The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/17/08
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Hi, there. Thank you for staying with us for this next hour. I’m not here tonight. I mean, I’m here, but this is taped. I have the night off. But my friend, Arianna Huffington is here to bring you our show. So, please, stick around and enjoy it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, GUEST HOST (voice over): Barack Obama reaches out to the people he beats. Senator John McCain meets the president-elect in Chicago as speculation mounds about Hillary Clinton for secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And I think she would be really great as being secretary of state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUFFINGTON: But would Obama offer McCain a job? And can Hillary Clinton’s appointment survive Bill Clinton’s backing? My old friend Bill Maher joins us live. What’s to become of Joe Lieberman? With a close vote in his fate tomorrow in the Senate, Lieberman’s colleagues call for consequences. But how will they actually vote on the man who (INAUDIBLE) slamming Barack Obama? Senate veteran Lawrence O’Donnell gives us his view.The lay offs continue, more than 50,000 at Citigroup today. Plus, more store closing, and more foreclosures. What does this really mean for our people and what our cities? And what can government actually do? Newark Mayor Cory Booker will be here to put a human face on these massive numbers. Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells us what a tech presidency actually mean. And, Nate Silver reads the numbers on three key remaining Senate races.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now.
(on camera): At least on the surface, at least so far, President-elect Obama is making good on his intention to unite the country’s leadership. This last Thursday, when Hillary Clinton’s name emerged as a contender for secretary of state, speculation has raised about the exciting possibility and the daunting stumbling blocks. The “New York Times” reports that the vetting process has begun including the bigness and philanthropic associations of Barack Obama’s old primary season antagonist, Bill Clinton. According to Politico.com, “Team Obama, after all, but offering secretary of state to Senator Clinton, is expressing exasperation with the Clinton camp for the difficulty in getting a clean vet from President Bill Clinton’s many entanglements.” A Clinton figure told the “Huffington Post,” “If they can limit the press fallout around Bill, she’ll get the appointment.” Meanwhile, former President Clinton weighed in yesterday from Kuwait city, a location which speaks volumes of the challenges the situation presents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: If he decided to ask her to do it and they did it together, I think she would be really great as being secretary of state. But I have no earthly idea what is going to happen. I have been here. If I did have any idea, I wouldn’t tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUFFINGTON: Obama met with another vanquished rival today, Senator John McCain. A day after the president-elect told “60 Minutes” that he would have at least one Republican in his administration. The two former rivals reportedly discussed problems they would cooperate on and issued a joint statement saying, “We have to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation’s security.” Wasn’t it only two weeks ago that McCain was warning the American people about the dangers of electing a terrorist-loving, inexperienced, a socialist to the highest office in land? Is the kumbaya moment believable? Is it a good idea? And can he make it all work? I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Bill Maher, the host of “Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO as my first guest tonight. I first got to know him in 1993 when I appeared on “Politically Incorrect,” then on Comedy Central in New York. And now, 15 years later, I’m finally the one asking the questions. Bill, thank you for being here tonight.
BILL MAHER, TV TALK SHOW HOST: Arianna, this is another case of you taking a job away from an American.
MAHER: This is what’s wrong with our immigration policy, ladies and gentlemen.
HUFFINGTON: It’s only for the night, don’t worry. Don’t get the anti-immigrant protest against me.
HUFFINGTON: So, Barack Obama and John McCain met today. They brought along political back ups, Rahm Emanuel and Lindsey Graham. How did the meeting strike you? And what’s the point of bringing along the lieutenants?
MAHER: Obviously, Arianna, you’ve never been to a duel.
MAHER: They are not called lieutenants, they are seconds and they carry the pistols. And then each side chooses a pistol, and they walk 10 paces in the opposite direction, and they take turns shooting at each other. Hello.
HUFFINGTON: And what happens? Who came out alive?
MAHER: Aaron Burr.
HUFFINGTON: But, you know, when a reporter asked Senator McCain at the beginning of the meeting, whether he would help Obama and his administration, he replied, “Obviously.” What are your predictions?
MAHER: I don’t-I mean, I heard what you were saying in the intro there, but it is pretty funny that, you know, you can go from one day
calling a guy all these names and then, in the space of 24 hours turnaround, and you’re his best friend, and you’re backing him. And it’s
obvious that I’m going to be working with the terrorists-hello It’s funny, it reminds me in the old days of Watergate when they would float a lie. And remember the guy who said, inoperative was the word. In other words, well, I try today lie, you didn’t buy it, let me try another one. So, I guess, that’s the way our political system works.All I know is this, Arianna. During the course of the campaign, a lot of the times, we, smart asses in the press, would question or somehow second guess something Obama was doing and it turned out almost that every turn that he was smarter than we were. So, I’m just going to sit back for awhile, until he messes up. I’m not going to stick my neck on the line because this is one smart cookie. We’re so used to having a president who’s so much dumber than us. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Well, now, maybe we met our match.
HUFFINGTON: So, the same applies, as far as you are concerned, to his choice for-of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state? The “Guardian” in London is reporting tonight that she will accept the position.
HUFFINGTON: Either way, it appears, Bill, that the Clintons are with us for at least the next four years in all their glory and all their psychodrama. Is this a good thing? I’m sure it’s a good thing for satirists and comedians. But is it a good thing for the country?
MAHER: I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think Hillary Clinton is very capable as we all do, on the left and on the right, I think they would agree with that. You know, and I’m not one of those people who think that a lot of the drama comes from the Clintons. I think it comes from people covering the Clintons who don’t have a life, who need to find gossip and drama somewhere. I mean, other than the incident with Monica Lewinsky, I really can’t think of anything that rises to the level of horrible gossip or even lying with these people. And, of course, that was nothing to begin with. You know, these are two of the most serious, devoted policy wonks this country has ever seen. And as far as people hating them and saying they are full of drama and baggage, that’s everyone else projecting their issues on the Clintons. Basically, they are boring people.
HUFFINGTON: Well, you know what is great about you, Bill, that this election has turned the cynic in you into an optimist.
HUFFINGTON: It’s as though Barack Obama has exceeded in tapping into the better angels of your nature. Next thing, we’re going to be having you talking about how much you love children and you already love animals. Is that what’s happening around the country? Optimism is rampant. Vernon Jordan called an irrational national exuberance. Are you feeling it?
MAHER: Wow. Yes. We did a sort of a tongue-and-cheek thing in our show to close the season Friday night that was in that spirit. And look, you can’t fight it. As I said Friday night, you’d be stupid not to be stupid about it, to at least, feel good. I mean, you have to give credit when America finally gets one right. You know, I said, I went from God damn America to God damn America? So, you know, it’s a great moment. We have had so few moments in the last eight years where we can be prideful and pat ourselves on the back and feel good about ourselves. And this is legitimate. And it erases so many bad things, and so many great opportunities opened up.
And, of course, now is the perfect time because he hasn’t taken office yet. So, we’re living in sort of this bubble, this window where reality hasn’t entered in. It’s just the era of hope before he actually has to get into the sewer and start dredging it. So, if we can’t enjoy it now, we’re never going to have a moment. We need a breather to do this. So, yes, I’m going to pie-yaya (ph) on this until January 20th.
HUFFINGTON: And I’m hope this one lasts (ph) because I actually completely agree with you. I mean, I believe in redemption. I believe in regeneration. And that so far, he’s delivering. At the same time, during the campaign, when McCain and the GOP try to co-opt the patriotism argument, we are now seeing that that is not working, either, and actually, we are ready to reclaim patriotism from their jingoist and the religious right. I mean, that must make you, more than anybody, particularly happy.
MAHER: Yes. We should-the liberals should never have given it away in the first place. Bush did more things that were unpatriotic than any presidents I can ever remember because I define patriotism as, you know, doing things that help the country. Well, he didn’t help the country in any number of ways. And, by the way, I’m not going to give Obama a free pass just because he’s a charming guy and I happen to like him. I like a lot of people but he is in a job where he has to be judged. Just to take one example, nobody is talking about Afghanistan and his job-on his pledge to widen that war which I don’t necessarily think that is the right thing to do.
I mean, sure, it’s great to have a war going, I mean, some war. You got to have some war. You can’t have no wars. So, if we get out of Iraq, gee, we’ll be left without a war, wouldn’t that be awful? I would like to see the liberals get a little more of the debate in them on that subject.
HUFFINGTON: Well, Bill, thank you so much for being with us. Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real time.” Bill will also be performing in Las Vegas this Friday and Saturday at the Orleans Hotel & Casino. Thank you.
MAHER: And Sunday.
HUFFINGTON: And Sunday. I said Saturday and Sunday.
MAHER: And Friday.
MAHER: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
HUFFINGTON: Oh, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. OK, you can all have a long weekend in Las Vegas every night watching Bill.
MAHER: Exactly, thank you.
HUFFINGTON: Tomorrow, a secret ballot will decide whether Senator Joe Lieberman will remain as the chair of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The Democrats’ hostility toward Lieberman is no secret. But how will his colleagues actually vote? MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell will join me to discuss whether Lieberman will have to face actual consequences for backing John McCain. Plus, Barack Obama is poised to become the most Internet-savvy president ever, even if he does have to give up his BlackBerry. Later, I talk to Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google about the power of Web politics in the age of Obama.
First, one more thing about the Obama transition. A sizable majority of Americans celebrated Barack Obama’s election. What kind of celebrating? Well, “Newsweek” reports that euphoria over Barack Obama’s win could result in lots (ph) of babies being born, say, nine months from now. According to Doctor Manny Alvarez, chief of reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, the mood of the country and the optimism about leadership is always somewhat related to birthrate on gearing up for a healthy increase, he said. Barack Obama himself was born August 4, 1961, almost nine months to the day after John F. Kennedy, another charismatic young Democrat with the glamorous wife and adorable children, was elected to the White House.
The question will be: How many August boys will be named “Barack”?
HUFFINGTON: The Senate returned to Washington today, the House returns on Wednesday. The first thing on the agenda: freshman orientation, of course. The freshman class of the incoming 111tg Congress converged on the Capitol steps for an awkward class picture, and presumably learned where the cafeteria and the bathrooms are. Tomorrow, it’s very serious political business. Senate Democrats will decide what to do about Senator Joe Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut who created enemies during the presidential election, not just by campaigning for John McCain, but by campaigning hard against Barack Obama. Remember when Lieberman was asked whether he thought Obama was a Marxist and his response was, “That’s a good question.” The question tomorrow: Will Lieberman remain the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee? His fate will be decided by secret ballots. So, we see how many of the senators talked out (ph), but carry a small stake. Last week, Senator Evan Bayh told Rachel that Lieberman should keep his committee chairmanship, but said that he needs to apologize for what he’s done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EVAN BAYH, (D) INDIANA: He said things that were simply unacceptable and I think he needs to apologize for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUFFINGTO: Today, Lieberman’s ally, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware spoke even more sharply about his colleague, saying, “There need to be consequences, and they cannot be insignificant. I’m very disappointed as a friend and a colleague.”
With allies like that, who needs adversaries? A recently poll conducted in Lieberman’s home state of Connecticut revealed that his problems are not confine to Washington. When asked if they approve or disapprove of the job Joe Lieberman is doing as a U.S. senator, 36 percent said, approve, down nine point from a few months ago; and 61 percent now disapprove of the job he is doing, up 18 points since July. What about whether voters in Connecticut would vote for Lieberman in 2012? Thirty-five percent say they would reelect him, 18 percent say they would consider someone else, and 48 percent said they would replace him. That’s some buyers’ remorse.
So, his fellow Democrats say they are mad, they say Lieberman should be punished, and his constituents don’t like him. Given the paradox of politics, is it then, a safe bet that Joe Lieberman survives tomorrow’s secret vote?
Joining me now: MSNBC political analyst, and my friend, Lawrence O’Donnell, who served as a Democratic chief of staff of two Senate committees during the 1990s. According to a “Congressional Quarterly” article today, Democratic Senator Ken Salazar from Colorado says Lieberman has quote, “significant support within the Senate Democrat caucus.”
So, Lawrence, what’s likely to happen tomorrow?
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there’s no safe bet in these situations, Arianna. I’ve been involved in a couple of these elections, these secret ballot elections. And I’ve had senators tell me they were going to vote a certain way and then vote another way when the day came. So, you never really know. My personal bet is that he will hold on to the Homeland Security chairmanship. What could happen is-you know, he’s also on the Armed Services Committee and Environment and Public Works, and Small Business, that’s one more committee than most senators have-they could knock him off of the Small Business Committee. Lieberman wouldn’t care about that. They could also take away his subcommittee chairmanship on Armed Services. By the way, if they do, Evan Bayh gets that subcommittee chairmanship. If he loses the homeland security chairmanship, actually, Tom Carper is probably the next in line for that. I say probably because there are two senior senators above Carper but they’re already chairman of other committees and they probably would not choose to be chairman of Homeland Security. So, you’ve heard already from the two people who might move up in the event that Lieberman moves down. But, I really think, Arianna, with the number of Democratic senators they have in place right now, they are not in a position to burn one. You know, we had 57 Democrats in the Senate when Bill Clinton got elected. So, in the Congress 1993-1994, we had 57 Democrats. We lost that majority in the election in 1994.
The majority of the Democrats have now is losable in 2010. The senior members know this. They’ll be very reluctant to push Joe Lieberman around on that basis. And then also, the polls you showed, Arianna, about the Connecticut voters, the Connecticut voters are going to discipline Joe Lieberman and his behavior in the coming Congress. He needs to make up ground with them and the only way he can do that is by embracing Barack Obama and the Democratic Party that got him into the Senate in the first place.
HUFFINGTON: But, you know, Lawrence, it’s not really a question of revenge or even punishment. It’s simply a question of effectiveness. He’s done a terrible job as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. And as Jane Hamster (ph) wrote, shouldn’t really that kind of job performance have consequences?
O’DONNELL: Not in the United States Senate. If they are going to start rating chairman’s job performances, then we are in a whole different ball game. It’s not something that’s ever been taken into account before. Look-it’s not a committee that Senate really cares about. It’s filled with junior senators. A vacancy just opened up on Sunday when Barack Obama resigned from that committee. And that, by the way, is something that Lieberman really has going for him. The fact that Obama, who was a member of the committee, has in effect forgiven Lieberman and has let it be known publicly that he is in favor of not disciplining Lieberman, and keeping him in the folds, that couldn’t be more helpful. And that’s who, that’s really who Lieberman will owe if he gets to preserve his chairmanship which is what matters to him the most. So, no, don’t look for job performance to enter into the question of who becomes Senate chairman, Arianna.
HUFFINGTON: So, Lawrence, very quickly, does the secret ballot help Lieberman or hurt him?
O’DONNELL: It works both ways. You know, I think it probably helps him. And, ultimately, I think it helps him. But there can be people who, well, could say to his face today, I’m going to vote for you, hang in there, Joe, and not vote for it tomorrow. It can happen.
HUFFINGTON: Well, you paint a very depressing picture of the United States Senate.
Lawrence, thank you so much. MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, thank you for joining us tonight.
HUFFINGTON: While Lieberman’s fate is up in the air, election ‘08 may never end. We’ll have the latest on Senate races in Georgia, Alaska, and Minnesota next, with polling expert (ph) Nate Silver. Plus, the chairman and CEO of Google will be here to talk about the first Internet presidency. FDR had his radio fireside chats, Obama’s first weekly address was posted on YouTube. Is the medium the message?
HUFFINGTON: The election was almost two weeks and tens of thousands of Americans jobs ago. Congress returns this week. Hillary Clinton already might be the secretary of state. And the Obamas have already seized up the White House.
But in three states, it’s still election day, and the long awaited results in those three races that refuse to end may determine whether the jumpstart (ph) of 2009 with a solid majority in the Senate or a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority? In Alaska, election officials are still counting ballots in the race between incumbent Republican and convicted felon Ted Stevens, and Anchorage mayor and Democrat Mark Begich. At the moment, Begich is beating Senator Stevens by 1,022 votes. But there are still counting to be done. According to the “Anchorage Daily News,” another 24,000 absentee and questioned ballots will be tallied tomorrow. In Minnesota, it’s almost time to start round two of ballot counting in the race between Republican incumbent, Senator Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. Senator Coleman is beating Franken by a whopping 206 votes, out of 2.9 million cast. The mandatory recount begins Wednesday. And in Georgia, campaign season never ended at all. Under a state law, only a majority of the vote counts as a win. And the Republican incumbent, Senator Saxby Chambliss, just missed a majority with 49.8 percent of the vote to Democrat Jim Martin’s 46.8. The runoff of the election is set for December 2nd. And a round of campaign season is well underway. So, when will the election actually be over and how was the undecided race is shaping up? Joining me now, probably the biggest winner of the election season besides Barack Obama himself, and the person who, along with Gov. Sarah Palin made glasses cool again, Nate Silver of “FiveThirtyeight.com.” Let me confess, Nate, I’ve always had a profound mistrust of polls. Indeed, (INAUDIBLE) and I even started a campaign for a poll-free America. And on the “Huffington Post,” we launched an election feature called “Huff Astrology” where we presented the latest polling results together from the astrological charts of the candidates.
But, your approach to polls sucked me back in. You used historical comparisons and only took the information you thought was solid. And you ended up being incredibly accurate and reliable. Nate, I don’t know how you did it, but you made me a poll addict. Thanks for joining us.
NATE SILVER, “FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM”: Thank you.
HUFFINGTON: So what made your approach different? Should we still be leery as far as investor have been for many, many years?
SILVER: Yes, I think that’s exactly right, and that’s part of my approach. We can’t take polls at face value. Some of them are not very good. It’s just someone kind of putting up numbers on a PDF on a Web page somewhere and it’s not really very scientific.
So we do discriminate, I suppose. We take polls that have had a better track record, that use a better sample size, disclose more, the methodology are more scientific and place more weight on those. Less weight on polls that just aren’t very good.
HUFFINGTON: Now, let’s talk about the specific three races. You take issue with Georgia polls that indicate there will be a high turnout for the runoff. Indeed, you predict a big drop off from Election Day. Does it matter that heavy hitters from both sides are jumping in. Is there a way to predict the way it is going?
SILVER: It’s a tough race to predict. It’s more almost like a primary and the margins of error tend to be much higher in primaries when you don’t know exactly who’s going to turn out.
Will it be the African-American voters that turned out for Obama on - not Super Tuesday - on Election Day? Or will it be the more traditional kind of Georgia Republican voters? You know, the surveys out now, I think, turnout might be pretty high.
But we have a precedent in 1992. You also had one off then, Paul Coverdell, the Republican, won even though Bill Clinton had actually won the seat of Georgia. The turn out was down 50 percent from the presidential election. I’d expect something similar there, maybe a little bit higher if the Clintons and Obama and McCain and Palin get on the stump. But you know, people aren’t as motivated by a Senate race as they are by electing Barack Obama or John McCain.
HUFFINGTON: Now, let’s move on to Minnesota. Al Franken is going to Washington this week to meet with fellow Democrats and also to raise money for the recount. Is Minnesota just a sequel to Florida 2000? Is there any chance that Al Franken will actually be the next senator?
SILVER: Oh, there’s a pretty decent chance. I mean, he’ll pick up votes in this recount. The question is, I think, how many votes? When we look at what we call vulnerable new voters, or low-income voters. They tend to cast more under-votes which is what happens when you mis-mark your ballot. Maybe you haven’t voted before. And those groups also tended to vote for Franken, especially poor people and minorities in Minnesota. So he’ll gain more than 50 percent of the recounted votes. But you know, Minnesota is a pretty efficient state. They use the optical scan ballots which are pretty good. They’re a lot better than the kind of punch cards that we had in Florida.
So it’s going to be a very - it’s will be organized chaos in Minnesota. They have good rules for dealing with the recount. But still, at the end, they will literally go through every disputed ballot, the ones that don’t get a consensus the first time around and have three people there kind of giving thumbs up and thumbs down. It’s going to be - it’s going to be slow, maybe not chaotic really so much as just very painstaking. And it could go back into court depending on how things are resolved. So we might not even a senator in Minnesota until some time in January or February.
HUFFINGTON: Now, Nate, we are almost out of time. But very quickly, Alaska?
SILVER: Yes, this is the one race where I think everyone is being polite and not calling it yet. But if you look at the areas where the vote is out, they are Democratic areas. And the provisional ballots - they call them question ballots in Alaska - tend to be poor Democratic voters. A lot of schoolteachers will vote in the precinct where they teach and where they are officially registered. The votes will be counted. They haven’t been counted yet. So I think if anything, Begich might wind up winning by 3,000 or 4,000 votes, closer than people thought, but you know, relatively comfortable compared to where it is now.
HUFFINGTON: Nate Silver of “FiveThirtyEight.com,” thank you so much for coming on the show.
SILVER: Yes, thank you.
HUFFINGTON: Responding to the tough economic times we are in will take courage, resilience and imagination. How will big cities deal with massive cutbacks like the 53,000 jobs slashed today from Citibank? Should we bail them out, too? Joining me next will be Newark Mayor Cory Booker to talk about what government can and can’t do.
HUFFINGTON: Welcome back. I’m Arianna Huffington in tonight for Rachel Maddow. In a little more than two months, Barack Obama will assume power. Sometimes, minutes pass like hours. Until then, President Bush is still on the job. So tonight, another installment of the RACHEL MADDOW SHOW lame duck watch, because somebody better do it.
Perhaps the best the country and Barack Obama could have hoped for would have been for President Bush to keep things as they were on election night - really bad, but not quite a total disaster. It’s not unfolding that way. In the last days of the Bush administration, we’re slipping from bad to far worse. The job news continues to be horrible. And maybe the most troubling statistic of this very bad fall - Citi Corp announced that as many as 53,000 more jobs will soon be gone. Meanwhile, more than 250,000 homes were hit with foreclosures filing just last month, a 25 percent jump from 2007. And now, local and state governments have joined the long line of institutions in financial crisis. The mayors of Atlanta, Phoenix and Philadelphia sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson asking that big cities get a slice of the $700 billion bailout. The numbers are so big that they are hard to digest and understand. So, what do the sobering statistics really mean to our people, to our cities? Statistics are really human life. And what can the government, lame duck or otherwise, actually do to help? Joining me now is a mayor facing these tough economic times, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK MAYOR: Thank you, Arianna, for having me on.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you so much Cory for being here. You know, I thought that you of all people who’s actually lived among the working poor of Newark as well as the people who have no jobs could actually tell us what is going on now. I mean, these are desperate times anyway in New York for many, many years. How much worse is it now?
BOOKER: Well, I think cities all over America, are grappling with the realities. The statistics we hear on TV about job loss - they have a very powerful impact on individuals and families and they don’t even tell the whole story. This doesn’t include people whose unemployment benefits ran out already. It doesn’t include people who have part time jobs. It doesn’t include that worked maybe for six month in a job then lost their job and they didn’t stay there long enough to earn the unemployment benefits in the first place. So you have hundreds of thousands of Americans in cities and towns and neighborhoods who really right now are looking for hope and looking for opportunity.
HUFFINGTON: And so what can we do about it? Obviously, there are two questions. One is, what can city governments like yours do about it? But also, what can we, as citizens, do about it?
BOOKER: Well, first of all, I think governments all around the country right now are in trouble, and a lot of city governments are facing tough decisions. I heard in New York State they are even thinking of firefighters or police officers.
We can’t allow any backward slide in terms of protecting core services for residents. We can’t just - can’t allow that. I’m hoping that the Bush administration, soon Obama administration, looks to do that. But in the local level, we’ve got to be creative in our local economies. And in Newark, we have been trying to do a lot of things, first of all, make people aware of the resources that are out there that they are not using already. Barack Obama, very intelligently said that we need to expand the earned income tax credit. But there are millions of Americans who are eligible for such a wonderful giveback from the government after working hard for a year that don’t apply for the earned income tax credit. In addition to that, this is the time, actually to feed capital into important programs. We just had the Nobel Peace Prize winner this year, Muhammad Yunus win because micro-loans. And so in Newark right now, we are focusing on a new micro loan program.
We are about to launch 13 new businesses in this economy. We just launched one last week. It’s employing 20 people, ex-offenders, and getting our economy moving. So this is a time not to retreat from who we are in cities, places of entreprenueralism, places of innovation. This is a time to embrace new ideas and innovations and courageously push through this economy.
And one area I know we’ve talked about is just green jobs. As we’re moving into the winter, we know that there’s a lot of public institutions that can be saving millions of dollars they can give back to taxpayers if we just weatherize buildings and energy conscious efforts going on. That could also help create businesses, who is going to do the weatherization, who’s going to that work.
HUFFINGTON: So your friends are saying that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste?
HUFFINGTON: And we might be able to actually use it to bring about a lot of the changes that we have been talking about for many years but actually not bringing about.
BOOKER: Let’s define American greatness over the centuries. The two centuries of our existence has always been we have met times of crisis, not by giving into fear or despair, but by meeting it with innovation, with grit, with determination. They were going to evidence the best of our society. In American cities right now, I believe is opportunities, as difficult as it’s going to be, our opportunities have better manifest who we are for people to pull together. But I also believe - look, D.C. has an obligation. We’ve got to do those things. We’re a country of collective struggle, collective sacrifice. And this is not a time that we should be turning our back on the unemployed. We should be extending unemployment benefits in the Obama administration as already suggested and doing things like that.
HUFFINGTON: One last thing, very quickly. Today, Barack Obama appealed to his list, you know, his amazing list of 10 million people to help with the fire in southern California, to help in terms of providing money and in terms of volunteers. Could that be used across the country? Could we actually call on the American people to do something themselves beyond lobbying the government to do something?
BOOKER: I mean, think about this. I stood in awe and admiration of the millions of dollars - hundreds of millions of dollars donated for an election campaign. Well, the election is over but the campaign for America is not over. This is a time for all of us that were so energized by the election of an individual to recognize the real change in America is made by the people themselves, not one leader.
We all have to continue the movement, continue the momentum that have brought about this electoral change to make sure that we rescue our nation in this time of crisis and assert ourselves through the a crisis to claim the destiny that I think still waits for America. There’s still so more Americans yearning for it and hungry for it.
HUFFINGTON: Cory, thank you so much. Thank you for being with us. And we will be watching what you are doing in Newark and what you’re helping spark around the country.
BOOKER: Thank you very much and this is a great show that really is inspiring a lot of people in my city and beyond.
HUFFINGTON: Great. Thank you.
BOOKER: Thank you.
HUFFINGTON: Next, Obama wants to be the first president to use a laptop in the Oval Office. And he could become the first president to use E-mail. How will Obama change the present relationship with technology? The chairman and CEO of Google Eric Schmidt will join us next.
HUFFINGTON: Technology lovers, your long national nightmare is almost over. You have had a long, tortured history with your politicians like convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens who once referred to the internet as, quote, “a series of tubes,” of John McCain who said earlier this year that he’s learning to get online. But we are about to go from one who famously bragged that he knows how to use Google to one who speaks freely about things like Net neutrality with a vast E-mail network of more than 10 million supporters, some of whom he even reaches through text messages. Even though President-elect Obama will likely be forced to surrender his Blackberry when he takes office, he does intend to be the first president with a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office, a symbol that will speak volumes even if it only collects dust.
And there are endless signs that the Obama team knows just how to harness the power of new technology. They’ve already created their own post-election YouTube page featuring Obama’s first weekly YouTube address. And the Obama campaign used its Flicker account just days after his historic victory to post behind-the-scenes photos of the Obama family watching the results coming in on election night. But perhaps, the most significant indicator of that Obama is planning to truly become the first Internet president is his pledged to appoint the nation’s first chief technology officer to bring government into the 21st century. So how will he do it? What will be the role of technology in the Obama administration? Who better to ask than Eric Schmidt - he is the chairman and CEO of Google and is a member of the President-elect’s transition economic advisory board. Eric, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
ERIC SCHMIDT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GOOGLE: Hi, Arianna. Thank you very much for having me.
HUFFINGTON: So without the Internet, Obama probably would not have been elected.
SCHMIDT: We agree.
HUFFINGTON: And he is making it clear that he intends to govern using the Internet. I know you’ve said you are not interested in serving as America’s first chief technology officer, so I’m not going to ask you again. But what should be the priorities of the nation’s first CTO, whoever it turns out to be?
SCHMIDT: You know, one of the great winners of the election that just happened was the Internet itself. And no matter your background and interest, if you are a politician, when you come back in 2009 or even in the lame duck session, you know that the Internet really made a huge difference.
So the government now needs to take advantage of that. The government needs to use the Internet to communicate directly with its citizens. It’s interesting that if you look at President-elect Obama’s use of YouTube for the radio address, he also was able to get comments, people could listen. They could say, “I agree. I disagree.” It drives more engagement.
The Internet let us will have a much more passionate and engaged population which I think is a cornerstone of democracy.
HUFFINGTON: Now, on a personal level, as the president-elect has been told, he can’t use his Blackberry.
HUFFINGTON: And you know - you and I are both Blackberry addicts. So that is kind of a major sacrifice. But he said that he will have a laptop on his disk on the Oval Office. I don’t know if you can let us know if it’s going to be an Apple or a PC, or whether it’s going to be a team of rivals on his desk with both an Apple and a PC. But is there really no way for a president to have a cell phone? I mean, we are going to have more and more presidents going forward for whom that’s the default way to communicate. Can’t you, Google, write an application called Google President just for him? I know it’s a niche market, but you’re going to be owning it, 100 percent.
SCHMIDT: We would love to do that, but unfortunately the Presidential Records Act means everything he says, does, ever does is recorded, and that’s a characteristic of the Internet, that we are all sort of getting used to. The fact of the matter is, with all this information, people can actually use it to help understand what the government is doing. And from the president’s perspective, he’s got to decide how much you want to know about where he was this minute or that minute. And that’s what’s really driving that question, I suspect.
HUFFINGTON: And do you know if it’s going to be an Apple or a PC?
SCHMIDT: I do not, but I would hope it’s a Mac.
HUFFINGTON: OK. Let’s talk about the ways that President Obama can harness the Internet to make his administration more transparent. I know transparency is something very important to you, more participatory and more effective. Where should he start?
SCHMIDT: Well, the first thing is that most of what government does is still not public, not because they are trying to hide it, but because they’ve never talked about it. Most of the information the government collects is not broadly available.
All the citizens who care passionately about forestry or land use or all of the other things that government does at the local, state, and federal level really cannot get at the underlying data that is being used to make decisions. I would hope President Obama who’s made a strong commitment to transparency would make sure that the government was opened up. He’s championed, in previous legislations, some parts of it. But there is every reason to think with everyone connected all the time and everyone participating, you can get a much better outcome, if everyone is looking and everyone’s paying attention. If you look at the way the political race was done, which was hugely successful, whenever one of the rivals would say something that wasn’t true, the citizens would react. They would say, “No, that’s not true. We checked. We went back and we correlated this. We are not so sure. That makes people much more likely to get to the right outcome and not make bad decisions in secrecy.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you so much, Eric. Much more to talk about including that new trial that we didn’t get to, but we are all in favor of and so is the president-elect.
SCHMIDT: Thank you, Arianna.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you for being here - Chairman and CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt.
The next president of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson. Finally, a grandma in the White House. Why three generations of Obamas under one roof are better than two, coming up.
HUFFINGTON: Finally, tonight, my favorite story of the Obama transition. The news that Michelle Obama’s 71-year-old mother, Marian Robinson may be joining the first family in moving to Washington, D.C. to help Malia and Sasha make a smooth transition. Barack Obama talks about his mother-in-law last night on “60 Minutes.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT-ELECT: Marian Robinson is one of the unsung heroes of this campaign. We couldn’t have done it without her. Because she retired and looked after the girls, gave Michelle confidence that somebody was going to be there when Michelle was on the road. She has just been an unbelievable support for all of us during this process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUFFINGTON: As my own mother lived with us from the moment my daughters were born until she died in 2000, I know firsthand there is nothing like a yaya, Greek for grandmother, to be single-mindedly focused on the kids.
Yaya is a soulful antidote to our multitasking times. First granny Marian Robinson White House move would provide a powerful teachable moment for America, a real world solution to both our nation’s childcare crisis and the isolation of far too many seniors in old age homes.
Every time America’s childcare crisis comes up for discussion, I wonder, where are the grandparents? Languishing in senior citizen’s homes, playing bingo, waiting for their quarterly phone call from the grandkids or the yearly Hallmark card?
In Athens, where I was raised, children were always the center of the household. My mother never stopped being grateful for little things. “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly,” she used to tell me when I was a child. And it’s a perspective she helped bring to my children’s life. Having my mother live with us helped provide my girls with balance. So while Marian Robinson says she isn’t sure she should move into the White House, I’m absolutely positive that she should. In fact, it would help.
Maybe we need to start a petition. We could all sign up to let Malia and Sasha’s grandmother know we want a first granny in the White House. Thank you for watching tonight. Rachel will be back soon. “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts now. Good night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2008 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2008 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user’s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC’s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.