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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

October 10, 2013
Guest: Mark McKinnon, Robert Costa, Tammy Duckworth, Janine Reid; Mason

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: It`s been a big day in the Republican
Party`s hostage taking with the American economy. After releasing the
first hostage, the debt ceiling, tonight, they are getting ready to release
the other hostage and reopen the government.


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: Ten days of the government being shut

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day ten of the shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels longer than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven days to go before we hit our heads on the
debt ceiling.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Is there any way out of this mess?

JANSING: There should be a short term deal.

in the debt ceiling.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: A six-week clean extension of the nation`s
debt limit.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: We cannot waste anymore

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there`s one potential hiccup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government would be shut down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They haven`t said what they actually what.

BOEHNER: That`s the conversation we`re going to have with the

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to be able to say what you are asking

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no clear indicator.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of Republicans expressed frustration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the government shut down until November 22nd?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t expect them to go along easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it shut down over?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this shifting into a shutdown over nothing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The GOP`s favorability rating sunk to an all time

CANTOR: It`s not what we asked for.

CARNEY: They ought to turn on the lights. They ought to pay our

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just about pride at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and your pride and your ego.

STEWART: Is there any way out of this mess?

BOEHNER: No one gets everything they want.

Well, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I`m pretty happy.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: That is a leader with a clear goal.

STEWART: That`s the best evidence yet that our Congress functions at
a kindergarten level.


O`DONNELL: The president`s strategy, absolutely refusing to negotiate
over increasing the debt ceiling has worked. Republican surrendered on the
debt ceiling today. And now, with the country turned against them, for
shutting down the government, all 46 Senate Republicans are headed to the
White House tomorrow to meet with the president.

Tonight -- 18 House Republicans met with the president, President
Obama, Vice President Biden and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at the White

John Boehner had nothing to say after that meeting.


O`DONNELL: Boehner released some of his lesser known Republican
members to take the new House Republican message to the nation.


REP. LYNN JENKINS (R), KANSAS: No one here wants to default on our
nation`s debt. And so that`s why -- the Republicans in the House have
suggested let`s just get that off the table.

Opening the government is a negotiation that will happen tonight. And
in the -- in the hours ahead, and we hope to have it open by -- you know,
Monday morning.


O`DONNELL: And Boehner left questions about the details of any
possible deal where those questions belong, the chairman of the powerful
Appropriations Committee.


REP. HAL ROGERS (R), KENTUCKY: We agreed to try to find the
conditions for the C.R. in order to end the shutdown.

REPORTER: And that would be part of the debt ceiling bill now?

ROGERS: And we`ll get back with each other.

REPORTER: But the conditions for dealing with the C.R. would be part
of the six-week debt bill is what you are saying?

ROGERS: Well -- let me stay away from those things at the moment.

REPORTER: But is the resolution trying to resolve both of these
issues in some fashion?

ROGERS: Both issues.

REPORTER: The shutdown and the debt ceiling?


REPORTER: Would this be a short term solution or are you guys talking
about a long term solution?

ROGERS: I found if there is a way to quickly settle the C.R.
questions, so that we can pass the C.R. and stop the showdown.


O`DONNELL: Why the sudden change? The complete surrender by
Republicans? The NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" finds that 70 percent,
yes, that`s 7-0 percent disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in

And the favorability, President Obama is at 47-41, net positive six
points, favorability of the Democratic Party, 39-40. Statistically even.

John Boehner is at 17-42, a net negative of 25 points. The Republican
Party is at 24-53, a net negative of 29 points.

Joy Reid, it is those faces, those Republican faces, or the faces of
people who sat down with the pollsters today, and the pollsters said to
them -- it is all over.


O`DONNELL: It`s all over all. You must stop now.

REID: That is the face of total defeat.

And the question has been in the shutdown. What is the threshold of
pain of Republicans whose come from red states whore more dependent on the
federal government than our blue states, who have a lot of farmers, a lot
of guy whose are counting on those checks they get from the federal
government that have now stopped small businessmen who Republicans say they
represent, who are no longer getting their checks from Small Business

What is the threshold of pain? How many people have to call their
office and say, now, I`m hurting? I was a Tea Partier. Now you are
hurting me. Before Republicans capitulate. They thought the White House
would capitulate because of the debt ceiling. It was the -- it was the
C.R., it was the non-funding of the government, the shutdown of the
government, that caused them the pain. They have to give on it.

O`DONNELL: And now, we have Republican House members saying, no one
here didn`t want to raise the debt ceiling.

No, we heard them say. Maybe it is a good idea not to raise the debt


O`DONNELL: They all got religion on the debt ceiling now.

BALL: They got religion on the debt ceiling. I think part of that
was both the Koch brothers you were talking about last night.

O`DONNELL: Yes, the letter from the Koch brothers did say that it is
necessary to raise the debt ceiling under the circumstances.

BALL: And we saw the markets starting to freak out. So, I think the
business side started to kick in. They realize wow this really is in
issue. And, interestingly, the debt ceiling, even though it would be more
catastrophic, for our economy, the government shutdown is the politically
piece, because Joy was saying, people feel that.

And even Republican who you ask them. They hate the government.
Don`t want government to do anything. Until it is doing the thing they
want it to do.

So, the more that you are seeing the stories, and these are local news
stories on the headlines of the local hometown paper about the way that the
government shutdown is affecting them and their neighbors, it`s just too
toxic to continue. They`re staring down at 2014, saying we thought it was
impossible. But maybe it wasn`t.

It`s astonishing to me to watch them let it get this far. I mean,
this polling has been creeping up on them. It wasn`t like they didn`t know
this is where it was going?

REID: Well, this is a party that has built itself lately on the
philosophy of hating government, in the abstract. When you hate government
in the abstract, you never really bother to find out what it does --

O`DONNELL: And what could possibly be the harmed in shutting down the
government we hate.

REID: Who knew that the debt gratuity given to our fallen soldiers
was the government? Who knew that those subsidies that all those small
businessmen, those hard working businessmen that Republicans care about was
the government? Who knew all of those things like the national parks were
the government?

When you hate government so much that you can`t bother to find out
what is, even if it`s your job because you`re in Congress, this is how you
lose, and this why you have to eventually surrender.

O`DONNELL: And, Krystal, one of the guys who`s gone silent lately,
Mike Lee, Utah senator who was out there fighting with Ted Cruz in the fake
filibuster, the single largest employer in his state of Utah is the
government of the United States of America. He found that out.

BALL: Yes. He got some very bad polling news himself in his home
state of the very, very red Utah. That people there were unhappy with what
he was doing. So, I think that has t to be a wake-up call, because I think
a lot of these guys thought they were safe. But folks they were hearing
from at their office, were the ones who want them to take down the
government. Who believe the debt default would be just the medicine we

But back home, ordinary, rank-and-file Republican whose are going to
vote in their elections, general elections and primaries, suddenly, they
were waking up to the reality of what this means. And it was not pretty.

O`DONNELL: This is an extraordinary meeting tomorrow, all Senate
Republicans going to talk to the president.

REID: And it`s interesting too. It feels like the Senate are the
ones that have to make this happen, because the weakness of John Boehner
continues to be really I think the main story line here. The fact that I
don`t think anyone on the hill believes he could deliver. And, really, all
he would have to deliver is 18 people -- 18 votes to go ahead and reopen
the government if he would go to Nancy Pelosi and get the 200 votes from

But the lack of confidence in him is also a big problem here. It`s
why the Senate is going to have to take the reins, have off to take the
lead. It can`t come from Boehner. It is going to have to come primarily
from Senate Republicans.

BALL: Yes. Because let`s keep in mind that originally the White
House wanted to meet with the entire House GOP caucus, and Boehner said no,
no, no, no, no. Let`s keep this just to the leadership.

O`DONNELL: Come on. We want to watch that. Come on.

BALL: A lot of fun. That`s the question mark, is how the folks on
the extreme right in the Republican House caucus are going to respond to
these proposals.

O`DONNELL: But they are, at this point, the momentum just seems to be
racing right by the right-wing nuts at this point.

REID: No, absolutely, and when you look at that Public Policy Poll
that the "National Review" and others laughed off, look where those
Republicans are. There are dwindling number of Republicans in purple
states. But they`re still there. There are at least 23, 24 Republicans in
places like Ohio, in places like California, in places like Wisconsin and
Michigan, who have to run for re-election in 2014 too.

And for them, this is Armageddon. You can`t be tied to a party seen
as blowing up the United States economy. You cannot ride that to re-
election. The abstract hatred of government doesn`t work when specifics in
the district where you live are going the other way, and when people are
saying, I need this back.

O`DONNELL: Krystal, I think we have an extraordinarily clear
president. He makes himself very clear all the time. One of the first
things he said after reelection was, there will be absolutely no
negotiating over raising the debt ceiling. No negotiating.

And these people did not believe him.

BALL: They did not believe him though he had been rock solid in the
statement from the very beginning, allowing absolutely -- no wiggle room.
I think Boehner worked on a deal with Reid where they were going to do a
clean C.R., at sequester levels, which is a lot for Democrats to swallow.
But Boehner had no control of his caucus to be able to deliver on that. So
that`s where we are.

O`DONNELL: But, Joy, I think there is something here in, in their
complete misreading of the president, these Republicans.

REID: No, absolutely. And this was based on 2011, and you`ve seen a
lot of reporting about it. People in the White House who really said
listen we cannot risk a default. We need to go ahead and give here.

But of that gave the wrong signal to the Republicans. They thought
this was Barack Obama`s core. But really at his core, he wanted this
fight. He wanted to fight back now.

And now he has decided that he is going to make his stand here. There
will be no negotiation. Republicans miscalculated also by putting
everything on the continuing resolution. They brought the pain on

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, Krystal Ball, thank you both for joining me

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, will the Tea Party split from the Republican
Party and become a third party? That is a prediction from one Republican,
and a dream come true for Democrats.

And in "The Rewrite" tonight, the problem of following Ted Cruz. One
senator is in an awful lot of trouble because he made that mistake.


O`DONNELL: The Tea Party is threatening to give Democrats a huge
gift, by creating a third party. That`s next!


O`DONNELL: Republican leaders obviously understand that shutting down
the government and failing to raise the debt ceiling over the Affordable
Care Act is a very bad idea. But that hasn`t stopped Tea Party
conservatives from expressing their outrage over any possible deal on
either one of those things.

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson wrote this last night. "John
Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn will ensure that
Obamacare is fully funded and give the American public no delay like
business having. In doing so, they will slow the seeds of a real third
party movement that will fully divide the Republican Party."

As the party starts to show more signs of internal strife, some are
starting to openly express their concerns of the Republican, about the
Republican infighting.

Listen to Senator McCain today.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I do worry, I do worry about the
Republican Party, because if we are -- this is the first time I have ever
seen Republican senators running ads, raising money that is used to attack
incumbent Republican senators. I have never seen that in my life. And I
think that is terribly wrong.


O`DONNELL: In a new twist though, some Tea Party incumbents in states
like Michigan, Tennessee, and North Carolina are now facing primary
challenges from more moderate Republicans. The divide between Tea Party
Republicans and non-Tea Party Republicans plays out in new polling from NBC
and "The Wall Street Journal", which shows a majority of moderate
Republicans saying their party is putting politics ahead of the country
while only 29 percent of Tea Partiers say that same thing.

Joining me now is Mark McKinnon, who is an adviser to President George
W. Bush. He is also the founder of No Labels. And Washington editor for
"National Review", Robert Costa.

Robert Costa, there is John McCain saying some senators are helping to
finance ad, some Republican senators against other Republican senators.
What senators, which ones could he possibly be talking about? And why does
he leave Ted Cruz`s name out when he means Ted Cruz?

ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, that`s usual as the you know.
Lawrence. Senate protocol.

But the reception for Senator Cruz in a lot of these private
Republican lunches has been pretty unruly and hostile over the past few
weeks. But I think the most interesting to me about Senator Cruz right now
is that he seems to be taking a lower profile. He may have went a little
bit too far with his public rhetoric, and he hasn`t been playing so much
inside game in the last week.

O`DONNELL: Mark McKinnon, this third party threat is a dream come
true for the Democrats. Is there anything the Democrats can do to somehow
encourage this third party moment by the Tea Party?

already, Lawrence. You know, a lot of people in the Republican Party. We
have to burn it down and start all over, and maybe starting a different
party would be part of the long term solution. Obviously, that`s a short
term gain for Democrats.

But there`s a huge rift in the party, and certainly doesn`t reflect
what we are hearing from No Labels constituencies outside of Washington,
that want our leaders to work together., 50 No Labels representatives from
the problem solvers caucus, showed up, half Democrat, half Republican, say
we`ve got to engage. We`ve got to talk to one another.

They`re reflecting what we are hearing. So, I think there really is a
shift. And I`m excited to see what John McCain is saying, and other I
think common sense Republicans are saying, which is that things have gone
too far. It was a Ted Cruz strategy had no end game, and people are
realizing that now. It`s all about politics really, and that`s where the
problem lies.

O`DONNELL: Robert Costa, where does this leave Ted Cruz in the Senate
and in the Congress in the future? I mean it seems like it, and let me
just ask you this, I guess. I was going to presume that it is a consensus
amongst Republicans in the Senate and in the House that Cruz has led them
into a very bad place.

COSTA: I think it`s more of a complicated answer, because there has
been at least in the last decade, Jim DeMint role within the Senate
Republican Conference to be the conservative foil for the leadership. I
think Cruz has amplified that DeMint role. He`s taken it to the next level
and become the conservative movement`s person in the upper chamber.

And that`s a role, I think, he relishes and a role he will continue to
have. The question is, as he gets beyond the fiscal impact, who is going
to be there, to be an ally for him politically? Who is going to be in the
trenches when he tries to get something done? That`s more of an open

O`DONNELL: Mark McKinnon when you watch John McCain. You know him
enough to know that he was going to at some point have to come out and say
this. He wasn`t going to stand by and watch this, continue to happen.

Do you think there is any chance of him, of the McCain position in the
Senate, and in the congress, getting more public allies who are willing to
speak as plainly as McCain?

MCKINNON: I do. I think he is reflecting internal feelings of
members around for any length of time and remember the good old days when
things were partisan, but we got things done. The other thing that is
important. That Senator McCain is going to start get support part from
large swaths of the business community.

And that`s what`s really going to shift the dynamics within the
Republican Party. The business community now is recognizing that where the
people like Ted Cruz are leading us to is an economic desert and that`s not
where we need to be.

The Republican Party has always been about serving the long term
interests of market place economics and the business community. And so,
when the business community stands up and stands up behind people like John
McCain, that`s going to be a big deal. And that`s what`s starting to

O`DONNELL: Robert Costa, it used to be everyone in politics read
polls the same way, if one party look at a poll, and they saw the same
information. I`m not sure that`s true anymore.

But I want to look at the shut down polling information that we now
have, on the 1995 shutdown versus the today shutdown, the who`s to blame
for the shutdown. And in 1995, Republicans were 49 percent to blame, more
of them than the president, president 26.

Now it is higher than that. It is Republicans are to blame by 53
percent of the people. President its 31.

Chuck Todd makes the point that crossing that 50 percent line in that
kind of poll its deadly serious for Republicans.

How do Republicans read that poll? Do they read that at the same way
Democrats do?

COSTA: No, not so much. I think actually the most interesting
development this week is that Republicans are moving to find a solution on
the debt ceiling, at least float a six-week extension of it. But when it
comes to the shut down, they are rallying Speaker Boehner right now in the
House to keep the shut down going. They think the shut down is a fight
they can win, or at least wring a concession out of the Democrats on.

So, there`s not as much concern on shutdown. There`s just not. Even
they know people are feeling the pain, they`re getting the calls from
constituents. When it comes to hardball politics in the Capitol, they`re
focused on averting the default and averting the shutdown.

O`DONNELL: Mark McKinnon and Robert Costa, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

COSTA: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth here to discuss
the ways the government shutdown is hurting members of the armed services
and veterans, including some ways Congress doesn`t know about.

And later, Ted Cruz and his side kick, Mike Lee -- the most disliked
Republican senators, probably in the history of the Senate. They`re both
in the rewrite.


O`DONNELL: We have more breaking news tonight. President Obama
signed into law legislation restoring death benefit payments to families of
soldiers killed in the line of duty, including those who have died since
the government shutdown. Earlier today, the Senate followed the House`s
lead and passed that bill by unanimous consent.

At least five families of soldiers killed last weekend in Afghanistan
were affected by the suspension of those benefits, which the Fisher House
Foundation had been prepared to pay. Tonight`s decision to restore death
benefits still does not help the more than 5 million veterans across the
country may not receive their benefits checks on November 1st -- if, if the
shutdown were to continue that long. That`s $6.25 billion in payments.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testified before a House
hearing yesterday that if the shutdown continues, he would have to furlough
more of his staff, including a number of veterans.


that I employ. A third, over 100,000 veterans, a number of them are going
to be subject to furlough. And so, if they are furloughed and recipients
of disability check, their resources go to zero.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Iraq war veteran, Congresswoman Tammy
Duckworth. She`s also former assistant secretary of veterans affairs.

Let`s listen to this ad by


RIDGE RANYARD: Republicans in Congress say that their government shut
down is an epic battle. I was in six epic battles fighting the Nazis.
Congressmen, your shutdown is not an epic battle, it is bad government.
Americans and American veterans like me depend upon the entire government
being open.

I served this nation with honor. Today, I can`t say the same about
most Republicans in Congress.


O`DONNELL: Congresswoman, imagined it has the to be infuriating and
amazed at your poise in processing it when these members of Congress who
would never even consider joining the military at any point of their lives
themselves, get up their and give this very militaristic sounding
descriptions of what it is they`re doing in their nice air-conditioned
offices. And we saw that veteran in that ad, it`s obviously pretty
infuriating to him.

REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: Every day, I am appalled at the
conduct of the people here in Washington, especially those who hide behind
their, you know, American flag pins on their lapel. I mean, at the end of
his long speech, Senator Ted Cruz, in thanking the Senate staff first after
his 21 hours actually said to them comparing what he did to the Bataan
death march, by saying thank you for being with me on this Bataan death

Let me tell you I have met survivors of the Bataan death march, both
men and women, and what Senator Cruz did in trying to stop government was
no Bataan death march.

So, this type of rhetoric does not help anyone. My colleague from
Ohio, Brad Weintraub did a floor speech on Friday which I applaud, which
called for ratcheting down of this rhetoric. Brad Weintraub is an Army
surgeon and a Republican. He and I co-chaired the Ira and Afghanistan
Veterans caucus and we need to cut out the military talk. And let`s get
back to work and get open government back up again.

O`DONNELL: What are the kind of things that Ted Cruz would have known
that he was stopping if he actually knew anything about Veterans Affairs?

DUCKWORTH: If he knew anything he would realize that you stop funding
for food stamps you are stopping funding for military families that rely on
food stamps. We have tens of thousands of military men and women and
retirees and veterans who depend on food stamps. When you cut funding for
snap. You are cutting funding for our military men and women. When you
cut funding for the department of Veterans Affairs, you are cutting
everything from the internments of our heroes, you know, who are being laid
to rest on national cemeteries are not being laid to rest in as timely a
manner. Even those of us who are receiving benefits through the end of the
month that will end.

You know, there is so much going on in government. I am worried right
now about nonmedical attendant pay. This is the pay we provide to family
members who take care of our wounded warriors at places like Brook Army
National Medical center and Walter Reed National medical center.

The family members who are helping our wounded warriors recover. Get
a small stipend for giving up their jobs and moving to take care of the
folks. That may now be in jeopardy. There is a lot there.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman, Tammy Duckworth. Thank you for your
service. And thanks for joining us tonight.

DUCKWORTH: It`s my pleasure. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what happens to a senator who supports shutting
down the government? The very same government that is the largest employer
in his state. The very sad story of Ted Cruz`s side kick Mike Lee is in
tonight`s "rewrite."


O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "rewrite," another episode of lives destroyed
by Ted Cruz, political lives that is.

Rafael, call me Ted Cruz, wait, Rafael, please I`m begging you call me
Ted Cruz, is now the most hated Republican in America by Republicans who
can think. Here is conservative Republican thinker on Charles Krauthammer
on Laura Ingraham`s radio show talking about Teddy C.


to achieve abolition of Obamacare? Explain that to me. Has he ever
explained it and where is he now?


O`DONNELL: Krauthammer and Laura Ingraham share Ted Cruz`s Canadian
passion for repealing the affordable care act. But they believe Ted Cruz
has hurt that cause.


KRAUTHAMMER: I argued it in `09 and `10. I argued it every week in
my writing, on television and McCain and all the people who had disdain.
Exactly. I`m saying, all of us were in the trenches. I mean, Cruz, and is
new on the scene and pretends, he is just begun the fight against
Obamacare. He wasn`t there in `09, `10. I`ve been calling this is
kamikaze brigade. You know, I can`t think of another adjectives caucus.

You know, I`m all for charging the barricades but you got to show me a
way to penetrate them. That`s how the Japanese approached World War II.
Let`s do Pearl Harbor and see what happens.

Didn`t work out too well. You`ve got to have a strategy and there
never was one. And people are saying the Republicans are in retreat.
They`re not in retreat. There never was a way to abolish Obamacare now.


O`DONNELL: What did he say? There never was a way to abolish
Obamacare now. Every republican who could think knew that all along. It
is entirely possible that Ted Cruz knew that when he began his fake
filibuster on the Senate floor pretending to fight for the defunding of the
Affordable care Act. What he was really doing as any Republican who can
think realized was trying to push up his poll numbers in republican
presidential primary polling and he did. He surged to the front of the Pac
according to a public policy poll. He racketed past Rand Paul to stake out
a lead at 20 percent with Rand Paul left behind at 17 percent. Even though
Rand Paul realizing what was at stake in the presidential primary poll
rushed on to the Senate floor to try to share the fake filibuster limelight
with Ted Cruz and join the pretense that Ted Cruz was doing something
meaningful. But that wasn`t enough for Rand Paul to block Ted Cruz`s surge
in the presidential primary poll.

The senator who actually shared even more of the fake filibuster
limelight with Ted Cruz was Utah`s Republican senator Mike Lee.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Mike Lee, I am your father.


O`DONNELL: And what a cruel father he is. It is entirely possible
that when Ted Cruz lured poor Mike Lee on to the Senate floor to help out
with the fake filibuster that Mike Lee had no idea it actually was a fake
filibuster. And it is entirely possible that Mike Lee did not know what
Charles Krauthammer and every thinking in person in the Republican Party
and America knew.


KRAUTHAMMER: There never was a way to abolish Obamacare now.


O`DONNELL: The fake filibuster was meaningless and hopeless and Mike
Lee might have been the only person in the Senate who didn`t know that.
Krauthammer calls Mike Lee Ted Cruz`s side kick. Side kick is the kindest
possible description of Mike Lee`s relationship to Ted Cruz. It doesn`t
come close to conveying how much adoration is a part of Mike Lee`s side of
the relationship and how much raw exploitation is involved on Ted Cruz`s
end of the relationship.


CRUZ: I am particularly honored to be standing side by side with my
friend and colleague, Senator Mike Lee from Utah. Senator Lee has shown
visionary leadership in standing up and taking the mantle of leading the
effort to defund Obamacare. In my judgment there is no senator in this
body, Republican or Democrat, who is more principled, who is more
dedicated, who is more fearless and willing to fight for the principles
that make this nation great, than is Senator Mike Lee.


O`DONNELL: Yes, fearless Mike Lee. Mike Lee is less a side kick than
a groupie, a reality blinded worshipper, a Ted Cruz flunky. Now the word
flunky, of course, calls into question Mike Lee`s intelligence as well it
should. He has real competition for the title of least intelligence
senator. But he has absolutely no competition for least politically
intelligent senator. He represents the state of Utah. He is a champion of
not just shutting down the Affordable Care Act but of completely shutting
down the entire government if he cannot shut down Affordable Care Act. And
he is a champion of that strategy because his exploitative leader, Ted Cruz
told him to support that strategy. What Ted Cruz apparently did not tell
his flunky, junior senator from Utah is that Utah`s largest employer is the
government of the United States of America, the government that Mike Lee
has helped shut down.

Here`s how Mike Lee`s position is playing in Utah. Utah jobless
claims spike with federal shutdown. Frustration reigns in wake of
Yellowstone closure. Shutdown prompts emergency declarations in Utah.

Utah would have nothing without massive support from the federal
government. The federal government is not just the biggest employer in
Utah. The federal government sends much more money into Utah in federal
spending than it receives back from Utah in Utah`s meager contribution to
federal taxes. Utah would be dirt roads and horse trails without the
federal government. You can`t go anywhere in Utah without using a
federally funded highway. If you are the junior senator from Utah you
should begin every session of the Senate by asking for one minute of floor
time, immediately after the chaplain`s opening prayer, simply to thank the
Senate and United States government for continuing to keep Utah alive, for
continuing to keep the people of Utah employed.

And every once and awhile it would be good form to include a quick
apology for Utah`s permanent abject inability to carry its own weight in
its contribution to federal taxation. A particular thanks should be
offered to the senators from nearby California and the people they
represent since the state of California which send in far more in federal
taxation than it ever receives in federal spending. Actually does that by
sending California federal tax returns to be processed at a IRS facility in
Utah. That`s right. Californians` tax returns are processed in Utah so
that people in Utah can have jobs. So in that sense, California sends its
federal tax money directly to Utah to pay for all those Utah jobs, all
those Utah jobs at the IRS huge processing center in Utah.

Ted Cruz has told Mike Lee many things that Mike Lee wanted to hear.
But Ted Cruz never told Mike Lee anything that Mike Lee needed hear for his
own political survival. And so, Mike Lee is now discovering to his shock
that Utah doesn`t like what he is doing. One Utah poll asked the question,
is the Obamacare fight worth shutting down the federal government? Thirty-
seven percent agree with the Mike Lee position and 56 percent of Utah
disagrees with their junior senator. That is in a state where 73 percent
of the voters voted for Republican candidate for president in November.
Barack Obama carried 25 percent of the vote in Utah in the last election.
And 56 percent of those voters now agree with President Obama that the
federal government should not have been shutdown.

A brilliant young university poll asked the question, what should Mike
Lee do? Now I know there is a lot of possible answers to that question.
Like, you know, quit or take an economics course. Well, a lot of possible
answers and so pollsters know that. What they lick to do is give you two
to choose from, just two questions. And so, to the question of what should
Mike Lee do, the answers offered were to be willing to compromise or stand
by his prince pulls. Forty-three percent said Mike Lee should stand by his
principles and that`s surely included a bunch of Democrats who are hoping
standing by his principles would lose him the election and 57 percent in
Utah believe that Mike Lee should be willing to compromise. The same
Birmingham poll shows the that Mike Lee has managed to flip his approval
disapproval numbers in June, he was at 50 percent approve, 41 percent
disapprove. He is now, the on opposite majority disapprove, 51 percent to
40 percent approve.

Now long filibusters, even fake filibusters scan be very revealing
especially in the middle of the night when it can feel like no one is
listening to you out there on the Senate floor. Sometimes that`s when you
hear senators open their hearts as we did with Mike Lee when at 2:26 a.m.
he actually answered that poll question, what should Mike Lee do. He
actually told us exactly what he wants to do. And he turns out he is
wanted to do it his whole life.


SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: I hope one day to be granted a letter of
American reprisal so that I can become a pirate as I longs be as a child.


O`DONNELL: A pirate. Well, I have got to say that`s a pretty big
upgrade from Ted Cruz`s flunky. And when Ted Cruz puts his head on the
pillow with dreams of the presidency and his joy of being the frontrunner
in the current Republican presidential primary polls at 20 percent, he
should know that Michele Bachmann was the frontrunner in the Republican
primary field that 21 percent and that Herman Cain was the frontrunner in
the Republican field when he was t 25 percent. That is five points higher
than where Td Cruz is now.

And I`m not exactly sure what Herman Cain does for a living right now.
But I know he isn`t president of the United States. And Ted Cruz is never
going to be president either.


O`DONNELL: The Affordable Care Act has just come on line this month
for people who choose to obtain health insurance through the marketplace
established by the exchanges. But two years ago, over two years ago some
provisions of Affordable Care Act went into effect that are even more
important for some families.

Janine Reid told the story of her son Mason`s battle with brain cancer
that has included months of hospitalizations, repeated surgeries and the
fear through all of that of possibly losing health insurance coverage.

During our first three weeks of hospitalization, mason racked up $1.1
million in medical bills. I worried about butting up against the five
million lifetime limit on Mason`s health insurance approximately see. We
had a good policy with the good company. We paid our premiums on time and
in full. But Mason wasn`t getting out of the hospital any time soon and
there were months of rehab ahead.

My then 13-year-old son would have reached his lifetime limit of
health insurance, had such limits not been eliminated by Obamacare on April
1, 2011. That date, felt a birthday or anniversary, something to be
celebrated when it finally arrived. And we weren`t yet dropped by our
health insurance company.

In an op-ed piece to be posted in "the Washington Post" tomorrow,
Janine writes if I could get John Boehner and Ted Cruz on a conference
call, I would explain this to them. I would tell them that while they were
busy trying to derail the Affordable Care Act over the last two years,
Mason has learned to walk, talk, eat, and shoot a three point basket.

Joining me now is Janine Reid and her 16-year-old son, mason.

Janine, let`s assume for the moment that you do have Ted Cruz`s ear
and John Boehner`s ear, what more do you think they need to know about what
the affordable care act has done because they want to repeal all of it.
Not just the pieces that go into effect now with the subsidies and the new
Medicaid provisions. They want to repeal the portions of Affordable Care
Act that have benefited your family and allowed Mason to get his care.

JANINE REID, SON CARED BY OBAMACARE: It`s unbelievable that anybody
could want to repeal this. I can`t believe anybody would think that they
are safe, that they are somehow immune from catastrophic illness, accident,
you name it. We really saw the people in a variety of conditions while
Mason was in the hospital. And you know, we are all vulnerable people. So
I just, it just makes me crazy which is why I wrote "the Washington Post"
op-ed because I have this experience. And I feel like I need to get it out
there. And I know I`m not the only one.

O`DONNELL: I want to play you something that Ted Cruz said about the
Affordable Care Act. Let`s listen to this


CRUZ: What the American people want is they want our government
funded and they want to stop harms from Obamacare. Obamacare is hurting
millions of people.

I will quote "an inexcusable mess, a rolling calamity, consumers face
dramatically higher rates, many remain locked out. They`re surprised.
Their premiums went up." Instead of making it easier for people to get
health insurance it will be a lot tougher. What a train wreck.


O`DONNELL: Of course there is a lot of nonsense in there.

But I want you to specifically, John Boehner at the end. But Ted Cruz
saying they want to stop the harm from Obamacare. He said, his words,
Obamacare is hurting millions of people.

REID: I don`t know who the people are. I know people that Obamacare
or the Affordable Care Act is helping. I can`t imagine who would be hurt
by alleviating lifetime limits, who would be hurt by alleviating these
dreaded preexisting condition clauses, it`s rhetoric. And what I find
really offensive is they are using this rhetoric to attack the president
and basically putting people like me, throwing us into the road. And it`s,
it`s just alarming and disturbing.

O`DONNELL: Mason, are you glad to be back at school?


O`DONNELL: And, Janine, I just want to ask you one thing about you
got Mason to that same rehab facility that Gabby Giffords went to. And
Nancy Pelosi was visiting there one day. You got to meet her.

REID: I did.

O`DONNELL: And you write that you wished you would had the presence
of mind to thank her for the Affordable Care Act.

REID: Yes. I did later send a note when, reading from a piece that
was published on a year, I think a year ago. I did send former
Speaker Pelosi a note thanking her because, you know, politics aside, I
know many good Republicans people who would like to see these protections
who need these protections. And I just, I wanted to be out there thanking
the politician whose are doing the right thing. No matter what the
political cost.

O`DONNELL: Janine and Mason Reid, thank you for joining us tonight.
Good luck, Mason.


REID: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is next.


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