tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC September 24, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
there was someone there he wanted to shake hands with, who he wanted to single out and touch and talk to personally. just one. one in the whole chamber. and it was john kerry. secretary of state john kerry. he did not expect it, clearly, but it was the one moment of the pope's choosing where he singled out a politician for this hand shake and this greeting and these words. pope francis supports the iran deal. he was involved in setting up the cuba conversations. he's advocated for an increased response to the refugee crisis and kerry said we will up our response to that. there are a lot of places in which these two see eye to eye. but it's hard to not see this as coming full circle, as closing a chapter. and if the church is going to be used as a right wing weapon against some american politician again, it seems like it's not going to happen again soon. not while this one is in march. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence odom.
o'donnell. >> i'm so glad you shared that moment. all of that was going through my head when i saw that hand shake. in his speech to congress, the pope honored a woman who had an abortion and was a socialist. and the pope honored the politicians he was speaking to, comparing their work to moses, the patriarch, and law giver of the people of israel. and the pope reminded everyone in that chamber and everyone in this country who is not native american that we are all the sons and daughters of immigrants. mister speaker, the pope of the holy see! >> the first ever papal address before a joint meeting of congress. >> the land of the free and the home of the brave. [ applause ] >> for a moment, a law making body known for partisan feuding came together. >> do unto others as you will
have them do unto you. >> he was speaking to our common core of humanity. >> the issue of refugees and immigration. >> we must not be taken aback by the numbers. but rather view them as persons. >> we will see if the presidential candidates want to differ with them. >> yet undecided potential candidate right there on the podium. >> do you think john biden is going to decide to run? >> that i don't know. >> the challenges facing us today call for our renewal of corporation. >> in six days, this place could shut down. >> do you think this message has a shelf life. >> let us pray. >> in a 50-minute speech to a joint session of congress, pope francis wove the stories of four americans into his theme of
building a better future for all. >> this man for all the dpirchss and limitations with self-sacrifice some at the cost of their lives to build a better future. i would like to mention four of these americans. abraham lincoln, martin luther king, thomas martin. >> thomas martin was a french immigrant, author, poet, and later in life join the mon
strar. and dorothy day lived an adventurous bohemian life before converting to ka-- catholicism. >> the challenges facing us today call for renewal of corporations which maz accomplished so much good throughout the history of united states. >> as expected, the pope spoke of his concern for protecting the planet against what he called environmental deterioration without ever using the words climate change. >> i call for a courageous
effort to redirect our steps and to get the most effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. i'm convinced that we can make a difference. and i have no doubt that the united states and this congress have an important role to play. >> the pope stressed the sanctity of life without mentioning abortion, but instead stressing his opposition to the death penalty. an anti-death penalty activist will join us later to discus that point. the issue the pope spoke of at greatest length was immigration. and his message could not have been clearer, follow the golden rule. do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
>> we the people of this continent are not fearful of foreigners. because most of us -- [ applause ] >> because most of us were once foreigners. our world is facing a refugee crisis of an amount not seen since the second world war. this presents with us great challenges and many hard decisions. on this continent, thousands of persons are left to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones.
in search of greater opportunity. it is not what we want for our own children. >> let us remember the golden rule. do unto others as you -- [ applause ] do unto others as you will have them do unto you. >> joining us now are representative joaquin castro, democratic congressman from texas, also joining us sister sister simone campbell,author of "nun on the bus."
what was it like to be in the chamber today. you've been there for state of the union addresses and other addresses. this was something special. >> it was. it was absolutely both electrifying and very spiritual. the pope gave a beautiful address, and i was telling folks after his address that these have probably been the two harmonious days we've had in congress since i've been here. i'm in my third year now. people are very respectful. it was only one of these addresses where i've seen republicans and democrats stand up and applaud at the same time. as you know, in the state of the union, one side of the chamber gets up and the other side stays seated to make a point. hopefully we'll have a chance to reflect on it in the coming weeks and months. >> congressman castro, was there any particular point in the congressional audience reaction
that was surprisingly unifying? was there any particular line where you saw applause, where you think perhaps if the president had said some version of that, the applause would have been more partisan? >> i think his point about the golden rule and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. and also about the value of life. both of those points, i think, were very well received by everyone. i think folks were a little bit surprised by his statement on the death penalty. you know, the reporters up in the stands had copies, i believe,er of h of his speech. but the members of congress who usually get copies, we didn't have one. so nobody was able to follow along. in those two instances, that was especially unifying, but also i think when he spoke about the death penalty, people really were thoughtful and reflective about it. >> i want to listen to something that he just said a short time
ago across the street here in manhattan at st. patrick's cathedral about nuns. let's listen to this. >> to you, sisters and mothers of this people, i wish to say thank you. [ applause ] >> sister simone campbell, your reaction to that and also your reaction to his speech at the joint session. >> well, i'm really touched by his response to women who are religious. and act ually it was his speech to congress, the very last paragraph felt like the explanation of our lives. like lincoln we work for liberty. like dorothy day, we work for those who are most vulnerable. like dr. king, we work for justice and like thomas murton, we have a deep and contemplative
life. i feel like i recognize myself in his speech and coming together and being our better selves in the nation. it's been quite a day quite frankly. >> i want to listen to what he said about what it means to be a good political leader. let's listen to his deaf nation of good political leader. >> a good political leader is up with who with the interest of all in mind seizes the moment in a spirit of is openness. >> i'm going to have to memorize that word for word, the answer of what a good political leader is. >> isn't that a perfect example of the way things are now? first, i want to point out in sister campbell's mon nohonor,
loudest applause when he praised the nuns. he tapped into something in the catholic people. but on his description, there was this emphasis on the common good and on always pursuing it. and also on the need to preserve the dignity of every person. and what's really striking is he really is trying to tell people, look, you can do this. you have a better self. you can be your better self on immigration. politics is a noble profession. these guys haven't heard that from anyone in decades. i think there was a radicalness about everything he said. he picked the two most radical catholics in american history, dorothy day and merton, who were
radicals. it was the combination of radical critique and hope and encouragement i've ever heard from any preacher. >> i want to go back to the immigration components of his speech, because that was the largest single subject in his address to congress. and, you know, he obviously has advisers here in the united states going over his speech word for word. and i think he came awfully close to actually using the phrase dreamers, which has become politically charged in washington when he talked about america being the land of dreams. let's listen to this. >> i am happy that america continues to be for many a lapped of dreams. what is deepest and truest in
the life of the people. in recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future of freedom. >> congressman castro, did that sound to you like he was talking about the people we now call dreamers? >> yeah, i did. he seemed to be alluding to them. and he spoke in the first person about his own story, being a descendant of immigrants. he reminded all of us in congress and the american people that most of us are decendents of immigrants. and then when he spoke about refugees, he pleaded with us to see them as people and to look at their faces and not just be overwhelmed byaire numbers. >> sister simone, i wanted you to get a quick last word on everything that happened with the pope today? >> i have to say, lawrence, the
biggest message was that piece about we can be our better selves, we can have the dreams, but it requires us to work together for the common good. where no one is left out of our care. and that called be our better selves. when he says we the people, i think he's reallying the -- referencing the constitution, and we the people can do this. >> thank you both very much for joining us tonight. thank you. >> coming up, the senate has blocked a bill to defund planned parenthood today. but a government shutdown could still happen next week. and there are mixed reviews for the democratic presidential candidates including joe biden in a new poll. and suddenly the world asked today, who is dorothy day? after the pope mentioned her this morning. she was, as i've said, an extraordinary woman who some want to make a saint. something that dorothy day herself never wanted to be. her story is later. (man) hmm. what do you think?
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run. hillary clinton at 43%, bernie sanders at 23% and joe biden in 18%. but in election matchups, joe biden does better against the four republican front-runners than hillary clinton does. ben carson, carly fiorina and jeb bush comes out ahead. while joe biden comes out ahead of every republican except ben carson who is in a tie. joining us now, the florida state director for barack obama's 2008 campaign and an adviser to draft biden. also with us again, e.j. dionne. these polls have a mixed message, hillary clinton a very solid lead in national polls. we have other polls in new hampshire showing bernie sanders in a very big leagd over the matchups there. but it's in one-on-one matchups that joe biden will probably be
pointing to to make his case when he's convincing people to back his campaign if he gets in. >> yeah. i think the argument is joe biden matches up better against the democrats than republicans. we've seen this over and over again the last month or so. whether it's against bush or trump. he polls three or four points better than clinton does or sanders does. if he gets in the race, it will be one of his better arguments. >> e.j., let's look -- in these one-on-one matchups, ben carson is the now the strongest republican matched one-on-one against any democrat. how did that happen? >> i will bet you a stack of thomas merton books that won't be true a month from now. i just don't think it's going to happen. but i was astounded by that. but it seems that for moment, ben carson is almost like the generic candidate in the poll.
people know, at least republicans know just enough to about him to like him. and i assume -- i don't know if this poll was done before his recent problem on what he said about muslims. but i think this poll will have some effect on those democrats who have been very worried about hillary clinton's slide over the last four months. and i think there's a sense among some democrats that hey, a joe biden challenge might be good if hillary clinton can actually beat joe biden in the primaries. that will probably prove she is strong enough to be a strong candidate then. if she can't beat joe biden in the democratic primary, then she might have a problem later on. she would rather prefer him not to get in. all the move suggests biden's moving toward it. and i think he really does believe he's the right candidate for this moment, but i think he's being held back by a lot of personal feelings, you know, particularly about his son.
but the news sure is heading in the direction that he's running. >> i think he's in. but in new hampshire, a really important primary, joe biden is running well behind hillary clinton. it has half the support of hillary clinton. the problem is bernie sanders running way ahead of her. bernie sanders now at 46% in new hampshire, hillary clinton at 30. that's basically reversal of roles for them since june. joe biden at 14. and steve, what would be -- what could joe biden do coming out of the gate as a candidate to change those numbers in new hampshire? >> well, i tend to think they're going to change, if he gets in the race, just almost automatically. here's a guy who has -- >> what about that theory, a lot of people are throwing around this thing hey, your number is usually higher before you get in the race. >> well, i would point to somebody like donald trump.
i hate to compare trump and biden too much, but in this case, what was he? 4 or 5%? he was the tenth guy on the stage and got in the race and shook all things up. he's got 80, 85% favorables among democrats he's the best liked democrat potentially in the race. if he gets in, it becomes a real thing for people. you'll see the numbers move. >> go ahead, e.j. >> i think it's hard to read the joe biden numbers. because on the one hand, he is not a candidate. for months, people said he won't run. you can imagine that would make peopleless likely even when he's listed in it. on the other hand, when you're not a politician, not facing the scrutiny, and the other wide when republican-leaning voters don't really view you as partisan in a way they would in the race, that kind of helps them in the polls. i think those two sort of operate against each other.
we'll see what happens if he does get in. liz, a quinnipiac poll on the republican side shows donald trump in what seems to be a plateau. 25%. in this particular poll, that's down from 28 last time. ben carson now second, 17. carly fiorina 12. jeb bush at 10, marco rubio, 9. and e.j., that seems to be now the -- there's cement forming around that kind of polling now on the republican side. >> well, there's cement at the top. you feel like trump may have hit his ceiling, but the rest of the field, i think, is completely fluid. you have fiorina, she shows very differently in different polls. but she is clearly having her moment, the way many of the other candidates on the republican side had their moment in 2012. you wonder if she can keep that. everything is fluid under trump right now. >> steve shale, when is joe biden going to announce? >> listen, i don't think any more than you do.
i think as you indicated, this is really more of a personal decision for him than a political decision. we're going to keep building operations in the early states in case he gets in. >> thanks for joining us tonight. coming up, eight republicans including a presidential candidate voted with kprats, trying to stop republicans like ted cruz from shutting down the government over funding planned parenthood. laundry can wreak havoc on our clothes, ruining them forever. sweaters stretch into muumuus. and pilled cardigans become pets. but it's not you, it's the laundry. protect your clothes from stretching, fading, and fuzz. ...with downy fabric conditioner... it not only softens and freshens, it helps protect clothes from the damage of the wash. so your favorite clothes stay your favorite clothes. downy fabric conditioner. wash in the wow.
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tens of thousands greeted pop francis as he made his way down fifth avenue to st. patrick's cathedral. h ehas retired to his residence. tomorrow, he will continue his visit to new york with an address to the united nations general assembly and a multifaith service at the september 11 memorial. he will also meet with students at the east harlem catholic school, our lady queen of angels and lead a procession through central park. he will end his day with a mass to 20,000 at madison square garden. coming up, if the pope had told congress everything he actually knows about dorothy day today, most of them would have been shocked. that's coming up.
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advance. the final tally was 47-52. eight republicans, including rand paul voted with the democrats. on monday, the senate will hold another procedural vote. this time on a clean resolution that would not defund planned parenthood. if that pass, the senate would hold its final vote on tuesday, leaving the house one full day to pass a budget bill of its own before the shutdown deadline. leading the charge for a government shutdown is once again presidential candidate ted cruz who wrote this about republican leadership's prom not to shut down the government. on its face, it sounds reasonable, except in practice it means republicans never stand for anything. in on op-ed for "the wall street journal," karl rove writes a few presidential hopefuls seem to want a shutdown to burnish their credentials with primary voters but they cannot explain how they will get the votes to pass the defunding measure or overcome a presidential veto. without such a plan, this is
simply self-promotion. any republicans who engineer a shutdown will be unwitting allies of the abortion movement. joining us now laze mai mayer, with us, dana milbank. you know these guys. is karl rove's argument going to carry the day? >> probably, yes. i think you can rely on republican immediaters more or less running things right up to the wire and then doing pretty much whatever it takes to cave and sort of move the ball over the line. even the last 30 minutes of the day. i'm not sure i totally agree with him, though. i think there is a valid criticism here that republicans
frequently talk a good game about cutting spending in an array of areas and whenever push comes to shove, we basically just prove that we're willing to spend just a small bit less than democrats. and i do think that is a problem with a lot of base voters in the republican party, particularly people who are of even more limited government and libertarian mindset, much like myself and a lot of people who are inclined to support people like ted cruz and rand paul in a presidential contest. >> you predicted this collection of presidential candidates was pound to create situations like this. >> well, sure. i mean, it's an absolute recipe for chaos. i don't think that this is going to cause headaches for mitch mcconnell and eventually for john boehner. i agree with liz. i don't think they're actually going to be zany enough to actually shut down the government over this. and, you know, this is a point, they will run it to the last moment. there's always the risk that
something goes wrong, but this is the time when they will actually go against the conservative rank and file. it's particularly dangerous when it gets to john boehner in the house because he is in a much more vulnerable position in terms of his leadership. there already this sort of no-confidence vote floating out there. but when push comes to shove, they will not allow this to go through because they've learned their lesson repeatedly before following ted cruz off the edge of a cliff. liz mair, what was rand paul's calculation in joining the democrats and to vote for them? >> rand paul put out a statement after that that made the point, i don't think he intends to support the measure that will include this funding. i think his criticism is probably similar to what mine would be. even if you go ahead and do what we're now contemplating doing, we're still adding, i think his
calculation is something in the realm of $400 billion to, i believe he's saying debt as opposed to deficit. that may not sound like a phenomenal amount when we're talking $18 trillion in debt, but that is still objectionable and doubling down on the problem. so i don't think when you look at rand paul's voting, it's not necessarily fair to say he's voting like a democrat, or with democrats. i think he generally is voting against increased spending generally, regardless of whether that includes planned parenthood or not. i think he has a problem with a wide array of government spending, and probably much like many more libertarian-inclined republicans feels that there's quite a lot of spending beyond simply that going to planned parenthood that is objectionable. and if we're going to have a discussion about shutting the government down, we ought to get rid of the rest of it, and not just the planned parenthood stuff. >> quickly before we go, a week from now, what happens? >> we will have punted the whole
thing into december and then we get to do the entire thing all over again, lawrence, with exactly the same cast of character. >> a very familiar outcome. thank you both for joining us tonight. coming up, abby hoffman called her the first hippie. and today the pope called her a hero. her story is next. each morning for my frequent heartburn because you can't beat zero heartburn! ahhh the sweet taste of victory! prilosec otc. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. hey babe, last one home cooks? ♪ ♪ ♪ another tie. order in? next time i drive. the right-sized nissan rogue. ♪
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and for the cause of the oppressed. >> the most famous hippie of the 1960 s and '70s, the most famous hippie in the world, abby hoffman said the original hippie was dorothy day, the woman the pope honored today. and this is her story. dorothy day was born in brooklyn heights. her parents were christian in name only. as a teenager, the family was living in chicago and dorothy was walking down streets, past the actual buildings described in upton sinclair's "the jungling" that brought a new focus to the plight of america's urb urban poor. dorothy day once said the sight of poverty was in conflict with religion. where were the saints to try to change the social order, not
just to minister to the slaves but to do away with slavery? in college, dorothy joined the socialist party. she then returned to new york city and started writing for socialist publications and living the bohemian life inform greenwich village. she was arrested for the first time in 1917 with a group of women picketing the white house for the right to vote. she kept getting arrested for civil disobedience decade after decade until her last arrest in 1973 in california with caesar chavez and the united farm workers. dorothy got pregnant during her first great love affair, but faring that her unfaithful man was going to leave her, she decided to have an abortion. she married on the rebound from that relationship and soon divorced. never remarried. she was happily living on staten island in an oceanfront cottage in a stable relationship, finally with a man who was a biologist and an atheist when she gave birth to their
daughter, tamar. slowly and surely, her new baby turned dorothy day toward religion. dorothy said, no human creature could receive or contain so vast a flood of love and joy as i often felt after the birth of my child. with this came the need to worship, to adore. it was because, through a whole love, both physical and spiritual, i came to know god. dorothy's increasing religious commitment became alienating to the father of her child, and so they separated, and dorothy became a single mother, who tried supporting her daughter with various jobs, including screen writing and hollywood before she created what became the perfect vehicle for her radical advocacy journalism. the first edition of the catholic worker was published an may day, may 1, 1933, at the height of the depression. >> i think it's the.
bigs of everybody in journalism to have their own paper. i was very dubious about the funds. but he said in the catholic church, funds were never necessary. you just needed to start. and we found it worked that way. >> dorothy day became the catholic leader that no one could possibly have anticipated. she was, first of all, and most importantly, a woman. and all catholic leaders were men. she was a single mother. she had come late to the religion. being a socialist was not a particularly difficult fit among catholics in new york city in the 1930s, but being a pass fist was. the catholic church had officially adopted the just war theory, which dorothy day loudly opposed. she was a pacifist when being a pacifist was beyond difficult. on december 8, 1941, the day after pearl harbor was attacked, dorothy day said, we must take a stand, we must renounce war as
an instrument of policy. we must affirm that there will be no more war. never, but never again. war must cease. there are no victories. the world can bear the burden no longer. on that day in that same speech, dorothy day accurately predicted the age of nuclear weapons that was almost upon us. she said, i will tell you within a decade, we will have weapons capable of ending this world as we have known it. in 1966, new york's cardinal spellman made a christmas visit to american troops in vietnam where he reportedly said the vietnam war was a war for civilization. in the very next issue of "catholic worker" dorothy day wrote a response to her cardinal. she said, the works of mercy are the opposite of the works of war. feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, nursing the sick, visiting the prisoner. but we are destroying crops, setting fire to entire villages,
and to the people in them. we are not performing the works of mercy, but the works of war. >> on august 6, 1976 when dorothy day was nearly 80 years old, she made her final speech. this time at the catholic eucharist congress in philadelphia, which was attended by mother teresa. dorothy day noted that she was speaking that day on the anniversary of the first atomic bomb being dropped on hiroshima. dorothy died four years later at the age of 84. her grave is on staten island, a short walk from the ocean side cottage where her baby daughter turned her towards catholicism. the current archbishop of new york, timothy dolan has become a forceful advocate for saint hood for dorothy day. the united nations congress of catholic bishops voted unanimously to move forward with
her canonization. more than once, dorothy day said don't call me a saint. and her spirit lives on in her granddaughter, maggie hennessey who said years ago, you have completely missed her believes and what she lived for if you're trying to put her on a pedestal. take all your money and efforts towards her canonization and give it to the poor. that's how you could show your respect for her. "the catholic worker" is still published and is on sale for exactly 1 penny, the price set by dorothy day. and that is her story. queso dip ♪ ♪ haven't been this lost in years ♪ (gps) ♪ recalculating shortest route ♪ ♪ do i really look like this? ♪
something we did. the boston guy screaming about the fish. i felt sorry for the fish because it looked like the fish was dying. the full story is the fish was perfectly healthy. there was no problem. you would have learned that if you stayed with us and watched michael bergen online in the very last word last night after the program. let's listen to what he had to say. >> that was our intention was to try to help it. but when we had contacted the coast guard, they had asked for us to e-mail a picture of it. and when i had done that, they responded with what it was, which was an actual ocean sun fish. >> and so that fish wasn't in any trouble at all? >> absolutely not. it sam right away. >> again, you can find that entire video of that perfectly healthy fish and the wonderful michael bergen on our website. when we come back, the pope's message on the death penalty.
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until the stage of its development. this conviction has led me from the beginning of my ministry to advocate on different levels, the global evolution of the death penalty. i am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred.penalty. i am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred.death penalty. i am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred. society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convict of crimes. >> joining us now by phone, sister helen prejean, author of
"dead man walking." in the film, she was portrayed by susan sarandon who won an oscar for that role. thank you very much for joining us tonight. i can only imagine, but i'm going to have to hear from you direction, what was your reaction to hearing the pope stress the need for what he called global abolition of the death penalty. >> well, my heart just swelled and i cried. i had been waiting for those words before the congress for a long time. and the pope put it in the context of the dignity of life in all stages. and i was holding my breath, everybody was holding their breath. because of course what you usually hear from catholics in that is about innocent life and unborn children, but never about guilty life. and when he said then, from the
beginning of my ministry for the abolition of the death penalty. he saw a lot of death in argentina. he saw a lot that happens to people when you put government in charge of deciding who can live and die. it could not have been a happier moment for me. aye been working for 30 years to educate and awaken the american public, not so much by lecturing to them, but by telling stories, educating them, too, about the death penalty. because a lot of people theoretically says well, if somebody killed my daughter, i would want to see them dead. but when you bring people through it, they get it. and we are beginning to see a shift. i couldn't be happier. i just couldn't be happier. >> the most of the supreme court, unfortunately, was absent from today's speech, including three catholics, but of the four
justices who were there, anthony kennedy was won. anthony kennedy is catholic, and he is the possible swing vote on the supreme court in the future that could turn this. and ant anyoonin scalia said hed not be surprised if at some point in the not too distant future, this court rules the death penalty unconstitutional. >> yeah, i'm especially happy to hear that coming from antonin scalia. but yes, anthony kennedy, i'm so glad he was there. and even if the others had been there, i don't know if they could have heard the pope. you can be present but not hear. they just seem to be so caught in their ideology of their particular way of interpreting the constitution. and what gets me the most, lawrence, about the death penalty is if the court looked at their guidelines and looked at the ground to see how they're being applied, they would see
there's no way that those guidelines, the worst of the worst and all that, are being applied. it's up to local cultures. so when you get in the deep south, the ten states that practice slavery, over 75% of all the actual executions. but the supreme court never looks at the ground. but what the pope did today was lifted us all into a noble endeavor. our own deepest hearts, our own deepest dreams, calling to inclusivity towards foreigner, towards refugees, towards just -- he summoned us. it was filled with love today. he didn't get into partisan politics. he didn't argue. he simply called us to the best. and the death penalty epitomizes all the main things the pope has been talking about. only poor people are selected to
die because they can't get good defense. people for the most part are selected to all right. i'm chris hayes here in new york city, as we watch live coverage of the pope, who's just across the street here in st. patrick's cathedral in new york. his first stop in this city on a three-day tour through the