The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/07/12

Guests:
Terrence Henry
Transcript:

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

And thanks to you at me for joining us this hour. The Obama campaign
announced today that at the president`s big campaign event tomorrow, in the
all-important swing state of Colorado, the president will be introduced to
the crowd in Denver by Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student
who became a household name thanks to the Republican crusade earlier this
year against contraception.

Just in case it wasn`t clear enough that women voters are absolutely
essential to the Obama re-election strategy, choosing Sandra Fluke for this
high profile gig at this campaign event tomorrow not only shows that the
Obama campaign is prioritizing women`s issues in the campaign, but it`s
frankly showing by example, by doing this in Colorado, that policy about
women and women voters caring about policy about women, can be absolutely
definitive in a general election, even when everything else is going
against the Democratic candidate.

And here`s what I mean – in 2010, in a year when the entire country
went red, in just a landslide election for Republicans, almost from coast
to coast, in 2010, in a purple state like Colorado, frankly, the Democrats
had no business holding on to the U.S. senate seat that they had up that
year. All of the major poll watchers, all of the major election
predictors, all of the people who describe what`s likely to happen in
election years before election, all of those folks described what was about
to happen in that Colorado Senate race in 2010 as either a toss-up or leans
Republican.

But on Election Day, it went blue. It went to the Democrat, Michael
Bennet. It did not go to this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Why should we vote for you?

KEN BUCK (R-CO), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: Why should you vote for me?
Because I do not wear high heels.

REPORTER: Are you for abortion or against abortion? If you`re for
it, what instances would you allow for abortion?

BUCK: I`m pro-life and I`ll answer the next question. I don`t
believe in the exceptions of rape or incest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: With an opponent like that in a race that he was expected to
lose, the Democrat, Michael Bennet, decided not to stick his head in the
sand and pretend like issues like this don`t have any political
significance or engaging on issues like this risks offending someone
somewhere. Michael Bennet went on the offense on reproductive rights and
women`s health. He nailed the Republican Ken Buck on these issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: Since candidate supported
criminalizing abortion in cases of rape and incest, my question is: who is
going to go to jail, Ken?

BUCK: Who is going to go to jail?

BENNET: When you criminalize abortion in the case of rape and incest,
and an abortion occurs, who`s going to jail?

DR. ELIZA BUYERS, OB/GYN: As a doctor, I try to protect the health of
women. That`s what I do. That`s why I`m very disturbed by Ken Buck.

AD NARRATOR: Who is Ken Buck, and does he speak for Colorado? Ken
Buck even wants to ban common forms of birth control. And Buck`s view on
abortion –

BUCK: I`m pro-life and I`ll answer the next question. I don`t
believe in the exceptions of rape or incest.

BUYERS: As far as I`m concerned, Ken Buck is just too extreme for
Colorado.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: That was how Michael Bennet won a Senate race he was never
supposed to win in an election year that went Republican almost everywhere
else in 2010.

And what did Democrat Michael Bennet`s win look like in Colorado?

Tada! Women`s votes – that`s the vote among women. He only won the
election by a very slim margin, but look at his margin among women voters,
17 points, duh! And thereby, Michael Bennet won the race.

And that Michael Bennet playbook from Colorado from 2010 provides the
political logic which explains why you are this year seeing ads like these
from President Obama`s presidential campaign. There are now three of these
ads. The first one came out July 7th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: Every woman who believes decisions about our bodies and
our health care should be our own is troubled Mitt Romney supports
overturning Roe versus Wade. For women, Planned Parenthood means life
saving cancer screens and family planning services. But for Mitt Romney –

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Planned Parenthood, we`re
going to get rid of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never felt this way before, but it`s a scary
time to be a woman. Mitt Romney is just so out of touch.

AD NARRATOR: Mitt Romney opposes requiring insurance coverage for
contraception and he supports overturning Roe versus Wade. Romney backed a
bill that outlaws all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not the 1950s. Contraception is so
important to women. It`s a part of woman being able to make decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t remember anyone as extreme as Romney.

ROMNEY: I`ll cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think Mitt Romney can even understand
the mindset of someone who has to go to Planned Parenthood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Three separate ads on women`s reproductive rights over the
last month from the Obama campaign. And these are not just running on the
web or in a liberal market here and there. These are big official campaign
ad buys. These are on TV in places the president is trying really hard to
win.

And in the swing state of Colorado tomorrow, introducing the president
at his big campaign event in Denver is going to be the woman who
accidentally made conservatives say what they meant when they launched
their Republican offensive earlier this year against American women`s
access to contraception.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What does it say about the
college coed Susan Fluke who goes before a congressional committee and
essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make
her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.

Ms. Fluke, have you ever heard of not having sex? Have you ever heard
of not having sex so often?

The women in her law school program are having so much sex, they are
going broke buying birth control pills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was a conservative radio talk show host named Rush
Limbaugh. Mr. Limbaugh not only just being kind of disgusting there, but
also putting on display the fact that apparently nobody ever explained to
him how birth control works. Have you ever thought about not having sex so
often?

It`s like he thinks each time you want to have sex, you have to go to
a birth control vending machine and buy a new pill for that sexual
experience or something. I mean, of all people – I`m no expert – but,
dude, you can look it up, anybody can look it up. More sex does not mean
more birth control pills. You just take one a day and do what you want.
You don`t understand how they work.

Sandra Fluke became a household name because of the ridiculousness of
those types of attacks against her by conservatives, led by Rush Limbaugh.
And also, I think, because the presumptive Republican nominee for president
at that point, Mitt Romney, refused to distance himself from those attacks.
You may remember that Mr. Romney at the time just said that Mr. Limbaugh`s
language was not the same language he would have used.

So he wouldn`t have said slut. He might have said another synonym for
that or something?

The reason Sandra Fluke at that point was a public figure to be
attacked by the guys in the first place was because of her advocacy. She
was doing advocacy on Capitol Hill as a Georgetown law student advocating
for health insurance plans covering the full range of health care including
reproductive contraception, which we now know, not just in spring when all
that happen, but in a continuing way for this whole election year, we now
know that that policy issue of access to birth control is going to be a
continuing source of fake outrage for the political right, apparently right
up until the election.

Ever since the Obama administration issued this new rule as part of
the health reform law that health insurance plans must cover women`s
preventive health services, including contraception, Republicans in
Congress have been saying how upset this makes them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Imposing this
requirement, the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its
constitutional boundaries.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: The Obama
administration has crossed a dangerous line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Obama coercion starts today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re no longer free in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: One major problem with all of the Republicans` performative
outrage about how birth control access is going to be the end of the
republic and the ruination of freedom and democracy, one of the major
problems with this has always been the fact that 28 states already had
exactly the same rule in effect. In many cases, for years, before this new
national health reform rule was even dreamed up.

Some of these politicians and organizations that were screaming and
yelling about the new birth control requirement were screaming and yelling
from states that already had contraceptive requirements in place, which
never bothered them. Fake outrage.

It`s the same kind of fake outrage we`re seeing now from the folks at
Wheaton College in Illinois. We talked about Wheaton College`s awkward
predicament a little bit on last night`s show. Wheaton College says, of
course, that it is deeply, morally and religiously offended by emergency
contraception. They say they wanted to apply for an exemption to the new
contraception rule so their health plans wouldn`t have to cover emergency
contraception because of the school`s religious objections.

The problem was Wheaton College could not apply for an exemption from
the rule because Wheaton college already covered emergency contraception in
their health insurance plans. Voluntarily. Without being outraged by it.
Nobody even noticing it, let alone them being outraged by it.

And so, Wheaton has tried to scramble to get rid of the coverage.
They tried to get rid of it in time to proclaim their moral outrage so they
could qualify for an exemption to the new rule they were already, but they
didn`t get rid of their emergency contraception coverage fast enough to do
that.

So, now, they are suing the Obama administration over the new health
insurance rule on the grounds that the school faces the prospect of
irreparable harm to its religious freedom, its integrity – that`s rich –
and its employees` wellbeing.

The school says it faces irreparable harm if they have to provide that
coverage that they provided up in until a couple month ago whereupon it
occurred to them that they ought to be outraged about it or at least say
they`re outraged?

It`s fake outrage. We are seeing that exact same dynamic play out
today on the presidential campaign trail on another subject. In the Romney
campaign`s most overt and comprehensive effort yet to change the subject
from Mr. Romney refusing to release his tax returns, the Romney campaign
today launched a whole brand new attack that is not about contraception,
not about reproductive rights. This one is about welfare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress
helped end welfare as we know it, by requiring work for welfare.

But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut
welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama`s plan, you
wouldn`t have to work and wouldn`t have to train for a job. They just send
you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old
welfare.

Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.

ROMNEY: I`m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The policy change that is the basis for this big new ad buy
is a change that was requested from the Obama administration by Republican
governors. The change does not get rid of the work requirement at all.
The ad is totally wrong about that. In fact, the Obama administration says
explicitly, if states want to weaken the work requirements, they will not
get a waiver to do so.

But the Obama administration is offering waivers to say if you want to
experiment with your welfare program to try some new state approach to get
more people into the work force, you can go for it. You can apply for a
waver to do that. And this again was requested of the administration by
Republican governors.

And back when Mitt Romney was a Republican governor in 2005, he made
the same request of the federal government. That states be given waivers
to experiment with their welfare programs to try to get more people
working. He asked for this himself.

Look, there`s his name. It`s memorable whenever you see his signature
because I feel his signature looks like it has a sideways emoticon of
somebody going like this. It`s distinctive.

When you see his signature, you remember it, because of the sideways
emoticon.

So, there`s Mitt Romney requesting the welfare change, along with Jeb
Bush and Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour, also Tim Pawlenty, also Jon
Huntsman, also Rick Perry, also Mitch Daniels. Even though Mark Sanford
was on the list before he had his hike up the Appalachian trail, by which I
mean he went to Argentina with his mistress.

The Romney campaign`s big new ad, their big new campaign effort that
they let reporters know about in advance because they wanted people to
think this was a big deal, to let people know it was coming, right? They
wanted to make a huge deal out of it. Their big, new gambit is outrage
over the Obama administration doing what Mitt Romney and other Republican
governors asked them to do – which presumably they didn`t find outrageous
when they considering with about it, but now they say they find it
outrageous.

They do not find it outrageous. They`re feigning outrage in order to
have something to talk about that is not Mitt Romney`s tax returns.

In this case, Mitt Romney is Wheaton College, right, pretending for
political purposes to be outraged about something they have done themselves
which they palpably do not find outrageous. If they did it outrageous,
they wouldn`t have done it voluntarily.

But you know, there is something else going on here, which is
important, and it`s actually a genuine side to the outrage factor here, and
it`s this. It is the really obvious racial resentment card that is being
played here. And this is not something that I go looking for. I`m talking
about it because it`s obvious.

Here`s the 1990 Jesse Helms ad, the famous Jesse Helms ad that
everybody calls the hands ad. It`s frankly part of the political science
dictionary, as a means of stoking white people`s economic resentment of
black people. It shows a white working man`s hands angrily crumpling up a
rejection notice while the narrator explains that the white man did not get
the job because of essentially handouts to black people.

Jesse Helms used that in his Senate race in North Carolina against
Harvey Gantt, who was African-American. And Jesse Helms was never
embarrassed by stuff like this. Jesse Helms was, shall we say, an
unreconstructed conservative.

But most people have learned to be embarrassed about stoking racial
resentment on economic issues. Most people have learned to at least make
it a little more subtle if you want to use it on a political context, but
it is lurking beneath the surface whenever you go looking for it.

Right before the midterm elections, right before the 2010 elections,
you may remember the chairman of the Virginia Beach Republican Party sent
around this e-mail, it was a joke.

“My dog. I went down this morning to sign up my dog for welfare. At
first, the lady said, `Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare.` So I
explained my dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can`t speak English and has no
frigging clue who his daddy is.` So she looked in the policy book, my dog
gets its first check Friday. Is this a great country or what?”

The chairman of the Virginia Beach Republican Party later apologized
and agreed to resign.

Just a few weeks ago, back in June, the same sort of thing, incredibly
racist joke about economic issues, about welfare and black entitlement.
That was the entertainment at an Arkansas Tea Party rally.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

INGE MARLER, OZARK TEA PARTY: OK, the new definition of democracy. A
black kid asks his mom, “Mama, what`s a democracy?” “Well, son,” she says,
“that be when white folks work every day so us poor folks can get all our
benefits.”

“But, Mama, don`t the white folk get mad about that?” She said, “They
sure do, son. They sure do. And that`s called racism.”

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was the Tea Party speaker`s ice breaker joke, which got
a big warm round of applause in Mountain Home, Arkansas, at a Tea Party
event back in June.

It`s exactly the same thing that Newt Gingrich was tapping when he was
running around the Republican president campaign calling President Obama
the food stamps president, the same thing that made up probably the lowest
low point of Rick Santorum`s campaign for the presidency as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have looked at
all of the economic plans, but President Obama wants to do, his economic
plan is to make more people dependent upon the government. I don`t want to
make black people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money. I
want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide
for themselves and their families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Rick Santorum`s campaign did have a number of low points, but
that was maybe the lowest. It was leavened only by the hilarity of how he
tried to explain his way out of having said that on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I have looked at that quote. And in fact, I looked at the
video. I don`t – in fact, I`m pretty confident I didn`t say black. I
started to say a word and sort of – sort of mumbled it and changed my
thought. But I don`t – I don`t recall saying black. I was starting to
say one word and sort of came up with a different word and moved on. And
it sounded like black.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I didn`t say black people. Dependent on the government, I
said – people.

Did you know that Rick Santorum got a speaking gig at the Republican
National Convention they just announced? I look forward to his speech
about – people should support Republican Party has a lot to offer to –
people of America. I mean, really?

The big new Romney campaign push to say welfare six times in the same
ad about President Obama purporting to be outraged about a policy that
Republican governors requested, that Mitt Romney himself requested, is at
one level just another example of faking being outraged about something
that does not outrage you. It`s Wheaton College pretending it`s outraged
over covering emergency contraception when it already does that, right?

But this is also a blunt illusion to the populist racial politics of
white economic racial resentment, and the Romney campaign has to know it.
They`re not dumb, which means that frankly they`re so worried about the
continued discussion of Mitt Romney`s tax returns that they would rather
change the subject to just exactly how overtly racist their new campaign ad
is. That means they`re worried.

Melissa Harris-Perry joins us for just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare
reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama`s plan, you wouldn`t
have to work and wouldn`t have to train for a job. They just send you your
welfare check, and welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That is not true. As a factual policy matter, that is not
true. But it is out there, and strategically, it seems to be part of the
Romney campaign`s new bid to try to change the subject away from what
everybody else has been talking about for weeks now, which is their own
candidate`s refusal to release his tax returns.

This is a new gambit from the campaign, part of an effort to start
talking about anything, anything else, even if it is what I believe to be
obvious dog whistle racism in this newest campaign gambit.

Joining us now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of the great MSNBC
weekend morning show with the same name.

Melissa, it`s good to see you. Thank you for being here.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Absolutely. Happy to do it.

MADDOW: Is this Newt Gingrich`s food stamps president redux? Is this
President Reagan`s welfare queen redux? Is this – is this anything new,
or is this part of a pattern?

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, don`t miss it, there`s another part of the
pattern. And that is President Bill Clinton`s welfare reform redux. In
other words, I want to be clear about how African-American single mothers
who are in circumstances of poverty and trying to raise their children in
difficult circumstances. That`s what we`re talking about when we use this
kind of welfare queen bogeyman, and certainly, Ronald Reagan and his
Republican predecessors – excuse me, the people who came after him are the
people who gave us the language, stoked the fire in both local elections
like Jesse Helms that you pointed out earlier around affirmative action,
but also George Bush`s campaign and Willie Horton and all of that.

But it is also the tactic that was used by Bill Clinton to move the
Democratic Party nationally far enough to the right to win the votes that
turned the party in part into, I think, a much less courageous party around
questions of race. And so, you know, earlier, you were pointing out the
importance of talking about women`s reproductive rights and going right at
that and saying, Democrats are going to be brave about this. And make this
an issue on which they will run.

But the fact is Democrats are going to have to eschew the legacy of
Bill Clinton and go at the question of racial equality.

MADDOW: On the issue of policy here, though, one of the things that I
think hamstrings the Obama campaign is they have made essentially no policy
on welfare issues. At least nothing that sparked this. I mean, the waiver
of the request they have granted from the Republican governors is a very
mild change to this policy that will play out differently in different
states depending on whether or not they get these waivers, whether or not
they use them. And it doesn`t have any national political implications
because there is no national policy change except to give states a little
more flexibility.

And so, President Obama isn`t doing something here that he can
campaign on. The attack seems to be the political act here, not the
policy.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. I think those are the two pieces. So, on
one side, there`s a policy point here where the president is actually
contributing to a kind of state`s rights philosophy, right? Which the
Republicans claim to be at the center of their own political ideology, this
idea of states making their own choices, but we know that the conservatives
tend to only want that if they believe that states are going to make
choices that track towards conservative policies and ideological position.

So, for example, they`re not very interested in state by state
marriage equality. They are very interested in state by state reductions
of Planned Parenthood capacity, for example.

So, on one hand, there`s this policy issue where the president can
say, look, I haven`t made any serious change, and to the extent I have, it
actually moves towards states rights and that what you claim you like.

But I do think on the question of tactics and this position you can
use African-American bodies and particularly the bodies of poor black women
as a bogeyman, as a wedge that basically, the goal here is to distract
white women who if they pay attention to what`s going on with reproductive
rights, will overwhelmingly choose President Obama and congressional
Democrats to encourage them not to think about that issue but instead to
stoke racial resentment primarily among white women voters in order to get
them to vote their race rather than their gender.

MADDOW: Your academic work and your writing about the stoking of
white economic resentment against liberalism in general is more than
anything shaped my thinking about this, is why I wanted to talk to you
about it tonight. So, thank you for doing the academic work and thanks for
being here tonight. I appreciate it.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Melissa Harris-Perry, of course, is host of “MELISSA HARRIS-
PERRY” show, weekends here on MSNBC.

All right. It`s primary election day in Missouri, in Kansas, in
Michigan and Washington. So you know what that means? Reindeer.

Later on, junior high school playground taunts among Republican rival
candidates, neener-neener. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Things are getting a little shaky in the great state of Texas
– shaky in an unexpected way, but not in an inexplicable way. That whole
amazing story is next on the show.

Plus, we`ve got some primary election results coming up tonight.
Please do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: In this country, right now, I think we may be in a moment
where something is changing along the number line, when a thing turns from
science into business into policy, and then ultimately into politics. It`s
about energy. Energy production in this country – the question or whether
or not we pursue certain sources of energy – it`s always been defined in
part by how dangerous we feel that is.

Nuclear energy, for example, was a huge hit in America. At one point,
it was the wave of the future until Three Mile Island happened and then the
nuclear wave receded back to the sea. We haven`t seen new reactor built
since.

People began to feel like whatever its potential upside was, it was
maybe too dangerous to be worth it to pursue more nuclear power. Part of
the way that that widespread feeling like that gets established, the
feeling that something isn`t worth it or something is at least dangerous
enough to look into whether or not it`s worth it, part of that is when you
get powerful images, images like Three Mile Island or images like this – a
guy who in Colorado who`s able to set his tap water on fire because of the
natural drilling that`s happening in the area where he lives. Enough
methane gas has crept in his water supply that his tap water has become
flammable. That`s from the movie “Gasland.”

But what if it`s not just the water coming out of your tap that you`re
able to set on fire? What if it`s also puddles that are collecting on your
property?

This is a video of a man in northeast Pennsylvania collecting water
from a puddle bubbling up near his house. And then he`s able to light the
fumes off the water on fire.

State officials think a natural gas energy company drilling in the
area may be responsible for stray gas getting into the ground water that`s
bubbling up there. Here`s what it looks like just one county over from
there. This is a geyser shooting methane infused water 30 feet into the
air. That geyser is located right by three natural gas drilling wells
operated apparently by Shell Oil.

Images like that are the kind of thing that can have real political
impact, that can make the drilling issue less like science, less like
geology, less like geology becoming business, and more like policy and
politics. And sometimes, it is more than just images.

OK, Timpson, Texas – Timpson, Texas, T-I-M-P-S-O-N – 10:15 local
time in the morning of May 10th. In Timpson, Texas, the ground begins to
shake. Timpson is in east Texas. That morning in May, something residents
there are not really used to happened, a 3.7 magnitude earthquake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTEL PHILLIPS, KSLA: East Texas has experienced a space shuttle
crash, a devastating hurricane, and now add earthquake to the disasters.

LANE LUCKE, KSLA: Seismologists first recorded the tremor around
10:15 this morning. A 3.7 earthquake was felt in portions of Shelby,
Nacogdoches and Panola Counties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: A 3.7 earthquake in east Texas, sort of unheard of. The
Timpson city secretary told a news station she initially thought a nearby
train had derailed. She said it shook the whole city hall for about 15 to
20 seconds. Even the experts couldn`t seem to figure it out.

Gary Patterson of the U.S. Geological Survey in Memphis says survey
geologists are baffled by the event. He says, quote, “It`s not where we
would normally see earthquakes in Texas.”

It`s kind of a mystery this thing in Timpson, Texas. No injuries
reported. There were some minor damage to local buildings, but a 3.7
magnitude earthquake came and went in a place there are never are
earthquakes and nobody seemed to know why.

Then a week later, it happened again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TV ANCHOR: For the second time in just a week, in just the fourth
time since 1981, an earthquake has struck in east Texas. A little after
3:00 this morning, a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit about four miles east of
Timpson. The quake hit only about six miles from where last week`s
earthquake was reported.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So in the space of just seven days, two separate earthquakes
struck an area of Texas that is not known for having earthquakes.

A second one, the 4.3 magnitude quake, was the strongest earthquake to
hit east Texas in nearly half a century.

Then three days later, it happened again. A 2.7 magnitude earthquake
struck in the exact same area.

A week and a half later, another one. This one clocked in as a 2.5
magnitude quake.

A week after that, the ground began to shake beneath north Texas. A
2.3 magnitude earthquake struck just south of Ft. Worth, in the town of
Cleburne. That was June 5th.

And this happened just 10 days later.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REPORTER: A 3.1 magnitude earthquake has struck an area just north of
Cleburne. That`s near Ft. Worth. The U.S. Geological Survey says it
happened just after 2:00 a.m. Thankfully, no damage or injuries have been
reported.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, at this point, areas in north and east Texas that do not
typically experience earthquakes at all have been hit with six earthquakes
in the span of about a month. The last one happened on June 15th.

Then on June 23rd, there was another one. On June 24th, there was
another one. On June 26th, there was another one. On June 29th, there was
one more. Four more earthquakes in north Texas in the span of one week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: People simply telling us they have never seen anything like
this before – their houses, their businesses, going through these
earthquakes. And for many of them, they don`t believe this is just a
natural coincidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Yes, you think? They don`t believe this is a natural
coincidence.

Over a span of 40 days between June and July, north Texas was rocked
by an astonishing 11 separate earthquakes.

But there`s something really interesting about where the earthquakes
were hitting. “The Houston Chronicle” put together this map. All of the
red markers are known natural gas drilling sites. Notice a pattern?

Ever since fracking has been allowed in that part of the country, the
region has seen a dramatic and unmistakable uptick in the frequency and
intensity of earthquakes.

In 2009, in what`s called the midcontinent region, there were 50
earthquakes. In 2010, that number jumped from 50 earthquakes to 87
earthquakes. In 2011, last year, that number shot from 87 earthquakes all
the way up to 134 earthquakes in one year.

What`s the cause for this? A brand new study out this week from the
University of Texas now echoes what at least three other recent studies
have shown. The earthquakes in Texas may be caused by natural gas drilling
in the area – actually, not the drilling specifically, but the process of
injecting the waste water from that drilling back into the Earth. The U.T.
study found that most of the epicenters for these quakes were located
within two miles of one or more waste water injection wells.

Despite all of the evidence piling up that the process of natural gas
drilling may in fact not just be caused methane to creep into the water
supply in places like Colorado and Texas, but may also be causing
earthquakes in Texas.

Despite all of that evidence, the politics around it haven`t seems to
have changed just yet. The Texas Railroad Commission, which for some
reason regulates all drilling in Texas, I don`t know why, either. They`re
currently denying any link between waste water disposal wells and
earthquakes in Texas saying, quote, “Commission staff have no science or
data at this time linking the minor seismic events to oil field
activities.”

At this time, no science or data. At this time. Times may be
changing.

Joining us now is Terrence Henry, former editor, writer and web
producer for “The Washington Post” and “The Atlantic”. Lately, he`s been
writing a lot about Texas fracking as energy and environment reporter for
“StateImpact Texas”, which has published great work about that.

Terrence, it`s nice to see you. Thank you for being here.

TERRENCE HENRY, STATEIMPACT TEXAS: Thanks for having me. Rachel.

MADDOW: So, in terms of me explaining what`s been happening in Texas
and what we know about the science here, did I get anything wrong there?
Did I leave anything important out?

HENRY: No, I think you covered it pretty well. Like you said,
there`s been a huge spate of earthquakes, particularly in north Texas.

The important distinction, I think, is that fracking isn`t causing the
earthquakes but it`s the disposal of waste water from fracking. And what`s
happening is, is they have to essentially take this water sand and chemical
mixture and put it in a giant underground dumpster. So these disposal
wells are more than 13,000 feet deep. And when they`re doing this, it`s
causing some faults to slip and it`s causing some of the small earthquakes
in places like you said that have had no seismic activity really before
this time.

MADDOW: Do they have to be dumping the waste water 13,000 feet deep
into the water? Do they have other options for other ways they could
handle this part of the drilling process?

HENRY: Well, that could be something they`ll start looking at, at
some of the wells that have been blamed for the earthquakes. Not all of
these disposal wells in this area of seismic activity have caused the
quakes, but about 70 of them have. So, one thing they could stop doing is
stop injecting the waste water down there.

Another thing to do is put it in a different disposal well that`s
known not to cause quakes. There`s the possibility of treating it, setting
it back certain distances from seismic areas. So there are options to deal
with it.

MADDOW: It does seem like – I mean, if this weren`t serious, it
would seem like almost a comic game of what could possibly go wrong. One
of the rejoinders to the concern about this so far has been essentially
that these earthquakes are small, that aside from very minor damage, these
have not been the kinds of earthquakes that should be thought of as
disasters or causing any real harm to humans.

Is there any assurance that the quakes will never be larger than they
have been so far now that there seems to be a strong correlation between
this part of the drilling process and the quakes themselves?

HENRY: Well, we talked to the U.S. Geological Survey about that and
they said there isn`t any assurance that they won`t become more intense.

Obviously, as you pointed out, and our reporting has covered the
intensity of this – sorry, the frequency has definitely increased. And
you are seeing quakes up to 3.5, 3.7 in areas that never had earthquakes
before.

So the open question is, well, right now, it`s resulting in broken
windows and cracked walls and foundations. But what about quakes that
happen in areas where there are natural gas or oil pipelines? Pipelines
that weren`t built to specifications to withstand earthquakes?

MADDOW: That was going to be my last question.

HENRY: OK.

MADDOW: Because the area is not seen as being earthquake prone,
infrastructure in the area for all sorts of things, but particularly
infrastructure around the oil and energy industry, it`s not built to
withstand quakes, is it?

HENRY: I think that`s a question that hopefully you know the railroad
commission and drillers themselves will look into. The thing to remember
is that the quakes have been pretty small in size, and also the distance
that the quake has gone as been small. So far, it`s been very localized
effects and minor damage.

But certainly, as drilling happens and closer and closer to people and
their homes, and people start feeling earthquakes because of it, it`s going
to bring up the questions and hopefully this is something we can all look
into.

MADDOW: Terrence Henry, energy and environment reporter for
“StateImpact Texas” – again, your work on this has been both more
comprehensive than anybody else and but also really clear. So, thank you
for helping us cover the story. I really appreciate it.

HENRY: Thank you.

MADDOW: Thanks.

OK. Republican A is running against Republican B in a primary
election for the U.S. Congress tonight. And just who is Republican A
politically? Well, Republican B has already vowed not to support
Republican A should Republican A make it to November against a Democrat.

And it`s not because Republican A is too moderate. Election night
coverage is weird tonight. And it`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: I just got something wrong. I said that Three Mile Island
was 1974, when it wasn`t at all. It was 1979, which was totally dumb of me
and my own fault. I`m very sorry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: It`s Election Day today in Michigan and in Missouri and in
Kansas and in Washington state. The Democratic parties and Republican
parties in those states are having primaries today.

So, for example, Kansas Democrats are picking candidates to run
against these incumbent members of Congress. Michigan Republicans are
picking someone to run against Senator Debbie Stabenow in the Senate.
Missouri Republicans are picking someone to run against Claire McCaskill.
Washington state is picking general election candidates to replace
Congressman Jay Inslee, who is running for governor in Washington. He is,
himself, expected to advance to the gubernatorial ballot in tonight`s
voting.

So primaries tonight, but the most interesting race in all of these
states tonight, I`ve got to say, is this guy`s race. At least it was
supposed to be this guy`s race. He, of course, is Thaddeus McCotter, who
has been the kind of congressman who really would play the Rolling Stones
song “Satisfaction” on a guitar with an American flag on it while lamenting
that Silvio Berlusconi has been busted for sleeping with underage
prostitutes that but at least he got his “Satisfaction.”

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter intended to run for re-election this
year, but he screwed it up. The signatures on his petition to get himself
on the ballot turned out to be really obviously fraudulent and faked. He
therefore did not qualify for the ballot, and after a little hemming and
hawing about it, he dropped out and he resigned from Congress. The door on
Thaddeus McCotter`s congressional career just closed shut.

Sometimes when doors close shut, a window mysteriously opens or a
chimney flue flies open. In this case, the man who was the only name left
on the Republican primary ballot for that congressional seat, the man who
became suddenly relevant in Michigan politics after Thaddeus McCotter self-
destructed is this guy who came down the chimney, Kerry Bentivolio, Santa
Claus impersonator.

He`s a reindeer herder, he`s a failed Senate candidate, he`s on the
ballot and no other Republican is. He`s also on the interweb machine at
his very own Web site, oldfashionedsanta.org. The caption on this
shirtless picture here is, “Owner Kerry Bentivolio scratches reindeer ear
on a warm spring day.”

Once everybody figured out that the shirtless reindeer guy really was
going to be the only Republican on the ballot, it was interesting. The
political right decided that Santa would be their guy. He got endorsed by
FreedomWorks, the multimillion dollar Astroturfing right wing Koch brothers
and corporate-funded group, he got not only endorsed, but he also got over
$300,000 from a PAC with ties to Ron Paul.

I mean, establishment Republicans are still trying to get around the
Santa reindeer guy. They are waging, in fact, a write-in campaign for
Nancy Cassis. If it works, she would be only the fourth person in U.S.
history to win a congressional primary as a write-in candidate. She has
already said that even though she is a Republican and the Santa reindeer
guy is also a Republican, she says she will not endorse Kerry Bentivolio in
the general election against the Democrats if Mr. Bentivolio wins this
primary today.

Polls have been closed for just about an over, I guess just under two
hours, in Michigan`s 11th district, and with only 18 percent of the
precincts reporting, Mr. Bentivolio does have 65 percent of the vote. The
write-in candidates including Ms. Cassis, but maybe just her, so far have
35 percent. But again, less than 20 percent of the vote in.

In 2010, Michigan Republicans redrew the district, so this district,
the 11th district, swings so far to the right that it might as well be in
Alabama. And in any normal year, that means whoever wins tonight`s
Republican primary would just be a shoo-in to go to Congress in the general
election. But thanks to Thaddeus McCotter and thanks to the guy at
oldfashionedsanta.org, this is not a normal year in Michigan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Stop me if you`ve heard this one before.

In the 2010 Republican Senate primary in the state of Delaware, a
political consulting firm that had recently worked for the upstart
candidate, Christine O`Donnell, they produced a video with this out of
nowhere accusation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn`t Mike Castle cheating on his wife with a
man? That`s the rumor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That`s the rumor.

Actually, no, it was never the rumor. That never was the rumor until
this video came out during the campaign. When asked about it, Mr. Castle`s
primary opponent, Christine O`Donnell, she played her part perfectly.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O`DONNELL (R), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: I think that that`s
a very tacky approach. I never said that Mike Castle was gay. I don`t
endorse putting out rumors that Mike Castle is gay.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: I would never call Mike Castle gay. Who says Mike Castle is
gay? I think it`s terrible when anybody says Mike Castle? Who said gay?
Gay! Mike Castle, gay? I never said that, gay!

Republicans do this to each other all the time. Texas, 2009. Senator
Kay Bailey Hutchison trying to unseat incumbent Governor Rick Perry. “The
Austin American Statesman” notices that hidden in Senator Hutchison`s
campaign Web site, among a long list of search optimization terms is the
text, “Rick Perry gay” twice.

This is the metadata for the site. You don`t see it at the site
itself. It helps your site pop when people are searching for, say, the
words “Rick Perry gay.” But the Hutchison campaign said it was all a
mistake.

But look at specifically the way they apologized. They said, “We did
not know these offensive word associations were being searched for by
hundreds of thousands of Texans every day, nor do we condone the computer
generated existence on our Website. They will be removed promptly.”

Hundreds of thousands of Texans are searching daily for the words
“Rick Perry gay”. We didn`t know. We would never take advantage of the
fact that hundreds of thousands of Texans are typing “Rick Perry gay” in
their search boxes every day.

Rick Perry, gay? Did somebody say gay? Gay, did you say?

Now, the latest one is in Arizona. Two incumbent Republicans running
against each other in a primary because of redistricting. One of them is
David Schweikert and the other one is this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BEN QUAYLE (R), ARIZONA: I love Arizona. I was raised right.
Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.
Barack Obama –

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That`s Congressman Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President
Dan Quayle, who has yet to knock the hell out of Washington, but he does
want another shot at it. So, which one of these two guys is the star of
the latest episode of the ongoing sad Republican reality series called,
“Hey, you, I`m calling you gay”?

In this case, it`s Ben Quayle. This is the mailer the Schweikert
campaign sent out this weekend. You`re looking at the front of it, “Ben
Quayle, he goes both ways,” dot, dot, dot. The ellipses do quite a lot of
there. If you flip the flyer over, you find oh, that Ben Quayle goes both
ways on important conservative issues. Just for good measure, it`s
repeated a couple more times on the back, Ben Quayle, he goes both ways,
both ways. Very subtle, Dave Schweikert, subtle.

And, of course, when called on the insinuations in the flyer, a
Schweikert campaign spokesman got to repeat the key phrase, saying, quote,
“The mail piece was clearly intended to say `both ways,` taking the liberal
and conservative side on the issues.”

Did we mention he goes both ways? Ben Quayle goes both ways. We said
that. Did anybody say he goes both ways? It wasn`t us. That`s not what
we went.

You stay classy, Republican Party. You stay classy with a “K.”

Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a
great night.

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

Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>