The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/23/10
KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST: And now with a whole gamut of
emotions from why Bart Stupak is still howling about abortions in health
reform to why dogs howl – when law and order comes on – ladies and
gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Keith. We are having one of those
shows that encompasses way too much for one hour or probably one person,
but we`re going to try.
MADDOW: Excellent – without even hearing the theme song.
OLBERMANN: Yes, I can play it in my mind.
MADDOW: We`ll be testing you later.
MADDOW: Thanks, Keith.
Today, the top Republican in the House, John Boehner, took aim at
President Obama`s 11 pages of proposed fixes to the health reform bill by
slamming the president`s proposal as being too short. A spokesperson for
Mr. Boehner said, quote, “The White House`s plan consists of an 11-page
outline. So, they want to reorganize one-sixth of the United States`
economy with a document shorter than a comic book.”
If the little hairs on the back of your neck are standing up right
now, it might be because the accusation that the health plan is too short?
It`s sort of weird enough on its own, but it`s really weird coming from
John Boehner, since John Boehner has been the guy telling us for months now
that the health reform plan is too long.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: Nineteen hundred and
ninety pages. Now, tell me how we`re going to fix our health care system
with 1,990 pages of bureaucracy.
Speaker Pelosi`s 1,990-page bill is going to raise the cost of health
The best way to get a sense of what Speaker Pelosi`s take of health
care looks like is to actually look at it. Just shy of 2,000 pages, it
runs more than 620 pages longer than the government-run plan Hillary
Clinton proposed in 1993.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: The best way to get a sense of this bill, he says, is just
look at it, the size of it, all 1,990 pages of it. See what`s on those
pages doesn`t matter. The horrible truth is just how many pages there are.
This has not just been a rogue John Boehner complaint, though. This
has been a tried and true Republican talking point all along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. JOHN DUNCAN (R), TENNESSEE: The bill that we apparently will
vote on later this week is 1,990 pages of bureaucratic gobbly goop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bill that`s before us, this 2,000 pages, do
affect us from conception to natural death because it funds abortion and it
has death panels.
REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: Mr. Speaker, I know you and so many
others have been spending their weekends reading this 1,990-page
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re here today in opposition to Speaker Pelosi`s
1,990-page government takeover of health care. I can tell you it`s a lot
of pages. It`s about 20 pounds I`m holding up here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Pelosi health care bill, 1,990 pages.
Nobody in this place has even come close to reading it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: That was then. Health reform is just too long.
Now, John Boehner, top House Republican, says that health reform is
just too short. It is beginning to feel like John Boehner`s vehement
opposition to health reform is only being outdone by John Boehner`s
vehement opposition to John Boehner. For example, this bipartisan health
reform summit at the White House on Thursday is something that John Boehner
number one sort of demanded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: There has been no attempt, not one attempt by the
administration or the Democrats in Congress to actually sit down and work
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. John Boehner number one, you`ve asked for some type of
summit, now you got it. Other John Boehner, what do you think?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I don`t want to walk into some setup. I don`t know who`s
going to be there. I don`t know how big the room`s going to be. I don`t
know how – what the setup`s going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Smackdown. Take that, John Boehner number one. Ha!
Then there`s the issue of secrecy. John Boehner number one has been
calling for full transparency in these negotiations – let the cameras in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: The president, during the campaign last year, has said that
when we got to this part of the process that it`d be a big open room and
he`d invite the C-SPAN cameras in so the American people could see how this
bill was coming together. I do think it`s time to let the American people
see what`s going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. See, other John Boehner, are you going to let him get
away with that? Are you? Get him, get him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What do you make of the fact it`s
televised? The American people are probably delighted that we`re getting
BOEHNER: I think that`s fine. But, you know, is this a political
event, or is this going to be a real conversation?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, except that we`ve been hammering them about the
BOEHNER: I don`t –
VAN SUSTEREN: The president said, you know, he`s going to put
everything on C-SPAN, so we can`t criticize him now for when he finally
does put it on C-SPAN.
BOEHNER: Fine. I`m going to make sure that we`re going to have an
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s fine, that`s fine. But – John Boehner is not going
to like that.
Speaking of John Boehner number one, John Boehner number one has also
been arguing repeatedly that Republican ideas must be included in health
reform. Remember that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: Republicans have much better ideas, I think. They will take
the current system and make it work better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. So, many of those much better ideas are now in the
current plan. The White House explaining that chapter and verse on their
Web site right now, how Republican ideas are in the plan.
John Boehner number one, you got what you want. You got the
Republican ideas in the plan.
Which means, other John Boehner – go get `em, go, go, go!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I would hope that the president would heed our call. Let`s
scrap the bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Let`s scrap the bill. That other guy got what he wanted. I
hate that guy.
One thing is clear here: John Boehner is totally unafraid of taking
himself on. And in the process, he`s winning – and he`s losing, depending
on which John Boehner you`re talking about.
At the big White House bipartisan health care summit on Thursday,
which John Boehner is expected to attend, we`re all left wondering which
John Boehner should we expect: Will it be John Boehner number one or will
it be the other John Boehner?
I am starting to worry that a John Boehner divided against itself
Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York.
Congressman Weiner, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Much
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: It`s my pleasure, I understand
they`ve reserved four different seats for John Boehner at the health care
conference. I`m looking forward to that.
MADDOW: Because each John Boehner that might show up has two faces
and each of those faces needs an extra seat.
WEINER: But they – and they do need someone to go to the last page
and tell us what the page number is and whatever they`re considering. We
do need someone to tell us how many pages there are in it.
MADDOW: And whether that means it`s a good idea or a bad idea –
MADDOW: – depending on the font size.
Do you have any optimism at all about what`s going to happen on
WEINER: No, you know, because it`s been kind of like debating with
Sybil when we sit down with the Republicans, and you`ve shown it here this
evening to some degree.
Look, you know, the president wants bipartisanship – I just have to
say to him, good luck with that. I don`t think it`s going to be coming out
of that room. It kind of makes you wonder who it is we`re really
negotiating with, and whether or not, you know, we were elected frankly to
do health care. The Republicans believe it in their bones they were
elected to stop the president from achieving anything. Those seem to be
So, I think it – you know, it will be nice to turn the bright lights
up on the fact that the Republicans don`t really have substantive ideas on
trying to solve this problem, but I don`t believe it`s going to get us
closer to a resolution or get us a single on of their votes.
MADDOW: Well, in terms of the state of the negotiations, though, I
know you wrote a letter to President Obama today about the absence of
anybody advocating at this summit for a single-payer program – a Medicare
for All program like you`re in support of.
Do you think the White House is conceding too much by framing the
debate the way that they have been?
WEINER: Well, look, the president has his proposal. And I – I`m
glad – I`ve been on with you a dozen times saying I needed the president
to be more of a leader on this less than kind of just following the
legislative back and forth. But let`s make no mistake about it, when the
president stood up and said, “If you have good ideas, I want to hear them,”
well, those of us who believe in a single-payer system, expanding Medicare
to more Americans, simple, concise, fewer pages than John Boehner is
probably used to seeing, that`s not going to be probably considered
My beef with the president is this, is it looks like in his proposal,
he made some concessions. But concessions to whom, who is he getting any
votes from in exchange for dropping the public option – using a state-by-
state exchange rather than the national exchange, not having an employer
mandate. Who are those concessions intended to win over? Because he`s
going to find out at the summit, it`s not going to get you a single
MADDOW: On the public option issue – today, the Democratic House
majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said about the fact that the public option is
not in the president`s 11-page plan. Steny Hoyer said, quote, “I think
that it is obviously an item that the president has decided is not
something that perhaps the Senate can buy.”
I understand that you had a very negative reaction to those comments
from Steny Hoyer today.
WEINER: Well, look, I think that Steny is a great leader and he`s my
majority leader and I`m going to follow him. But in this case, I think he
needs more to make it clear that we should still fight for what the House
I know he was just commenting on what he thought might or might not go
on in the Senate. But too much of this debate is us try triangulating
against ourselves. Harry Reid is the majority leader. He supports the
public option. A growing chorus, and I think 51 senators put a public
option. The American people support a public option, and the president of
the United States says that he supports it.
So, why isn`t it in our plan? That`s a mystery to me that I really
can`t quite figure out right now, because I can`t find out who we gave that
up to that got us even a single vote.
MADDOW: On the issue of what`s in the House bill versus what`s in the
Senate bill, one of the ways that the House bill was able to pass, and it
passed by only five votes, was by allowing very anti-abortion members of
Congress and the Democratic Caucus to put forward incredibly strict anti-
abortion language, the Stupak Amendment.
Bart Stupak today – we`re going to be talking about this in a moment
in some more detail – reiterating how much he wants to use health reform
as a vehicle to essentially ban abortion, to make abortion something that
you can`t get covered by – you can`t get insurance coverage for in this
country any more.
Any feelings on his – how crucial he is to these negotiations?
WEINER: Look, Bart Stupak represents an important number of votes in
the House of the Representatives and the Senate. But we have to stop
letting this process be held up by one special interest followed another.
You know, we have been spending too much time – think of the months we
lost waiting for that gang of four or gang of six in the Senate to come up
with a bill. It got us nothing.
We waited and waited for Olympia Snowe to tell us what she wanted, it
got us nothing. We watch as Joe Lieberman did somersaults trying to debate
himself. That got us nothing.
And this is another chapter in the same sad story. We need real
leadership from the president. We, Democrats, have to show that we can
There`s a time to do this abortion debate, it isn`t now. And I hope
Bart Stupak and his supporters understand that.
MADDOW: Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York – thank
you very much for your time tonight, sir. Much appreciate it.
WEINER: Thank you.
MADDOW: So, as discussed there, health reform is supposed to be about
lowering what we all pay for health care and getting more people covered by
insurance, saving the economy in the meantime, but if you are Congressman
Bart Stupak of Michigan, health reform, thus far, has been about trying to
make abortion illegal – or at least trying to make it impossible to get.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will join us next to talk about the
attempted hijacking of health reform by anti-abortion members of Congress.
Please stay tuned.
MADDOW: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is reportedly feeling good,
and likely to leave George Washington University Hospital in D.C. within a
day or two, after he experienced a mild heart attack yesterday. Sixty-nine
years old, Mr. Cheney has now suffered five heart attacks in his lifetime.
Yesterday, it`s led doctors to administer a stress test and a cardiac
catheterization, which is something that examines blood flow to the heart
and test how well the heart is pumping. It is not known if the former vice
president underwent an angioplasty which is a procedure to clear blockages
in the heart.
Dick Cheney has, of course, said and done many things with which many
people have taken angry issue, myself included. But Dick Cheney is also a
husband and a father and an American who has spent most of his life in
public service – and we wish him a full and speedy, speedy recovery,
MADDOW: Conservative Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak has
apparently grown nostalgic for those days late last year when he was trying
to turn the health reform debate into abortion debate, threatening to kill
health reform it wasn`t use to restrict abortion rights – and,
incidentally, getting a lot of attention for his efforts.
Today, just as his party seems to be making progress on the issue of
health reform, the otherwise little known Michigan congressman has revived
his plan to try to hijack health reform and use it as a way to essentially
ban abortion, to make it essentially inaccessible for American women who
do, incidentally, have a constitutional right to have this procedure.
In a statement released today, Mr. Stupak had this to say about
President Obama`s proposal for merging the House and Senate reform bills.
He said, quote, “Unfortunately, the president`s proposal encompasses the
Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language
is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the
president has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to
resolving our differences, there`s still work to be done before Congress
can pass comprehensive health reform.”
And by “work to be done,” he means more work to make health care ban
In reality, the Senate bill does not allow public funding for
abortion. It specifically prohibits it, in fact. It stipulates that
anyone who`s getting a subsidy to help them buy insurance on the proposed
exchange system has to write two separate premium checks, one to pay for
their government-subsidized coverage and a separate one to pay for abortion
coverage. That is emphatically, ridiculously not allowing public funding
for abortion. It is, in fact, such a cumbersome, weird, intrusive rule
that it represents a new restriction on access to abortion in this country.
But that`s not stopping Congressman Stupak. The House abortion
language – the language that was put in by Mr. Stupak himself – says that
anyone who gets a subsidy to help them buy health insurance from the
exchange – anyone – would be banned from buying any kind of plan that
covers abortion even if they use their own money to do so.
So, if you`re a woman getting a subsidy for health insurance, which
will be a huge proportion of the American population, it means no abortion
coverage for you, even if you want to pay for it yourself.
It also means that insurance company that want to be part of the
exchange, i.e., where the customers are, insurance companies in all
likelihood will not cover abortions any more.
So, if Democrats let Bart Stupak get his way, health reform will be
hijacked to become a vehicle to all but ban abortion in this country by
making it something that insurance just doesn`t cover any more in America.
Abortion rights only for women rich enough to pay for it out of pocket.
Joining us now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois.
Congresswoman Schakowsky, thanks very much for coming on the show
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: I know you`ve said that you had worked closely with
conservatives in the House to make sure that the House bill didn`t provide
any federal funding for abortion. But you found out that that wasn`t
enough. Conservative Democrats, like Congressman Stupak, wanted new
restrictions on abortion. How has this fight evolved in the House?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, early on, the pro-choice caucus, which is over 100-
some members in the House realized that we will accept the status quo as
the rules around abortion – in other words, that except for rape, incense
or life of the mother, that no public dollars would be used for health
care. That was called the Hyde Amendment, and we were agreeing that in the
new configuration with the health care exchanges, that we would maintain
that. And we devise language that passed the House committee that did
It was at the last minute that Bart Stupak lined up enough Democrats
and Republicans by saying that his amendment really was the status quo –
and as you so clearly explained, it was not at all, that this went way past
the current law. And I think that there were enough Democrats who believed
that that was true, that it was the status quo that they voted for.
That doesn`t exist any more. And I don`t see on the verge of passing
health care, that we`re going to see now a lot of members – enough members
willing to go back to the Stupak language to defeat the whole bill, because
that`s what would happen. Because the pro-choice members, 42 of us who
signed a letter who said that we want to maintain the status quo, will not
vote for it if it has the Stupak language. And the taste for passage of
this bill right now is just too great to let it be defeated by this.
MADDOW: So, just – to be clear, you and those 40-some odd members of
the House, when you said last year that you would not only work to keep
this language out of the final bill, but that if it was still included in
the final bill, that you would vote no – you stand by that. If the Stupak
language is in the final House Senate compromise bill, you will vote
SCHAKOWSKY: Absolutely true, and I think that that is the
understanding of those who are working on the final product of the
legislation, that it`s not going to pass if it has the Stupak language in
Now, you also mentioned the Nelson language, and that was in the
Senate bill, and now, is – remains in the president`s proposal. And we`re
very concerned about that as well. And hopefully we`re going to find a
process to change that, because – you know, we tried this two check deal
in the past.
In 2002, there was the Trade Act that allowed for 65 percent
government support for some insurance for displaced workers. The insurance
companies flatly said, “We will not take two checks.” And so what happened
is, that the worker had to send 35 percent to the IRS, then 100 percent was
sent by the IRS to the insurance companies. Very complicated, but that was
the only way that it would work, because the insurance companies said no to
We believe that that they will say no to two checks to cover abortion
and the rest of health care services, too. So, we`re very worried that it
will, in effect, keep women from having access to abortions.
MADDOW: I feel like it`s one thing to have a fight about abortion
rights in this country, it`s another thing to have a fight about health
reform, but to try to make the twin meet and try to fight the abortion
battles through health reform is turning out to be both a political and
practical disaster. That is my opinion on it.
I do want to ask you about one other subject today –
MADDOW: – in which you were making big news today, a proposal of
yours to stop private contractors from doing work that military personnel
used to do. This is a big deal proposal, this would dramatically change
the way that things have shifted in military affairs in this country over
the past eight years. What`s the impetus of this bill for you?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, we have companies like Blackwater, but not only
Blackwater, that are actually putting our own troops in danger, ruining the
reputation of our country, murdering people and still getting taxpayer
dollars to be contractors – private military contractors, hired guns,
mercenaries in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and actually, other places
around the world.
What this says is that no private company will be able to do these
sensitive missions any longer, that we`re going to phase them out. That
would include training programs for the Afghan police, for example, that
Blackwater seems to be at the head of the line to get over $1 billion
This is a repeat offender. This is a company who has really imperiled
in numerous occasions and should not be allowed to do anything. So, I –
we`ve introduced a bill, Bernie Sanders and I, we have 17 cosponsors in the
House, to phase out the use of these private contractors.
And I`m actually soliciting, Rachel, citizen supporters for my
proposal at JanShakowsky.org. I hope people will go there and sign my
petition to show that we need to take care of our military and not have
these mercenaries running these wars. It seems that we can`t do without
them anymore and I think that`s a very dangerous situation for our own
MADDOW: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois – thank
you very much for joining us tonight and for making news on the number of
subjects. I really appreciate it.
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Senator Tom Udall will be joining us next live to discuss
killing what was until recently called the filibuster problem and then you
guys renamed it, much better name, by the way – way better.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: You know where stuff actually gets done on Capitol Hill? The
House of Representatives is where.
As the “Hill” newspaper reported today, 290 bills that were already
passed by the House are sitting idle in the United States Senate right now
– 290 of them. And some of them have been there since last spring. All
290 bills passed by a simple majority in the House. Many of them with a
lot of Republican support – like this one, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-
Predatory Lending Act. It passed 300 to 114 with 60 Republicans voting
“yes” on it. It has been languishing in the Senate since last May.
How about this one? The Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act.
That sounds like something Republicans would like. And, in fact, it did
pass 406 to 15, 159 Republican “yes” votes. That one`s been sitting in the
Senate since last May.
How about H.R. 3631, the Medicare Premium Fairness Act? This one
passed 406 to 18, 161 “yes” votes were Republicans. And it`s been sitting
in the Senate since September.
I could go on, trust me. I could go on 287 more times. But I think
you would get the idea.
Two hundred and ninety bills – 290 bills have passed the House, many
with a ton of Republican support, and they are just sitting there in the
United States Senate, not moving. The Tarantino has got them.
For the first time in American history, the minority in the U.S.
Senate, the Republicans, are using the filibuster for everything, so that
even the most routine, mundane Senate business, even the stuff that
Republicans like is forced to get 60 votes to pass.
Look at this. We`ve been talking about the problem of the
Tarantino for months now. And this is what it`s wrought, this scroll of
bills - 290 pieces of legislation stopped dead in the broken Senate.
Heaven forbid we actually need to make policy sometime for the
good of our country. We are unable to do that now, as long as this
problem, as long as the Tarantino is not fixed.
One of the lawmakers trying to tackle the Tarantino is Democratic
Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico. He serves on the Rules and Administration
Committee among other committees. Thank you very much for joining us
SEN. TOM UDALL (D-NM): Rachel, great to be with you. That`s a pretty
sorry example that you gave there of what`s happened with the 290 bills.
And I`ve got a proposal that I think is going to get to the heart of it and
try to fix that.
MADDOW: Well, for those that don`t know the details of your plan, how
do you specifically hope to fix this problem?
UDALL: Under the Constitution, and I call this the constitutional
option, what happens at the beginning of each Congress is what happens in
most legislative bodies all around the world and in the United States.
You adopt rules, and so at the beginning of the 112th Congress,
I`m going to move to adopt rules for the 112th Congress. We need a
majority vote, and I think we`re gaining momentum every day.
MADDOW: When Sen. Reid was asked about this recently, he said that he
thought it would take 67 votes, not a majority vote, in order to change the
filibuster rules. I have spent a lot of time looking into this.
I`ve even spoken to a retired parliamentarian from the Senate in
trying to get a handle on this. I think that Sen. Reid is not right. I
hope I don`t get you in trouble for asking you this, but do you think he is
UDALL: I think there is a view, and it is that the rules say within
them, this is the box you get yourself into. The rules say they cannot be
changed from one Congress to the next. And they also say you have to have
67 votes to change the rules.
Well, there`s nothing about that in the United States
Constitution. The Constitution merely says at Article One, Section Five,
that each House, meaning the Senate, is able to determine the rules of its
And it also says something that`s very interesting, that it takes
a quorum to do business. So you`re talking a majority of senators to do
business. So I think under the Constitution, we are able to adopt rules at
the beginning of the 112th Congress.
And many of the proposals that are out there are good proposals.
I`m going to work with other senators and see if we can find 51 senators to
get some rules in place that are going to work for the American people and
work for the United States Senate to get the job done.
MADDOW: I wonder if you feel that Sen. Bayh, weighing in on this
debate in the way that he has since he announced his impending retirement,
has changed the momentum on this a little bit.
It`s made it feel like this is something more possible. He`s
been very articulate about the fact that the Senate has changed the rules
in the past about how many votes it takes to call cloture, how many votes
it takes to cut off a filibuster. He thinks it ought to be done again.
Has that changed your sense of momentum on this?
UDALL: Rachel, I think that Sen. Bayh really has given it some
momentum. But you know, look at some of the other senators that have been
speaking up that are seniors - Sen. Harkin, Sen. Dodd.
We`re seeing senior senators now saying, this isn`t the place
that I served in 30 years ago. It`s completely changed. The filibuster is
being used as a weapon of partisanship.
And so we`ve got to focus on how to change it, and Sen. Bayh has
put some very good proposals on the table. One of them that I think is
marvelous is the idea that you really have to stand up and filibuster.
I mean, imagine that. Filibuster is supposed to be about
somebody talking in opposition to an issue. We don`t have that now. The
290 bills are sitting there because the threat of a filibuster - it takes
two weeks to do those bills if you have the threat of a filibuster, so most
of them just sit there. And that`s a real shame, I think, for the American
MADDOW: Sen. Udall, I would tell you that as we have been polling
individual senators on whether or not they`d be willing in concept to
consider a reform in the filibuster, a lot of them were telling us they
believe it`s being abused.
They think it`s a problem, but they`re shy about the prospect of
changing the rules. Are you individually lobbying your colleagues on this?
Do you sense that they are willing to at least engage in conversation about
how to stop this abuse of the filibuster now?
UDALL: Rachel, absolutely. We`re gaining momentum every day. What I
would tell you is that there is a real concern about the way the rules are
being used right now. There`s a concern in terms of focusing on how we
And what we need the American people to do is to speak out. You
need to contact your senators and say, get down to business. Get something
done here. Deal with those 290 bills at the House of Representatives just
sent over. Why don`t we deal with the other pieces of legislation this
year under reconciliation, if we`re allowed to do so under the rules?
But then let`s focus on getting those rules to work so we can get
health care and energy and global warming and all jobs legislation, all of
those kinds of things done that we were sent here to do.
MADDOW: New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, thank you very much for your
UDALL: Thank you.
MADDOW: And your clarity on this. It`s great to have you on the
UDALL: Nice to you. It`s great to be here. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
UDALL: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown - you know him. He has had
a very tough 48 hours online. His supporters in the tea party movement
will never look at him the same way again. And no one will ever look at
his truck the same way again either. Did you hear the news about his
truck? That`s ahead.
MADDOW: The newest member of the United States Senate, Republican
Scott Brown of Massachusetts is becoming a lot more well-known to a lot of
people for a lot of reasons, very fast.
First, the senator`s vote to break the Republican filibuster of
the job`s bill yesterday has set the Internet alight as conservatives
express their anger at him for that vote and said all sorts of mean things
to him and about him, about him not being who they thought he was.
But that is all coming to a head at the same time that Mr. Brown
is being featured in a long, breezy profile in the “New York Times”
magazine by Frank Bruni. Mr. Bruni elicits from Sen. Brown an important
detail about Mr. Brown`s famous truck, a detail that I bet Martha Coakley`s
campaign is kicking themselves for not finding out themselves about right
Mr. Brown`s green GMC pickup was the every man populist symbol
around which he based his campaign. You know, “I am Scott Brown and I
drive a truck.” It almost made him sound like he was a blue collar worker,
But we knew before was that, in fact, Mr. Brown is a real estate
lawyer and a state senator in Massachusetts. What we know now, thanks to
Mr. Bruni`s article, is that Sen. Brown only bought the truck to service
his daughter`s equestrian career.
Quote, “Arianna, the younger of his two daughters, told me, he
originally purchased his truck, not so he could haul lumber, but so he
could attach it to a trailer bearing her horse. He soon abandoned that
plan, quote, `It`s scary pulling a trailer,` he said, adding that he
instead used the truck for all of her horse stuff.”
Sen. Brown also gave Mr. Bruni the details of his long, lucrative
career as a male model. It turns out it was not just the naked picture in
“Cosmopolitan” magazine. For years, Sen. Brown worked as a more-than-
$1,000-a-day male model in New York City and in Boston.
At one point, he had posters printed of himself shirtless and
with the top button of his jeans undone. Mr. Brown and his daughters also
dished to Mr. Bruni about the way fashion has affected Sen. Brown`s life.
Quote, “Arianna told me that he showed up for his first real date
with her mother in pink leather shorts. Sen. Brown clarified that the
shorts weren`t something he went out and purchased. It wasn`t like that at
all. Quote, `I did the couture shows and instead of paying in cash, they
paid in clothes,` he said. `And one of the things I had to wear were
leather shorts, and these happened to be pink. If I wore these now,` he
said, `I would get shot. But it was the `80s, pastels were in. It was all
Mr. Brown then told Mr. Bruni that the pink leather shorts went
with his tan at that time and with a pair of white shoes that he liked.
Sen. Brown then continued, quote, “This isn`t cheap leather. This is like
$750 shorts back then.”
And that I think serves as confirmation that we`ve got the first-
ever, accomplished male fashion model serving in the United States Senate.
This is America, folks, part of the reason we all love this country.
MADDOW: An update for you now on women`s ski jumping in the Olympics.
As you know, there isn`t any women`s ski-jumping in the Olympics, even
though top-ranked women sometimes out-jump top-ranked men in ski jumping.
The International Olympic Committee will not let women to compete
in the Olympic Games. Adding insult to injury, the Olympics in Vancouver
have allowed two women to be among the forerunner ski-jumpers who take
jumps before the competition starts in order to make sure the conditions
are OK for the actual competitors, even though they`re not allowed to
It`s kind of like being shown in through the service entrance.
After we talked on this show about the inexplicable rejection of women ski-
jumping from this Olympics, the folks at Women`s Ski-Jumping USA sent us a
celebratory cow bell to help us articulate even more loudly that no one has
made any good reasonable argument so far against women competing in this
sport, but as yet, they are excluded.
The folks at Women`s Ski Jumping USA also sent us copies of their
pro-women`s Olympic ski-jumping brochures which - interesting fact - are
printed in both English and Russian as they try to make their case for the
next games in Sochi, in Russia. That said, did you see what Vladimir Putin
just did to essentially flip the bird to all of the Olympics? That story
is ahead. It`s oozing (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MADDOW: Tonight, a “Moment of Geek” inspired by an unanswered,
pseudo-scientific question that was posed by our friends at
“BoingBoing.net.” It`s a question about his inspired, vociferous in-
fighting, side-taking, table-pounding, impassioned debate among the “RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW” staff. “Boing Boing” asked this question. We cannot figure
out the answer. So, of course, the first thing we did was ask Kent Jones
to look into the basics of this. Kent?
KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Rachel, it`s one of the most
recognizable theme songs in all of television.
(voice over): “Law & Order” - what makes this music make dogs react
like this? What`s happening here? Are dogs saying “Bravo,” or “Step back,
noisy box. You`re violating my security perimeter”?
Has composer Mike Post embedded a secret message into the theme
that only dogs can hear? Is Fred Thompson involved somehow? To get some
answers, I went to the RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Facebook page.
Said one Thomas Itpick(ph, “The sound made the familiar and now
iconic - when it transitions from one scene to the next is actually the
sound of a ball being thrown against a wall.”
I also spoke to actor Richard Belzer from “Law & Order Special
Victims Unit.” Belzer couldn`t explain the howling but he did say this,
“Dogs are definitely responding to the theme music. In fact, it`s so
popular, I`m writing a pilot called `Law & Order Special Canine Unit,`
So the mystery remains. There`s no law, no order, only this.
Rachel, it`s a puzzle wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by two successful
MADDOW: Thank you, Kent, for essentially deepening the mystery of why
dogs howl when they hear the theme song to “Law & Order.”
Well, joining us now is someone who might help us get a little
closer to an actual answer, canine behavioral expert, Robert Brandau. Mr.
Brandau has brought with him Chomper, a lab who works in dog bite
prevention. Mr. Brandau, Chomper, it`s nice to meet you both. Thanks for
ROBERT BRANDAU, CANINE BEHAVIORAL EXPERT: Thanks for having us.
MADDOW: Chomper, the no-bite dog, is a little bit like Bucky, the
BRANDAU: OK. Sure.
MADDOW: Difficult term, but I do believe that you know canine
psychology. Why do you think these dogs are howling at “Law & Order?”
BRANDAU: OK. The reason, more likely than not, there`s some sound in
that music - probably those opening chords - that triggers a fixed action
response in the dogs. It`s hard-wired.
So there`s a sound - if they hear other dogs howling, for
example, they`re going to begin to howl. It`s a group activity.
MADDOW: So you think that they`re hearing something that they think -
that sounds to them like dog howling?
MADDOW: Fixed action response?
BRANDAU: Fixed action pattern, hard-wired behavior. Yes.
MADDOW: Is it possible that they`re hearing something in the music
that humans can`t hear in terms of like a high frequency sound or
BRANDAU: It could be, but I don`t think that`s what it is. I think
that there are chords that sound somewhere in the range of a siren or dogs
howling or something that triggers that response. You know, this is like a
genetic thing for dogs.
MADDOW: While we were sitting here I said, don`t worry the “Law &
Order” theme song won`t be ambient. Chomper won`t be able to hear it. But
he could hear it through your earpiece.
MADDOW: And his reaction was he got all excited.
BRANDAU: That`s what it does. It`s a behavior where the group gets
involved and they begin to do it together. And it`s also a communication -
they`re communicating to each other.
They`re letting the other animals know where they are, the other
wolves know where they are, the other dog packs know where they are, so
they can either have an encounter or avoid an encounter. He gets excited
to begin to get into that activity.
MADDOW: He`s channeling his inner wolf.
BRANDAU: That`s right.
MADDOW: When dogs howl like this, one of the things - what “Boing
Boing” posted - they said we found this dog that howls when he hears the
“Law & Order” sound. And then we realized there`s a ton of them that do
Watching those videos going through them, I get upset because
when I hear dogs howling, I think they`re upset. But it doesn`t
necessarily mean that they`re agitated or having an unpleasant sensation.
BRANDAU: No, they actually like it. This is something they like.
They`re not upset by it at all. They`re joining in. It`s like a group
activity. They feel connected. They`re responding. They`re
MADDOW: In deciding that we wanted to talk to you about this today,
you talked to us about allelomimetic behavior?
BRANDAU: Allelomimetic -
BRANDAU: It`s a strange word. All it means is monkey see, monkey do.
MADDOW: OK. It`s essentially means “copycat” or “copy dog.”
BRANDAU: Right, which is how animals really learn. They learn by
observing each other.
MADDOW: So in terms of people noticing that their animals respond to
weird stuff, A, there`s no concern about it. B, it probably is a dog thing
that has absolutely nothing to do with us. And can we conclude that
they`re not doing it on purpose in order to make people watch “Law & Order”
because their dogs react?
BRANDAU: Correct. They are not doing it on purpose. They have no
choice. They`re doing it because it`s a response that`s built into them.
MADDOW: But the “Law & Order” people could be doing it in order to
make people watch because they want to see what their dogs do when it
BRANDAU: That`s debatable. I guess everybody - if your dog enjoys
the show, I guess you will, too.
MADDOW: All right. We might work on our theme song then to try to
come up with something that would make Chomper make noise if only to
entertain him. Robert Brandau, canine behavioral expert, thank you very
much for stopping by. Chomper, thank you for being a good sport.
BRANDAU: Thank you for having us.
MADDOW: I appreciate it. To those of you at home or watching us on
the treadmill or wherever you`re watching us right now, I do want to say
that we need your help with one thing about this.
In terms of this still being somewhat of a continuing mystery, we
guess as to why they`re doing it. And we have some information, some
scientific information about why they`re doing it.
But we are still curious. And you can help this way. If your
dog - I`m sorry. Excuse me, Chomper. If your dog - I speak lab. If your
dog does something like that at the “Law & Order” theme song or something
else consistently, wherever a human sound is made and your dogs always
responds that way like - to respond to the way the phone ringing or the
opera or to Oprah or anything, please send us video evidence.
You will find instructions for how to do so at
“Rachel.MSNBC.com.” We believe we will get to the bottom of this with your
help and also enjoy looking at pictures of your pets in the process.
Coming up, the new medal unveiled in Vancouver. It is a platinum
medal, sort of. Please stay tuned for that.
MADDOW: Our network`s coverage of the Olympics starts right after our
show tonight, so please do stay tuned for some awesome curling action.
Meanwhile, though, our final news story comes tonight courtesy of Russian
Olympic figure skater, Evgeni Plushenko.
Evgeni Plushenko has made himself worthy of discussion in news
about the Olympics simply by being really ostentatiously a bad sport, a bad
sport whose country is supporting him in his bad sportsmanship. The story
After Mr. Plushenko came in second in competition last week, he
actually got up on the podium to stand in the gold position as if he had
won gold instead of the silver that he actually won.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, here shown at his humble
shirtless best, is not helping these matters. After Mr. Plushenko`s second
place finish, Vladimir Putin sent Plushenko a telegram that said, quote, “I
would like to sincerely congratulate you on the wonderful Olympic
performance. Your silver is worth gold.”
Putin continued, “You were able to overcome all the obstacles in
your brave comeback and performed the most accomplished program on the
Vancouver ice.” Most. “All Russian figure skating fans admire your
brilliance, true fighting spirit, courage and the will to win. Well done.”
Most? Don`t forget, Russia is hosting the next winter Olympics.
So this is sort of a nice preview of Russia`s respect for the games and,
you know, Olympic judging and stuff.
But even after Mr. Plushenko got up on the wrong podium, even
after Vladimir Putin released this telegram saying that Plushenko should
have won and he was the best, after all of that - today, the story got
worse, or at least got weirder.
If you go to Mr. Plushenko`s official Web site perhaps because
you`re interested in wading through the pictures he`s posted of himself
there from euro vision or of himself at fashion shows - yes, I don`t know
why you`d be there.
But if you go to Mr. Plushenko`s Web site today, you will see
that - I think we`ve got him on the front page posing while wearing a
medal. Do we have that image? Next image of Plushenko? Oh, come on.
We`ve got this image on the front page of his Web site - him
wearing a medal and his accomplishments as a skater. There we are - him
with the medal. See him wearing a medal around his neck. Have you ever
seen a medal like that before?
His he accomplishments as a skater are listed as follows on his
Web site - silver of Salt Lake City, gold of Torino - are you ready for
this? Platinum of Vancouver. Platinum, you know, the little-known Olympic
Some Russian TV host gave Plushenko a fake platinum medal after
he won the silver. And now, Evgeni Plushenko is touting it as if he really
won it, seriously, which may be fine in Russia. But I`m offended and I
hereby declare him banished from the burger kingdom, by the power vested in
my by this crown.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night.
Our Olympic coverage starts now. Have a great night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.
Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.