THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 15, 2014
Guest: Amelia Rose Earhart; Mark Thompson; Bishop Michael Olson, Cristina
Jimenez, EJ Dionne
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence
Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Steve, he`s just like me. I welcome any
viewers to this program and there`s just no such thing as an inappropriate
viewer of this program.
KORNACKI: There you go.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Steve.
O`DONNELL: The pope spoke today about the crisis on our southern border
and one of his Texas bishops will join us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Arizona right now, activists are lining up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to take this country back right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To confront buses of undocumented children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have broken the law and the president has said the
law doesn`t apply to them.
JOSE DIAZ-BALART, MSNBC HOST: From the nation`s capital, a midsummer
QUESTION: What are some options that you think might be necessary?
JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have got lots of them.
QUESTION: Would you share them with us?
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": You don`t want migrant children? You
don`t put up these billboards. Yes, that`s right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lawmakers scrambled to find a compromise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will a Texas tandem leads Congress to a border
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new bipartisan bill aims to make it easier to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve cracked the code and they`ve figured out this
gap in this 2008 law.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Is this legislation dead on arrival?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ll see the Congress give some money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not quite the amount that President Obama wants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meanwhile, the pope is now weighing in.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: The pope called for urgent intervention.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first
urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is at first a humanitarian crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the maybe best-known undocumented immigrants in
the United States --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- has been detained by border agents while trying to
board a plane in McAllen, Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He felt motivated to go down there and really lend his
voice to these undocumented minors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was released from Border Control custody late today.
MITCHELL: Before Congress goes home, don`t they have to do something?
O`DONNELL: Immigration activist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose
Antonio Vargas has been released tonight by immigration authorities in
McAllen, Texas, after being detained at the airport. Vargas has been
living and working in the United States without the benefit of legal
As he tried to leave McAllen today, Vargas tweeted, "About to go through
security at McAllen Airport. I don`t know what`s going to happen," along
with a picture of his passport which is from the Philippines.
The Border Patrol obviously controls people entering McAllen from the south
across the Mexican border and at the airport, but it also checks people who
are leaving McAllen and heading north, heading deeper into the United
States, with checkpoints about an hour outside of the city and of course at
This was apparently not something Jose Antonio Vargas was aware of before
he went to McAllen. Once there, he realized that leaving McAllen could be
McAllen is one of several cities where Department of Homeland Security
officials are rushing to open more detention centers like this warehouse to
hold some of the 52,000 children who have been caught crossing the U.S.
border since October.
Homeland Security also wants to expand the use of monitoring devices like
ankle bracelets to keep track of migrants after they are released. But
immigrants continue to come into the U.S. This is what NBC`s Mark Potter
found just outside McAllen two days ago.
MARK POTTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It doesn`t take long to
find a group of immigrants who have crossed the Rio Grande.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?
POTTER (voice-over): They are all women and kids from Honduras. Among
them, 7-year-old Amy, a nervous little girl, who says she`s traveling
without relatives, hoping to find her mother in the United States.
When asked where she lives, she shows the agents a piece of paper that
indicates her mom is in North Carolina.
A few miles away in an area called Devil`s Corner, we run into a larger
group that seems exhausted from their 10-day journey.
RAUL ORTIZ, DEPUTY CHIEF, U.S. BORDER PATROL: We`ve got a mixed bag here
of folks from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In Arizona, there were more protests against those immigrants
crossing that border today. A crowd of 300 evenly split between supporters
and protesters waited for undocumented immigrants to arrive at a holding
facility in Oracle, Arizona, where they will be cared for until they can go
through the legal process to determine if they can stay in the United
States or if they will have to go home.
And today Pope Francis released a letter about the treatment of immigrants.
"Many people forced to emigrate suffer and often die tragically, many of
their rights are violated. They are obliged to separate from their
families and unfortunately continue to be the subject of racist and
"I would also like to draw attention to the thousands of children who
migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence. This is a
category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself, who cross the
border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a
hope that, in most cases, turns out to be in vain.
"They are increasing day by day. This humanitarian emergency requires as a
first urgent measure these children be welcomed and protected. These
measures, however, will not be sufficient unless they are accompanied by
policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above
all, that promote development in their countries of origin."
The Catholic bishop of Ft. Worth said this in McAllen today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BISHOP MICHAEL OLSON, DIOCESE OF FT. WORTH: I just also would like to
speak to all of the Catholics first of all, those in the Diocese of Ft.
Worth, but also I think in solidarity with Bishop Farrell and with all the
other bishops in the United States to remind all of us, especially
Catholics, of our responsibility to care for those who are in need, to care
for the refugees, to assist them, to assist them, at the very least, for
safety from violence and injustice and also to promote the basic human
needs of each and every human person for no other reason than they`re human
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Bishop Michael Olson joins me now.
Bishop, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Were you surprised by the pope entering this debate today?
OLSON: No, I wasn`t. I don`t think the pope actually entered the debate
as much as he was exercising his teaching office. And I think that the
debate just sort of swirls around it. Unfortunately, I think oftentimes
the debate is just simply on strictly partisan principles instead of a
sense of facing the humanitarian crisis that`s urgently before us right now
so that we can apply these principles practically later on in resolving the
issues in these native countries from which these people are fleeing
violence and danger.
And I think he`s drawing attention to the higher purpose of this than
simply the status quo.
O`DONNELL: Bishop, as we all know the television cameras are always drawn
to the protesters and to the noisiest people on any subject publicly.
But being on the ground yourself in Texas, tell us the range of reaction
that you have seen from what you consider good to what you consider not so
good from the people of Texas.
OLSON: Well, I honestly have to say that most of the response from the
people of Texas has been -- that I`ve encountered has been very favorable,
very supportive, wanting to help and wanting to help realistically.
These people, first of all, they welcome these children, keep them safe and
then, in a sense, delaying the question of what is the appropriate due
process to handle the question of deportation, as well as to respect the
common good and the necessity of having a border that has integrity.
We have to look at the deeper reasons. And I found that people have been
very accessible and wanting to help these children and keep them safe from
I think also you`ll find extreme people who are more idealists in the sense
that either they think that we should have a naive approach and just have
open borders, which isn`t what the church is saying or the pope is saying,
or a cynical approach, in which case we should not have any entrance from
the borders from immigrants or from refugees at all and do nothing and just
simply send them back while abandoning our responsibility to care for those
who are weakest and most vulnerable among us.
O`DONNELL: Bishop, what has the church been able to do in Texas in the
face of this crisis?
OLSON: A wide variety of things. I`ll speak for Catholic Charities of the
Diocese of Ft. Worth. We`ve been able to collaborate with government
officials, both local and federal. In fact, we don`t take any of the
refugees until they`ve been delivered to us by the government buses. And
then we`re working with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well as
We`ve doubled our bed space at Catholic Charities Ft. Worth and have
processed in the last six weeks 200 children, all under the age of 13. And
prospects look that we`ll process about 600 by the end of the year. And
this is to resettle them with their parents.
And then the question, if not their parents or their family members, under
care and safety. And then the question of deportation or immigration is
forestalled to later.
So what we`re basically doing right now is meeting the immediate urgent
basic needs, the first part of what the Holy Father has asked us to do, and
then also calling in mind what do we do internationally in this -- to
resolve this complicated problem at its root.
And we`re very happy to exercise our religious freedom in serving the
poorest of the poor and welcoming the immigrant and the refugee and caring
for these children, who are most vulnerable and in need, and we`re working
within the rule of law and in collaboration with our government officials.
O`DONNELL: Bishop Michael Olson, thank you very much for joining us
Joining me now is immigration activist Cristina Jimenez, managing director
of United We Dream, and MSNBC contributor E.J. Dionne.
Cristina, Jose Antonio Vargas, there`s a -- some of the information around
his situation isn`t exactly clear. You know him. One thing I want to
clarify is before he want to McAllen, Texas, did he know that there could
be a problem in leaving McAllen?
CRISTINA JIMENEZ, MANAGING DIRECTOR, UNITED WE DREAM: He didn`t know,
Lawrence and United We Dream, the organization that I work with, invited
Jose Antonio to be part of the activities that we were going to have in
McAllen, with joint community in McAllen and immigrant youth who wanted to
shed light on the real stories of these children that are fleeing Central
And we held a vigil to call on Congress, the president and the American
public to have a conversation about this humanitarian crisis in a way that
focuses on the well-being of the children as opposed to politicizing the
O`DONNELL: But it seems he went to the airport today with -- if I`m
reading the situation correctly -- the deliberate intent of having this
confrontation with the Border Patrol.
JIMENEZ: Well, he`s not from Texas. He lives in New York and he needed to
head out to Los Angeles, as he`s promoting his documentary, which is called
And he attempted to leave McAllen through the airport and that`s when
Border Patrol detained him today.
O`DONNELL: But just so I understand how things go in McAllen, would it
have been easier for him to drive out of McAllen and drive the distance to
the next airport that could get him out of Texas?
JIMENEZ: No, Lawrence. The area of McAllen -- and this is what we`re
trying to now share with the viewers -- is that that particular area is in
a 100-mile area that is completely militarized. There are checkpoints
everywhere. There`s a checkpoint at the airport; there`s a checkpoint in
all of the roads.
So if you`re in McAllen and you`re undocumented, like Jose Antonio, you
cannot leave. You cannot go to San Antonio or Houston or any other city
because you`re going to have to go through a checkpoint that it`s
controlled by Border Patrol.
And like him, we have thousands of undocumented youth and families that
have never been able to leave McAllen because of this situation. They are
trapped in this area.
O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, I learn something new every day in this situation.
I didn`t know that you could in effect be under municipal arrest in the
United States and not be able to leave a city in the United States to
travel wherever else you wanted to go in the United States.
In San Diego, for example, in California, Mexico border, you could drive
out of San Diego; there`s nothing that`s going to prevent you from doing
that on all sorts of freeways, all sorts of different routes. But this is
one of those things, where, as this story moves along, we continue to learn
new things about just how difficult life is on that border.
E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Right. Well, I think that -- and I
didn`t know this myself, so I learned it as well. And I think for people
who say we`re not tending the border, we`re sort of letting all these
people through to find out just how much security, how militarized it is,
to use my colleague`s word, tells us something about immigration control.
But the story is also showing us something else and I was very moved by
Stephanie Gosk`s (ph) piece last night on your show and watching those
children and seeing what they`re going through.
And I was just very happy that the pope spoke out today, because I thought
there were two things he said that were really important. He referred to
it as a humanitarian emergency.
We`re talking about this as a political border crisis and you look at these
6- and 9-year-old kids and you said what`s happened to us as a
I agree it`s a complicated problem to decide what to do. But there`s been
some real meanness here and that`s why I was also glad that the pope
specifically called out racist and xenophobic attitudes. Again,
immigration`s complicated; we`re not going to have open borders the way we
had when you -- our ancestors came here, but God, let`s have some
compassion for kids who are going through so much, as Stephanie`s story
O`DONNELL: Yes, E.J., that`s an important part of the story. It`s why I
wanted to have Ron last night as exactly -- is that the route that these
people are traveling, by the time they get to us, some of the heroics that
they`ve gone through and the determination they`ve shown, I think, is
evidence, as it has been in previous waves of immigration, of just how
determined they are to succeed once they get here.
DIONNE: Right. And I think as you pointed out last night, that`s true of
all of our ancestors who risked so much to get here. And I don`t think
there`s any doubt that the United States is a stronger country for being an
And again, the bishop, as he said earlier, we`re not going to have open
borders anytime soon. So we are going to be turning people away. And as
soon as you do that, you raise some very complicated issues.
But we were really sort of patting ourselves on the back when we passed
that law, the Wilberforce Act, to try to help the victims of sex
trafficking and we said this is the kind of thing that makes us a good
country. And I`d really like us to show ourselves as a good country in
dealing with these kids now and I hope the attitudes change a little bit.
I hope the pope has a bit of an effect on the way this story is talked
O`DONNELL: Cristina Jimenez and E.J. Dionne, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.
JIMENEZ: Thank you.
DIONNE: Good to be with you, Lawrence.
Coming up, Chris Christie`s team posted a video online today, portraying
him as a movie superhero -- seriously. But unfortunately someone on Team
Christie realized how just totally muddy the video is and they took it
down, but not before we made our copy.
And in the rewrite, a Republican congresswoman says, communicating the
Republican message to women is easy if you can, quote, "bring it down to a
woman`s level," end quote. You don`t have to take my word for it. We will
play you the audio recording.
And later, Amelia Earhart finally does make it around the world.
O`DONNELL: Adam O`Neal, the mayor of Bell Haven, North Carolina, walked
another 20 miles today on his 273-mile journey to the nation`s capital. He
appeared on this program last night after his first 17 miles of marching to
draw attention to the closing of critical access hospitals in his town.
Up next, the movie version of Chris Christie and you know how in the movies
when real-life characters are played by actors who are just much more
attractive than the real-life character? Yes, well, they didn`t make that
mistake in the Christie movie.
O`DONNELL: The summer movie season of transforming robots, mutant
superheroes and apes on horses got a new entry today: Chris Christie, the
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), N.J.: The looming crisis is clear. We can no
longer stand around and say, it`s not a problem. Don`t worry about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This summer, from the makers of --
CHRISTIE: Together, we`ve begun to clean up the mess of the past.
Pensions, health benefits and death service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): When you thought it was over --
CHRISTIE: We`re in a danger of having peace cross overwhelm our budget.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It`s back.
CHRISTIE: We need to fix this system or it will eat us alive.
Choosing to do what`s hard. Choosing to do what is right by all of the
people of this state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): How far would you go?
CHRISTIE: There is no other way to fix a severe problem like this without
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Hang onto your seats.
O`DONNELL: That`s actually the entire movie. And I`m going to give you a
minute to think about whether that little film was made by supporters or
opponents of Chris Christie.
While we consider another video about Chris Christie, this one an ad
clearly targeting Chris Christie as he heads to Iowa this week for a series
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): New Jersey`s Supreme Court has been one of
the most activist courts in the nation. Governor Chris Christie promised
he would fix it. Remake the court with judges who respect the rule of law.
Over and over, he broke his promise. Christie has had five openings on the
New Jersey Supreme Court, enough to build a new majority. But the court
Call Chris Christie. Tell him to fight for judges who respect the rule of
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC senior political movie analyst, David
David, when we show --
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I should have my popcorn here.
O`DONNELL: Yes, you should.
When we showed that the movie trailer thing in our office today, half of
the people watching it thought that was an anti-Christie ad and half
thought it was supporting Christie. It was made by Christie`s people.
They posted it and they took it down tonight because someone over there in
Christie World unfortunately realized just how nutty it is.
CORN: Well, it seems to me if they were making a movie about his
presidential campaign, they would have to call it "Twilight."
But this one, if they`re sticking to the budget, they can call it "Other
People`s Money." The thing is, he just signed the budget. The budget is
$32 billion in New Jersey and the only thing that got it through was
because he refused to raise taxes on the wealthy.
And instead, took $1.6 billion that was supposed to go to pensions and
decided, hey, I`m not going to make that payment. Meanwhile, I can borrow
a bridge loan of $2.6 billion.
So anything that calls attention to Christie and the budget right now in
New Jersey, a state that`s one of the last in terms of job creation, is
probably not a good idea, whether it`s a movie trailer, a commercial or any
-- you want to sort of be in the back of the movie theater, the lights out
if you`re talking about Chris Christie and his budget.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And the other ad that we saw of -- from the Republican
world attacking Christie. This is the kind of thing that I for one always
knew was coming as soon as he tried to move out into the world of
presidential campaigning and before we even get to any ads about what`s
happened in the bridge scandal, where they can quote him saying, you know,
I trusted my staff; I delegate everything to my staff and they betrayed me
and humiliated me.
Before we get to any of that, there`s stuff like this, there`s this very
rich material that they have among conservative voters about Christie with
the courts and all sorts of other things.
CORN: Oh, yes. Before we got to the George Washington bridge comedy, this
was the movie that we were expecting. The Tea Party folks in Iowa, South
Carolina, a lot of places out there, a lot of early primary states, would
have a field day with his non-far-to-the-right record.
As conservative as Chris Christie is then on many fronts, he`s still not
conservative enough for them and, of course, he worked with the president
after the Sandy superstorm and on a few other matters. And so we were
expecting all this talk about the establishment Republicans and people like
Bill Kristol in D.C. and funders like the Koch brothers putting him up as a
candidate, that he would run into this wall of opposition in Iowa, from
people like this group, which is led by a former aide to Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas.
So I guess they are all trying to make a name for themselves early on. I
don`t think they have to do a lot to smother Chris Christie`s presidential
prospects at this point in time, but I assume it`s good for fundraising for
the group that`s attacking him, being known as the first group to do this.
O`DONNELL: Well, on this program, his presidential prospects have been
zero for many, many months now. That`s the official judgment of the anchor
CORN: It`s not box office boffo, is it?
O`DONNELL: At this particular anchor desk, the results are in on the Chris
Christie presidential campaign.
David Corn, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
CORN: Sure thing, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, President Obama started a program this year called My Brother`s
Keeper, which has brought renewed attention to an Oakland, California,
program that provides brotherly and fatherly guidance to some public school
students there. That`s next.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: In the spotlight tonight, my brother`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a black student, you are
far less likely than a white student to be able to read proficiently by the
time you are in fourth grade. There`s a higher chance you end up in the
criminal justice system. And a far higher chance that you are the victim
of a violent crime.
The worst part is, we`ve become numb to these statistics. But these
statistics should break our hearts. I would want my son to feel a sense of
boundless confidence and want him to have empathy and compassion. I want
him to have a sense of diligence and commitment and a respect for others
and himself. The tools that he would need to succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was President Obama earlier this year, announcing his new
initiative my brother`s keeper.
Four years ago, school officials in Oakland, California started their own
program to address the challenges President Obama described calling it the
African-American male achievement office. They hired new teachers to mix
academic skills and college preparation with cultural awareness, proper
behavior and lessons and surviving on the street. The program has achieved
a decrease in suspension rates and increase in the average GPA and
graduation rates of its students.
MSNBC.com describe some of the elements of the program this way. For at
least one period during each school day, middle and high school boys, who
are part of the program, file into classrooms where they`re greeted by
black male instructors. For about an hour, they can drop the masks so many
of them wear and be their complicated, hopeful, sometimes wounded selves.
The so-called manhood development program teaches self-respect and personal
accountability and responsibility.
The boys read many of the classics of black American literature allowed,
including the autobiography of Malcolm X, the work of Richard Wright. They
learn how to tie a necktie and set goals. They can open up about their
fears of gun violence as openly as they can about the day-to-day
frustrations of home or school life. The instructors also work as go-
betweens for the boys and their other teachers when a student is struggling
or missing classes. The mentors are often the first line of defense.
Joining me now is Trymaine Lee, national reporter for MSNBC.com who wrote
about the program and mark Thompson, host if Sirius XM radio`s "Make it
Trymaine, your article, I just read an excerpt of it, it is fascinating. A
lot of very compelling anecdotes here by parents, by mothers saying how
important it is to have these men in their children`s lives.
TRYMAINE LEE, NATIONAL REPORTER, MSNBC.COM: So much of the narrative we
hear around the demographic, we hear about the pathologist, we hear about
the gun violence, we hear about the academic and social failures, but far
less frequently do we hear about the achievement, the achievements, the
hopes and dreams. And sadly, so many of these young people are believing
the narrative of the mythologies of the murders.
These men here in Oakland have decided that they are going to change their
narratives and it starts with these young men every single day and saying
good afternoon, King. They address them as kings. And these are young
boys who grown up in east Oakland, one of the toughest neighborhoods in the
country, came in over the west, basically and it`s working.
These young men -- and it`s about giving them choices, make them the tools
that make better decisions and their choices. So sometimes it`s not
reflected in the academics, but it`s going home and feeling proud about
yourself. The idea that college is within grasp, the idea that I can hope
my brother accountable. If I can look at you as brother, come on. You
know better. And it`s a small step, but it`s major in the lives of these
O`DONNELL: And Mark, if you question the need for this kind of program,
the evidence is in this -- they are asked -- the students are asked to list
three words, they do this every year at the start of the school year, three
words that describe what it`s like being a young black male in America.
The lists have included scared, hiding, survival, underestimated,
underappreciated, alone, feared, not respected.
And Mark, as Trymaine`s article points out, when these boys find themselves
in a room, authoritatively controlled by a black man who is clearly there
to help them, they seem to respond to it very strongly.
MARK THOMPSON. HOST, SIRIUS XM RADIO: That is very important. First of
all, Lawrence, so thankful to see you back in a chair and thankful to see
you growing a beard.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Mark.
THOMPSON: That`s true. This is a very important program. When Valerie
Jarrett came on my show, she pledged that the My Brother`s Keeper
initiative would be what the president would do after he left office. This
is probably the most urgent thing he could do, because we need intervention
in the lives of our young black men.
I was watching the story just about the border children. As tragic as that
is, it a terrible situation. Those are child refugees. When you think
about it, a lot of these young, black men are refugees themselves within
our own country, internally displaced because of all the socioeconomic
challenges they face, racism, and what have you. We have to do this. We
have to intervene, even as we struggle through some hardships.
I just had a very close relative of mine last night, Lawrence, held up at
gun point by two young black men. And while we would want those types of
situations brought to justice, even before we get to that point, we must do
something to address what young black men are experiencing here in America.
Very little has changed. Many of our young black men still feel the
invisibility that Ralph Ellison was talking about and the amused contented
(ph) voice was talking about.
O`DONNELL: Whenever you have a program in schools, everyone wants to
measure it numerically, they want to measure it with grades. They want to
stay it`s a success based on some kind of a numerical outcome.
I want to read a message from your article, Trymaine, that I think shows a
kind of success you`re not going to be able to put a number on. Nicole
Wiggins remembers the first day that her 16-year-old son came home after
taking his first manhood development classes. He ran into the house
yelling about his great black teacher that he had and his classmates and
all the conversations they were having. He said he finally found a class
where I can be myself and I can be who I am.
Wiggins said to hear him say that was so powerful. To have a man showing
him love and care and telling him, you can be better, you can do this and
teaching him, telling him that he can do better, it really had an impact on
LEE: The idea that these young men have to wear a mask, and it`s difficult
to find a place where they can be themselves. And they find in the
classrooms, they look across the table and see a black man saying you can
do that, and I believe in you. I don`t think we understand what it`s like
to live in a society where -- well, some of us do, that you feel like
you`re under attack, that you have to put on a mask to protect yourselves,
because nothing is very firm in you and everything seems so fragile.
And so a look that mother in her eye, and her voice next to him says, he
finally found a place where he can be himself. And what that does for a
young man`s confidence, to go into a classroom and say I can do this
because you believe in me. I mean, it`s working wonders here. And again,
it is a small incremental gain. It may not reflect in the GPA all the
time, but it is -- they come into (INAUDIBLE), I am ready to give my full
self and I can be myself and I appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: And Mark, this is the kind of thing that makes a situation like
the Trayvon Martin case such a cultural setback, because you have these
boys in these classes who are going through this, who are slowly opening up
in this way, and they do feel like suspects whenever they walk down the
street. And then they see something like this happening on the other side
of the country, and it`s the kind of thing that can set them back.
THOMPSON: Well, you`re exactly right. We after all are still talking
about children. And they watch us as adults. And they want to know that
we are there to provide for them, to defend them, and protect them. If we
aren`t doing that, if they see it, if they don`t perceive that, if they
don`t see black male adults, African-American male adults, whether they`re
biological fathers or not, intervening in their lives, standing up, setting
those examples, letting them know they will protect them and their rights,
then they do get discouraged. And that leads to getting up and leads to
despair and it leads to a lot of the socioeconomic problems that we see
O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson, thanks for joining us. And Traymaine Lee, great
reporting. Great piece, really. Great to have you on the show tonight.
LEE: Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up in the rewrite tonight, a Republican congresswoman actually tries
to teach Republicans how to speak to women voters, and it went so badly
that she is now, of course, complaining that she was quoted out of context.
Well, we will play you the audio recording of what she said. You will be
O`DONNELL: And now for the good news. 8-year-old Dylan Sparing (ph) of
Minneapolis put out a sign on his front yard advertising a free piano
concert on his front porch. Musician Tommy Ribbons (ph) saw the sign and
decided to help drum up an audience. Tommy created a facebook page
advertising the recital. Wouldn`t it be cool is a bunch of people showed
up for his free concert, he asked. And they did. And estimated 200 people
stood out in the rain to hear Dylan play and 40,000 more watched a live
stream f the concert online. Dylan is already hard at work promoting his
next front porch concert.
The rewrite is next.
O`DONNELL: In the rewrite tonight, what happens when a Republican
congresswoman tries to explain to her fellow Republicans how to win the
hearts and minds of women voters? Well, what happened first is she got a
very bad review in the conservative Washington examiner, under the
headline, the Republican plan to change the war on women narrative needs
Republican congresswoman Renee Ellmers of North Carolina was not pleased at
how she was quoted in that article, especially the line about how you can
successfully communicate political ideas to women only, quote, "if you can
bring it down to a woman`s level," end quote.
In a statement, Ellmers claimed that her comments were taken completely out
of context. She said, I am a woman and I find it offensive and sexist to
take my words and redefine them and imply that women need to be addressed
at a lower level.
She blamed certain leftist writers who were trying to trap her in gotcha
journalism. (INAUDIBLE), the writer who gave her the bad review in the
Washington examiner, previously worked at the conservative heritage
foundation and she now works at a conservative newspaper that is not in the
business of making trouble for Republicans. She also has an audio
recording of what the congresswoman actually said.
And so, you can be the judge of just how out of context that quote is.
Here she is talking to a group of women about how to talk to women.
REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Think about what many of you are
doing, you know, you`re trying to maintain that job, you know, you`ve got
to be moving up in your career. All these different things are coming in at
the same time.
Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level. You know, one of
the things that has always been one of my frustrations and I speak about
this all the time - many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House
floor, you know, they`ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and
they`re talking about trillions of dollars and, you know, how the debt is
awful and, you know, we all agree with that.
But by starting off that discussion that way, we`ve already turned people
away. Because it`s like that doesn`t affect my life, I don`t understand
how that affects my life
So one of the things that we have worked with, with our male colleagues -
and I have seen a difference, I will tell you I`ve seen a difference - is
to again, engaging individuals on their level. Talking about them on a
personal level first. Making sure that when we speak to individuals, we`re
coming from the perspective that we care about what`s happening in your
life. We know that these things - that the agenda of the Obama
administration, the Obama economy, has been hurting you and your family
consistently. Obamacare is hurting your family.
And then starting to talk about the solutions. One of the things - and you
heard this from all of my colleagues - women are wanting commonsense
solutions. Stop the no, no, no, we`re against, we`re against, we`re
against. Tell us what you are for.
That`s what women want to hear. Tell us how you`re going to fix it.
The biggest need that women have is more time. We all want more time in our
lives. More time in the morning to get ready. More time in the evening to
spend time with our families. All of these things - more time to move up
that career path. It`s about time. And we have to make sure that women
understand that we understand that.
We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to
a woman`s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life -
that`s the way to go.
And many of our male colleagues are starting something that I think is very
important: Utilizing - especially when we`re talking about the war on
women - they are saying, you know I have a wife, I have daughters, I have a
mother, I have sisters - if there`s a war on women, I`m losing it.
O`DONNELL: The most encouraging thing Congressman Ellmers told her
audience was this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLMERS: Women, by and large, agree with us on all of the issues. If you
go through each issue, they agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Then what could the problem possibly be? If women agree with
Republicans on all of the issues, then why did they vote overwhelmingly for
Barack Obama? Twice?
Well, let`s see. Women do not agree with Republicans on abortion. Women
do not agree with Republicans on gun control. Women do not agree with
Republicans on taxes. Women do not agree with Republicans on immigration
reform. Women do not agree with Republicans on climate change. Women do
not agree with Republicans on raising the minimum wage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLMERS: Tone matters. How you speak to people matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, yes, that`s true. But there is no way Republicans can
manipulate their tones to make women who disagree with them on so many
issues than vote for them. Even if you can bring it down to a woman`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLMERS: We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring
it down to a woman`s level and what everything that she is balancing in her
life - that`s the way to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMELIA EARHART, AMERICA AVIATION PIONEER: I hope it will increase women`s
interest in flying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, that part of Amelia Earhart`s last flight was successful.
She has inspired countless female pilots, including Amelia Rose Earhart,
who just completed a flight around the world following the 1937 Amelia
Earhart`s intended route. The 17-day trip brought Amelia Rose Earhart to
14 cities in 17 different countries. Earhart shared photos of the trip on
her twitter page.
Joining me now is Amelia Rose Earhart.
And so Amelia, Amelia Earhart is your what? What is your family relation
AMELIA ROSE EARHART, PILOT: So there is no family relation. I`m a
namesake of Amelia`s, named after her because of her passion for adventure.
O`DONNELL: But it is not a very common name. I would think almost all
Earharts would be able to trace somewhere back there a connection.
EARHART: You would think. And you know, we`ve tried with multiple
genealogists. It was only the oral tradition in my family that there was a
connection. But about a year ago, I realized that there wasn`t. And you
know, there is at one point, just no real reason to keep searching because
I was so inspired by just the name and learning from what he did while she
was still alive. And she really drove me towards flight.
O`DONNELL: So, you obviously with your name, you`ve obviously known about
her your whole life and I assume you probably have this ambition to follow
her path around the world.
EARHART: I did. I started flying about ten years ago. And every single
day of my life, people would ask me, are you pilot, number one? And could
you ever fly around the world? So the more I started thinking about it,
and the more I grew into my own career and my skills as a pilot, I thought
that would be a pretty great way to show the world that anything is
possible when it comes to aviation. And also show folks within aviation
and outside of it just how far we`ve come technology wise, because we can
have GPS, synthetic vision, all the technology that Amelia needed to
complete that flight but never had.
O`DONNELL: And so were you stopping and sleeping somewhere overnight or
did you just keep the plane going as much as possible?
EARHART: We did stop and sleep every night in each city. And we flew
between about six and 10 hours a day. So it was pretty a rigorous
schedule, but we would stop in each city, drive anywhere from an hour to
hour and a half to a local hotel and wake up the next morning at sun rise.
And it was very important to me that we saw every sun rise all the way
around the globe. And fortunately, we were able to accomplish that.
O`DONNELL: And you had a co-pilot, just as Amelia Earhart had a co-pilot.
I didn`t realize she had a co-pilot on that flight.
EARHART: You know, she actually didn`t. She had a navigator.
O`DONNELL: A navigator, I`m sorry. A navigator, yes.
EARHART: Exactly. And he was helping her with the celestial navigation
to, you know, figure out their course, their heading. But no, she was a
solo pilot. I decided to take a co-pilot along, you know, for safety
reasons. It was the best bet. We weren`t trying to prove anything with
this flight in terms of, you know, flying the same plane she did or do a
solo mission. This was about completing and symbolically, re-creating that
flight for Amelia and bringing her back to Oakland.
O`DONNELL: And there were no danger moments, the weather cooperated all
the way, I hope?
EARHART: The weather cooperated beautifully. And around the equator, you
know, it`s typical to have some pretty accurate afternoon thunderstorms
around the convergence zones, but we were safe there. And also the
(INAUDIBLE) that we were flying has no spot the entire time, no flat tires,
no issues, and just a great situation overall.
O`DONNELL: Amelia Rose Earhart completes Amelia Earhart`s dream.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Amelia.
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