The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/27/12

Guests:
Michael Moore, Frank Rich
Transcript:

ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW”: – thank you for joining us tonight.
We`ll do more on the story. I don`t like what`s happening in Chicago.

That`s “THE ED SHOW.” I`m Ed Schultz.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel. I was in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend.
Yes, they like me, but they love you. They`re all asking for you.

So, I just got to tell you, that the road report from Ohio is you`re
the one.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Well, Ed, I was in San Jose this weekend and I
heard a lot of “I love, Ed Schultz” out in San Jose.

SCHULTZ: Were they wearing buttons? That`s all I care.

MADDOW: Were they buttoned properly and sitting up straight and
looking right at the teacher.

SCHULTZ: There you go. All right.

MADDOW: Thank you, Ed. Appreciate it.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

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

One month before the South Carolina primary, a full month before
South Carolina, Mitt Romney got what appeared to be great news. That
state`s Republican governor, Nikki Haley, came out publicly and threw her
support behind Mitt Romney for president.

Now, Nikki Haley was seen as a rising star in the Republican Party,
is closely aligned with the Tea Party. So, this was a really big coup for
Mitt Romney, essentially a stamp of approval for him from the conservative
base of the party, which he had been struggling to win over and it all
happened in a critical state. He got the Nikki Haley endorsement.

And then something weird happened. He got trounced in South
Carolina. Romney did not just lose to Newt Gingrich there, he lost by
double digits, it was not even close.

Mitt Romney rebounded, of course. He went on to win in Florida and
in Nevada. But losing South Carolina after getting the endorsement of that
state`s Republican governor, that turned out to be a sign of things to
come.

Right after former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the
race last fall, Mr. Pawlenty also threw support behind Mitt Romney for the
Republican nomination. But when Minnesota Republicans got their chance to
vote, they went for Rick Santorum instead. Mitt Romney not only didn`t win
Minnesota, he didn`t even come in second in Minnesota. He finished third
in Minnesota, despite having the endorsement of the state`s former
governor.

In Colorado, Mitt Romney managed to score the high profile
endorsement of that state`s most recent Republican governor, Bill Owens.
And even though Mr. Romney had won Colorado by a huge margin back in 2008,
he lost Colorado this time around, despite having the Republican
establishment there on his side.

Also in Missouri, Mitt Romney managed to snatch up the coveted
endorsement of that state`s most recent Republican governor, former
Governor Matt Blunt. Missouri Republicans took one look at that
endorsement and decided to go with Rick Santorum instead.

And while the Missouri primary deserves a giant asterisk next to it
because it doesn`t really count for anything, the pattern frankly stands.
As Dave Weigel has been writing about at Slate.com, getting the endorsement
of a Republican governor has sort of been a curse this year for Mitt
Romney.

Every time he gets either endorsed by a state`s Republican governor
or by the most recent Republican governor of that state, he loses.

But tomorrow, there is a chance for that curse to be broken.
Tomorrow, Republicans in Michigan and Arizona will get their chance to vote
in the Republican primary and in both those states. And in both those
states, Mitt Romney has again gotten the endorsements of the state`s
Republican governors. Michigan`s Governor Rick Snyder came out and
endorsed Mr. Romney earlier this month.

And the latest polling out of Michigan shows that Mr. Romney has
essentially erased Rick Santorum`s advantage there over the last couple of
weeks. Mr. Romney now holding a slim lead in Michigan, ahead of tomorrow`s
vote.

The Republican governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, she withheld her
endorsement until the very, very last minute. Governor Brewer waiting
until yesterday, two days to announce that she is endorsing Mr. Romney.

Governor Brewer`s last-minute endorsement, I hope you won`t mind me
nothing, is not exactly a profile in courage, given that so much the state
has already voted. And when you look at the polling, it really looks like
Mitt Romney is going to run away with the state of Arizona.

So, Governor Brewer waited long enough to figure out who was
definitely going to win and then she said, I`m with that guy. Jan Brewer -
- always brave, always classy.

So, if you believe the polls. Mitt Romney has the prohibitive lead
in Arizona right now. But if you believe the curse, maybe Jan Brewer
endorsing him might turn the whole thing around. Who knows?

Also, I mean, frankly, having the Arizona Republican establishment on
your side has not actually been a good omen in that state`s Republican
politics recently. The biggest thing that`s happened in Arizona Republican
politics in the last year is the recall of the most powerful Republican in
the state.

Now, the most powerful Republican politician in Arizona has not been
the governor, the head of the state senate, a man named Russell Pearce.
But Russell Pearce is no longer in the Arizona state senate because he was
successfully recalled from office by his district`s voters in November.
That`s after he championed the state state`s papers please, anti-immigrant
law.

Russell Pearce was the first Arizona lawmaker ever recalled from
office. And he was the most powerful guy in the state, but they turfed him
out. And he wasn`t replaced by some granola-eating, Maddow watching,
commie sympathizer, he was replace just by a more normal Republican.

Russell Pearce`s Republican-leading district was just disgusted by
Russell Pearce. But they are still a Republican-leaning district. And the
guy they put in to replace Russell Pearce is essentially a more average
conservative, who isn`t looking to make the state a national lightning rod
for its anti-immigrant extremism the way that Russell Pearce was.

After that pretty stunning rebuke from the voters, how did the
Arizona GOP respond? They gave Russell Pearce the number two job in the
Republican Party statewide. Wow.

Arizona Republicans do not seem to be getting the message even when
the message is delivered by their own voters.

But again, the establishment message to their own voters tomorrow, at
least at the very last minute is that Arizona Republicans should vote for
Mitt Romney, so says Jan Brewer. So, that`s what`s going on in Arizona.

The politics in Michigan`s primary tomorrow I think are even more
fascinating, though. I mean, when you look from outside Michigan, at what
is going on in the state of Michigan right now, there is a huge elephant in
the room, right? There`s an obvious huge deal. There is the return of the
American auto industry, which had been written off as dead, before the
Obama administration decided to save it.

I mean, the turnaround, the boom in the auto industry is not just a
huge deal in Michigan, it`s a huge deal for the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Two years after almost going bankrupt,
record profits are being announced tonight for an iconic American brand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Motors stock was up 9 percent after it
posted its highest profits in history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Motors has also reclaimed the title of
world`s largest automaker from Toyota.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Dave Gray who works the new third shift at
G.M.`s plant in Flint, Michigan, the record earnings not only means job
security, but he and every other autoworker at G.M. will also get bonus
checks of up to $7,000.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: That`s great, right? I mean, the Detroit comeback is a huge
success story for the whole country.

But in a Republican primary, it is a very awkward thing, because at
the height of the financial crisis, when the auto industry was on the brink
of death without government intervention to save them, to prop them,
Republican at the national level argued that Detroit should be left to die.
And that anybody who wanted to save Detroit was a fool because it would
never work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: We can`t call it a bailout because that
might be too honest a statement to our citizens. So, we call it a bridge
loan. Actually, it`s a bridge loan to nowhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will not make Chrysler, General Motors, or
Ford competitive.

SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: The fact this is doesn`t fix the
problem. It exacerbates the problem in the long term.

SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: This plan will really in opinion
doom them failure.

MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: You were very blunt about this in an op-ed you
wrote in “The New York Times” on Wednesday. Let me read how you begun.
You said, quote, “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bail out
that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American
automobile industry goodbye. It won`t go overnight, but it`s demise will
be virtually guaranteed.”

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s exactly right. If
you write a check, they`re going to go out of business.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: All of those Republicans were wrong – very, very, very,
very, very dramatically wrong.

One of the fascinating things about the Michigan Republican primary
tomorrow that is in these days leading up to it, a ton of ads running in
Michigan, explaining just how wrong Mitt Romney was. Hitting Mitt Romney
for having been the “let Detroit go bankrupt, don`t save Detroit, let
Detroit die” politician back in 2008, back when it counted. He wasn`t in
Congress like all those other people we showed, he was just a freelance
commentator urging the country to kill Detroit.

When the decision was being made and it counted, Mitt Romney was to
kill Detroit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

AD NARRATOR: His message was clear.

ROMNEY: Let Detroit go bankrupt.

AD NARRATOR: Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My hometown is on its way back. Mitt Romney
said let Detroit go bankrupt. I`m grateful our country didn`t listen. We
need a president who will stand by us all when times are tough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Mitt Romney to say something like this, I`m
appalled. It`s disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says that he doesn`t care.

AD NARRATOR: In Mitt Romney`s world –

ROMNEY: Don`t give them money. Let Detroit go bankrupt.

Don`t just write them checks. These companies shouldn`t be given
money up front.

AD NARRATOR: Romney would have turned his back on us in the depths
of the recession.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Those are some of the ads running in Michigan right now
ahead of tomorrow`s primary.

But this is one of those cases where it is about the fine print. If
you look at the fine print on all the ads we just showed you, what`s the
important thing about all of them? None of them are run by Mr. Romney`s
rivals. None of them are run by Republican campaigns. None of them are
run by Republican super PACs. These are all being run in Michigan by
groups on the Democratic side.

That`s Priorities USA on the top left. That`s President Obama`s
super PAC. That`s Move On right next to it. That`s one by Public Sector
Employee Unions at the bottom. And next to that is the Democratic National
Committee on the bottom right there.

These ads are all very obviously anti-Mitt Romney ads running in
Michigan. And so, maybe to that extent, they will benefit Rick Santorum`s
chances in Michigan, because they are all against Mr. Romney.

But frankly, Rick Santorum can`t run ads against Mitt Romney on this,
because Rick Santorum was for killing Michigan, too. He had and he has the
same position as Mitt Romney on this. Kill Detroit, forget Detroit, let
Detroit die. Kill off the auto industry, I guess we don`t need it.

So, the Republican primary in Michigan is taking place on the context
of this huge Michigan rebirth – this boom, this economic success story.
This American economic triumph that was made possible because the
government wouldn`t let Detroit die, because the government stepped in to
save the industry.

And both of these guys running in Michigan wish that that never
happened. So how have Michigan Republicans responded to this? How have
Michigan Republicans responded to a field of candidates who are all on the
wrong side of Michigan`s economic rebirth?

Michigan Republicans have decided they don`t care about it either.
The most recent NBC News poll found Michigan Republicans oppose the
successful auto industry bailout by a 50 to 42-point margin.

And so, in the context of the most important, the most political
tinged economic success story in the entire country, the Republican
electorate and the Republican candidates are all just going la la la la,
it`s not happening.

Mitt Romney`s talking about how the trees in Michigan are the right
height and how he loves cars in the abstract. He has friends, for
instance, who own NASCAR teams, who among us doesn`t?

Rick Santorum is saying that going to college is something that only
snobs do. He`s also saying he`s against the separation of church and
state. That John F. Kennedy`s famous religion speech on the separation of
church and state, John F. Kennedy`s famous speech about why it`s OK for
America to elect a Catholic president, Rick Santorum is busy campaigning in
Michigan by saying that speech made him want to barf.

That`s the campaign that they are waging in Michigan right now. That
is the message for Detroit and for all of Michigan.

But the return of the American auto industry, the best economic turn
around since the collapse at the end of the Bush years, the best economic
news in Michigan in more than a generation – the Republican campaign in
Michigan are la la la la la la, pretending that`s not happening. Lovely
weather around here, isn`t it, this time of year? Gosh, your trees are
just perfect.

Joining us now, Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning documentary
filmmaker whose family has lived in Michigan longer than Michigan has been
a state.

Mr. Moore, thank you for joining us again. I`m really glad you can
come back.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: That`s correct. Thank you for having me
again, Rachel.

And, by the way, since I spoke to you last week, the trees are still
at that same height.

MADDOW: You know, eventually, they will outgrow their perfect height
and Michigan will have to address that crisis, since that`s obviously the
source –

MOORE: We`ll deal with it when we have to. But, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW: We`re on the eve of the Michigan primary. How is it that
the two leading candidates in the race are both on the record as being
against saving the state`s most important industry and they are unrepentant
about it?

MOORE: I have come to the conclusion that they are in a race with
each other to see who can get the least number of votes from the Michigan
citizenry. I think it`s just the most bizarre – it`s the most bizarre
last couple weeks here in the state of Michigan.

I think that, you know, Romney, this real guy image he`s trying to
project, you kind of feel sorry for the guy because he just keeps putting
his foot in his mouth. I expected him to say by the end of the day he is
all for eating at McDonald`s. He owns 26 franchises throughout the
Midwest, you know?

It`s just – and Santorum with his whole religious crusade that he`s
on, this is so out of touch with where Michiganders are at.

Now, that`s not to say that there aren`t Christian conservatives in
Michigan. There`s a strong core group. But they`re not large. But
they`re rabid.

And that`s true for Republicans, too. Most people, majority of
Michigan residents do not identified themselves as Republicans. And so,
when you take a poll amongst Republicans saying, you know, do you support
the bail out? And 50 percent or more say no, we don`t support the bail out
in their own state.

They have – they are kind of like you know like a Red Sox fan that
lives in New York City? They are more rabid than the Red Sox fans that are
in Boston because they have to be, because they`re just surrounded by all
these Yankee fans. That`s kind of like what the Republicans are like in
the state of Michigan.

So I think that both Romney and Santorum are going to – I think
tomorrow will continue to see probably what we have seen in all the other
states, less Republicans voting than they did four years ago. But I –
honestly, these people really have to understand this and please understand
this as coming from us Michiganders, if Romney does not win tomorrow or if
he wins by just a small margin – in other words he`s lost, you cannot
overstate the importance in the state of Michigan.

The Romney name, the Romney legacy in Michigan, it`d be like voting
against a Kennedy in Massachusetts. They are well loved in the state, his
brother Scott is a well-known attorney in suburban Detroit.

For Romney to lose Michigan, I know they think this, they must think
this is the death knell for their campaign.

MADDOW: Do you – when you look at how well Mitt Romney did in 2008,
in Michigan, won the state, won the state handily there and you look at
four years later how he is struggling against Rick Santorum there, do you
think that`s driven by national winds, that`s driven by just generally
what`s going on in the campaign? Or is there anything in Michigan specific
how Mitt Romney has really fallen in the esteem of Republicans there?

MOORE: I think it`s both but definitely for Romney to fall that far
in the state of Michigan is huge. It`s – he`s brought this on himself.
And it`s not just him, let`s be fair. Santorum also opposed the bail out.
And so, they both were against it.

But Romney has just – he keeps doubling down. Santorum doesn`t like
to bring it up too much. But Romney just brings it up any chance he can
and saying this to all these people who have lost their jobs. You know,
we`ve had unemployment in some of our counties upwards of 20 percent in the
last four years or so.

So, to say this to these people, it`s the same – I mean, I feel the
same way about Santorum telling people that if they want to send their kids
to college – you know, college are for snobs, for elitists. And it`s like
the whole blue collar work ethic in America, especially and Michigan is
that like my dad and our parents, they didn`t go do college. But what they
wanted was to send their kids to college. That`s why they were working so
hard in the factory so that their kids could have a better life so they
could go to college.

No blue collar person sees college as some form of snobbery. It`s
actually the definition of the American Dream.

So when Santorum calls it snobbery, and who needs college or everyone
doesn`t need to go to college, he`s really attacking the American Dream and
just now in that fight with Romney tried to see if he can get fewer voters
than Romney will get tomorrow.

MADDOW: Michael Moore, award winning filmmaker, activist, and a
Michigan native son, I share your suspicions about what the turnout is
going to be like in Michigan. But once we find out, can I ask to you come
back and talk with me, do a post-mortem on it once we know?

MOORE: Yes. Yes, I will. I got to tell you, a lot of my Democratic
friends are going to vote for Santorum tomorrow in something they are
calling Operation Hilarity. So, we do have a good sense of humor in the
state of Michigan.

MADDOW: Thank you, Michael. It`s good to see you. Thank you for
being here.

MOORE: Thank you. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. The one and only Frank Rich is here tonight for
the interview – very much looking forward to that.

And the backlash against the forced transvaginal ultrasound thing in
Virginia is becoming kind of an impressive backlash not only in Virginia.
That story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Tonight, a lesson on the art of caving – caving in culture
war politics.

Our tour begins in the great state of Virginia where Republicans have
caved on the personhood bill. That they would have used to ban all
abortion in Virginia and likely hormonal contraception as well. The
personhood bill in Virginia has now been delayed for the year.

That`s for the forced ultrasound bill, even after Republicans have
taken out the “and it has to go in your vagina” language, women in Virginia
are still mad about this bill. It is still being seen as a forced medical
procedure for political and not medical reasons.

And that new semi-toned down version in Virginia is still not a shoe-
in. There`s still a change even that won`t pass. The vote on the bill has
been delayed another day as of today.

And meanwhile, a new PAC has just formed in Virginia, a new PAC of
newly energized Democratic independent and the group claims, even some
Republican women, most of them former elected officials. They say this new
PAC is dedicated to defeating anyone who votes for the Virginia ultrasound
bill or for the so-called personhood bill that would ban all abortion and
likely hormonal contraception.

And so, who knows how that this is going to shake out in Virginia,
but this whole overreach thing on the forced vaginal probe required by the
state? This seems to have changed Virginia politics. And it`s turning out
to not just be a Virginia story, either. It`s happening in other states,
too.

In Alabama for example, a case study today in the collapse of anti-
abortion overreach. Alabama`s version of the forced vaginal probe
ultrasound bill was moving right along in the Alabama legislature. It was
passed out of a Senate committee last week on four-to-one vote.

But then, cut to yesterday morning. Sunday morning. Alabama`s
Republican Governor Robert Bentley is attending the Republican Governors
Association meeting in Washington, and a reporter from “The Huffington
Post” tracks him down at that meeting and asks him about the bill, asks him
about his state`s forced vaginal probe ultrasound bill which is moving
right along through the Alabama legislature.

Alabama Governor Bentley says he knows nothing about the legislation.
Telling the Huffington Post, quote, “I just read about it this morning,”
adding he had not studied this forced vaginal probe legislation and was not
prepared to take a position on the bill.

So, get the timing here. That was Sunday morning, yesterday morning.
Alabama`s governor says he hasn`t heard about this forced vaginal probe
bill. Thank you very much – Sunday morning.

On Sunday night, that same night, according to the “Montgomery
Advertiser,” the sponsor of the bill in the legislature released a
statement backing off, saying he plans to change the bill so women can
choose what kind of state-mandated probing they get so it doesn`t have to
be a vaginal probe. Adding that he had always intended to give women the
right to choose, the means by which she is to be forcibly probe by the
state, he says he didn`t mean to specifically require vaginal probe
ultrasound.

Actually in true fact, he totally meant to require vaginal probe
ultrasound. He totally meant that specifically and I know this because the
bill spells it out. The bill spells out the vaginal probe requirement.
Literally, the world “vaginal” is in the bill.

It requires that women, before getting an abortion have an
ultrasound, quote, “using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal
transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly.”
That`s what he proposed and that`s what passed out of committee in the
Alabama state senate last week, a specific, explicit requirement for state-
mandated vaginal probe ultrasounds since they, in the vast majority of
cases, would show the fetus most clearly.

But then after the governor gets asked about it over the weekend by a
reporter, suddenly, the senator who sponsored said he`s going to change it
and I guess he`s going to hope that nobody minds that he`s still pushing a
state-mandated medical procedure for political reasons, rather than medical
reasons, the state is still telling your doctor what to do about it and you
still have no choice.

We asked Governor Bentley`s office in Alabama today if they had been
in touch with the sponsor of the bill, with the sponsor of the forced
vaginal ultrasound bill, if they were in touch with him about the
governor`s feelings on this legislation after he was asked about it by a
reporter, it turns out yes – yes, they have.

The governor`s office telling us, quote, “Governor Bentley`s office
communicated the governor`s position on SB12 to Senator Scofield`s office.”
That`s the sponsor of the bill.

Governor Bentley supports a requirement for a non-invasive ultrasound
to be performed before a pregnancy could be terminated.

So, the forced vaginal probe ultrasound is not just a Virginia story.
It`s also an Alabama. It`s also a Pennsylvania story, where the
legislature is considering an ultrasound bill that because of how specific
the requirements are around images and sound, would also pretty much
mandate vaginal probes by order of the state.

The Pennsylvania bill also mandates that the doctor or technician
performing the state-mandated ultrasound position the screen so that it in
the woman`s sight line during the procedure. It`s mandated by law that it
be pointed at your face.

But, hey, ladies, according to the law you`re not required to view
the screen.

So, to be clear – the state of Pennsylvania would in this case by
law mandate a vaginal probe ultrasound, and the state of Pennsylvania would
mandate that the results of the ultrasound be pointed at your face. But
the state of Pennsylvania will stop just shy of using that clockwork orange
machine to prop your eyelids open and force you to regard the ultrasound.

It should be noted that Pennsylvania is the state where over the 10
years before 2011, there were 19 votes in total on abortion in the general
assembly. Ten years, 19 votes. And then when Republicans took control
there in 2011, there were 34 votes on abortion in just one year – just one
year alone.

I explained that statistic correctly once on the air that last week,
but then I accidently mistakenly attributed to Virginia the second time I
brought it up. I`m sorry about that. It`s actually Pennsylvania.

Arizona had also been proceeding a phase with an anti-abortion bill
that had a new waiting period attacked to a forced ultrasound. That
Arizona bill is sort of in limbo right now, but it could still be voted on
by the legislature this session.

In states like Virginia and Arizona where Republicans have unilateral
control over state government, it is really their choice whether or not to
push through legislation like this. Democrats are not able to stop them
because there aren`t Democrats in the state in sufficient numbers in the
legislature, they can`t be – Republicans can`t be outvoted on issues like
this, not this year, not after the 2010 elections turned the states so red.

So, it will be the Republicans alone who have to decide if and how
they want to proceed on these measures. But Republicans looking at the way
this sunk the story line of Bob McDonnell as the perfect vice presidential
candidate, and looking at the way this issue raised Cain in Virginia and
the way it threatens to raise Cain everywhere else it`s brought up, now
that people know to look for this extreme government mandates, you can see
the way this politics are spreading across the country – given all of
that, given the political climate, this overreach has created, the question
remains not just whether or not Republicans are going to continue full
steam ahead with this kind of policy making, but whether or not Democrats
are going to realize that there is an issue for them to campaign on here,
that the Republicans maybe shouldn`t be stopped on these issues, if you
have the opposite view of Republicans on this issue, but maybe there is
room for Democrats to gain politically here.

The Democrats, who are closest to these fights, who are watching
Republicans not only lose but retreat and deny their previous positions on
this have decided that not only Democrats but women in general really ought
to be on the offense on this.

Do you want to know what the name is of the new Virginia PAC that
just form to go after anybody who votes for personhood or the state-
mandated ultrasound is? In Bob McDonnell`s Virginia, you want to know what
the name of that new PAC is they just form to go after Republicans to
support this stuff – they are calling it the Women`s Strike Force.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: On Saturday, this past weekend, Fayetteville, North
Carolina, became the second civilian community in the United States to
publicly mark the end of the Iraq war and to welcome home Iraq war
veterans. A local non-profit put together a convoy of motorcycles and
private cars and drove an eight mile route across town. Their way of
saying welcome home to the many veterans who had served in Iraq.

This is some of what that looked like in Fayetteville. The head of
the local non-profit that spearheaded the operation, Joe McGee (ph) told us
that part of the motivation for doing it this way, doing it as a convoy on
local highways was that it was just easier to organize something like that,
it`s easier for civilians to do this, easier than deal with getting the red
tape and permits for a downtown parade.

The next place to celebrate the end of the Iraq war and to welcome
home veterans will likely be Oklahoma City, where they are planning a
combined St. Patrick`s Day parade and welcome home parade on March 17th.
Then Tucson, Arizona has a parade scheduled tentatively for March 31st.
Followed by Richmond, Virginia, which has a parade scheduled on May 19th,
that`s Armed Forces Day. And then we know that Rome, Georgia, has one
planned for June 16th.

There are still none grand welcome home in the making for New York
City, the grand American style New York City ticker tape parade, and that`s
because the Pentagon for mysterious reasons does not think there should be
one in New York specifically, even though they say they support others
around the country.

I don`t understand it either. I got to say, though, outside New York
and the rest of America, the idea seems to be catching on and working just
fine. Thank you very much.

And seriously, thank you very much. Thank you, St. Louis. Thank
you, Fayetteville. Thank you everybody who`s doing this. So far, it`s
been pretty awesome.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Before today, we knew that Newt Gingrich`s billionaire had
given $11 million to the super PAC supporting Mr. Gingrich`s candidacy, a
million dollars and then $5 million and another $5 million, and now
apparently more – an anonymous source refusing to say exactly how much
more, but Mr. Gingrich`s billionaire is giving more this time.

The anonymous source tells “The Post” that the donation this time is,
quote, “substantial and at least on par with the two $5 million donations
Sheldon Adelson and family have given previously.”

So, Newt Gingrich`s billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, giving Mr. Gingrich
at least another $5 million today. That cash infusion will come too late
to resuscitate Mr. Gingrich`s political hopes in time for Arizona or
Michigan tomorrow, but it also means that he will be alive for Super
Tuesday next week.

“The Washington Post” reporting that this pro-Gingrich super PAC is
going to use the new money from Mr. Gingrich`s billionaire to put up TV ads
starting tomorrow in Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Tennessee, with more to
come Wednesday in Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas. So, skipping tomorrow`s
races in Arizona and Michigan, and looking ahead to next week.

And it makes sense for Mr. Gingrich to not even really try for
tomorrow. The polls in Michigan and Arizona show Mr. Gingrich getting
crushed in both states tomorrow. He didn`t much have the option to compete
in neither of these states for the last couple of weeks. His billionaire
had not hooked him up for money for Michigan and Arizona.

See, when Mr. Gingrich is between cash infusions from his
billionaire, his campaign prospects shrivel up like a stranded earth worm
on a hot sidewalk.

But money keeps Mr. Gingrich alive and in the race. And now, he`s
got more money.

And since we know that Newt Gingrich`s billionaire wants either Newt
Gingrich or Mitt Romney to be the nominee, but he does not want Rick
Santorum to be the nominee, it is probably worth noting Mr. Gingrich
probably has no chance of winning the nomination for himself, no matter how
long he stays in the race. But his staying in the race probably insures
that Rick Santorum will not beat Mitt Romney.

So, bottom line: one billionaire`s decision to throw billionaire
pocket change at a spoiler candidate, Newt Gingrich, essentially decides
who get the Republican nomination for president. It won`t be Santorum, it
will be Romney.

Must be nice to be a billionaire in the post-Citizens United world
and just get to make that decision on your own for the whole country.

But Newt Gingrich isn`t the only one with a billionaire. Rick
Santorum has his own billionaire, the “lady should put an aspirin between
your knees” guy.

Ron Paul has his own billionaire as well, the eccentric libertarian
billionaire guy who founded PayPal.

Mitt Romney has many billionaires, as you would expect from a man of
his elite financial standing.

But what does a billionaire supporting Mitt Romney get for his money?

I mean, if you`re Newt Gingrich`s billionaire, you`re essentially
Newt Gingrich`s only funder. You as one person get to decide Mr.
Gingrich`s fate and thereby the whole fate of the race to the extent that
it depends on Mr. Gingrich`s continued participation in it.

I can see why a guy like Sheldon Adelson would be doing what he is
doing. But if you`re one of the billionaires supporting Mitt Romney, what
motivates you? What do you get for your money? I mean, you know, you can
be replaced by any of the other billionaires in the room if you don`t step
up, no one billionaire is existentially important to the Romney campaign
because there are so many of them.

So, why do it? What motivates you? Where write a seven-figure check
to the Mitt Romney PAC? What do you get?

Right after New York state passed marriage equality last year, after
the state legislature, including the Republican-controlled state senate
passed recognition of same sex marriage in New York and Governor Cuomo
signed it into law, “The New York Times” did kind of an amazing post-mortem
on how it all came together, about what motivated the governor to do it and
to push so hard for it, what persuaded the Republicans to change their
minds, how the fractious pro-gay marriage side came together. And more
importantly, the rich guy Republican donors, Republican donors,
conservative donors who met secretly with Governor Cuomo`s staffers ahead
of the whole fight and said that they would help Governor Cuomo out even
though Governor Cuomo is a Democrat.

Quote, “Within days, the wealthy Republicans sent back word: they
were on board. Each of them cut six figure checks to the lobbying campaign
for gay marriage rights.”

Those wealthy Republicans who bankrolled the pro-gay marriage fight
in New York, they were three hedge fund zillionaires, Paul Singer, Cliff
Asness – I think is what you say his last name – and Daniel Loeb. Three
conservative hedge fund zillionaires all supporting gay marriage last year
in New York state, and all three of them now supporting Mitt Romney for
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our conservative values
also came under attack. Less than a year after I took office, the state`s
Supreme Court inexplicably found a right to same sex marriage in the
Constitution written by John Adams. I presume he`d be surprised.

I successfully prohibited out of state couples from coming to our
state to get married and then going home. On my watch, we fought hard and
prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage.

When I am president, I will defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I
will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a
relationship between a man and woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: As Frank Rich points out in his new piece for “New York”
magazine, Mitt Romney raising the specter of Massachusetts becoming the Las
Vegas of gay marriage was only days after Mr. Romney had accepted an
endorsement from Donald Trump, that paragon of traditional marriage, while
he was in actual Las Vegas.

But how do you explain ardently pro-gay rights conservative
zillionaires putting their money where their mouth was, even against the
interest of their party, in New York state politics, and then those same
guys – those exact same people bankrolling with even more money the most
ardently anti-gay Republican presidential campaign in history?

It turns out there is a really good new article about this and that
piece written by Frank Rich for “New York” magazine – not just about the
mystery of pro-gay rights conservatives happily donating to a virulently
anti-gay presidential campaign, but also about supposedly pro-gay rights
Democrats not behaving pro-gay rights at all.

Frank Rich joins us here next for the interview. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: “New York” magazine writer at large Frank Rich joins us for
“The interview”, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from
becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: And that guy has the support of all the pro-gay rights
zillionaires in hedge fund politics. How did that happen?

Joining us now is Frank Rich, the must read, must watch writer at
large for “New York” magazine.

Mr. Rich, great to see you again. Thank you for being here.

FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Good to see you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you for writing the piece about the complicated
politics of gay rights – much more complicated than they appear on the
surface. I thought it was great.

RICH: Thank you so much.

MADDOW: We keep hearing that all the real power players in
Republican politics aren`t anti-gay at all. A lot of them are very pro-gay
rights. Why doesn`t that translate into a pressure on Mitt Romney
candidacy to stop being so anti-gay?

RICH: It`s a really good question. As you were saying before, these
three hedge fund billionaires, at least one of them, Paul Singer, has a gay
son, who took the stand with Andrew Cuomo in New York about same sex
marriage.

So, why aren`t they supporting a party, a national party and a
national candidate – still at least for another 24 hours the favorite –
Mitt Romney, when this entire party is essentially pursuing homophobic
rhetoric and policies? No matter what they may say in private, they are
not bigoted against gay people, Charles Murray, a conservative intellectual
came out for same sex marriage, mainstream conservative pundits sort of
say, oh, I`m sort of with I`m with gay equality.

And yet, the party is really in the Stone Age, and Romney is really
reprehensible, because as we know, in the 1990s, he`s actually was pro-gay
civil right, he said as much in a race against Teddy Kennedy. He said he`d
be the left of Teddy Kennedy if he made it to the Senate. He`s completely
craven.

And not only is he making these ridiculous statements about same-sex
marriage, wants to bring back DOMA – not bring back defend DOMA. But he
also was reported last week, has been courting unsuccessfully Maggie
Gallagher who was head of the National Organization for Marriage, who made
those horrific homophobic ads of lightning striking America if gay people
were in partnerships or got married.

So, it`s incredible hypocrisy. And I wonder what someone like Paul
Singer`s son said to him. You know, Romney can do a lot more damage than
is going to happen, would have happened in New York state if same-sex
marriage hadn`t passed.

MADDOW: And I wonder – the thing that surprises me is that you read
something like Dick Cheney lobbying for same-sex marriage.

RICH: Quietly, right.

MADDOW: Quietly in Maryland.

Ken Mehlman, the former chair of the Republican Party, being integral
to that effort in New York state and I think in some other states in terms
of working on same-sex marriage rights. This group AFER, Americans for
Equal Rights, I think what they stand for – the group that has been
mobilizing high-profile Republicans, really high-profile Republicans. Not
pundits, former elected officials, people high-ranking in the party.

RICH: Ted Olson.

MADDOW: Ted Olson. All of these people who you`d think would be
able to really swing not just lip service, but power. But then when it
comes to the Republican nominating contest, it`s gone off the charts right
wing, I mean, well to the right of even what George W. Bush was campaigning
on in terms of being anti-gay.

So, what`s the relationship between being a power player in
Republican politics and what Republicans do? I don`t understand the
disconnect.

RICH: There seems to be – there`s a complete disconnect and I guess
it`s just a kind of desperate, craven relationship to the base of that
party.

Look, we now have a base, the Republican Party, that is so radical
that they can be pandered to by calls for elimination of public education
for, you know – we have a major candidate who yet could win campaigning,
as you`ve been talking earlier, against college education. And so, they`re
also as we know taking these bizarre stands about women`s reproductive
rights, about contraception. So this is really a radical, radical party
are.

But what – but that hypocrisy. And, look, someone like Ken Mehlman
is in a long tradition, I hate to say it, of Republicans who were closeted
homosexuals, in power, actually enabled homophobic policies, in some
periods really a demonization of gay people, and then as soon as they`re
away from it, as soon as Ken Mehlman, who had been head of the Republican
Party under Bush when Bush had all these homophobic marriage amendments and
ballot initiatives, he and Karl Rove, then he comes out and does the right
thing, comes out as gay, but also comes out of those policies.

But where was he when it really mattered within his own party?

In that sense, it`s like Terry Dolan (ph), Roy Kohn (ph), all these
people, Finkelstein (ph), the consultant who worked for Jesse Helms, one of
the most homophobic he was in a gay marriage in Massachusetts after he
stopped working for Jesse Helms.

So there`s something – there`s a real sort of pathological
disconnect. And they`ve really got to be called on it and they`ve got to
be called on it by Democrats as well as people like us.

MADDOW: I will – I think that Ken Mehlman though has sort of – I
think Ken Mehlman has done the right thing to the extent that you can`t do
back in time.

RICH: Right.

MADDOW: You can indict what he did in the past, but then once you
come out, if you were complicit in politics that were not only hypocritical
but that you had decided were very bad for the country, I think ethnically
the right thing to do is then work to change those politics. He`s
certainly doing that in his public life.

RICH: He`s doing things like the Proposition 8 fight. But what is
going on with the Republican Party?

MADDOW: That`s the –

RICH: How is it every candidate, every single candidate with the
arguable exception of Jon Huntsman who`s long gone, has taken such anti-gay
views in terms of policy and rhetoric? How have they remained silent when
you have a gay soldier who`s serving in Iraq ask a perfectly innocuous,
pleasant question through YouTube at a Republican debate, and no one,
including the then nine candidates on stage speaks up against it?

It`s great that Ken Mehlman is involved with the raising money for
AFER and to fight Proposition 8 and so on. But what about within that
party?

Yes, and I`m not – I don`t mean to single him out, Paul Singer,
these hedge fund guys, all the big bucks people who think of themselves as
being enlightened about social issues, the Koch brothers. I mean, they
sponsor things like the New York City ballet. Why are they remaining
silent, the party that they support, the movements that they support in
terms of Tea Party, is so homophobic.

I just don`t get it. It`s a disconnect, but also it`s something that
actually does damage, not only do gay Americans, but to children who have
gay parents. You know, anyone who has a friend or a relative who`s gay.

MADDOW: You also single out Bill Clinton here for having essentially
special ethical responsibility to work to undo DOMA, the Defense of
Marriage Act, which was passed during his administration. And that he
signed into law.

Why single – what effect do you think it would have if Bill Clinton
actively worked against that? I mean, he says he`s for same-sex marriage
but he hasn`t been working on these issues, at least as far as we know

RICH: He hasn`t, and he`s obviously mortified by embarrassment
because DOMA, which did happen on his watch and with a lot of support from
so-called liberal Democrats in Congress, is the reason that even in the
states now where same-sex marriage is legal, those couples cannot have
Social Security benefits, veteran`s benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, and a
thousand other federal benefits. That law does real damage.

I think he`s too embarrassed to do it. He didn`t even mention DOMA
in his thousand-page autobiography.

MADDOW: Frank Rich, writer at large for “New York” magazine – this
is a really good piece. And we talked mostly about Republicans. I should
say the piece is mostly about Democratic complicity in this, especially the
Bill Clinton stuff I think is fascinating. Thanks again.

RICH: Thank you.

All right. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The possibility that Mitt Romney might not wind up being the
Republican presidential nominee on the line tomorrow night in the Michigan
primary where he and Rick Santorum are running nearly neck and neck. Also,
tomorrow the Arizona primary where Mr. Romney will try and overcome the
“Sports Illustrated” cover curse of being endorsed by that state`s
Republican governor.

Full on coverage of all the results starting at 8:00 Eastern Time
tomorrow night.

Right now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD.” Good night.

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

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