The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/18/12
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: I love Wisconsin back.
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: It was always “Hi, Ed, we love
MADDOW: Well, you know, I get from my whole family, as you know, Ed,
I always get, “Hi, honey, how`s Ed?” So, there are both sides of it.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
MADDOW: I`ll see you later.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour.
It`s true, Mama Maddow loves her some Ed, I never hear the end of it. I
don`t resent it. It`s fine, it`s my mom. But it`s fine.
You may have heard of senator named Roy Blunt. Have you heard of Roy
Blunt? He represents the great state of Missouri. He was in the House for
a long time and now, he`s a senator. Roy Blunt is a Republican.
This is Senator Blunt`s Twitter page. He`s @RoyBlunt. That`s his
name on Twitter.
And this is his Twitter page as of a couple of days ago. For
background, he has a picture of a lovely pastoral scene, what looks like a
Missouri country road.
“Vice” magazine tracked down the photographer of this picture that
Senator Blunt had on his Twitter page. “Vice” tracked down the
photographer by way of finding his wife who happens to be the person who
appears on the horse in the picture.
The lady on the horse told “Vice” that she and her husband were very
surprised to learn that Senator Blunt was using their picture on his
Twitter page. Since her photographer husband had not given Senator Blunt
permission to use that picture.
Senator Blunt until today was a sponsor of a very, very controversial
piece of legislation that you might have heard something about today. It`s
anti-online piracy legislation that critics say would lead to censorship of
the internet, undermining the whole concept of freedom of movement online.
The whole justification for this very controversial bill sponsored by
Senator Blunt is to crack down on the theft of other people`s content
online. Theft like the kind Senator Blunt engaged in himself, very
publicly on his own Twitter page.
And it`s not just Senator Blunt. “Vice” magazine also screen-grabbed
the Twitter page for Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, who
sponsored the forerunner of the legislation, legislation to stop online
piracy – online piracy like the kind she apparently committed in taking
this poor guy`s picture off of Flickr without his permission.
And it`s not just Senator Blunt and Senator McCaskill. There`s also
Congressman Dennis Ross of Florida, a sponsor of the House version of this
bill to, again, stop Internet piracy. This congressman put this cartoon
picture of a fat piggy government on his House.gov Web site.
Unless you deliberately crop it out, Congressman, that image comes
with a big old obvious copyright mark on it, a copyright mark belonging to
a cartoonist who tells “Vice” magazine that he never gave this congressman
permission to use his pig.
Elected officials previously supporting or signed on to sponsor anti-
online piracy legislation nevertheless proudly displaying on their most
visible web homes content that was either outright stolen or for which they
at least should have provided attribution – which they did not.
One way to look at this is hypocrisy. You must steal, says the thief.
Good old-fashioned doing one thing and saying another.
I think, though, the more realistic way of seeing this is not
hypocrisy exactly, but more ignorance. Congress does not understand the
Internet. Congress famously does not understand the Internet.
Can we bring back Ted Stevens for just a moment?
Ted Stevens was a senator from Alaska. He served in Congress for
longer than most of us hope to be alive. But nothing in the late great
Senator Stevens long, long legacy is more quotable than this – his
explanation of how the Internet works.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
THEN-SEN. TED STEVENS (R), ALASKA: You order your movie and guess
what? You can order 10 of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is
free, right? Ten movies, streaming across that Internet and what happens
to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got Internet was sent
by my staff at 10:00 on the morning on Friday – I got it yesterday. Why?
Because it got tangled up with all the things going on the Internet
commercially. They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the
Internet, and again, the Internet is not something that you just dump
something on. It`s not a big truck. It`s a series of tubes.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Rest in peace, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The series of
Today, the online protest against Congress` would-be anti-piracy bills
got the lion`s share of attention as well it should. But it should be
noted that there was also physical in-person protest of this legislation
today – real people showing up in the flesh on Third Avenue in Manhattan,
in this case, to tell New York senators what they think about Congress and
Internet freedom and what Congress should do about that.
New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are both
Democrats and both are sponsors of the Senate`s version of this
Our producer Andrew Dallas (ph) was at the protest and took these
protest photos today out on the streets in New York. This one, I love this
one. “It`s no longer ok to not know how the Internet works. Stop PIPA.”
It`s not just true for Ted Stevens in Congress. It`s true for
Congress more broadly. They have shown themselves to not understand how
the Internet works, and you can tell that from their previous attempts to
lasso the Internet like it was some kind of balky wayward calf.
But if we had no reason to believe that Congress understands the
workings of the Internet, after today, we can be sure that Congress at
least understands the power of the Internet. Google, Wikipedia,
Boingboing, Flickr, Wordpress, Reddit, Wired, Craigslist, and many, many
more either blocked their Web sites entirely today or used their Web sites
to make a big can`t-miss it visual statement of their discontent with this
More than just going dark, many sites included operator instructions
for how you too could reach out to Congress and tell them to these proposed
As just one example, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee says
via Craigslist visitors alone, more than 30,000 people today called
Congress through the PCCC Web site that linked them with the way to do
We cover all kind of protests on this show, all kind of non-violent
direct action, all kinds of ways that people try to do Congress to do
something. Occupy Congress yesterday converged on Capitol Hill for rallies
and meetings with lawmakers. Occupy D.C. has been sleeping outside in the
capital city for months now.
The Tea Party marching on Washington including one big really big
march they had back in their heyday, the 9/12 one. People storming
legislative hearings, people screaming from their galleries until they are
hauled outside and arrested.
People do a million things to try to get Congress to move. But I have
never seen Congress move so far so fast on just one day of protest as the
way they did today, when Google put up that censored bar, that redacted bar
over the logo and Wikipedia turned off the lights.
In the last 24 hours, Senator Marco Rubio who had been a sponsor of
the bill now says he no longer supports it. Senator John Cornyn of Texas
who has also supported the bill now says he wants Congress to slow down on
this. The aforementioned Roy Blunt, with the pirated picture for his
Twitter background, he`s gone from being a sponsor of the bill to saying he
will vote against it.
Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has come out overtly
against it. Senator Jim DeMint, the Tea Party silver back from South
Carolina, today announced he, too, opposes the bill.
Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey sponsored this. Today he said he
is open to changes in it.
Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland sponsored the bill until today, when he
changed his mind.
Same for Congressman Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, now rejecting
legislation he himself signed on to co-sponsor.
Also in the House, Congressman Ben Quayle and Congressman Lee Terry
took back their previous support of the bill. So did Dennis Ross, who was
a sponsor of the House version before he decided that he now rejects it.
How`s that for an about face?
All these members of Congress surrendering today in the face of an
angry system of tubes. It`s not just a big truck.
If you were somebody who has benefited from getting something done in
Washington D.C., because of the way things usually get done in Washington
D.C., if you`re kind of a fat cat and the system as it is works for you,
today probably shook you a little bit.
Look at who was on the other side of this. Look at who is on the side
that wants this anti-piracy legislation, look at this interest. Big money,
big muscle, big power of estimable vintage, the largest share of lobbying
money. The big blue slice of this pie has come from cable and satellite TV
interests. Hi, boss. Followed by Hollywood, followed by the music
industry, followed by commercial TV.
These are big time players who have funded this zillion dollar effort
to get the legislation passed. That kind of money and power behind
something like this is part of why so many people in Congress signed on for
these bills even though we`re now supposed to believe that before now, they
never really understood what was in them but now they`ve taken a closer
look, they are very disturbed.
Big money, big power and very special interests in favor of something
has been the way that stuff gets done in Washington forever. But
sometimes, something bigger comes along.
The source of the tech industry`s bigness on this is two-fold. First,
they are now really fundamental to our lives. Wikipedia has become the
nation`s first stop for everything. And Google, for better or worse, is
where we start, even before we make that first stop.
The visual suggestion with that redaction bar over the Google logo
today, the visual suggestion of Google plunged into darkness by a Congress
that does not understand the Internet, that is a powerful image, that is a
powerful thing, given how powerfully the Internet shapes our lives. Even
members of Congress understand that.
But the other reason the Internet world was able to today pull off the
biggest and most successful power play that anyone has seen in Washington
in a long, long time, is because they don`t just wield the power of a few
companies speaking as companies. What happened with this mass cave-in in
Washington today wasn`t because of the stated opinions of a few Websites.
It`s because those Web sites provided you, provided every American who
cares about this or who didn`t think they cared about this but were
convinced of that today, they provided every American who cares about this
or could be persuaded to care about this with a very, very easy means of
effectively expressing yourself on this political issue to Congress.
And it turns out zillions of you.
Joining us now is Chris Hayes, host of the awesome show, “UP WITH
CHRIS HAYES” on this very network, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Mr. Hayes, thank you for coming out on a week night.
CHRIS HAYES, “UP WITH CHRIS HAYES”: Wonderful to be here.
MADDOW: Nice to see you.
HAYES: Great to see you.
MADDOW: I have been wanting to talk to you about this since I saw
your excellent treatment of it this weekend.
HAYES: Thanks. I`m glad you thought that. It was hard – it`s hard
issue to talk about it`s super technical and I was happy we had a chance to
talk about it but came away feeling like, OK, we got to revisit this.
MADDOW: Well, one of the things that was unexpected for me, even
after seeing your coverage of it this weekend was that we saw the House
version of the bill, effectively call the House version SOPA, the Senate
version PIPA. They`re sort of different, but that`s effectively that way
we can do it.
The House version of the bill pretty much got stopped in its tracks
this weekend. The White House came out and said we`re not for this and
then the House bill just stopped or at least it got put on a very, very
slow milk train.
The Senate, though, didn`t seem to get scared until today. Now it`s
completely fallen apart in the Senate because of this protest today.
Why the difference though? Why did the House freak out this weekend
and the Senate didn`t freak out until today?
HAYES: You know, I`m not quite sure I know the reason for that. Part
of it has to do with the committee structure because one of the committees
that has oversight over this, Darrell Issa, has quite prominent and he has
been one of the biggest opponents of SOPA on the House side.
HAYES: And so, he`s played a kind of instrumental role I think in
putting the brakes on it on the House side before the Senate got to it. I
do think it`s just kind of an amazing political momentum that has happened,
too. I mean, there is a kind of alchemical process by which something goes
from being off the radar to driving the news cycle, and somehow this caught
a sort of updraft and – I`m mixing metaphors all over the place – and
managed to end up in front and center on, you know, all the morning shows,
on all the main networks, on the evening news.
And part of that has to do with Wikipedia I think. Part of it has to
do with the centrality of the protest. But part of also has to do with the
way that this – the span of five or six days, an issue that the tech
community has been talking about and lobbying on and fighting on for a very
long time suddenly found itself just right in the center and politicians
were forced to make an informed public choice in a way they hadn`t before.
HAYES: And I think that got them very panicked.
MADDOW: You know, we have a very, very smart web team who works on my
show and I was sort of debating this with them a little bit today, which is
how important was it that it was in all the morning shows? How important
was the mainstream media, because this has been something, as you know, in
trying to cover this on television, it`s been difficult issue.
MADDOW: We`ve absolutely under-covered it on this show, which is
something that I regret. But it`s in part because this is tough to talk
about in terms of explaining it in a way that makes it useful for your
viewers. That should be seen as a challenge and not an excuse, but
sometimes that is a reason not to cover it, especially when there`s lots of
other things going on.
So, could – let`s say there was huge political news that occluded
this, despite the Interne protest, it wasn`t going to make it in mainstream
media coverage today in the way that it did. Would it still have had the
same impact? I kind of feel like it would.
HAYES: Yes, I think it would, partly because one of the – here`s one
of the things I think was very interesting. We have seen new forms of
protests or feedback in political system using the Internet developed over
the last 10, 15 years. And what tends to happen is the method is most
effective when it`s newest.
So the first time that members found themselves barraged with e-mail
petitions, they were like, oh, my God, what`s going? All these people are
What happened was that became routinized and they started to think,
oh, this is just another email petition. So, I think there is something to
the freshness of the tactic, the idea that all these web sites are going
dark in protest, that they`re getting barraged all on one day.
MADDOW: But the only thing that it produced was calls and e-mails,
MADDOW: But –
HAYES: I think on scale and swarm it produced – it produced calls
and e-mails in tandem with a barrage of press that all of a sudden put them
in a spot in a way that I think they`re not used to being in the spot. I
mean, this is one of those bills.
Just remember, this is one of those strange bills that happens on
Capitol Hill where you have two interests pitted against each other, and
most members can freelance on them. Meaning, there is not a real
ideological line has been drawn.
HAYES: So, you think, well, I`ll just sort of cut a back room deal
and maybe I cozy up to this person, or maybe I think on the merits, it`s
this. But you don`t think you`re going to have to walk outside on the
Capitol Hill steps or go back to your district and face angry people
screaming at you. You think it`s one of those inside the Beltway, there is
a fight between the retailers and banks, that was identical to this in many
All of a sudden, you`re meeting in the back room, you leave the
office, you walk out on the Capitol steps and all these people are
screaming. There`s photographers, and there`s people with mics and there`s
people who are angry, and everybody gets really worried all of a sudden.
And I think, you know, there is a hot of memos going around to a lot of
members, a lot of staff members today from bosses being like, who said that
it was OK that I could put my name on this, right?
MADDOW: Right. Exactly.
HAYES: Because this was one of these things that kind of flies
underneath the radar.
MADDOW: It is comforting to know that a lot of the reaction was, I
got to read this thing. Yes. Before you sponsored it, dude.
MADDOW: Chris Hayes, host of “UP WITH CHRIS HAYES,” which is the
single best show on television, that is even remotely related to news.
It`s true, I`ve riven with jealous. You`re show is so good.
Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Still to come, the intersection of this very,
very important person and Mitt Romney. That is coming up, stay with us.
MADDOW: OK, still ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you were this close to Hoover Dam, it makes
you realize how small a human is in relation to this as a human project.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is not me. And that is the best new thing in the world
today. Still ahead. Stick around.
MADDOW: Even if you don`t consider yourself a fan of professional
wrestling, I bet you recognize the following name, Hulk Hogan. You
probably at least heard of Hulk Hogan, right? Hulk Hogan was the biggest
thing in professional wrestling for years and years, back in the `80s and
And for most of his career, he was the ultimate fan favorite. In the
world of professional wrestling, Hulk Hogan was a good guy.
And as a kid, you knew that you were supposed to like him, you were
essentially trained to like him because of the way he was presented to you
as a fan. This for instance was the Hulk Hogan theme song.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: Hulk Hogan was an all-American. He was a hero`s hero. He
did commercials telling kids to eat right and take their vitamins. Hulk
Hogan was a good guy.
But if you are going to have good guys, you also need to have bad
guys. On the way other end of the spectrum from Hulk Hogan, among the
greatest villains in the history of professional wrestling was this guy Ted
DiBiase, also known as the Million Dollar Man.
The Million Dollar Man was a super rich, super arrogant millionaire
guy who was supposed to be hated by wrestling fans. Remember Hulk Hogan`s
theme song about being a real, honorable American. This was the Million
Dollar Man`s theme song.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: Ted DiBiase, the Million Dollar Man, he would do stuff like
stick a $100 bill inside his opponent`s mouth after beating him in the
ring. He`d do stuff like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He offered a young boy to bounce a basketball 15
times in a row, only to kick the ball away after the 14th bounce. And by
not paying off, Ted DiBiase, you broke that little boy`s heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Get the point here, right? As heroic as Hulk Hogan was,
that`s how villainous the Million Dollar Man was. Professional wrestling
does not do subtlety.
The Million Dollar Man is still around. Today is actually his 58th
birthday. So, happy birthday, Mr. Million. That troublesome rich guy
legacy that you pioneered in pro-wrestling, it lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like being able to fire
people that provide services to me.
Corporations are people, my friend.
Rick, I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not in the
ROMNEY: Oh, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Ted DiBiase, meet Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, meet the Million
Small potatoes, I know, compared to your fortune of million dollars.
But you clearly get the idea.
Steve Benen wrote about this at “Washington Monthly” today. This long
list of Romney gaffes on the campaign trail this year, about money,
specifically about insensitivity to the difference in his monetary
functions and the status of the average person`s finances.
Steve didn`t write about the pro-wrestling connection. He wrote about
this list of things that Romney keeps doing on the campaign trail. It`s
not just those sound bites I just played. There`s also Romney being asked
by a kid about why he wants to run for president and Mr. Romney then
responded by going in a long detailed riff about he and his estates
planning attorney have been working on how he`s going to distribute his
multi-million dollar fortune among his sons.
He also likes to relay a heart warming anecdote about how his dad told
him that nobody should run for office if they had a mortgage to pay off.
So, in other words, it maybe by the people and for the people, but the
government ought to only be made up of people who can afford to pay cash
for their house.
Mitt Romney is also repeatedly said that anybody who criticizes his
record in business, and how he made his multi zillion dollar fortune is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: You know, I think it`s about envy. I think it`s about class
warfare. It`s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think
it will fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Attacks on Mitt Romney are just from people who are jealous
of all his money.
This sort of a thing can hurt a candidate. This is a big part why
Massachusetts did not elect Mitt Romney senator back in 1994 when he ran
against Ted Kennedy, even though Mr. Romney tried to run as a liberal. Mr.
Kennedy used Romney`s zillionaire business legacy against him.
This is also a big part of why Mr. Romney lost to John McCain in 2008,
which is all the more evident now that the big John McCain, anti-Mitt
Romney opposition playbook, all hundreds of pages of it, has been leaked
publicly. As “The Huffington Post” noted today, there are 399 separate
mentions of the word “Bain” in the John McCain anti-Mitt Romney opposition
Given the financial disaster that we have been through, since 2008,
and the financial pain that so many people are in because of it, and the
political potency across the spectrum of the message of the Occupy movement
about income inequality and system being rigged for the very, very, very
rich – hi Mr. Romney – that liability which hurt Mitt Romney in his race
against John McCain in 2008 is likely to be just that more of a liability
for him in 2012.
I mean, yes, it does look like Mr. Romney is on his way to sewing up
this nomination, but this stuff still hurts and the race is not over.
There is a reason the Million Dollar Man was a wrestling villain. This
stuff does not look good for a candidate.
And Mr. Romney`s opponents seem to be smelling a little bit of blood
here. They know this is a real weakness for Mr. Romney as a candidate.
They are now starting to press that advantage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To make a statement that I
made a couple of extra bucks giving speeches when that couple extra bucks
was over $300,000, I mean, that to me says a little bit more about Governor
Romney and his connection with the American people than his tax rate which
is driven by the tax code.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re saying because he made a lot of money, he
doesn`t understand what American people go through?
SANTORUM: No, but to refer to three hundred and some thousand dollars
just as a few extra bucks to me is – $300,000 isn`t a few extra bucks to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Rick Santorum should be noted – also a millionaire. But
smart enough not to mention it in that circumstance.
Mr. Romney`s quote, by the way, wasn`t a few extra bucks as Mr.
Santorum repeatedly said there. It was Mitt Romney describing $374,000 in
speaker fees as, quote, quoting here, “not very much money.”
And the point that is whether or not $370,000 is a lot of money to you
as a candidate, you should know that it is a ton of money to most
Americans. Everybody running for president is a millionaire, including
Rick Santorum. And nobody is worried how much money these individuals guys
have. It`s whether or not they appreciate what a dollar means to the rest
of America, it`s whether or not they appreciate what a dollar means for the
people to whom they will be making economic policy.
Whether it`s because of gaffes like this or not, Mitt Romney does
appear to be slipping in the polls lately. A new CNN/”Time” magazine poll
released today shows Mr. Romney`s lead over Newt Gingrich in South Carolina
has been cut in half since before the New Hampshire primary.
In terms of the national trend polls, Mr. Romney is still way out
ahead. But look at the movement recently. It`s Mitt Romney declining and
Newt Gingrich gaining.
And then there is Mitt Romney`s favorability rating. New PPP poll out
today shows that just 35 percent of Americans say they have a favorable
view of Mr. Romney, compared to 53 percent who have an unfavorable view of
him. Those unfavorable numbers for Mitt Romney have really begun to spike
in recent weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people that provide services to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: At this key moment in national politics, happy birthday, Ted
DiBiase, the Million Dollar Man. Mr. DiBiase, I do not know who wrote your
character for you in pro wrestling, but if that person has not already made
their way there already, there is clearly a future for that person in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED DIBIASE, MILLION DOLLAR MAN: What it all comes down to is this:
money isn`t everything, it`s the only thing. And everyone, everyone has a
price for the Million Dollar Man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Congressional Republicans, you know, from the United States
Congress, have just unveiled a new political ad that features someone
impersonating me. Me? Must be me. There is the Hoover Dam. I guess
The National Republican Party is running this ad that`s supposed to
look like me. Really? My response to that is coming up.
MADDOW: Sometimes protesting something, trying to change something
you don`t agree with is exciting. Sometimes, it looks like this. People
pouring on the streets to rally against something they think is making
their city or their state or their country worse.
These are the huge crowds of people rallied against Wisconsin Governor
Scott Walker`s legislation stripping union rights in Wisconsin last year.
So, sometimes changing the word is kind of a party, looks like this.
But sometimes, changing the world looks more like this – people
sitting at computers in bad florescent lighting. Doesn`t make for riveting
television, but this is actually history in the making. It`s the direct
and practical results of all those protests, all of that energy and anger
and enthusiasm and hope that led those people out in the streets to protest
Governor Walker in the first place.
What you`re looking at is footage from the webcam that shows a secret
location somewhere in the state of Wisconsin where people are counting and
verifying the 1.9 million signatures that recall Walker organizers
submitted to the state yesterday.
Recall organizers needed just slightly more than half a million votes
to recall Governor Walker. They needed more than half a million.
Yesterday, they say they delivered a million. They also delivered 845,000
other signatures to recall the Republican lieutenant governor and more than
85,000 signatures to recall four Republican state senators.
They turned in many more than they needed, in order to make sure that
even if some of the signatures are found to be invalid, they will have more
than enough to get the recall on the ballot.
But getting this done, gathering all these signatures was not a
foregone conclusion. It was a hard thing to pull off. Most talking heads
thought the chances were slim when anti-Walker protesters started talking
about a recall of the governor last year. Getting half a million
signatures in just 60 days? That`s a lot.
A million is almost as many people who voted for Scott Walker in the
first place. It`s nearly a fourth of the voting population in the entire
state of Wisconsin.
United Wisconsin, the group organizing the recall effort, says the way
they got the signatures is because they had roughly 30,000 volunteers, who
fanned out across the state in every county in the state. They stood
outside post offices, and landfills and grocery stores. They stood on
street corners, holding signs that read “United Wisconsin recall Walker”
and they waited for cars to pull over and for people to walk up. They did
that day in and day out for months.
And now, by all accounts, they have enough signature to do a historic
thing, to do a thing that`s only happened a couple times in the history of
this country, recalling a sitting governor.
Of course, now, the focus shifted from yesterday`s jubilation among
recall organizer to what looks like an outtake from an episode of “The
Office.” Now, it`s just logistics. Now, it`s much less glamorous. Now,
it`s counting and verifying the signatures.
If and when enough signatures are certified and the recall of Scott
Walker goes ahead, there does remain one important piece of business, a
piece of business that`s sort of half exciting protest and enthusiasm and
half nuts and bolts pragmatism. That remaining piece of business is that
Democrats need a candidate to run against Scott Walker.
A number of names have been thrown about recently. The prospect of
running against Scott Walker with a momentum of those million recall
signatures behind you, with the momentum of those tens of the thousands of
anti-Walker Wisconsinites protesting in the streets behind you, that
prospect of running against this guy right now is apparently slightly
delicious to a lot of prominent Democrats in the state of Wisconsin.
And so, a number of them are reportedly considering it. But it was
not until today we got the first official candidate against Scott Walker to
be governor of the great state of Wisconsin.
Joining us tonight for the interview is Kathleen Falk, the former
county executive of Dane County, where Madison, Wisconsin, is located –
she announced her run for governor.
Kathleen Falk, thank you for joining us.
KATHLEEN FALK (D), RUNNING FOR WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: Rachel, thank you.
And let me thank you, you have been standing with Wisconsin citizens from
the very beginning, when Governor Walker began his extreme far-right agenda
that has torn our state apart. So, thank you.
MADDOW: Oh, that`s very nice of you to say.
When I was – I was sort of projecting there when I said the prospect
of running against Scott Walker is delicious, to a lot of Democrats in the
state of Wisconsin, you are the first to declare, do you expect there will
be competition, that there`s going to be a Democratic primary to pick a
candidate to run against Walker?
FALK: I do, but I am passionate about why we need to take back our
state and I`m standing with our million plus citizens to get our state back
on track, and this will not be an easy task because as you have reported
throughout the year, Governor Walker is heavily financed by out of state
interests like the Koch brothers, like the Texas billionaire who can
singlehandedly write out a quarter million dollar check.
Last night, you showed that while we in Wisconsin, a million citizens
were delivering these petitions, signatures that we gathered over the cold
of the winter in Wisconsin, our governor was out of state having a
fundraiser hosted by the former head of AIG, who last I recall taxpayers
MADDOW: How do you think you can compete with that? That is both a
description of the political machine behind Scott Walker but it`s also a
description of how he has been successful. If you were to be the
Democratic nominee to run against him, what would be your plan for keeping
up with him in financial terms?
FALK: Because I have spent my life fighting for citizens in Wisconsin
and we are united. I have never seen anything like this in our state –
old and young, men and women, from every corner of the state, Democrats,
independents, some Republicans, a lot of people who have never done
anything political in their life because they want back the state that we
And Walker is not on our side and Walker`s agenda isn`t for working
families in Wisconsin. You know, as I have been arm in arm with citizens
all across the state over this last year, particularly in the last two
months of the signature-gathering, I have come across the people who hearts
and souls here I`m fighting for them.
Just give you one example, there was this wonderful couple in the
central part of the state, it was a bitter cold day, and they were an older
couple I asked them how old they were, they said they are 75 years old. I
said, you`re going to go out in the cold day and stand with the clip board
to get signatures? Have you ever done this before? Oh, no, we`ve never
done anything political before.
I said, why are you doing this? And they said, because Governor
Walker`s cuts on education are hurting our grandchildren.
And that`s why I know we will beat him, because he`s making the wrong
MADDOW: I know that you have deep ties to organized labor in
Wisconsin. You are expected to enjoy strong support from union workers in
Do you think the issue of union rights will be the central issue in
your campaign or like those voters you described, is it a broad spectrum
that`s motivating people, including the cuts to education and other things?
FALK: It`s an important issue because we`re the home of collective
bargaining, worker rights in Wisconsin, 50 years ago. And I am proud and I
will hope to earn the support of hardworking men and women across the
But I`m also good example I was the top executive and I worked every
day with eight unions, respectfully, getting the job done with them. They
agreed to about $10 million in cuts in pay, by working together, by
negotiating, by treating them respectfully, we got the job done.
That`s an important issue in restoring worker rights.
But there are others because Walker just kept one after the next after
the next. You know, he chose big tax breaks for the largest corporations,
and then he made the biggest cut in education in our state`s history.
Those are not Wisconsin values. Those don`t help working families.
And we`ve got the proof now that his agenda not only has torn our
state apart, instead of bringing us together in the tough times, but here
we are a year later, with month after month of job losses. His way isn`t
helping families in Wisconsin and that`s why this extraordinary, historic,
inspiring million people standing up and saying we won`t take it anymore.
MADDOW: Former Dane County executive, Democratic candidate intending
to run against Governor Scott Walker if there is a recall election in
Wisconsin this year, Kathleen Falk, thank you so much for talking to us
tonight. I know you had a lot of choices about who to talk to on the first
day that you announced. I`m glad that you were here, thank you.
FALK: Rachel, it`s an honor to be with you. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. In just a moment, I shall impersonate a Rachel Maddow
impersonator. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is a wanted poster – a wanted poster that was
distributed by anti-abortion forces targeting a doctor named David Gunn.
It lists the office address where he worked. It describes Dr. Gunn
physically, height, weight, noticeable characteristics. It then describes
him as responsible for killing children. That two specific addresses in
After this wanted poster was distributed, Dr. David Gunn was shot and
killed by anti-abortion extremist. It was in March, 1993.
This was a wanted poster about Dr. George Wayne Patterson. His
medical license number, what kind of car he drives, a physical description
of him. This doctor, Dr. George Patterson, owned the clinic where Dr. Gunn
had been murdered.
Dr. Patterson himself was murdered five months after Dr. Gun was
killed. Dr. Patterson`s killing is still unsolved.
When “The New York Times” reported that year on Dr. Patterson`s
killing, they got a quote from an activist named Paul Hill approving of the
murder, saying, “The killing has stopped, so it had the desired result.”
The murder had the desired result.
Less than a year after giving that quote to “The New York Times,” Paul
Hill himself murdered yet another doctor who provided abortions. A man
named Dr. John Britton. This is the anti-abortion movement wanted poster
for Dr. John Britton, exact address, a physical description, a photo, even
description of his car.
These wanted posters were distributed and then he was murdered by an
Then, of course, there`s Dr. George Tiller. Here`s the anti-abortion
movement`s wanted poster for George Tiller. This was distributed before
Dr. Tiller was shot by an anti-abortion activist the first time in 1993,
exact address, photo, description. This was around before he was shot the
first time back in the 1990s. Then another activist shot him again in 2009
and this time, they killed him.
So, this is the pattern, detailed wanted posters going up, the
distribution of exact addresses and descriptions and photos and other
specific information about a doctor, these posters distributed by anti-
abortion extremists. And then the doctor gets assassinated. This is the
pattern they established over a couple of years.
We interviewed a doctor in North Carolina a little more than a year
ago who told us that he fear for his life after the same tactic was used
against him. The poster with photo, and address and detailed information
for a doctor who provides abortion services – this is a tried and trued
means of intimidation for the extreme anti-abortion movement.
And because of all these past instances of the distribution of that
kind of personal information about a doctor being followed by an extremist
using violence against that doctor, this is a form of intimidation that has
well-earned its intended terroristic effect. People who are brave enough
to provide abortion services in this country are aware of the threat of
violence that is implicit in anti-abortion extremists distributing the
specific information – the information of how to find them, and what that
doctor looks like when do you find them.
Now, Operation Rescue – a long-standing anti-abortion extremist group
is taking this technique nationwide. Operation Rescue has launched a new
Web site, a database of detailed searchable information about doctors who
provide abortion services – photos, addresses, handy maps to find their
place of business. The Web site describes every doctor or at least aims to
describe every doctor who provides abortion in the United States and
describes them as part of a cartel.
The generic clip art photo for doctors for whom they don`t have photos
yet is somebody in handcuffs, the basic ideas to their extremist anti-
abortion followers is: go get them. Here`s how.
An extremist movement with the history of violence taking something
seen as beyond the pale, in this case arguably criminal, and trying to make
it somehow more mainstream and national, instead of individual wanted
posters handed out in your town or at anti-abortion gatherings, they`ll do
it nationally. They`ll do it on the web. They are very proud that they
are doing this.
We called the Feminist Majority Foundation for a reaction to this
today. They told they are talking to the Department of Justice and the FBI
to make sure that federal law enforcement is aware of this Web site and to
consider the possibility that this could be considered a threat under the
federal laws that protect access to abortion clinics, the same way that
similar wanted poster style anti-abortion threats have been ruled illegal
in the past.
While we`re talking about the fringe trying to become mainstream,
there`s a little 2012 to politics in this, too. Tonight in South Carolina,
a single issue presidential forum is being hosted by a group called
Personhood USA. Remember the personhood people? They are folks who got on
the ballot in Mississippi this past November, a bill to define a fertilized
egg as a person. Their stated intent of Issue 26 in Mississippi was to
criminalize all abortion for everybody. No exceptions.
Personhood legislation also has the intended or unintended side effect
of likely banning most birth control. Most people who use birth control
use a hormonal form of it, like the pill. Under personhood legislation, it
is not at all clear that hormonal contraception would continue to be legal.
And depending on what kind of mood they`re in when you ask them, personhood
advocates mostly admit they are against contraception and they think that
contraception should be banned.
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum famously has said that as
president, he would crackdown on contraception because contraception is
wrong. He`s been trying to wiggle about those statements recently, but he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the things I will
talk about, that no person has talked about before, is I think the dangers
of contraception in this country, the whole sexual liberty idea in many
Christian faith have said, well, that`s OK. Contraception is OK. It`s not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry
have all signed a pledge put out by the personhood people, saying that they
support what the personhood people are trying to do.
Mitt Romney did not sign the pledge but when he was asked by self help
guru and FOX News personality Mike Huckabee whether Mr. Romney would have
supported a personhood constitutional amendment at the state level, when he
was governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he absolutely would.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE: Would you have supported a constitutional amendment
that would have established the definition of life at conception?
HUCKABEE: Not that it would have had an sailing through the
Massachusetts legislature. I mean, I have to concede –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You`d be hard-pressed to find many states in the Union that
are further to the right than South Carolina on social issues like abortion
and gay rights. But to the right of South Carolina, on social issues like
abortion and gay rights, is the state of Mississippi, you actually can`t
get much further right than Mississippi on issues like.
When Mississippi voted on whether or not to amend the state
constitution to ban gay marriage, this was the result of the voting. This
was actually a color-coded map. Every district that is red voted in
Mississippi to ban gay marriage. You will see there is only the red color
on the map. All red. They all voted that way.
But when Mississippi was asked whether they wanted one of these
personhood amendments to their state constitution, as far to the right as
Mississippi is on social issues, here is how the state voted on personhood.
They voted it down. They voted it down by a 16-point margin.
Even in a state as red as round the bend right wing as Mississippi,
this personhood stuff, a zygote is a person and you can`t have the pill
anymore and – seriously? Even a state as round the bend right wing as
Mississippi, that is way too far.
Every single presidential candidate in the Republican primary
including Mitt Romney is to the right of Mississippi on this issue now.
They are all in support of the personhood thing. Newt Gingrich and Rick
Perry and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are all RSVP yes to this personhood
forum in South Carolina. They all signed the personhood pledge.
Ron Paul ended up ditching today`s event at the last minute to go back
to Washington to vote, but he made sure to make an appearance there by
satellite, which you see here. All four of those candidates were there,
signed the pledge, and said yes. Even though Mitt Romney didn`t show up
tonight, he is on the record supporting their position.
If I were a hair on fire, apocalyptic Glenn Beck type of broadcaster,
this would be the part of the monologue where I tell you that if you have
doubts about how the presidential election is going to go in November, you
should start hoarding birth control pills. But because I`m not that
hysterical, I`m not going to say that.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world – OK, Republicans put a
provision in last month`s payroll tax cut extension which said that the
president had to make a decision within two months on the Keystone
pipeline. Forced decision (INAUDIBLE).
Today, President Obama called their bluff by saying he was not given
enough time to assess the pipeline`s impact. So you want a decision now?
OK. Here`s your decision: No. No pipeline. At least not right now.
And that brings me to our best new thing in the world today. I am
very flattered that I have been chosen for the rare and special honor of
being the new face of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
It`s that part of the National Republican Party that tries to elect
Republicans to the House.
They have reenacted one of the ads I made where I`m standing in front
of Hoover Dam talking about infrastructure. Except in their version, they
got me, someone who looks just like me saying that President Obama should
say OK to the Keystone XL pipeline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you are this close to Hoover Dam, it makes
you realize how small a human is in relation to this as a human project.
You can`t be the state who built this. You can`t even be the town who
But you can be the guy that stops something like this. We`ve got a
project like this waiting for the president`s go ahead, supported by the
Republicans and Democrats, labor unions. It provides energy security and
up to 130,000 jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The National Republican Congressional Committee – you guys
nailed me. You got me exactly right. Seriously. It`s uncanny.
Especially the hair – you totally got my hair exactly right, because this
is what my hair looks like – best new thing in the world today.
I take it as a profound compliment that you even know who I am, let
alone take time to make fun. Many thanks.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a
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