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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

October 23, 2013
Guest: Howard Dean, Simone Campbell, Sandra Watts, Cecile Richards, Stanley Crouch

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Today, the Republicans decided it`s never too early to talk about the next government shutdown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the bigger political problem in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The larger issue that they`re dealing with is health care.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: The Web site doesn`t work.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a very serious problem.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC LEADER: The situation right now is unacceptable.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: The administration now intends to slide the deadline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delaying the penalty phase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By as much as six weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s worse? A website that doesn`t work?

CANTOR: The Web site doesn`t work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or a government shutdown.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Americans hated the shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People have turned their focus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you put fan in the gas tank, do you get to blame the dealer?

BOEHNER: As long as we stay focus, I think we`re going to be fine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the Tea Party strategy dividing your party?

CANTOR: I`ve scheduled a vote for total repeal.

BOEHNER: We fought the fight. We didn`t win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five justices of the Supreme Court agree, it`s constitutional.

BOEHNER: We fought the fight, we didn`t win.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We have an opportunity to actually defund Obamacare.

BOEHNER: We fought the fight. We didn`t win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Major donors are now backing away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve seen their approval ratings really tank.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is getting ugly isn`t it.

BOEHNER: As long as we stay focused, I think we`re going to be fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Ryan is going to lay out his conservative health care reform plan in January.

PERINO: I think I would have known about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Ryan comes up with this plan that doesn`t exist.

BOEHNER: I`ll let you talk to Paul about that.

TODD: What is the bigger political problem in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The larger issue is health care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having spent three years trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People have turned their focus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans have now moved to distressed pathos.

BOEHNER: As long as we stay focused I think we`re going to be fine.


O`DONNELL: Today, John Boehner held his first press conference since the government shutdown and quickly reminded us that they will be able to do that whole thing again in January.


BOEHNER: We fought the fight but we didn`t win. We lived to fight another day. And the fact is that we`re going to have issues about funding the government come January 15th. We`re going to have the debt ceiling we have to deal with again. The looming problems that are affecting our country are still there. We are spending more than what we bring in to the tune of $700 billion this year alone even though we have record income. And so, the problems are looming.


O`DONNELL: In an apparent talking points error, Boehner did not list the Affordable Care Act as one of the looming problems.

But "Weekly Standard" editor Bill Kristol repeatedly said on MSNBC`s "MORNING JOE": this morning that the New Year will bring another new idea from Paul Ryan.


BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Paul Ryan`s going to lay out his -- the conservative health care reform plan in January. Paul Ryan will lay out the Republican reform plan in January.


O`DONNELL: NBC`s Luke Russert asked John Boehner about the big Republican reform plan today.


LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Speaker Boehner, your friend Bill Kristol said on morning "JOE MORNING" this morning that Paul Ryan would unveil the House GOP plan for health care reform sometime in January. Is your understanding that`s going to happen? Can you give us an idea of what it might look like?

BOEHNER: I`ll let you talk to Paul about that.

RUSSERT: Well, will it happen?

STAFF: Last question.


O`DONNELL: Ryan`s spokesperson offered NBC News this statement on the big Republican reform plan. "Chairman Ryan continues his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Today, President Obama met with more than a dozen health insurance executives at the White House to discuss open enrollment and the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced he is drafting a bill to make 2014 a transition year, which would, in effect, the individual mandate until January 2015.

But in an interview with Joe Manchin on FOX News tonight, Bill O`Reilly did not get the Democratic Party civil war Democrats turning on the president, that sort of thing, that O`Reilly was hoping for.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Were you surprised, personally surprised that the administration couldn`t e software up and running and this all this chaos? Did that take you aback?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I was not surprised. I`m going to tell you why. I became governor of the great state of West Virginia in 2004. I took my oath 2005. We were working at that time before me working, at that time before me, the previous governor, was working through a transition, putting a whole new computer system to run Medicaid claims in West Virginia.

It had absolutely been a debacle. People weren`t getting paid, providers weren`t getting paid. It was awful. They wanted to sue everybody. I come in and said, everybody down, and said, listen, we`ve got to work through this and fix this thing. We got it up and running and it`s become a model and has done extremely week, but it took us a while.

O`REILLY: Why didn`t the president put you in charge of this instead of Sebelius who can`t, you know -- don`t know what they`re doing.


O`REILLY: On CNN, she didn`t know she`s doing, senator. She has no clue. She should be out -- look --

MANCHIN: She was a successful insurance commissioner in Kansas. She`s a successful governor --

O`REILLY: I was a successful semipro baseball player. That doesn`t mean I can get Web sites up and running.


O`DONNELL: Of course, that depends how you define successful and how you define semipro.

There is no actual evidence in the historical record that Bill O`Reilly was ever a semipro baseball player.

Joining me now, Dr. Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and DNC chairman, Richard Wolffe, executive editor of

Governor Dean, former Governor Manchin had a pretty good example for Bill O`Reilly there about the kind of difficulties you can run into in programs like this, including his own experience with Medicaid in West Virginia.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: I was chortling because I was hoping you were not going to ask me to provide the evidence that Bill O`Reilly once played semipro ball.

Yes, these rollouts tend to be difficult. I have been through difficult ones. When I was governor, we computerized the tax department. This was about 20 years ago. We had to do it twice. It took twice as long as when had to do it over again.

So, these tech rollouts are very tough. Were there mistakes? Sure. One of the things they ought to have done is divide the 36 states that wouldn`t cooperate with the exchange into five regions and have bidding for the five regions so you would have the same vendor in each one.

But it is what it is. We are where we are. It`s going to get fixed and I think this is going to be a program that people are really, really glad they have an opportunity to have.

O`DONNELL: And, Richard Wolffe, to clarify what the administration did do today is that they change, it`s a minor change. There was an application deadline of February 15th and an enrollment deadline ultimately of March 31st. They`ve just combined those two.

So, you can be applying as late as March 31st now.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM: It sounds like a technical thing but I think this is the political solution. So, on any of these projects, you`ve got a hard date. In this case, it`s a politically hard date. They know full well if they let this slide into another year, it`s another year and another lost opportunity and you could end up in this death spiral where young people don`t sign up.

So, instead of moving the date, which is politically fought, they need to scale back what this Web site is supposed to do. I`ve been through a couple of Web sites, you either change scope or schedule. In this case, what we are trying to say you can do everything, from start to finish, one Web site, one experience.

Maybe all you should do is enroll and maybe you`ll find out like you apply for a credit card by mail later, you get your response later but the enrollment has to take place by a certain date. You submit your information and the verification, all the things that are hard to check, that happens at a later point. That is the way out for them. They need to change the scope, but if they change the schedule they are in deep political trouble.

O`DONNELL: Governor, how does that sound to you? Make it like a credit card application or some kind of application where you then get a response in a couple of weeks as opposed to the instantaneous process.

DEAN: They could do that. That`s how Medicare works.

There are a couple other options that I`d be interested in looking at. The most bold and far reaching is to take one of the exchanges for example like California, which is a successful exchange and allow the whole country to get on to it. But in theory, as long as the website`s up and running, anybody ought to be able to access it. I wouldn`t want to suggest that immediately. And I`m sure Governor Brown is having a fit watching this.

But there is no reason you couldn`t go on the Vermont exchange and get product. There are some reasons, one of them is what the packages aren`t on there. But that could be fixed fairly easily in the face of this kind of a glitch. So that would be one possibly.

The other possibility which I hope they`re going to do is you can sign up for this by going online and doing it -- by getting on the telephone and calling a toll free line. You can sign up and you should be able to sign up by going down to the Social Security office and filling out a form. That can be turned around pretty quickly.

So, there are ways you can do this even if we can`t fix the Web site on time. And you know, I think Richard`s solution is one. But I think there are others as well.

This is going to happen. It`s going to work. It`s just going to take some time and that`s not a surprise for anyone who has been involved in tech rollouts.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of what John Boehner had to say today in his press conference.


BOEHNER: I think biggest part of Congress`s job is to provide proper oversight of the executive branch of government. Whether it`s Obamacare or issues at the Department of Defense, it`s our job to hold them accountable. When it comes to Obamacare, clearly there is an awful lot to be held accountable.


O`DONNELL: Richard, he mentions the Department of Defense. Presumably will give the same scrutiny to this that they have given to the missile defense system which they`ve been wasting for $100 billion territory decades now and it has never worked.

WOLFFE: Presumably. But presumably, they would also be a different kind of Republican Party. I understand politically why they want to do this. They`ll have, you know, there are witch hunt hearings and they`ll try to pin it on one person. You`re talking about a complex technological project that takes in, what, 55 agencies and contractors. There is no single person or entity to blame here. It`s a systemic problem.

But oversight also involves trying to solve the problem for the American people and that`s not what they`re interested in here. It`s political point scoring. I wouldn`t expect anything less. If it was Democrats in opposition but Democrats might have a conscience and say, hey, actually, there`s a policy here of helping people with health care and we want to pursue that too.


O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Governor.

DEAN: The point that Richard just made is incredibly important. I`m astonished after one of the most crushing defeats in the history of the Republican Party in terms of their choice of tactics, that they are now coming back and embracing the same tactics they had before. The speaker mentioned the possibility of more problems with the debt limit and more problems with government shutdown in January. And all they` doing is taking the Darrell Issa playbook and throwing as much mud at the Democrats as you can.

I don`t think it`s going to work. I think people believe that the Republican Party has no solutions to anything. What they should be doing, instead of having hearings and taking is coming up with ideas of their own. The problem is they can`t because they are such a divided party. But if they don`t do that, they might lose the House in 2014. That is now become a real possibility.

O`DONNELL: Well, Richard, they seem to have some residual instinct for this idea of what about us having a plan. And so, they threw around this notion of Paul Ryan has got a plan. And they go to Paul Ryan for the plan and it is to repeal Obamacare.

WOLFFE: Right. So you know there is a conservative health care reform plan. It`s called Obamacare. The idea of personal responsibility of a market-based reform system, no public option, which upset Governor Dean so strongly. I mean, this is at least a moderate conservative position. Maybe conservative has been redefined to the point where, frankly, there is no role for government in anything.

But there is a conservative plan that came out of the heritage think tank which, of course, now wants to shut down government because they hate their own plan so much. I do think that Paul Ryan is trying to reform himself and recast himself as this a philosopher king. It wouldn`t surprise me if he had ideas. But if it`s just tort reform and shopping for insurance across state lines, we`ve heard it all before.

O`DONNELL: Governor, what is left in the policy menu that Republicans could conceivably advance as some kind of health care reform plan?

DEAN: I think Richard`s point is well taken. The problem is that Obama essentially stole the Republican plan. Mitt Romney`s plan five years ago in Massachusetts, which has 98.5 percent of all Massachusetts people are health insurance is the plan that the president is now using for the whole country.

It`s pretty hard when the president co-opts your idea to come up with another idea that somehow is more conservative. That`s their battle. And the other problem is they can`t make the numbers add up without some kind of tax base and this is a party that staked everything on saying no, no, no, no, no, to everything but particularly to taxes.

O`DONNELL: Governor Howard Dean and Richard Wolffe -- thank you both for joining me tonight.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

DEAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the editors at the "Wall Street Journal" are finally outraged that a Republican is using Christianity to justify a policy position. Sister Simone Campbell will join me next.

And many of those Republican women who cheered Ted Cruz this week in Texas are going to find it harder to vote, thanks to the new Texas voting laws. A Texas judge, who has already had problems voting because of the new law will join me for an exclusive interview.

And Bill O`Reilly is no longer content to call the Affordable Care Act socialism. He`s now calling it communism, which, of course, means Bill O`Reilly`s complete lack of comprehension of either socialism or communism is in tonight`s we are write.


O`DONNELL: Up next, "The Wall Street Journal" versus St. Peter and Sister Simone.


O`DONNELL: The fight over the Affordable Care Act is not just a fight over the soul of the Republican Party. Ohio`s Governor John Kasich thinks it`s a fight over his soul. Governor John Kasich, one of the handful of Republican has openly supported Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act in their state. Kasich who is up for re-election in 2014 and offered this -- divine inspiration about expanding Medicaid.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he`s probably not going to ask you about what you did to keep government small, but he`s going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.


O`DONNELL: After Ohio`s Republican legislature passed a budget bill that included language specifically forbidding the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, Governor Kasich used his line item veto powers to eliminate that provision, just strike it. So, that block of the expansion of Medicaid was gone from the law. But the governor then brought the issue to a little-known committee in Ohio called the controlling board and got them to vote 5-2 to accept $2.5 billion in Medicaid funds to provide coverage for 275,000 Ohio citizens. Today, a "Wall Street Journal" editorial board attacked the governor in the article entitled, "Medicaid and the Apostle Kasich. The Ohio governor`s lawless, faith-based Obamacaid expansion."

The editorial said, "Now, Mr. Kasich seems to view signing up for this part of Obamacare as an act of Christian charity and has literally all but claimed that God told him to do so."

The editorial then reminded Governor Kasich that when it comes to his future, quote, "Republicans get a vote before St. Peter does.

Joining me now is Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic Social Justice Lobby Network and leader of Nuns on the Bus.

And Ari Melber, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE."

Well, Sister Simone, I didn`t think I was going to see this point at which the conservative "Wall Street Journal" editors are bothered by faith-based governing.

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, NUNS ON THE BUS: It is pretty surprising, isn`t it? But I think what really shocked me was that never once did they even refer to the fact that 275,000 people in Ohio do not have health care and will get health care through Medicaid expansion. It was shocking to me that they were trying to act so sanctimonious and define what faith is and they seemed to think that faith is only the Republican approach.

O`DONNELL: And, Ari, it was politically fascinating to watch how close they came to mocking religious faith and Christianity within a "Wall Street Journal" editorial.

ARI MELBER, THE CYCLE: Yes, I mean, this is the other big split in the party. We talked about the Tea Party radicals and the Wall Street consensus. You also have sometimes the religious conservatives who do want to do things either for the poor, as we heard, or just logical policies if you`re a governor, you have to answer for. This is now the eighth Republican governor, joining 26 states total, that have opted in.

And if you don`t opt in, by the way, then you`re leaving the poorest citizens without this coverage, which leads to a perverse outcome, because we have these federal subsidies, right, people who are more middle income, to leave others out as some Republican governors insist on continuing to do for political reasons is wrong. I think this is a great step. The fact that this is a governor who had exploratory committee, wanted to run as a presidential candidate in `99 and might run again also shows you there is a future in the Republican Party beyond only demagoguing Obamacare.

O`DONNELL: And there is this, from "The Wall Street Journal" editor today, "Governor Kasich`s intentions are laudable, but that government as thy brother`s keeper riff needs some moral fine tuning. St. Peter might recoil at a Medicaid program that reimburses doctors so poorly that fewer will take Medicaid patients and the quality of care is increasingly, well, poor."

Sister Simone, your theological education is, of course, much more complete than mine, but I can`t think of what I have read that would indicate St. Peter would recoil at Medicaid reimbursement rates.

CAMPBELL: Absolutely not. I mean, the fact is that the doctors are provided for. The hospitals are provided for.

What this law is doing is bringing down the overall costs and that is something our economy needs. St. Peter would be pleased but not have a theological opinion about it. I think what really is key here though, also the pragmatic fact that hospitals who serve the uninsured are scheduled through the law to have their payments, their dis payments, disproportional share payments reduced.

So if we do not have the poor insured, then there`s going to be no money for hospitals to take care of them. And that is a disaster for our entire system. So, it`s really important both from a faith, justice perspective that people get care, but also pragmatic for hospitals to be able to afford it.

O`DONNELL: Ari Melber, of course the law was written that the Medicaid expansion was mandatory in all the states. This is the part that the Supreme Court did rewrite. They did carve out the fact that it was mandatory, made it optional, at which point I simply presumed any Republican governor who ever hope to run for president would absolutely not accept the expansion of Medicaid. And so, it makes me wonder is this the moment where John Kasich is saying, well, if that`s the choice, I`m going to choose Medicaid for my state over running for president.

MELBER: It could be that. And you heard him speak I think from his heart about the religious values, whatever Saint Peter would do. I mean, that`s a booking request --

O`DONNELL: Leave that to Sister Simone and me, OK?

MELBER: You guys, or -- or maybe if you can get your booking team on it, get him in here some way.

But wherever you go on that hypothetical, it may be from the heart, which is great. It also may be the direction of the party. It`s also important that people understand, you know, we reacted to that Obamacare ruling by saying, wow, they upheld the individual mandate, which is the heart of federal policy. But never before had we seen really an activist Republican court try to open up a huge exception, right, basically inviting the state, here, opt out of this federal policy before the government could condition funds and they would have lost all their Medicaid funds.

And Noah Feldman (ph), a respected Harvard law professor, said, you know, this was a political move by Roberts. Get the headline about upholding it and leaving this backdoor which has we have been discussing, has left a lot of poor people out in the lurch.

O`DONNELL: And, Sister, it`s a horrible hole in the law. The people who would only qualify for the Medicaid expansion are of a lower income than those who would qualify for the insure -- purchase of insurance subsidized.

CAMPBELL: That`s absolutely true. And the horror of this is that it`s the adults without minor children who are the ones most vulnerable. The 40, 50-years-old, the ones who are working at low wages, do not have it through employment.

But I must tell you that the Catholic sisters in Ohio have done an amazing job of their own Nuns on the Bus to make this day happen where Governor Kasich knew from a faith perspective, they worked in the interfaith setting as well as directly with him lobbying for this decision. So, I think he had a lot of political pressure and he also had a lot of faith pressure on him to do justice.

This isn`t charity. This is justice. Everyone in the richest nation on earth has a right to have health care.

O`DONNELL: Ari, one other prominent Republican, Chris Christie has the Medicaid expansion in New Jersey. So, it`s going to be a factor in the Republican presidential campaign.

MELBER: I think it`s going to be a huge factor. I think they can fight over it. The other thing with "The Wall Street Journal" demagoguing it and calling it Obama-caid, that`s because Obamacare is not popular enough, as people learn about it in the states ,and this big is a story that goes to expanding coverage, which is an antidote to some of the short term emphasis in Washington lately.

O`DONNELL: Ari Melber and Sister Simone Campbell, Sister, thank you very much for helping us with these big theological questions tonight.

CAMPBELL: Happy to do it. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Texas`s new voting laws are going to make it harder for women to vote, especially married or divorced women. A Texas judge who had her credentials at her pooling place, and her polling place was in her courthouse, she`s going to join me later along with Cecile Richards.

And Bill O`Reilly`s just flawlessly, consistent, pure ignorance about the world is in tonight`s "Rewrite."


O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, Texas versus women voters. Earlier this week we told you about a new Texas voter I.D. law that went into effect this week that will make it a lot harder for women to vote. The new law requires showing photo identification and it also requires a person`s I.D. be, quote, "substantially similar," end quote, to the most up-to-date legal information.

Now, as reasonable as that may sound, it can present a very serious challenge for women who change their names when they get married or divorced. Nationwide 34 percent of women voters at any one time do not have identification that precisely matches their current legal name, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

On Monday, a Texas judge named Sandra Watts tried to vote, as she always has, in her own courthouse, and even though the election officials present knew exactly who she is, she ran into trouble trying to cast her vote.

Joining me now by Skype for an exclusive interview, the Honorable Sandra Watts. Also joining me, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Votes.

Judge Watts, please just walk us through in detail what happened to you when you went to cast your vote on Monday.

JUDGE SANDRA WATTS, TEXAS DISTRICT COURT: Monday was the first day to vote in a constitutional election here in Texas. So I presented myself and with my voter registration and I was aware of the new voter law and so I also presented my Texas driver`s license which is valid and unsuspended.

I was then advised that the name had to be -- the names had to be identical. And I said that was ridiculous, that I had been voting for 49 years and that the law required me to present a voter I.D. I subsequently went back and I asked to see the law. I read the law once again.

And what it states is when a voter presents themselves to vote, they will provide a voter I.D. The election official will then verify the voter I.D. with the registration and they will make a determination as to whether or not it is substantially similar. The regulations to implement the law literally states that it must be identical.

My driver`s license, which I`ve had for 52 years, has my maiden name as my middle name and my every other valid legal document I have has my birth middle name, which is Lee. So it was not identical and the election official told me that it had to be identical. The election official is then charged with making a determination as to whether or not it is substantially similar.

And if it substantially similar, then they will allow you to vote but you must sign an AKA affidavit which is you are one and the same person. If the election official decides it is not substantially similar between the voter registration and the voter I.D. that is presented to verify the same then you will be not -- you will not be turned away but you will be asked to vote a provisional ballot, which is going to give you six days to present that voter I.D. and that verification which again must be identical.

And then go before the election board after the closing of the -- of the election to determine whether the ballot will be counted.

There`s some interesting language in the law. I`ve never seen it before. I have a constitutional right to vote. And that constitutional right now says I offer myself to vote and an election official is going to determine whether I am accepted to vote.

This is going to disproportionally, adversely affect women. Women -- a majority of the women change their surnames and adopt the surname of their husbands. I grant divorces every day and in doing so -- in the majority of the cases I restore maiden names. There are hyphenated names in the state of Texas and we have a cultural -- a large part of our state is Mexican-Americans and a lot of the Mexican-Americans assume the paternal and the maternal surnames as their official names.

So I was surprised that what I had done for 49 years was not sufficient to vote at this time.

O`DONNELL: Cecile Richards, this is clearly going to create incredible traffic jams at the polls in Texas which is clearly the intent.

CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD VOTE PRESIDENT: It`s amazing. And this story -- look, this is a judge. And she`s in her own courthouse trying to vote. Can you imagine the average woman in Texas trying to explain how they are -- that they have a valid I.D.?

You know, I look at -- look at these situations as you said, more than a third of women in Texas don`t have the right kind of identification. They`re saying that you need an original birth certificate and original marriage license.

I`ve been married for nearly 30 years and I couldn`t find my marriage license if my life depended on it. So, you`re right, this is going to be -- have a disproportionate effect on women. Not only in Texas but around the country.

O`DONNELL: Judge Watts, with your experience and given all your experience with the law, you saw -- you went through what you had to go through, I`m sure you were imagining what it would be like for someone who is uninitiated in the law and possibly not have been aware of the new law showing up at a polling place.

WATTS: I think it is going to create tremendous delays. And I will tell you that the County Election clerk in our county admitted that it is going to create delays that women are going to be asked to in effect fill out additional paperwork more so than the men in the state of Texas.

And a lot of women are -- you`re not going to be turned away. But you could be told that you`re going to have to vote a provisional ballot. And the law has this wonderful phrase in it that says even if all of the procedures are followed for a provisional ballot there is no guarantee that it is going to be counted which amounts to disenfranchisement.

O`DONNELL: Cecile, the -- we`ve seen Texas and other states enacting laws that affect Planned Parenthood very negatively. And this seems to be an insurance policy against any kind of backlash at the polls for that sort of thing.

RICHARDS: Absolutely. I mean, this incredible. All the other abuses against women in Texas for the last couple of years taking away women`s health care, shutting down women`s health clinic. This is just the latest.

What I think, though, what you are going to see and what we`re already seeing in Texas is an enormous backlash that women are not going to be denied the right to vote and they are going to be energized and I think the candidacy of Wendy Davis is going to even further -- you know -- you know, energize folks in that state.

It is amazing to me. I think of -- 25 years ago when mom ran for governor of the state of Texas with the idea of opening up government to all the people. And the thought that 25 years later the state of Texas is trying to keep women from voting is absolutely outrageous. It`s un-American.

O`DONNELL: Judge Watts, I have to ask your legal opinion. Do you see an avenue to a constitutional challenge to this law?

WATTS: You know, I was not denied the right to vote. What I had to do was in effect file an AKA, also known as, which I`ve never had to do in my entire life in order to vote. So the bottom line is, is that -- my concern is the provisional ballots because of the fact that you`ve got to appear six days after to present this and if the majority of the women have this discrepancy between their voter I.D. and also their registration.

I asked my daughter, I asked my court manager whether they were going to have a problem. They do not have an identical name on their voter I.D. and their driver`s license so just two people, my daughter and my court manager, are going to have, in effect, sign an AKA that can attest that they are one and the same person.

O`DONNELL: And then wait to see how that AKA is adjudicated in the end.

WATTS: No. They will accept the AKA and you`re going to be allowed to vote. It`s the -- the real problem is when the election official makes a determination that it is not substantially similar.

O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.

WATTS: My maiden name is Matheson, my voter -- I mean, my legal name is Sandra Lee. Sandra Matheson, is that substantially the same? An election official on a different country may decide it is not. Then I will be given the opportunity to go the provisional ballot which in effect says I must show up six days later with this appropriate I.D., and then even if I follow all the procedures on the ballot under Section D, that section, the bottom line is it may not count.

O`DONNELL: Wow. Judge Sandra Watts, thank you very much for taking us through this detail. We couldn`t have gotten it any other way. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

And Cecile Richards, thank you for joining us tonight.

Thank you both.

WATTS: Thanks. Yes.

O`DONNELL: Bill O`Reilly and socialism, and tonight, communism, are in the "Rewrite."


O`DONNELL: Wait until you hear what Bill O`Reilly thinks communism is. Hint, it`s something President Obama is very proud of and it`s next in the "Rewrite."



BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Here comes socialism. That is the subject of this evening`s "Talking Points Memo."


O`DONNELL: I thought socialism was the subject of every night`s "Talking Points Memo."

That was the opening line of Bill O`Reilly`s show last night. O`Reilly`s "Talking Points Memo" then went on for more than three research-free and fact-free minutes talking about what he likes to call Obamacare, and this time calling it socialism wasn`t good enough for O`Reilly.

He went from calling it socialism to socialist-communist and then finally just plain communism. And in Bill O`Reilly`s mind where words have no meaning, universal health care coverage is communism because it`s just so darn expensive.


O`REILLY: That`s a form of communism because no country could afford those payments without seizing the assets of everybody else. It`s impossible.


O`DONNELL: OK, so to provide health insurance for everyone who cannot afford it, a country would have to seize the assets of everyone else. So says Bill O`Reilly. It would be impossible to do that, according to O`Reilly. That`s his word. Impossible.

Here is map of impossible according to O`Reilly. A map that O`Reilly viewers will never see. In green are all the countries in the world that do the impossible, that provide universal health care coverage totally free health care to everyone who cannot afford it. And while they`re at it, those same governments provide health care for everyone else, and they do it without seizing the assets of anyone. They do it through perfectly reasonable systems of taxation very similar to ours.

You will notice that the United States of America is not included among the countries that do provide universal health care coverage because we never have and we still don`t and we won`t, even with the full successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act because the Affordable Care Act was written to be a cheap solution to the problem. The Affordable Care Act was never designed to provide health care coverage to everyone in this country, although both Democrats and Republicans continue to say that it does do that.

The taxes that were enacted to pay for the Affordable Care Act are obscure, small-dollar items that most Americans will never pay and never even be aware of. The only Affordable Care Act tax that O`Reilly himself might ever pay is the tanning salon tax. Next time Bill goes to a tanning salon he`s going to have to pay 10 percent tax for the Affordable Care Act.

And something tells me Bill is going to be able to afford that.


O`REILLY: The truth is that the USA at this point in time can`t afford to pay for Obamacare unless working Americans give up more of their assets. In some cases, much more. And that`s a memo.


O`DONNELL: There is a virtual guarantee that when Bill O`Reilly begins a sentence with the phrase, "the truth is," what you are about to hear is not the truth. The truth is that the Affordable Care Act is already paid for through the taxes included in the law that most Americans will never pay and through the budget savings and other federal health care spending that is also part of the law.

Don`t expect Bill O`Reilly to be rewriting his memo to make it true. Because he leaves that to me.


O`DONNELL: Who do you think that is? In this picture? Let`s go in really tight on that if we can. Taken in Kansas City, Kansas, in the early 1920s. My next guest will tell you. Stay with us.


O`DONNELL: In his "New York Daily News" column, Stanley Crouch writes, "The cruise missiles in the house have followed the course of that non-thinker collecting scraps at the junkyard of shabby thoughts about individual rights. They fancy themselves a new breed of superheroes."

Joining me now is Stanley Crouch, "New York Daily News" columnist and the author of the new book, "Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker."

Stanley, whenever people in politics think they`re superheroes.


O`DONNELL: You know they`re going to fall off that cliff pretty soon.

CROUCH: Right. You know, I feel that those guys, they have -- they`ve been too dazzled by advertising. Because they`re not interested in a product. They`re interested in advertising. They keep saying the same thing over and over that you will believe what they are saying about it.

You know, so I guess if you go to any advertising company what they guarantee you is that they will keep saying that people should buy your product well. But these guys don`t say it well. And they tell lies.

O`DONNELL: Well, the encouraging thing in the story is that the public figured it out as the polling indicates.

CROUCH: Right.

O`DONNELL: They didn`t fool who they wanted to fool.

CROUCH: Yes, but they always do. They always get it. The only problem is when -- if the public goes for the advertising rhythm of the illusory vision of velocity, since it`s like all these stuff is being talked about by the Republicans about the glitches, anybody who lives in the modern world is used to machines screwing up.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.

CROUCH: That`s not something new.


CROUCH: That`s not -- that`s not something that`s surprising to anyone in the world.


CROUCH: You know, just like I was saying to one of the women in the -- one of the women we were talking about that would be like somebody saying about an automobile that gets a flat them saying, flats are not acceptable.

O`DONNELL: Right, right. Yes.

CROUCH: Everybody expects a car to fold.


CROUCH: Expects a toaster to not work, expects that whatever machinery they use a lot they`re ready for it to make a mistake.

O`DONNELL: Let`s get to your new book, "Charlie Parker." This has been a long time in the making. You are one of our great jazz historians in this country, one of the many scholarly hats you wear. What is the essence of this story that you really need people to know about?

CROUCH: Well, it actually is about a place in time in America in which Americana actually touched everybody. See, it`s about the fact that everybody had a general reality. But, in Kansas City, the city was so corrupt, it had a futuristic identity. You had --

O`DONNELL: One of the things that stunned me about reading it is that everybody was there.

CROUCH: Right.

O`DONNELL: It`s like every famous name you can think of just shows up here.

CROUCH: Well, the -- well, the thing is, Kansas City was a -- was a -- was next to New York and New Orleans. It was the biggest thing happening in jazz. But, also, so many things happen that you wouldn`t believe happened like -- Charlie Parker`s first wife and one of his friends he grew up with talked about how on Halloween they had what would today be called a gay -- gay pride parade. In Kansas City in 1936.


CROUCH: And no -- and people would have blamed -- screaming, throwing bricks at them, they would just cheering them on.


CROUCH: And so -- what I mean is a lot of things that we think of today as modern things were actually being done by people in those years. But also, I think that the greatness of Charlie Parker and the world that he came out of was a world in which you had a form of art that was created -- was improvised and created on the spot but it was about -- but it was about compromise.

It was about empathy.

O`DONNELL: That`s --

CROUCH: It was about paying attention to each other.


CROUCH: Because you can`t play well unless you learn how to hear everybody else while you`re playing with them.


CROUCH: You listen to all of them. And you know, the word solo is kind of incorrect because what happens is everybody has to learn how to hear. And Charlie Parker with all the talents he had, he had thrown here.

O`DONNELL: And he only made it to 34 years old.


O`DONNELL: We`re going to hear more about this book.

Stanley Crouch, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

Obamacare is again the news tonight as NBC News reports the White House intends to delay the deadline for individuals to be required to buy health insurance from February 15th of next year to March 31st. This comes on the same day that some Democratic lawmakers called on the president to extend open enrollment and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.