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Confetti on the floor on the last day of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Fight over guns at the RNC draws Secret Service response

03/29/16 08:00AM

When the Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland in July, attendees will not be permitted to bring loaded firearms with them onto the convention floor. The policy isn't exactly surprising, and it's consistent with the precautions taken at every national party convention in recent memory.
 
But some gun enthusiasts created a Change.org petition to challenge the gun ban.
The petition's author, known as N A, finds fault with the policy, calling it "a direct affront to the Second Amendment." Pointing to an article that ranks Cleveland among the United States' most dangerous cities and mentioning "the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack," the author said the Republican National Committee and the Quicken Loans Arena are putting people at risk.
 
"Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life," the petition reads. "All three remaining Republican candidates have spoken out on the issue and are unified in their opposition to Barack HUSSEIN Obama's 'gun-free zones.'"
Putting the president's middle name in all caps is always a sign of a serious and thoughtful person making a substantive argument.
 
The specific request demanded that the Republican National Committee, the National Rifle Association, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and those who manage the Quicken Loans Arena itself all take steps to allow convention attendees to carry loaded guns at the party gathering.
 
This is the same gathering, by the way, where Donald Trump said there may be "riots," and at least one U.S. senator has said he may skip the convention because he fears for his personal safety -- and this was before gun enthusiasts created and signed the firearm petition.
 
Yesterday, the Secret Service announced their response to the petition. The Washington Post reported:
Facts don't show a Trump revolution

Facts don't show a Trump revolution

03/28/16 09:57PM

Rachel Maddow points out that contrary to the "anti-establishment" tone of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Republican voters are so far not rebelling against Republican incumbent candidates and by all measure just seem to like Trump. watch

Trump boosts GOP registrations in Florida

Trump boosts GOP registrations in Florida

03/28/16 09:53PM

Rachel Maddow reports on seven counties in Florida where Republican registration went up this year (Democratic registration fell in six of them) and the speculation that Donald Trump inspired this surge, though whether Democrats should be worried isn't as watch

Huge night Wednesday on MSNBC

Huge night Wednesday on MSNBC

03/28/16 09:39PM

Rachel Maddow alerts viewers that on this Wednesday night, Chuck Todd will interview John Kasich at 7pm ET, Chris Matthews will interview Donald Trump at 8pm ET, and Maddow will have back-to-back interviews with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at 9pm ET and likely running for more than an hour. watch

Cruz has upper hand on Trump in delegate game

Cruz has upper hand on Trump in delegate game

03/28/16 09:18PM

Kyle Cheney, Politico "campaign pro" reporter, talks with Rachel Maddow about the advantage Ted Cruz has over Donald Trump in working within state-level Republican Parties to establish delegates who are loyal to him should he need them in a contested conv watch

Trump mobilizes lawyers in delegate fight

Trump mobilizes lawyers in delegate fight

03/28/16 09:09PM

Rachel Maddow reports on the shadow primary within the Republican primary to secure as many loyal and double-agent delegates as possible to serve in the event of a contested convention. Donald Trump is apparently compensating for his lack of preparedness on this front with legal threats. watch

Sanders campaign rewrites history of losses

Sanders campaign rewrites history of Super Tuesday losses

03/28/16 09:00PM

Rachel Maddow reviews reporting done in advance of Super Tuesday on how the Sanders campaign was increasing spending and staffing for those primary contests, facts that now undercut the campaign's explanation that they weren't really trying in those states they lost to Hillary Clinton. watch

Monday's Mini-Report, 3.28.16

03/28/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Capitol Hill shooting: "Police locked down the US Capitol complex on Monday after a police officer was shot, NBC News has learned. 'Shooter has been caught,' the Capitol's sergeant at arms reported. 'One police officer shot, but not seriously.'"
 
* A devastating attack in Pakistan: "A suicide bomber set off a powerful blast close to a children's swing set in a public park on Sunday evening in the eastern city of Lahore, killing at least 69 people and wounding around 300, rescue workers and officials said."
 
* The investigation in Brussels continues: "Belgium on Monday released the sole suspect prosecutors had arrested directly in relation to the Brussels terror attacks."
 
* Um, can we talk a little more about this? "As a dragnet aimed at Islamic State operatives spiraled across Brussels and into at least five European countries on Friday, the authorities were also focusing on a narrower but increasingly alarming threat: the vulnerability of Belgium's nuclear installations."
 
* The whole idea of man-made earthquakes is still something I find extraordinary: "On Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey published for the first time an earthquake hazard map covering both natural and 'induced' quakes.... Some 7 million people live in places vulnerable to these induced tremors, the USGS concluded."
 
* A done deal in California: "A deal to raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 was reached Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators, making the nation's largest state the first to lift base earnings to that level and propelling a campaign to lift the pay floor nationally."
 
* If only Donald Trump had some understanding of his own rhetoric: "Trade deficits are not inherently good or bad; they can be either, depending on circumstances. The trade deficit is not a scorecard."
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, speaks during a campaign rally at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., on Feb. 21, 2016. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg/Getty)

Bernie Sanders' campaign offers awkward take on state of the race

03/28/16 04:23PM

Presidential campaigns are long, exhausting exercises for the candidates and their teams, and the fatigue invariably leads otherwise competent people to slip up. It happens in every race, in both parties, whether things are going well or going poorly.
 
A few weeks ago, for example, Tad Devine, the top strategist in Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and an experienced consultant, mentioned in passing the idea of Hillary Clinton adding the Vermont senator to the ticket as her running mate. Asked if Sanders would consider such an offer, Devine replied, "I'm sure, of course." Soon after, Devine realized that this made it sound as if the independent lawmaker wasn't really running to win, so he walked it all back. Staffers everywhere had a "there but for the grace of God go I" moment.
 
The strategist obviously just made a mistake, said something he didn't really mean, and reversed course quickly. Today, however, I think Devine slipped up again in a way he'll soon regret. Mother Jones reported:
"[Hillary Clinton's] grasp now on the nomination is almost entirely on the basis of victories where Bernie Sanders did not compete," said senior strategist Tad Devine. "Where we compete with Clinton, where this competition is real, we have a very good chance of beating her in every place that we compete with her."
 
Devine named eight states where he said the Sanders campaign did not compete with a big presence on the ground or much on-air advertising: Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas.
According to a report from Business Insider, Devine added, "Essentially, 97% of her delegate lead today comes from those eight states where we did not compete."
 
No matter which candidate you like or dislike, I think it's fair to say Team Sanders has generally run a strong campaign, exceeding everyone's expectations, and positioning the senator as one of the nation's most prominent progressive voices for many years to come. Sanders isn't the first presidential candidate to run on a bold, unapologetic liberal platform, but he is arguably the first in recent memory to do in such a way as to position himself as a leader of a genuine movement.
 
But whether or not you're impressed with what Sanders has put forward, his campaign's latest pitch is an unfortunate mess.

Rising tide lifts Obama, but not Republican Congress

03/28/16 01:00PM

Over the weekend, President Obama's approval rating in Gallup's tracking poll reached 53%, which is the strongest support he's seen in three years. As it turns out, this is no outlier -- Obama's approval rating has reached three-year highs in the latest Bloomberg Politics and CNN polls, too.
 
There are plenty of explanations for the upswing making the rounds, but the circumstances got me thinking about whether there's a rising tide. Perhaps Americans are just feeling a little better, in general, about low unemployment, low gas prices, the growing number of Americans who finally have access to affordable medical care, and the lack of perilous drama in D.C. lately (no shutdowns or debt-ceiling hostage crises).
 
If the public's mood is improving, maybe it's not just Obama's approval rating on the rise? Perhaps Congress is looking less awful as well? Unfortunately for the Republican majority, that doesn't appear to be the case.
 
The CNN poll is helpful on this front. It shows Obama's approval rating inching higher to 51%, but it also shows Congress' approval rating dropping six points to just 15%. To drive home the point, I put together the above chart.
 
It's a safe bet these aren't the kind of results Republicans are looking for right now. GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, in control of both the House and Senate, continue to make the case that Obama is a dreadful leader and a failed president who should follow Congress' lead on issues that matter. Evidently, that message isn't resonating with the public.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal leaves after a press conference, Nov. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. (Photo by Branden Camp/AP)

Georgia's GOP governor vetoes 'religious liberty' bill

03/28/16 12:30PM

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) had a decision to make. His allies in the Republican-led Georgia legislature recently passed a "religious liberty" bill intended to curtail LGBT rights in the state, and the measure was backed by Deal's social-conservative friends. At the same time, however, business leaders throughout Georgia balked and pressured the governor to veto the legislation.
 
Which ally would Deal disappoint? The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported this morning on the governor's decision.
Gov. Nathan Deal said he will veto the "religious liberty" bill that triggered a wave of criticism from gay rights groups and business leaders and presented him with one of the most consequential challenges he's faced since his election to Georgia's top office.
 
The measure "doesn't reflect the character of our state or the character of its people," the governor said Monday in prepared remarks. He said state legislators should leave freedom of religion and freedom of speech to the U.S. Constitution.
In the same remarks, the governor urged his fellow Republicans to take a deep breath and "recognize that the world is changing around us."
 
Deal was re-elected to a second term in 2014, is prevented by term limits from seeking a third, and has said he has no interest in running for any other office. I mention this because, while the religious right is furious this morning, these far-right activists won't be able to impose any kind of electoral punishments on Georgia's GOP governor.

Monday's Campaign Round-Up, 3.28.16

03/28/16 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
 
* Just when it seemed we were finally done with primary debates, Bernie Sanders now wants another showdown with Hillary Clinton. Since the start of their race, the two presidential hopefuls have already participated in 8 debates and 10 forums.
 
* On CNN yesterday, Sanders again suggested he might try to persuade Democratic superdelegates to override the pledged delegates elected through primaries and caucuses. "When they begin to look at the reality, and that is that we in poll after poll are beating Donald Trump by much larger margins ... a lot of these superdelegates may rethink their position with Hillary Clinton," the senator said.
 
* On ABC yesterday, Donald Trump continued to keep the candidates' spouses in the spotlight. Referring to Heidi Cruz, Ted Cruz's wife, Trump said, "There are things about Heidi that I don't want to talk about, but I'm not going to talk about them. I mean, you know, you can look, but I wouldn't talk about them."
 
* After the Cruz campaign apparently outmaneuvered Team Trump on delegate selection in Louisiana, Trump called the process "unfair" and said there's a "lawsuit coming."

* Fun little fact: this is the first week since the Iowa caucuses that there are no nominating contests for either party. For campaign watchers feeling a little weary, that's the good news. The bad news is there are still more than two months to go -- and we're technically still closer to the beginning (Iowa was nine weeks ago) than the end (the D.C. Democratic primary is 11 weeks from tomorrow).

* Last summer, Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) faced pressure to resign over a campaign-finance scandal. He refused to step down. There was widespread speculation that the New Hampshire Republican would fail in a primary this year, but late last week, one of Guinta's top GOP rivals quit the race.
 
* Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), facing an uphill climb in his re-election bid in Illinois, seems to be basing much of his campaign on hostility towards Syrian refugees.

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Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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