The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/29/12
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST, “THE ED SHOW”: That`s “THE ED SHOW.” I`m Ed
Schultz. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. It`s the weekend.
SCHULTZ: For one person on the screen, anyway.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: I was going to say, the weekend for you.
SCHULTZ: That`s right.
MADDOW: I got one hour to the weekend, Ed. I`ll see you there.
SCHULTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Have a good one.
MADDOW: You, too.
Thanks to you at home for starting your weekend in one hour at least as
What a week this has been, right? I mean, this is supposed to be the dog
days of summer. Heading into the Fourth of July, nobody paying attention to
politics, Washington sort of beside the point.
Yes, right! Not this week. Congress was even in session today. They passed
this big highway bill that nobody thought they`d be able to pass. As part
of that, they passed the student loans thing so everybody with student
loans will not see their rates double as of next week. They brought that
down to the wire but they finally did it.
President Obama today was in Colorado where the state is suffering through
the worst wildfires in its history. Wildfires that have killed two people
already and that are threatening built-up population centers like Colorado
The Supreme Court ruling yesterday, of course, on health reform has
Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, frankly, still
vibrating at a high pitch, still reacting to the enormity of the ruling and
figuring out what the implications are going to be in policy. And, of
course, in politics, in the midst of the political pandemonium after the
epic decision yesterday morning, Republicans in the House of
Representatives voted to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress
for the first time in American history. And nobody noticed.
One Republican congressman went on FOX this morning and proverbially jumped
up and down, trying to get more attention to this thing that didn`t get
much attention. He said on FOX today that congressional Republicans might
very well try to have the attorney general arrested. Arrested. Really?
These are supposedly the dog days, other than being hot, though, these are
not the dog days. We`re in top gear, and in politics, that means really the
campaigns ought to be hitting on all cylinders. I mean, think about the big
picture for the presidential campaign. There are very few unknowns left.
Obviously, we know who the candidates are, what the main issues are going
to be. The other shoe has now dropped in terms of what health care is going
to mean for the campaign. Yes, there`s the vice presidential pick for Mr.
Romney. Other than that, the candidates know what they need to be. By now,
they ought to know what they`re doing.
They have been doing it for a while. They should have worked out the kinks.
Can you tell where I`m going with this? Kinks remain.
There seems to be one particularly kinky part of the Mitt Romney for
president campaign they can`t fix. They keep doing it over and over and
over again wrong. They keep blowing it. I think they should stop doing
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining the Obama`s failed
foreign policy conference call. Your host for today, Amanda Henneberg will
AMANDA HENNEBERG, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Hey, guys. It`s Amanda from the
campaign. Thanks so much for getting on the call.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Romney campaign does these conference calls all the time. The
candle in the wind music one there was one of their conference calls in
April, the Obama`s failed foreign policy conference call. They called that
specifically to rebut an allegation from Vice President Biden that Mitt
Romney`s foreign policy was going to be just like the George W. Bush`s
foreign policy, and you can tell that because all the Romney foreign policy
advisers are former Bush advisors. That was the allegation.
And the Romney campaign called this “candle in the wind” music-themed
conference call to rebut that allegation, rebut the allegation that all
their foreign policy advisers are Bush guys, and two of the three speakers
they booked for that call to make that case, that they`re not full of
George W. Bush foreign policy advisers, two of those three guys are George
W. Bush foreign policy advisers.
They`re bad at this. They`re bad at doing this conference call political
strategy thing. A week later, the RNC held another one of things,
specifically to go after President Obama on high unemployment in the United
Hey, Obama, how come there are no jobs in the United States? That
particular conference call, they routed it through a conference call center
in the Philippines.
The all time great one of these, though, was probably in April. The Romney
campaign held a conference call specifically on women in the economy. This
is when they were pushing back on the whole war on women thing. And their
push-back, you remember, was – well, Obama has horrible policies on women
and the economy. They picked out a specific target that really gave them
something specific to shoot at.
I mean, the first policy Obama signed into law was on women in the economy.
It was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act about women and what they get paid
in the workforce. The Romney campaign calls a conference call to attack
President Obama on those policies.
When they get asked about that policy on the conference call, they called
to discuss that policy, here was their response.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OPERATOR: Our next question will come from Sam Stein with “Huffington
Post”. Please go ahead.
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Yes, does Governor Romney support the Lilly
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Sam, we`ll get back to you on that.
MADDOW: The pregnant pause heard around the world. The day after that,
trying to do damage control, the Romney campaign held another conference
call, specifically to make clear that Romney totally supports fair pay for
women. Do not be confused here. Do not be misled by Democratic spin or some
unfortunate gaffe at a conference call. Of course, Mitt Romney supports
fair pay for women.
The people who the Romney campaign lined up to make that case for him were
two members of Congress who voted against the Fair Pay Act for women.
They`re bad at this.
You know, they don`t have to use this tactic. Why do they keep using it
when it`s like their Achilles heel? It`s like their curse.
Do you remember the one back in May when they lined up a Florida
congressman to stump for Romney on a conference calls, specifically on
Florida issues? Apparently not realizing that particular Florida
congressman had been under investigation by the FBI, the IRS, the Miami-
Dade Police Department public corruption unit, the Miami-Dade state
attorney`s office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement – and
people in Florida tended to know that about him.
And for the last minute before the call, all of a sudden, that troubled
Florida congressman was unavailable to join that call due to what they said
were scheduling reasons or something.
You would think they would just stop doing this particular thing. But
they`re still doing them. A couple weeks ago when President Obama announced
his big change in immigration policy – the big problem for the Romney
campaign on that was they would not say whether Mr. Romney agreed with that
policy or not.
Yes, yes, we know you hate everything President Obama does, but do you hate
this particular thing the president has done? Do you hate that policy? What
is your policy on the subject?
Now, the whole point of the Romney campaign at this point is to never get
specific on policy. And so, they desperately wanted to avoid being subject
to any reporter`s questions on that. At that time, when immigration policy
was all anyone wanted to talk about and they didn`t have a policy they
wanted to talk about.
So, a couple days after President Obama made his immigration announcement,
the Romney folks called a conference call and they futilely tried to insist
that nobody would be allowed to ask them questions about immigration
policy. “Romney aides repeatedly urged reporters to restrict their
questions to economic topics. After reporters did not oblige, the Romney
campaign cut off the call.” Yes, who could have seen that coming?
I don`t know why they don`t recognize this as a problem they have. I mean,
they may be able to do a lot of other things, but they cannot do this. I,
for example, cannot say the word procurement. I also have trouble with the
I can say a lot of other words, but I can`t say those two words without
slowing down and trying really hard. And so I have learned to talk about
even the concepts of things being between the fifth thing and seventh thing
and a particular policy about buying things without ever making myself say
the words procurement or sixth.
If you know you`re bad at something, stop doing it, stop doing these
They`re not stopping doing these conference calls. The Republicans did
another one of them today on the health care reform ruling. Want to guess
how it went?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: There`s only one candidate, Governor
Romney, who is committed that he will repeal the Obamney – the Obamacare
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Obamney, Obamney care.
This is a pro-Mitt Romney conference call where Governor Bobby Jindal of
Louisiana reminded everybody on a phone line paid for by the Republicans
that Obamacare and Romneycare can be conveniently combined into the Tim
Pawlenty trademarked epithet Obamneycare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: President Obama said that he
designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Remember? That`s sort of how Tim Pawlenty got out of the
presidential race this year, he had coined this thing Obamneycare saying
that what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts is pretty much exactly what
President Obama had introduced for national health reform policy. That
happened to be true.
Having coined Obamneycare on the campaign, Mr. Pawlently declined to repeat
that slur to Mr. Romney`s face at a debate, thus leaving him open to the
wuss allegation that he had tried so hard to counteract with a lot to talk
about hockey fights.
But the Obamneycare epithet which was used by Bobby Jindal accidentally on
a pro-Romney conference call, and which was used by Tim Pawlenty while he
was still in the presidential race, that was a powerful slur, a powerful
idea against Mr. Romney in the Republican primaries when candidates could
really count on the base super hating the idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pick any other Republican
in the country, he is the worst Republican in the country to put up against
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Politically speaking, on health reform, which is what Mr. Santorum
says he was talking about there, Rick Santorum is right. The Massachusetts
plan that Mitt Romney put in place is exactly the same as what President
Obama did at the national level on every substantive element, and that has
been the big political complication for Republicans this year in nominating
Mr. Romney in the first place.
But now, it is a particular mess for the Republicans because after the
Supreme Court ruling yesterday, the Romney side, the Republican side, is
saying they`re now going to double down on making this year`s presidential
race all about how awful health reform is – the health reform that`s
exactly the same as what Mitt Romney did.
The whole basic plan that everybody or at least almost everybody gets
health insurance, it`s the same thing between the two plans. Romneycare is
already in effect in Massachusetts, nearly 100 percent of Massachusetts
kids are insured now, 98 percent of the overall population in the state is
insured, and that`s what national health reform would try to do too if it
The whole idea of the mandate where you have to get health insurance and if
you don`t, you pay a fee or a tax or whatever you want to call it, that`s
exactly the same in Massachusetts as it would be at the federal level.
Here`s Mitt Romney`s op-ed from 2009 saying, yes, you have to pay a tax if
you choose not to buy health insurance in Massachusetts.
It`s exactly the same thing that just got upheld by the Supreme Court
yesterday for the whole country. Everything that they want to say is evil
and tyrannical about Obamacare is the exact same brand of supposed evil
tyranny in Romneycare or the exact same brand of good idea, if you want to
look at it that way.
Having Mitt Romney run for president against health reform is nuts. That`s
what they say they`re going to do now, but that would be like having Barack
Obama run for president by being against killing Osama bin Laden or against
ending the war in Iraq. You did it. You`re going to run against it?
This whole renewed freak-out on the right, saying they`re going to make the
whole election against health reform with Mitt Romney as their standard
bearer is bizarre, but don`t take it from me. Who I am? Just a liberal on
Perhaps you`d take it from the architect of the Mitt Romney plan in
Mississippi who President Obama hired to come to Washington and write the
same plan for the country. In November, he got asked how that Republican
and bipartisan plan in Massachusetts that he worked on ended up being such
a boogieman for the Republicans now in running against Obama.
Here`s his response. It`s priceless. Quote, “This is, to my mind, the most
blatantly obvious case of politics trumping policy I have ever seen in my
life. Because this is an idea that four or five years ago, Republicans were
touting. A guy from the Heritage Foundation spoke at the bill signing in
Massachusetts about how good this bill was.”
The guy who wrote both plans for Obama and Romney, this is him here, he
said that Romney`s attempt to distinguish between Obama`s bill and his own
The direct quote from him is this, “The problem is there is no way to say
that because they`re the same f-ing bill,” except he didn`t say f-ing. “He
can`t have his cake and eat it, too. Basically, you know, it`s the same
bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he`s just lying.”
How do you base your whole campaign for president on being against
something that you did? It would be like John McCain saying he was against
his own immigration plan. Oh, wait.
In any case, the perfect distillation of this problem for the Republicans
is in the trouble that the surrogates for the Romney campaign are having
talking about this. You have Bobby Jindal talking about Obamney today on
the conference call.
You also got Marco Rubio. Did you hear how Marco Rubio he tried to explain
the difference between Obamacare and Romneycare? This is perfection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He supported it at a state level which means
if you didn`t like it in Massachusetts, you could move to another state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You could move. See, that`s why you should vote for Mitt Romney.
That`s what he did for Massachusetts when he turned Massachusetts into a
socialist health state, you could escape that. You could escape the state
borders. They`re unarmed. You could leave and drive to another state,
whereas, Obama, there`s no getting away unless you go to another country.
That`s the best case Mitt Romney`s likely vice presidential nominee can
make for the difference between what they`re running against and who they
Yes, my guy did this horrible thing to his state, but the residents of the
state could flee the state if they wanted to. That`s not illegal. Vote for
the guy who did that to his state. You can get away.
Joining now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of her own show here on MSNBC on
Melissa, thank you for being here.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: OK. So that`s – first of all, that`s my
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I just completely love that Bobby Jindal did that.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, Obamneycare. It is really is perhaps the most bizarre
thing of the past three days.
MADDOW: We have seen from the very beginning Republicans running against
Mitt Romney saying he`s the worst guy to pick because we want to make
health reform a central and horrible thing against which we want to run.
And Romney has exactly the same baggage.
That was the case they were making forever against him. Is it of renewed
importance now with the Supreme Court ruling and in particular, with
Republicans trying to attack on policy grounds, this idea that it`s a
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, so here`s what I think is happening. Because I don`t
think that the entire party is this confused about what a debate between
President Obama and Governor Romney will be on a health care issue. I think
the reason that they`re scheduling this repeal vote on July 11th and that
week is look, it is dog days of summer, nothing else is going on, Fourth of
July will be over – freedom, fireworks.
And they`ll say, OK, we have done our repeal vote. There`s nothing we can
do now that we have done our reveal vote. We have to wait for Governor
Romney to be the president of the United States.
I think they`ll backpedal off. I think they`ll do this. They need to show
their massive resistance. All of these Republican governors are going to
stand in the school house door. They`re going to basically claim
nullification. We`re not going to try to set up our exchanges as the law
demands we do, and they`re just going to let it ride.
I actually don`t think this is going to be the center piece of the Romney
campaign. It cannot be.
MADDOW: In terms of the Romney campaign strategy right now, though, do they
try to make it a big deal now? I mean, they have introduced like a new
hashtag, #fullrepeal. They`re trying to be as militant as possible on it.
Mr. Romney gave a rooftop press conference immediately after the health
reform ruling, trying to be more militant on the issue than he has before.
Are they doing that just to get it out of the way? I mean, don`t you feel
the base will have to be revved up about this in the fall?
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, every day – Chris Hayes was saying this earlier
today – every day that they`re not talking about the economy, they`re
losing this election, right? This ended up being a very good week for
President Obama despite the fact his attorney general was, you know, held
in contempt of Congress.
Now, that happens because he gets his big win. Every time they talk about
it, they remind the world that John Roberts sided with Barack Obama. I
mean, basically, it`s like suggesting there is some kind of unholy alliance
in which literally the universe aligned for President Obama.
And in that sense – no, I think that ultimately, they`re going to pivot
away from this as quickly as they can. They`re going to show the massive
resistance, but they`re going to say this is a tax, taxes are bad. We`re
against taxes. In fact, let me talk to you about the economy.
MADDOW: Right. Let`s move on from this. Other than Barack Obama, the person
most responsible for making this happen in Congress is Nancy Pelosi.
Your interview tomorrow on your show is your big Nancy Pelosi interview not
only am I excited about, but I`m getting anticipatory e-mails from my
father. So excited to see it.
Do you have a view of how Democrats are viewing the political victory?
HARRIS-PERRY: This was a huge moment. It was really exciting – I took my
10-year-old daughter and she got an opportunity to meet the woman who
became the first woman speaker of the House. And, you know, everybody is
still in their high-fiving mode, but the real question is this was
ultimately not the best political move.
President Obama in taking on health care first, right after the stimulus,
made a very, very risky decision. Nancy Pelosi said to me that she knew,
all of them knew, it was going to go to the Supreme Court.
This was not a good political move. This was a generational move. This was
the kind of thing that a president, that a leader in Congress, says we have
to change the world for American citizens. My favorite sort of self
deportation was immediately after the Roberts decision came down, there
were conservatives on Twitter saying they were going to leave and go to
MADDOW: Right. To get free from the socialist health care.
HARRIS-PERRY: To get free from the socialist health care. Whoops. Right?
So, it`s kind of a generational difference. It brings us into modern
society with our contemporaries and says, look, we too are going to at
least to begin to do the work of providing health care for our citizens.
MADDOW: Melissa Harris-Perry, the host of “MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY”, weekends
on MSNBC. The Pelosi interview, much awaited Pelosi interview tomorrow
morning at 10:00, right?
MADDOW: Very exciting. Thanks for being here.
All right. While almost nobody was looking, one great American state was
busy trying to roll back a legally protected right of its citizens until
the right no longer existed. It`s the sort of thing the feds are supposed
to step in and stop. That fight is unfolding this weekend. You have
probably not heard about it anywhere else, but we have the details next.
MADDOW: Congress finished up today before their big Fourth of July break. I
think Republican Senator Rand Paul may have gone home mad. As of this
morning, the Senate still had a ton of business to do, extending the flood
insurance program, right, that covers more than 5 million properties in
flood-prone areas. That was one of the things they needed to do.
It`s usually a work-a-day bipartisan bill. But this year, Rand Paul tried
to tact anti-abortion legislation onto it. You remember the personhood
thing that even Mississippi voters thought was too radical this past year?
Rand Paul wanted to attach a version to even that thing that Mississippi
said no to, to flood insurance.
So, if you want flood insurance, he said that we`re also going to have to
declare that every fertilized egg in America is a person. So, a woman
becomes two people essentially as soon as she`s on the third base.
Personhood bills ban all abortion in all circumstances, and they probably
ban the most commonly used forms of birth control in the country as well.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looked at Rand Paul`s personhood
amendment to the flood bill and he kind of flipped his lid, he said that`s
not going to happen. No freaking way.
Actually what Senator Reid said on his soft-spoken way specifically was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I think this is outlandish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When he said it was outlandish, what he really meant was no
Well, today, in an uncharasterically productive flurry of activity,
Congress did pass the flood insurance bill and they did not include the
Rand Paul personhood thing with it. Harry Reid won on that.
But even as Republicans` laser like focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, by which I
mean abortion, has mostly gone nowhere at the federal level. In the states,
Republicans are on the verge of accomplishing a goal that they have dreamed
of since Roe versus Wade.
Get this – barring last-minute intervention from a federal court,
Republicans in Mississippi are within hours of banning abortion in that
state. By making their state the only state in the country that has no
abortion clinic, not one.
In April, new Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed a trap law,
specifically targeted, specifically onerous regulations for the state`s
lone abortion clinic that other kinds of medical clinics in Mississippi do
not have to follow. Republicans have proposed these anti-abortion trap laws
this session in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, North
Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia.
In most places, they argue the regulations are good for women, and if the
new red tape accidently shuts down the abortion providers – well, oops.
Mississippi is different, though. In Mississippi, officials have been flat
out admitting what they have been trying to do. They said they were doing
this, passing this law specifically to try to shut down the last abortion
clinic in the state. They want to end abortion in Mississippi full stop.
You cannot get one there. Rights be damned.
Governor Phil Bryant said so when he signed the bill into law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: I think it`s historic. It`s a day you
see the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned of,
to say we`re going to try to end abortion in Mississippi. We`re going to
continue to try to work to end abortion in Mississippi. And this is an
historic day to begin that process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the Republican governor of the state.
Here`s the Republican lieutenant governor just in case it`s not clear
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been seven years since we got good pro-life
legislation passed out of the Mississippi legislature. That`s a bill that
gives us a great opportunity to do – to accomplish what our goal needs to
be. Our goal needs to be to end all abortions in Mississippi. I believe the
admitting privileges bill gives us the best chance to do that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: After Republicans passed this law, they went home to their
constituents and bragged about what they have done, for instance this state
legislator. His name is Bubba Carpenter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUBBA CARPENTER, MISSISSIPPI GOP LAWMAKER: We had literally stopped
abortion in the state of Mississippi. The only clinic in the entire state -
- three blocks from the capitol sits the only abortion clinic in the state
of Mississippi. A bill was drafted. It said, if you would perform an
abortion in the state of Mississippi, you must be a certified OB/GYN and
you must have admitting privileges to a hospital.
Anybody here in the medical field knows how hard it is to get those
privileges to a hospital. And, of course, there you have the other side,
they`re like, “Well, the poor pitiful women that can`t afford to go out of
state are just going to do them at home with a coat hanger. That`s what
we`ve heard over and over and over.
But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and
that`s what we`ve decided to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You have to have moral values. What we have done might cause women
in our state to kill themselves by trying to operate on themselves, but you
have to have moral values.
The state`s new law to eliminate all abortion services in Mississippi takes
effect on Sunday. Tonight, the owner of the state`s only clinic said her
doctors tried to get admitting privileges to hospitals just as soon as the
governor signed the bill. She said the doctors have applied to five
hospitals within 30 miles of the lone clinic in the state. They have not
been given those privileges anywhere. And everybody knew they wouldn`t,
that`s the whole point of the bill.
This week, the last clinic in Mississippi turned to a federal court for
help. They asked the court to block this new law.
In this country, when constitutionally protected rights are threatened by
the action of the state government, we count on the federal government to
step in and stop the state from doing that. We have seen that with school
integration and voting rights.
Here now with this nationally protected right, the answer depends on a
court in Jackson, Mississippi, and what happens in the next few days. The
clinic`s owner tells us that regardless of what he court decides between
now and Monday, if the court decides anything, she will open her business
on Monday, if only to answer the phone. But she says she doubts her doctors
will be willing to take the risk of breaking the law and going to prison in
order to keep providing what is supposed to be the constitutionally
protected right to an abortion in this country.
And if that happens, the state will have ended something that the nation
says no state has a right to end. Watch this this weekend, the law is set
to go into effect July 1st if the court does not act.
MADDOW: Yes, it has been a big, exciting, complicated, fast-moving week of
big newsy news in American politics. And yes, it`s Friday night. But does
it mean things are slowing down yet? No, it does not.
Here on this show, still to come, we have an exclusive coming up next that
is absolutely stunning. We`ve got tape that has never been seen anywhere
about something that everybody knew was going on but nobody has ever seen
it before. And the only reason we`ve got the tape is because somebody
risked his life to smuggle it out to us.
That`s next. It`s exclusive. Sit tight.
MADDOW: So I wrote a book that came out a couple months ago. It`s called
“Drift.” It`s had pretty good reviews. It was number one on the “New York
Times” bestsellers time list for more than a month, which was amazing and
weird. It`s been great. It`s getting reviewed in the “Washington Post” this
weekend, which I`m all nervous about.
But all in all, it`s good, right? The idea of writing a book, even when
people disagree with the case that you make, the whole reason I wrote it is
so people would at least pay attention to the case I`m making. At least
argue about it. And the basic idea of this book that I wrote is that we go
to war now in a way that isn`t the way the constitution says we`re supposed
to, it`s not the way we have done it in the past.
War for us now sort of drifted into the way we have war in our country now
in a way that is really that has insulated both from the politics and from
civilian life. It doesn`t affect us here at home. It`s slick and painless
for us who are not fighting these wars.
And in some cases, we do not know we`re at war, in a sense that we are not
told by our government that we are doing it. Take for example a nice Friday
night news dump from a couple weeks ago, Friday, June 15th. The president
sends a letter to Congress, the president has to do this every six months,
explaining where our troops are in the world and under what legal authority
So this latest one said we`re out of Iraq entirely. It says we`re still
fighting in Afghanistan, quote, “actively pursuing and engaging remaining
al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.” It says we`re still running
Guantanamo, which is in Cuba, which is awkward for so many reasons. It says
we`ve got those troops in Central Africa going after Joseph Kony and the
Lord`s Resistance Army. It says we`ve got military monitors in Kosovo, left
over from 1999, and in Egypt left over from 1981, although, boy howdy,
Egypt is different now than it was in 1981.
But you know what it doesn`t mention anywhere is this place, where we are
definitely at war. But we don`t call it that. For nine years, the U.S. has
been killing people using remote piloted aircraft in the nuclear arms,
fairly unstable, rabidly anti-American nation of Pakistan. President Bush
started the policy, but President Obama has tripled down on it.
Now, we know we`re doing it. The Obama administration did finally admit to
the fact we`re doing this in year nine of the policy, just last month. They
admitted to it in a speech by the president`s counterterrorism adviser John
But here`s the thing about this policy. Nobody ever gets to see that it`s
happening. Not just in the normal way that we as civilians don`t get to see
the war fighting that U.S. troops do in other countries.
In Pakistan, it`s something even more than that. There aren`t embedded
reporters riding along somehow with the drone pilots. The tribal areas
where this is happening are explicitly off limited to Westerners, including
I know from experience how difficult it is to get a visa to cover Pakistan
at all, as a Western reporter. But to go to report on the impact of the
drone strikes in the places where the drone strikes are, the answer is no.
And that`s why this exclusive report we have tonight, which has never been
seen anywhere before is so critically important and so fascinating. This is
an exclusive, very, very hard to get footage from something almost no
outsider has ever seen. Watch this.
AMNA NAWAZ, NBC NEWS REPORTER (voice-over): This is what many Pakistanis
call evidence of an American war with their country. Rare images from the
remote tribal region of North Waziristan showing destruction after a U.S.
The attack occurred at 3:00 a.m. on March 30th in this market area. One
missile pierced the ceiling, more demolished five nearby shops. Four
alleged militants were killed in this strike. Their identities were never
Here in the border with Afghanistan, strikes like this are not uncommon,
but the area hardest hit by the drones is also the most difficult for
outsiders to visit or report from.
SHAHZAD AKBAR, ANTI-DRONE ATTORNEY: The collateral damage is way more than
it is even perceived by the people who are doing it.
NAWAZ: Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar said he`s discovered while the U.S.
drone campaign may yield a few high value hits, far more civilians are
being killed in our reporting. Over 300 strikes have been carried out in
Afghanistan since 2004, but here`s enormous controversy surrounding the
According to Washington and London-based research groups, tracking reports
of drone strikes here, as many as 3,000 people have been killed as a
result, most of whom are labeled militants under a broad U.S. definition,
only a few dozen of which have been identified as militant leaders.
AKBAR: The problem is no one cares if nobody is killed. By nobody, I mean a
person who is a nobody, a person who is probably just living in the area,
has no money, no education, no representation.
NAWAZ: So Akbar launched his own campaign, a legal one, to represent local
families who suffered civilian casualties in the strikes. He`s now filed
lawsuits in Pakistani courts suing former U.S. intelligence officials for
carrying out the program and to the government of Pakistan for failing to
(on camera): It`s incredibly difficult to get any kind of evidence from the
remote parts of the countries where the drone strikes typically occur, but
these, what are believed to be fragments of actual hell fire missiles were
smuggled into Islamabad from those tribal area.
(voice-over): Akbar says the pieces were collected from drone strike sites
and he`s using the serial numbers to confirm their make and manufacturers.
But to gain access into the far flung reaches of Pakistan, he partnered
with Noor Behram, a journalist and father of six born and raised in North
After growing frustrated with the lack of ground reporting from the region,
Behram said he committed himself to documenting the devastation. He`s
gathered photos and testimonies from dozens of strike sites and has
personally witnessed 10 drone attacks in and around his own town of
NOOR BEHRAM, JOURNALIST IN NORTH WAZIRISTAN (through translator): There`s
al Qaeda, Taliban, and America, they`re fighting each other. The Taliban
said you`re killing our soldiers we`ll kill yours. I try not to get involve
said in the issues. If there`s even one child killed in the drone strike,
it`s a tragedy.
NAWAZ: And across Pakistan, anger is growing. At this anti-drone rally in
Niramsha, hundreds of men gather to listen to the leader of this
conservative religious group as he railed against what he called U.S.
imperialism and their drone strikes inside Pakistan.
There are worries the U.S. campaign to kill terrorists will actually end up
BEHRAM: When people are out there picking up body parts after a drone
strike, it would be very easy to convince those people to fight against
NAWAZ: Behram and Akbar have filed 13 lawsuits so far representing 71
families of civilians killed, and say they`ll continue to fight their
battle in the courtroom.
Amna Nawaz, NBC News, Islamabad.
MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview is NBC`s Pakistan bureau chief
Amna, it`s great to see you here. Thank you for being here. Congratulations
NAWAZ: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: It`s remarkable to see the fragments of the missiles and the guy
looking at the serial numbers and trying to track them down. Is this the
first that we knew that anything like this was happening?
NAWAZ: No, of course not. I mean, look, we have known for a while that this
was a huge part of this administration`s counterterrorism program.
Certainly in Pakistan more so than any other country although it has
extended to other countries in recent years. If you just take a look at the
number, you see there`s been a sharp uptick in the use of these drone
strikes in Pakistan over the last decade or so. And we know that the Obama
administration in particular relies heavily on these kinds of strikes
MADDOW: But is this the first time we knew that Pakistanis were trying to
trace the physical evidence of those strikes back to the source of the
weaponry for the purposes of getting accountability?
NAWAZ: This is certainly one of the only efforts that`s being made of its
kind. I mean, this lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, he himself can`t go to the
regions that he`s trying to represent people on where they`re from. So, he
has to rely, as we saw in the report, on the local journalist from the
I mean, this area, you mentioned before, it`s basically a no-go zone for
any outsiders. Independent investigators, human rights watch workers,
foreign media – you simply cannot travel freely in the area. So these
efforts that he`s making, legal efforts, are unique and are the first of
MADDOW: How risky is it for that locally born journalist who you spoke with
and is providing the material, how risky is it for him to not just be
collecting the footage but ferrying it to outsiders so it ends up on
American national TV tonight.
NAWAZ: I do want to point out, the footage that we used was not taken from
the journalist we profiled in that area. And we`ve worked with a number of
journalists across the country at NBC News.
You can`t stress it enough. Journalists in Pakistan, local journalists risk
their life every day to get to the truth and get the truth out to the rest
of the world. Nowhere so is that true in North Waziristan, in the tribal
areas, and in TPK (ph) area or the Frontier province as we know it, borders
So in order to get this one piece of video out, we actually took a couple
weeks to move the video from place to place until it was safely in the
hands of someone we knew it transmit it back to us.
MADDOW: Wow. In terms of the Obama administration making a decision to at
least publicly admit we are doing it in Pakistan. Obviously, we have been
doing this for years, but it`s been the shell game for the administration
doesn`t own up to it. John Brennan has now given a speech saying, yes,
we`re doing it.
Does that admission convey any hope of further openness in terms of being
able to cover it or being able to get getting further information about it?
NAWAZ: I don`t know that Mr. Brennan`s recent admission means they`re going
to be any more transparent about the program. It remains a classified
program, when we approached the CIA for comments about the story, they did
Look, we know they think this is a program that`s working. We know that the
top commanders, al Qaeda, that they`re trying to go after, they have been
able to knock it off. Leadership of al Qaeda has basically been
disseminated as a result of this program.
But they`re playing a bit of a game with this. Privately, anonymously,
officials will tout the successes of the program leaked through reports and
to sources they trust in the media. But publicly, they will still not own
up to the details of much of the program.
MADDOW: And finding the other side of the balance, the success versus the
risk, finding the risk part of it, finding the downside part of it is
almost impossible. You have given us something that is as close to making
it possible as I have seen. Congratulations on this. This is an incredible
NAWAZ: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Amna Nawaz is Pakistan bureau chief for NBC. Just incredible.
All right, coming um, some really good news from a totally unexpected
place. And we have come up with the perfect way to night cap this week of
the ginormous health reform ruling, the huge one for the Obama
administration courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court. That`s all ahead.
MADDOW: In most adult professions, a 27-year-old person is a pretty young
person. When I was 27, I was a fresh faced assembly line worker at Acme
Horseless Buggy Corporation (ph). It was Roosevelt`s first term, Teddy
Roosevelt. I`m old.
But in pro-basketball, if you`re 27, you are not young. You are at least
The NBA had its player draft last night in the great city of Newark, New
Jersey. The NBA draft is not as over the top and overproduced as the
football draft, but it`s on their way there. They do it in a big arena, in
a big crowd, and lots of hopeful players and their families. At least for
the ballyhooed first part of the draft when they get all the name brand
The first four picks, the most coveted players in the draft this year in
order were 19, 18, 19, and 20 years old. Tall as they all are and rich as
they are about to be, these guys are very young.
Eventually last night, in the second round came the 33rd pick in the draft,
after most of the hype had died down and the crowd had thinned out a little
bit and the electricity in the arena had just about gone away.
But watch this. With the 33rd pick in the 2012 draft, the Cleveland
Cavaliers selected a man named Bernard James, 6`10“ tall, 230 pounds, and
27 years old. The oldest college player drafted by an NBA team in more than
And the room which had been subdued for awhile at that point realized who
had just been picked and they went nuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This might be the best moment of the draft. Bernard James as you
see his bio blast, is getting a standing ovation here in the Prudential
Center. Listen to this from crowd.
CROWD: USA, USA, USA!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Why was the 27-year-old player getting drafted and why was
everybody chanting “USA, USA, USA” when Bernard James got picked? One
reason. When he was 17 years old, Bernard James enlisted in the United
States Air Force. In six years of service, he served three tours of duty in
Iraq and Afghanistan and Qatar. He achieved the rank of staff sergeant.
Staff Sergeant James is also a hellacious intramural basketball player. And
at an armed forces tournament in 2005, he caught the eye of the head coach
of Florida State. After he got out of the service, Bernard James wound up
with a scholarship for Florida State for whom he was also a hellacious
And last night, Bernard James, after three tours of duty in the Air Force,
signing up after 9/11, became the oldest college player drafted by an NBA
team in decades. The Cleveland team picked him and then traded his rights
to the team in Dallas to the Dallas Mavericks for whom it just became a bit
harder not a cheer – as long as they have Bernard James which is awesome.
And it`s not even the end of the show. That technically wasn`t the best new
thing in the world. There`s more to come.
MADDOW: Happy Friday.
A lot of things in the booze world are kind of related to health care. At
least they`re related ostensibly to medicine.
Here`s a prescription form for medicinal liquor from the Prohibition Era.
Yes, booze is banned unless your doctor says you need it as medicine.
Same goes for bitters. Sure you`d never drink alcohol, but head down to the
pharmacist for herbal to settle your stomach or something. It`s medicine.
And so, on the occasion of the historic Supreme Court ruling, upholding
health reform this week, something that as a country we`ve been trying to
do for a century, on that occasion, we can pick from a litany of drinks
named for the spiritual overlap between makes you feel better and makes you
feel tipsy. The stumbly, blurry line between cures what ails you and will
ail you in the morning.
For example, there`s the monkey gland cocktail named after a dubious
aphrodisiac idea having to do with monkeys` testicles and you and a doctor,
long story. I once made Jimmy Fallon drink one of those. Monkey gland.
There`s a Tiki drink called the painkiller. That`s like a pina colada on
steroids, a good medical themed drink, the painkiller.
The corpse reviver number two which is vaguely health related-ish, bringing
somebody back from the dead. Clear! We made that one in the office on the
video machine awhile ago, about a year ago.
But tonight, our celebratory cocktail moment commemoration of this being
the week of the Supreme Court`s big health care reform ruling was an easy
one. It`s in honor specifically of this guy – the guy with his arm in the
sling from the ads in Massachusetts that marketed Romneycare to the
residents of that state, which frankly Democrats and liberals and the Obama
administration really finally need to get to for the country now that
federal health reform is safe at least from the courts.
In recognition of the need to sell health reform and in honor of this guy
from those ads with his arm in the sling, I present to you the gin-sling.
Get it? Sling?
I know. That`s kind of cheesy. You know, we were going to make a
prescription julep, but we`ve already done that, I think. Anyway, so, what
we`re using is awesome Death`s Door gin from Wisconsin, which is really,
really good gin and it`s from Wisconsin. You do an ounce and a half of gin.
You do sweet vermouth. We`ve got very fancy, Italian Carpano Antica sweet
vermouth, which is lovely and kind of taste like vanilla, 3/4 ounce of
Now we need to do 1/2 ounce of lemon juice, which – say it with me now –
has to come from a lemon, which is a fruit that grows on a tree. Did we get
a new lemon squeezer? This is nice. What happened to our old one? Budget
All right. Half an ounce of lemon juice and half an ounce of simple syrup,
which is just a one to one Mix of sugar and water. You can make it at home.
We apparently are rolling in the dough and so now we have a special pitcher
of it. Half an ounce of simple syrup, and three dashes of the best thing in
the world otherwise known as Angostura bitters.
One, two, three. All you do is shake that up with ice – like you mean it.
You really have to shake it. Pour that over ice, in a lovely glass like
this. Make sure you spill it on the desk so that the morning Saturday
anchors have some stickiness to look forward to. Add a little soda like
Come up with some sort of fancy garnish, a wedge of lemon. It`s a gin-
sling. You have to market health reform if you want to benefit from it
That does it for us tonight. Have a great weekend at the cozy little place
you have set up for yourself – in prison.
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