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Canadians confront terror threat from within

Canadians confront terror threat from within

10/22/14 11:12PM

Charlie Angus, member of the Canadian Parliament, talks with Rachel Maddow about his experience being inside the Parliament building during today's deadly shooting, and the need for a measured reaction given the domestic nature of the shooter. watch

Shooting comes with Canada already on alert

Shooting comes with Canada already on alert

10/22/14 10:41PM

Rachel Maddow looks at the past few weeks leading up to the deadly shooting Ottawa, Ontario in Canada, with Canadian authorities on particularly heightened alert over terror concerns, and a previous attack by someone on their watch list. watch

Ahead on the 10/22/14 Maddow show

10/22/14 07:23PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Josh Wingrove, Parliament reporter, Globe and Mail, took video during shooting in Parliament
  • Lee Anne Goodman, national affairs reporter with the Canadian Press
  • Charlie Angus, member of the Canadian Parliament

After the jump, executive producer Cory Gnazzo has a preview: 

read more

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 10.22.14

10/22/14 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* The latest from Ottawa: "A Canadian soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa was shot and killed Wednesday, and a burst of gunfire minutes later terrorized Parliament and sent lawmakers scrambling for safety. A gunman was confirmed dead, but confusion gripped Canada's capital for hours after the attack began."
* It's not a travel ban, but it's smarter: "The Centers for Disease Control just announced new measures designed to stop international visitors from spreading Ebola in the U.S. Under the new system, anybody who has been recently to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone will be subject to what CDC officials call 'active monitoring' -- which will involve, among other things, mandatory temperature checks for 21 days after arrival in the U.S."
* Ferguson: "The official autopsy on Michael Brown, obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shows the Ferguson, Missouri teenager was shot in the hand at close range. The accompanying toxicology report reveals the 18-year-old had a trace of marijuana in his system, according to the local newspaper."
* Guilty: "Four former Blackwater guards have been found guilty of killing 14 people and injuring 17 more in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisour Square. One guard, Nicholas Slatten, was found guilty of first degree murder, while the other three were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter."
* I really wish Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would be a little more cautious about calling others "idiots," especially when he's talking about Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby.
* UNC: "A blistering report into an academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina released Wednesday found that for nearly two decades two employees in the African and Afro-American Studies department ran a 'shadow curriculum' of hundreds of fake classes that never met but for which students, many of them Tar Heels athletes, routinely received A's and B's."
* Combatting ISIS goes beyond airstrikes: "[David S. Cohen], a fastidious Yale Law School graduate who is known inside the White House as the administration's 'financial Batman,' is a first line of attack against the Islamic State. His title is under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence and he may be more important in the fight against the Islamic State than the Tomahawks fired off American warships or the bombs dropped from F-16s. He has become a fixture in Mr. Obama's Situation Room."
* Media fail, Part I: "In an opinion piece published Tuesday by Politico Magazine, 'No, BP Didn't Ruin the Gulf,' author Geoff Morrell writes that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst off-shore oil spill in American history, was much less disastrous environmentally for the Gulf Coast than expected. He complains that 'advocacy groups cherry-pick evidence' and 'blame BP for any and all environmental problems afflicting the Gulf.'" What's less clear for readers is the fact that the article was written by a BP employee.
Paul LePage

Paul LePage's 'early Christmas present'

10/22/14 04:50PM

The argument Democrats are making in Maine is pretty straightforward: Gov. Paul LePage (R), elected with less than 38% of the vote in a three-way race in 2010, is an embarrassment. But LePage may end up with a second term anyway, because Maine's mainstream vote is being split once again.
Polls show the Tea Party incumbent neck and neck with Rep. Mike Michaud (D), a dynamic made possible by Eliot Cutler's independent, third-place candidacy. For Dems, the obvious solution is for Cutler to stand aside to prevent LePage from winning re-election. Since Cutler appears unlikely to prevail, the argument goes, the independent would be doing the right thing for Maine, at the cost of his personal ambitions.
But last night, there was an unexpected twist: LePage himself said Democrats are correct.
Another topic of the debate was the dynamic of the three-way race and how any new support for Cutler could pave the way for the governor's second term. [...]
LePage was asked about saying Cutler's campaign was one of the best things for his re-election bid.
"It's certainly an early Christmas present from the standpoint that he was here four years ago and we know what to expect, but I will tell you, four years ago we had Libby Mitchell running. This time we have Mike Michaud running. If it was Mike Michaud against Paul LePage, the election's over," LePage said.
That's quite an acknowledgement for a sitting governor to make out loud towards the end of the campaign. LePage effectively echoed the Democratic argument verbatim: in a head-to-head race, the Republican governor wouldn't stand a chance.
The fact that the independent is sticking around, splitting Maine's mainstream, is the only thing standing between the Tea Partier and certain defeat.
Kentucky's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, and Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks at the opening of her Paducah campaign office Aug. 1, 2014 in Paducah, Ky. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty)

Dems reverse course, take a renewed interest in Kentucky

10/22/14 04:09PM

It was just last week that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a surprise announcement: after having already invested more than $2 million in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, the party would divert resources elsewhere.
The move from the DSCC, the party's committee devoted solely to supporting Senate candidates, came as something of a shock to nearly everyone, and suggested the Democratic establishment no longer saw a path to victory for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D).
A week later, however, Dems have changed their minds. Politico reported this afternoon:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to go back on the air in Kentucky after the party has been encouraged by new polls suggesting the race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is within reach.
The party committee is reserving $650,000 in airtime to boost Alison Lundergan Grimes after reviewing recent internal and public polling, a DSCC official told POLITICO. The polling, the source says, suggested that independent voters are moving in the Democrat's direction.
This is no small development. When the DSCC announced it would walk away from Kentucky, it suggested party leaders no longer saw the contest as competitive. For Democrats to jump back in, there must have been data the DSCC found compelling.
With that in mind, it's worth noting that the latest Bluegrass Poll, conducted by SurveyUSA and released this week, showed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) ahead by the narrowest of margins over Alison Lundergan Grimes, 44% to 43%.
Let's also not forget that the Democrats' options are dwindling, arguably making Kentucky more of a necessity than a luxury.
 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a news conference at Bristol-Myers Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University October 07, 2014 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Christie wants GOP control over 'voting mechanisms'

10/22/14 02:26PM

When it comes to Republican governors imposing harsh, new voting restrictions, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is hardly the first name that pops up. The Republican vetoed an early-voting bill last year, he's offered some odd criticisms of same-day registration recently, and he played some shameless political games when scheduling his state's U.S. Senate special election last year, but in general, Christie isn't known for electoral mischief, at least not by contemporary GOP standards.
But that's all the more reason to take note of Christie's comments this week on "voting mechanisms." The Bergen Record reported this morning:
Governor Christie pushed further into the contentious debate over voting rights than ever before, saying Tuesday that Republicans need to win gubernatorial races this year so that they're the ones controlling "voting mechanisms" going into the next presidential election.
Christie stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states -- and overseeing state-level voting regulations -- ahead of the next presidential election.
In remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey governor said, "Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?"
I'm not sure which is worse: the prospect of Christie making these remarks without thinking them through or Christie making these remarks because he's already thought this through.
In theory, in a functioning democracy, control over "voting mechanisms" shouldn't dictate election outcomes. Citizens consider the candidates, they cast their ballots, the ballots are counted, and the winner takes office. It's supposed to be non-partisan -- indeed, the oversight of the elections process must be professional and detached from politics in order to maintain the integrity of the system itself.
So what exactly is Chris Christie suggesting here?
Armed RCMP officers head towards the Langevin Block on Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2014. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Shooting unfolds in Canadian capitol

10/22/14 12:33PM

A terrifying scene unfolded in the Canadian capitol this morning, and as of now, it's not yet clear if the incident is over.
A soldier was shot Wednesday in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, and dozens of shots were fired minutes later in the nearby halls of Parliament, where lawmakers barricaded themselves in their offices for safety, witnesses and authorities said.
Authorities said that one gunman was shot by security forces, but Ottawa police told MSNBC that they were looking for more than one suspect. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was safely escorted from the scene, his spokesman said.
Shots were also fired at Rideau Centre, a shopping mall in the area, police told the Canadian television network CTV.
Canada's parliament was in session at the time, and lawmakers could hear the gunfire.
NBC News' report added that the local law enforcement would not confirm how many people were involved in the attack but said there were "multiple suspects."
Reports from local media added that the first round of gunfire occurred at the National War Memorial, before moving across the street to Parliament.
This comes on the heels of a hit-and-run incident this week, which left one Canadian soldier killed and another injured, which is being investigated for possible terrorist connections.
The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was locked down and President Obama has been briefed on the attack.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 10.22.14

10/22/14 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:
* In Colorado, a new Monmouth poll shows Rep. Cory Gardner (R) with just a one-point lead over Sen. Mark Udall (D), 47% to 46%. The same poll shows Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) up by seven over former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), 50% to 43%.
* In Georgia's U.S. Senate race, three consecutive polls have shown Michelle Nunn (D) leading David Perdue (R), including the new SurveyUSA poll that has Nunn up by two, 46% to 44%. The same poll shows Gov. Nathan Deal (R) also up by two over Jason Carter (D), 45% to 43%.
* In Iowa's U.S. Senate race, the new Monmouth poll shows Joni Ernst (R) up by one over Bruce Braley (D), 47% to 46%.
* In North Carolina, a new SurveyUSA poll for WRAL shows Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with a three-point advantage over Thom Tillis (R), 46% to 43%.
* The EB-5 scandal continues to get worse for former Gov. Mike Rounds (R), his party's U.S. Senate candidate in South Dakota.
* In Florida's gubernatorial race, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Gov. Rick Scott (R) and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) tied at 42% each. Take out the minor party candidates, the poll shows them tied again at 44% each.
* Wisconsin's Sharon Day, the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, said this week, "I don't want to say anything about your Wisconsin voters but, some of them might not be as sharp as a knife."
State Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, prepares to answer questions during a live televised roundtable Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 at Time Warner Cable News studios in Raleigh, N.C.

NC's Tillis reconsiders Medicaid expansion

10/22/14 11:29AM

In North Carolina last night, Senate hopeful Thom Tillis (R) had the stage to himself, participating in a sole "debate" after Sen. Kay Hagan (D) chose not to participate, citing a scheduling conflict.
Alone on the stage, however, the Republican made a little news.
Asked if he thought it would be likely that the state legislature would expand Medicaid coverage after refusing to do so previously, Tillis said it might make sense once the state has better control of the financing of the program, which is notorious for its cost overruns.
He said he didn't have an ideological objection to expanding the coverage. But he said when the state auditor told the previous governor that money was being wasted on it, the appropriate response would not have been to make it bigger and more costly.
"I would encourage the state legislature and governor to consider it if they're completely convinced they now have the situation under control," Tillis said.
On its face, that may not seem especially noteworthy, especially since plenty of other state Republican officials nationwide have already embraced Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
The twist in this case, however, is considering what Tillis said about this issue before.
People show their support during a rally for comprehensive immigration reform on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., April 10, 2013.

GOP alienated Latino voters because it could

10/22/14 10:56AM

After the 2012 elections, Republican officials said the party had to face its demographic challenges responsibly. Party leaders said outreach to Latino voters was a necessity, and the Republican National Committee's autopsy report said it was obvious the party would have to support comprehensive immigration reform.
But as the 2014 elections near, Republican politicians have proven that they simply do not care, and the party is arguably more anti-immigration now than any point in modern history. In an unexpected twist, though, the consequences of such fierce, far-right attitudes appear to be non-existent: after two years in which Republicans almost seemed determined to alienate Latinos on purpose, voters appear likely to expand the House Republican majority, and possibly even hand over control of the Senate to the GOP, too.
How is this possible? Nate Cohn crunched the numbers and discovered that Republicans blew off this entire constituency because they could -- even if the GOP loses 100% support of the Latino vote this year, the party would still be positioned to keep control of the House and win the Senate.
Even a situation in which every Latino voter in America chose the Democratic candidate would mainly allow Democrats to fare better in the heavily Hispanic districts where the party already wins. This is already occurring, to a lesser degree. Over the last decade, Democratic gains among young and nonwhite voters have allowed Democrats to win a majority of the House vote without flipping enough districts to earn a majority of seats.
The Upshot analysis found that if not one of the eight million Hispanic voters supported the Republican candidate, Republicans would lose about a dozen House seats.... But given the Republicans' current strength across rural areas and in conservative suburbs, the loss of every Hispanic every voter would not be enough to cost them the 17 seats that would flip House control.... In districts held by House Republicans, Hispanics represent only 6.7 percent of eligible voters and an even smaller share of the electorate.
The point isn't that the GOP will get literally 0% of the Hispanic vote this year, because that's obviously wrong. Rather, the point is, Republicans realize they could get 0% and keep power anyway.
And it's not just the House: in the eight states with the closest U.S. Senate races, "fewer than 5 percent of eligible voters are Latino, according to a new Pew Research report."
With this in mind, the post-2012 recommendations appear to be wrong -- sort of.