The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/17/10

Guests:
Mark Schrope, Ted Kaufman, Ed Rendell
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening.

I keep hearing from conservatives who watch our shows and say

they don‘t agree with either you or me, but they watch anyway.

KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST:  Yes?

MADDOW:  I think tonight would be a good night if there are any

actual Republican operatives out there to say, not tonight.

OLBERMANN:  Right.  Because otherwise you‘re giving—you‘re

giving it a way.  They might be lip-readers so we can‘t even show our

mouths doing this, like the ballplayers, OK?

MADDOW:  We‘ll do it in pig Latin.

OLBERMANN:  Ix nay on the (INAUDIBLE).  Whatever.  I don‘t know.

MADDOW:  Thank you, itkay (ph).  Appreciate it.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, you speak fluently.  Of course, you do.  You can

study that in England.  I lose again.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Bye, Rach.

MADDOW:  And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the

next hour.

All right.  “Drill, baby, drill” meet “Profile, baby, profile.” 

Sarah Palin and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer have joined forces and

thrown the Republican cause nationally behind Arizona‘s papers please

law.  It is a cause for passing euphoria on the right, but it‘s a cause

for lasting electoral satisfaction on the left.

Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania will be joining us tonight.

Also, the evidence mounts as to who is responsible for the

blowout that caused the explosion that let loose the undersea oil gusher

and sank the rig and killed 11 men.  Evidence and the barest hints of

progress in the B.P. Gulf oil disaster all that report this hour.

It‘s all coming up.

But first, fish—fish breathing, to be specific.  It‘s biology

101, right?  Human beings survive by breathing, so do other animals,

including fish.  We don‘t usually think of fish as breathing since they

live in water, but they do.  That‘s sort of what the whole gill thing is

about.

Like humans, fish need oxygen to survive.  The gill system works

by extracting dissolved oxygen that‘s in the water that they swim in.

Because oxygen is vital to the very existence of fish, when fish

find themselves in a low oxygen area, they tend to swim away from it. 

They try to get out of it.  If an oxygen deprived area of water is so

big they can‘t swim out of it, they die.

Same goes for all the other parts of the marine food chain that

depend on there being oxygen in the water in order to survive.  Really

oxygen-deprived areas in the ocean have a name—they‘re called “dead

zones.”

There are few hundred known dead zones across the world—one of

them right off the coast of Oregon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  Oregon scientists this summer dropped a camera to the

ocean floor and were sickened by what they saw—a deep, disturbing

seascape, everything from the largest crab to the smallest organism,

dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not a single fish in this area, lots of dead

crabs littering the sea floor, worms laying on the bottom, obviously

dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Dead, everything.  Dead fish, dead crabs, dead worms.

These dead zones—these areas of really low oxygen levels can‘t

support much life.  Many dead zones are seasonal or they appear on even

longer cycles, every few years, changing shape, appearing and

disappearing as pollution and fresh water/seawater mixes ebb and flow.

More than a decade ago, the “New Orleans Times-Picayune”

newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on a huge dead zone

that has started appearing every summer off the coast of Louisiana.  It

would cost fishermen in the area to have to go hundreds of miles

offshore in order to find anything to fish, because all the fish in the

dead zone were dead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  This summer, it covered more than 7,700 square miles

of the Gulf, about the size of New Jersey.  Shrimp, fish, clams and

crabs fleeing.  The people who fish here call it the dead zone because

nothing survives 10 feet below the surface.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I put my line down, it‘s just dead.  Nothing nothing‘s happening.

      

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Nothing survives ten feet below the surface because

there isn‘t enough oxygen down there.

That huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is believed to be

caused by pollution, by fertilizer runoff from the Mississippi River. 

There were fears that if there weren‘t curbs on that kind of pollution,

that particular Gulf of Mexico dead zone might become permanent.

But if you think pollution has made that part of the world very

fragile already, you ain‘t seen nothing yet.  Over the weekend, a team

of scientists on a research vessel called The Pelican discovered a,

quote, “shocking amount of oil floating underwater.”  Massive plumes of

what they think are oil and chemical dispersants that are, in at least

one plume‘s case, 10 miles long, three miles wide and 300 feet thick.

Officials are still trying to determine the exact consistency of

the underwater oil plumes, how much oil is mixed with water, what else

might be in those plumes.  But scientists on board The Pelican say they

are already measuring 30 percent lower oxygen levels in the areas

surrounding these plumes.

“The New York Times” reporting on these findings, explains,

quote, “While the oxygen depletion so far is not enough to kill off sea

life, the possibility looms that oxygen levels could fall so low as to

create large dead zones, especially at the sea floor.  ‘That‘s the big

worry,‘ says the head of the National Institute for Undersea Science and

Technology which sponsored The Pelican‘s research mission.‘”

Before B.P. can even begin to wrap their heads around the

potential decades long ecological disaster they may have wrought in the

Gulf, they have to come to terms with the fact that they are still

wreaking it.  They still have to plug the well that is still gushing. 

That effort continues today as B.P. has managed to send down a mile long

tube that they stuck into the oil stream.  They say that tube is now

siphoning off about 20 percent of the oil that is coming out of the

broken riser pipe.

They also have plans to fill up the gushing broken riser pipe

with drilling mud or possibly debris like rubber tires, what everybody‘s

been calling the “junk shot.”  In the meantime, B.P. just started

drilling a second relief well near the site of the disaster, but it will

be months before those relief wells could be operational.  All of this

in an effort to stop the actual leak.

And even when that happy day comes, we will still be facing the

question of what to do with the oil that‘s already floating out there,

floating around somewhere—possibly, we now realize suspended under

water.  How in the name of thousands of square miles of potentially dead

marine life do you possibly clean that up?

Joining us now via Skype is science journalist Mark Schrope.  He

was aboard The Pelican research vessel for eight days on behalf of

“Nature” magazine.  He just got back to land yesterday.

Mr. Schrope, thanks very much for joining us tonight.  Appreciate

your time.

MARK SCHROPE, SCIENCE JOURNALIST:  Hey, there.  Good to be here.

MADDOW:  So, first of all, I know you were out in the Gulf with

these scientists for days, observing this—the oil that‘s out there. 

What—set the scene for us a little bit.  Is it clear when you‘re

there that you are amidst the oil?  Or is it all under the surface?

SCHROPE:  No, it‘s clear but it varies.  Early on, the seas were

a lot calmer so there was—so there was more oil bunched together.  By

the time I got there, the seas were a little larger, so things were

broken up.

But you definitely come through—depending on where you are,

through different bands of oil and you can see brown, large brown bands

off and on, ore so especially because of the way the winds were working. 

I believe it was to the west side of the accident site.  And it—and

you smell a lot more there as well.

MADDOW:  So, the smells out there, does it smell like a gas

station?  Does it smell like a refinery?  What does it smell like?

SCHROPE:  It smells more like oil than gas. So, it smells like,

you know, adding oil to the engine.  But it‘s pretty pervasive in some

places.

MADDOW:  How did the scientists that you were with discover what

they‘re describing as these underwater plumes?  What sort of scientific

techniques are they using to be able to find these things?  They are,

after all, not visible to the naked eye from the surface.

SCHROPE:  Well, they were using a number of different techniques. 

But the one that became key for looking at that plume was something

called a CTD rosette.  It‘s a group of water sample bottles and

different pieces of measuring equipment that are all added to the same

frame, and that frame is dropped down all the way to the sea floor, and

then pulled back up.  And it sends readings up through the cable in

real-time while that‘s happening so they can—they can see what‘s

going on.

MADDOW:  And when you were on board The Pelican, when they‘re

doing these tests, when they‘re getting these readings and then using

that type of equipment, is it clear to the scientists right away the

sort of thing that they‘re dealing with?  Were they able to describe on

board, on ship, what they thought they had discovered?  Or is it the

sort of thing that takes after the fact analysis on land?

SCHROPE:  Well, they were certainly able to speculate, but

there‘s a lot they don‘t know.  In fact, you could almost say there‘s

little they can say about the plume until they run samples this week to

figure it out.  So—but there was certainly enough information so that

they could speculate and try and come up with ideas that would explain

what they were seeing.

MADDOW:  I understand that NOAA, the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Administration, which is in part funding these scientists—

NOAA is warning that they can‘t verify that anything that‘s being found

underwater in terms of stuff being suspended in the water column, they

can‘t verify that these are plumes of oil or oil mixed with dispersants.

What—as a journalist, what‘s your—dispersants, excuse me—

as a journalist, what‘s your understanding of what happens next in terms

of verifying what‘s out there?  What do they do next with the data that

they have collected?

SCHROPE:  Well, there‘s a group—the people that were out

actually are not geochemists, so they were collecting samples for a lot

of different colleagues that were interested in looking at things.  They

have a woman named Samantha Joye that they work with that will receive I

believe most of the water samples and she‘ll do a number of analyses.  I

don‘t know—I think there was some talk of possibly sending portions

of those samples to different labs with other agencies or something

along those lines but I don‘t really know the details of that.

But there will be a lot of analysis, I assume, fairly quickly

this week.

MADDOW:  Science journalist Mark Schrope who is onboard the

Pelican research vessel until yesterday and joined us tonight via Skype

– Mark, thanks very much for your time.  I appreciate it.

SCHROPE:  No problem.

MADDOW:  Coming up: did you hear about the big argument that

happened onboard the doomed oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, just a few

hours before it blew up?  It was an argument in the end about safety. 

And the wrong side won that argument.  Incredible new detail about what

was going on the day of the disaster—that‘s ahead.

Plus, a big break for the Democrats for the midterm elections

courtesy of the great state of Arizona and the former half-term governor

of the great state of Alaska, Sarah Palin.  That‘s ahead.

Please stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  When B.P. announced this weekend that it had succeeded

in getting a thin siphon tube into the gushing oil pipe on the sea bed

of the Gulf, the heads of the Department of Homeland Security and the

Interior Department made sure immediately that everybody knew there was

no real cause for celebration.

They put out a statement that said it was, quote, “not a solution

to the problem.”  They also said, quote, “We will not rest until B.P. 

permanently seals up the wellhead, the spill is cleaned up, and the

communities and natural resources of the Gulf coast are restored and

made whole.”

Got that, bucko?  That was this weekend.

And then today, Janet Napolitano, is back on the spotlight on

Capitol Hill answering questions from senators about the government‘s

response to the B.P. disaster.  So, that‘s how the current homeland

security secretary spent her day.

Meanwhile, a would-be homeland security secretary spent his day

reporting to federal prison.  President Bush‘s pick to lead homeland

security for the whole country was Bernie Kerik, you might remember,

back in 2004.  Bernie Kerik reported to a federal prison in Maryland

this afternoon after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including

tax fraud and lying to White House officials when he got that big

cabinet official nomination.  Mr. Kerik‘s sentencing judge gave him 15

more months than prosecutors had asked for, lambasting Mr. Kerik at the

sentencing for using his 9/11 experiences for personal gain.

So, in the end, Bernie Kerik won‘t get to run a federal agency of

230,000 employees, which George W. Bush tried to appoint him to do.  He

will instead spend four years as federal prisoner number 84888-054.

Also, the jail that Rudy Giuliani tried to name after Bernie

Kerik in Lower Manhattan has had to be renamed as well, very awkward.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Tonight, we have new developments in the investigation

into what caused the deadly offshore oil drilling disaster off the coast

of Louisiana.  We‘ve learned something new about what led up to the

explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil right that killed 11 people. 

These new developments are not just about what was happening in terms of

engineering onboard the oil platform, they‘re about a specific decision

that may have led to the explosion, to those 11 people‘s deaths and to

the still-escalating disaster we‘re facing right now in the Gulf.

The Deepwater Horizon, as you know, is a drilling rig.  It was

actually wrapping up its operation at this site when it blew up.  After

drilling very, very, very, very, very deeply to the oil there, the

Deepwater Horizon was on its way out.  Its job was essentially done. 

Transocean, which owns the Deepwater Horizon rig, and B.P., which was

leasing it to get to the oil, they were in the process of temporarily

capping the well that they had successfully drilled there.  They were

closing it up.

Remember, these offshore oil rigs are mobile.  They move around,

which is why they‘re flagged like ships.  Deepwater horizon had finished

its job of drilling the well at this site.  All it still had to do was

safely close off the well so that well site would be ready for another

production rig to come in and re-tap what the Deepwater Horizon had

already drilled.  And that second rig would actually extract the oil. 

That‘s what was going on the day of the explosion.

Deepwater Horizon was due to sail away to drill somewhere else,

after safely closing up the well they drilled so somebody else could

reopen it.  But that is when the explosion happened, when they were in

the process of temporarily closing it up after they had drilled it.

Last night, interviews with one of the last people to escape the

rig, and an engineer investigating the accident for the government, the

news show “60 Minutes” uncovered and explained a key decision about how

to close up that well—a decision made by B.P. that may tell us why it

blew up.  Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, “60 MINUTES‘/CBS)

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS (voice-over):  William says that in a

drilling accident four weeks before the explosion, the critical rubber

gasket called an “annular” was damaged and pieces of it started coming

out of the well.

Here‘s why that‘s so important.  The annular is used to seal the

well for pressure tests and those tests determine whether dangerous gas

is seeping in.

(on camera):  So if the annular is damaged, if I understand you

correctly, you can‘t do the pressure tests in a reliable way.

PROF. BOB BEA, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY:  That‘s

correct.  You may get pressure tests on recordings, but because you‘re

leaking pressure, they‘re not reliable.

PELLEY:  The morning of the disaster, according to Williams,

there was an argument in front of all of the men on the ship between the

Transocean manager and the B.P. manager.  Do you know what that argument

was about?

BEA:  Yes.

PELLEY:  What was it?

BEA:  Who‘s boss.

PELLEY (voice-over):  In finishing the well, the plan was to have

a subcontractor, Halliburton, place three concrete plugs like corks in

the column.  The Transocean manager wanted to do this with the column

full of heavy drilling fluid, what drillers call mud, to keep the

pressure down below contained.  But the B.P. manager wanted to begin to

remove the mud before the last plug was set—that would reduce the

pressure controlling the well before the plugs were finished.

(on camera):  Why would B.P. want to do that?

BEA:  It expedites the subsequent steps.

PELLEY:  It‘s a matter of going faster?

BEA:  Faster.  Sure.

PELLEY:  Who won the argument?

BEA:  B.P.

PELLEY:  If the mud had been left in the column, would there have

been a blowout?

BEA:  It doesn‘t look like it.

PELLEY (voice-over):  To do it B.P.‘s way, they had to be sure

the first two plugs were keeping the pressure down.  That life or death

test was done using the blowout preventer which had the damaged gasket.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW:  So, in other words, B.P. pressured Transocean to plug

the well less safely.  Because it would make getting the oil out of the

well go faster.

Transocean, which is responsible for sealing up this well safely,

said, we‘d rather keep the drilling mud in there, but B.P., which is

paying the bills, won that argument with Transocean.  B.P. got its way

and hours later, the plugging of the well failed, and the rig blew up,

and 11 men died and mass environmental disaster began.

When asked to comment on the “60 Minutes” report this morning,

B.P.‘s chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, told the CBS “Early Show”

his focus is stopping the spill and that we should, quote, “let the

investigations finish up.”

If there was a market for blame in this disaster, nobody would be

selling short in that market.  There‘s plenty of blame to go around. 

The man in charge of overseeing offshore drilling programs at the

already-scandal-prone Minerals Management Service in the government has

just announced his sudden retirement.  He was in charge of the office

from 1995 to 2007 before getting promoted.  His, quote, “retirement”

comes conveniently enough just days after President Obama promised to

end the cozy relationship between the Minerals Management Service and

the oil industry it supposedly regulates.

Meanwhile, the Minerals Management Service declined to testify in

front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee today—declined to

testify.

The reason this is important is not because this is hindsight. 

This is not looking back.  This is not trying to find the right lessons

learned from a disaster that‘s in the past.  Obviously, the oil is still

gushing right this second.  So the past isn‘t even past yet.

But there‘s also the problem of what we‘ve actually got still in

the Gulf right now.  What we‘ve—what we‘ve got right now is, for

example, this—this is not a archival photo of the Deepwater Horizon

right before it exploded and sunk.  This is now.

This is Atlantis.  This is 100 miles further offshore than

Deepwater Horizon was.  It is drilling in water that is more than 2,000

feet deeper than water the Deepwater Horizon was drilling in.

A former B.P. subcontractor-turned-whistleblower says B.P. never

reviewed the final design documents for systems and equipment on the

Atlantis rig, the photos of which we were just showing you.  That means

they never confirmed that the rig‘s equipment was actually built, how it

was supposed to be built.  The whistleblower says Atlantis cannot

operate safely without completed blueprints, something that we‘ve seen

in action on the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

A disaster on Atlantis would presumably be even more gigantic

than the Deepwater Horizon‘s disaster because it‘s drilling more oil

further out and deeper.  Today, the whistleblower from this rig, along

with a consumer advocacy group, Food & Water Watch, filed a lawsuit to

get the Atlantis rig shut down until B.P. can prove it‘s safe.  We‘ll

keep you posted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

MADDOW:  This too shall pass.  Wall Street reform, the biggest

reform to the financial sector since the 1930s, is going to happen and

it‘s going to happen soon.  For one thing, it‘s easy politics.

Here are some scenes today from D.C., hundreds of protesters

bussed in from 20 states, marched in support of financial reform. 

Protesters packed a Bank of America branch in D.C., causing it to

temporarily shut down.  Protesters then left that B of A branch and

marched to a nearby Citibank office.  Protesters also marched outside a

top financial lobbying group and they gathered at the intersection of

14th Street and K Street.

This all happening a day after the same group protested on the

lawn of the home of Bank of America‘s general counsel in Chevy Chase,

Maryland.

Not to take anything away from the organizing prowess of the

protesters, but getting people to want to yell at banks right now is not

an uphill battle.  I don‘t put too much stock in polls as news.

But just for perspective here, in the last NBC News poll, after

all Toyota has been through, for example, that company‘s approval rating

was a stinky 31 percent.

B.P., in the midst of the huge, terrifying, awful, still out-of-

control Gulf oil disaster, their approval rating is even worse, B.P.‘s

approval rating?  Eleven percent.

Goldman Sachs?  Way worse than that.  Goldman Sachs, their

approval rating is 4 percent.  B.P., in other words, has nearly tripled

the approval rating of Goldman Sachs.

Getting people to yell at banks, to yell at Wall Street right now

is not an uphill climb.  And that should not be underestimated as a

reason why Wall Street reform is going to pass.

But there‘s also another political point to consider here.  It

turns out that the year-long largely misplayed fight for health reform

got Democrats something more than just health reform.  Democrats in

Congress appear to have learned from the health reform experience what

not to do if you want to get something big passed.

During health reform, you may recall Senate Democrats pandering

and pleading and playing as much ball as possible with Republicans,

weakening reform at every step in order to supposedly woo these

Republican senators who frankly were never going to vote for health

reform anyway.  The process put the entire focus of the fight for reform

on the points of disagreement between Democrats and Republicans.  The

news worthiness of health reform each day depended on what parts of

health reform Republicans were objecting to that day.

It brought Democrats nothing in terms of votes, it elevated the

otherwise politically impotent tiny Republican minority, it watered down

the policy, it took forever, and it almost killed health reform all

together.

This time, apparently, lesson learned.  After initial efforts to

work with senators like Richard Shelby and Bob Corker to draft the

bipartisan Wall Street reform plan, Democrats said they would not let

that process drag on forever, that they would move ahead.  They have

been voting on amendments to the legislation for the past week or so.

And because they‘re not devoting the process to trying to

persuade Republicans who really only want to kill the bill anyway and

because Wall Street reform is a good political issue, the amendment

process is actually making the bill tougher.  It‘s making the bill

stronger.

Think about that for a second.  Because Democrats have realized that the

country actually wants Wall Street reform, and because Democrats have

not fallen into the same trap as they did before about making the reform

process all about the wishes of people who don‘t want reform, as this

legislative process goes on longer, the bill is getting better.  In the

sense that it‘s getting tougher on the Goldman Sachs of the world. 

Everybody panic!  In response to this nasty turn of events, the

Republicans‘ lead senator on Wall Street reform, Bob Corker of

Tennessee, told political, quote, “I say this facetiously, but for those

of us who want a good bill, we should file cloture because every day it

gets worse.” 

Another leading Republican on the issue, Judd Gregg, told the same

publication, quote, “We should probably finish this bill at some point

because it‘s getting worse every day.  So, not only is Wall Street

reform going to pass, it‘s also killed the whole Republican tried and

true strategy of delaying something in order to kill it.  Republicans

might stop filibustering this thing in order to get it over and done

with, so Democrats stop adding things to it that they want to run on. 

We might not only get Wall Street reform really soon, we might kill the

Tarantino in the process. 

Joining us now for the interview tonight is Democratic Senator Ted

Kaufman of Delaware.  Senator Kaufman, thank you very much for your time

tonight, sir.  

SENATOR TED KAUFMAN (D) DELAWARE:  Hey, Rachel.  Thanks for having me.  

MADDOW:  So, big picture first, do you think that Wall Street

reform passes the senate and passes the senate soon? 

KAUFMAN: Oh, yes.  I think it will pass, but you never know,

because again, we‘ve still got to go through cloture, it all depends on

whether Republicans throw in the towel, what Senator Corker and Senator

Gregg reflex the Republican caucus and that‘s what they decided to do. 

It‘s kind of in their hands where we go from here.  But now, I think,

eventually, it‘s going to pass.  

MADDOW:  I know the amendment process hasn‘t been all one way or

all the other. 

KAUFMAN: Sure.

MADDOW:  Some tough amendments are failing, some are passing. 

KAUFMAN: Right.

MADDOW:  But in general, do you think the bill has gone tougher on Wall

Street since it‘s been open to amendments?

KAUFMAN: I think in some areas it has.  Of course the area that I‘m

primarily concerned with, that is just the incredible size of our banks

and how risky that is for us to have banks that are so large and also

having banks that are involved in such incredibly risky businesses like

derivatives and as we see with this high frequency trading, I‘m still

concerned.  I‘m still waiting to see what happens with the Levin/Merkley

amendment and then what happens with the Ken Will/McCain (ph) amendment

in terms of deciding where we are on this. 

MADDOW:  On that issue, on the issue of banks being too big.  It

was you and Sherrod Brown if I‘m correct. 

KAUFMAN: Right.

MADDOW:  Who sponsored an amendment to very quick simply limit the size

of banks, to break them up if they were so big their behavior could put

the country at risk.  That amendment did not pass.  But when you look at

other amendments, other efforts to try to approach that basic issue, do

you feel like, a, they have a prayer, and if they don‘t pass, whatever

passes are, we still fundamentally in danger if we don‘t have that? 

KAUFMAN: Well, I‘m concerned about that.  Let‘s wait and see what

happens.  But clearly, when you have these massive banks, $2 trillion

banks, 63 of the largest banks, 63 percent of the gross domestic

product.  When we have the top five banks in America being involved in

85 percent of the over counting derivatives and you look at what happen

with the derivatives in the past, then you look at this new charge which

I think was responsible partly May 6 which I‘ve been talking about in

quite a while now.  This is computer, high frequency computer trades,

and they‘re we don‘t know what‘s happening, we have no idea in many

cases—we don‘t know  the customer, the time of the trade, I‘ve been

calling for tag in the security exchange is looking at it. 

But, you know, these are very risky things.  And you know, we had—for

60 years, we had Glass-Steagall in place, which basically said, if you

want to be a commercial bank, that‘s great.  But commercial banks should

be kind of lowest corporation, and then investment banks would be

involved in the risky things.  And then as you know, we repealed Glass-

Steagall in 1999.  I think that‘s a real cause of concern.  I mean, for

all during the 19th century we had bank panics, we did up to 1929.  We

put in Glass-Steagall, we said banks couldn‘t do that.  The commercial

banks were going to be—places where you could take the money and know

it‘s going to be safe. 

You didn‘t have to worry about runs on the bank because you had fdic

insurance to insure the banks.  We pretty much settled that.  Now, you

know, I am concerned that if you have these major, these very, very

large banks and they‘ve gotten larger and larger and larger, if you look

at their growth it‘s incredible, involved in these very risky things

like derivatives and high frequency trading, whatever new thing they

come up with, it‘s even more risky, I just am really concerned about

that.  

MADDOW:  When you look back on the history of financial regulation,

talking about fdic, the runs on the banks and that no longer being an

American concern, when you look back at the history of that, this is one

of the things, the president has talked about.  The banks cried bloody

murder when fdic went into effect.  They said that was going to ruin the

industry, and of course, they‘re crying bloody murder right now, while

recognizing the public opinion is against them.  How intense is the

lobbying effort against reform right now?

KAUFMAN: Well, it‘s not—I don‘t get much of it, I think I‘m, as you

know, Rachel, it‘s pretty clear where I‘m coming from.  So, I really

haven‘t been lobbied that hard.  I sat down with folks from the

administration on these issues.  I sat down with Secretary Geithner and

Larry Summers and went through and spent some time talking through what

their proposals are.  But it‘s been a very—in terms of me, it‘s been

a very kind of intellectual kind of discussion about what‘s going on.  I

tried to keep it that way when I speak on the floor and while I speak

and write op-eds, and things like that.  Just lay what the facts are on

this, what I think is going on, try to stay away from the emotional edge

of it. 

Because really Rachel, the thing I‘m most concerned about is that our

financial markets still be the envy of the world.  And that really is

one of the things that‘s made this country great is our financial

markets.  And I‘m just afraid after what happened this last time and

then what happened on May 6th that people around the world are going to

say, you know, we really can‘t depend on American markets.  That would

be an incredible blow for us coming out of this recession, if in fact,

our markets somehow deteriorating in terms of credibility.  

MADDOW:  Senator Ted Kaufman, Democrat of Delaware who‘s emerged as

a very, very clear voice and a big thinker on these issues.  Sir, thank

you for your time tonight.  I really appreciate it.  

KAUFMAN: Great.  Rachel, thanks for having me. 

MADDOW:  How should Democrats running this fall?  Respond to Sarah

Palin‘s endorsement of Arizona‘s papers please law.  Maybe just a simple

round of applause.  Group fist bump?  Giant drinks luge in the house

office buildings, maybe?  Tomorrow‘s primaries and the increasingly

bright horizon for Democrats come November with Pennsylvania governor Ed

Rendell, just ahead.  Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  We‘re not even doing it sarcastically anymore.  That‘s the real

deal.  It‘s happening!  Excuse me.  Tomorrow, as you may have heard is

primary day in four states.  Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Arkansas, and

Oregon.  Although nobody‘s really talking about the primary in Oregon. 

Outside of Oregon, no offense.  According to the conventional wisdom of

the Beltway media, at least three of tomorrow‘s races will be measures

of voter discontent or voter on unrest, or may even affect the future of

the Obama White House.  Really?  Maybe.  But what primaries are really

proven to be good at is faking being national bellwethers.  Primaries

are not usually a good way to figure out who everyone in the nation is

going to vote for in November.  But they can be fun to watch on their

own terms.

Tomorrow, Pennsylvania‘s Democratic Senator primary will pit Congressman

Joe Sestak against Republican-turned-Democratic incumbent Senator Arlen

Specter.  Very close, will be fun to watch.  Arkansas‘ Democratic senate

primary is between incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln and challenger

Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter.  Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter has

been a guest on this program.  Senator Lincoln has not chosen to join

us, which we still regret.  In Kentucky, the Republican senate primary

is Ron Paul‘s son, Rand Paul, who announced his candidacy here on this

program.  He‘s facing off against Trey Grayson who might have been the

shoe in, in any other year. 

He‘s the preferred candidate of the Republican establishment, including

Kentucky‘s other senator, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  All

of those races are going to be very fun to watch on their own terms.  A

lot of very interesting politicians there.  But if you‘re looking for a

national bellwether, the one thing primaries are good at is measuring

how much enthusiasm there is in a particular voting population.  Because

when one party‘s voters are more motivated to head to the polls on

primary day, it does stand to reason that they‘re also likely to turn

out in greater numbers in the general election.  Motivation is the most

interesting thing to watch for tomorrow. 

One primary candidate beating another doesn‘t tell you that much about

likely general election results in that jurisdiction.  But primary

turnout figures can tell you about voter excitement.  And voter

excitement can tell you about general election turnout.  And that can

tell you who might actually win in November.  I‘m so excited.  We saw

this phenomenon in 2008, this predictive phenomenon, if one party turned

out in significantly higher numbers than the other party for the

primaries, there was a tendency for that party‘s candidate to win in the

general come November. 

So all this to say, your wonky assignment tomorrow?  Number crunching. 

Close your ears when the pundits talk about the trends, and the

extrapolation and voter feelings.  Pay attention to voter turnouts. 

Keep your pencils sharp, keep that calculator humming and then come

November, everybody will have to show their work.  To get started

tomorrow night, watch msnbc throughout the evening for live coverage of

the day‘s very exciting primary races including Oregon.  For our part,

we will have results on the show at our regular time, 9:00 Eastern and

we will be on again live and super hyper at 11:00.  We‘ll be right back.              

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Hey, Democrats.  Sarah Palin just gave you a present. 

It‘s from Arizona.  And it‘s not turquoise.  Pennsylvania Governor Ed

Rendell joins us next.  Please stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Former half term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is not an official

Republican Party spokesperson.  That said, who is?  The Republicans

really hanging on, say, Michael Steele‘s word more than they‘re hanging

on Sarah Palin‘s word when it comes to party leadership and politics? 

These weekends, Republican giant celebrity Sarah Palin traveled to

Arizona to do some of her patented freelance Republican politicking and

she delivered a huge election year gift in Arizona to Democrats.  Sarah

Palin lent her formidable attention getting skills to Arizona Governor

Jan Brewer at an event that was part campaign rally, part press

conference and all theatrics.  Brewer and Palin unveiled Governor

Brewer‘s exciting new campaign website, securetheborder.org or you can

sign a petition in support of Arizona‘s draconian anti-immigration law. 

To whom the petition will be delivered is anyone‘s guess.  Then there

was this moment. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, former Alaska governor:  It‘s time for Americans across

this great country to stand up and say, we‘re all Arizonians now. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Sarah Palin‘s ecstatic endorsement of Arizona‘s papers please

law and the governor who signed it is a very exciting moment for

Democrats.  Aligning it self-with anti-immigrant politics is the pothole

that Republican keeps breaking their axle on over and over and over

again.  And the 2006 midterm election, you may recall congressional

Republicans had to somehow counter the ballooning un-popularity of

President Bush and the war in Iraq.  Too much funfair, Republicans turn

to immigration, more specifically, anti-immigration politics.  Democrats

in ‘06 ran against the Iraq war.  Republicans in ‘06, many of them at

least, ran against immigrants.  The result of the election? 

Democrats took back control of the House and the senate for the first

time in a dozen years.  Then of course, Republican fortune is reversed

in 2008 with the historic election of anti immigrant crusader, President

Tom Tancredo.  President Tom Tancredo‘s vulnerable success as a single

issue politician—oh, I‘m sorry, that‘s not right.  Terribly sorry for

the confusion there.  Actually, Former Congressman Tom Tancredo who has

called immigrants a scourge, he actually did not become president.  I

forgot I woke up from that dream.  In fact, Tom Tancredo withdrew from

the race before the first caucus or primary even took place on the

Republican side.  He ended his one issue campaign and he threw his

support behind Mitt Romney saying that he didn‘t want to split the

formidable anti-immigrant vote. 

He thought Mitt Romney had sufficiently anti-immigrant policy positions

to win the presidency and Tom Tancredo wanted to get out of the way. 

Mitt Romney of course, went on to also not win the Republican

nomination.  “The New York Times” has done some good reporting on the

historical failure of anti-immigrant politics on the national level. 

Republicans have been breaking their axle on this political pothole for

a very long time.  In the 1850s, quote, “Anti-immigrant forces seemed as

if they might dominate the new Republican Party, but in the end, the

calmer voices of Abraham Lincoln and William Steward won the day.” 

Sixty years later, a second wave of anti immigrant politics roared to

life, only to peter out with the election of Franklin Roosevelt running

on an anti-immigrant platform in 2006 did not prevent the Republicans

from losing control of the House and the Senate, it did not get Tom

Tancredo nor Mitt Romney, the Republican nomination in 2008, but gosh

darn it just because it keeps failing over and over and over again for

150 years doesn‘t mean some people won‘t keep insisting that it is a

clear path of the win column.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, “The O‘Reilly Factor” host:  If 70 percent of the country

supports the Arizona law, according to the latest poll, 70 percent.  If

the Obama administration sues Arizona, that‘s it for them, they are

done. 

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR:  They are going to have to learn that the

American people want action.  

O‘REILLY:  You think the critical mass has been reached? 

DOBBS:  I do and I believe, November is a pivotal election in this

country? 

O‘REILLY:  Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  You do, Lou?  Really?  What else do you think is pivotal? 

Really?  You think the whole country is just going to go with the anti-

immigrant thing, just like to happen?  Really?

Joining us now is Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.  Governor Rendell,

thank you very much for joining us this evening.  Good to have you here.  

GOVERNOR ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Nice to be here.  

MADDOW:  You hold statewide office now obviously in Pennsylvania,

you also once served as chairman of the Democratic Party.  Knowing

national politics as you do, is my hypothesis right here that anti-

immigrant politics don‘t really work at the national level? 

RENDELL:  Of course not.  The only people who vote on anti-immigration

politics are the people that are going to vote for the Republican Party

anyway, no matter what they do, people in the middle who may generally

agree with the law like the Arizona law, it is not the issue that is

going to motivate them.  But for immigrants, particularly for Latinos,

since this bills was so pointedly targeting Latinos, they will vote on

that issue and they won‘t just vote on it in Arizona, they will vote on

it in Pennsylvania, they will vote on it in Florida, they will vote on

it in Colorado, places all over the country.  That can be a disaster for

Republican senate candidates in the 2010 election.   

I think the Republicans are making a mistake, Rachel, because they think

the economy is bad.    Unemployment is high and people are really—in

those circumstances, they are whipped up to sort of making immigrants a

scape goat.  That might work in a few isolated congressional districts,

but statewide, I would hate to be burdened with this, and I‘m a

statewide candidate in any state that has any sort of substantial Latino  

population.  Pennsylvania has got about 8, 8 ½ percent of our

electorate is Latino, I wouldn‘t want to be Pat Toomey running in this

election, because those Latino voters are coming out, and they‘re coming

out and they‘re casting their votes on one issue, the Republican party‘s

clear anti-immigration stance.   

MADDOW:  Politically, I know that Republicans stepping in it and making

big unforced errors is music to your ears, but Democrats still in a

governing sense have to decide how to respond to these things.  I know

the Pennsylvania is one of the states were sort of copycat legislation

has been pursued in the state legislature if that reaches your desk, are

you going to vetoed it? 

RENDELL:  As I‘ve already said, I was asked very early when that

legislation was put on the floor of the house vote, I do when I say, I

vetoed it, and of course, as a result it is going no were.  I wanted to

sort of take it out of the partisan politics that envelopes Harrisburg,

we have enough serious issues with our budget deficit and transportation

issues, I wanted to sort of clear the decks.  But again, Pat Toomey and

even the gubernatorial candidate, it is a tough issue because the people

who are motivated to vote by that stance, by the Sarah Palin view, they

are voting for Republicans, come heck or high water, no ifs, ands and

buts about it.  But Latinos as we know, from majority—president could

be persuaded or could have been persuaded to support Republican

candidates.  I don‘t think in 2010. 

MADDOW:  When I look ahead to the races tomorrow obviously, Pennsylvania

senate primary one of the most closely watched races tomorrow.  As you

deluded Pat Toomey likely to be the Republican candidate.  The race

between Sestak and Specter tomorrow, decide who will be the Democratic

candidate, I know you‘re supporter of our Senator Specter‘s, but when

you look at the large picture tomorrow in terms of those primaries,   in

Pennsylvania and another states, is there a bellwether to watch for? 

I‘m going to be watching for turnout to see about voter enthusiasm. 

What are you going to be watching with for? 

RENDELL:  Yes, I think that‘s right.  But the turnout has to be

balanced.  For example, there are a much of a race in the Republican

side for senate in Pennsylvania for senator or governor, the two

candidate, endorsed candidates are overwhelming favorites.  So, you

can‘t gauge what would be a turnout on the Republican side   against the

Specter/Sestak race, which has been just, you know, has become the eye

of the national attention.    So, that—but in states where they are

equally vigorous primaries, I think your analysis is exactly correct,

look at who—which voters turn out to the greatest degree, that a

little bit of a bellwether.  But also the bellwether on the generic

congressional vote, I think is an important bellwether, in the last two,

two and a half weeks or so three weeks, it has turned around

dramatically for Democrats and I think that is tracking the good

economic   news of the last two months.   

And I think if that economic news continues, I think people are going to

be awfully surprised about how well Democrats are going to do,

particularly if we stand up and talk about the fact that the stimulus

has worked.    There‘s no question it worked.  In Pennsylvania, I got my

report from my Department of Labor on March 30th, there were 25,558

people working in jobs, solely funded by stimulus dollars, solely funded

by stimulus dollars, and in my budget, $2.5 billion of the $28 billion

Rachel is stimulus money.  Without it, we had to lay off between another

20 to 25,000 jobs.  So, stimulus has saved or created 45,000 jobs in

Pennsylvania, for sure.    And that is not even talking about the jobs

back in the factories.   

MADDOW:  Governor, the Democratic candidates right now are all fixed—

trying to figure out how they are going to run, not only for primaries

before November.  If they have a choice between running on a definition

of the Democratic record, as you just described or defining the

Republican position, making things not a referendum but a choice between

two different distinct choices, which should they pick? 

RENDELL:  They should pick the latter.  Unfortunately, I think our

record is terrific but it has been spun so effectively by the

Republicans and by a lot of the media that I don‘t think people

appreciate yet, although   appreciation for the stimulus is growing. 

Appreciation for health care grows literally a little bit each week when  

more and more news about health care reform comes out.  But I think the

Republicans have put themselves in such a corner with some of their

extreme positions that I would, first and foremost, emphasize the

choice, emphasize what people are getting if they vote Republican. 

If you noticed, the Republican brand has never been strong throughout

this whole year.  It has only been sort of anti-Democrat.  Now, as the

economy improves, we have had two pretty good job-producing months.  As

the economy improves, I think the Democratic brand would get a little

better.  But I would, first and foremost, make the choice pretty obvious

and clear to voters.  

MADDOW:  Governor Ed Rendell, Democrat of Pennsylvania, thanks for

joining us this evening sir.  We appreciate it.   

RENDELL:  Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW:  We will be right back.       

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Primary night, tomorrow night.  We will see you then. 

“Countdown” starts right now.  

                                                                       

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MAY BE UPDATED.

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