tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC September 7, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
tonight to be part of this. thank you for being part of this. turn it over to lawrence o'donnell for "the last word" right now. >> thanks, rachel. come on up and join us. rachel's going to run up to the flight deck here on the "intrepid." we'll get her analysis of what we heard tonight at this historic commander-in-chief forum, one that we can only hope becomes the first in a series. it showed us what to expect in the debating styles of the presidential candidates. >> what is the most important characteristic that a commander in chief can possess? >> steadiness. >> i think the main thing is i have great judgment. >> raise your hand if you served in iraq. >> the decision to go to war in iraq was a mistake. my opponent was for the war in iraq. he told howard stern he supported it. >> she made up half of the things she said about me. i was totally against the war in iraq. >> we have to defeat isis. that is my highest counterterrorism goal. >> i don't want to broadcast to
the enemy exactly what my plan is -- >> but you're -- >> at the commander-in-chief forum here at the "intrepid" which ended just an hour ago. both presidential candidates, hillary clinton and donald trump, said their primary credential for being commander in chief is their judgment. >> steadiness. an absolute rock steadiness. and mixed with strength to be able to make the hard decisions because i've had the unique experience of watching and working with several presidents. what you want in a president, a commander in chief, is someone who listens, who evaluates what is being told to him or her, who is able to sort out the very difficult options being presented -- >> judgment. >> -- and makes the decision. that's right. >> so judgment is a key? >> temperament and judgment, yes.
>> what have you done in your life that prepares you to send men and women of the united states into harm's way? >> well, i think the main thing is i have great judgment. i have good judgment. i know what's going on. i've called so many of the shots. >> each candidate fielded a range of questions from moderator matt lauer and military veterans in the audience. both candidates agreed that the iraq war was a mistake, but hillary clinton said she learned from her mistake of voting for the iraq war and she said this about donald trump's insistence that he opposed the iraq war. >> now, my opponent was for the war in iraq. he says he wasn't. you can go back and look at the record. he supported it. he told howard stern he supported it. so he supported it before it happened. he supported it as it was happening. and he is on record as supporting it after it happened. i have taken responsibility for my decision. >> let me go to another veteran -- >> he refuses to take responsibility for his surmt. >> let me go to another question -- >> that is a judgment issue.
>> and here is donald trump's response to that. >> i happened to hear hillary clinton say that i was not against the war in iraq. i was totally against the war in iraq. you can look at "esquire" magazine from '04. you can look at before that. and i was against the war in iraq because i said it's going to totally destabilize the middle east, which it has. it has absolutely been a disastrous war. and by the way, perhaps almost as bad was the way barack obama got out. that was a disaster. >> to the crucial future policy question facing the next commander in chief, how will they decide to deploy troops to combat isis, hillary clinton was very emphatic about never sending ground troops into iraq again. >> they are not going to get ground troops. we are not putting ground troops into iraq ever again. and we're not putting ground
troops into syria. we're going to defeat isis without committing american ground troops. >> to that same question, donald trump repeatedly avoided specifics. >> when people like me press you for details, like that gentleman just said, on what your plan is, you very often say i'm not going to give you the details because i want to be unpredictable. >> absolutely. the word is unpredictable. >> but yesterday you actually told us a little bit about your plan in your speech. you said this. "we're going to convene my top generals, and they will have 30 days to submit a plan for soundly and quickly defeating isis." so is the plan you've been hiding this whole time asking someone else for their plan? >> no. but when i do come up with a plan that i like and that perhaps agrees with mine or maybe doesn't, i may love what the generals come back with. i will -- >> but you have your own plan? >> i have a plan, but i want to be -- i don't want to -- look, i have a very substantial chance of winning. make america great again.
we're going to make america great again. i have a substantial chance of winning. if i win, i don't want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is -- >> but you're going to -- >> let me tell you. if i like maybe a combination of my plan and the generals' plan or the generals' plan, if i like their plan, matt, i'm not going to call you up and say matt, we have a great plan. this is what obama does. we're going to leave iraq on a certain -- >> but you're going to -- >> we're joined now on the flight deck of the "intrepid" by chris matthews, the host of "hardball" -- >> we are here, aren't we? >> also with us, andrea mitchell, nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent. rachel maddow's on her way up to the flight deck. she'll be joining us momentarily. andrea, your reaction. >> both of them playing defense on separate issues. she on e-mails. very uncomfortable clearly answering questions from matt lauer about e-mails that referred to top secret -- the drone program. and she said it was a mistake,
but she really was really very defensive about that. he again not revealing the secret plan to defeat usis. and most remarkably saying that his cia briefers, he's had two briefings, she had one, his cia briefers had told him that president obama is not following their advice. now, i've covered intelligence and the intelligence community for a long time. i was not part of that secret briefing, but i would be stunned that the cia briefers signaled anything to donald trump. they have been absolutely rigorous about saying these briefings would be parallel and in fact if she asked a question about a subject he had not been told he would then get a subsequent briefing. he's had a second briefing. to fill him in. that they would absolutely get the same information. and the fact that they would be signaling to donald trump, a nominee and a controversial one at that who's had no experience in government or with classification that they're not happy with president obama is hard to believe. >> i think you've gone straight to what is the breaking news
coming out of this forum. let's listen to that part of the exchange. >> did anything in that briefing, without going into specifics, shock or alarm you? >> yes. very much so. >> did you learn new things in that briefing -- >> first of all, i have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings. they were terrific people. they were experts on iraq and iran and different parts of -- and russia. but yes, there was one thing that shocked me. and it just seems to me that what they said, president obama and hillary clinton and john kerry, who is another total disaster, did exactly the opposite. >> did you learn anything in that briefing, again, not going into specifics, that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish like defeating isis quickly? >> no. i didn't learn anything from that standpoint. what i did learn is that our leadership, barack obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly -- when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason.
what our experts said to do. >> how? >> and i was very, very surprised. in almost every instance. and i could tell, i'm pretty good with body language, i could tell they were not happy. our leaders did not follow what they were recommending. >> rachel maddow, your reaction to that. >> what's the body language reference? he says he's reading in the body language of his cia briefers that the leaders of our country including hillary clinton did not follow what the intelligence community wanted them to do. that's a very -- it's -- the thing that's strange about it is that it is so specific. what could you possibly convey with your body language that would give somebody that much of a nuanced take on what's happened over the last -- not even the second term of the current administration but the first term? that doesn't -- i mean, it's -- >> it also implies, chris matthews, that it's more than body language. before he gets to the body language, he says -- >> yes. >> -- he says that what i did learn as that barack obama did
not follow what our experts thought he should do. >> i think it's more than bdy language but he can't give that away, it's a briefing, he can only give away something that's non-verbal. he can say i felt different about being there, i sensed certain things. but he can't say they revealed some resentment or contempt toward the president, he wasn't following their instructions or advice. that's what came across to me much more. he must mean that. he can't mean body language. body language has to do with positioning and -- there's nothing that could convey that intellectually. i thought tonight was very interesting. i think hillary clinton might as well have won the coin toss because coming first i thought was better. i think she did much better coming in first. he was under a lot of pressure after a very strong performance by her. he came, in he looked red-faced the whole night-e looked like under tremendous fresh fresh matt lauer. whereas hillary -- and matt pressed her just as hard as he did trump. when hillary was pressed she stepped back. her body language which was vivid for all of us stood up and took the ball and ran with it physically. like bill used to do.
remember? bill would stand up. he'd say i don't have to sit in a stool, i can get up and walk around. she showed an alacrity and excitement with the question. it's an issue that raich sxl a lot of us care about. she was so direct in taking the bullet or taking the hit on iraq. she said i made a mistake. she wouldn't be budged from that. no quibbling, no buts. she just took it. i thought that was so strong. and i think that's going to -- that shows bob arnett and the briefers she was murderboarded before she went in there tonight. he looked like he had very little depth. and matt pushed him. there was not much behind what he was saying. he had one line, whereas she was ready i thought tonight. >> andrea, did donald trump cross a line with his discussion of the briefing? will the intelligence community have to now make some kind of response to what donald trump said -- >> they're going to have to answer it. people like me are going to ask questions. people like you and rachel and chris. obviously, you know, we're going to have to ask them, what is the cia unhappy about with barack obama?
>> yeah. >> let's listen to the way hillary clinton was challenged by matt lauer about the e-mail controversy as an issue of presidential judgment. let's listen to this. >> were some of the e-mails sent or received by you referring to our drone program, our covert drone program? >> yes. because of course there were no discussions of any of the covert actions in process being determined about whether or not to go forward. but every part of our government had to deal with questions, and the secretary of state's office was first and foremost. so there are ways of talking about the drone program -- >> and you said you thought your communications on that were fairly routine. >> well, let me say, the fbi just released their report about their investigation. they discussed drone matters in
the unclassified section -- >> but director comey also said this after reviewing all the information. he said, "there is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in secretary clinton's position should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation." >> well, matt, i just respectfully point to the hundreds of experienced foreign policy experts, diplomats, dense officials who were communicating information on the unclassified system because it was necessary to answer questions and to be able publicly to go as far as we could, which was not acknowledging the program -- >> rachel, matt went to the e-mail pretty much right off the bats an issue of judgment. >> stuck with it. >> stuck with it for a while. that was her roughest section it seemed to me of the entire 30 minutes. >> yeah. but what she's describing, it's
hard to imagine sort of a better answer to it because there is this thing that's wrong in the middle of american foreign policy i can say as a matter of my opinion, which is that we are conducting an ongoing years-long substantial military campaign that is a war by any other name but we're doing it as covert action and therefore literally american public officials are prohibited from discussing it. but we all know what's happening. they get asked about it in foreign countries. they get asked about it by us. they get asked about it by people on the street. it's a political issue. and they cannot discuss it except to reflect back to people that is an object of discussion. they can never talk about it itself. it's the problem with having the cia run a war. she's in this word solid on that because every public official who gets asked about it is by necessity put in that mess. and that's what's wrong with accountability in the cia running wars. >> let's go to the libya question that they were both asked to discuss. let's listen to this. >> she made a mistake on libya. she made a terrible mistake on libya. and the next thing, not only did
she make the mistake but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed you know what out of gadhafi. i mean, she made a terrible mistake on libya. and part of it was the management after effect. >> with respect to libya again, there's no difference between my opponent and myself. he's on record extensively supporting intervention in libya when gadhafi was threatening to massacre his population. >> and just for full context before we go to the discussion i want to actually show what donald trump said about this in 2011. his enthusiasm for going into libya is quite striking. let's see this. >> gadhafi in libya is killing thousands of people. nobody knows how bad it is. and we're sitting around. we have soldiers all over the middle east. and we're not bringing him in to stop this horrible carnage. we should be in. we should stop this guy, which
would be very easy and very quick. we could do it surgically. stop him from doing it. and save these lives. this is absolute nuts. we don't want to get involved. ultimately, the people will appreciate it. they're going to end up taking over the country eventually. but the people will appreciate it. and they should pay us back. >> chris matthews, how do you debate a presidential candidate who took the position we absolutely should go into libya, go in hard, and now says he never did? no one's had to really deal with that in a presidential debate. >> you have to call the guy a liar when you do that. that's the problem. that's the difficult thing for matt lauer to do because it sounds like an opinion and you're not supposed to have an opinion in this business. but look, it seems to me -- i wish we had a pure candidate taking the positions donald trump claims to be taking because i think if somebody ran and said i was against iraq, i'm against libya, i'm against getting involved, with trying to knock off assad, that would be a pretty damn good candidate. clearly stated.
but for some reason he won't admit that he was as wrong as everybody else was in that establishment world. he was part of the establishment. he accepted all the verties that went into sowing that war by w. he went into it all the way. and he went into it with hillary. it is odd they're citing howard stern conversations and "esquire" magazine. i'm sorry. these are the only sources we have. fortunately, a.p. came out tonight and made it very clear that trump was involved in supporting those wars even though he said he wasn't as a fact. >> andrea, you've seen presidential candidates present themselves to audiences of veterans for decades. i don't remember any of them appearing from both parties as the anti-war candidates, both of them. >> and she -- trying to say that she's not trigger happy that he's accused her of being interventionist and trigger happy, saying that on her watch there would be no ground troops in either iraq or syria, that she -- going after isis would be her top priority but no ground forces.
so ruling that out. it is striking that we are at this pass in america. and a woman who had eight years ago to prove that she could be tough in the primaries and commander in chief and talked about the 3:00 a.m. phone call is now arguing against her own past positions. >> i think that point that she made about ground troops in iraq is going to be a problem because especially for a military audience of veterans there are 5,000 americans in iraq right now. so to say we're going to go after isis without ground troops in iraq, there are 5,000 americans in iraq right now. there are american ground troops in syria right now. there are lots of americans in afghanistan right now. and it's not just a support mission. americans are dying in those theaters. so to talk about the idea it would be something we'd have to start in order to introduce ground troops to those places it's not real. >> rachel maddow gets our last word in our first round of analysis. rachel maddow, chris matthews, andrea mitchell, thank you all. we'll be right back here on the flight deck of the "intrepid" with more analysis of the commander-in-chief forum
they are not going to get ground troops. we are not putting ground troops into iraq ever again. and we're not putting ground troops into syria. we're going to defeat isis without committing american ground troops. >> joining us now, david ignatius, foreign affairs columnist and associate editor of the "washington post." also with us, richard engel, nbc news chief foreign correspondent. richard, i'd like to get your reaction about how this forum is going to play worldwide, especially in the region iraq, syria that's the focus of tonight's forum. >> well, i think a lot of people will be watching these kind of forums as the debate starts to focus more on foreign policy, national security, especially earlier today trump was talking
about growing the military. he was talking about the specific number of ships he wants to build. that is certainly the kind of information that turkey, where i am right now, russia, china, many other countries will be paying much closer attention to, probably more attention than they have been in the past about domestic issues or gun violence or e-mail scandals and things like that. the clip you just played i think hillary clinton, if she becomes president, may regret having said those words so emphatically. because the idea that there won't be any ground troops in iraq and syria, it gets to be how you define ground troops. there already are ground troops in both iraq and syria, and their numbers have been growing steadily. and many commanders that i've been speaking to and analysts think that eventually, if there's going to be an end to
isis, and everyone hopes that there will be that i'm speaking to, it will probably involve more of those american ground troops in some capacity. that said, there is an international concern about watching donald trump because foreign leaders, ambassadors that i've been speaking to frankly don't know if he can be trusted. they don't know if what he's saying is accurate, if he believes it from one day to the next. you played that clip on libya and then his comments today. and i think many around the world with watching and saying he's saying these things but does he mean any of them and can he be trusted? so i think they're also trying to get a sense of his character. >> david ignatius, the number one policy issue going forward that was discussed tonight was how will you combat isis. hillary clinton very clear about not sending in ground troops. donald trump, we're going to have to wait i guess that first 30 days for the generals to come
up with a plan and see how much of that plan agrees with donald trump's now secret plan. that's what we heard him say tonight. what should voters be focused on in those answers? >> i think trump very specifically wouldn't say what he was planning. he had a plan but he didn't want to tip his hand. i thought he made three comments that will be controversial. one was he was so critical of the currt s. military leadership. he said that the generals had been reduced to rubble under barack obama, that the performance of the military was an embarrassment. very strong language. he said at one point he wanted new generals when he became president. that's very unusual to call for that kind of change in the military, which you think of as being professional and independent. the second thing i thought was really important was when he said that he would want to take
the oil in iraq. the arab world's biggest fear about american involvement is that secretly is our goal, we want to take their oil, that everything we do is really about taking their resources. and trump came out and said it flatly. i think that's something that the arab world really will worry about. and then finally the issue you were talking about earlier about his response to the intelligence briefing. intelligence analysts don't make policy recommendations. for trump to infer from body language or whatever that there were policy recommendation that's were being made by intelligence officers is going to deeply upset people in that community. they try to be honest about what they think is ahead and whether u.s. policy will succeed or fail and make a real point of pride of not assuming everything's going to work out. but to infer that there's a policy recommendation there, i think again, that's something that people will really be looking at carefully tomorrow. >> david, on that point how do
you expect the intelligence community to react to donald trump discussing his briefings the way he did? and did donald trump cross a line? will the cia feel there's some statement they will have to make as a result of what he said tonight? >> my guess is that they won't say anything. i think the basic rule is that intelligence briefers do not talk about what the policy principles say, even if they end up responding and saying things that are worrisome. we'll see. but i'd be surprised if there was any response. i think people will just let it sit. there's an interesting question of what happens the next time trump gets an intelligence briefing. will people be more wary? will they give him an initial admonition that nothing that's being said by the briefers should be construed as a policy recommendation. >> richard engel, your reaction to that point that david was
just talking about, donald trump saying we should have taken the oil from iraq, that was our big mistake. >> that was very surprising. i'm also not exactly sure what he meant. did he mean that before leaving iraq, before the last u.s. troops left they should have loaded up every tanker ship that could be found and filled up with the oil and had some sort of giant flotilla heading back to the united states or leave a contingent of american troops in place to just guard the petrol stations and the oil fields? i wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that. and then he said, you know, to the victors the spoils. as david was saying, it's almost a neocolonialist or an imperialist way of looking at the world, which considering the history in this region it is completely unpopular.
but one thing that's so important to stress is the one i mentioned earlier, is the trust. people don't know if they can trust this man. >> david ignatius and richard engel, thank you both very much for joining us tonight with your invaluable perspectives on this commander in chief forum. really appreciate it. we will be right back with more analysis of the commander-in-chief forum, including how voters reacted to what they heard tonight.
>> announcer: this is "the last word" on campaign 2016. donald trump, typical. hillary clinton, better. >> donald trump, outsider. clinton, corrupt. >> donald trump, vague. hillary clinton, experienced. >> donald trump, president. hillary clinton, jail. >> trump, egomaniac. hillary, opportunistic. >> that was some of the reaction from some of the ohio voters who watched the commander-in-chief forum. according to a new "washington post" online poll, donald trump currently has a slight edge in that battleground state. he is at 40%. hillary clinton is at 37%. but after the commander-in-chief forum tonight were any voters' minds changed in ohio? joining us now from columbus, ohio is nbc's kristen welker,
who just conducted a focus group with a dozen ohio voters, six trump supporters and six clinton supporters. at the beginning, anyway. kristen, take it away. >> no one changed their mind, lawrence, but here was one big takeaway. one of the voters, anita markham, said that she came into this ready to vote for donald trump. but after tonight she felt as though secretary clinton looked more like the commander in chief. another takeaway here was that what was on display tonight, there was a real enthusiasm gap. most of the voters here said that they were more voting against someone than they were voting for someone. and tonight's forum only deepened their resolve on that. one of the voters, a clinton supporter, said that he thinks that donald trump is a racist, a fascist. take a listen to what he had to say and the response from a trump supporter. >> i just get a little nauseous when i see the republican
candidate on tv. it bothers me that he's a bigot. he's a racist. he's a fascist. i think woe be to our country if such a man were to be put in place. i'd not focus on that. >> jody, your reaction? >> i just don't see where everybody gets to where he's a racist and everything. he's just trying to keep america safe. he's trying to keep the terrorists out. and hillary's wanting to bring hundreds of thousands of them into our country. i just don't -- i just don't get it. >> another interesting exchange, lawrence, occurred with anita markham. she was bothered by secretary clinton's answer saying that she wasn't going to put more troops on the ground. we spent a lot of time talking to voters about that here. the reason why, she comes from a military family and she says
it's not realistic to say that. take a listen to a little bit of what she had to say in which she said no one hates war more than military families. take a listen. >> are you giving up a little more leeway than you would just you're just very anti-hillary clinton? >> maybe. but at least he didn't take a military option off the table. and trust me, there is no person on the face of this earth that hates war more than a soldier. am i right? >> you are right. >> nobody hates it any more. we don't stand up and cheer and go yay, we're going into battle. i screamed at george bush when he sent troops in. i screamed at every president that ever sent anybody into the war. but you better believe that night i said a prayer and said please, god, bring as many home as you possibly can. >> a lot of the clinton supporters actually said they didn't like that answer either because again, lawrence, it goes
back to this idea of how can you take options off the table before you're even elected as president. one voter here tonight said what he's really bothered by is that there aren't better choices. lawrence. >> kristen welker, thanks. appreciate it. we'll be right back with general wesley clark and his analysis of the commander-in-chief forum.
let me read some of the things you said. "i know more about isis than the generals do. believe me." was that the truth? >> well, the generals under barack obama and hillary clinton have not been successful. >> do you know more about isis than they do? >> i think under the leadership of barack obama and hillary clinton the generals have been reduced to rubble. they have been reduced to a point where it's embarrassing for our country. you have a force of 30,000 or so people. nobody really knows. but probably 30,000 people. and i can just see the great -- as an example, general george
patton spinning in his grave as isis we can't beat -- >> you said if we had macarthur today or if we had patton today we would not have isis, that the rise of these military commanders that we have today, they come up the chain of command and by the time they get to the top they're too politically correct. and we know that's not a compliment coming from you. have you lost faith in the military commanders? >> i have great faith in the military. i have great faith in certain of the commanders certainly. but i have no faith in hillary clinton or the leadership. you look at what's happened. when she comes in and starts saying oh, i would have done this -- she's been there for 30 years. i mean, we need change, matt. we have to have it. and we have to have it fast. >> general wesley clarke is here to respond to that and other points made in tonight's commander-in-chief forum right here on the "intrepid." that's next.
we're joined now on the flight deck of the "intrepid" by general wesley clarke, former nato supreme allied commander, who has endorsed secretary clinton for president. we asked the trump campaign to provide a former military official to join this discussion, but the trump campaign did not do that. general wesley clarke, i want to go first to your reaction to what we just heard donald trump say about the generals, beginning with he knows more about isis than the generals, or at least some generals. and saying that apparently he's going to get rid of a bunch of generals who are working now and replace them with we're not sure who. >> i think it's an indicator that he's not suited by temperament to be commander in chief. he doesn't listen. you know, it's not only what he said about the generals. i mean, the generals are outstanding people. i know many of them. some of them worked for me. and they've done a great job over there following the guidance of the commander in chief. that's what they're supposed to do. but the idea that he would go to
intelligence briefings and say he didn't learn anything except by the body language of the briefers, i mean, this is precisely the trouble. you've got a guy who thinks he knows everything about everything, doesn't listen, and educating donald trump by putting him in the office of the presidency would be the most expensive mistake america's ever made. >> let's listen to something he said tonight. we mentioned it earlier in the program, but i now want to listen to it carefully. what he said tonight about why we should have taken control of the oil supply in iraq. let's listen to this. >> i've always said, shouldn't be there but if we're going to get out take the oil. if we would have taken the oil, you wouldn't have isis because isis formed with the power and the wealth of that oil. >> how are we going to take the oil? how would we do that? >> just leave a certain group behind and you would take various sections where they have the oil. they have -- people don't know this about iraq but they have among the largest oil reserves
in the world. in the entire world. and we're the only ones, we go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then matt, what happens is we get nothing. you know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils. now, there was no victor there. believe me. there was no victor. but i always said take the oil. one of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is isis would not have been able to take oil and use that oil -- >> let me stay on isis -- >> -- to fuel themselves. >> matt asked how would you take the oil. the answer was you would leave a certain group behind. >> well, it just doesn't make any sense. first of all, it's not the 18th century. so we're not invading to seize things like this. but the oil that isis has been using is oil that's produced in syria, not in iraq. so that didn't make any sense. and to leave a group of people behind to guard oil wells. and then who's going to work those oil wells?
how are you going to get them out? it's a full-scale hostile occupation of a country. i mean, it means you're staying there and you're fighting for oil. why are we fighting for oil? that's the worst thing to fight for. we've got all the oil we need in the united states. we've got all kinds of alternative energy. it shows you that you can't take the trump out of trump even after he's been briefed and prepped on this for weeks by mike flynn and other people. there's no general who would have said -- and no responsible national security expert who would have said let's invade iraq and we'll take their oil. it's absolutely crazy. >> to the point matt lauer raised early with secretary clinton about her use of e-mail at the state department and questioning the judgment involved and how that would affect her presidential judgment, what was your reaction to the way she handled that question? >> i thought she answered it in a way that military people can understand. she said there were no markings -- >> she was challenged on it by a republican former military
official. >> yes. and that guy knows very well what ts, secret, and confidential sxhaen he knows they're marked top and bottom and there was nothing like that in her e-mails. and she made it clear in a way that military people can understand. the reason the drones were discussed is she was going to be asked about them publicly. so i thought it was a great answer. >> general wesley clark, i wish we had more time. thank you very much for joining us on the flight deck of the "intrepid." really appreciate it. up next, the "dallas morning news" did not endorse a republican for president for the first time in only 70 years. an editor of that newspaper will join us.
only one reason -- one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in november. we recommend hillary clinton. we've been critical of clinton's handling of certain issues in the past but unlike donald trump hillary clinton has experience in actual governance, a record of service, and a willingness to delve into real policy. resume versus resume, judgment versus judgment, this election is no contest." the day before that endorsement of hillary clinton the "dallas morning news" editorial board in an editorial said this about donald trump. "donald trump is no republican and certainly no conservative. we have no interest in the republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable. donald trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote." joining us now is kevin ann woolley, the "dallas morning news" editorial page editor. please tell us how you came to this decision and was it a long
time in coming? was it a long argument in the editorial board over reaching this decision which is historic for you? >> yes, it is historic for us. and it was a very deliberate and carefully constructed decision over a process. the first part of the decision really involved donald trump and our growing discomfort with what he represented both in terms of policy and in terms of temperament. during the republican primary we had recommended john kasich, thinking that he more closely allied with the conservative values that this institution has held dear for a very long time. clearly, john kasich did not catch fire, and so we had a difficult decision to make and that is what to say about a republican nominee or a nominee who calls himself republican who really in our view does not reflect republican principles at all. >> i want to go to something -- listen to something the trump campaign spokesperson katrina
pierson said about your endorsement. let's listen to this. >> we just acknowledge that the "dallas morning news" is a liberal paper. the reason why they have supported republicans is because that's the establishment in the state of texas. and this is just an effort to continue to try to turn texas blue, and it's just not going to work. >> so there's katrina pierson saying the only reason you've supported republicans for 75 years is that it's the establishment in the state of texas, which it certainly wasn't back in lbj's time. >> absolutely. this state was very democratic in the early years. and this paper has been a leader in the republican party since then. so over 70 years, 80 years, i think that's 19 elections we've recommended the republican nominee for president. kind of hard to paint us as a liberal bastion, i think. >> there's a new poll coming out of texas now showing hillary clinton very close to donald
trump, virtually in a tie. did that in any way affect your calculation, the standing in the polls in texas? >> you know, not really. we do a lot of candidate recommendations every election year, and i always try to explain that we're picking, we're trying to research and pick, recommend the candidate we think would be the best elected official carrying out principles and policies that we think are important. if we were picking candidates that we think were going to win, we would use a whole different data base or a whole different set of judgments. it's one thing to try to be predictive. it's a completely different thing to try to select the candidate best positioned to lead. >> you've got hundreds of thousands of readers over a vast area of distribution, and it's hard to know what they're all thinking. it's impossible to know what they're all thinking. but what is your sense of your readership's reaction to this editorial? >> a great deal of surprise. again, we've talked about the historic nature of it.
so we've heard from a lot of readers who are very surprised that we did this. also in that we did it in a two-part piece. we felt we needed to explain to our core readership why not donald trump first and then to come back the second day and say, well, if not him then who, and then explain very carefully our recommendation of hillary clinton, a person, by the way, that we've been critical of in the past. so we didn't come to this recommendation easily. we've heard from readers who are happy with what we've said. we've also heard a lot from readers who are unhappy with what we've said. so i'd say we're being noticed, i guess. >> keven ann willey, thank you very much for joining us on what is a historic day for your paper. we really appreciate it. >> thank you for the invitation. >> we'll be right back with more analysis of the commander-in-chief forum.
do you think the day that you become president of the united states he's going to change his mind on some of these key issues? >> it's possible. i don't know, matt. it's possible. and it's not going to have any impact. if he says great things about me i'm going to say great things about him. i've already said he is very much of a leader. you can say oh, isn't that a terrible thing. the man has very strong control over a country. now, it's a very different
system, and i don't happen to like the system. but certainly in that system he's been a leader far more than our president has been a leader. >> we ran out of time to analyze anything that donald trump said about vladimir putin tonight. but luckily, msnbc's live coverage of tonight's commander-in-chief forum with hillary clinton and donald trump will continue. next we go back to msnbc election headquarters, where brian williams will anchor "the 11th hour." brian and his election team, including nicole wallace and steve schmidt will have more reaction and analysis of what was said here at the "intrepid" tonight. in addition, brian will talk with one man who ran both the cia and the defense department about his reactions of tonight's commander-in-chief forum. and before we go also, a thank you to the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america for hosting tonight's forum here at the "intrepid" and also a thank you to everyone here at the "intrepid" sea, air and space museum in new york city for hosting nbc news and msnbc today.
i'm lawrence o'donnell. that's it from the "intrepid" tonight in navy museum. brian williams and "the 11th hour" is next. tonight, hillary clinton. donald trump. >> i have great faith in the military, i have great faith in certain of the commanders, but i have no faith in hillary clinton or the leadership. >> making their case to be the next commander in chief. >> we're going to defeat isis without committing american ground troops. >> if we had a relationship with russia, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of isis? >> good evening, it was tense and eventful and it was as close as we are going to come to a presidential debate until the presidential debates. appearing separately tonight,