The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/01/11

Guests:
Frank Rich, Claire McCaskill, Scott Olsen
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you, my friend.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

Iowa is still 4 1/2 weeks away, but Politico.com has already published
a tell-all book about this year`s presidential campaign. In this rather
early book, we learn the kind of details that Politico.com is famous for
making famous – things like Mitt Romney pulls the cheese off his pizza
before he eats it, and Rick Perry prefers the actress Jennifer Aniston to
the actress Angelina Jolie. OK.

We`re also told about current front-runner Newt Gingrich, what he
called the period this past summer when his staff quit and pundits mocked
his trip to the Greek islands and his six-figure line of credit at
Tiffany`s, quote, “The two hardest months in my life.”

Think about that for a minute. One of Mr. Gingrich`s former wives was
diagnosed with M.S. One of Mr. Gingrich`s former wives was diagnosed with
cancer. Mr. Gingrich has been through two divorces. Mr. Gingrich is the
only speaker of the House ever forced to pay an ethics fine, a $300,000
fine. He was basically forced out of congress in disgrace after his time
as speaker.

And the worst two months of Newt Gingrich`s life, he says, are when he
got made fun of for going on a cruise and buying jewelry.

In the late 1990s in England, the Conservative Party`s prime minister,
John Major, was in the midst of a serious challenge from the Labour Party
headed by Tony Blair.

One story that went around after Blair beat Major, after Blair was
elected, was that when each of these guys was asked what was the best day
of your life, John Major answered that was the birth of his first child,
and Tony Blair answered that it was the day he was elected leader of the
Labour Party.

Now, that was a possibly apocryphal story but still a sort of defining
one in Britain at the time about Tony Blair and his rise to power, about
Tony Blair as a politician. He was seen as this incredibly effective,
incredibly nimble politician who was great at getting elected but who was
also so thoroughly and desperately a politician that it was a little bit
unnerving.

But maybe being craven, maybe being that much of a politician was part
of how skilled he was. Key to Tony Blair`s rise to power was the fact he
was able to get the all-powerful Rupert Murdoch media machine behind him in
the late `90s. Rupert Murdoch was just as right wing then as he is now.
But his right-wing tabloid “The Sun,” which is as dominant in British
tabloid print media as FOX News is anywhere cable news.

Tony Blair convinced the conservative Rupert Murdoch to have the
conservative “Sun” tabloid get behind the Blair candidacy.

This right-wing paper, “The Sun,” endorsed the Labour Party and Tony
Blair.

And so, after nearly two decades of the Labour Party in exile, Tony
Blair got Rupert Murdoch`s backing. That helped him get elected prime
minister. Labour got to be in charge of Britain for the next decade.
George W. Bush got a new poodle. And we all got the Iraq war.

Whatever you think of what Tony Blair did with his time in power, his
rise to power was skilled, very skilled. And that skill was manifest in
part with his triumph in the Murdoch primary.

Josh Marshall at the Web site Talking Points Memos has been writing
about this. He wrote about it really well this past summer and again
today. The idea of the Murdoch primary in Britain is overt. Everybody
talks about it as if it`s a real thing. You have to win Rupert Murdoch`s
endorsement if you want to win a national election.

Now, part of the reason why Britain has a conservative prime minister
now when the conservative party in Britain had been out in the wilderness
since Tony Blair is because the current conservative leader you who see
here, David Cameron, he figured how to win the Murdoch primary. He got
Rupert Murdoch and his media empire in Britain to endorse the Conservative
Party there in the last election and that`s part of why the Torys are now
in power.

Now, in the United States, here at home, there are influential Rupert
Murdoch newspapers too. Amazingly, they include “The Wall Street Journal”
now, which I have to say is still as astonishing as the day it happened.
But Rupert Murdoch`s flagship in America, of course, is the FOX News
Channel.

FOX News is an unrivaled success here in broadcast media. And part of
their incomparable success is due to the fact they tell their viewers don`t
trust anybody else, right? This is a technique that was essentially
pioneered by Rush Limbaugh and then all of his imitators in right-wing talk
radio, which is not only to just attract conservative listeners and
conservative viewers by promoting conservative viewpoints but ensure that
those listeners and viewers never change the channel, that they pay
attention exclusively to you, because on your channel, you deride and
essentially wage war on all other media sources that might be an
alternative to you.

You deride in particular the mainstream media. Don`t trust them.
Only trust us. Don`t touch that dial.

That`s where the whole FOX News fair and balanced thing comes from.
It`s strategic. The basis of their business model is telling their views
don`t change the channel because the rest of the world is out to get you.
You can only trust us. You can only watch us.

And so, most Americans are not self-identified conservatives, but
essentially all self-identified conservatives only watch FOX News and won`t
watch anything else.

And that makes them incredibly successful. It also makes them
incredibly influential at times like these in American politics when the
conservatives of America, the Republican Party and its base, are having
what amounts to a private group discussion about who they want to put
forward as the Republican Party`s presidential nominee.

Today, “The New York Times” quotes Republican Governor Sam Brownback
of Kansas, who himself ran for president four years ago. He did
disastrously, but he did campaign hard. He told “The Times” today,
“Everything has changed now. It`s like a town hall every day on FOX News.
You hear people talking back to you what you saw yesterday on FOX. I like
FOX, and I`m glad we have an outlet, but it is having a major, major effect
on what happens.”

So, in the American race for the presidency in the Republican Party,
who is winning the Murdoch primary here? In the lead-up to the Republican
primary, a number of the early contenders or potential contenders
essentially auditioned for the Murdoch primary for Rupert Murdoch and Roger
Ailes over at FOX News by making themselves FOX News paid contributors.
You had Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin
all employed by FOX News and Rupert Murdoch as they very publicly weighed
presidential runs.

Now that the primary season is underway and a few of those folks did
decide to get into the race, is it possible to tell who FOX News is for?
And more specifically, right now, who are they for between Newt Gingrich
and Mitt Romney? Because that`s who it seems to be boiling down to at
least right now.

This is not just who does the conservative media support broadly.
This is a specific thing. I mean, there are other conservatives out there
– pundits and columnists and former officials and opinion leaders – who
are not affiliated with FOX News. But it`s worth drawing a distinction
because of the media power that Rupert ha with the FOX News Channel.

I mean, for example, right now, you have a whole bunch of conservative
pundits and columnists and former officials very publicly tearing Newt
Gingrich apart. He`s had a long career in Washington and not everybody
loves him.

You have people like George Will, the conservative columnist on ABC
calling Mr. Gingrich a rental politician.

A columnist named Jennifer Rubin, who blogs at “The Washington Post,”
attacking Mr. Gingrich daily, attacking recently his grotesque hypocrisy.
She`s just tearing him apart on a daily basis.

Rush Limbaugh going after Mr. Gingrich on his past support for an
individual mandate in health reform.

For the record, I should say, former Republican congressman
conservative who hosts the morning show on this network, Joe Scarborough,
he said this morning that Newt Gingrich is not fit to be president of the
United States.

I say all these things, I point out all of those examples, just to
show that there`s no means – by no means universal conservative
appreciation of the candidacy of Newt Gingrich. He`s been around a long
time. A lot of conservatives do not like him for a variety of reasons.

But the one place you really see very little Newt Gingrich getting
torn apart, the place you see very little Newt Gingrich raw criticism, is
FOX News, his former employer. You almost never hear this stuff on FOX
News.

I mean, there are rare exceptions from a contributor here or there.
Brit Hume, a former actor there who appears now as a guest now in
particular, has not been all that generous toward Mr. Gingrich. But in
general, Mr. Gingrich is enjoying pretty favorable coverage there.

According to the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters, the only
candidate who`s appeared on FOX News more than Mr. Gingrich since June is
Herman Cain. In the last six months, Newt Gingrich has made nearly three
times as many appearances on FOX as Mitt Romney has.

Now, woe be to anybody who tries to do Kremlinology about how things
go over there, but there are I think some early signs that FOX News is not
all that positively disposed toward Mitt Romney and his potential
nomination.

Earlier this year, for example, the media writer Howard Kurtz reported
in “Newsweek” magazine that, quote, “Three weeks after dropping out of the
race, Tim Pawlenty showed up to ask for a gig at FOX but there was a
complication. Mr. Pawlenty was on the verge of endorsing Mitt Romney.
Quote, `I`m not sure I want to sign you as a paid spokesman for Romney,`
Ailes said.”

Another example, after Mr. Romney`s contentious interview earlier this
week with FOX News host Bret Baier, Mr. Baier did something I think unusual
for a relatively straight-shooting interviewer like he is. He went on
another FOX News show to spill the beans on how Mitt Romney had behaved
behind the scenes of that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He was irritated by the interview after
we were done.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: How do you know he was irritated? Did
he slap you or what did he do?

BAIER: Well, he just made it clear at the end of the interview. We
had a little –

O`REILLY: Well, tell me how he made it clear. What did he do? Did
he say something to you?

BAIER: And he said, he thought it was overly aggressive.

O`REILLY: He did? He said that to you? He said it was overly
aggressive?

BAIER: He did.

O`REILLY: Wow.

BAIER: And as we were walking in the walk and talk. And after we
finished, he went to his holding room, and then came back and said he
didn`t like the interview and thought it was uncalled for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It`s not an anchor reflecting on how the interview went.
That`s the anchor giving you the behind-the-scenes backstage dirt that the
candidate probably thought was off the record and doing it on TV – sort of
spilling the beans. Bret Baier informing the entire FOX News audience that
behind the scenes, when he was doing something that he probably thought was
un-reportable, Mitt Romney is a real whiner.

Is it clear who`s winning the important Murdoch primary in the
Republican race for the nomination, who the biggest monopolistic Republican
operation in the country, the FOX News Channel, is getting behind for this
nomination?

I don`t think you can say definitively at this point. But if you want
a little snapshot of where they`re at right now, here`s one. Mitt Romney
and Newt Gingrich both appeared on FOX News within the last 48 hours. Mr.
Romney, as we just mentioned sat down with Mr. Bret Baier. And Mr.
Gingrich made a nearly hour long appearance with Mr. Hannity, Sean Hannity.

And yes, Mr. Baier and Mr. Hannity are different types of TV
personalities. And, yes, it was a different hour of the day, so don`t go
nuts with the extrapolation here. But looking at these appearances and
knowing how important the Murdoch primary is as to who gets the nomination
in the Republican Party – which of these candidates would you rather be?
As you laid your head down on the pillow and went to sleep last night after
another day on the campaign trail, which of these guys would you have
rather been?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BAIER: “The New Hampshire Union Leader” endorsed Speaker Gingrich
over the weekend saying he was – he has courage, conviction, and isn`t
just telling them what they want to hear. Now, the editor there, Joe
McQuaid, confirmed that that last line was really about you.

What`s your reaction to that endorsement and specifically that charge
about that you lack conviction?

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Why do you think that you`re the more
conservative candidate? Why do you think that you`re more electable?

BAIER: Your critics charge that you make decisions based on political
expediency and not core conviction. How can voters trust what they hear
from you today is what you will believe if you win the White House?

HANNITY: Let me ask, because it`s interesting. On the other hand,
you sort of take it on the role during the debates as a statesman.

BAIER: Do you still support the idea of a mandate? Do you believe
that that was the right thing for Massachusetts? Do you think a mandate
mandating people to buy insurance is the right tool?

HANNITY: This interview`s going great so far but –

BAIER: Do you think you have work to do to convince Republican voters
to trust you?

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: If you could choose which Republican candidate for president
you could be in that one snapshot of a day on FOX News, knowing how
important FOX News is to how – whether or not you get the nomination,
which of those candidates would you rather be right now?

Joining us right now is Frank Rich, writer at large for “New York”
magazine.

Mr. Rich, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I know it wasn`t
easy for you to be here. So thanks a lot.

FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I`m delighted to be with you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Would you rather be Newt Gingrich than Mitt Romney if you
wanted to be the Republican nominee for president right now?

RICH: Absolutely. And I think that the Murdoch primary is extremely
important. And it`s not just happening on FOX. It is happening in “The
Wall Street Journal.” “Wall Street Journal” is very close to Rupert
Murdoch`s heart. Its editorial page has been savage about Romney for
months, ridiculing him, and even sort of began to boost Gingrich before the
recent Gingrich rise.

There was a very influential piece on the op-ed page of the “Wall
Street Journal” a few weeks ago by Dorothy Rabinowitz, who is a member of
“The Wall Street Journal” editorial board, saying how Gingrich could win.
So I think Gingrich is in a very, very good position and Gingrich was known
as being a cry baby famously in the 1990s. Now can make way for the new
cry baby, Romney, who can`t even survive it seems a straightforward
interview on a conservative network like FOX News.

MADDOW: If you see a clear I guess if not alignment, at least a
preference for Gingrich over Romney in the Murdoch primary, do you think
that would be – from what you know of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch and
how these things have worked in the past – would that be an ideological
decision that they like Gingrich better in terms of his ideas, on what he
offers? Or would that be a practical decision in terms of who they think
can beat President Obama?

RICH: I think it`s both, but I think it`s most of all a practical
decision. I think that there`s a real feeling on the right but really
throughout the political world that people just don`t like Mitt Romney.
He`s like the un-Sally Field. You know, people really, really don`t like
him.

Forget about his positions or his flip-flopping. And, of course,
Gingrich is a big flip-flopper too. There`s something plastic about Romney
and off-putting and fake.

And I think the Murdoch empire wants somebody who can win. They want
a Tony Blair. They want – as you mentioned before, they want someone who
can beat a president they think can be easily beaten. And I think they
feel it slipping away with Romney.

MADDOW: Do you think that this is a year in which retail campaigning
has finally slipped away in terms of its importance? I mean, part of the
reason that Rick Perry was expected to do well is that he`s good with
people in person. It doesn`t always translate on camera, and it definitely
doesn`t translate to the debates.

But I know – I`ve never seen him in person, I know from people, good
reporters who have seen him in person who say he really is impressive in
person eye to eye. Jon Huntsman`s strategy in New Hampshire certainly has
been to meet voters eye to eye, to shake everybody`s hands, to kiss the
babies.

Is this a year that stopped being important and it just became a TV
show?

RICH: I think that`s exactly right, and I think it`s been happening
for several years. Think of, for instance, in the other party, Chris Dodd
going and sitting in Iowa in the last cycle and doing that kind of retail
politicking and getting no traction at all, much like what`s gone on with
Huntsman.

It`s because really the whole world has shifted technologically in the
world of Facebook, Twitter, social networking. It started to change really
with the Obama campaign. And now, you have of course the importance of
cable television as well, which has been going on for years.

But I think that retail politicking is a real sign of what`s going on
as kind of a nostalgic cause of journalists, not really reality as it`s
being lived in the 21st century by Americans.

MADDOW: Frank, I trust your judgment above almost everybody else I
know of. Absolutely everybody else I know in terms of watching the media
and watching how politics gets translated through the prism of the media.

Given that, in your judgment, is it worth paying close attention to
other dynamics among the Republican candidates right now, or is it more
important to focus in on what`s happening between these top two front-
runners? Do you think that anybody else besides Gingrich and Romney
matters from here on out?

RICH: I really don`t. The X factor that we know, though, is could
there be some coup in desperation within the Republican Party as the
convention nears or some kind of, you know, surprise draft movement out of
desperation? That, of course, is happening not in the media, not happening
in retail politicking. But given what`s officially happening, I think
we`re down to these two guys. And none of these others are going to make a
comeback.

You know, even if Herman Cain turns out to have 999 women coming out
of the woodwork, I don`t think it will resurrect him.

MADDOW: Frank Rich, writer at large for “New York” magazine – thank
you again for joining us tonight. Frank, I really appreciate it.

RICH: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: And I should say if you had any trouble hearing Mr. Rich
there, the thing in the background that was the noise that was the problem
there, was actually the cheering, the screaming, crying, cheering of
liberals all over the country really excited about the prospects of Newt
Gingrich being the Republican nominee this year.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Tonight, Scott Olsen, the U.S. Marine veteran, of two tours
in Iraq who was critically injured by Oakland police during the Occupy
Oakland raid. He`ll be joining us for the interview.

Stay with us. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: If you are in the eastern part of upper Upstate New York and
you want to drive to Vermont, there`s a pretty good chance that you have to
drive over a bridge to get there. That`s because Lake Champlain is there.
It is very long. And the New York-Vermont border slices it right down the
middle.

The Crown Point Bridge over Lake Champlain was built in 1929. Very
exciting. It was a very big deal at the time.

And for the people who live and work and commute in that area, Vermont
and New York, this bridge was still a really big deal in 2009. Even with
no local metropolis in that area, still thousands of cars use that old
bridge every day to travel between those two states.

But by then, by 2009, the bridge was an octogenarian. It was 80 years
old, and it had deteriorated structurally. Its concrete pillars were no
longer sound. It was no longer safe to drive on.

By the time they realized the bridge was in trouble, it really, really
was in trouble and it actually had to be demolished on kind of short
notice.

The demolition of that bridge increased commuting times in that part
of the country by hours. Lake Champlain is big.

But wait, this is a happy infrastructure story. When the old bridge
was blown up in 2009, they estimated that it would take eight years to put
up the new bridge. Eight years. Eight years of having to drive all the
way around or take a ferry to cross it. It will be ready in 2017, the new
bridge?

Even with some delays this spring because of flooding from Hurricane
Irene, even with one other un-related construction hiccup, I`m here to tell
you the new bridge is already done, finished, complete, six years sooner
than the engineers had thought possible. It is already open.

But a big weekend-long celebration is planned for the new bridge in
May.

And wait – more good news. More good news that also includes a shout
out to Hurricane Irene. In New York State, the metro north railroad line
was hit really badly by Irene. Major track damage, shut down 14 miles of
the point Jervis Line on metro north railroad.

But despite that massive damage, the Port Jervis Line reopened this
week a month earlier than they thought they`d get it done, a month early
and $20 million under budget. They thought it would cost them $60 million
to fix it. But instead, it is expected to cost less than $40 million.

The trains are already up and running. Because there is still some
additional work being done, trains are running a little bit slower than
usual. But the additional work that is still being done is also ahead of
schedule. They thought it would take – this additional work, they thought
it would take until the fall of next year. They say it will be done months
early with that work too. They`ll be done by June.

On the subject of infrastructure, in Ghazni Province in eastern
Afghanistan, another big construction project is going on, or at least it
was. In 2008, the United States military decided to spend $10 million to
build an 18-mile long road – 18 miles of road there between a remote
district and the province`s capital city in Ghazni. Roads are an important
part of building an economy in Afghanistan, connecting people to the
government there, building basic services.

So, the U.S. military was going to spend 10 million bucks for an 18-
mile road. They picked a local contractor and in 2008, they handed over
the first million dollars to get the work started. The contractor started
the work. They got about 2/4 of the first mile paved – 2/3 of one mile.

A couple years down the road, that very, very short road, the U.S.
military paid that Afghan contractor another $3 million. And nothing. The
road did not proceed.

Then this year, now three years into that project and $4 million into
the project and with only 2/3 of a mile paved, the Afghan contractor said
they were out of money. Where did the money go?

According to recent reporting from McClatchy, quote, “U.S. and Afghan
provincial officials think that two of the principals of the Afghan
contractor absconded to New Zealand and the Netherlands with cash from the
company account.”

So, $4 million spent on what was supposed to be an 18-mile-long road.
What was actually built was 2/3 of a mile. And the rest of the money, your
money, American taxpayer money, absconds to Amsterdam.

Lake Champlain this is not.

Joining us now is a United States senator who has just filed
legislation to essentially stop large-scale U.S. military construction
projects in Afghanistan, to limit them to projects that cost $50,000 or
less. The estimated $800 million this would kibosh in Afghanistan would
instead be transferred to the U.S. Department of Transportation to be spent
on building road and bridge projects here in the United States.

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri – thank you very much for
joining us tonight. I appreciate the chance to talk with you about this.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Thank you, Rachel, for having
me.

MADDOW: Is your objection that it is a bad idea to even try to build
infrastructure in Afghanistan, that`s not the sort of thing we should be
trying? Or do you think it`s an OK idea but it`s just not working?

MCCASKILL: It`s – both. We can go to Iraq, and the landscape is
littered with projects that we built with taxpayer money, empty health care
centers that are crumbling, water parks that are twisted piles of rubble.
And now, we`re going down the same road in Afghanistan.

These large major infrastructure projects, we cannot secure them while
we`re building them. And the country can`t sustain them after we have
gone.

And that`s why this is a tremendous waste of money. We`ve never been
able to show that it has any positive connection to our mission in
Afghanistan. It`s time for to us pull that big infrastructure money out of
Afghanistan and put it in the United States, where we desperately need it.

MADDOW: Now, I know road building is not a core part of the U.S.
military`s mission, but I imagine that the military might not want to give
up this pile of money if only because it`s a big pile of money. Is the
Pentagon against this move you`re trying to make here?

MCCASKILL: Well, we haven`t heard from the Pentagon today. And I`m
sure they won`t like it. But this is the bottom line. We`re spending next
year in Afghanistan over $100 billion. And most of that money is for
personnel on the ground that are training the Afghanistan military, the
Afghanistan police department, doing – you know, fight against Taliban and
the enemy in Afghanistan.

This is a small amount of the money we have there. But it`s being
wasted. I`ve spent five years looking at contracting in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

And frankly, I mean, we can`t keep doing this over and over again and
saying, you know, it will get better. It`s not getting better. And we
need the money here. It`s time for it to come home.

MADDOW: When I think about the expanded role of the U.S. military
since 9/11, and it`s not just counterinsurgency, it`s just that we`ve asked
the military to do so many things, and you and I have talked about this
before – it makes me think about what other parts of the U.S. government
have – conceivably have responsibilities overseas.

I mean, normally overseas development projects would be something that
the State Department would do, USAID. Why is this something the military
has been doing? I mean, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars?
As you say, it`s a small proportion of the overall military funds that
we`re spending there, but why military at all?

MCCASKILL: Well, it happened because they began with something call
CERP, the Commanders Emergency Response Program, which was supposed to do
little projects, the broken glass window in the storefront, you know, doing
a little humanitarian aid for a family. And then it got bigger and bigger
and really this year for the first time, they actually requested an
Afghanistan infrastructure fund to get at these larger projects so they
don`t have to abide by the limit that we have in that initial program. So
this is like the son of CERP.

And we`ve never done this before. Ever. Our country has never turned
over major reconstruction projects to the United States military.

It`s unprecedented. I don`t think it`s healthy. I don`t think it`s
working.

And I think we need to be honest about that and move forward.

MADDOW: If the State Department did decide that building something in
Afghanistan was in America`s interest, would your bill affect the State
Department`s ability to do something like this? Or would you be
effectively returning this to the way it used to be, which is this is
something USAID should handle?

MCCASKILL: It would, in fact – there`s nothing in this bill that
limits the State Department`s ability to build projects in Afghanistan.

Having said that, I can give you a couple of projects. I can give you
a power plant in Kandahar that has cost hundreds of millions of dollars,
built by the State Department, that is sitting there not working right now
because it`s too expensive to operate. And, frankly, the Afghanistan
people don`t have the expertise to do it.

So, they`re buying cheaper electricity from Uzbekistan rather than run
this multi-hundred-million-dollar plant that the United States taxpayer
billed.

So, I`m going to warn the State Department. I`m not going to ignore
the mistakes you`re making in terms of sustainability of projects, but I
want to get at this first because frankly I think this is a road we
shouldn`t go down with the military handling this kind of work.

MADDOW: Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri – of all the
times I speak to you, you never let me forget you that used to be the
auditor of the state of Missouri.

MCCASKILL: There you go.

MADDOW: I can hear it in your approach here, ma`am. Thank you very
much.

MCCASKILL: That`s exactly right. Thank you, Rachel. Thanks.

MADDOW: Thanks.

All right. Why did George W. Bush and President Barack Obama make a
joint appearance today? This is a good news story. It is a very, very
good news story. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: A woman named Ginger White went very public on Monday,
alleging that she and Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain carried
on a consensual sexual relationship for the past 13 years. Today in
Manchester, New Hampshire, Mr. Cain continued to deny any improper
relationship with Ms. White. He said they had a friendship but it was not
a sexual relationship.

In an interview with the editorial board of the “Union Leader”
newspaper, Mr. Cain has now asserted that his wife of 43 years did not know
of his friendship with Ginger White until this week, until Monday. He also
lobbed this accusation about Ms. White`s motives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Someone offered her a lot of
money.

REPORTER: OK.

CAIN: I was helping her with month-to-month bills and expenses.
Somebody – this is speculation only.

REPORTER: OK.

CAIN: I have no proof, offered her a lot of money. And one of my
objectives is to clear my name and my reputation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In the wake of that today, Ginger White has agreed to respond
publicly and at length here on MSNBC. Speaking with our own Lawrence
O`Donnell on “THE LAST WORD,” which is the show on right after this one.
That exclusive and extensive interview is coming up right after our show.
So you should probably stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Overnight on Tuesday this week, police surrounded one of the
biggest Occupy encampments in the country at Occupy Philadelphia. The city
had given the occupiers a deadline. The city waited two days past that
deadline.

But then the police moved in, chasing protesters for hours and making
about 50 arrests. By daybreak, the Occupy encampment in Philly was over.

That same night, hundreds of police surrounded Occupy Los Angeles,
which was another of the largest protest sites in the country. In L.A.,
they too had stayed past the official deadline. But Tuesday night, the
LAPD took down tents and handcuffed anybody who stayed – 200 arrests in
all in Los Angeles.

That leaves only a few big city occupations continuing now in the way
we have been used to – meaning outdoor overnight encampments in tents with
a 24-hour presence. Occupy San Francisco was told by the city of San
Francisco that they had a deadline of noon today for getting out of the
site they`ve been occupying. Mayor Ed Lee, though, says he has no plans
for a police raid on the site.

Occupy Boston, interestingly, has a court order preventing the city
from kick the protest camp out of Dewey Square in Boston. A judge today
said she`ll issue a decision on whether or not to change that order by
December 15th.

Occupy Washington, D.C., is camped out on land policed by the National
Park Service. The D.C. city council says they support them being there.
And the Park Service says they can stay as long as they keep the occupation
safe and clean.

But even if you`re allowed to occupy where you are the occupation has
effectively now become a movement on the move. In Washington, D.C.
tonight, Occupy D.C. protesters were on the move from their encampment in
McPherson Square to the site of a big dollar fund-raiser for House
Democrats two blocks away.

Dave Weigel from Slate.com posted these photos on Twitter tonight.
The D.C. protesters say they wanted to send a message that their
frustration with the political process is a bipartisan frustration.

In Arizona this week, Occupy Phoenix protesters have been occupying a
conference of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. It`s a
conservative corporate political organization that doesn`t merely try to
shape the legislation written at the state and local level by conservative
politicians. ALEC often just writes the bills outright.

The cops used pepper spray on the occupy ALEC protesters. The
occupiers say they were demonstrating peacefully when it happens. The
police contend they were provoked.

And in New York City tonight, thousands of protesters, many of them
union members, marched on Union Square. The central labor council
organizing a march for jobs and economic fairness today in conjunction with
Occupy Wall Street, saying it was for everyone who is frustrated and
worried about the growing economic disparity in this country.

This movement has come a long way since the first big police crackdown
more than a month ago in Oakland, California when police fired on the crowd
with tear gas and flash grenades. That night a projectile, we still don`t
know exactly what kind, struck a 24-year-old young man named Scott Olsen in
the forehead. It fractured his skull.

Scott Olsen had previously served two tours in Iraq as a lance
corporal in the United States Marine Corps. And as he put, it he had
emerged physically unscathed from Iraq.

But Scott Olsen was hurt that night in Oakland, California. He was
really hurt. His name became a rallying cry even as he began his long
march toward a full recovery.

Last week, he was finally well enough to join Occupy Oakland again.
And Scott Olsen joins us now, tonight, for the interview.

Mr. Olsen, thank you so much for coming on the show. It`s really nice
to have you here. I`ve been looking forward to the chance to talk with
you.

SCOTT OLSEN, INJURED AT OCCUPY OAKLAND PROTEST: Thanks, Rachel.
Great to be talking with you.

MADDOW: How is the recovery going? I can hear your speech is
different than it was before but you`re speaking clearly.

OLSEN: Yes, it`s different. And it seems to be getting better most
days. Some days are better than others. Some days aren`t. But I feel
like I`m getting better.

MADDOW: The night that you were injured in Oakland, why had you gone
to occupy Oakland? What was motivating you to be there?

OLSEN: Well, I got off work and saw a tweet on Twitter, and I – that
Occupy Oakland needed help. They needed support. And I went over there to
join them.

MADDOW: Do you remember the injury or any of the time after the
injury?

OLSEN: I remember the whole night. I remember getting to – to
there. I remember standing with the other veteran, Josh, in navy blues. I
remember – even after I got hit, I remember people carrying me away and
driving to the hospital. I remember just about everything.

MADDOW: Are you angry about what`s happened to you? Are you angry
about what happened that night to the other protesters but also to you in
terms of this grievous injury?

OLSEN: I`m not happy about it at all. But I wouldn`t say I`m angry.
It`s hard to know where to direct the anger. But it`s sad to see that it
continued going on and all their – all our rights are being trampled upon.

MADDOW: Since you have been recovering, what`s it been like to go
back to Occupy Oakland?

OLSEN: It was – it was quite a bit different was the first thing I
noticed. But I was well received there, and I liked being back there.

MADDOW: As a former Marine, as an activist, as somebody who`s
obviously committed to this movement, what do you think tactically about
the fact that so many of the encampments are getting kicked out of the
public space that they have been occupying. Police raids happening all
over the country.

Do you think than outdoor encampment is critical to keeping the
pressure on, to getting your message out, or do you think that this thing
evolves now?

OLSEN: I think it`s in the process of evolving. Some cities`
occupations might stick it out with an encampment. Some are going to move
on to taking over foreclosed homes. Some might go to Internet-based
occupational flash mobs.

And I think they`ll all be successful. They each have something that
they bring to it.

MADDOW: Scott, I think that seeing what happened to you, particularly
because there was so much cell phone footage, this very personal handheld
footage of people around you when it happened, people seeing what happened
to you and knowing what happened to you and learning about your personal
story I think radicalized a lot of people. I think a lot of people went to
occupy events who wouldn`t have gone had they not seen what happened to
you.

How do you feel about that?

OLSEN: I don`t know. I`m glad I guess that what happened to me got
people more involved, if that`s what it takes. I mean, it`s sad that
occupations have started out as politics and economics and now it`s turned
into something more based on rights, the freedoms that we were all told
when we were growing up that we had as Americans.

MADDOW: As the movement goes on, you`ve obviously made a commitment
now to speak out, even as you`re continuing to recover from your injury.
What do you hope happens? What do you – I mean, I know there`s been a lot
of stupid discussion, frankly, on how specific people`s demands should be
and how – and how the strategy should proceed.

But what do you want you fellow occupiers to accomplish? What do you
think the movement can accomplish?

OLSEN: I want – I want them more than anything is to get more people
involved because politics isn`t something that you sit at home and go out
once every few years and vote. It`s about creating a community with your
people and sharing ideas and meeting people and learning their story.

MADDOW: Scott Olsen, Iraq war veteran, occupy protester, thank you
for your time. I really – I know it`s a big deal and sort of an ordeal in
order to do this sort of thing, and I really appreciate you speaking out,
man. Thank you.

OLSEN: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. The best new thing in the world today, I have to
tell you is inarguable. Inarguable. I don`t care if you disagree with me
on everything I`ve ever said in my life. You will agree with me on this.

It`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Today, President Obama and former President George W. Bush
made a joint appearance. I`m not joking. Former President Bush appearing
via video link because he`s in Africa right now, and President Obama
appearing in person at George Washington University today. Also there,
former President Bill Clinton all speaking at the same event today marking
World AIDS Day.

This is what the White House looks like right now. Isn`t that cool?
On the White House portico there? Commemorating World AIDS Day.

Since AIDS was first identified 30 years ago, nearly 700,000 Americans
have died from the disease. Anti-retroviral treatment against the virus
that causes AIDS developed to the point of being pretty effective at
keeping people alive by the late 1990s. It has continued to improve, and
HIV-positive people who get effective health care and antiretroviral
treatment can expect to lead long relatively healthy lives now provided you
can get treatment.

But the good news is, if you are HIV positive and suppressing it
through effective treatment, that also means you`re much less likely to
transmit the virus to anybody else. And that is a really handy thing. It
is handy for life. It is also really handy for policy.

What it means is that policymakers don`t have to choose between
preventing new infections and treating people who are already living with
the virus. That`s because effectively treating people who are already
living with the virus is effective prevention. If the treatment works,
they are much less likely to transmit the virus to anybody else.

And that is the breakthrough idea that led President Obama to make
this landmark pronouncement today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can end this
pandemic. We can beat this disease. We can win this fight. We just have
to keep at it, steady, persistent, today, tomorrow, every day until we get
to zero.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: When he says zero, he means zero. And he means that that is
the policy now of the American government`s approach to AIDS. In a little-
noted speech a couple of weeks ago at the National Institute of Health,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defined this issue more bluntly, saying
an AIDS-free generation is for the first time in the history of this
disease within the world`s reach.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The goal of an AIDS-free
generation maybe ambitious, but it is possible, with the knowledge and
interventions we have right now. And that is something we`ve never been
able to say without qualification before. Imagine what the world will look
like when we succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: To get there, President Obama said today the U.S. will up the
number of people we help to get on treatment from 4 million to 6 million
around the world. That`s a new target. We`ll also target treatment and
preventive care to pregnant women so their babies are born HIV-free.

And here at home, it means an extra $50 million diverted from within
the existing Health and Human Services budget an extra $50 million to shore
up AIDS jobs assistance programs in the states and HIV clinics, and the
other ways that HIV positive Americans get drug treatment and their health
care needs covered.

One interesting and I think sort of telling thing to note here, in
Secretary Clinton`s dramatic speech announcing that goal of an AIDS-free
generation at the NIH, at one point in that speech, Secretary Clinton was
talking about mother-to-child transmissions. And she said that we can
actually get that number down to zero. That`s what she said.

And then she paused and explained how her speechwriter kept hedging by
writing virtually zero. And she said she just kept changing it back to
zero – actual zero.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: OK. The best new thing in the world today is very, very
simple and very, very cute. Have you ever seen anything more freaking
wonderful in your entire life? That`s not fake. That`s the real lamb
chop. Lamb chop`s had a baby lamb chop.

The great and good Chris Hayes for all his boyish charm is himself a
father. Chris and his wife, Kate Shaw, have a beautiful new baby girl
named Ryan Shaw Hayes.

She was born healthy and happy, right on time, as expected. Look at
her! On Monday morning. So, this is just to say congratulations to you,
guys. Mazel tov.

I have to tell you, we tried to get you a Blackwater onesie for her,
but – and, in fact, we bid on one on eBay, but we got screwed on eBay, and
it never arrived. We hope you know how we meant it, though.

MSNBC`s Chris Hayes is the host of what I think is the single best
news program on television, on cable or on any network. That is his show
“UP WITH CHRIS HAYES,” which is weekend mornings here on MSNBC. I think it
is the best new show TV anywhere including this one. That Chris Hayes is
also a new dad and that is the best new thing in the world today.

I realize I`m a sap, but come on.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night.

Now, it is time for “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O`Donnell.

Have a great night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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