The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/28/10
KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: I wonder how often he‘s gotten that in his life.
That‘s one thing to ask him.
OLBERMANN: Like 1,000 today, it‘s been my guess.
MADDOW: Well—thank you very much, Keith. I appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: You know what that was too, by the way. Good night.
MADDOW: That‘s good night.
Thank you for staying with us for the next hour.
We have a big show coming up.
It turns out some people are willing to stay up all night if they need
to at work, and some people just aren‘t.
MADDOW (voice-over): Republicans are playing hardball on financial
reform. They‘re standing together. They‘re standing on principle.
They‘ll never give in. Unless they‘re threatened with a long, televised
workday in which they‘ll have to vote against Wall Street reform over and
over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: They keep stalling and they
keep stalling. And it appears that they‘re more concerned about taking
care of the fat cats on Wall Street than they are the people who weren‘t so
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Barbara Boxer on California on how the threat of a
Capitol Hill slumber party just made it slightly more likely that the rules
on Wall Street get reformed.
Lots and lots of people think Arizona‘s new “papers please” law is a
seriously bad idea. But not everyone thinks so. The policy of racial
profiling finally catches up to conservatives pro-racial profiling
And when some people do it, it‘s called minority outreach. But when
other people do it, it‘s dealing the race card. Double standards and
fueling racial resentment for political gain.
“The Interview” tonight is DNC Chairman Tim Kaine of Virginia on the
Democratic game plan for November‘s election.
The great state of Oklahoma has decided it wants to compete with
Virginia and Arizona for putting the biggest exclamation point on the
rollback of its citizens‘ rights. And the “legalize it” crowd falls victim
to Republican voter registration fraud in California. Dude! They still
try to find a way to blame this one on ACORN, too?
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW—now with 100 percent snack craving and
uncontrollable giggling—starts right now.
MADDOW: I have a Snuggie. What about it? Don‘t be a hater. I also
have a Hot Pocket. Good to go for my late night snack. Hang on a second.
So, the United States Senate was supposed to have this all night vote
tonight. All day today, Senate Democrats are threatening to hold votes
around the clock all through the night to get Wall Street reform moving
forward. For three days in a row now, Republicans have been filibustering
Wall Street reform. And it was all going to come to ahead tonight—all
night votes, a slumber party in the Senate. Woohoo!
A senior Democratic leadership aide told the “Huffington Post” today,
quote, “We‘re rolling out the cots.”
Oh, that‘s going to be delicious. Hold on. I‘ll get to you later.
Got to go get the cots. Hold on.
We‘re rolling out the cots. There we are.
We, too, decided to roll out the cots—although, frankly, if I had a
choice, I would roll out the air mattresses. Come on. It‘s the 2000s.
But that‘s not what they say. They always say we‘re going to roll out
the cots. So, we were all prepared. We even advance-ordered our middle of
the night pizza. It‘s going to go all night. It‘s finally going to
What Democrats were promising was all night votes on Wall Street
reform, forcing Republicans to stay up through the night, forcing them to
sleep in the Senate in their Snuggies if they wanted to keep that
filibuster going. They could eat Hot Pockets. They could wear whatever
they wanted, whatever looked good over their suits, but they had to stay at
work all night.
This, it turns out, this—the cot thing—this is the one sure-fire
way to get stuff done in Washington. Threaten to roll out the cots.
Democrats have threatened to roll out the cots a lot lately. Back in
March, when Jim Bunning was filibustering unemployment benefits, it was
roll out the cots. We‘re going to stay all night. Jim Bunning said he
would keep filibustering and nothing could stop him unless three amendments
he wanted would get votes.
But after Democrats threatened to roll out the cots, Senator Bunning
caved. He only got one amendment voted on, it failed. And then everybody
So, it was mission accomplished, cot. Now, we put the cots away.
Thank you very much, Kent. Appreciate it.
A few weeks later, Republicans were filibustering health reform. They
were threatening to offer amendment after amendment on things like
preventing sex offenders from getting Viagra. Do you remember that one?
Democrats decided to call Republicans‘ bluff during the amendments
fight on health reform by saying they‘d pull an all-nighter in the Senate.
So, that was the threat. Roll out the cots. We‘re going to stay all
night. Roll them out.
And votes did start happening late into the night. Republicans tried
to go all night with that one, but they did not have the stamina. They
ended up throwing in the towel around 3:00 a.m. They gave up.
So again, mission accomplished, magical cot. Now, put the cots away.
Then earlier this month, Harry Reid threatened more all-nighters in
the Senate, this time over Republicans filibustering President Obama‘s
judicial nominees. He‘s threatening it again. Roll out the cots. We‘re
going to stay all night.
Harry Reid demands that 22 of President Obama‘s nominees are going to
get up-or-down votes or else we‘ll be in session around the clock. Now,
this time with the cots looming, it was a mutual cave. Democrats did get
Republicans to agree to let up on some of the nominees, but not all 22 like
So, in that case, mission was partially accomplished. Cot—magical
cot, but now we can put the cots away.
Then today it happened again. Democrats threatened to hold all-night
votes on Wall Street reform. We had some initial indications of this
strategy last night when we spoke to Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of
Ohio, and then Senator Claire McCaskill confirmed it today here on MSNBC
with Andrea Mitchell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: We‘re probably tomorrow night going to
stay all night and just continue to do this until we break some of them
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I think we‘re going to go all
night. I think we‘ve made the decision that this is important enough that
we‘re going to stay up through the night and ask continually the
Republicans to allow us to debate this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: And that‘s exactly what happened. After a third straight
attempt to start debate on Wall Street reform was killed by a Republican
filibuster this afternoon, Democrats threatened the cot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Why aren‘t we here doing our work?
Well, we‘re going to stay here and do this work. Wall Street reform is
that important. So, we‘re going to stay here. And if the Republicans are
going to filibuster it, the American people are going to see that they‘re
filibustering this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: All night votes. You know what that means—roll in the
cots, we‘re going to stay all night.
And then sure enough, just like clock work, just like magic, the cot
threat worked again. Just by threatening to roll out the cots, Republicans
caved. They lifted their filibuster on Wall Street reform—this time
without even a vote. After filibustering for three straight days,
Republicans tonight allowed Wall Street reform to go forward.
Mission accomplished, yet again. So bye-bye, cot. I‘m sure we‘ll be
welcoming you back soon.
Sorry. This has been exhausting for you, Kent.
Here‘s the thing about the roll out the cots threat, the roll out the
cots tactic. It‘s magic. It always works apparently. It did make
Republicans cave this time, like they have every time, anybody has
threatened the terrible cot.
But what happened today does not mean that Wall Street reform has
passed. What this means is that debate on Wall Street reform can go
forward. But, eventually, there‘s going to have to be an end of that
debate, and there‘s going to have to be a proceeding to a final vote on the
Dollars to doughnuts, Republicans are still going to filibuster, too.
If doughnuts win and, miraculously, Republicans do drop that filibuster,
here‘s how you‘ll know. It will only take 51 votes to pass Wall Street
reform, not 60.
If it‘s taking 60 votes, then Republicans are still filibustering.
And in that event—Democrats may have to keep using the only weapon this
Washington we know works. Because you know we‘ve got cots, we‘ve got
Snuggies, we‘ve got Hot Pockets, and pizza never tastes better than it does
at 3:00 in the morning.
Joining us now is Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California.
Senator Boxer, thank you for your time on what has been a very busy
night. You are always here when we do the dumbest stunts on the show, for
which I apologize.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: That was quite entertaining. And
it was sort of this is your life Barbara Boxer.
I guess we have a lot on our arsenal, I would like to think the most
important thing is that we have good ideas and good legislation. But if we
need some good cots thrown in and it works, I‘m with the program.
MADDOW: You were on the floor just a few hours ago showing all sorts
of headlines from what—back when the economic crash happened,
essentially reminding people of the gravity of the situation that Wall
Street reform is trying to remedy.
In your view, is this legislation, as written, strong enough to
prevent another crash from happening?
BOXER: This legislation is very, very good. I think we can
strengthen it and that‘s why I was so excited to learn that colleagues were
stepping back from the precipice and they were going to let us go. But I
will be offering amendments.
The first amendment I‘m going to offer which I know Senator Dodd says
yes to, which is—which is very good news, is that in plain, simple
language, it‘s going to say, “Taxpayers, you‘re off the hook. Never again
are we going to see this kind of bailout.” And, you know, the only time
we‘ll get involved is to wind a firm down, and those costs will have to be
paid by Wall Street themselves. So that‘s good.
I‘m going to look at these rating agencies, and you know a little bit
about that. They—Standard & Poor‘s, Moody‘s—they rated these junk
securities, these instruments that were toxic at, you know, very high
levels when they weren‘t. There‘s got to be some kind of responsibility
there. So, I‘m looking at an amendment there.
But Bernie Sanders is going to have an amendment to audit the Fed.
I‘m going to support that one. The Volcker Rule, which is very important
to President Obama—and Jeff Merkley is offering that. I‘ll be
So, the answer is: it is a very strong bill. We can make it even
MADDOW: The Republicans have suggested that—have been trying to
block debate from going forward on the Senate floor, essentially saying
they want negotiations to continue somewhere other than the Senate floor.
But what you‘ve just described there in terms of all those amendments that
you‘re not only going to be offering but supporting, implies that the
process really isn‘t over, that the bill will continue to be tweaked and
amended on the Senate floor.
Why, then, was there so much resistance to Republicans allowing the
debate to even start?
BOXER: Obviously, you‘d have to ask the Republicans that question.
But for the life of me, I could not understand their reasoning, because
they said the bill wasn‘t strong enough, and we‘re saying, OK, let‘s get
busy and make it stronger. And now, I‘m looking forward to their
amendments. But they chose not to amend it in committee for some reason.
So, they didn‘t amend—they didn‘t amend it in the full light of the
committee process. They didn‘t want to get started. They wanted to kind
of have some backroom discussions.
I think they were right to finally back down because people get this.
This isn‘t some very complicated matter. Maybe it is true that the
financial system is complicated, but the basic notion of making sure that
consumers are protected, taxpayers are protected, that, you know, these
days of this crazy speculation and dark markets where no one understands,
you know, what a derivative is doing, or a credit default swap—those are
going to be fully transparent.
So, they did the right thing. I mean, I don‘t know if it was the cots
if it was the cots, then, hooray. But, you know, hopefully, it was the
fact that they really decided that this stall wasn‘t really working. The
American people want us to do this. It‘s—whether they‘re Democrats,
Republicans or independents, we‘ve got to stop this crisis.
And the reason I brought those old headlines was kind of to look at
where we were, with stock market crashing, and people‘s net worth going
down 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, losing 700,000 jobs a month, the
housing market in a crisis. All of this happened because of this massive
speculation—and no consumer watchdog agency, which is a big part of the
MADDOW: Senator Barbara Boxer of California, thank you for your time
tonight. I‘m glad you don‘t have to stay up all night.
BOXER: Oh, you‘re not the only one.
MADDOW: Thank you, ma‘am. I really appreciate it.
MADDOW: OK. So, who‘s the one person who can cut through all the
rhetoric about Arizona new “papers please” immigration law? Who is that
Sarah Palin says there‘s no ability or opportunity in the “papers
please” law for racial profiling. No ability or opportunity. I wonder if
she had her proof of citizenship on her when she said that.
Racial politics back on the front-burner and no one know that‘s better
than Democratic National Committee chairman, Tim Kaine, who Republicans
have freshly accused of race-baiting today. Chairman Kaine joins us in
just a moment for “The Interview.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody order a pizza?
MADDOW: Oh, God, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still want this?
MADDOW: Yes, actually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go for it.
MADDOW: It‘s great. Awesome. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MADDOW: Is it OK that we‘re not staying up all night? Can we still
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.
MADDOW: Last week, we did our best to explain payday lenders, who
they are and who they are. Who they—what they do and who they are.
Payday lenders are basically loan sharks with nice store fronts. They
specialize in turning what look like short term loans into ongoing
obligations that roll over every two weeks, piling up fees until their
ultimately collecting 400 percent annual interest.
Payday lending king, Allan Jones, has argued that his business is
poor. That payday lenders make so little money they couldn‘t bear any
restrictions on their loansharking that might come from being regulated
under the new Wall Street Reform Act.
Lest you think it is critically awkward for someone like Allan Jones
to plead poverty while he also brags about owning a full-size football
stadium on his estate where he hosts private college football games for his
own amusement, consider Allan Jones and payday lenders have apparently
convinced Republicans with their argument.
The proposed financial reform bill from the Democrats includes a
consumer financial protection agency that would enforce regulations on
payday lenders. A new proposed Republican alternative to the Democrats‘
bill would leave payday lenders, on the other hand, the way they are now—
totally unregulated by the federal government. Free to roll people into
400 percent interest loans.
Right there on page eight of the summary of the Republican bill,
Republicans describe their consul for consumer financial protection which
leaves payday lenders like Allan Jones exactly as unregulated as they are
right now. It‘s spelled U-S-U-R-Y, usury. It is in the dictionary. Also,
actually, in the Bible.
MADDOW: A newly-minted law in Arizona presumes everyone to be illegal
unless you can prove otherwise. The law compels law enforcement officers
to stop anyone whom they reasonably suspect might be an illegal immigrant
to demand to see papers proving that that person is, in fact, in this
country legally. We‘ve been calling it the “papers please” law.
It‘s sparked demonstrations and threats of boycotts. We‘ll have more
on those coming up on the show. It‘s also caused coast to coast
So, it is not surprising that former vice presidential candidate and
half-term Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, has been asked to weigh in on this
matter. Governor Palin says requiring police officers to stop people for
the crime of looking like an illegal immigrant will not beget racial
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: There is no ability or
opportunity in there for the racial profiling. And shame on the lame-
stream media again for turning this into something that it is not. I think
it‘s shameful too that the Obama administration has allowed this to become
more of a racial issue by perpetuating this myth that racial profiling is a
part of this law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This myth that racial profiling is parts of this law.
OK, let‘s debunk the racial profiling myth with the help of Arizona
Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the “papers please” bill into law on
Friday. It‘s not through racial profiling—if not through racial
profiling, how should a police officer determine whether someone looks like
an illegal immigrant? How should police work up a reasonable suspicion
that a person is an illegal immigrant? What should police be watching for?
This is what happened on Friday when Governor Brewer was faced with
that question—and the opportunity to bust the racial profiling myth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What does an illegal immigrant look like? Does it look
GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA: I do not know. I do not know what an
illegal immigrant looks like. I can tell you that I think that there are
people in Arizona that assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is the fundamental problem with the Arizona law. Its
proponents insist that race will not be the reason people are stopped and
forced to show their papers. They insist it won‘t be racial profiling,
that race won‘t be the grounds on which people are stopped by police. But
they can‘t say what will be the grounds on which people are stopped by
Also complicating the insistence that Arizona won‘t be racial
profiling is the fact that many of the people doing that insisting
themselves are in favor of profiling. And they admit it—out loud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: And I think it was quite unfortunate that, to me, it was a
fear of being politically incorrect to not—I‘m going to use the word—
profile this guy. Profiling in the sense of finding out what his radical
beliefs were; but I say profiling in the context of doing whatever we can
to save innocent American lives, I‘m all for it, then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Sarah Palin speaking in the context of the Fort Hood shooting
So, when Governor Palin insists that Arizona won‘t be profiling now,
keep in mind she says she‘s all for profiling. And it‘s not just Sarah
Palin. There is and has been lots and lots and lots and lots of support on
the right for profiling—both racial profiling and religious profiling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Ninety percent of these terrorists are men,
Islamic men between 20 and 30. Why are we pretending that all of us should
get equal training? Shouldn‘t we just tell—if you‘re a 20 to 30-year-
old Islamic male, even if you have no evil intentions, expect to be
delayed. We have to—we have to profile.
RUDY GIULIANI ®, FORMER NYC MAYOR: You better be careful. You‘ll
be accused of profiling. The whole sense of don‘t profile, don‘t pick on
people, that‘s been going on for quite some time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the fact is, while the overwhelming majority
of Muslims are outstanding people, on the other hand, 100 percent of the
Islamic terrorists are Muslims, and that is our main enemy today. So, why
we should not be profiling people because of their religion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There should be a separate line to scrutinize
anybody with the name of Abdul or Ahmed or Muhammad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should take anyone who‘s a known Muslim and put
them in a separate line. Call it the VIP line!
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS: It is a massive inconvenience and maybe even a
deterrent to the economy to have this going on in the way that it does,
with elderly women and little kids being searched and frisked as thoroughly
as anybody else, when nobody imagines that such people are going to be the
ones setting off a bomb on an airplane, and nobody really imagines that a
lot of blond, blue-eyed people from Sweden sneaking across the border.
It‘s just—isn‘t the way it happens.
So, this is—if it‘s an effective law enforcement technique, done in
good faith, people may have to endure some inconvenience. What we‘re
saying here is that some people are going to have to endure inconvenience
as opposed to everybody having to endure it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Some people.
Racial profiling is pretty popular on the right. Check out this one
other argument in favor of racial profiling. This is important actually.
This is from former Congressman Scott McInnis who is speaking on the
floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2001. Watch this
and I‘ll tell you afterwards why this is so important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SCOTT MCINNIS ®, COLORADO: I have seen and I‘ve been very
disappointed and discouraged recently about some people playing, as I would
call, the race card against profiling. Oh, how do you build a profile?
What kind of profile am I talking about? Where I think, for example,
ethnic background is a legitimate comb opponent of it?
It is a huge mistake—a huge mistake for us to allow political
pressure by a very selected number of people to give any kind of commitment
that we will not allow ethnic background to be considered. Once you begin
to use ethnic profiling as a component, one of several components, to build
a profile, I think it is very legitimate. I think it‘s smart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That guy, who accused people of playing the race card against
profiling, who thinks using ethnic profiling is, in his words, smart, he
might just be the next governor of Colorado. As friend of this show, David
Sirota, pointed out today in Colorado, that yea for racial profiling former
congressman, Scott McInnis, has gotten rid of the mustache and is
considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor in
Today, Scott McInnis said, if he is elected governor, he‘s eager to
follow Arizona‘s lead.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jan brewer in Arizona. Does the—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m going to wave the magic wand, you‘re governor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do?
MCINNIS: I‘d do something similar. I‘ll tell you the situation. The
federal government has refused to act, and finally, some governor stood up
and said, we‘re stopping the retreat. No more retreat.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Scott McInnis, well-respected top tier mainstream candidate
who by all accounts stands a perfectly reasonable chance of becoming the
next governor of Colorado, now promising a sequel to Arizona‘s “papers
please” law after a track record of enthusiasm for stopping you, subjecting
you to law enforcement scrutiny based on what your race is.
It would be easier to believe all the people saying that Arizona‘s new
law doesn‘t target people based on race if the same people giving us those
assurances were not so enthusiastic about law enforcement targeting people
based on race.
MADDOW: Yes. We‘re just six months away from the midterm elections,
but the way election seasons are defined now, you‘d think that that would
mean we‘d be well into campaign season. You‘d think that‘s all we‘d be
talking about by now.
But so far, not so much. There‘s been a low hum of discussion
about the midterms, but no real roar as of yet. That is something the
Democratic Party looks to be hoping to change, rolling out a $15 million
campaign to kick off the 2010 season this week, beginning with a personal
message to Democratic Party supporters from the president on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: It will be up to each of you
to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women
who powered our victory in 2008, stand together once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If that sounds to you like fairly anodyne, typical voter
outreach talk, that‘s because you have dared step outside the conservative
echo, echo, echo chamber. “The Washington Examiner” front page screamed
after this, “Obama disses white guys.”
The RNC declared, quote, “Our post-racial president made an
appeal based on class warfare and race.” And the conservative pundit-o-
cracy just let loose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: This is the regime at
its racist best. What‘s the regime doing? Asking blacks and Latinos to
join him in a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What‘s with the racially-charged rallying cry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he‘s doing is saying, “You have reason to
fear on racial grounds, therefore, vote for me.” I think he is using
racial anxiety for political gain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In conserve-o-world, appealing to minority voters to come out
to vote is racist. If logic is logic and logic knows no political
affiliation, then that racism allegation would appear to present a problem
for, say, RNC chairman Michael Steele who said last week in a speech that
Republicans, quote, “Have lost sight of the historic integral link between
the party and African-Americans.”
I guess also Sen. John Ensign was racist when he said, quote, “We
have to reach out to Hispanics.” I also guess Republican presidential
candidate John McCain was racist when he opined, “Everything about our
Hispanic voters is tailor-made to the Republican message.”
I guess also presumably Ronald Reagan was racist when he reached
out to Hispanics declaring, quote, “Latinos are Republican. They just
don‘t know it yet.”
It‘s a funny thing about boomerangs, you know. They‘re very hard
to catch and they hurt when they come back.
Joining us now for the interview is the chairman of the
Democratic National Committee, former governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine.
Gov. Kaine, it‘s nice to have you back on the show. Thanks for being here.
FMR. GOV. TIM KAINE (D-VA), CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE:
Thanks, Rachel. You bet. Great to be with you.
MADDOW: What‘s your response to accusations that it is racist for
Democrats to encourage minority voter turnout in the next election?
KAINE: That the accusations are ridiculous and that the Republicans
are trying to change the subject. We rolled out a midterm plan that
basically lays out a pretty clear message, Rachel, of the two parties.
The Democrats are the results party. We‘re doing the heavy
lifting to do economic recovery, health reform, and Wall Street reform.
And the Republicans are the obstruction party, standing in the way, trying
to block progress.
Pretty simple message, but what the Republicans want to do is
throw around claims of race-baiting, et cetera, because they don‘t want to
talk about the issue of, are you for results or are you trying to do the
heavy lifting to help Americans? Or are you trying to throw up a
smokescreen? They‘re good at the smokescreens.
MADDOW: Well, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the
RNC both went after you specifically today when “The Wall Street Journal”
printed this as advanced text of a speech of yours today.
They said, quote - they ascribe to you this quote, “We know the
Republican Party still seeks to suppress the vote and initiate arbitrary
challenges, particularly challenging minority and low-income voters.”
They went after you as dealing the race card by doing that. Was
that part of your speech? What did you mean? What do you make of that
KAINE: That was in the prepared remarks that we distributed to a
number of reporters. You know, a lot of folks who watch the show, Rachel,
may not be aware the RNC is under a federal court consent decree currently
because of activities in the past that have been misleading or efforts to
challenge minority and low-income voters.
They‘ve made an effort recently to get out from under that
consent decree and that effort has been unsuccessful because courts have
concluded that there‘s still significant enough concern that we need to be
very vigilant against these practices.
This is the same RNC, as you pointed out just two nights ago,
that is sending out misleading and I believe illegal mailings to voters
that misrepresent the mailings as official census documents, when in fact
they‘re not the case.
And so we‘re not going to wait for an election day and then find
out that misleading information has been given to our voters. Instead,
we‘re going to vigorously protect people‘s rights to participate. We
should all want more people to participate, not fewer, and that
participation is a real hallmark of what we try to do in elections.
MADDOW: As the nation continues to debate this Arizona immigration
law, as the president has condemned it, as chatter has risen in Washington
that we might actually get a move toward comprehensive immigration
legislation in Washington this year, how do you foresee race and that issue
intersecting and intertwining, getting into November?
Obviously, we see the Republicans and conservatives very eager to
engage on the issue of race looking to do it, even in places where you
wouldn‘t expect them to bring it up.
KAINE: Right. Well, you know, they may make that effort, but let‘s,
you know, be candid. This immigration issue is a very, very tough one.
It‘s a huge problem that has needed fixing for a long period of time.
If just a fraction of Republican senators who were supporting
immigration reform just three years ago would join with Democratic
senators, we could get an immigration reform bill through the Senate and to
There is at least one Senate Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who
is still making some effort in that regard, and that‘s to be applauded.
But all we need is a few Republican senators willing to tackle this issue
and we could make progress.
So the question is out - will they do it or will they just be the
obstructionist party that they seem to really relish becoming here over the
last year and a half.
MADDOW: That said, Sen. Graham, after having written an op-ed with
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer just last month, having long championed
the idea of immigration reform, having put forward a bipartisan plan of his
own, now saying that he does not want that to be worked on any time soon.
He wants that to be put off until 2012.
I wonder if you see a strategic issue here on legislation that
really dovetails with politics. Are Democrats going to be trying to get as
much done as possible before November in order to campaign on that fact
while Republicans try to slow everything down?
KAINE: Well, Rachel, I think the answer to that is yes. We‘re going
to be trying to get as much done because, you know, I think people wanted
us to be the governing party to break through a Washington log jam where
special interests kept things from getting done.
As I travel around the country, I think the main critique of
Washington has been that you can‘t get meaningful action because the
special interests have basically locked the place down.
So what we have attempted to do with this president and with this
Congress is take big steps forward on economic recovery, on reforming
student loans, on reforming the health care system. And now, we‘re on the
verge of, I think, a very big win in terms of Wall Street reform.
We‘re going to get things done. You know, I hope it‘s good
politics but we‘re mostly going to get things done because that‘s what the
American people want you to do when you‘re in office. They want you to
take your oath of office seriously and come here to work, not just to play
political games and try to block everything that you can.
MADDOW: Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Gov. Tim
Kaine, thanks very much for joining us tonight, sir. I appreciate it.
KAINE: Absolutely, Rachel. Good to be with you.
MADDOW: If it‘s Virginia in the east and Arizona now in the west,
then it is now officially in the middle, Oklahoma. Oklahoma owns the
middle in terms of rolling back its citizens‘ legal rights. That‘s coming
And voter registration fraud working for Republicans in
California. They picked the wrong crowd to scam, however. Now, there‘s a
bit of an uproar. Just because you‘re in favor of legalizing pot does not
mean you‘re not going to notice when a mystery “I‘m a Republican” bumper
sticker shows up in your mail. Please stay tuned.
MADDOW: Last week‘s underwater well explosion at an offshore drilling
rig operated by British Petroleum has created a serious environmental
disaster that is growing more serious by the day.
Efforts to stem the flow of oil that‘s pouring into the Gulf of
Mexico at a rate of 42,000 gallons a day have thus far failed. So, too,
have efforts to contain the ever expanding oil slick that had spread out
across the water.
The slick is now 100 miles by 45 miles making it roughly the size
of Ohio. Beyond the damage it‘s already done, the fear now is that the
slick hit shore where it then coats wildlife and the coastline.
So far the closest the oil has gotten to shore is about 20 miles.
If the oil were to hit land which it‘s expected to be able to do in two or
three days, that would be very bad.
Remember the Exxon-Valdez oil spill disaster? Thousands of
Alaskans volunteering, scrubbing birds and sea otters and seals? Yes. So
in an effort to not be Exxon-Valdez, officials have devised what sounds
like a scorched-earth policy here or maybe a scorched-water policy.
They‘re lighting parts of the oil spill on fire. If you can‘t
clean it, the thinking goes, burn it. The clean-up contractors are using
500-foot fire resistant containment booms that extend above and below the
water to cordon off a small patch of the oil.
The oil has to be gathered up to make the slick thick enough to
be successfully set ablaze. If the slick is too thin, the fire will go
out. Of course there are health concerns about big oil fires but the
official line is that the plumes of smoke won‘t reach land.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi
Department of Environmental Quality are monitoring the air quality around
the burn. Those very warranted health concerns aside, there‘s also no
guarantee that the burn will even work.
Some people estimating that as little as 50 percent of it will
burn. And what‘s left over after the burning is even worse than the
original oil slick because it will be thicker and more difficult to clean
But don‘t worry. Not all the news about this is bad. Oil prices
are on the rise, which means that the oil company profits are doing great.
Plus, this Democratic president, not backing off on that decision
to end the decades-old moratorium on offshore drilling because of concerns
of, you know, something like this happening.
Meet Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Arizona. Sheriff
Dupnik says Arizona may have passed this new law telling police officers to
stop people for just looking like illegal immigrants. They may have passed
that law, but he says it‘s not enforceable.
He says it‘s also wrong. He explained to Keith Olbermann tonight
on “COUNTDOWN” this evening why he will not enforce it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA: I‘ve been a cop for 52
years. I‘m not sure what reasonable suspicion means and I suspect that‘s
going to be constitutionally vague.
I think it was enacted in Arizona to make the legislature feel
good, possibly to deflect some of the attention they get on the poor
management, especially of financial issues, in this state. They‘ve done a
horrible job, and second of all, I think it‘s just racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Sheriff Dupnik says he cannot and will not enforce the new
law which, of course, legally requires you to carry on your person at all
times proof of your right to be in this country. You can arrested and put
in jail for not being able to prove you are not an illegal immigrant. Pima
County, just so you know, includes Tucson, which is Arizona‘s second-
And finally, in protest of Arizona‘s terrifyingly regressive
anti-immigrant law, people, cities and organizations are calling for
boycotts against the state, including a boycott against Arizona Iced Tea.
It‘s got Arizona right there in the title. Easy target, right?
Alas, as pointed out in the “New York Daily News” today, Arizona
Iced Tea, despite its name, is a New York company. So in order to prevent
any additional accidental targets, we have made a list of things you can
patronize without violating the terms any boycott should you choose to
protest in such a manner.
You may, for example, still watch the movie, “Raising Arizona.”
The residuals go to the people who made the movie, not to the state. You
may still get regrettable tattoos of phoenixes.
And if you‘re boycotting because of the new law, you probably
can‘t support the Suns basketball team. The actual sun, the sun itself -
still totally fair game. Also there‘s a very nice cocktail known as the
diamondback. Feel free there, too. We‘re here to help.
MADDOW: Folks who say you want the government out of your life - meet
Oklahoma, where the government not only wants into your life, it wants
inside your physical body against your will, state-mandated invasive
medical procedures to which you do not have a right to say no.
Vetoed by the Democratic governor, that veto overridden by
Republicans in the state legislature all in the name of conservatism.
Former definition of conservatism - small government and individual
freedom. I don‘t know how they define it now. That‘s next.
MADDOW: As of 10:42 a.m. Central Time yesterday, any woman seeking an
abortion in the great state of Oklahoma must now undergo an invasive
medical procedure at least an hour before the abortion or preparation for
The State of Oklahoma now mandates regardless of medical need,
every woman seeking to have that legal medical procedure must also be
forced to have an ultrasound and her doctor is ordered by the state to
insert the ultrasound transducer vaginally if that would provide the
clearest image of the fetus.
It‘s not the doctor‘s choice. The state mandates this. The
woman seeking an abortion cannot say no, nor can the doctor. The
ultrasound images will now have to be displayed where the woman can watch
while she undergoes the procedure.
Oklahoma‘s lawmakers will allow the woman to avert her eyes from
the image if she wants. That is Oklahoma‘s definition of choice. Now, if
you can‘t win the constitutional arguments and you do have to allow some
women to get abortions some of the times because of that darn Constitution,
you can at least make it as vile, physically invasive and emotionally
traumatic as possible, right?
Joining us now is Anita Fream, the head of the Central Oklahoma
Chapter of Planned Parenthood. Ms. Fream, thank you very much for being
here tonight. I appreciate your time.
ANITA FREAM, CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD, CENTRAL OKLAHOMA CHAPTER: Thank
you so much for having me.
MADDOW: The Oklahoma legislature easily overrode Gov. Henry‘s veto of
this measure. Is there any political strength in Oklahoma behind stopping
this? Is the governor pretty much on his own?
FREAM: There are folks who have been working with the governor, been
trying to support these efforts. I have to say, though, it does seem that
we are in the minority.
MADDOW: There are still two other bills under consideration in
Oklahoma, one, I know, would force women to fill out a very detailed
questionnaire about why they are seeking an abortion.
MADDOW: It would post some of that information online. Another would
restrict insurance coverage for abortions. What do you think the prospects
are for those bills?
FREAM: I don‘t see a whole lot of hope for stopping them. I think
the prospects are probably good. I spoke earlier this evening with the
Center for Reproductive Rights about the possibility of additional
And that is always still a possibility. We just don‘t know yet
at this point. They did say that there are many Constitutional issues with
the reporting requirements law.
MADDOW: The same organization suing against the measure that was just
passed by the legislature over the governor‘s veto, of course. Let‘s say
the insurance can‘t cover abortions bill passes. What do you think the
impact would be ultimately on women in Oklahoma?
FREAM: Well, I think it will have the same impact. That is the goal
behind a lot of these laws, which is just to make it increasingly difficult
to have access to what is supposed to be a fundamental right.
Make it harder and harder to get abortions. Put more stumbling
blocks in the way. Make it more expensive. Make doctors more reluctant to
do the procedure.
MADDOW: Is it your feeling as CEO of Planned Parenthood in central
Oklahoma - is it your feeling that the effect of these laws is essentially
to make abortion so difficult obtain that it is functionally illegal in
Oklahoma even if the Constitution still nominally protects it?
FREAM: I do think that is the effect and it is very clear that is the
ultimate goal. That is not a secret. That is a strategy that‘s talked
about fairly openly.
MADDOW: How many abortion providers are still operating in Oklahoma?
And I guess, what is the morale of those health care providers right now
given this environment?
FREAM: I think there are about three. I may be missing one in there.
Morale varies. We have good relationships with our local provider who is a
But, you know, it‘s tough. Every time one of these new laws goes
into place, it makes it harder to provide the procedure and makes their
legal risk greater and restricts what kinds of medical decisions they can
make, which is something I assume no doctor wants to have to deal with.
MADDOW: In terms of Oklahoma in the broader context of what is
happening with abortion rights in this country, a lot of people who are
pro-choice are looking at what‘s happening in Oklahoma, in Nebraska and
some other states that have considered very restrictive measures recently.
There seems to be a flurry of them recently. They‘re wondering
if national assistance, national health speaking out about these matters
helps or hurts, whether or not people addressing these issues nationally
seems like carpetbaggers to those of you, for example, in Oklahoma or
whether or not, at this point, people who are pro-choice in Oklahoma want
FREAM: The need for national help is definitely here. We need
everyone speaking out no matter where they are from. I know what you mean
about the carpetbagger issue. And I suppose that probably is an issue at
times. But we need the voices worse. We need people to speak out.
MADDOW: Anita Fream, CEO of Planned Parenthood in Central Oklahoma.
Thank you very much for your time tonight. I really appreciate your
FREAM: Thank you.
MADDOW: Coming up on “COUNTDOWN” tonight, Keith‘s special guest is
the Arizona sheriff who is refusing to implement the new immigration law in
But first, on this show, the Republican voter registration ploy
targeting people who want to legalize pot. They messed with the wrong
slackers. That‘s next.
MADDOW: We turn now to our dubious documentation correspondent, Mr.
Kent Jones. Hi, Kent.
KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rachel. You remember the
Republican fundraising letter that was designed to look like the 2010
MADDOW: Oh, yes. Yes.
JONES: Right? Well, there is a new piece of Republican document
trickery going on. Check it out.
JONES: In Orange County, California, people were reportedly
approached by petitioners to ask them to sign their names for, among other
causes, legalizing marijuana. Some thought, “Legalize pot? sure, dude.
Where do I sign?”
Put the pen down. Step away from the clipboard. What their
signatures actually meant was that those pot-supporting Californians had
just registered for the Republican Party.
In one stroke, people went from easing pot laws to joining forces
with John Boehner. Whiplash. According to the “Orange County Register,”
since March, 99 written complaints were filed by voters who said they were
registered as Republicans without their consent.
“The Register” reports that signature gatherers lied,
misrepresented themselves and some even pretended they were students
collecting signatures for a class project.
What class is that? Introduction to voter fraud? The California
Republican Party created a problem by offering an $8 bounty for each new
registration. Voila. Beer money.
Consider this a warning - the next time someone asks you to sign
here to save the adorable kittens or nominate summer as America‘s official
feel good season or something like that, read every word and then ask
yourself, “Am I helping John Boehner?”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Also blame ACORN somehow.
JONES: Yes. Yes.
MADDOW: Thank you, Kent. Appreciate it. That does it for us
tonight. “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now. Good night.
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