outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what is the address -- is this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and is it a male or female?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why, I think they`re yelling help, but I
don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want go out there. I don`t
know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he is yelling help?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, what is your phone numb.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?





O`DONNELL: And Faith, was she asked her opinion of what the voice crying
for help sounded like to her?

JENKINS: Yes, she was not able to tell who was crying out for help, but
the reason why her testimony is so crucial is because the state wanted to
move that 911 call into evidence. Now the jurors are going to be able to
take that call with them into the deliberation room when they`re

And you remember John Guy, the prosecutor in this case opened and he talked
about this call in his opening statement. And he said, listen to this call
carefully. Listen to the screams for help in this call. When do they end?
And he is going to argue -- they`re going to argue in their closing
statements that the gunshot silenced the screamer, whoever was screaming,
the gunshot silenced them.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Selma Mora, she speaks Spanish, it will be
through a translator, telling us what she saw.


JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: Did you ask again what is going on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): Yes.

GUY: And did anybody respond to you that time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): Yes.

GUY: And who responded to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): The person who was on top.

GUY: What did the person on top say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): Just to call the police.

GUY: Did you ever hear the person on the bottom say anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): No.

GUY: At any point, did you see either the person on top or the person on
the bottom get up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): Yes.

GUY: Who did you see get up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): The one who was on top.

GUY: When the man on top got up and started walking around, could you see
the man on the bottom or the person on the bottom better?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): Yes.

GUY: Could you tell at that point whether or not the person on the bottom
was on their stomach or their back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (though translator): He was face down.


O`DONNELL: Yamiche, here is the prosecution with another witness, very
clearly insisting that Trayvon Martin was face down, right after this
incident which contradicts the Zimmerman version of this. This is
something that is essential to the prosecution`s outline of the case, isn`t

ALCINDOR: I think it is essential, because the lawyers autopsy say that
there are no eye witnesses. So each one of these witnesses that they`re
presenting gives one small piece of the puzzle. And this woman is saying
clearly I saw George Zimmerman on top of Trayvon Martin, and when the gun
went off the person who got up, the person who was walking around was the
same person on top of the second person, which would be George Zimmerman.

So, I think that she really offered key testimony for the state because he
really tried to paint a picture of this young boy basically on the ground
while George Zimmerman was on top of him.

O`DONNELL: Faith Jenkins and Yamiche Alcindor, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth who lost both of her
legs fighting in Iraq explains to a federal contractor why his football
injury should not allow him to claim he has been disabled in the military.
It is a Capitol Hill moment like nothing I have ever seen and it is in
tonight`s "rewrite."


O`DONNELL: President Obama would like to see marriage equality spread to
all 50 states, and Chris Christie absolutely would not. That is coming up.

And you have got to see this in the "rewrite." Congresswoman Tammy
Duckworth confronting a guy who is claiming that veteran`s disability
benefits for a football injury he got in high school. That is in the


O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "rewrite," rewriting the definition of combat
injury to include a football injury which is exactly what one man has done
in order to get preferential treatment as a government contractor as a
disabled veteran. And he managed to do this without ever actually serving
in the military.

Now what do you suppose a wounded combat veteran hates more than a liar who
poses as a wounded combat veteran? Not much. What you are about to see is
what happens when a guy exploiting a phony injury to get veteran`s benefits
faces Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth in a congressional hearing.

Tammy Duckworth was one of the first women to fly combat missions in 2004
in the Iraq war. When her helicopter was shot down she lost both legs and
part of her right arm. Appearing before her yesterday was Braulio
Castillo, the CEO of an IT company that gets pr preferential treatment
because he does business with the government because he claims to be a
disabled veteran. The House committee`s investigation discovered that his
claims is based not on having actually served in the military but simply
having attended a prep school before college, the West Point Military
Academy Preparatory school.

Mr. Castillo was the quarterback of the prep school`s football team and he
injured his foot playing football at West Point Military Academy
Preparatory school. He recovered from the injured foot and then went on to
play quarterback for the University of San Diego and then never served in
the military.

So, how is he a veteran? The House oversight committees report explains it
this way. Normally, a cadet is not considered a veteran until he or she
graduates from West Point, enters active duty and subsequently leaves
active duty. Time spent at West Point Military Academy preparatory school
at West Point is considered training, not active duty. However, if a
person is injured at either school he or she becomes a veteran due to the
service connected disability. Well, that is just not Tammy Duckworth`s
idea of a disabled veteran.


REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: Mr. Castillo, how are you?

Thank you.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you for being here today.

I am not well. But you`re welcome.

DUCKWORTH: All right. So your foot hurt? Your left foot?

Yes, ma`am.

DUCKWORTH: It hurts. My feet hurt, too, in fact, the balls of my feet
burn continuously, and I feel like there is a nail being hammered into my
right foot right now. So I can understand how pain and suffering and how
service connection can actually cause long term unremitting, unyielding,
unstoppable pain.

I also understand why, you know, something can take years to manifest
itself from when you hurt them. In fact, I have a dear, dear friend who
was sprayed aged orange our of his (INAUDIBLE) in Vietnam, and it took 40
years, 40 years for the leukemia to actually manifest itself and he died
six is months later.

So I can see at the time while in military service you seem very healthy,
could 40 years later result in devastating in.

In your letter to a government official, I think it is the SVA, attention
Gina Move (ph), you said my family and I have made considerable sacrifices
for our country. My service connected disability status, should serve as a
testimony to that end. I can`t play with my kids because I can`t walk
without pain. I take twice daily pain medication so I can work a normal
day`s work. These are crosses that I bear due to my service to our great
country and I would do it again to protect this great country.

I am so glad that you would be willing to play football in prep school
again to protect this great country. Shame on you, Mr. Castillo. Shame on
you, you may not have is broken any law. We`re not sure yet. You did
misrepresent to the SBA, but you certainly broke the trust of this great

I hope you think twice about the example you set for children. I hope that
you think twice about what you are doing to the nation, this nation`s
veterans who are willing to die to protect this nation.

Twisting your ankle in prep school is not defending or serving this nation,
Mr. Castillo.

Mr. Chairman, I`m sorry. You have been very indulgent, I yield back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank the gentle lady, the time was well spent.



O`DONNELL: Today, a grand jury indicted Boston marathon bombing suspect
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the 30 counts against Tsarnaev include using weapons of
mass destruction, and killing four people and claims that Tsarnaev wrote
anti-American messages while hiding from police in that boat.

Up next, President Obama versus Chris Christie on marriage equality.



but I am speaking now as a president, as opposed to as a lawyer, that if
you have been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else you`re
still married. And that under federal law, you should be able to obtain
the benefits of any lawfully married couple. But again, I`m speaking as a
president, not a lawyer.


O`DONNELL: President Obama has asked the White House counsel to work with
lawyers across the federal government to figure out which laws now need to
be applied to all married couples and how to handle cases where married
couples move to a state where their marriage may not be recognized. The
Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 and the defense of marriage act did not
change Chris Christie`s view of marriage equality, though.

Christie vetoed a bill legalizing marriage equality in New jersey, but says
he still supports putting marriage on the ballot Prop 8 style.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The Democrats are putting an
increase in the minimum wage on the ballot. That is important enough to
put on the ballot, but gay marriage is not. That is something the people
should decide, but not whether same-sex marriage should happen --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: But their argument is you should not have to
vote on somebody`s rights. What is minimum wage?

CHRISTIE: I am not evaluating the depth of the right.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Ari Melber, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE."

Ari, Chris Christie didn`t do so good with the depth of the right voting.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Yes. I don`t know what he means by the
depth of the right, any right that matter -- yes, the right to marry, the
right to vote, the right to speak. We think of these as absolute rights
because they have a floor. In this case and what the president said I
thought e eloquently, the floor is having that freedom to vote marriage and
be recognize in all of the ways that matters just as Kennedy talked about,
not only has mattering before the law, but mattering in the sense of
dignity with how we treat each other.

O`DONNELL: I want to play something he said about the Supreme Court
decision and -- particular note to how he wove Bill Clinton into his side
of this argument. Let`s listen to this.


CHRISTIE: I don`t think the ruling was appropriate. I think it was wrong.
I thought that justice Kennedy`s opinion in many respects was incredibly
insulting to those people. And 340-something members of Congress who voted
for the defense of marriage act. And bill Clinton, he basically said the
only reason to pass that bill was to demean people.

That is a heck of a thing to say about Bill Clinton and about the
Republican Congress back in the `90s, and it is just another example of
judicial supremacy, rather than how did the government by the people who we
actually vote for. So I thought it was a bad decision.


O`DONNELL: Ari, why is he working so hard to remind people that Clinton
signed the defense of marriage act, even though Clinton turned against it
publicly and strongly.

MELBER: Clinton has turned against him and he and Hillary issued a joint
statement on that.

I think Chris Christie is worried about being lumped in with people who
oppose it for bigoted reasons. And so, he is trying to single that out and
say, hey, it is not right wing Republicans.

The problem is with what we just heard and I am glad you played it,
Lawrence was, a real mischaracterization of justice, Kennedy`s opinion.
Justice Kennedy was referring to in the legal guideline something in
Colorado, a case called (INAUDIBLE) where the Supreme Court had previously
knocked down rules in part because they said they were motivated by anti-
gay animist. That`s the president that is important because as you can
imagine, anytime that we see legislators get in there and used their power
that might otherwise be OK if they are just doing it to hurt or single out
a certain group that often doesn`t meet the test that the Supreme Court has
said. And that is true in a lot of areas.

So that is what Justice Kennedy was referring to, and saying that DOMA, in
part, at the time it was passed was working more to single out gays, and to
do anything normal. And he had other reasons including the way it went to
the dictionary act and that sort of broad set of definitions that we use
under the law and not a more specific area.

So, a misreading probably, we don`t know, probably a deliberate political
misreading, again goes to the fact he doesn`t get how important this is in
realm of equality.

O`DONNELL: Ari, according to polls, New Jersey is now 60 percent in favor
of marriage equality, 30 percent oppose. So, Christie is not saying this
to pander in New Jersey. But it certainly is exactly what as we now know
it, Republican presidential primary voters want to hear in a lot of states.

MELBER: Absolutely, and that is the connective tissue from gay rights or
marriage equality issues over to voting rights where we have the Supreme
Court dipping in, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively, in my view,
but making I think a lot of long-term trouble for the Republican party.
This is not a party that can afford to go against equality in so many
different areas. And so he is trying to hide behind the voters in his
state to impress potential future Republican primary voter, I think we
deserve better than that.

O`DONNELL: Ari Melber gets the tonight`s LAST WORD.

Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.

York. I`m Chris Hayes.


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