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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Date: October 30, 2014

Guest: Lawrence Wechsler, Barbara Coones Lee

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: You know, Alex Wagner, someone actually
mistook Mindy Kaling for Malala Yousafzai.

And you know what? I`m going to go to this prompter for the rest of this.
I will ignore Alex Wagner.

You know, it is actually very easy to tell them apart, but it`s not so easy
to tell them apart based on what they say as Alex Wagner is going to find
out later. But first, five days to go in the fight for control of United
States Senate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only days to go and the polls are tightening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really, really neck and neck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They might as well call it the margin of error

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody is entirely sure what`s going to happen, which
is kind of amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both parties are using big names to make their closing

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A flood of famous surrogates are hitting the trail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having high-profile surrogates to boost those crowds,
boost those rallies does help.

Jefferson Clinton!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Clinton is returning to the Bluegrass State.

they had thrown at her and she`s still standing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One new ad starring Mitt Romney.

Washington, then your candidate is Thom Tillis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton, she was in Iowa yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Went after Braley`s Republican rival Joni Ernst.

answer the tough questions and his opponent has not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, President Obama heads to Maine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the middle of a very tough governor`s race there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know Obama is not on the ballot.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: I`d just like to be candid with you. I would
be very surprised if Obama is re-elected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democrats are very, very nervous, for good reason.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very favorable field for the Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question, of course, who turns out to vote.


O`DONNELL: We have new polls tonight in some of the campaigns that will
decide control of the United States Senate, while the most popular
politicians in both parties continue to rush from state to state,
campaigning for candidates.

In North Carolina, Democratic Senator Kay Hagan is polling four points
ahead of her Republican challenger Thom Tillis. That is slightly above the
margin of error.

In New Hampshire tonight, one poll shows a tie at 49-49 between incumbent
Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican candidate Scott Brown. But a
different poll just out tonight by the University of New Hampshire for
WMUR-TV has Jeanne Shaheen ahead by eight points in New Hampshire.

And a new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado shows Republican Cory Gardner
widening his lead to seven points over Democrat Mark Udall.

Kentucky is seeing a lot of the Clintons these days. Hillary Clinton
campaigned for Alison grimes. And today, Bill Clinton made his fourth trip
to Kentucky where Alison Grimes is trying to unseat Republican Senate
leader Mitch McConnell.


BILL CLINTON: The other one has tried to win this race the way he`s run so
many. You may not like me, but you still got to vote against her. Now,
since you don`t want to vote against her, they`ve tried to kick her off the
ballot and put the president on her place.

A man who`s been here for 30 years said, I`m sorry, I can`t talk about your
promise. I can`t talk about your problems. I got to demonize her -- into
the valley went Goliath and David. David turned out to be a girl who
whooped him anyway.


O`DONNELL: The Obamas spent the day in New England campaigning for
gubernatorial candidates. President Obama campaigned in Maine today for
Mike Michaud.

And Michelle Obama went to Rhode Island to help Gina Raimondo in her
campaign for governor. Then headed to Connecticut to support the re-
election of Governor Dan Malloy, where the first lady was confronted by a
young woman who was disappointed by the government`s failure to act on
immigration reform.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: You can not yet in the audience unless you`re
going to vote. You got to vote!


Every single issue that you care about, whether it`s schools or jobs or
DREAMers or neighborhoods, so many of those decisions are made by your
governor. Understand this. This is local politics.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now as you`ve already noticed, Alex Wagner, host of
MSNBC`s "NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER", and Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC`s "ALL IN
WITH CHRIS HAYES". My A-team, the great stars of the so-called A block,
the first segment of one of these shows.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: The stars of the A-block.

O`DONNELL: A-block. Yes.

So, the big news tonight is the hot poll out in New Hampshire, an eight-
point lead. There hasn`t been any polling that either candidate was going
to pull an eight-point lead at this point, Jeanne Shaheen ahead by eight.

WAGNER: I think someone vindicating (ph) given the fact that Scott Brown
has run a totally ridiculous race. I mean --

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: You do have to worry about ISIS and Ebola on the
southern border.

WAGNER: Exactly, ISIS, Ebola marching across the southern border. This
was the dude that drove his pickup truck and was Mr. Moderate and then
became this crazy fear-mongering vampire sweeping through New Hampshire. I
think a lot of people wondered, wait a second, Jeanne Shaheen, this should
have been a safety for her. And it turns out maybe, we don`t know., eight

HAYES: I mean, I think also, one of the things that we`ve seen in the
models, the various models, proliferated, as many models as there are
competitive states now, maybe more, is that blue states, which New
Hampshire is at this point. It used to be much more of a kind of swing
state. They tend to come home.

And we`re seeing that is baked into a lot of models. It`s true about
Louisiana where even when the polling is influx, there`s a projection that
Landrieu has really got a tough climb there. The one place that`s not
showing up is Colorado, Udall race, which is really a surprising race
because Udall is extremely, you would think, popular, accomplished, you
know, decent senator.

WAGNER: I think he`s, A, his absence from the Senate would mean very big
things on prominent issues about national security and transparency. But
also, I mean, the problem with Udall`s campaign is it has been so singular
in its focus on reproductive rights, it`s not a bad focus but it`s a walk
and chew gum kind of situation. There are many other things he should be
focused on, in addition and I think sort of ignoring Hispanic population of
Colorado could be an issue.

O`DONNELL: I wonder, you know, I have never seen a candidate attacked for
leaning too hard on one issue. I mean, if you go to count the Republican
candidates who leaned on tax cuts, tax cut, tax cuts and nothing else, what
I wonder about is now that we`ve gotten into this saturation level of
advertising, and, you know, multimillion dollar advertising and campaigns
in states that used to spend $2 million for the whole thing, that they hit
a level of saturation very quickly. And if all your ads, or the dominant
part of your ads about this one issue, you can wear out voters on the one

WAGNER: Well, I also think -- I mean, this happens every election cycle.
I mean, it`s sort of an arms race to ad blitzes, and so much money has been
spent on the Senate races. And yet, I mean, it`s as tight as anybody can

We really legitimately, not just because we`re all going to be talking on
the air on election night, we don`t know what is going to happen -- which
is crazy given the tee-up here in terms of money spent on these campaigns.


O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Scott Brown for a second in New Hampshire,
because he has been running against President Obama, not against the
incumbent senator. And so, what we`ve all been saying, if Scott Brown
pulls that out in New Hampshire, then you would expect to see something of
a wave against the president in other places.


O`DONNELL: But if this poll is accurate tonight, if that`s what you see on
election night, Chris, that Jeanne Shaheen wins by eight points, what will
that tell us about what might happen in the rest of the country?

HAYES: That`s an interesting question. So, if it were to be eight points,
that would mean a better night for Democrats than people are thinking.

And one of the things we`ve seen, we`ve seen it now twice. We saw it in
2006 and 2010, it`s unclear. It doesn`t look like the polling supports
that this election will be like those two, which really were nationalized
referendum elections.

This election seems more local despite the fact that Republicans have tried
to turn it into a referendum on the president.

If we saw, I guess what I would say is if we saw things going in the other
direction like we said, we could draw conclusions.

I mean, if we`re sitting around the desk and Scott Brown is winning by
enough to call it early, that`s looking like a bad night for Democrats.
Jeanne Shaheen winning by eight points would we suggest the Democrats are
better positioned and the race is more localized, which is what Democrats
have been hoping for from the beginning in the entire cycle.

WAGNER: Can I just say, another weird part of this is there are 36
gubernatorial races. We`ve talked a lot about how the Republican races are
worst news for the Republicans than Democrats. And the Senate races are
theoretically worst news for the Democrats than the Republicans.

I still don`t know how you split the ticket in Kansas. If you are going to
vote Sam Brownback out of office, you`re probably not going to like Pat
Roberts. And yet, there is not a clear line of thinking about how the
governor`s races affect the down ballot races.

HAYES: I think part of this has to do with what makes this the
battleground race in the Senate and this midterm election from
congressional standpoint so spectacular, which is elucidating the stakes
for the voter is actually fairly difficult to do, because, you know, they
know there`s divided government now. The filibuster has rendered the
Senate essentially this dysfunctional body, right?

So, because it`s not a majority body, it doesn`t even seem like majorities
matter that much one way or the other. Although they do, right?

The governor -- there`s a much more clear line of causality, right? This
person is going to be setting school funding or vetoing school funding, or
doing disaster preparedness, or --


WAGNER: Expanding Medicaid.

HAYES: Exactly. Like that stuff, the kind of A to B causality of the
basic mechanism of democracy, which is I vote for this person and we get
this outcome, I vote for this person, we get that outcome, is much more
present in these gubernatorials. And the Senate races which really been
Barack Obama this or this person has unpopular stances on this issue, thus
disqualifying, as opposed to these are the differing views for the
governing legislative agenda for the next two years, because everyone
understands that that`s going to be a total morass.

O`DONNELL: Let`s go to one of the guys who wanted to be one of the big
Republican surrogates out there helping these candidates, Chris Christie.

He hasn`t been as useful for a variety of reasons as he had hoped to be at
this time. He -- there was that video yesterday we saw of him telling a
constituent to sit down and shut up. He responded today. Let`s listen to
his response about why he said that.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know this in New Jersey, if
you`re giving it, you`re getting it back. I love having --


(INAUDIBLE) most of my things, we don`t. But if someone is going to stand
up, I ignore them for a while, and then they continue to be rude and talk
over me and talk other people, well then I`m going to engage. And that`s
what the people of New Jersey and I think a lot of people in this country
expect from me. And I don`t like being forced to do that stuff, but I
won`t shake away from it either. So, it`s another day at the ranch -- at
the rancho Christie. So, we`re just keep doing our job.


O`DONNELL: He tries to keep it local, Alex. He`s in New Mexico. He
describes it as another day at the ranch.

WAGNER: Rancho Christie. A place I never want to visit. Or maybe I want
to live there. I don`t know.

HAYES: You go and instead of riding on horses, cowboys yell at you, just
sit down and shut up.

O`DONNELL: I just want to take a quick look at the sit down and shut up
sound bite again. Just to contemplate how this will play in Iowa when he
runs for president.

WAGNER: Exactly.


CHRISTIE: You want to have the conversation later, I`m happy to have it,
buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up!


O`DONNELL: My favorite part about it is the lie that he is happy to have
the conversation. Part of the conversation is sit down and shut up.

WAGNER: And, by the way, the first terrible part of it is the actual
sound. The second terrible part about it is the substance. This guy is
talking about the disbursement of federal storm disaster aid to victims of
Hurricane Sandy.

And the issue for Governor Christie, given the fact that only 20 percent of
Sandy victims have gotten the money they need, that is a major issue. Not
just in terms of personality, but in terms of stewardship of the state.

O`DONNELL: And responsible use of government money used to be a Republican

HAYES: Well, there are a million reasons that Chris Christie is, I think,
dead in the water as a presidential candidate. Not the least among them is
the state -- we talked about this on the show tonight, it`s just an
absolute economic basket case, not just from liberal perspective, right?
The high unemployment, standing rigid. They had four credit downgrades?


HAYES: They`re running these huge deficits.


HAYES: The Sandy stuff has been totally mismanaged. There`s no real good
record there. He`s 20 points, 15 points under water in approval ratings.
That shtick is much different when your 60 percent approval (INAUDIBLE) to
38 percent.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes, thank you for sticking around, doing overtime for
us tonight.

And, Alex Wagner, please, can you hang?

WAGNER: I`m glued to the seat.

O`DONNELL: Because I`m going to need for something because I want you to
help with this, because it turns out someone mistook --

HAYES: Best story of the week.

O`DONNELL: -- Mindy Kaling for Malala Yousafzai, and it turns out it is
not easy to tell them apart by what they say. And we will test your
ability to tell them apart by what they say.

Also, coming up next, Chuck on a bus. Chuck Todd will join me from his bus
to everywhere. We will find out where he is tonight.

And later, a young woman with terminal brain cancer is leading a new debate
on the right to die by publicly planning to end her life at a time of her


O`DONNELL: Yes, it really happened. Mindy Kaling was recently mistaken
for Malala Yousafzai. Alex Wagner will come back to talk about Mindy and

But first, Chuck Todd`s bus has come to its final stop tonight. Chuck will
join me next.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, Chuck`s big bus at as the end of the road. Chuck Todd
started a two-week tour of key battleground states in New Hampshire, where
he moderated the debate between Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and
Republican challenger Scott Brown. Then he flew to Kansas and jumped on
the bus for stops in Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin this week. Chuck started
in North Carolina, making stops in Georgia and Arkansas.

With Chuck`s bus coming to its final stop in this campaign season in New
Orleans, Louisiana, Chuck will join me in a moment.

But earlier today, he spoke with Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu
who is facing a tough re-election challenge.


SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: This is not my hardest election.
People in Washington can say that, but you can look at me. Do I look
stressed or unhappy? I mean, this is --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: You`re always in good mood. But the weather helps

LANDRIEU: This is not my -- the weather helps today. But this is not my
hardest race. My hardest race to the Senate was 18 years ago. And when
people say, oh, but everything has changed. Not for me. It`s always been


O`DONNELL: Joining me now from New Orleans, the moderator of "Meet the
Press," and the fearless leader of the Chuck on the Bush Tour, Chuck Todd.

Chuck, first of all, the poll out of New Hampshire showing an eight-point
lead for Jeanne Shaheen. What`s your read of that?

TODD: Neither campaign believes it`s eight points. But the Democrats have
been pretty insistent that they`ve kept a small but consistent lead.
Republicans haven`t really had any internal numbers to dispute that either.

I`ve always noticed with campaigns, the more they trumpet a public poll,
the more they don`t believe that poll is usually what I`ve learned at least
in the last week.

But look, this has always been -- New Hampshire to me, Lawrence, is the
wave test. If Scott Brown wins New Hampshire, it means there was a
Republican wave.

I feel like we`re looking at two potential scenarios on Tuesday night.
There`s a wave building for the Republicans, or this is an anti-incumbent
year and we see all sorts of crazy results that may lead to a Republican-
controlled Senate, but could also lead to a lot of new Democratic

So, probably the best sniff test on that is going to be New Hampshire. On
the merits, when you look at Scott Brown`s unfavorable ratings, it`s hard
to see how he wins without a wave.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and the wave would be the anti-Obama wave since Scott
Brown has really been campaigning against the president in New Hampshire,
not campaigning against Jeanne Shaheen. So, that win would be a clue,
would be an indicator that wow, campaign against the president is really

TODD: I think that`s exactly right. I mean, you know, that`s the one
thing. You can`t -- I don`t think there is a person being used more in a
television ad these days than President Obama, at least on the Republican
side of the aisle. I mean, you probably see him more in TV ads than the
actual Republican candidates themselves.

I love my friends at Kantar Media who look at this stuff for a living, to
do that comparison. But I bet the number of seconds on-air, I -- probably
Obama`s face much more prevalent than the actual face of Republican
candidates for the Senate.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Well, it reminds me of `94, where virtually every
Republican campaign took the Democratic candidate and in 30 seconds morphed
that person into Bill Clinton. And that gave the Republicans --

TODD: That`s right.

O`DONNELL: -- the first takeover of the House in 40 years.

Chuck, Louisiana where you are now, this is one of the more complicated
races. It`s a three-way race. We might not have a declared winner on
election night. Then what happens.

TODD: Well, look, the Landrieu campaign is going for 50 percent. You got
to -- the accomplished Republican candidate is a congressman by the name of
Bill Cassidy. He`s absolutely playing for the runoff. He`s only showed up
for about half the debates, sort of saving his money. And he`s rally been
sort of I laying low, just getting enough support to try to make the

There`s a third candidate, a more conservative Tea Party type, a man by the
of Rob Maness who -- he shows up to every debate. He might be helping the
Republicans because he gives conservatives who don`t like Cassidy somebody
to vote for.

But the Landrieu strategy is to get to 50. They`re hoping to make a huge
effort of African-American turnout. Some numbers to watch for -- if the
African-American share of the electorate is over 30 percent, it gets to 31,
32, and Mary Landrieu can win 31 percent, 32 percent of the white vote,
that`s her path to 50 percent plus one on election night.

Now, even the Landrieu folks believe it`s a narrow path. But the real
magic number to watch on Tuesday is 46 percent -- 46 percent or above and I
think it`s fair to say she`s 50-50 in the runoff, and in pretty good shape
to make it competitive. If she`s in the low 40s, this some polls have had
her, I think that`s a sign that this is going to be an uphill struggle in
the final four weeks.

O`DONNELL: If you stack up right now, the Republican candidates number and
the Tea Party candidates number, that`s a number that overwhelms Mary

TODD: It would. Look, there`s a chance that maybe some of those
conservatives who don`t like Cassidy, who vote for Maness stay home.
That`s a possibility.

Let`s -- what is the runoff about? Is the runoff for control for the U.S.
Senate? Does it become a red versus blue race and $50 million drop on, and
it`s to decide who is in charge of the Senate? Or is it Mary Landrieu
versus Bill Cassidy in a personality contest?

You know, Mary Landrieu won in 2002 in that runoff some argue because the
Senate had already been decided. Republicans sort of took their foot off
the gas and she was able to win the "who`s better for Louisiana" argument.
If it becomes a partisan argument, some Democrats admit that`s harder race
for Mary Landrieu to win.

O`DONNELL: Chuck Todd, thank you very much for joining us from the
campaign trail. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

A young woman with terminal brain cancer is leading a new debate now on the
right to die by publicly planning to end her life at a time of her
choosing. That`s coming up.



your mind when you find out you have so little time is everything you need
to say to everyone you love.


O`DONNELL: That`s a 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who has been diagnosed
with terminal brain cancer. She has moved to Oregon for what she believes
will be the last months of her life so that she can take advantage of that
state`s Death with Dignity law which allows patients like Brittany to
decide when they want to die.

Brittany has launched an online campaign to support death with dignity
legislation in other states around the country. And last month, she
announced that she planned to end her life this weekend on Saturday,
November 1st.

Last night, Brittany posted this video.


MAYNARD: So, if November 2nd comes along and I`ve passed, I hope my family
is still proud of me and the choices I made. And if November 2nd comes
along and I`m still alive, I know that we`ll just still be moving forward
as a family like out of love for each other and that this decision will
come later.

When people criticize me for not -- not like waiting longer or, you know,
whatever they`ve decided is best for me, it hurts, because really I risk it
every day, every day that I wake up. And I do it because I still feel good
enough, and I still have enough joy, and I still laugh and smile with my
family and friends enough that it doesn`t seem like the right time right

But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It`s happening
each week. I still get out and do what I can. I walk with my husband. I
walk with my family and my dogs.

And things like that bring me the greatest feelings of health that I have
these days. But really, it`s been just, since January 1st, since my
diagnosis, it`s like health-wise, things keep getting worse, but I guess
that`s what happens when you`re terminally ill, is you get sicker and

DAN DIAZ, BRITTANY MAYNARD`S HUSBAND: It sounds so cliche, we take things
one day at a time, but it`s like -- that`s the only way to get through
this. You take away all of the material stuff, all the nonsense that we
all seem to latch on to as a society, and you realize that those moments
are really what matter.

MAYNARD: So, the worst thing that could happen to me is that I wait too
long because I`m trying to seize each day, but that I, somehow, have my
autonomy taken away from me from my disease because of the nature of my

To really talk to you about the most terrifying aspects, most recently, my
most terrifying set of seizures was about a week or so ago. I had two in a
day, which is unusual. And I remember looking at my husband`s face at one
point and thinking, "I know this is my husband but I can`t say his name."
And I ended up going to the hospital for that one.

It`s weird feeling to wake up everyday and be in my body because it feels
so different than it did just a year ago. To be perfectly candid, in the
last three months, I`ve gained over 25 pounds and over nothing I put in my
mouth except for prescription medications.

I don`t like being photographed. I don`t like being filmed. And I don`t
like spending a lot of time looking in the mirror. And I`m not full of
self-hate or loathing. It`s just that my body has changed so quickly. You
really kind of stop recognizing yourself in a way.

And that`s very personal. And I think, sometimes, people look at me and
they think, "Well, you don`t look as sick as you say that you are" which
hurts to hear because, when I`m having a seizure, then I can`t speak
afterwards. I certainly feel as sick as I am.

DEBBIE ZIEGLER, BRITTANY MAYNARD`S MOM: It`s not my job to tell her how to
live. And it`s not my job to tell her how to die.

It`s my job to love her through it.

MAYNARD: Well, if all my dreams came true, I would somehow survive this.
But I most likely won`t. So, beyond that, I am -- having been an only
child for my mother, I want her to recover from this. And not break down --
you know not suffer from any kind of depression. And my husband is such a
lovely man. I want him to -- you know, I understand everyone needs to
grieve but I want him to be happy.

So, I want him to have a family. And I know that may sound weird but
there`s no part of me that wants him to live out the rest of his life just
missing his wife.

So, I hope he moves on and becomes a father. My goal, of course, is to
influence this policy for positive change. And I would like to see all
Americans have the same access to the same healthcare rights.

But, beyond that public policy goal, my goals really are quite simple. And
they mostly do boil down to my family and friends, and making sure they all
know how important they are to me and how much I love them.


O`DONNELL: We`ll be back with more from Brittany.



MAYNARD: My parents spent a couple of months. They just wanted to search
for a miracle.

ZIEGLER: In the beginning, I hoped for everything. I hoped -- first, I
hoped that they had just the wrong X-rays, the wrong set of scans, it was
all just a big clerical mishap.

Your brain will do really strange things to you when you don`t want to
believe something. You will come up with fairy tales.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Barbara Coones Lee, the President of Compassion
and Choices, a leading non-profit organization working to protect and
expand options at the end of life. Barbara met with Brittany Maynard two
days ago.

Also joining us, Dr. Lawrence Wechsler, Chairman of the Neurology
Department at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He`s also
the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stroke

Dr. Wechsler, I`d first want to go to you just to get the medicine of this
understood. And, as you know, I lost a friend of mine to glioblastoma --
dear friend.

And I told about it at the early stages. And you, at that moment, given
what I knew about it, predicted that he would probably have 18 months. And
that`s just about exactly what he got.

When you hear of Brittany`s case and the way she`s thinking about it, she
is realistically facing what is really coming. There is no escaping the
outcome of this for her, is there.

MEDICINE NEUROLOGY DEPARTMENT: I think that`s right, Lawrence. Thank you
for having me on.

As we talked about previously with regard to your friend and what is true
is this glioblastoma -- this brain tumor that she has is a very bad


Untreated, the prognosis is very poor -- only a few months. Now, we have
good treatments but they increase survival. They do increase survival
significantly so that, now, people can live 18 to 24 months on average.

But, still, that`s not -- as long as we would like, and only a minority of
people, maybe a third of people go two years or more after the diagnosis of
this particular type of tumor. So, unfortunately, the prognosis is still
not very good.


O`DONNELL: Barbara , as soon as I saw that she has glioblastoma, I
realized, this is the case. This is exactly the test case because there`s
no dispute about what happens at some point down the road here.

And it`s a matter of months, one way or the other. And so, this is exactly
the kind of illness where this question of how much empowerment should we
have at the end of life, in making that decision for ourselves, is so

What is -- you met with Brittany two days ago. What is your sense of where
she is on this question now.

in the video is absolutely true. And because she is so forthright and
unblinking and looking ahead at what she faces, --


-- she knows that she is like a person on a river -- you know, river of
life. And she`s looking at a cliff. And going over that cliff means
experiencing symptoms and being in a condition that she would consider
worse than death.

Glioblastoma is a very cruel disease. She already has seizures that are
uncontrollable, they happen more than once a day.

She has long periods after those seizures. One time, when she has,
essentially, stroke symptoms where she wasn`t able to speak, she has a lot
of pain in her head and neck.

So, she is now at the point where she needs to consider everyday -- no,
perhaps, even every hour, "How close to the cliff am I getting. And when
is the proper time --


-- to advance the time of my death, so that I don`t descend into a
condition that I consider worse than death." I mean, that`s the kind of
question that`s before Brittany, and has been before all of the 700 or so
people before her who have had aid-in-dying medication.

O`DONNELL: And, Dr. Wechsler, Brittany has said on videos that she feels
she has to make a very conscious decision now and schedule a date now, on
which she wants to do this, because she expects that her mental function
will decline over time.

And she may not have the mental capacity to make this decision using the
kind of factors that she would really -- that she actually prioritizes now
if she waits a few weeks or months. Is that true of the way the brain

WECHSLER: Yes, I think, at some point, she will lose that ability. As
this tumor grows and spreads and --


-- infiltrates various parts of the brain. And as it causes swelling --
the brain is a closed space, so there`s only so much room.

And as the tumor itself and the swelling that results from the tumor
accumulates, it affects the entire brain and that, eventually, impairs
one`s ability to think and make decisions and to operate mentally as you
would like to do and in order to make intelligent decisions about things
like this.

O`DONNELL: When she moved to Oregon, she was authorized to obtain these
drugs that she can use to end her --


-- life. She fit the criteria, according to the law. She obtained those
drugs. Let`s listen to her talking about what it means to her to actually
have those drugs at home now.


MAYNARD: I don`t wake up everyday and look at it.



It`s in a safe spot and I know that it`s there when I need it. I plan to
be surrounded by --


-- my immediate family, which is my husband and my mother and my stepfather
and my bestfriend who`s also a physician. And probably not much more

And I will die upstairs in my bedroom that I share with my husband, with my
mother and my husband by my side and --


-- pass peacefully with some music that I like in the background.


O`DONNELL: And, Barbara Coones Lee, there are only five states now in the
United States that would allow her that choice, --


-- is that right.

COONES LEE: That`s right. Aid-in-dying was authorized in 1994, originally
in Oregon. Then it was delayed implementation until 1997. 2008,
Washington State followed suit. 2009, Montana Supreme Court ruled that it
was authorized in that state.

The Vermont legislature passed an Aid-in-Dying bill last year. And,
recently, a court in New Mexico also bestowed constitutional protection on
the right to make this very personal private decision.

O`DONNELL: I want to listen to what Brittany says about what it means to
her to actually have these pills now and have this choice within her power,
that it`s her choice to make. Let`s listen to this.


MAYNARD: I can`t even tell you the amount of relief that it provides me to
know that I don`t have to die the way that has been described to me, that
my brain tumor would take me on its own.


O`DONNELL: Dr. Wechsler, I think you`re -- it sounds to me like you`re
listening to a very rational patient who is weighing all the real factors
in what she`s facing.

WECHSLER: No. I think there`s no question that that is the case. She`s
obviously thought about this a great deal.

She`s obviously a very bright person and come to this decision after
careful consideration. And I think, honestly, every medical --


-- professional, every doctor wants this for their patient, exactly what
she describes -- if someone has a terminal condition, that they do pass
comfortably and without pain, and in the presence of the people they love.

I think that that is the ideal -- I think that, you know, the debate is
really more about what is the best way to achieve that. But it`s what we
all want for all of our patients who, unfortunately, are in that situation.


O`DONNELL: And, doctor, what`s available for patients who do want to take
it as far as nature will allow. How bad is it. Because Brittany certainly
feels that it`s bad enough what she would go through, that she would rather
not go through it and she would rather not put her family through it.

WECHSLER: I think that what we have available is the -- is hospice care
which, in many cases, can accomplish exactly what we`re talking about here.
Can it work in ever case, I don`t know.

Are there exceptions, probably. But I think that we certainly have avenues
in those many states, including Pennsylvania where I practice, through the
hospice system where we try to achieve those same goals.

O`DONNELL: And, Barbara, it seems that this option, and literally having
these pills in the home, has brought a kind of relief, not just to
Brittany, but to her family.

They seem to share in the comfort that she takes from being able to --
being able to make this choice herself.

COONES LEE: Yes. I think it`s enormously important. There`s an enormous
sense of peace of mind and comfort. People call these pills their
parachute, their insurance policy, their safety --


-- blanket. It is their insurance that they won`t have to descend into a
condition that they consider worse than death.

Now, for a person like Brittany who`s very bright, very articulate, she`s
very verbal. Some of the hospice and palliative care modalities that could
control her symptoms would also render her unconscious and in a stupor.

And she might be in that state for a prolonged period of time. That
actually may be one of the things that Brittany herself would consider the
condition worse than death.

So, it`s very important for her and for people like her that she doesn`t
have to end life in a prolonged period of unconsciousness or constant
seizures or stupor. She wants to be the person she is until the time she

O`DONNELL: Dr. Lawrence Wechsler and Barbara Coones Lee, thank you very
much for joining me tonight on this difficult subject. Thank you.

WECHSLER: Thank you, Lawrence.

COONES LEE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And I want Brittany to have the last word on this subject


MAYNARD: I hope to enjoy however many days I have left on this beautiful
earth spend as much of it outside as I can, surrounded by those I love.




THOMAS MENINO, MAYOR, BOSTON: We are one Boston. No adversity, no
challenge. Nothing can tear down the resilience in the heart of the city
and its people.


O`DONNELL: That`s Thomas Menino, Boston`s longest serving mayor, after the


-- attack at the Boston Marathon last year. He had just announced his
retirement after 20 years in office and was in the hospital actually with a
broken leg when the bombing occurred.

Mayor Menino checked himself out of the hospital against his doctor`s
wishes to be at the news conferences and at the memorials -- and at the
memorial service.

When Thomas Menino first became Mayor of Boston in 1993, he said, his goal
was to help one person everyday to make their lives a little bit better.
Over the next 20 years, Mayor Menino became what "The Boston Globe" called
an "urban mechanic."

In 2001, a Boston newspaper columnist criticized Mayor Menino for nothing
have a vision or a plan. Then the mayor responded, "What vision. What are

And then he answered his own question, "People who dream and don`t get
anything done. I don`t want vision. I want to move this city forward," he

Mayor Menino retired in January of this year, and he died this morning
after deciding to stop treatment last week for advanced cancer. Mayor
Thomas Menino was 71 years old.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER 1: Mindy Kaling is known for many things.
But who would have thought she`d won the Nobel Peace Prize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST 1: Say what? She was recently at a party when,
apparently, a tipsy elderly man approached her and began showering her with
compliments. Sweet, right, OK.

But the man said, "Congratulations on your Nobel Prize."


He then praised her bravery after getting shot by the Talibans. Say what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER 1: Yes, the 35-year-old was recently mistaken
for none other than 17-year-old female education activist, Malala

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST 1: After he left, they stunned Mindy Kaling after
"New York Times" reported, "Did he really think I`m Malala, and that if I
were, I`d be at the boom-boom room?"


That`s the best thing that`s happened all night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER 1: Kaling took to Twitter to laugh it off,
implying she wishes she was still 17 like Malala.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST 2: She twitted Willy back and said something
like, "I loved the fact that he thought I was so much younger."


O`DONNELL: And I`m rejoined by the ageless Alex Wagner who`s never -- who
can never be mistaken for anyone --

WAGNER: -- for a seventeen-year-old.


O`DONNELL: OK. So, here`s -- it turns out, it is not so easy to telling
apart if we just use quotes -- things that they`ve said. So, let`s see if
we can do that.

Who said "It`s important for me to be someone people look up to," -- Mindy
Kaling or Malala Yousafzai.

WAGNER: Mindy Kaling.

O`DONNELL: That is correct. Then, I guess, that`s our sound effect for

WAGNER: Apparently so. That just follows me wherever I go.

O`DONNELL: First time I`ve heard it. OK, all right, number two, who said
this -- "My life has changed but I have not."

WAGNER: Malala Yousafzai.

O`DONNELL: You are doing so well. Where`s the sound effect, come on. Got
to go faster with that. That is correct.


Number three -- and you`ve done no homework.

WAGNER: I`ve done no homework. This is purely --

O`DONNELL: All right, this is not exactly a quote. It`s just a fact. One
of them says that she is a fan of Justin Bieber.

WAGNER: Malala Yousafzai.

O`DONNELL: Wow, you`re on a hot streak here. This is -- this is --

WAGNER: Roll them. Bet, red.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, now, who said -- was Malala or Mindy who said that
she is competitive.

WAGNER: Mindy.

O`DONNELL: That is correct. But there`s more to it. She actually said,
"I am competitive and a perfectionist."

OK, now, -- oh, wait minute. It looks like the judges have to be called in
here because Malala once said, "I want to be number one in every field," --

WAGNER: Which could be interpreted as being competitive.

O`DONNELL: -- which is kind of both, right. So, there`s no wrong answer
to that one, I think.

WAGNER: That`s my kind of question, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right. That`s why I was --

WAGNER: I could not have answered that incorrectly.

O`DONNELL: We put it there for you so --

WAGNER: That harp was going to play.

O`DONNELL: -- you`d get at least one right. But it turns out, you are
getting --

WAGNER: And I appreciate when you stack the deck for me.

O`DONNELL: -- you are getting them all right. All right, now, who said,
"I am obsessed with justice."

WAGNER: Malala Yousafzai.

O`DONNELL: I thought -- yes, there was the buzzer.


O`DONNELL: Slowest buzzer in the history of game shows. That is wrong.
Mindy Kaling --

WAGNER: Are you sure.

O`DONNELL: You want to hear her say it?


O`DONNELL: You can hear her say it.


MINDY KALING, ACTRESS: I am obsessed with justice, not so much with the
law but with justice. Actually, in my mind, law is that pesky thing that
often gets in the way of justice.


WAGNER: Are you sure that`s not Malala Yousafzai.

O`DONNELL: That is Mindy at Harvard Law School.

WAGNER: That`s not Malala Yousafzai`s famous graduation speech at Harvard,
oh no. She did not.

O`DONNELL: Mindy at Harvard Law School, obsessed with justice. All right,
but, listen, four out of five. Those were tough.

WAGNER: That`s the passing grade. They were.

O`DONNELL: Those are tough.

WAGNER: Can we play the harp thing just one more time.

O`DONNELL: Yes, let`s hear it.

WAGNER: Just one more time.

O`DONNELL: OK, yes, yes, right.

WAGNER: Just to send me off to my good dreams tonight.

O`DONNELL: Yes, so -- and you can use that on your show.

WAGNER: I will, actually.

O`DONNELL: It`s the "Alex Wagner Is Right" sound.

WAGNER: And it should be played frequently.


All the time, in fact, because I`ve never been wrong.

O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us tonight, doing double duty
in two segments, really appreciate it.

WAGNER: Thank you, Lawrence, for testing me.

O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner gets tonight`s "Last Word."

WAGNER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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