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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, November 17th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Monday show

November 17, 2014

Guest: Peter Welch, Muzaffar Chishti, Barbara Coombs Lee, Bob Saget

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Rachel, very much.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have a last word exclusive. After Brittany
Maynard who had terminal brain cancer decided to end her life, she was
criticized by the Vatican for that decision. Tonight, Brittany Maynard`s
mother has written a response that she has asked us to read.

But first, Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have
insisted that they will not shut down the government over immigration. But
some Republican members of Congress didn`t get that memo.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama is back from his week-long Asia
trip and squaring up for a renewed fight with Republicans over immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think all bets are off as far as what the next
two weeks look like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members of Congress are bracing four executive
action on immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they willing to risk a government shutdown
against executive action?

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Shutting the government down
doesn`t solve the problem.

wants to shut down the government because that doesn`t solve the problem.

THUNE: Republicans, Chris, are looking at different objections about
how best to respond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A government shutdown is not off the table.

options. They`re on the table. All the options are on the table. All
options are on the table.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt
Romney pushing President Obama to put the brakes on that executive action.

ROMNEY: Let the Congress and let this election have its say.

authority to make improvements on the system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Republicans make it clear they`re going to
put up a big fight against the plan.

OBAMA: It`s not going to be everything that needs to get done.

BOEHNER: We`re going to fight tooth and nail if he continues down
this path.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the president wants a fight.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: We`ve seen this before. The government
has been shut down.

COTTON: But I don`t think anybody wants to shut down the government
because that doesn`t solve the problem.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It`s time for the Republicans to
man up. It`s time to man up and start dealing with this. That`s what they
were sent there to do.


O`DONNELL: Since "The New York Times" reported that President Obama
will announce as soon as this week, quote, a broad overhaul of the nation`s
immigration enforcement system that will protect up to 5 million
unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of
them with work permits, the White House has remained silent about any more
details of the president`s plan.

But this afternoon on MSNBC, Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez
described the president`s plan this way.


REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Let me say this -- not getting
into the specific, it`s going to be big. It`s going to be bold. I hope
the Republicans that are trying to figure out what they want to do should
understand that.

It`s going to include millions of people. It`s going to have various
parts. It`s going to have a high-tech component. It`s going to have a
component that`s going to keep children together with their moms and their


O`DONNELL: Republican Senator John Thune who is part of Senator Mitch
McConnell`s leadership team is trying to silence Republican threats of a
government shutdown in response to the president`s action on immigration.


THUNE: I think Republicans, Chris, are looking at different options
about how best to respond to the president`s unilateral action, which many
people believe is unconstitutional, unlawful action on this particular
issue. But my concern is, I don`t -- shutting the government down doesn`t
solve the problem. My concern is what happens if we end up shutting down
what could be a record legislative accomplishment there for the taking if
the president would choose cooperation instead of conflict.


O`DONNELL: But a man with a much louder voice thinks that shutting
down the government is exactly why voters sent Republicans to Washington.


LIMBAUGH: It`s an unwritten rule in Washington, whenever the
government gets shut down, no matter who`s responsible for it, the
Republicans get the blame and as such, the Republicans take a giant weapon
out of their arsenal of ammunition.

It`s time to man up and start dealing with this. It`s time for the
Republicans to man up and stop worrying about this constant, this apparent
cliche that no matter what happens, the Republicans are going to get blamed
for the government shutdown. They were not sent there to govern and
participate and compromise and advance a little bit. They were sent there
to stop it.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC political correspondent Kasie

Kasie, any word on when the White House is going to take this action?

we`re not exactly sure what the timing`s going to be. But we do know that
it could come before December 11th, which is the sort of looming deadline
for this potential shutdown. And there are some Democrats who are behind
the scenes, urging the president to wait until after that deadline to put
this order out.

But the president said in a recent press conference that he isn`t
going to be beholden to anything on time. He just wants to get it right.

So, I think, sort of, to the extent of what you show there,
Republicans are very aggressive in saying that this will poison the well.
But leadership, Senator Mitch McConnell, knows very well that Republicans
would likely take the blame for a government shutdown. And Senator John
Thune staff was quick to walk back his comments on Sunday, saying that he
did not at all suggest a shutdown.

O`DONNELL: OK. Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Peter Welch
of Vermont. And Muzaffar Chishti, he`s a lawyer and director of the
Migration Policy Institute`s Office at the NYU School of Law.

Congressman Welch, has the president and the White House been briefing
you Democrats on exactly what the president has in mind?

REP. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: Some of us. I mean -- in fact, the
briefings --

O`DONNELL: OK, you can tell us now what is in the president`s plan.

WELCH: Well, I can`t do that. I can do this. There`s a lot of
excitement that the president`s going to act and come off the sidelines.

And there`s the kind of amazement, what I would regard as the
preemptive whining of the speaker in the Republican majority. You know,
they`re forgetting about one thing, the Constitution. The chief executive
has independent authority under our separation of powers. The House has
independent authority. And as long as the president and the House act
within their lanes, they won`t get smacked back by the Supreme Court.

The president is saying he`s going to act. If the speaker who now has
the largest majority of Republicans since Herbert Hoover wants to act, show
us the bill. He can act. What he`s doing instead is complaining about

And his problem is not with Obama. His problem is with his own

So, is he going to use this majority to lead us like the Hoover
majority did into the past, or is he just going to get with the program and
present a bill and tell us what he is in favor of?

O`DONNELL: Congressman Welch, no one at the White House has been able
to give me the legal justification for the following component of the
president`s plan, which was leaked to the New York Times, the part where it
says -- and just to be clear at the outset, most of this is just
prosecutorial discretion, it`s just law enforcement discretion. Every
chief executive has that for mayors to governors, police chiefs have that.
We understand most of it is completely within the president`s power.

The part that`s questionable is the part where "The New York Times"
says that the president will allow many parents of children who are
American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents. Can
you tell me, and has the White House told you what is the legal
justification for the president to create a new category of beneficiaries
for work documents? How can that be done without legislation?

WELCH: You know, Lawrence, I can`t tell you, and I`m not the lawyer
who`s going to be litigating this case. So, the answer to that would be
decided by the courts, as you and I know.

But here`s what I can tell you --

O`DONNELL: Congressman, so as far as you know, I don`t mean to badger
you about this. But I`ve been on this for days now. I haven`t found a
single elected Democrat, not one Democrat in Washington who can answer the
question that I just put to you. Have you heard it answered by any

WELCH: I haven`t. I haven`t.

Here`s the point though -- I`ll talk about Vermont. We`ve got farmers
who having migrant workers who if we didn`t have them, we wouldn`t be
milking our cows. We`ve got high-tech companies who are twisted in knots
about trying to figure out how to get some of these workers that they need
with high skills.

And, of course, across America, we do have kids that were born here
when they were 2 or 3 years old and they are in college. Why shouldn`t
they be allowed to come out of the shadows?

The response of the Republicans here is to complain that the president
is acting. If they`ve got some legal question about some aspect of it,
that`s legitimate. But, you know, under our constitutional separation of
powers, the Supreme Court will decide that, and then that will be settled.

But meanwhile, let`s get on with the program and move forward. The --
Speaker Boehner has had two years. The House -- the Senate passed a bill
with Senator McCain`s support, a big bipartisan vote. We haven`t had a
chance in the House to vote on a bill. And Speaker Boehner has had the
opportunity to put a bill on the floor. He`s got a huge majority.

So, show us the bill. That`s where I`m coming from.

O`DONNELL: This is why you are here, Muzaffar Chishti. I know we
needed an immigration law expert to try to get at this question. And as I
say, most of what the president has been leaked about the president`s plan,
is all about the enforcement, arrests they will not make, deportations they
will not execute, all that sort of stuff, clearly within the president`s

The one thing that I`ve been wondering about no one has been able to
answer, is how without legislation will the president be able to create a
new category of beneficiaries for these legal work documents, according to
"The New York Times" leak about this plan.

we have seen in the press. And he`s not going to create a new category.
They all are going to be going to something called deferred action from
what we know. Deferred action has been in our law at least since the `70s,
and it`s recognized in our statute of immigration act at least in two or
three provisions.

And Congress, in 1986, when it enacted the Immigration Control Act for
the first time made it unlawful for employees to hire. In the section of
employment authorization, it gives attorney general and now the homeland
security chief, the authority to give work authorization to people who may
be unauthorized. And that was put into regulations in 1987 with the
deferred action as a named group of people --

O`DONNELL: If you`re under deferred action, it is within the attorney
general`s power to say, I`m going to authorize that person to work while
the action is deferred.

CHISHTI: That`s right. Exactly. Deferred action --

O`DONNELL: Even if there`s no document indicating that this person
would fit any existing category?

CHISHTI: They fit the category by calling them beneficiaries of
deferred action.


CHISHTI: That`s right.


O`DONNELL: But, no, what I mean is there`s no document indicating
that if the action was actually completed, that this person would end up a
legal beneficiary because there is no indication that the person has a
legal claim on the United States residency.

CHISHTI: Exactly. They`re not going to get permanent residence.
They`re not going to get any status.

This is frequently misunderstood. This is not a grant of status.
This is just using prosecutorial discretion to say we will not remove you
from the United States because you are a low priority for removal. It`s
all about in the context that the government has limited resources. We
can`t remove everyone. So, we establish priorities.

They`ll be declared as low priorities and given deferred action which
by regulation that also authorizes you to give worker authorization. And
the Supreme Court has recognized deferred action many times, as recently,
the authority of the government exercised as recently as 2012, and
regulations have recognized this since 1978, when, for the first time, the
first known beneficiary of deferred action was John Lennon.


O`DONNELL: I thought it was done on an individual basis. It sounds
like the president is going to do deferred action for millions of people.

CHISHTI: Yes, the numbers have never been this big, that`s true. But
there`s nothing to --

O`DONNELL: But the law never speaks to that issue of numbers, right?

CHISHTI: The law never says numbers one way or the other.

O`DONNELL: Well, thanks to you. I was able to study this law today.
And so, half of what you said to me is not a surprise. I just learned it

And, Congressman Welch, that`s why we need Muzaffar Chishti on the
show tonight. You can play this tape for your colleagues.

WELCH: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Here`s where it is. Here`s where the explanation is.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Peter Welch. And, Kasie
Hunt, thank you for joining us. And, Muzaffar Chishti, thank you for
solving the problem.

CHISHTI: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, you will hear the very best analysis of the 2014 elections,
and it will not, of course, be from me. It is from a conservative Texas
Republican, who says the 2014 election is proof that the Republicans cannot
win the White House in 2016.

And, it`s anything can happen night now, because Bob Saget is actually
here, not just in the building. He`s somewhere around this studio. He
will join me later or whenever he feels like it.


BOB SAGET, COMEDIAN: Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska has
conceded to Republican Dan Sullivan.

O`DONNELL: You have to keep reading.

SAGET: NBC News projected Dan Sullivan as the apparent winner of the
race last Wednesday.

O`DONNELL: Ignore the junk in the monitor. Just go to the next here.

SAGET: The Begich campaign released -- you are -- Begich campaign
released this statement after he called to congratulate Sullivan.

As a born and raised Alaskan, I will always be involved in my
community. And the results of an election have never diminished my desire
or passion to achieve these goals. When I spoke to Dan Sullivan today, I
spoke to him. I encouraged him to adopt a bipartisan resolve in the
Senate. Alaska is ill-served by the bipartisan fights that don`t reflect
our state`s unique needs and priorities.

In the "Rewrite" tonight, you will hear from a Texas Republican who
thinks the short term strategy that worked for the Republicans in 2014 will
doom the party in the next presidential election.

O`DONNELL: So, I guess, in the teleprompter --

SAGET: I`m sorry, you`re talking to me?

O`DONNELL: -- the last time you hosted the Oscars, they didn`t have
that little junk in between --

SAGET: I actually got sick when they asked me to do it.


SAGET: No, they didn`t tell me to do anything, but I`m honored you
had me here.

O`DONNELL: Those codes in the prompter are to be ignored. If you
ever do this again like if you ever --

SAGET: Well, that`s not going to happen, obviously.

O`DONNELL: That`s right. It`s never going to happen.

SAGET: When it says hashtag, I just think I`m trending. And why is
this not water? This is really good.

O`DONNELL: So, Bob Saget is here. We`re going to be back with Bob
Saget at some point in this TV show.

SAGET: Thank you. I`ll be here all night.


O`DONNELL: Peter Kassig, who changed his name to Abdul-Rahman while
in captivity when he converted to Islam, is now the third American to be
beheaded by the Islamic State. Today, his parents spoke for the first time
since the Islamic State released a video of his execution this weekend.


PAULA KASSIG, PETER KASSIG`S MOTHER: Peter`s life is evidence that he
has been right all along. One person makes a difference. Our hearts are
battered. But they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed
in the end. And good will prevail as the one God of many names will

ED KASSIG, PETER KASSIG`S FATHER: Please pray for Abdul-Rahman or
Pete if that`s how you know him at sunset this evening. Pray also for all
people in Syria and Iraq and around the world that are held against their


O`DONNELL: Ed Kassig recently shared a letter his son sent this


ED KASSIG: Don`t worry, Dad, if I go down, I won`t go down thinking
anything but what I know to be true -- that you and mom love me more than
the moon and the stars.


O`DONNELL: And that same letter, Peter Kassig says, "I am obviously
pretty scared to die, but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering,
hoping and wondering if I should even hope at all. I am very sad that all
this has happened and for all that you back home are going through. Just
know I am with you, every stream, every lake, every field and river, in the
woods and in the hills, in all the places you showed me. I love you."

Joining me now is NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin.

Ayman, you knew Peter Kassig. Tell us about him.

to meet him actually just a few weeks before he went into Syria, that final
time before he was kidnapped. And in that day that we had a chance to
spend some time together, along with some other journalist, who`s an
amazing young man, a remarkable young man, a very compassionate individual,
a person who is driven with a sense of purpose, a very funny guy. We
enjoyed an afternoon together.

And you really got a sense from him that he was a person who had found
his calling in life. He was very committed to what he was doing, which was
helping Syrian refugees, and really embodied all of the good qualities that
you want in people who are trying to help others despite the risk and
despite the dangers. He knew what he was getting into. He knew the
dangers, but was still very much driven by what he wanted to do.

O`DONNELL: Talk about the knowing what he was getting into. Did you
guys talk about this kind of possibility?

MOHYELDIN: We did. This was an individual who obviously had served
in Iraq, was in the Army, and we had told him that obviously he should be
careful. He knew that. But he felt that he had a very strong network of
activists that he was working with, the circumstances of his kidnapping
still somewhat unclear. We knew when and where it happened.

But at the end of the day, like I said, he was a person who had a
sense of purpose and as a result of that was willing to believe that that
was going to get him through any hardships in the days and weeks ahead.

O`DONNELL: I mean, isn`t it a different calculation today? If you
and Peter Kassig were sitting here earlier today and he was talking about
maybe going into Syria, isn`t it a much riskier calculation today than it
was then?

MOHYELDIN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the rise of ISIS has changed
that dynamic, the killings, the beheadings that we`re seeing, the fact that
there is no mercy, not even for people like Peter who had converted to
Islam, people who are very close to helping the Syrian people.

I mean, these are non-political figures, and there was no mercy shown
to them. And I think if he were here today and we were having this
conversation, I think he would still want to help the Syrian people. I
think his calculations may be different, but at the end of the day, he was
very the committed to helping them. And I don`t think anything would have
stopped him from doing that.

O`DONNELL: Ayman Mohyeldin, thank you very much for joining us
tonight with your memories of Peter Kassig. Thank you very much.

Coming up, a LAST WORD exclusive. The Vatican weighs in on euthanasia
and specifically the case of Brittany Maynard, who chose to end her life
rather than continue to struggle with terminal brain cancer. The Vatican
called her choice reprehensible.

You will hear her mother`s response to the word "reprehensible", next.



BRITTANY 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 it`s been
described to me that my brain tumor would take me on its own.


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, death with dignity.

Sixteen days ago, Brittany Maynard wrote this, "A goodbye to all my
dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to
pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible
brain cancer that has taken so much from me, but would have taken so much

Pope Francis, this weekend, called assisted suicide, quote, "a false
sense of compassion" at a meeting with the association of Italian Catholic
doctors. The pope said, "We are living in a time of experimentation with
life, but a bad experiment. This is playing with life. Be careful,
because this is a sin against the Creator, against the God the Creator, who
created things this way."

The pope did not specifically mention Brittany Maynard by name in his
remarks, but a Vatican official did that earlier this month.

Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco De Paula, the head of the Pontifical
Academy for Life called Maynard`s choice to die on her own terms, quote,
"reprehensible". He said, "We don`t judge people, but the gesture in
itself is to be condemned. Assisted suicide is an absurdity. Dignity is
something different than putting an end to your own life."

Brittany Maynard can no longer defend her choice, but her mother can.
Debbie Ziegler provided THE LAST WORD with an exclusive first look at the
statement that she wrote in response to her daughter`s critics, obviously
including the Vatican.

She writes, "I am Brittany Maynard`s mother. I am writing in response
to a variety of comments made in the press and online by individuals and
institutions that have tried to impose their personal belief system on what
Brittany and our family feel is a human rights issue.

The imposition of belief on a human rights issue is wrong, to censure
a personal choice as reprehensible because it does not comply with someone
else`s belief is immoral. My 29-year-old daughter`s choice to die gently
rather than suffer physical and mental degradation and intense pain does
not deserve to be labeled as reprehensible by strangers a continent away
who do not know her or the particulars of her situation.

Reprehensible is a harsh word. It means very bad, deserving very
strong criticism. Reprehensible is a word I`ve used as a teacher to
describe the actions of Hitler, other political tyrants and the
exploitation of children by pedophiles.

As Brittany Maynard`s mother, I find it difficult to believe that
anyone who knew her would ever select this word to describe her actions.
Brittany was a giver, she was a volunteer, she was a teacher, she was an
advocate, she worked at making the world a better place to live.

This word was used publicly at a time when my family was tender and
freshly wounded, grieving. Such strong public criticism from people who do
not know, have never met, is more than a slap in the face.

"It is like kicking us as we struggle to draw a breath. People in
institutions that feel they have the right to judge Brittany`s choices may
wound me and cause me unspeakable pain, but they do not deter me from
supporting my daughter`s choice."

"There is currently a great deal of confusion and arrogance standing
in the way of Americans going gently into the good night. I urge Americans
to think for themselves."

"Make your wishes clear while you are competent. Make sure that you
have all the options spelled out for you if you are diagnosed with an
incurable, debilitating, painful disease."

"Do your own research. Ask your family to research and face the harsh
reality with you. Ask your doctor to be brutally honest with you. Then
make your personal choice about how you will proceed."

"It is your choice. The culture of cure has led to a fairy tale
belief that doctors can always fix our problems. We have lost sight of

"All life ends. Death is not necessarily the enemy in all cases.
Sometimes, a gentle passing is a gift. Misguided doctors, caught up in an
aspirational belief that they must extend life whatever the cost, cause
individuals and families unnecessary suffering."

"Brittany stood up to bullies. She never thought anyone else had the
right to tell her how long she should suffer. The right to die for the
terminally ill is a human rights issue, plain and simple," Debbie Ziegler,
Brittany`s mother.

Joining me now, Barbara Coombs Lee, the President of --


-- Compassion & Choices, a leading non-profit organization working to
protect and expand options at the end of life. Barbara met with Brittany
Maynard days before she died.

Barbara, you know the family. An official at the Vatican close to the
Pope calling what Brittany did reprehensible. We`ve heard Debbie Ziegler`s
words about how that felt.

But what do you know about how this kind of criticism has affected the

affected the family profoundly as it would anyone. Any grieving mother,
someone grieving a daughter whom --


-- she loved beyond words and she admired. You know, one of the last
things Brittany said was, "I hope that my family is proud of me," on
November 2nd.

And I think her family is intensely proud of her. All the more reason
that they found the words from the Vatican presumptuous and hurtful.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Brittany, in her own words, talking about
her plan, which the Vatican find reprehensible.

ON NOVEMBER 1ST, 2014: 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 people. 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`DONNEL: Barbara, you have to wonder if the official at the Vatican
who called that reprehensible ever saw that video.

COOMBS LEE: Ever saw that video or ever felt the intensity --


-- of family bond that was apparent in the Maynard and Diaz Family.
This is a family that stuck together and faced the worst that they could
imagine together.

You know, those are values that, you know, carry us through in hard
times. And Brittany and her family had them in spades.

O`DONNELL: And this is a point of consistency with the Catholic
Church. It is a religious belief that life and the progress -- the
processes of life in all forms, at any level, can never be tampered with.

This is why the church is opposed to every single abortion, including
those from rape or incest. And so, this is a perfectly consistent
religious belief that the church is enunciating. But, obviously, --


-- the publicity attached to Brittany`s death provoked the church to,
very specifically, come out and make this point about the kind of choice
Brittany made with her life.

COOMBS LEE: It may be consistent, but it is consistent in a belief
system that Brittany Maynard and her family did not share. And so, that`s
where the --


-- presumption comes in, that it really is not our place to impose our
personal belief system on people who have their own relationship to the
Divine mystery, and their own way of relating to that as the time comes for
them to die.

O`DONNELL: Barbara Coombs Lee, thank you very much for joining us
again tonight.

COOMBS LEE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, rewriting the meaning of the 2014 Election. No
one has done that better than a conservative Texas Republican who says
Republicans have no chance of winning the White House in 2016.

That`s in "Rewrite."


BOB SAGET, COMEDIAN AND AUTHOR: Up next in the "Rewrite," why one
Texas Republican thinks that the Congressional Elections were not a big
victory for the Republican Party. That`s next.

O`DONNELL: You are getting so good at this.

SAGET: I want this job.

O`DONNELL: OK, don`t leave.

SAGET: I`m not. I`m not ever leaving.



I`ll be right here.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE NEWS ANCHOR: What a big historic night for the
G.O.P., sweeping wins across the country, solidifying their hold on


O`DONNELL: And, now, the time has come to rewrite the meaning of the
2014 Election. Few things are as dangerous to a long-term strategy as a
short-term victory.

Republicans scored the kind of win that sets one up for a spectacular,
catastrophic failure. And no one is talking about it.

Once again, Republicans are disappearing from the competitive
landscape at the national level across the most heavily-populated sections
of the country, while intensifying their hold on a declining electoral
block of aging white rural voters.

The 2014 Election not only continued that doomed pattern, it doubled
down on it. As a result, no Republican candidate has a credible shot at
the White House in 2016.

And the chance of the G.O.P. holding the Senate for longer than two
years is precisely zero for Republicans. The 2014 Election is a prelude to

Understanding this trend begins with a stark graphic. Behold the blue
wall. The blue wall is a block of states, a block of states that no
Republican presidential candidate can realistically hope to win.

That block has finally extended to New Hampshire, meaning that, at the
outset of any presidential campaign, a minimally-effective Democratic
candidate can expect to win 257 electoral votes without even trying.

That`s 257 out of the 270 needed to win. Arguably, Virginia now sits
behind that blue wall as well. Democrats won the Senate seat there without
campaigning, in a year when hardly anyone but Republicans showed up to

And the G.O.P. enjoyed its largest wave in modern history. Virginia
would take that tally to 270. Again, that`s 270 out of 270.

By contrast, Republicans control a far more modest red fortress ,
which currently amounts to 149 electoral votes. What happens to that
fortress amid the glory of the 2014 victory, it shrunk yet again.

Not only are New Hampshire and, probably, Virginia now off the
competitive map. Georgia is now clearly in play at the federal level.

The Republican Party`s geographic and demographic isolation from the
rest of America actually got worse. Republican Senate candidates lost
every single race behind that blue wall.

Everyone. Across the country, every major Democratic ballot
initiative was successful, including every minimum wage increase.

Even in the red states, every personhood failed. Democrats, in 2014,
were up against a particularly tough climate because they had to defend 13
Senate seats in red or purple states.

In 2016, Republicans will be defending 24 Senate seats. And at least
18 of them are likely to be competitive based on geography and

Democrats will be defending precisely one seat that could possibly be
competitive, one. And that Republican wave in Congressional Elections this
year, it amounted to a total of 52 percent of the vote. That`s it.

We`re about to get two years of intense horrifying stupidity. If you
thought Benghazi was a legitimate scandal that reveals Obama`s real plans
for America, then you`re an idiot. But these next two years will be,
briefly, a happy period for you.

Not one word of the election analysis you just heard came from me.
Not one word. I stole every bit of that --


-- from a a column on "The Houston Chronicle`s" blog by conservative,
Chris Ladd. That`s right, a Texas conservative --


-- thinks that, "Congressional Republicans will deliver two years of
intense horrifying stupidity. And if you enjoy that, you`re an idiot."
Those were his words, not mine.

And that same Texas conservative, Chris Ladd, thinks that the
Republicans` big win wasn`t really that big, and that the Democrats will
easily win back the Senate in two years, and that, virtually, any
Democratic candidate for president will beat any Republican candidate for
president in 2016.

I have not seen or heard any wiser analysis of the election, that it
comes from a clear-eyed Texas Republican who wants the best for his party
in the future makes it all the more compelling.

And, obviously, I could not have said it better myself.


SAGET: Up next, the difference between playing a dad on TV and being
a real dad with real responsibilities. That`s next.

O`DONNELL: And who would know better.

SAGET: I don`t know.

O`DONNELL: Really, there`s really just one authority for that.

SAGET: Tim Allen.

O`DONNELL: No, I think it`s --

SAGET: Ray Romano.

O`DONNELL: I think it`s Bob Saget if we can get him. Can we get him.

SAGET: I don`t know.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`ll be back with him, him, him.

SAGET: I miss you.




MARY KATE/ASHLEY OLSEN, ACTRESS: Daddy, we`d like you to meet Minnie.

SAGET: We`ve met.


CANDACE CAMERON-BURE, ACTRESS: Oh, look, dad, Minnie is crazy about
you. She loves to hug. This is your kind of dog.

SAGET: My kind of dog is on a bun with mustard.



O`DONNELL: Bob Saget will never stop playing a TV sitcom dad as long
as reruns of "Full House" continue to run, apparently for reverence
indication, at a TV station near you.

But Bob Saget is a real dad in real life. And he takes the role of
father much more seriously than his foul-mouth standup act suggests.


In his book, "Dirty Daddy," now up in paperback, Bob Saget writes,
"I`ve put my," --


-- hey, what am I doing reading your book. Here, read this
highlighted part.

SAGET: Just the highlighted part?

O`DONNELL: Just the highlighted part.

SAGET: I can read the whole thing.

O`DONNELL: No, just the highlighted part.

SAGET: All right.

O`DONNELL: Because the sentence after that is filthy. Just the
highlighted part.

SAGET: Some of it is. I`m scared right now.

O`DONNELL: Read that.

SAGET: "I put my entire soul into raising my own daughters and will
continue to because it`s the most rewarding part of my life. But they`ve
also inspired me and taught me how to embrace and step up to that honored
roll of being a father in general."

"I get college audiences, thousands of people looking at me,
apparently as the dad they wish they had. And, yes, it`s only for an hour
and about as superficial a connection as can exist compared to actual real
life parenting."

"But I still take it very seriously. That`s not the comedian part of
me using the word, `seriously`."

O`DONNELL: And I know it`s not.

SAGET: It`s not funny at all.

O`DONNELL: I know. No, I know. That`s not, well, that`s not the
funny part.

SAGET: How dirty, right.

O`DONNELL: It`s the real part. And it`s true, I`ve seen you --

SAGET: Hold on, my thing`s coming out of my ear.

O`DONNELL: You don`t need it now.

SAGET: I don`t need this?

O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s just going to be us talking.

SAGET: It feels good. I like it.

O`DONNELL: You`re not going to run any more scenes on "Full House,"
OK. America has got enough of that.

SAGET: I needed this to do that show.

O`DONNELL: It`s somewhere on the dial right now, so you won`t have to
hear that again.

SAGET: All right.

O`DONNELL: I`ve seen you with your daughters, I`ve hung with you and
your daughters, who are adults now, --

SAGET: Yes. And the injunction`s coming out soon.

O`DONNELL: -- and they are remarkable and wonderful.

SAGET: Thank you. I`m very lucky.

O`DONNELL: And they love their dad so clearly.

SAGET: Well, their real dad, you`re saying.

O`DONNELL: And they like hanging with you.


O`DONNELL: And they`re at an age where, you know, daughters,
generally, hanging with their father isn`t their first choice.

SAGET: That`s really sweet. I really love hanging with them, too.

O`DONNELL: So, what did you do right. How did you pull that off.

SAGET: I guess it`s -- they call it luck. But what`s luck. When
opportunity and preparedness meet.

Then that has no application to parenting. They have a great mom who
I know.


And they were children of divorce.

O`DONNELL: And you`re no longer married.

SAGET: We were divorced 16 years ago, you and I, --


SAGET: -- and -- but I want to get back with you. But my daughters,
to make this more --

O`DONNELL: Are you trying to make me blush.


O`DONNELL: It`ll work.

SAGET: I like making you blush.

O`DONNELL: You know, I --

SAGET: Do you think we can go camping tonight.

O`DONNELL: You know, I asked Bilgy and Tanya in make-up to make sure
they make sure they gave you the bad make-up.


Because I didn`t want you --

SAGET: You have a lot more color.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I know, I have pounds of more make-up.

SAGET: I just a little, little --

O`DONNELL: Did they say -- when you got there, did they say, "Sorry,
we just ran out of make-up," because that`s what I wanted --

SAGET: They had none. They just powdered.



SAGET: They said, "Here`s a quick fluff." But my daughters are --

O`DONNELL: But what I find so striking about this book is not just
passages like that about your daughter, which I know, I`ve seen, I`ve
observed, are heartfelt.

SAGET: I`m very fortunate. They are amazing human beings.

O`DONNELL: Yes and -- but you talk about your father, you talk about
your mother, your sisters who are no longer with us.


O`DONNELL: And you cannot resist the joke on every page. And I have
deliberately avoided those -- the parts of --

SAGET: It isn`t that how I knew -- I know you, we know each other.


SAGET: And that`s how you get through the pain. I mean, watching you
do the news, watching you tell the stories of the day. That`s hard.

I mean, and watching the news is just hard. And so, when I have
gallows humor, when things are difficult in life, we`ve had a lot of loss
in our family, to get through that, my dad just introduced gallows humor.

And so, the darker stuff would enter a page about loss. And then
there`d be some joke about my nether regions or something incorrect.

O`DONNELL: Something you can`t say now, at this hour.

SAGET: No because kids are watching.

O`DONNELL: Now, here, I`m probably going to ruin a bunch of kids,
potential as students, --


-- with what I`m about to quote from your memoir here -- "My career in
comedy was a --


-- direct result of being the kid in class who was screaming out for


O`DONNELL: And it worked.

SAGET: It did but it`s a difficult path because you`re either -- I
was either very popular or the biggest nerd, anti-social person, that most
comedians will tell you they`re outsiders, they are. Were you an outgoing

O`DONNELL: So, how did that -- how did that --

SAGET: -- were you an outgoing kid.

O`DONNELL: I`m asking the question.

SAGET: Darn it.


O`DONNELL: How did this work in class, you being -- screaming for

SAGET: It work for a couple of years. And then I wrote a paper on
"The Odyssey." And the teacher -- I wrote back, "It was all just jokes."


And she said, "You are my student, not my entertainer. I`m giving you
a D." It was kind of funny.

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm.

SAGET: And it was just -- I made an animated movie out of claymation
also that showed the cyclops and all of -- Odysseus and his men.

O`DONNELL: But, you know, the class clown is usually a popular person
in some ways.

SAGET: I did cruel stuff, too, though I`m not a hazing type of


SAGET: I don`t enjoy it. But I did some acting out stuff. I would
throw lollipops on the floor and the teacher would stick to them and then -
- I did bad -- I did things I`m not proud of.

So, I`ve gone through a lot. And then, now, the therapies helped me
get through it.

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm. You talk about -- you have such a positive
attitude in here that it surprises me -- and because I know -- I know
enough to know when to be surprised about Bob Saget here. I know there are
a lot of good, smart, kind --


-- people out in the world. I see humankind`s glass as being more
than half full.


Now, I`m telling you right now, you can hang with Bob Saget hours on
end, you will never hear a sentence like that.


But in your contemplative moments of putting down --

SAGET: Those expletives have --

O`DONNELL: -- putting down on paper things that you -- things that
you really think about, --


O`DONNELL: -- this is the kind of thing that comes up.


O`DONNELL: As well as -- I just want to stress, a dirty joke in every
other paragraph.

SAGET: But some are smart. Some of them are smart.

O`DONNELL: Yes, some of them are --

SAGET: And then sometimes I say, "Please reserve your laughter until
the end of this paragraph."


But my dad was a very sweet, kind man. And that`s what impressed me
the most. That through all the darkness, and through all the dirty stuff
that I was kind of raised listening to, the kindness was the most important

So, that`s, I guess, the duality or the bipolarness of what my comedy
has been and continues to be. It`s not one thing.

I`m not black or white or A or B or whatever. It always morphs,
somehow, differently.

The kindness -- I wake up in the morning and if I`m not -- you take in
the world, once you take in the world, you feel bad. But I`m a -- I`m
known, by myself, to be a positive person.

You`re positive. When you woke up with me that day, I remember, we
were -- we had gone camping.

O`DONNELL: Is this still on. Is this still on.

SAGET: We were renting "Planes, Trains And Automobiles." It was

O`DONNELL: This is the improvising section.

SAGET: We had a bolster pillow.

O`DONNELL: So, your --


-- your dad never edited himself around you.

SAGET: No. He should have.

O`DONNELL: He just said whatever he was going to say.


O`DONNELL: He didn`t care if you were four years old.

SAGET: He didn`t know.

O`DONNELL: And that wasn`t the so-called appropriate word.

SAGET: Right. I was the only --

O`DONNELL: And that`s how we got Bob Saget, --

SAGET: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- an unedited father.

SAGET: And my mother who was a straight man. She`s a woman but she
was a straight man who was -- everything was stoic.

And she was like very serious and very matter of fact, "Yes, Bobby,

O`DONNELL: Now, did she -- did she know that, comedically, she was
functioning as a straight man scenario.

SAGET: She did. She used to ask me if I could stop saying on
television that she was a Viking with plates. I don`t know what they`re
called but they were armor.

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm. And --

SAGET: Yes, she knew that she was -- the more that she was -- she
used to say about my father and myself, "Oh, I have to live with both of
them." And we`re like, "No, you don`t."


O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right.

SAGET: "You could leave. We`ll just do this little comedy team." My
dad could have been a comedian, I think.

He just was at a difficult life. He went through depression when he
married my mother.


No. He went through this whole thing that happened. Did you hear
about the depression.

O`DONNELL: I heard about it, yes.

SAGET: Yes, so, he went through that.

O`DONNELL: I feel it coming on as you speak. Can you -- can we do
more of this that we`ll post online.

SAGET: Sure.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to end the TV show right now.

SAGET: I absolutely love that.

O`DONNELL: Someone else take over on TV.


O`DONNELL: And then we`ll sit here, we`ll do more of this. It will
be up online.

SAGET: Right.

O`DONNELL: And it`s going to have to be almost as clean as this.

SAGET: It will be. It`s another seven grand, right.

O`DONNELL: All right, so that`s what we`re going to do. So, you stop
talking now and - (inaudible). Chris Hayes is up next.


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