tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC February 6, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
unserious national response to this disaster is as scary as the spill, itself. and scandal is following him. where in the world is chris christie? well, he is somewhere in texas tonight, avoiding cameras. and texas republican politicians are avoiding him. >> embattled governor chris christie heads to texas. chris christie is in texas today on a fundraising trip. >> on an rga fundraising tour. >> he is in texas. >> texas is one of the big atm's for politics. >> if we're taking a close look at what chris christie's brand of good governance is. a governor who has his extra duties -- >> that isn't very pretty. >> -- and scandal is following him. >> if you, a republican candidate. governor rick perry and attorney general greg abbott -- >> are standing next to chris christie. >> will not appear with him today in texas. >> his troubles will become your troubles. >> republican candidates,
republican elected officials. >> a lot of these christie allegations look really bad. >> won't touch him with a 250 mile pole. >> smart move right now, because so much is in flux. >> at the same time. >> john boehner's comments today on immigration. >> it's gonna be difficult to move any immigration legislation. >> his republican caucus cannot trust the president of the united states -- >> there's widespread doubt. >> -- to follow the law. >> one of the biggest obstacles we face -- >> it is a trust issue. >> is the one of trust. >> the idea that president obama cannot be trusted. >> it's very exasperating to be here. >> john boehner would like to see immigration reform pass. >> the conference is so divided. >> the base is uncomfortable. >> is he just playing to his base? >> i think he's playing hide the cheese. >> we've got a lot of things on our plate. >> the nation will reach its debt limit. >> the american people don't want that. >> no decisions have been made. >> there's gonna be no quid pro quo on raising the debt ceiling. >> this is silly. >> let's just do it. ♪ >> the last time the head of the
republican governor's association was drowning in scandal, it took just two days of media coverage of that scandal for him to resign the chairmanship to the republican governor's association. but chris christie is no mark sanford. five years ago, south carolina governor mark sanford was caught traveling secretly to rendezvous with a woman not his wife. five years later, that woman is now his fiance. and the current chairman of the republican governor's association is traveling secretly to raise money for the republican governor's association. chris christie went to texas today, where he was shunned by the republican political establishment. texas governor rick perry, himself a former chairman of the republican governor's association left it to his spokesperson to deal with the christie invasion, saying simply "governors come to our state regularly for a variety of reasons and we're pleased to have them here."
greg abbott the texas attorney general and the all but certain republican nominee to succeed governor perry, stayed 200 miles away from christie, who was in dallas, while abbott was in houston. normally, republican gubernatorial candidates rush to the side of the chairman of the republican governor's association when the chairman comes to their state. if greg abbott becomes the republican nominee for governor, consider this, he will be asking the republican governor's association for money. he will be asking chris christie for campaign money if, and only if, chris christie is still the chairman of the republican governor's association. and what we saw in texas today indicates that greg abbott probably does not believe that chris christie will still be the chairman of the republican governor's association when greg abbott needs campaign money from
that chairman. everything chris christie did in texas today was shrouded in secrecy, closed to the press, and apparently the same will be true next week when christie plans a fundraising trip in chicago. according to the new york times, illinois local republicans said they remained in the dark about the event's location, while state republican officials have been asked not to talk about mr. christie's trip. now, what every big and successful political fundraising event needs is a political superstar. someone everyone is excited about seeing, someone who, when he or she walks into the room, everyone else there believes they are in the presence of a future president of theite. united states. that's what the republican
governor's association was bargaining for when they elected chris christie chairman. they wanted someone who all of the republican gubernatorial candidates in the country would want to have their picture taken with. they wanted someone who would convince campaign investors to pour even more money into republican gubernatorial campaigns. and what chris christie wanted was media coverage, and lots of it, of his political rock star fundraising tours of the united states, like the one in texas today. the one in illinois next week. in states that he would be campaigning in for president. and chris christie wanted even more contacts with even more republican campaign investors who would then pour even more money into his presidential campaign than they pour into the republican governors association. and tonight, republicans are wondering, will chris christie ever be able to do a public event for the republican governors association? will any republican gubernatorial candidate in the country be willing to be seen
with or photographed with chris christie? republicans have absolutely no doubt that mark sanford did the right thing for them by resigning the chairmanship to the republican governors association when he ran into problems. and tonight, many republicans are nervously wondering how long chris christie can or will hang on. joining me now, msnbc senior political analyst david axelrod, former senior adviser to president obama and msnbc's steve kornacki. david axelrod, what are the democrats hoping for here? do they like having a head of a republican governors association who cannot be seen in public in that function? >> there's a certain merriment about that, but the bigger issue is christie himself. i think a lot of democrats saw him as a viable and perhaps threatening candidate for president. one of the few on the republican side who seemed to have the
ability to reach across the aisle and, you know, coming from a northern state, perhaps a little more moderate than some of the harder right conservatives. and now watching the spectacle, you know, it's obvious that that is all very much in doubt. he's trying to play through, hoping that all these investigations come up empty, but it's taking a very long time and it's crippling for him right now. >> steve kornacki, very ambitious politicians, or maybe any politician, do not give up their hopes. they do not resign from powerful positions. they don't do that kind of thing without being advised to do that. the politician himself or herself is usually the last one to realize how much trouble they're in. so the advisers around limb are left in an interesting position. is there anyone left around him who can talk to him in a situation like this and make the evaluation that staying in the republican governors association
position is not what he should be doing right now. is there anyone there who could lead him out the door of that job? >> well, i assume when you start to look at some of the big bucks donors to the party, they sort of overlap with what chris christie's financial base is and would be if he ran for president. if that sort of class of donor were to start delivering him the message that hey, this is costing the republican party money that it needs for 2014, and this is going to cost you money that you need for 2016, this is going to cost you big, you know, sort of financial friendships that you're going to need for 2016, i suppose that could work. but the flip side of it is, i think is this. and what's holding him back i suspect is this. chris christie has basically been running for the 2016 republican nomination since that minute when he said i'm not running in 2012. you can basically look at every step he's taken politically since then as a way of positioning himself for 2016. he has functionally been running
for president. so this is a test of his presidential viability. he's taken over this national group, as you say. he's charged with going around the country, raising money for them. this is a test of the party's sort of openness to him. so if at any point in this process, leading the rga, he is forced to step back and basically say i cannot perform these duties, then he's also admitting i cannot perform the duties of a presidential candidate. the same things that would cause him to step down as chairman of the rga are the same things that would disqualify him from seeking the presidential nomination in 2016. so his presidential ambitions are so tangled up in the rga thing, that to back out of the rga thing is really to back out of the 2016 thing. i think that's complicated things to another degree for him. >> i agree with every word. especially his campaign started the minute he decided not to run last time. but look -- i just want to show
what this is creating for other republicans. you know, bobby jindhal goes on tv, wants to have a little chat on cnn. let's see how that goes. >> should the governor step down from his republican governors association chairmanship? >> no. here, i think the press doesn't quite understand how rga works. no one governor is more important than the other. >> david axelrod, what makes that question go away for republican governors who go on tv? >> i don't think they will go away. i think the smart answer is look, these questions will be looked at. he say he wasn't involved in it. i wouldn't dance about it. but one thing that's interesting is the one sort of small by-product of this that christie can perhaps grab on to is he got an invitation to the cpac meeting. finally right wing republicans are latching on to him a little
bit because they think that he's being persecuted by "the new york times" and perhaps even msnbc and the whole liberal is conspiracy is out to get him. so there's a few people out there, but i would say that's cold comfort compared to the situation that he's in, kind of this typhoid mary condition where no one wants to stand next to him. >> prior to what happened to him now, i think one of the most damaging accounts of his political career exists in the book about the most recent presidential campaign. they report very decisively that chris christie did not pass the vet to get on to the vice presidential list for mitt romney. they simply threw him off the list, especially because he wouldn't comply with some of the disclosures that they wanted to see. and at christie headquarters, they came to the belief in the end -- i mean, at romney
headquarters, they came to the belief that if chris christie had run for president against them, they would have destroyed him by what they found in the vet. with all that in mind, let's listen to what mitt romney has to say about where chris christie finds himself now. >> i sure do. chris is a friend of mine. chris is a straightforward guy. when he tells you something, you can count on it. and i'm counting on chris, and believe that he -- if he decides to get into national politics he'll do very well indeed. >> now, for anyone who didn't know what mitt romney looked like when he wasn't telling the exact truth, that's the look right there. steve kornacki, the guy couldn't pass mitt romney's vet and there's mitt saying he's a straightforward guy. >> one of the funniest things the last year and a half after romney went with paul ryan as his running mate has been this back and forth between the unnamed romney people and the unnamed christie people fighting over oh, no, no, no.
it was christie -- they wanted christie on the ticket and christie didn't like the deal they were offering. and the romney people now putting out the word he couldn't past the vet. but i think what's interesting about what romney just said there, this idea -- the words romney's speaking at least, the idea that chris christie is a straight shooter. he's going to give you the real deal. that was a powerful -- up until, you know, three weeks ago, i would say up until that january 9 press conference, that was real in terms of people's perception of chris christie. it allowed him to -- there were so many situations in new jersey, so many potential situations that could have spiralled out of control, the firing of the prosecutor in hunterdon county. when he got rid of his education commissioner. there were so many situation where is he got the benefit of the doubt because people really believed what mitt romney was just expressing there. and after that performance at the january 9 press conference right now, i just don't see chris christie getting that benefit of the doubt when any other story comes out. and i don't know how he gets that benefit of the doubt back in the future.
>> say hi to chris christie for me when you see him in illinois next week. >> if i can find him, i will. >> and steve kornacki, david axelrod and i and everyone in politics tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., glued to "up" with steve kornacki saturday morning and sunday morning. steve and david, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank. coming up, the port authority was created almost 100 years ago by dreamers. dreamers of big things. people who believed that government could operate honestly and efficiently for the good of the people governed but chris christie turned the port authority into his own political empire on the hudson. also, why john boehner says a bill honoring mother teresa couldn't get 218 republican votes in the house. we will see about that. and in "the rewrite" tonight, in the last 60 years there have
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>> today, senate republicans blocked a vote to restore unemployment to republicans. it was two votes short of the 60 that were needed. the benefits would have been for three months and would have been retroactive through december 28 can the date they expired. three republicans voted with the democrats. up next, joy reid and eugene robinson will join me. >> well, i'll put it in a honestly? my kids were always on my laptop.
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i am extremely impressed. i guess that's what happens when you go pro. [ male announcer ] go pro with crest pro-health. excuse me, did you say you want to see my teeth? oh, i'm sorry. >> well, i'll put it in a nutshell, if you don't run chris christie, mitt romney will win the vote and we'll lose. >> chris christie is now off my list. >> enbefore scandals started swirling around him, chris christie had a problem. the same problem marco rubio has. the anne coulter, rush him language wing of republican party hits immigration reform which they call amnesty. today, john boehner delivered them a victory. he will not push immigration reform this year. >> i've never underestimated the difficulty in moving forward this year. frankly, one of the biggest
obstacles we face is the one of trust. the american people, including many of my members don't trust that the reform that we're talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be. there's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. and it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes. >> it was a thrilling day for the limbaugh nation. >> people are going nuts here. i keep getting e-mails and cookie sent me a sound bite. because i keep mentioning amnesty today. i can't believe it. amnesty. rush, rush, rush, boehner has said that there won't be any this year. >> here's john boehner, the day after the 2012 presidential election. >> immigration? >> it's an important issue that
i think ought to be dealt with. i think a comprehensive approach is long overdue. and i'm confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all. >> and here is the same john boehner on "the tonight show" two weeks ago. >> it takes 218 to pass any bill. i like to describe my job as trying to get 218 frogs in a wheel barrow long enough to pass a bill. it's hard to do. >> today, john boehner did not say that the crazy jumping frogs in his wheel barrow are preventing him from immigration reform. instead, of course, he blamed the president of the united states. >> we're going to continue to discus this issue with our members. but i think the president is going to have to demonstrate to the american people and to my colleagues that he can be trusted to enforce the law as it
is written. >> joining me now, washington post columnist eugene robinson and msnbc contributor joy reid, ho of the upcoming msnbc show "the reid report." john boehner says it ain't the frogs in my wheel barrow, it's that president preventing me from doing immigration reform. >> yeah. you know, and the thing, lawrence, that happens is every time the frogs that can do math, right, that understand demographics say wait a minute, fellow republican party members we've got to do something to stop alienating latino, john boehner and those of the normals all say yeah, let's do it. then they get chopped up by right wing talk radio. then they get pulled back down into the barrow by the other frogs saying absolutely don't do anything. it's a really hard tension.
marco rubio stepped out there and showed what happens when you do. he got slapped down really hard by right wing talk radio and ended up running away from his own bill. >> gene, i heard many senate majority leard says it's like herding cats. i have never heard them referred to as frogs. this is a downgrade, isn't it? from cat to frog? >> i thought it was great. it's a great image. >> it's so much better. it's so real and true. >> yeah. that was original and kudos to john boehner for that. not for much more, actually. and the excuse that went with it. well, you know, the president can't be trusted to enforce immigration laws. i'm sorry, but deportations are at a record high now. so it's not as if he's not enforcing the border. it's not as if he isn't kicking undocumented people out of the country. which he is doing at record levels. >> what the republicans will tell you is but look, they
passed the affordable care act then president obama unilaterally just delayed changes to certain provisions of it. mostly just calendar affect dates. and they're saying that's not enforcing the law as written. >> yeah. and there's always an excuse. and usually the excuse has the word obama in it. unfortunately that's kind of what politically john boehner and other republicans have to do. they're going back to the well because their base will always accept an explanation for an action that has to do with president obama. but the difficulty for republicans is that they are really facing demographic armageddon. they do at some point have to walk back from this harsh stance on immigration reform, because it is so alienating. and the messaging that goes with it also comes from talk radio. and it is very harsh messaging that to the ear of a lot of latinos sounds like the republicans don't like them very much. and until they can square that circle and figure that out, republicans are going to have a big problem in presidential years. >> and speaking of chris christie problems, he's on the wrong side of this issue. >> absolutely.
>> for republicans, for the limbaugh side and now the boehner side of the republican party. he signed one of those bills in new jersey, a dream act in new jersey that allows undocumented children to get state level tuition. to play state level tuition. >> absolutely. he's on the wrong side. that would be a problem for him, if he gets to the point where that could become a problem for him. >> he would be lucky if that was the problem he was guilty of today. >> exactly. if not now, when, for the republican party to deal with this issue. here they're coming into, in an offyear election where the last thing they want to do is give latinos a reason to come out and vote in large numbers. right? and vote against them and thwart their plans to take over the senate. well, not to keep the house. they'll probably do that. but they've got a shot at the senate. what could screw that up? making the electorate look like
a presidential year electorate in states like north carolina, for example, where there's a huge growing hispanic population. that seems to be what they're determined to do. >> joy, if republicans are going to talk about enforcing the letter of the law, 501-c4 law says you must operate exclusively for social welfare. there's no republican who wants that law enforced as it is written. they want every one of their republican fundraising campaign entities to be able to operate as 501-c4's in direct violation of the law as written. >> of course, lawrence, that's fine for them to do that. because remember, obama, if you're fighting barack obama, forget about the letter of the law, right. it should be like 3,500 new charities that suddenly decided they want to do work that is both charity and campaigning for mitt romney. that's fine.
the hypocrisy of it is sort of blatant on its face, but it all has to do with politics and only one person, one human on earth and that is barack obama. >> eugene robinson and joy reid of "the reid report." thank you very much. >> thank you. >> coming up, you've been hearing an awful lot about the port authority of new york and new jersey these days. and chris christie trying to turn it into his own empire. but there is so much more to know about the port authority and its important history, what it was designed to be. and what chris christie has turned it into. that's coming up. or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪
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>> there is tension and always has been between new york and nj nnl on the allocation of resources at the port authority. >> how important is the port authority? the greatest city in the americans would be nothing without its port. in the 19th century, the port of new york surged past its east coast competitors to become not just the busiest port in the united states, but the busiest port in the world. tin colluding rivers and bays, philadelphia had 37 miles of waterfront. baltimore had 120. boston, 140. while the port of new york had almost 800 miles of waterfront. by 1915, the port of new york
handled about half of our country's exports and imports. and bistate cooperation between new york and new jersey have become crucial to the future of the port. a few years earlier, the governor of new jersey, woodrow wilson, a more eloquent speaker than the current governor said, the states recognize that a wise cooperation is imperative in the common interest. but they lack the means, the instrumentalities that would serve them in their new community of action. it was in the last year of woodrow wilson's presidency, 1921, that the authority authority of new york and new jersey was born, and the port had the instrumentality it need to continue to thrive. the port authority was the child of the progressive movement, the primary aim of the progressive movement was cleaning up government, which was then rife with corruption at every level.
the port authority was designed on the progressive movement principles, appointed instead of elected commissioners. overlapping terms. the design, or should we say, the dream, was to eliminate partisan decision making. eliminate or minimize patronage and use sound engineering and economic analysis in port authority projects. 89 years later, here is chris christie's appointed deputy executive director of the port authority, bill baroni testifying to a united states state senate subcommittee chaired by new jersey's senator frank lautenberg who asked about the latest increase in the tolls on the world's busiest bridge. >> whether you like it or not,
you don't have an ez pass. you're there at our request and we expect you not to give us a song and dance but to answer the question specifically. okay? so i'm asking you, when did the governor get word the past you were going to boost the -- >> i'm not going to get into conversations that i -- >> no, you -- no, you're refusing to answer the question? >> senator, i'm not going to -- >> you're refusing to answer the question? >> i'm not talking about conversations i had -- >> this isn't a conversation. are you running a protection agency there. >> excuse me? >> talk straight about what went on. and i asked you a simple question and you say you're not going to discus it. you have to discus it. you're an important executive at that agency. you work with the people, whether you think so or not. >> the next year, 89-year-old
frank lautenberg died in office, and later that same year, bill baroni testified about the george washington bridge again. >> who told him to put the cones out? >> on september 5, mr. wildstein requested a one-week study be conducted. and then that began -- b conducted the following week and that began that monday morning. and the bridge folks and the port authority police department began putting the cones out. and as opposed to creating a three-lane special lane for ft. lee, it was a one lane special lane. >> bill baroni was not under oath during that testimony, but the next time he testifies about the george washington bridge, he will be. joining me now is the author of "empire on the hudson" a book about the history of the port authority. he's a visiting professor from dartmouth college. and martin robbins, a former port authority official and now with rutgers university.
professor, how far have we come from the creators' vision of what the port authority should be to what we find the port authority to be now in this age of -- this period now of very clear scandal of the port authority. >> until five or six years ago, many of the themes that you identified, that is nonpolitical administration, keeping patronage and short-term narrow politics out of the agency pretty much existed. it was successful. when chris christie became governor, he had a very different view. he saw the possibility of putting a fair number of his associates, friends, those who worked on political campaigns into office. and that led to more than 50 patronage appointees and did change the extent at which point authority was independent of narrow politics.
>> let's listen to something else that senator lautenberg said in that hearing a couple of years ago about how bad things have gotten at the port authority. >> there have also been allegations about a controlled political patronage at the port authority where substantial positions with six-figure salaries were given to former political bloggers, local mayors and others with questionable credentials. >> we now know, of course, that political blogger he was referring to was david wildstein. martin robin, you worked at the port authority. it has to be difficult for you to watch what's happening to it now. >> it is very difficult. i hear constantly from acquaintances, former colleagues, retirees how dispirted they are by the loss of mission and that existed at the port authority over a many-year period.
>> professor, have we been relying on basically the good will and good intentions of the governors of new york and new jersey? and could what is happening now have been happening at anytime if we had a governor in one state or the other or both who wanted to load it up with patronage jobs, and wanted to use the port authority to his own ends? >> well, we did actually have such a governor, governor a. harry moore. he was a new jersian in the late '20s and mid '30s. he was twice governor. he was interested in adding patronage positions, and also in helping to select the kind of engineering approach that might be used at the george washington bridge. but then, the commissioners who had a sense of independence, they resisted him. they blocked his ability to act
in that way. and therefore, he had to back away from that. and that, i think, helped to maintain or reinforce the independence of the agency. >> martin robbins, what would be the two or three changes you would make now to get the port authority back on track? >> well, the first change i would make is to eliminate the position of deputy executive director. >> that's the one that bill baroni had? >> yes. i think that is a fatal flaw, the way that it has been established. a deputy executive director per say is not an offensive position. if the position were chosen by the executive director. but because the deputy executive director is now chosen by the governor of new jersey, it creates two separate lines of authority, which makes it impossible for the executive director, particularly under the circumstances that we've just seen that unfolded last year, it
becomes impossible for the deputy executive -- excuse me, the executive director to manage the agency as he ought to. as patrick foye testified in december, he said that he could not fire david wildstein who worked for bill baroni. and that is a stunning admission, but it is unfortunately a very true state of affair, but it should not be that way. so that is my number one priority. >> okay. we only have time for that number one tonight. we're running out of time. very sorry. i've been looking forward to that conversation for days. i want to keep it going. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> it's been a pleasure being with you. >> thank you. >> coming up, a state executes prisoners while they are still waiting for the supreme court to respond to their appeals. vo: once upon a time
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>> i would like to say something. i'm going to start crying. you've always been so kind. and i'm not -- that's saying a lot in this business because we like to be mean. there's not been one time that you haven't treat med like i had something to offer, even when the film was horrible and you knew it. you never let me see it in your eyes. i'm so grateful that i got to be a part of this. >> well, you are special. >> that will not be the last tear shed for the end of the leno era on "the tonight show." in the show's 60-year history, there have only been five hoes of "the tonight show." we have had more than twice the number of presidents in that same period. johnny carson presided for 30 years with jay leno serving 21 years at the desk that johnny built. it was jay who made politics a
main stay of "the tonight show" monologue. >> political comedy and the way you do it and you've been at it longer than anybody. when you took over "the tonight show" 20 years ago? >> 22. >> 22 years ago. johnny carson before you did some, you know? but it would be rare if he would do three political jokes in a night. very, very rare. you amped it up. you built much more political comedy into what the monologue. and just in terms of political comedy mileage over the years, probably no one has done more since you've been at it. >> i don't know about that. jon stewart, they do political shows. my thing is to sort of go down the center. you start as a comedian, then you're a humorist than a satirist then you're out of show business. if you stay a comedian, you'll always work. the other, you get self-important. i don't want people to know how i feel. i don't care how you feel. >> you could see the rest of
that interview on our website. jay's final "tonight show" monologue will be tonight. let's take a quick look back, beginning with the first night that jay leno's name replaced johnny carson's name in the title of the show. ♪ live from the nbc studios in burbank, california, "the tonight show" with jay leno. >> it seems the less perot says, the more popular he gets. this is a point dan quayle has yet to grasp. don't say anything. very excited about this upcoming election, huh? gore versus bush. the thrilla in vanilla. paper or plastic, what do you want? who's going to be the vice presidential nominee for the republicans. elizabeth dole say she is wants the job. but bob dole thought he said john mccain or christine whitman might be a good choice. get the feeling bob won't be
getting a refill on that viagra prescription anytime soon, huh? and what's that all about? one day you're almost president and the next day you have ereck tile difunction, how does that work? you may be sadder about leaving office then you thought. oh, my god! oh, my god! of course, george w. bush calling himself a compassionate conservative. really? this guy has fried so many people. instead of governor, they should be calling him the colonel. i have to ask this question. a member of the senate. you're under oath. did you inhale? >> i was telling -- somebody asked this question. i said that was the point. >> speaker of the house, nancy pelosi in her speech praised joe biden calling him the full package. that's what you call him. the full package. now he's getting phone calls from senator larry craig.
it just won't stop. >> i want to share something with you. i do take painting. it's changed my life. and i brought a painting for you. >> did you paint that? oh, look at that. look at that. wow. look at that. what an honor that is. thank you, sir. wow. i can't make fun of him now. now, i've seen michelle tease you about your gray hair. a bit of silver in your hair. do you tease back? >> no. no. that's why we're celebrating our 21st -- >> yeah, yeah. married 33 years, i know exactly what you're saying.
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then you'll know how uncomfortable it can be. [ crickets chirping ] but did you know that the lack of saliva can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath? [ exhales deeply ] [ male announcer ] well there is biotene. specially formulated with moisturizers and lubricants, biotene can provide soothing relief and it helps keep your mouth healthy, too. [ applause ] biotene -- for people who suffer from dry mouth. >> he's got 24 hour a day access to his attorneys. he's in contact with them now. he's having an evening meal. he's in a situation where he's just waiting to here what happens. and he'll be in contact and get that information from his attorneys. >> herbert smalls was convicted of a murder during a robbery of a jewelry star in 1991.
the state of missouri was scheduled to execute herbert small on tuesday of last week. but supreme court justice issued a 24-hour state while the full court ruled on two petitions followed by small's defense lawyers. the next day, the supreme court vacated the stay and the stay of a lower court ruling which allowed the state of missouri to to carry out the execution. his lawyer filed another appeal arguing the drugs being used in the execution were untested and could cause pain and suffering. while still waiting for the supreme court decision, the state of missouri executed herbert smalls just after 10:00 p.m. that same night. four minutes after he was pronounced dead, the supreme court denied his final appeal. joining me now for an exclusive interview is the defense attorney for herbert smalls. i have to say, i'm surprised
that an execution would go forward while there any form of an appeal pending. is this something that's common? do you have to have a formal stay of execution in order to delay these things? >> well, lawrence, it wasn't simply an appeal or a complaint lodged in any court. it was an execution for a stay of execution that had been pending since before the order that removed the stay that we had in place at that time. so there had been a pending claim for release attained by an application for a stay that had been pending in the supreme court. there was no period in time in which we did not have a lame and an application for stay pending. i think it would be fair to say we were not only dismayed but shocked when the execution went
forward despite our efforts to communicate vigorously with the attorneys and we communicated with them repeatedly that we had pending legal claims and an application for stay on file. the fact that the execution went forward is deeply troubling to us. haven't they done exactly this in other cases require to this? >> they have, indeed, the last two executions prior to my client's. and the last one prompted a critical descending opinion by the judge of the eighth circuit and we believes, frankly, that with that dissent making clear that at least, you know, that judge had come out and said what
he viewed as very improper, we thought the state of missouri would refrain from repeating that scenario. and we've now seen the last three executions that while motions or applications for stay have been pending in either the district court, the eighth circuit court of appeals or the united states supreme court, despite those pending requests for a tai of execution that had not been yet acted on, the state of missouri went ahead and executed the prisoner. and we have been unable to find any other place where this has occurred. there have been a couple of scattered anecdotes out of other states, but those of us who do capital work on a regular basis are unaware of any other state where this proceeded three times in a row. >> i know your job carries emotional loads that i don't think many people understand.
and i thank you for baring those loads. the constitution needs someone to do it. thank you very much. >> thank you. republicans hiding from christie. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. whatever the prosecutors decide, the republican indictment of new jersey governor chris christie is in. their indictment is stark and clear. few want to be seen near him. wherever he goes, when he does, we see the political verdict hanging in the air, swung out there by every curtain that is dropped over his very presence. if christie is there raising money, the behavior of his guests is to let him into the