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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, November 11th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Monday show

November 11, 2013
Guest: John Bohlinger, Josh Barro, Nia-Malika Henderson, Noam Schreiber,
Kelly Bowman


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`m doing my job in the state of New

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC`S "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": But some conservatives seemed
less than enthusiastic about Christie.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: He was a successful governor in New Jersey.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: When you stand in the middle of
the road you`re going to get hit on both sides of the road.

PERRY: Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the

PALIN: We need to take a stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah Palin is an entertainer.

PALIN: Right now. He`s the alternative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah Palin is an entertainer. She`s not a politician

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The biggest enemy in Chris Christie`s way is his own

CHRISTIE: What you need to do is show up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need conservatives, you need moderates.

CHRISTIE: The lesson is to govern and to show up.

already focusing on 2016.

CHRISTIE: That`s the Washington D.C. game.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC`S "POLITICS NATION": I don`t think we learned much from
the interviews themselves.

CHRISTIE: I`m the governor of New Jersey. That`s my job. New Jersey.
New Jersey. New Jersey. New Jersey.

TODD: That`s what I`ve learned from this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christie is going to have, I think, a difficult time.

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Did you see his convention speech?
It was really bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By Republican base standards, he`s a moderate.

COULTER: I`m now a single-issue voter so Christie is off my list.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: We have seen Republicans go after Ted
Cruz and now we`re watching Republicans go after Chris Christie.

Chris Christie is making it completely clear, though, he is totally, like
absolutely, not going to run for president in 2016.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Governor, how interested are you in running for
president in 2016?

CHRISTIE: Well, Chris, what I`m interested in doing is being the governor
of New Jersey?


O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s a governor`s answer. And Chris Christie so wants
to convince you that he`s not running for president in 2016 he went on all
four national Sunday shows on all four major national networks to tell a
national audience everywhere he would find a national audience how he
definitely is not going to run for president. And the job of being
governor of New Jersey is so important that Chris Christie told all the
Republicans in that national audience how he`s a lot like Ronald Reagan.

CHRISTIE: Here is what people in Washington, D.C., don`t understand, if
you want to win a vote by that kind of margin, if you want to attract the
majority of the Hispanic vote, if you want to nearly triple your African-
American vote, you need to show up. You need to go into those
neighborhoods. You need to campaign in places.

That`s the way the Republican Party will make itself more relevant to a
whole much broader group of folks. And the fact is that`s exactly what
Ronald Reagan would have done.


O`DONNELL: The biggest thing that the Tea Party wing of the Republican
Party and Chris Christie seem to have in common at this point is exactly
how they`re both just like Ronald Reagan.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: My view on compromise is actually exactly the
same as what Ronald Reagan`s was. Reagan said, what do you do if they
offer you half a loaf? Answer, you take it. And then you come back for

JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": I don`t think that Ronald
Reagan could -- could get in the Tea Party today.

CRUZ: You know, I don`t think that`s right at all.


CRUZ: If you look at what Reagan did, Reagan led a grassroots revolution.


O`DONNELL: Jay Leno was right, of course, Reagan could not get in the Tea
Party today. But another representative of the Tea Party wing of the
Republican Party does not agree with Jay Leno, because nobody is as Reagan
as Reagan was.


PALIN: I would never put my faith and hope in any one individual
politician. Please. Not any of them. There is no Ronald Reagan on the
scene today. If he were on the scene, that`s who I would put my faith in.
But -- hey, New jersey, a blue state, has a Republican governor, right on.
Beats the alternative.


O`DONNELL: And while that representative for the Tea Party wing of the
Republican Party says Chris Christie beats the alternative, another
representative for the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party is not so


true conservative governor?

PERRY: He was a successful governor in New Jersey. Now does that
transcend to the country? Well, we`ll see in later years and months to

ZELENY: Is that code for he`s a moderate?

PERRY: No, it`s code for the truth of the matter is, listen, we`re all
different states. Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the
rest of the country?

ZELENY: Sounds like you`re skeptical that it may not be.

PERRY: I`m just saying that we`ll have that discussion at the appropriate


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, John Bohlinger, a former Republican now running
for the U.S. Senate in Montana as a Democrat. Josh Barro, politics editor
for "Business Insider," and Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for
the "Washington Post."

John Bohlinger, what has made you leave the Republican Party?

the Republican Party began to disappear when the moderates like myself
began to disappear. I found that I really had no place in the caucus. I
was a member of our House of Representatives for three terms, elected to
two terms in our Montana Senate.

And with the coming of a stronger support of libertarians and Tea Party
members, moderates just -- they were forced out. And the party of which I
was once a member no longer exists today in Montana. They`ve either become
independent or they`ve become Democrats. And I chose to become a Democrat.

O`DONNELL: The -- this movement we`ve seen of the Republican Party to the
right was eventually going to leave a space and this is the space that John
Bohlinger is talking about now.

lot of ways it`s base that Chris Christie was talking about as well. And I
think you do see this movement from conservatives who were thinking about
running in 2016, people like Rick Perry, people like Rand Paul who will
trying to essentially tar him with that brush of calling him a moderate
which is very much a dirty word in the Republican Party.

But I think what we know about Chris Christie of course he gave all of
those interviews on Sunday, but I think one of his most significant
appearances so far has been his speech at an urban charter school the day
after he was elected. And I think that -- this sort of compassionate,
conservative, this sort of putting out plans about education, very much
catching fire with Latinos there. You saw that in those exit polls.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what George Will had to say about Chris


GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: His great strength is that he can say I
can flip up a blue state. He will turn to the Republicans now and say,
your problem is the 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted
Democratic in six consecutive presidential elections. Those 18 states
which include New Jersey, by the way, NDC have between them 242 electoral
votes. The Democrats probably think they can assume 242 electoral votes.

Christie says, I can flip some blue states. Who else in this room, he will
say when they have a gathering of the candidates, can flip a state as I
have just done in New Jersey?

WALLACE: And his weakness?

WILL: His weakness is his success in doing this because there are some
people who are going to say, well, if you carry a blue state, you must be
suspect. So he has to -- his strength becomes a weakness. In the
perversity of modern Republican argument.


O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, there`s the perversity of Republican argument.

think, you know, the strength Chris Christie is going to sell is not just
he can flip some blue states like New Jersey. He`s going to go in and say
I can win places like Virginia and Pennsylvania, places that used to be
competitive for the Republican Party even in close elections. Can these
other candidates I`m running against even do that?

But I think his record is not as poisonous for him as George Will suggested
it might be there. I think conservatives will object to things like him
taking the Medicaid expansion and certain other comprises he`d made in New
Jersey. But he`ll also be able to say he has conservative policy
accomplishments there like reforming teacher tenure, cutting public
employee pensions, holding the line on tax increases there.

And you know, what conservative policy accomplishments does Ted Cruz have
or does Rand Paul have? They`ve given a lot of speeches, they`ve sponsored
bills, but I think he -- the case he`s going to make and we`ll see whether
Republicans accept it or not is that by getting half a loaf, he`s gotten
something done and his opponents have gotten none of the loaf.

O`DONNELL: John Bohlinger, I`d like you to weigh in on this question of
Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party. By my reckoning I just don`t see how
Ronald Reagan would be accepted by anyone in the Tea Party. He raised
taxes numerous times as both governor and president including to appoint
the largest tax increase in California history because, for him, it was the
only practical version of compromise that he could come up with in order to
be fiscally responsible as a Republican. And I don`t see any Tea Party
members accepting vast areas of the Reagan record.

BOHLINGER: Well, I agree with you, Lawrence. I don`t think that he would
pass the smell test and that he did raise taxes when it was necessary. He
was a moderate by today`s standards, which, you know, those moderates have
left the Republican Party. He might have a hard time finding a seat at the

O`DONNELL: The Republican Party then when Reagan entered it in national
prominence actually had liberals. There were things called Republican
liberals in those days which young voters today would not know ever
existed. And --

HENDERSON: Right. Those Reagan Democrats. Yes.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And so the movement has been incredible and yet it`s so
fascinating to see the Sarah Palins and still harkening back to Reagan as
if they actually agree with him.

HENDERSON: As if they actually agree with him and also as if a great
segment of the population, particularly young people, see Reagan in the
same way or lived when Reagan was president. So I don`t think it has all
the same resonance that might have had 10 or 15 years ago. The problem, of
course, is that Republicans haven`t had a president in the last couple of
years that they want to go back to and they feel like did a good job.

I mean, they had obviously the first Bush, they see him as too moderate and
then the second Bush, also in some ways too moderate for them. So that`s
why they keep going back with Reagan. But it doesn`t seem like that the
party is really living up to what Reagan actually did. Particularly again
among Latino issues and immigration reform.

Here is somebody who did actually reform immigration and gave a pathway to
citizenship for some illegal immigrants and that`s certainly not the
direction that the party wants to go right now.

O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, the Republicans` sort of hits on Christie that have
emerged on the last couple of days, they`re very -- they`re glancing,
they`re kind of sideways. They don`t want to mention his name when they
are doing it.

What is it -- what is your sense of how this is going to look when it
becomes pretty open conflict of Republican presidential candidates?

BARRO: Well, I think over time it will get more specific on policy. I
think they`ll hit him for having a moderate record on gun control. I think
taking the Medicaid expansion and cooperating with Obamacare will be close
to the top of the list. I think the reaction to Hurricane Sandy where --
and what people refer to as the hug which they didn`t actually hug. They
like had their arms --

O`DONNELL: Over each other.

BARRO: Shoulders. But that I think will arise in the primaries. So I
think -- but when those attacks are coming, I think we need to keep in mind
this is going to be in large part a replay of what happened four years ago
with Mitt Romney. And you had more conservative candidates going at Mitt
Romney but they had to spend a lot of time attacking each other because
there`s room in this field for the establishment candidate with the money
from people who really want an electable candidate behind them, and that`ll
be Christie.

And then there`ll be a not Christie like everyone is competing to be not
Mitt in the last -- in the last election. So you`ll have Ted Cruz and Rand
Paul attacking each other, and Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, and whoever
else is there. And that I think is likely to be Christie`s saving grace.
They will spend some time attacking him and attacking his record. But
they`re also going to be fighting with each other very much echoing the
noise we`ve been hearing out of Washington for the last few years and a lot
of politicians making a ton of noise.

And that`s just what Christie is going to say. He`s going to say look,
these guys are constantly fighting. I`m here to be a leader. And I think
that will help him sell that message even with conservatives. It clearly
works in the center of the electorate. And I think Christie is right to
believe that his personality and his stature as a leader will help him
carry through with conservatives, too.

O`DONNELL: John Bohlinger, you`re running to hold on to Max Baucus`s
Senate seat for the Democrats. Baucus leaving the Senate. But Baucus has
managed to hold that seat for decades, a Democratic seat in conservative
Montana. Does the Tea Party in Montana make it easier for the Democrat to
hold the seat or more difficult? I mean, easier in the sense that more
moderate Republicans of Montana are turned off by the Tea Party?

BOHLINGER: Well, I think that there -- they`ve moved so far to the right
of the mainstream. It`s difficult for them to really find traction. Max
Baucus is a -- is a conservative Democrat. His style of politics has
appealed to a lot of Montanans. Served for six terms in the U.S. Senate.
Two terms in -- in the House of Representatives. So he`s got 40 years on
the hill.

His popularity has been challenged, but I think that, you know, the Tea
Party has not been -- I don`t think they`ve been a problem in his -- in his
campaign or reelection efforts. They -- I think they are just too far to
the right from where the mainstream is here in Montana.

O`DONNELL: John Bohlinger, Josh Barro, Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you all
for joining me tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Lawrence.

BARRO: Thanks.

BOHLINGER: Lawrence, thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, why Elizabeth Warren`s name keeps coming up when
Democrats start talking about 2016.

And in the "Rewrite," the "New York Times" readers finally learned, they
finally learned what the "Times" calls the dirty little secret about the
Affordable Care Act. Just today, a secret that I told you about four years


O`DONNELL: Look out, America. Sarah Palin has another book to sell. So
you know what that means.


PALIN: Didn`t you all learn, too, in Econ 101, there ain`t no such thing
as a free lunch. Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money
from our children and borrowing from China. When that note comes due, and
this isn`t racist, so try it and try it anyway. This isn`t racist, but
it`s going to be like slavery when that note is due. Right? We are going
to be beholden to a foreign master.


O`DONNELL: That`s right. We`re in another season of Sarah Palin saying
the craziest stuff she and her writers can think of so that she can sell
some books. The season won`t last too long, though, because the title of
her book is, "Good Tidings and the Great Joy of Protecting the Heart of

You know the heart of Christmas needed protecting, did you? Well, don`t
worry. The permanently irrelevant Sarah Palin will only be making these
noises for a few more weeks.

Up next, the strongest possible challenger to Hillary Clinton for the next
Democratic presidential nomination. Ari Melber knows who that is.


O`DONNELL: In a "New Republic" article titled "Hillary`s Nightmare: A
Democratic Party that Realizes Its Sole Lies with Elizabeth Warren," Noam
Schreiber writes this about a possible Hillary Clinton challenger.

Quote, "In addition to being strongly identified with the party`s populist
wing, any candidate who challenged Clinton would need several key assets.
The candidate would almost certainly have to be a woman given Democrats`
desire to make history again, she would have to amass huge piles of money
with relatively little effort. Above all she would have to awaken in
Democratic voters an almost evangelical passion. As it happens there is
precisely such a person. Her name is Elizabeth Warren."

Before her election to the Senate, Elizabeth Warren like Barack Obama in
2004 was given primetime speaking slot at the 2012 Democratic National
Convention where she delivered a high-profile populist speech.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Tell me a little bit about the
last few times you`ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall
Street all the way to a trial?


Anybody? I am really concerned that too big to fail has become too big for
trial. That just seems wrong to me.

I never thought I`d run for the Senate and I sure never dreamed that I`d be
the warm-up act for President Bill Clinton.


He`s an amazing man who had the good sense to marry one of the coolest
women on this planet.


O`DONNELL: According to our plan, our little plan here, Ari Melber, we
were actually going to show the Democratic convention speech and then
there`ll a little cute script thing as you have seen done here that would
introduce the committee scene there, but Noam Schreiber, let`s get to your
very important article which has finally introduced an element of suspense
into the 2016 nominating process for the Democratic nomination. Let`s hear
your case about the Elizabeth Warren threat.

NOAM SCHREIBER, THE NEW REPUBLIC: Well, look, I mean, you alluded to part
of it. But the -- there`s a sort of structural case to make for it. And
that is since 2008, since the last time there was an open Democratic
primary, the party has really become much more populist. I mean, if you
look at numbers about Democratic attitudes towards large corporations and
the power that large corporation have.

If you look at their views towards big banks in Wall Street in particular,
they`ve become vastly more populist over the last five years and presumably
that trend will continue. We see periodic outbursts. So that`s very
difficult to conclude that that`s -- that`s not where the heart and soul of
the party lies today.

Hillary Clinton is just not there. Going back to the early `90s when her
husband first ran for president. She`s had longstanding relationships with
sort of new Democrat types who have either come from Wall Street or have
long ago made their peace with Wall Street and believe it deserves a sort
of central role in economic policymaking.

So she is, in some sense, constrained both for those reasons and because
she is likely to raise tens of millions of dollars from Wall Street
interests, from large corporations. It`s going to be difficult. There are
limits to the degree that she can move left in this sort of populist left,
which just puts her out of step with where rank-and-file Democrats are

So there is -- there is sort of a structural reason for someone to
challenge Hillary from the left. All it needs is a vehicle and suddenly we
have this vehicle in the human form of a very charismatic, very popular
Democratic senator from Massachusetts.

O`DONNELL: Ari, Noam`s article points the importance the fundraising


O`DONNELL: In a challenger. And when I go back to 2007, as soon as I saw
that Barack Obama was raising the same amount and in some cases more money
than Hillary Clinton, I thought then Hillary Clinton is going to lose
because her polling number was up in the 40s and he was about 20 points
behind her polling number looked to me like a ceiling. And he had enough
reason to be competitive.

MELBER: Right.

O`DONNELL: If Elizabeth Warren were to run, if she were to have parity in
fundraising as Barack Obama did, that would be a real race.

MELBER: I think so. And that goes to Noam`s structural point, right,
which is that Barack Obama had this grassroots army. And so his low-dollar
fundraising freed him up both in time, which is important as a candidate,
and one could argue in policy boundaries because he wasn`t ad beholden,
although he did raise plenty of money from Wall Street. It was his primary

The other piece of this, though, I think, is what kind of primary you think
you`re going to have. There are a lot of primaries that are about
personality. You were just talking about whether Chris Christie can bully
his way around the country and get people excited just by the way he is.
Hillary has a great personality that people are attracted to. But
sometimes primaries are about bigger things. 2007, 2008 was also chiefly
about litigating a dispute over the Iraq war and how many Democrats went
along with the war.

O`DONNELL: Who was right, who was wrong.

MELBER: Yes. And Barack Obama`s credibility on that combined with his
unique candidacy is what separated him. I don`t think -- with all due
respect to how interesting Barack Obama`s life story was -- I think if he
had been a pro-war and pro-Wall Street guy, it would have been a different
primary. And so that goes to whether this hangover now goes to populism.

And the last point I`ll make on that that Noam`s article gestured at but
didn`t totally embrace is in the Tea Party they`ve got a lot of grassroots
energy. And it is as rambunctious as it is, it`s within the GOP. Occupy
and a lot of the populist economic uprising had energy but never found a
foothold within the Democratic Party thus far.

O`DONNELL: And Noam, there are -- there are plenty of issues we haven`t
really heard Elizabeth Warren on that you could find space presumably to
the left of Hillary Clinton like the use of drone warfare and its
particulars. Some of the NSA overreach issues that have been developed
this year.

Do you see something in there that`s as strong as that difference that we
had in 2008 between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Iraq war?

SCHREIBER: I don`t. I mean, there is clearly energy around this issue and
you can -- you can imagine, and you don`t even have to imagine, you can
remember when a Republican president was presiding over these policies.
There was a lot of outrage among Democrats and on the left over this

Obviously it`s been repressed a bit given that it`s now a Democratic
president. So I think there`s a lot of energy around it. I still think
the economic issues will loom larger. I think they`d go -- you know,
what`s interesting about Iraq in 2008 and I think this is where there is a
real analogy in 2016 potentially is it was partly about policy but it was
also partly about just kind of being a proxy for all the queasiness that
people had with the Clintons.

You know, they sort of tilt with the winds and they do what seems sort of
politically convenient. I mean, you remember -- Bill Clinton`s famous
quote about the Iraq war in 1992, you know, I don`t even remember, it was
so convoluted. He had been there, he`d probably -- you know, you want to
vote against it but he`d been there, he`d have voted for it.

So I think there was a lot of that, these sort of bad memories that Iraq
will dredged up for Hillary. And I think the Wall Street populist issue
does the same. You know, there is a lot of Democrats who are just queasy
with the way that the Clintons had surrounded themselves with large
corporate interests. You know, investment bankers, the Robert Rubin wing
in the party. And so it`s kind of a cultural issue in a -- in a character
logical issue in addition to just the policy issue.

O`DONNELL: All right, quickly before we go.


O`DONNELL: Republican strategist Mike Murphy in 2007 said he thought Obama
had a real chance. Today Mike Murphy tweeted, "I think it`s entirely
possible that Elizabeth Warren can upset HRC for the Dem nomination. Only
one who could beat her."

So the theme is developing.

MELBER: I think the theme is there. I mean I think what Noam did was
picked up on something that is out there. As I mentioned, whether that`s
occupy grassroots, frustration over inequality. When people talk about 1
percent. All of that is a policy conversation that is important. The fact
that it`s a very respectable woman with a great track record goes to the
idea that she would be more positioned than a lot of other people.

O`DONNELL: Ari Melber, Noam Schreiber, thank you both for joining me

MELBER: Thanks, Lawrence.

SCHREIBER: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what happens in Texas when four women meet to
discuss gun control? Forty people show up with guns. And the shocking
reports and images of devastation from the Philippines. And tonight the
government there announces a new official death toll.


O`DONNELL: Tonight a worldwide relief effort is underway in response to
the most powerful typhoon to ever make landfall in one of the deadliest
storms of the century. The typhoon was 370 miles wide with wind gusts
peaking at 235 miles an hour and a 20-foot storm surge.

More than 9.5 million people have been affected by the storm with more than
600,000 displaced from their homes, 1,774 people are now confirmed dead.
But those numbers are expected to grow to more than possibly 10,000 with
just the city of Tacloban alone.

Tacloban bore the brunt of the storm. And that`s where NBC`s Harry Smith
got a firsthand look at the destruction on the ground.


HARRY SMITH, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is an achingly
familiar sight. The aftermath of this typhoon looks a lot like the
remnants of other super disasters. And what we have learned from the
tsunami in Japan and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and our own Super
Storm Sandy, is that the unrelenting water knows no boundary.

significantly damaged or destroyed. It`s 15 to 25-foot wave came across
entire villages. And so everything is wiped out.

SMITH: The city of Tacloban looks to be ground zero.

MICAH SANTOS (PH), STORM SURVIVOR: I survived because I climbed the tree.

SMITH: We met Mican Santos not far from the ruins of the airport.

SANTOS: I`m very happy because I`m alive. I`m alive.

SMITH: Mican and her family are huddled in a makeshift shelter because
there is nothing left of their homes.

SANTOS: We don`t have anything to do but to live. We survived the
typhoon and now we are -- we`re questioning ourselves how to survive in
terms of food, in terms of water.

SMITH: A nearby chapel serves as a makeshift morgue. A father tells me
his 2-year-old son is inside. He explains how fast the water rose. He
wonders how anyone survived.

People in this once bustling city of 200,000 have seen many typhoons
before, but nothing like this. They are without food, without drinkable
water. They have no adequate shelter.

Our colleague, Angus Walker, is in another part of the decimated city.

ANGUS WALKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The local marketplace, one of the
worst affected areas in Tacloban, all these shops and houses made of wood
now a pile of tangled timber.

SMITH: Rhea Almasira (ph), eight months pregnant, shows me the house, one
of the few made of concrete that her father had sheltered in.

RHEA ALMASIRA, STORM SURVIVOR: We`re not able to save our father. It`s
very sad.

SMITH (on camera): This typhoon was different because it moved so rapidly
and because it was moving so fast and the winds were so ferocious, it piled
up water in front of it. What you need to remember about the Philippines
is it`s not one land mass, it`s more than 7,000 islands. And a place like
this the water just stacked up as it moved into the bays and channels. And
once the water rose, it knocked down everything in sight.

(Voice-over): There is no power, no fuel. Roads and bridges are out.
Many coastal areas have not yet been searched. And because communications
are out, there is frankly no way to know the status of the more isolated

We hitched a ride with the U.S. Marines on a C-130 into Tacloban. The U.S.
Military is ferrying in Philippine troops by the hundreds and often
carrying storm victims out. And while aid is beginning to arrive, it is
but a trickle in an ocean of need.

(On camera): There is no other way to describe the situation in Tacloban
other than god awful. The stench of death hangs everywhere you go and
quite frankly it`s a wonder the people who have survived are able to keep
their sanity.

I`m Harry Smith, NBC News, the Philippines.


O`DONNELL: Hundreds of thousands of the survivors have no access to food,
water, or medicine.

Here`s NBC`s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, reporting from the
island of Cebu.


are blocked, the airports are closed, and the ferries aren`t running. So
we jumped on a chopper and headed to Tacloban to see what could be an
impending health crisis.

(Voice-over): From the air we see stunning devastation.

(On camera): When you pass over the mountains, this looks like a major
deforestation projects. The trees are just stripped. And then you get
into the fertile farming area and everything is flooded.

(Voice-over): Villages along the coast wiped out by the massive tidal surge
that left the city of Tacloban in ruins.

We made our way to Divine Word Hospital. Heavily damaged, officially
closed for business but people still come. Doctor Francis Visto stayed
through the storm, scrambling to save lives and medical supplies.

DR. FRANCIS VISTO, DIVINE WORD HOSPITAL: We tried to salvage what was left
of the pharmacy in the emergency room.

SNYDERMAN: The lobby has been converted into a treatment area. With just
bandages and antiseptic left, doctors and nurses can`t handle more than
simple cuts and abrasions.

(On camera): Contraction is over now.

(Voice-over): This woman just arrived in labor. The staff is living on
little sleep.

(On camera): You have no generator, no light.

VISTO: Yes, ma`am.

SNYDERMAN (voice-over): There is no power for lights or refrigeration and
no security.

Across the city, the scarcity of food, fresh water, and sanitation is
setting the stage for a public health nightmare.

(On camera): Are you worried about cases of dysentery?

VISTO: Oh, definitely, ma`am. Because we have no potable water source

SNYDERMAN (voice-over): The staff is haunted by those they couldn`t help.

(On camera): Did patients die because you couldn`t treat them?

VISTO: Somehow, because we were out of resources. We just made the most
of what we had. Even us doctors, we stayed. We didn`t even go to our
families immediately. We stayed with the patients.

SNYDERMAN (voice-over): Even post-operative patients were sent home
because of lack of medicine and patients who died were moved into a
makeshift morgue.

VISTO: This is where we kept the bodies. They were actually inpatients so
when the power was out, the water was out, and there were no more
medications because our pharmacy was destroyed.

SNYDERMAN (on camera): That has to be tough to know. You can`t save

VISTO: Yes, ma`am.

SNYDERMAN: And when patients come in now and they`re hungry and they`d had
no water and they`re hurting, what do you say to them?

VISTO: We just say we`re sorry.

SNYDERMAN: This rain is the beginning of a low pressure system that`s
coming in five days after the typhoon ravaged Tacloban. The concern is
hurting an already vulnerable health care system. The water, in
particular, that could usher in dysentery and other infectious diseases.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News, Cebu, Philippines.


O`DONNELL: Aid organizations urgently need your help. The contact
information for the Red Cross, AmeriCares, UNICEF and Save the Children is
on the screen now.



PALIN: The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many
years to reform a health care system in America that certainly does need
more help so that there is more competition, there is less tort reform


O`DONNELL: What? What? There is less tort reform threat. That of course
makes absolutely no sense even for the tort reform cheer leaders in the
Republican Party. Sarah Palin knows that Republicans like to use the
phrase tort reform but she obviously has no idea what it means and when
speaking without a script does not know how to use the phrase tort reform
in a sentence. And so she said there`s less tort reform threat.


Sarah Palin lost in her talking points once again. Now the "Rewrite" is
next and after that we`ve got time for one more crazy Sarah Palin clip but
I`m not sure we should be showing this nutty Palin stuff. I`m king of torn
about this. We should be -- she is completely irrelevant and worthy of
being ignored and yet we`re showing her stuff but -- so tweet me whether
you think we should show one more crazy Sarah Palin bit before we say good


O`DONNELL: We have a breakthrough. Today the "New York Times" finally
rewrote its readers` understanding of the individual mandate in the
Affordable Care Act by finally reporting accurately the most important
thing you need to know about the individual mandate.

The "Times" did this nearly four years after I began my relentless and
apparently failed crusade to lead America or at least a few reporters in
American news organizations to a real understanding of just how weak the
individual mandate is. The individual mandate has been portrayed by the
Tea Party and Republicans as the most onerous bit of communism ever to
befall us.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS` "FOX AND FRIENDS": $95 fine which a lot of young
people are going to take in order to avoid prison time.


O`DONNELL: Prison time. Avoiding prison time is pretty easy with the
Affordable Care Act. How onerous can the mandate be if there is no real
penalty for violating the mandate?

The "New York Times" today finally told its readers something it could have
told them four years ago. It is what the "New York Times" called the dirty
little secret of the penalty.

Wow. A dirty little secret was written into the most controversial law of
the 21st century nearly four years ago and the "New York Times" is just
getting around to exposing it now? That still leaves the "New York Times"
way ahead of almost all other news organizations in the country but not
ahead of faithful viewers of this program who are about to learn absolutely
nothing when I quote the "New York Times" passage describing the dirty
little secret of the penalty.

"It is a bit of a chimera because the federal government cannot use its
usual tools like fines, liens or criminal prosecutions to punish people who
do not pay it. The penalty is supposed to be reported and paid with the
income tax returns of those who do not buy insurance. But the government
has not said how it will collect from those who owe it but do not pay it.
Though the law allows it to deduct from any income tax refunds."

I have many times in the last four years on MSNBC from morning to night
which is to say from "MORNING JOE" to the LAST WORD read passages of the
law in which the IRS is specifically instructed to not use criminal
penalties or a civil liens against taxpayers who do not pay their
individual mandates fines by process of elimination that has been
interpreted to mean that the IRS can collect the individual mandate fines
only by withholding that amount on tax refunds that the IRS owes to
taxpayers who have violated the individual mandate.

Never has the heavy hand of communism had such a light touch. Just try not
paying your Social Security taxes sometime. Try not paying your Medicare
taxes sometime. Never mind your income taxes. You will be subject to the
full enforcement power of the Internal Revenue Service and you will pay
those taxes or face real criminal penalties and civil liens, including
liens on your house and on your car and on anything you own that the IRS
can find. That`s how it works at the IRS when they`re serious about
collecting the money.

But I have never heard a Tea Partier -- Tea Party panderer complain about
Medicare or complain about Medicare taxes or the collection of Medicare
taxes or the life crushing power of the IRS enforcement ability to squeeze
Medicare taxes out of each and every taxpayer.

It turns out the individual mandate is the single least enforceable
provision ever written in tax law and it is deliberately so. Remember,
that the one difference between candidate Obama and candidate Clinton was
that candidate Obama was opposed to the individual mandate.


mandate the purchase of insurance and it`s not affordable, then there`s
going to have to be some enforcement mechanism that the government uses and
they may charge people who already don`t have health care, fines, or have
to take it out of their paychecks, and that I don`t think is helping those
without health insurance.


O`DONNELL: In fact, presidential candidate Obama was the most convincing
opponent the individual mandate has ever had. Including Hillary Clinton
who was of course opposed to the individual mandate long before she was in
favor of it.

Candidate Obama won the individual mandate argument on his way to winning
the Democratic nomination for president.


OBAMA: You can mandate it, but there`s still going to be people who can`t
afford it and if they cannot afford it, then the question is, what are you
going to do about it? Are you going to fine them? Are you going garnish
their wages?


O`DONNELL: When President Obama was, however reluctantly converted to
supporting the individual mandate, he still had those questions. Are you
going fine them? Are you going to garnish their wages? And his answer
was, let`s give them the lightest, least enforceable fine in the history of
the tax code and let`s absolutely never make it possible to garnish their
wages as the IRS can with any other form of tax collection.

If the "New York Times" and other major news outlets had been accurately
reporting on the all ultra lightweight nature of the individual mandate in
the Affordable Care Act from the start, would the Tea Party have had such
an easy time building the mythology that the individual mandate was the
most onerous intrusion of federal power in the lives of Americans in

If the major news organizations reported from the start that the individual
mandate has a much looser and unenforceable grip on us than Medicare taxes
already do, would the Tea Party have even been born?

I`m sure some kind of "We hate Obama" faction of the Republicans would have
emerged, but the individual mandate gave the Tea Party its first organizing
principle. That is the thing the tea party rose up against and the
American news media never reported to them that the individual mandate was
at times put it today a bit of a chimera.

Miriam Webster`s Dictionary defines chimera as a monster from Greek
mythology that breaths fire and has a lion`s head, a goat`s body and a
snake`s take. In other words, something that exists only in the
imagination. It is not possible in reality.

The political media`s four-year failure to accurately describe the
individual mandate has helped create an endless parade of fire breathing
monsters in our politics.

But still, better late than never. And so tonight we welcome "New York
Times" readers and so the company of enlightened MSNBC viewers who, for
nearly four years now, have known the dirty little secret that the times
finally got around to revealing today.


O`DONNELL: The tweets are piling up here on should we show any more Sarah
Palin nonsense?

Manny Corea (ph) says, why not, she`s harmless. Then Dumbo says, "Lawrence
please don`t show her."

We`ve run out of time for showing anymore Sarah Palin anyways so the clock
has decided no more Palin tonight.

Up next, what happens in Texas when mothers stand up against gun violence.
That`s next.


O`DONNELL: On Saturday, four mothers who are members of the gun control
group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, met at the Blue Mesa grill in
Dallas, Texas. Outside the restaurant, some 40 members of the pro-gun
group, Open Carry Texas, gathered in the parking lot. Openly carrying an
array of long guns which is of course perfectly legal in the state of

The group which included small children -- waited outside the restaurant
for two hours for the mothers to come out. A spokeswoman for the Mothers
Demand Action told Think Progress that the restaurant manager did not call
the police out of fear of, quote, inciting a riot.

Joining me now Kelly Bowman, the Texas Advocacy Lead for Moms Demand Action
for Gun Sense in America.

Kelly, how did those people find out that this little meeting of a few
people was happening inside the restaurant?

AMERICA: As best as we can figure out now is we posted the meeting notice
on Facebook and asked people to message us by Facebook or e-mail and it
turns out that some people who were posing as prospective members joined up
and then were notified of the meeting location and time and then tipped off
the open carry group as to what was going to happen.

O`DONNELL: And what are the positions that your group is in favor of that
the open carry gun people are so opposed to?

BOWMAN: Well, apparently, pretty everything that we stand for which is
what, you know, mainstream and normal America stands for which is to
tighten up our gun laws because simple things like background checks and as
you had said earlier, it is perfectly legal to walk around in Texas and
many other states with loaded weapons. Any time anywhere. In the instance
of Texas, the only thing that is prohibited is open carry of handguns but
pretty much anything else is fair game.

O`DONNELL: And what was the sensation of having them out there? I mean,
some people think well, hey, it`s perfectly legal in Texas. But the fact
is even those legal in Texas it is peculiar to see people walking around
with guns like that.

BOWMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. There is nothing about that kind of
behavior that is considered normal or acceptable by any standard. There --
this open carry group and others like it, their intent is purely to
intimidate. And it is not for self-protection. They`re clearly not going
hunting. It is only there to intimidate our members in this case and
mothers in other states just to be bullies.

O`DONNELL: Kelly Bowman, thank you very much for joining us with that
report from Texas. Thank you very much.

BOWMAN: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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