THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 23, 2013
Guests: Madeleine Castellanos, Sam Stein, Jim Obergefell; Robert Reich; Al Gerhardstein
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Today, Monica Lewinsky turned 40 and
Anthony Weiner turned red, again.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s Tuesday, July 23rd.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s Tuesday, July 23rd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot to talk about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitch McConnell failed in his goals.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: He tried to make love to the
Tea Party and they didn`t like it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pope Francis arrived in Brazil to a raucous
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a guy that sticks to the schedule.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not unusual for baseball players to get hit
by a stray pitch. But how about this one?
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Weiner, again.
ANTHONY WEINER (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Some of these things
happened before. Some of them happen after.
MATTHEWS: He`s streaking digitally down the street to us.
WEINER: I`ve been asking New Yorkers to also give me another chance.
MATTHEWS: Why would you want to sext pictures of your naked self
around the country?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: This is becoming ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot to talk about. Who am I kidding?
There is exactly one thing to talk about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Woman has baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, oh, my God!
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: There is a royal baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All yield to the one true king! I`m (INAUDIBLE)
O`DONNELL: This afternoon, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony
Weiner stepped up to the microphones at a campaign stop to once again say a
few words about his latest sexting scandal, but this time for the first
time in an Anthony Weiner sexting scandal press conference, his wife was by
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: Huma, as you know, has been out there with me recently and
she had a few words she wanted to say. So, my amazing wife, Huma Abedin.
HUMA ABEDIN, WIFE OF ANTHONY WEINER: Hi. Good evening.
As many of you who have followed this campaign know, I`ve spent a good
deal out on the campaign trail, at churches and street fairs, parades. But
this is the first time I`ve spoken at a press conference. And you`ll have
to bear with me because I`m very nervous and I wrote down what I wanted to
When we faced this publicly two years ago, it was the beginning of a
time in our marriage that was very difficult. And it took us a very long
time to get through it. Anthony`s made some horrible mistakes, both before
he resigned from Congress and after. But I do very strongly believe that
that is between us and our marriage. We discussed all this before Anthony
decided to run for mayor.
So really what I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I
believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Anthony Weiner took a couple of questions today. One
zeroing in on when was the last time that he engaged in sex chat online?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: I can`t -- I can`t say exactly. Sometime last summer, I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In his statement Anthony Weiner insisted that some of the
material released today by the Web site TheDirty.com is true and some of it
is not true. That material includes what purports to be his online sex
chats and a new picture of his pixilated penis.
The young woman who says she was exchanging sex messages with Anthony
Weiner remains anonymous tonight but gave this statement to TheDirty.com.
"I just want to clarify that although I was 22 and technically an adult, I
was obviously immature and I acted irresponsibly. I realize my
correspondence with Mr. Weiner was a huge mistake and I am embarrassed by
But the facts are the facts, and he`s running for mayor of NYC. So I
felt I should get my story out there. I have no reason to lie. I don`t
want the attention or I wouldn`t have kept my anonymity.
I didn`t get paid for anything. I quite literally have nothing to
gain from this. And to be totally clear, I did not sleep with him or
receive any funds from him. I`ve seen comments stating otherwise, and they
are all totally false. I think it`s important to reiterate the fact that
all of this happened with him after his first scandal. So, all of his
campaign promises about being a changed man are absolute lies."
Joining me now, "The Huffington Post`s" Sam Stein, MSNBC`s Karen
Finney and Ari Melber, and sex therapist and psychiatrist, Dr. Madeleine
Ari Melber --
ARI MELBER, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": You`re starting with me?
O`DONNELL: I`m starting with you.
O`DONNELL: Sexting scandals start with Ari Melber on this program.
O`DONNELL: I need some expertise here.
I want to get to this last line of the woman in this -- in this new
story. She says that all of his campaign promises about being a changed
man are absolute lies.
What -- how is this -- what is your sense of how this is going to play
in this campaign?
MELBER: Well, look, she`s an anonymous source. We deal with
anonymous sources a lot in politics, right?
So unlike, say, an anonymous source in the "New York Times", we don`t
have a third party validating quite as much. Having said that, as you know
and as the audience knows, he has burned up quite a bit of credibility for
people who care about the details of this because he has been previously
caught in several lies.
I don`t think the politics actually will hurt him that much in the
long run in New York. And I`ll tell you why, Lawrence.
MELBER: Yes. I`ll tell you why.
O`DONNELL: Tell me why.
MELBER: I don`t think the average New York Democratic primary voter,
which is a subset of a subset, learned a lot they didn`t already know about
him, which is he`s got this history. Some people think it`s pretty weird.
Some people think the digital sexting nature of it is in some ways less
relatable than other types of sexual infidelity -- although I`ve said for a
long time I don`t think that`s how we should judge our politicians.
But what`s new to them I think more to that is Huma coming out and
speaking directly on behalf of him. And I think we`ve seen the possibility
of real remorse and real embrace within the family regardless of how
complex that family is, has worked well for a lot of other politicians.
O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, if Anthony Weiner`s mayoral campaign is
going to be saved tonight, it`s going to be saved by his wife, your friend,
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST: Yes. That`s true. I mean, look, I think
there`s two pieces to this, right? As Ari was talking about, there`s a
political piece --
O`DONNELL: Oh, no, there`s a lot of pieces to this. If you go to
TheDirty.com, there`s an awful lot to read on there.
FINNEY: I know.
O`DONNELL: It`s amazing material.
FINNEY: And if you go to Twitter, you can see Geraldo Rivera`s, you
know -- so these days, guys are tweeting everything.
Anyway, but I think there`s the political piece as well as the
personal piece. And I think on the political level, yes, this was good for
the campaign. It answered the question that everybody was going to ask,
right? And that saved them from having another full day of stories about
On the other hand, I have to say I`m glad for her that she got to say
what she wanted to say on her terms because she really hasn`t. I mean, she
did sort of in the "People" magazine piece, I guess, but -- and I have to
say my personal opinion on all this stuff is that it`s their business,
I think what is relevant to the race is the fact that although I`m not
that surprised by this news because he said when he announced that there
were like -- that there were other things out there. So we knew it was
just a matter of time. And I think it`s for the voters of New York to
decide, are they comfortable with that? Are they comfortable that they may
not know the whole story?
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, the attempt here is to suggest that Anthony
Weiner not having fully disclosed every single thing he could possibly
disclose about his sexting history prior to becoming candidate for mayor of
New York somehow makes him untrustworthy as a political office holder.
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, first of all, I lack the
expertise in the politics of sexting that Ari has --
O`DONNELL: That`s why I`m going last with you.
STEIN: I know. But I think few have that expertise.
As for whether or not, you know, he recovers from this or this ruins
his credibility, I have to say, Ari`s right, he`s lied about this stuff
before. The assumption that he put out --
O`DONNELL: What credibility, is what you`re saying.
STEIN: Yes. And the assumption -- he let everybody assume that the
last instance of this is when it was exposed and he chose to resign from
Congress. And he let that assumption hang out there for a while knowing
full well that wasn`t the case.
And so, you know, I`m trying to -- I`m having trouble finding the
rationale for his candidacy, at this point, as I`m assuming many New
Yorkers are beyond the fact that he has what a lot of politicians have,
which is an incredible sense of self, that he can get over this stuff.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Castellanos, we turn to you for a professional view of
what is this sense of self that we`re seeing that Sam`s talking about.
Clinically, what are we looking at here?
DR. MADELEINE CASTELLANOS, SEX THERAPIST & PSYCHIATRIST: Well, it
looks like we`re looking at someone who`s just really getting off on the
power, the attention, the ability to draw somebody in and get that
attention. You know, you keep getting these dopamine boosts, and it
becomes an activity that you just don`t want to stop doing.
O`DONNELL: Is he getting -- how do you even talk about this on a
family show? Let me just go -- let me go non-sexual for a moment. Is he
getting some kind of extra charge out of the incredibly high risk involved
in this? For him.
Behavior that, by the way, for a single man wouldn`t be risky or even
all that strange in today`s society.
CASTELLANOS: Well, obviously, I don`t know him personally. But
generally, someone could get a great deal of excitement from this risky
behavior and the attention. The ability to get someone`s attention knowing
that it`s taboo, that he shouldn`t be doing it. You know, using his
position to gain attention. All of those things could be very exciting for
It would be considered normal, really, for the general public.
O`DONNELL: So there`s this one new pixilated penis picture which
MSNBC thinks would ruin America if I showed it to America. But doctor, I`m
going to slide it across the table to submit it to you. The thing has been
kind of blacked out. But those are Anthony Weiner`s feet there. I would
know those anywhere, I`m sure.
No, but here`s the thing. He`s upped the ante in that photograph if
that really is the equipment and his feet in that photograph because the
previous ones, he was -- it was his underwear and like -- he`s gone --
after he gets caught, after he has to resign from the Congress, he gets
into a situation online where he`s actually going farther than he went
CASTELLANOS: But that`s the nature of the dopamine boost, is you keep
pushing the envelope to get the next level of excitement. And that`s what
keeps them going.
I think the most -- that`s not that normal that someone would get that
emotion excitement. I think the most disconcerting part is that it shows a
lack of self-control.
O`DONNELL: What we were hearing from him and Huma today is he was
still in the recovery curve, he was still working through all of the issues
that put him in this kind of trouble in the first place. It sounded a
little bit like, yes, my husband, who went to rehab, had few drinks.
CASTELLANOS: Well, that`s the problem, that if you know that`s a
problematic behavior for you, you stay away from it, because if you get
just a taste of it it`s a slippery slope where you`re just enticed to keep
going back for more. And that`s what I said, the lack of self-control is
the most disconcerting part.
O`DONNELL: Just got breaking news, as it were, in terms of New York
politics anyway, gang. "The New York Times" editorial tomorrow morning is
going to say that Anthony Weiner should get out of this race.
MELBER: And that`s --
O`DONNELL: A "New York Times" editorial in a campaign like this is
MELBER: That will have an effect because that is an impactful thing
for the Democratic primary electorate here in New York. As you know,
Lawrence, sometimes on the lower ballot races, they can make or break
campaigns. But "The New York Times" editorial board has had some kind of
sexual Puritanism here that I didn`t see on display during President
There`s something about the sexual politics in this country that
really gets people up and gets them confused. Sometimes it`s partisan.
Sometimes it`s hypocritical. But they said that Eliot Spitzer was the Kim
Kardashian of New York politics, he should get out of the race for
comptroller because of his sex scandal, which would have left one person in
the race, ceasing to be a race.
I don`t know what`s going on over in midtown at "The New York Times"
office, but they are confused on this one and they`ve been inconsistent. I
think that`s glaring.
STEIN: Could I add --
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, aren`t you glad that we have an actual shrink
here and a professional to answer? Because if she wasn`t here, you were
going to get all those questions about the picture.
But listen, we`re going to take a break --
STEIN: It`s torturous.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a break right now. We`re going to
come back with more on this.
We`re going to actually go to the story of standing by her man. We`re
going to have more on this situation and Anthony Weiner`s wife and her
choice to support her scandal-plagued husband.
And Bill O`Reilly is in the "Rewrite" tonight for joining that clown
chorus that says Trayvon Martin looked suspicious because he was wearing a
hoodie. And Bill O`Reilly said this, knowing that we have a picture which
we`re going to show you, of course, of Bill O`Reilly himself wearing a
hoodie because, being Bill O`Reilly means you never have to apologize for
not making sense.
And later, Justice Scalia predicted that the Supreme Court striking
down of the defense of marriage act would end up making same-sex marriage
legal in all 50 states.
And in a LAST WORD exclusive, we`ll interview a man whose federal case
is the first step in making that prediction actually come true. And you`ll
hear about the tragic urgency to making his marriage legal in Ohio. His
husband may only have a few weeks to live.
That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: In other political sex news tonight, Virginia Republican
gubernatorial candidate and current attorney general of that state, Ken
Cuccinelli, doesn`t just love Virginia`s anti-sodomy laws, which as you
know covers more than sodomy. And, in fact, I think bears another reading
just to remind you of that. You know how much I hate having to read this
"If any person carnally knows in my manner any brute animal or
carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the
mouth," yes, I said the mouth, "or voluntarily submits to such carnal
knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a class 6 felony in Virginia."
Ken Cuccinelli doesn`t just think that is a great law. He also loves
Virginia`s anti-adultery laws. And during his run for attorney general in
2008, he defended the laws in Virginia that make extramarital sex a class 4
misdemeanor in Virginia.
Up next, the politics and the psychology of standing by your man when
he is in a political -- when he`s a political candidate caught in a
politically uncomfortable sexual position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY: You know, I`m not sitting here
some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette. I`m sitting here
because I love him and I respect him and I honor what he`s been through and
what we`ve been through together. And you know, if that`s not enough for
people, then heck, don`t vote for him.
ABEDIN: Our marriage, like many others, has had its ups and its
downs. It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy, to get to a place
where I could forgive Anthony.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, there`s Huma Abedin following the Hillary
Clinton model. And by the way, standing by her man, who has not yet been
accused of touching -- actually touching anyone other than himself.
But Hillary Clinton established this model for us. We`ve seen John
Edwards` wife and others refine it over the years to the point where the
latest additions delivered today by Huma Abedin.
FINNEY: You know, I have to tell you, I take a little bit of issue
with that because -- again, I hate what Anthony did. I don`t like what
bill Clinton did. I don`t like what Eliot Spitzer did. If it was me, I
would kick them out.
At the same time I really believe if we are -- as a true feminist I
believe that it is for every woman to decide for herself what is right her.
That may be in part a political decision. That may be in part a decision
they make as a parent. That may be in part a decision they make notion
their own sort of personal capacity to forgive or not.
But I really -- it`s just like Jenny Sanford, she decided, you know
what, it`s not OK with me. So I think it`s -- I hate that we put women in
this box of standing by your little man when really I`d like to give --
O`DONNELL: Wait a minute. No one`s putting them in a box. No one`s
putting them in a box.
I think each one of these people are highly mature people who made
their own independent decisions and their independent decision was I`m
going to stand by this guy -
O`DONNELL: -- and Hillary Clinton made it repeatedly because what you
just saw was before bill Clinton was elected president.
O`DONNELL: She then made that same decision again, continued to make
And, Dr. Castellanos, I want to go to that decision because Karen`s
right, a lot of people think that that is a strange decision. They think
that this decision doesn`t compare to anything else, any other way in which
a marital partner could falter or disappoint in some way. They seem to
think this particular territory of disappointment requires some kind of
immediate and complete and final rejection by the spouse, the woman in
these cases against the man.
CASTELLANOS: I don`t think you can just generalize that across the
board. Everyone has a different definition of what they`ll accept in their
marriage and what works in their relationship.
O`DONNELL: And they get to write their own rules.
CASTELLANOS: Absolutely. And each one has to be weighed on the
relationship itself. And everybody has a different definition of what
cheating is for them and for the relationship. So you can`t just make a
general blanket statement.
O`DONNELL: Ari Melber, I want to read to you some of the "New York
Times" editorial which has just come out telling Anthony Weiner to get out
of this thing.
It says, "At some point the full story of Anthony Weiner and his
sexting relationship habits and sexual relationships will be told. In the
meantime, the serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles
and personal compulsions out of the public eye away from cameras, off the
Web, and out of the race for mayor of New York City."
It says, "Mr. Weiner says he`s staying in the race. To those who know
his arrogance and have grown tired of the tawdry saga he has dragged the
city into, this is not surprising."
I don`t think "The Times" said that about Bill Clinton when his
problems erupted in New Hampshire. Bill Clinton, by the way, who suffered
a New York City press conference by Gennifer Flowers in which she played
audiotapes that absolutely proved their real sexual relations they had for
MELBER: I think that`s right, Lawrence. And the word that stuck out
to me is arrogance.
It`s arrogant of the media, be "The New York Times" or any other media
to stand up and tell us how to run our democracy. The idea that we would
elevate a single qualification of some sort of fidelity or sexual
Puritanism above everything else, you have people who have running for
office who have history of corruption, who have been involved in torturing
people, who have all sorts of things that some of us might say should get
them out of the race, right?
The idea this goes above all others is weird. It reminds me, since
you brought up the Clinton impeachment, of that amazing opening passage in
Philip Roth`s "The Human Stain", where he talks about the desire to excise
the presidential erection away from the national consciousness so that Joe
Lieberman could watch TV with his daughter. Right?
And Philip Roth does it better than a lot of us in the pundit-sphere
because what he was getting at is the whole thing is off the rails. You
can say that and say this isn`t someone you want in your family or as your
husband or wife. But the test of whether a candidate should be your lover
is not unlike the test of whether you want to have a beer with George W.
Bush because he`s funnier than Al Gore. It`s so irrelevant.
And I say that, by the way, just to get on record. I do not support
Anthony Weiner among the New York mayoral candidates, primarily because he
never got anything done in the House and he`s asking for a promotion after
resigning his last job.
So I say all of this as a larger critique of our problems in dealing
with these issues and not on any Weiner support.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, for New York voters, which I used to be, who
couldn`t care less what anyone has ever done in their sex lives at any time
in office or out of office or actually in the office room that they have
been elected to, I couldn`t care less, are there enough of those voters to
defy "The New York Times" order to Anthony Weiner to leave the race?
STEIN: Maybe. And I would have to echo what Ari said here, which is
that I don`t see a reason why he should be forced to leave the race or
asked to leave the race. The ultimate decision is really up to the voters
if they find this type of behavior tolerable. I think "The Times" would
have been better off probably editorializing about how he`s not mentally
suited for the office he seeks and that voters should consider that because
it does seem like he has an issue that he still is dealing with and the
potential for it to resurface is a problem.
Now, whether voters will take that cue and not vote for him is another
question. Some might be even drawn to the circus. There might be a
subsection of voters who find it alluring that this guy`s doing what he`s
doing. But I have to doubt that as hopefully a testament to humanity.
But you know, the whole thing is bizarre. It`s creepy. But I don`t
really see it a grounds for demanding that he exit the race. Again, this
is a product of democracy if he exits or not.
O`DONNELL: I think, Sam, you`ve probably just predicted what round 2
of "The New York Times" editorial will be, that it will probably go to some
sort of we`d like a little more stability in the character but we`re going
to see what they do.
STEIN: Well, it is the biggest city in America, you know?
All right. We`re going to have to wrap it right there. Sex therapist
and psychologist, Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, Ari Melber, Karen Finney, Sam
Stein -- Doctor, could you stay on standby for the rest of the week? We
don`t know at Anthony Weiner`s going to do tomorrow.
STEIN: You and Ari, Doctor.
O`DONNELL: Yes, we`re going to need you.
And Ari`s got some questions if you can hang around. There will be
plenty of time.
MELBER: You got it, Lawrence.
How the overturning of the defense of marriage act can spread marriage
equality even to the states that currently ban same-sex marriage. We will
have an exclusive interview with the man who brought a breakthrough case
and show you the tragic urgency to his demand for marriage equality in a
state that bans it.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the other shoe drops.
Last month when the Supreme Court ruled that the defense of marriage
act was unconstitutional, Supreme Court justice Anton Scalia said that the
majority was wrong to pretend that their decision would not in effect force
states to recognize same-sex marriage where it is currently illegal.
Scalia`s dissent said that the DOMA opinion would not be confined to the
federal government and that it was quote "leaving the second, state-law
shoe to be dropped later. Maybe next term but I am only guessing."
Scalia guessed right. Yesterday, a federal judge in Ohio ruled that
Ohio must recognize the marriage of two men who are residents of Ohio but
who were married recently in Maryland even though Ohio has had a ban on
same-sex marriage since 2004. Federal judge Timothy Black ruled that ban
unconstitutional because the state continues to recognize marriages
performed in other states that could not be performed in Ohio.
The judge wrote, throughout Ohio`s history Ohio law has been clear. A
marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where
solemnized. Thus, for example, under Ohio law out-of-state marriages
between first cousins are recognized by Ohio, even though Ohio law does not
authorize marriages between first cousins. Likewise, under Ohio law out-
of-state marriages of minors are recognized by Ohio even though Ohio law
does not authorize marriages of minors.
Thirteen states authorize marriages at ages younger than Ohio`s
minimum marriage age of 16. New Hampshire has the lowest defined marriage
age in the country at 13. And even though a 13-year-old has to wait three
more years to get married in Ohio, a 13-year-old married in New Hampshire
can immediately move to Ohio and have that marriage recognized in Ohio.
First cousins cannot legally marry in Ohio, but they can legally marry
in South Carolina. And then they can move to Ohio the next day and have
their first cousin marriage recognized in Ohio. But Ohio was still trying
to prevent same-sex marriages performed in, say, Maryland, New York,
Massachusetts from being recognized in Ohio.
Jim Obergefell and John Arthur sued because they wanted Ohio to
recognize them as legal spouses. That recognition was more urgent to them
than most because John Arthur is suffering from Lou Gehrig`s disease and
could die within weeks. The couple desperately wanted John Arthur`s death
certificate, which is likely to be issued this year, to list Jim Obergefell
as his legal husband. The court`s ruling will now allow that to happen.
Jim will join me in a minute for an exclusive interview. But first a
wedding video like you have never seen. Jim and John`s excellent wedding
adventure was captured on camera by the "Cincinnati Enquirer."
JOHN ARTHUR, JIM OBERGEFELL`S PARTNER: We had talked about getting
married, and we never, ever felt it would be anything more than symbolic
because of the nature of our country.
JIM OBERGEFELL, JOHN ARTHUR`S PARTNER: In essence, it doesn`t matter
to us what Ohio says at this point because we know that isn`t going to
change. We still want our government to say you matter, you exist, and
your relationship of 20 years, one year, whatever it is, matters as much as
ARTHUR: We`re now getting federal recognition, and that`s the impetus
to make it happen because we are tax-paying citizens of the United States
and that federal recognition really helps me feel like a citizen.
OBERGEFELL: When we decided we wanted to go to Maryland, I asked
hospice to start doing some research to see what they could work out,
knowing that they know how to deal with patients like John who have medical
needs and transporting them. So I asked them to work on finding out what
they could, how we could get to Maryland.
I`m excited. I`m thrilled. I can`t believe it is happening. We will
fly to Baltimore international airport and park at the private air
terminal, and John`s aunt, Paula, is going to marry us.
Through the wonders of social media I just -- I posted something on
facebook asking my family and friends, hey, any ideas, any connections
without prompting multiple messages of people offering to help pay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For you from crossroads.
OBERGEFELL: That`s so sweet. Thank you, dear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And much love from Leanne.
OBERGEFELL: One last check. Make sure I have the all-important
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you forgetting something?
OBERGEFELL: There it is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is a momentous day, not only in the lives
of two of the most loving and special men I have ever known. Also in the
lives of all who know, love, and respect them. And in the larger sense,
for those Americans who have waited to be recognized as equal under the law
and in matters of the heart. Jim, place the ring on John`s hand and say
after me. With this ring.
With this ring. I thee wed.
OBERGEFELL: With this ring, I thee wed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John, help guide the ring onto Jim`s hand and
repeat after me.
OBERGEFELL: Put it on upside down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s good. With this ring I thee wed.
ARTHUR: With this ring I thee wed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Montgomery Arthur, do you continuing from
this day take James Robert Obergefell to be the love of your life, your
eternal partner, your husband?
ARTHUR: I do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I now pronounce you husband and husband, forever
intertwined partners. May love and good will be with you forever. Let us
ARTHUR: I`m overjoyed. I`m very proud to be an American and so
openly show my love for the record.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Jim Obergefell, who you just saw getting
married in that video, and his attorney, Al Gerhardstein.
Jim, I know the principle is important and the legal rights you have
obtained are important. But talk about what`s in your heart and the
meaning for you, being able to have this marriage not just obtained in
Maryland but then recognized in Ohio.
OBERGEFELL: Well, it means that John and I are equal to every other
couple in our home state. It means Ohio recognizes us and acknowledges and
respects our marriage. It`s huge. It`s something we never thought we
would see in our lifetime. And it just helps us feel more valid, more
valued, and prouder to be Ohioans, prouder to be Americans. So it makes us
feel better. Simply put.
O`DONNELL: Jim, what I was struck by in watching what turns out to be
your wedding video is how much happiness there is, how much happiness you
have throughout this experience. And yet you`re in a situation that we
would all dread. Basically seeing a loved one stricken with a disease from
which there is no recovery and there`s a timetable that you are aware of
and yet there`s so much smiling and so much love and so much happiness in
OBERGEFELL: Well, from the moment John was diagnosed, we both looked
at this as something we know is happening. And unlike a heart attack, a
stroke, being hit by a car, you can never plan that. This we know. And it
gave us the ability to approach it in a slightly different manner, at least
for the two of us personally. And it allows us to really appreciate the
time that we have.
And John, especially, has always been one of those people who sees
life as a glass half full. He`s always been an incredibly positive person.
And he`s made me a better person because of that. And he has approached
this horrible disease with such incredible grace and a positive attitude
that it`s hard not to smile around him. And it was a wonderful day. I
can`t imagine doing anything but smile and look joyful the day we got to
get married by his aunt. It was a wonderful day regardless of his health
O`DONNELL: And Al, one of the interesting things legally here is that
justice Scalia in effect predicted in his dissent in the DOMA decision by
the Supreme Court that this would happen, that it would be -- even though
there are states out there like Ohio that have laws against marriage
equality, they would not be able to stand up against the principles
outlined in the DOMA decision.
AL GERHARDSTEIN, ATTORNEY: Well, that`s correct. Because ultimately
our case will not establish that you can as a same-sex couples getting
married in Ohio. All it establishes is that if you get married somewhere
else where a same-sex marriage is legal it will be treated the same as
opposite-sex marriages from other states.
And I think Justice Scalia foresaw that. He knew that Ohio doesn`t
really look to see if it`s first cousins that went off and get married in
another state. They just said look, if it`s legal somewhere, it is legal
here. Now, they have to do the same thing for same-sex couples. And I
think that`s great. And I think it`s right and just.
O`DONNELL: Jim Obergefell, thank you very much. Thank you for
sharing your video with us tonight and your story. Thank you very much.
And attorney Al Gerhardstein, congratulations on the big win. It
means a lot to a lot of people not just in Ohio but elsewhere. Thank you
very much for joining us tonight.
GERHARDSTEIN: Well, thank you.
OBERGEFELL: Thanks for having us.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the oblivious Bill O`Reilly is back in the
"rewrite" talking about hoodies.
O`DONNELL: Scottish friend of the show Alan Cumming tweeted this.
Around 2,000 babies born in the UK today, 650-odd will have been born into
poverty. Surely that`s the real headline.
The "rewrite" is next. And Bill O`Reilly`s hoodie is in it.
O`DONNELL: Last night, Bill O`Reilly actually said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He was scrutinized by neighborhood
watchman George Zimmerman because of the way he looked. Not necessarily
his skin color. There`s no evidence of that. But because he was a
stranger to Zimmerman and was dressed in clothing sometimes used by street
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Oh, boy. OK, OK.
First of all, there was plenty of evidence that Trayvon Martin`s skin
color is what aroused George Zimmerman`s incorrect suspicions of him. It
was indeed Trayvon Martin`s skin color that made him in O`Reilly`s words
quote "a stranger to Zimmerman."
And second, clothing sometimes used by street criminals, Bill?
Seriously? At this late date? There`s Bill O`Reilly echoing the inanity
first offered on FOX News last year by Geraldo Rivera that hoodies are a
clear marker of criminal intent by the wearer of a hoodie like these punks.
I don`t think O`Reilly wants to stop and frisk them. How many times
does O`Reilly have to see Mark Zuckerberg in a hoodie to realize that the
hoodie has become a completely culturally, economically neutral article of
clothing that tells you virtually nothing about the wearer? Except
possibly where the wearer went to school. But any thug can get his hands
on a hoodie with any school name on it. And so you can`t really assume
anything about wearers of hoodies, not even where they go to school. The
Barnard girls in this picture may not really be Barnard girls. But that
doesn`t mean they`re street criminals.
Hoodies tell you nothing about a person because everyone has a hoodie
now. Hoodies are about as informative as socks. Everyone has them. I
have a bunch. One that I like to wear on airplanes. A couple others that
I wear on those very rare occasions when I work out.
O`Reilly says that Trayvon Martin was quote "dressed in clothing
sometimes used by street criminals."
Now, I would have had no problem with that line if O`Reilly rewrote it
to say and sometimes used by FOX News gangsters.
O`DONNELL: Virginia`s Liz Cheney is not polling very well in her
Republican primary challenge against Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, a new
public policy poll shows Wyoming Republicans giving Enzi almost a 30-point
lead over Liz Cheney, 54-26. Liz Cheney has established a legal residence
in Wyoming, but so far Wyoming Republicans are continuing to treat her as
the Virginian she really is.
Up next, a preview of the president`s big speech tomorrow with Robert
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How does America find
its way in this new global economy? What will our place in history be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Those the newly elected senator Barack Obama in 2005
speaking at Knox College in Illinois asking those questions about America`s
economic future. Here was some of his answer then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It`s been government research and investment that made the
railways possible and the internet possible. It`s been the creation of a
massive middle class through decent wages and benefits and public schools
that allowed us all to prosper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tomorrow Barack Obama`s going back to Knox College as
president to once again talk about the future and the future of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: On Wednesday I`m going to go back to Galesburg, Illinois. We
got any Illinoisans here? We`re going back to Knox College, which is one
of the places where I gave my first -- it`s the place where I gave my first
big speech after I had been elected to the U.S. Senate and this is back in
2005. And I talked at that time about the building blocks that we need to
put into place, the foundation, the cornerstones that we needed to make
sure that the American dream is alive and well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, former labor secretary Robert Reich, now a
professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He
is the author of "aftershock: the next economy and America`s future."
Professor Reich, you just happen to have written a book that is
exactly about what the president wants to talk about tomorrow. What would
you advise him to say?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, clearly, Lawrence, he is
going to try to pivot away from NSA controversies and the deficits. And he
also understands that in the fall it`s all going to be about lifting the
debt ceiling and back to business as usual in terms of gridlock over the
So, I think he wants to change the parameters of the economic debate.
I have not seen the speech. But I understand that he wants to talk about
inequality not in terms of unfairness solely but also in terms of it being
bad for everybody in the economy because you need a growing middle class to
have the purchasing power to keep the economy going.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to one other preview he gave about tomorrow`s
speech. What he might say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`m going to talk about where we need to go from here. How we
need to put behind us the distractions and the phony debates and nonsense
that somehow passes for politics these days, and get back to basics. And
you know, it`s going to be the kickoff to what is essentially several
months of us trying to get Washington and the press to refocus on the
economy and the struggles that middle-class families are going to -- going
through, but also for us to start exploring some big and bold ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What should those big and bold ideas be?
REICH: Well, Lawrence, the president has already put in the hopper a
number of ideas with regard to recharging and restarting the economy.
Obviously, the Republicans in Congress have said nixed everything. I think
he might talk about, for example, raising the minimum wage once again. He
may also talk about proving tax credits and tax advantages to companies
that treat their workers well, that retrain their workers, that actually do
their business in the United States. He may come up with a variety of
options for how we can reorganize the relationship between management and
labor so it`s a win-win outcome instead of simply a continuously
There are a lot of things that could be and I understand have been
discussed with the president, but I think mostly it`s a matter of
refocusing what the president basically believes. I mean, that 2005 speech
is very indicative. He came to office not to deal with a bunch of deficit,
per se, not to deal with an economic calamity or practically an economic
calamity but to really do something for the broad middle class and
everybody aspiring to join middle class.
O`DONNELL: Robert Reich gets tonight`s "Last Word."
Thank you very much, Robert.
REICH: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hays is up next.
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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL