THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
April 8, 2014
Guests: Linda Barrington, Mark McKinnon, Evan Wolfson, Adrian Karatnycky
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: There is a new way to lose your job in
America -- kiss a Republican congressman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Republican Congressman Vance McAllister of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Republican Congressman Vance McAllister
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: The release of video showing him kissing a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently kissing an aide from his district office.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Who is not his wife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Both of them are married and not to each
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: McAllister ran on a platform of traditional
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: To the statement, he admitted to falling
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: He is asking for forgiveness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: He has apologized.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: She has been removed from the payroll.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is nice to have a day.
But it is even better to have equal pay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: President Obama will sign two executive
orders announcing two new executive orders.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Closing the pay gap between men and women.
OBAMA: Because today is equal pay day.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We are saying one thing.
OBAMA: Equal pay for equal work.
PELOSI: Equal pay for equal work.
OBAMA: It`s not that complicated.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: All of us support equal
pay for equal work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Republicans are firing back.
CANTOR: Let`s put the politic as side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Only equal pay, a political --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would urge us to stop politicizing women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now in all fairness this is a midterm election year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Democrats about to deliver a one-two midterm
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women voters have been the difference between Democrats
winning and losing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By targeting a key voting bloc -- women.
O`DONNELL: Campaign platforms don`t get much simpler than this. Fight
Obamacare, investigate the IRS, oppose big government protect the unborn,
defend second amendment and support traditional marriage.
That was enough to get Vance McAllister elected to represent the 5th
congressional district in Louisiana last year. Here he is supporting two
traditional marriages at the same time.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: The man in this security video at congressman McAllister`s
Louisiana office is the congressman himself. The woman in the video a
member of his staff. At the time the video was record they were both
happily married to other people. Congressman McAllister was
enthusiastically endorsed in his campaign by other supporters of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Willie Robinson reminding you to get out Saturday,
November 16th and vote for my good buddy, Vance McAllister. Let`s send
somebody from the 5th district who speaks for us to help turn Washington
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The way conservative Republican support traditional marriage
is, of course, to fight, to prevent gay people from participating in
traditional marriage. They insist that marriage equality is an attack on
traditional marriage. That it threatens traditional marriage. It turns
out, one of the biggest threats to traditional marriage in the 5th
congressional district of Louisiana is Congressman Vance McAllister.
The husband of the woman who appears on that video in the congressman`s
extramarital embrace said this today. He has wrecked my life. We are
headed for divorce. This guy has turned my life upside down.
Getting caught on video in the congressman`s embrace has cost the woman her
job. She was the congressman`s scheduler. And over the last 24 hours,
there are conflicting reports on whether she quit or was fired.
Congressman McAllister for his part is clinging to the wreckage of his
congressional career and his marriage. He issued a statement saying there
is no doubt I`ve fallen short and I`m asking for forgiveness. I`m asking
for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff and my constituents
who elected me to serve.
The husband of the woman in the video said, he is has apologized to
everyone in the world except me.
And so, in his first few months in office, the congressman who was elected
to support traditional marriage has so far destroyed one marriage, and
supported none, including his own.
Joining me is MSNBC`s Krystal Ball and "Washington Post" columnist and
MSNBC political analyst E.J. Dionne.
Now, Krystal, you know, we always say, it is not about the sex. And for
me, I`m speaking only for me, and sure for my French colleague, E.J.
Dionne. I don`t care about the sex at all. In fact statistics show
traditional marriage in America today does include often some kind of
But when you are running on a platform, with a political party, that says
we must deny marriage rights to other people in order to preserve the
sanctity of our marriages you really, really, should not be on videotape
like that in your congressional office.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Yes. I think that`s right. And
people are very forgiving, right? They`re forgiving.
O`DONNELL: I forgive him. OK. He has asked for forgiveness. I`m
BALL: As you are saying.
O`DONNELL: It will do him a lot of good in that district.
BALL: Yes, indeed.
But a lot of folks can -- can relate to the situation where you are in a
compromising situation. Where you don`t act like your best judgment. This
happens to regular people all the time. Whether to you or someone you
know, I think it is a situation people can relate to.
But as you`re pointing out. The part of this that makes this different is
if you go off to the congressman`s Web site. You cannot come away without
realizing how much he is focused on traditional marriage. He puts his
family and family values quote-unquote "front and center in every aspect,"
in his bio, in his issues, in this campaign videos. Every aspect of what
he did in terms of becoming a politician and getting to Congress.
So you look at that and you say this guy is a hypocrite. And, there is
that piece. And then the other piece that I think is a sort of extenuating
circumstance here, is the fact it is a staffer. You know, this is someone
who is -- underneath him in terms of the power structure. So, it is, a
typical sort of power dynamic that we don`t know what went into this
relationship. But it is a troubling circumstance, I think, for a lot of
O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, you are here, we need French sophistication when a
subject like this comes up. You know, I don`t want to retreat into very,
you know, provincial American, puritanical view of these things. But here
is, here is the guy coming fresh off a political campaign where he was
campaigning on supporting traditional marriage. He is going to be the
protector of marriage in the, the fifth congressional district in Louisiana
and now this.
E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: A couple things, Lawrence.
First, There is -- this has been true all through the gay marriage debate
which is that, heterosexuals, do a great job of wrecking marriages on their
own. And to hang the problem of families, on gay, lesbian people, is just
take is a lot of nerve. I just want to put that out there.
DIONNE: But you know when you look at the, at the French. The French do
have certain rules. They don`t like all of this in their face. They`re
not crazy about the media covering it. But they don`t like it when their
politicians get -- too out of line. So that Sarkozy had a personal life
that was more out there than they would like. And you know, president
Holland has had some stories like this out in the press.
And while the French have reputation for being, you know, completely
liberal on this, it gets on their nerves after awhile. They just want it
to happen in private. Now, obviously in this case, it is a video of a
thought, the congressman thought that was private.
But we Americans are much more forgiving on these issues than our
reputation would have it. I mean, I was first on this network talking
about the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky story. I think that what sits
underneath this, it is a real problem is why did the woman lose her job?
O`DONNELL: Yes. Yes.
DIONNE: I think that is going to be a piece of this story that whatever
happens, whatever people make of the more salacious aspects of it. If she
was fired, there is a real big problem here.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And we don`t know. We do have conflicting reports,
Krystal. She may have decided this is untenable. I don`t want to walk
into the office again. It is too embarrassing. But, you know, so her
sense, if she left the job, it was her sense of decency after the fact that
says -- I can`t go in there again.
The congressman apparently has absolutely no problem walking by those
security cameras again into his office trying to hold on to the job.
BALL: That`s right. I mean the bottom line here is that he still has the
this job. At least for the moment. And she, for whatever reason, whether
she quit or was fired, no longer has her position.
And the other piece of this is, we think a lot about forgiveness and do we
forgive him and can voters forgive him and how are we going to view him and
what his reputation and how is he going to be rehabilitated.
But we tend to forget about the woman in the story. And what is going to
happen in her life. And will she be rehabilitated. What will this mean
for her and her family which has obviously been gravely impacted by this
situation. I think that piece tends to be lost as we fixate on the man in
power. And what is going to happen with him and his life.
O`DONNELL: Yes. The husband of the woman who is on the video said this
about the congressman`s embrace of religious values in his campaign. He
said I know his beliefs when he ran one of his commercials he said I need
your prayers. And I asked, when did you get religious? He said when I
needed votes. He broke out the religious card. And he is about the most
nonreligious person I know.
E.J., that`s another component of this is running on religion if voters are
going to make voting decisions based on religious claims by guys like this.
They are simply begging to be lied to.
DIONNE: Well, you know, talking -- I mean, I think both of us have known
politicians who are actually are genuinely religious. Some occasionally
talk about it. And some don`t talk about it at all.
And I think that what, the problem, the line that has been crossed is, we
seem, at least in some districts, some voters, don`t want to vote for
somebody unless they are religious. Unless they make public displays of
And I guess I`m sort of old fashion about this. And I begin to mistrust if
people sort of talk too much about how religious they are. And I say that
as somebody sympathetic to religion.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And we are not supposed to have a religious test for
involvement in this government, but we do. In politics, we do have a
religious test. And it has now become virtually impossible for someone to
run for president, for example, as a nominee, Krystal, and not discuss his
or her religion.
BALL: Absolutely. And it would be unheard of to even imagine at this
point. Someone who publicly claimed to be an atheist.
O`DONNELL: Well, the worst thing you can be, in the polls, worst thing you
can be is an atheist. They`re much more ready to elect every other
religion than an atheist.
BALL: Absolutely. Every other religion, minorities, women, than atheist
is the most challenging position you scan be in.
So for this Congressman McAllister and for a lot of politicians around the
country, religion is sort of a cultural symbol. It is a cultural
signifier. It is a way of saying I am like you. And I stand for the same
values and the same set of beliefs that you have. So there is a lot of
people dressing up their religion. And maybe even those who sincerely hold
those beliefs, putting it forward in a way that they wouldn`t where they
not seeking public office.
O`DONNELL: Now the breaking news on this tonight. And E.J., you tell me
if this is a politician who is overplaying a hand he doesn`t have.
The breaking news tonight is that Congressman McAllister`s top aide told
the local Louisiana newspaper that the congressman was going to ask the FBI
to probe to find out who leaked that security video.
DIONNE: I thought you didn`t try to give a second day to a story like
this. I was waiting for that to happen. You know, he is the victim of
what, exactly. We`re going to find out.
O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball and E.J. Dionne, thank you both for joining me
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.
DIONNE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up. Joy Reid joins me on the politics of equal pay day.
And a Republican has made a great, just a great new TV add in support of
And in the rewrite tonight, Oscar writing director, Barry Levinson has come
up with a brilliant idea for how the federal government can raise revenue
without taxing anyone. This is genius. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: A pew survey asked the question if marijuana were as widely
available as alcohol, which would be more harmful to people`s health?
Sixty nine percent of Americans said alcohol is more dangerous to people`s
health, just 15 percent said marijuana is more dangerous.
Maryland`s Democratic Governor Martin O`Malley has announced that he will
sign a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana in his
state. People possessing less than 10 grams of pot, you got that, 10
grams, would have to pay a fine. OK. So, 10 grams in Maryland.
Up next, President Obama on equal pay day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We`re here because today is equal pay day. Equal pay day. And
it`s nice to have a day. But it`s even better to have equal pay. And our
job is not finished yet. Today the average full time working woman earns
just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The statistics the president used to day were thrown back at
Jay Carney at the White House press briefing. After according to an
analyst, the median salary of women working in the White House is 88
percent of that of men working in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You would say there is no pay discrimination
here at the White House, right? I mean, there is no pay discrimination at
the White House? Is that your --
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is absolutely the case that
there is equal pay for equal work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: OK. But you are using the same metric to
argue there is pay discrimination in the work force at large? Explain to
me why the metric works in the economy at large but doesn`t work here at
the White House.
CARNEY: Again, the fact that there is, indisputable census data that women
earn 77 cents on the dollar that men earn. A lot of things go into the
discrepancy. Discrimination, and lack of transparency, and the inability
of women to find out what they`re paid vis-a-vis their male co-workers is
part of the problem. That is something we in the administration, via the
president`s authorities, and Congress, through legislation, can address.
That`s what the president`s saying today. That`s why he took the action he
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Joy Reid, host of "the Reid Report" on MSNBC.
Of course and Cornell University professor, Linda Barrington. She is the
executive director of industrial labor relations institute for compensation
Joy, the difficult political moment there for the White House on that, OK.
So you are complaining about 77 percent in the economy at large. It is 88
percent in your building. What are you doing about that?
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST, THE REID REPORT: Yes. No, I mean, in a weird way it
kind of makes the point right, right? Because with government jobs, as you
well know, they`re all sort of class a-x.
O`DONNELL: There is very little discretion on those salaries.
REID: Publicly disclosed. Go on the Web site. See what everybody makes.
And so, the question there in the White House is who is getting hired for
the Class A jobs that pay more and who is getting hired for the jobs that
pay less. That becomes an issue of gender conformity to job. And that is
one of the factors one of the reasons that women are paid less. It is that
when you are looking at a certain managerial class of job, are women
getting the same look as men. That is a different thing from what this
direct executive order is addressing which you don`t know what each other
makes you don`t know if you are underpaid. Still even a weird way makes
exactly the point about gender discrimination and pay.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Linda, we have had equal pay laws since 1963. But the
trick is discovering that you are in an unequal pay situation, which is
what the Lily Ledbetter case was about and it is also what the president
was trying to advance today was getting people into a position where they
can evaluate how their pay come pares to others?
LINDA BARRINGTON, PROFESSOR, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Correct. And I think the
challenge there is that those situations where you have two people doing
the same job and one is paid less are the minority of the situation. When
we look at that.
O`DONNELL: They`re hard to find.
BARRINGTON: They`re hard to find. And it`s not the big reason for the 70
cents on the dollar number as we heard them trying to --.
O`DONNELL: What are the big explanations for that, that pay gap?
BARRINGTON: The two biggest are occupation, industry as you said. And
those two alone explain about half of the gap. So once you put people in
the same occupation, same industry. That gap goes from 23 cents to about,
12 cents which is what the White House had because people are pretty much
in the same job.
O`DONNELL: So for example, you have in the statistical bucket that you are
looking at nationally, a female social worker making x, and then you have a
Silicon Valley engineer, who is male, making something, you know, ten times
x. And those things are turned together. And so, the real thing, what,
would, would the hourly wage be the closest most accurate measure of equal
BARRINGTON: The hourly -- the hourly wage is when you do the 70 cents on
the dollar, uses hourly calculations of pay. So it is already taking
account of some people work more hours than others. So that 70 cents on
the dollar is for full time working women and full time working men.
What it is not taking account of is that women are 96 percent of speech
pathologist in the U.S. and 4.3 percent of flight engineers and pilots.
That`s what is the big driving factor of that huge pay gap.
O`DONNELL: And then Joy, you get to the question of -- OK, so what is it
that its setting up a system in which you get those outcomes? Are those
fair choices? Are those, do those come from, the interest of the people
involved? Do we end up with more male flight engineers for some reason
that we would accept?
REID: Well, I mean, there is different levels of it, right? So, it is the
lower end of the scale when you are looking at 62 percent of the people
making minimum wage, being women. I`m sure that is not by choice. It is
not women are saying, you know, I will take that low paying job. Give me
that, right? So that is not that.
But when you get into higher levels where you have women are less than five
percent of CEOs, that is the whole series of not just choices, but
channels, women don`t have access to the social networks from which a lot
of executives come. They don`t -- they aren`t golfing at the right golfing
spots with men where they are advancing their careers.
Women are locked out from college on to the social networks that get them
higher paid jobs. But again, I think that you misses the point a little
bit because there are still situations. And I talked to women at the
national law center, who are litigating cases where women do have the exact
same position. They are sitting across the desk from a man where when they
were hired. The boss is essentially built into their expectations, the
fact that this woman is going to take paternity leave at some point. She
is going to have a baby. We are going to put her at a lower pay scale.
And she doesn`t even know it and doesn`t find out but by accident. And if
she find it out can be retaliated against just for asking. And I think
that we have to compartmentalize these two things.
O`DONNELL: But if she does find it out, she currently has the law on her
REID: Yes. But except for retaliation piece. And what the executive
order was meant to address was that contractors who work for the federal
government can`t retaliate.
O`DONNELL: You know, I was shocked today to discover that you actually are
going to have to do something in law for workers to have the right to tell
each other how much money they make. Isn`t that just, basic first
BARRINGTON: Well, it is actually, national labor relations act which
people think of as only covering union workers. But it actually that
section, section 7 and 8.1, a, cover all workers. And that section has
protected people`s right to talk about their pay. And there is, court
cases again and again that keep reaffirming that right. But employers just
don`t get it and keep asking employees to sign.
O`DONNELL: They keep issuing rules that actually violate what you are
saying is already in law because they just don`t know about it. Let`s
listen more to what President Obama said today about the factors that
contribute to this gap?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There is going to be a lot of stuff that you have got to do to
close the pay gap. We have to make it possible for women to enter high
paying fields that up until now have been dominated by men like engineering
and computer science. We need more businesses to make gender diversity a
priority when they hire and when they promote. Fewer than five percent of
fortune 500 companies have women at the helm.
I think we would all agree that we need more women in Congress. We have to
do to make our work places more welcoming to women. Because the numbers
show that even when men and women are in the same profession and have the
same education there is still a wage gap and it widens over time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What do the numbers tell us about the choices that workers make
in terms of how much to work. I mean, I for example, refuse to work on
Fridays. And I sacrifice a very, 20 percent of my income by refusing to
work on Fridays. Because I value -- the alternative which includes family
and other possibilities. That is, is that kind of choice made more
frequently by women than by men?
BARRINGTON: We know that women still spend more of their time in the child
care responsibilities and even if they`re working full time.
O`DONNELL: Voluntarily or not it ends up on them.
BARRINGTON: Exactly. And so, that, whether you are working 37 hours or 45
hours, may not be captured in some of the research studies. And whether
you aren`t there when the boss walks in because you want to parent/teacher
conference and your male colleague is there because his wife went those
aren`t captured in the studies.
So, some of those things play into that gap. So when we say that there is
this gap of 23 cents, it is also not that it is all discrimination. It is
all these things that we don`t know or can`t measure.
O`DONNELL: Joy, the politics of this seem clearly on the president`s side.
I mean people aren`t going around trying to do a real statistical analysis
of this. In their guts, and I think generally people feel women have a
tougher time generally in the work place because we know, over time, of
their careers, they will end up juggling more including frequently child
care men don`t have to juggle.
REID: Yes. And the reason it is great politics, whatever this reality
behind the statistic is that in order to argue against equal pay,
Republicans have to devolve back to the same -- .
O`DONNELL: -- which they don`t do, by the way. Their first sentence today
is we are all for equal pay. And then they get into the whole issue of
what is really going on?
REID: Exactly. What is going on. But they do wind up -- I mean, we had
someone on earlier today. She was a woman. And her argument was these are
choices women are making to spend more time with their children. And they
go back to sort of the family values narrative that really just irritates a
certain set of women Republicans who Republican need to win over. If you
are saying this is about your choices. And that your choices are gender
choices that put you in the position. That is never a good place to be
O`DONNELL: But at least the first sentence now, for whatever that is
worth. That`s been achieved.
Joy Reid and Linda Barrington, thank you both for joining me tonight.
BARRINGTON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming of in "the rewrite." would it clarify what America is
really all about if we change the country`s name to the United States of
That is in "the rewrite."
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight the freedom to marry. The name of a
group that launched a nationwide campaign today with the help of former
Republican Senator Allen Simpson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was raised here, Cody, Wyoming. It was a town of
western values. And independence, freedom. I am a Republican. The
party`s basic core is -- is government out of your life. And the right to
be left alone. Whether you are gay or lesbian or straight. If you love
someone and you want to marry them, marry them. I have had a wonderful
married life. Why shouldn`t somebody else have the joy of marriage. Live
and let live. It`s very simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That ad comes as the U.S. tenth circuit court of appeals in
Denver decide the constitutionality of laws banning marriage equality in
Utah and Oklahoma. When the three judge panel hears oral arguments in the
Utah case Thursday, it will be the first time since the Supreme Court
defeat of the defense of marriage act and proposition 8. That arguments in
marriage equality case will go before a federal appeals court.
Allen Simpson whose home state of Wyoming helps make up the tenth circuit,
is one of 20 prominent western Republicans who signed a brief to the
appeals court in opposition to the ban on marriage equality. Saying they
embrace Ronald Reagan`s belief that the party must be a big tent.
Joining me now is the founder and president of freedom to marry, Evan
Wolfson, and Mark McKinnon, co-founder of No Labels and contributor to the
Evan Wolfson, I can`t think of a better reach across the aisle ad on this
subject than what I saw with Alan Simpson. I mean, that is the
quintessential Republican, the quintessential westerner sitting there
saying, it`s perfectly OK with me.
EVAN WOLFSON, FOUNDER, PRESIDENT, FREEDOM TO MARRY: Yes. Well, thank you,
I agree with you. I think Senator Simpson spoke eloquently and beautifully
and personally and in ways that will resonate with Americans. You know,
majority of Americans support the Freedom to Marry. And it is because
people have had a chance to think through the kind of values that Senator
Simpson talked about. And the reason we are seeing the growing momentum
though is now because it is conservatives who are also changing their mind.
It is Republicans who are also changing their mind in favor of the freedom
O`DONNELL: Mark McKinnon, I know Alan Simpson used to work with him. And
when I watch him in the ad, I think yes, that`s the guy I knew in the
backroom at the Senate finance committee. That`s the way he would speak
his mind. Privately. Certainly. And, very frequently publicly. And now,
certainly, he doesn`t have the burden of office, the strain of party
loyalty on something like that isn`t there for him. But boy, what a great
spokesman for this issue.
MARK MCKINNON, CO-FOUNDER, NO LABELS: Well, as you know he has never been
very restrained. And that`s why I love him. He is a towering figure in
the Republican party. Incredibly well respected. I mean, kind of, the guy
that was willing to tell the truth no matter who he offended.
But the good news is that he its leading the charge with so many others
stretching up to the plate now. Ted Olson who here in Austin today where
they are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights bill. And
started the day with a panel on gay marriage. So this really is the last
frontier of civil rights. So that was appropriate. And President
Johnson`s daughters today endorsed gay marriage as well.
So, things are moving dramatically more dramatically that I have seen
really on any public policy, political issue in my lifetime. It is not a
curve. It is a hockey stick. And you know, we have 60 percent of young
Republicans who support the issue. Two-thirds of evangelical young voters
And as Senator Simpson said, the core philosophy of the Republican party is
more freedom, less government, and strong families. And so, in order to be
idea logically consistent, Republicans should support this issue. And the
good news is that increasingly they are.
O`DONNELL: And it is becoming one of the only issues of the day that is
getting any kind of bipartisan elements around it. There is this other
great ad now running in Utah. Let`s take a look at this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marge and I met when heap were serving as LDS
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have five children and 18 grandkids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Brad told us he was gay, both us of put our arms
around our son and said we love you. And that`s never going to change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A marriage is a bond between two people based in love
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All gay and lesbian people deserve to have the rights
and the privileges that we have had.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allowing civil marriages will be a good thing for Utah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Evan both of these ads have people speaking on the issue who
the opponents of marriage equality I think will be able to listen to. They
will look at these people and go, wait a minute. I share a lot of values
with Alan Simpson, this couple in Utah. And they have moved in this
WOLFSON: That`s right. And that`s exactly why we are running ad like
this. And even more importantly, it is exactly the kinds of conversations
that have now been taking place across kitchen tables in America. And it
is why people change their minds. Non-gay people have now had a chance to
hear not only from gay people, not only about gay people. But from other
non-gay people in their lives who have talked about shared values that. We
all share, the kind of value that Senator Simpson talked about. That the
couple talked about. Love, commitment, family, self-sacrifice being part
of the whole. And people come to understand that gay people want to be
part of it too.
O`DONNELL: Mark, you mentioned the conference, the civil rights summit
going on in Texas today. Let`s listen and what David Boies said today
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOIES, ATTORNEY: This is a case in which the other side has a bumper
sticker, marriage is between a man and a woman. And that`s the question.
That`s not the answer. This is not an issue of liberal or conservative,
activist, non-activist, Republicans, Democrats. This is a civil rights
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Mark, that bumper sticker isn`t fighting a very strong fight
against the momentum here especially and in the polls.
MCKINNON: No. And in fact, Lawrence. What is truly happening on the
Republican side is whether they`re not going out and marching in the
streets now in favor of gay marriage. But the real shift is they`re not
campaigning against it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, a big difference. Yes.
MCKINNON: It is a big difference and a significant one. So, it is no --
the wedge lost its edge. And there is kind of deafening silence out there
on this issue of Republicans and that`s a good development.
O`DONNELL: Evan Wolfson, does it feel like you are winning?
WOLFSON: Yes, it does feel like we are winning.
O`DONNELL: Because you are. Just wanted to make sure it feels that way.
WOLFSON: But winning is not the same thing as won.
O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right. Right.
WOLFSON: We need to keep up the work.
O`DONNELL: There is 50 states.
WOLFSON: That`s right. It is one country. And by the way, it is not that
we are winning. It is that America is winning. This is good for
everybody. Families are helped. No one is hurt. And the majority of
people have come to understand that. America is ready for the Freedom to
Marry. We need to keep making the case in the court of public opinion as
advocates are making in the court of law and it is time for the courts to
bring our country where it need to be.
O`DONNELL: Evan Wolfson and Mark McKinnon, thank you both for joining me
WOLFSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we will have the latest on the crisis in Ukraine.
O`DONNELL: The CEO of chick-fil-a has reconsidered these comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN CATHY, CEO, CHICK-FIL-A: I think we are abiding god`s judgment on our
nation when we shake our fist at him and say, you know, we know better than
you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God`s mercy on our
generation that has such a, a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we
would try to redefine what marriage is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The comments by CEO Dan Cathy in 2012 led to protests at Chick-
Fil-A stores by supporters of marriage equality and then by opponents of
marriage equality now. Now, then Cathy tells "USA Today" that after
hearing from store owners, quote, "I am going to leave it to politicians
and others to discuss social issues," end quote.
Chick-Fil-A also announced this week that it is going to open 108 new
restaurants this year outside of its comfort zone in places such as New
York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. A Chick-Fil-A executive said, quote,
"if we can`t do it in New York, we have no business going anywhere else."
And of course, they couldn`t do it in New York if they continued to make
noises against marriage equality. So Sarah Palin is just going to have to
find a new favorite chicken joint.
The "rewrite" is next.
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "rewrite" the United States of America
incorporated. That is the title of Barry Levinson`s new essay on "the
Huffington Post." Barry Levinson is of course the brilliant Oscar winning
director of "Rainman." He also directed "Wag the Dog" a film that is in
perfect sync with the essay he posted today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who killed Kennedy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read the warren report, said he was killed by a drunk
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you see day after day? The one smart bomb
falling down the chimney. The truth, I was in the building when we shot
the shot, we set it in a studio, false church, Virginia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that true?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How the (bleep) do we snow do you take my point?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And you want me to do what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want you to produce.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want me to produce your war?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In is his essay, the United States of America Incorporated
Barry Levinson writes, now that the Supreme Court decided that elections
can be played with by the high rollers, it`s time to admit that anything
that we value can be bought for the right price. It`s time for a change of
name as well. The United States of America incorporated, it has a nice
greedy ring to it. Very direct. And the intentions of the country are
clear. No more false dreams.
And, in the interest of clarity about how things really work in this
country, Barry Levinson proposes a new way to increase revenue to the
treasury. His idea is to lease the rights to government buildings much
like we do with sports stadiums throughout the country. Met life stadium,
FedEx field, At&t, sports authority field, Bank of America stadium. The
sports authority Senate building has a nice ring to it. If Gillette
stadium works for the New England patriots, why not the Gillette FBI
Barry also suggests the federal government should lease the naming rights
to our monuments. He suggests the Shelton Adelson Lincoln memorial, or the
Koch brothers Washington monument.
We asked for your help on these possible names earlier today on twitter.
And here are some of the suggests we got.
The bank of America Federal Reserve. The Chili`s Yosemite park experience.
And of course, the Cialis Washington monument.
Corporations that manipulate the tax code in every way possible to pay no
taxes, or to pay as little tax as possible, willingly pay hundreds of
millions of dollars to get their names on stadiums. The federal government
is never going to collect tax revenue from these corporations. They will
never pay their taxes. But apparently, they`re willing to pay anything to
get their names on some cool buildings.
O`DONNELL: A wild brawl broke out on the floor of the Ukraine parliament
and Russia is accused of instigating violence inside Ukraine. That`s next!
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: That fight broke out on the floor of the Ukraine parliament
earlier Tuesday between opposing political factions. It happened while
hundreds of pro Russian protesters continued to occupy a government
building in one eastern Ukraine city. And a pro separatist faction, armed
with explosives continued to hold 60 people hostage in another city. But
the U.S. government and NATO issued warnings to Russia today over Ukraine
with secretary of state John Kerry openly placing the blame for the current
conflict on Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Everything that we have seen in the last
48 hours from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine
tells us that they have been sent there determined to create chaos. And
that is absolutely unacceptable. What we see from Russia is illegal and
illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrive
crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary engaged in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Russia`s foreign minister denied the accusations and in the
same Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with secretary Kerry
Republicans tried to place blame for the conflict in Ukraine on the Obama
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: On the issue of Ukraine, my hero, Teddy
Roosevelt used to say, talk softly but carry a big stick. What you are
doing is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick. In fact, a
KERRY: Your friend teddy Roosevelt all right said that the credit belongs
to the people in the arena trying to get things done and we are trying to
get something done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow at Atlanta
council who was in Kiev just last week.
Adrian, you just back from the region. First of all, tell what was going
on in the fight in the parliament and who the factions are?
ADRIAN KARATNYCKY, A SENIOR FELLOW AT ATLANTA COUNCIL: And fortunately, I
know everything about the factions. The instigator was a guy who is an
admirer of (INAUDIBLE). He is the far right party, and he is actually is
personally a Nazi. He attacked the leader of the communist party who is a
plutocrat disguise as a workers leader whose mansion was burned down after
the protests in (INAUDIBLE) and after the collapse of the government so.
And so, he is extremely bitter. So this communist comes out and attacks
the guys for, you know, being insensitive to the people who are Russian
speaking, et cetera. The fascist attacks him. And then afterwards, he is
pummeled by a woman wearing crimson. A woman he has been seen holding
hand. She is a member of the communist party. So, this is a kind of a
Romeo and Juliet story. You know. The Capulets.
O`DONNELL: There is more than one dimension.
KARATNYCKY: So, this is, just, you know, I just know too much about this
O`DONNELL: I want to show more of what John Kerry was dealing with in the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today. This is Senator James
Risch of Idaho.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: It can`t help but get the impression our
foreign policy is just spinning out of control. And we are losing control.
In virtually every area that we are trying to do something in.
KERRY: Let me give you what I consider a taste of reality, Senator, about
our foreign policy and the realities of the world. Georgia happened under
George Bush. Georgia happened under George Bush. And he didn`t even bring
a sanction. President Obama has brought sanctions. And it is having an
When you say, you know something look our foreign policy is spinning out of
control, those are great talking points. They make for good, you know,
sound bites on TV nowadays. But I have to tell you, Senator. That`s not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What did Putin won in the Georgia situation that applied to us
thinking this year?
KARATNYCKY: Well, I think Georgia is a very different thing. Georgia was
in attempt to really punish an ideological enemy. They were within 20
miles of (INAUDIBLE). They transfer us the boarder and then they
retreated. Georgia was such a small country that if Georgia resisted it
would have ended up being tarnish.
In the case of Ukraine, Ukraine will be defeated by Russian forces, but it
will be a brutal battle and it is a huge country. It will be very hard to
hold. And I actually do believe that the president`s tactics on this are
right that holding out and letting the Russians know that there is a big
sanctions for trans the Ukrainian border, meaning locking Russian out of
the financial -- the global financial system which is widely believe to be
the third sanction that is not yet been announced is something that is
having a serious sovereign effect on Mr. Putin. And that is why, I think,
what we are seeing is these efforts to stir up trouble, and have in
internal ways of destabilizing the Ukrainian government.
Mr. Putin is resorting will not, in my view, resort to invasion. He will
resort to kind of disruption from within. He will try to make Ukraine a
failed state or at least a state that is very expensive for Europe and the
United States to continue supporting. I think that`s his game. And that
is already at least a step forward from actual invasion which is really
what happened in Georgia.
O`DONNELL: Right. And in Georgia, there was a larger excuse for invasion.
KARATNYCKY: That`s right. The Georgians didn`t behave with the restraint
the Ukrainians did.
O`DONNELL: Tried to claim he didn`t cast the first stone.
O`DONNELL: Now, and so, your sense tonight, it seems to be that Vladimir
Putin has gone about as far as he is going. And you are betting against an
invasion of the Ukraine?
KARATNYCKY: I am betting against an invasion, but that doesn`t mean that
he does not have sufficient capacity as we can see with cash, with agents,
there is a huge number of FSB, the Russian security service, and GRU,
Russian military intelligence agents operating in Ukraine. They`re
throwing a lot of cash around. They`re paying, you know, basically poor
and marginal people whom they are using as sort of shock troops for these
attacks and the simulation of protest.
O`DONNELL: Disruption is a very easy thing for him to achieve in the
KARATNYCKY: Unfortunately. And in certain regions, because it is a poor
country. And if you can`t get an authentic response, you can actually buy
it because people will do things, desperate people will do things just to
earn a little bit of money.
O`DONNELL: Adrian Karatnycky gets tonight`s "Last Word." Thanks, Adrian.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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