The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/15/12
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening. Ed. Thanks my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
On a day like today, you can really tell that campaign season is in
full bloom because the swing states are just saturated with candidates and
campaigning, right? President Obama making two separate campaign stops in
Iowa today, Vice president Joe Biden campaigning in Virginia. Republican
presidential nominee Mitt Romney busied himself with some closed-door fund-
raisers today. But luckily for the Romney campaign, they have a brand
spanking new running mate to send out to the swing states, so Paul Ryan was
dispatched to a campaign event in Ohio tonight.
States that are shaded purple on the presidential election map are
awash in presidential aspiration on days like today. And they`re going to
stay that way until November.
But now with the Republicans adding Paul Ryan to the ticket, Paul Ryan
of the Ryan budget, Paul Ryan of the kill Medicare Ryan budget. Now the
Obama campaign sees an opportunity to capture a demographic group in those
swing states that they had trouble with in 2008.
Look at these numbers. This was voters 65 and older in the `08
presidential election. President Obama even while winning that election by
a lot, he lost 65-year-old voters and older to John McCain by a whopping
But this year, now that President Obama is running against the kill
Medicare guy, this year, Democrats think they can close that gap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, Mr. Romney and his
running mate have a very different plan. They want to turn Medicare into a
voucher program. That means seniors would no longer have the guarantee of
Medicare. They`d get a voucher to buy private insurance.
My plan has already extended Medicare by nearly a decade. Their plan
ends Medicare as we know it.
My plan reduces the cost of Medicare by cracking down on fraud and
waste and subsidies to insurance companies. Their plan makes seniors pay
more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.
That`s the difference between our plans on Medicare. That`s an
example of the choice in this election. And that is why I`m running for a
second term as president of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is the new message that President Obama is carrying to
older voters in the swing states now that the Republicans have picked Paul
Ryan. Democrats are trying to change their odds with older voters. not
just in Iowa where the president delivered those remarks today, but in all
of the crucial swing states.
I mean, think about it. On the one side, you have good old familiar
Pennsylvania swing state native Joe Biden and President Obama touring the
swing states, talking about how they are defending Medicare from the
Republicans who want to kill it. And on the other side, you`ll have Mitt
Romney, who has just taken on this young whippersnapper congressman who is
nationally known if he is known for anything at all, as the namesake for
the Republicans` kill Medicare plans from this past Congress.
Suddenly, this election year, the Democrats have a whole new way to go
after older voters and they needed a way to go after older voters. But
Republicans are going after older voter in a whole new way, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTFIED MALE: They always showed an identification, but he didn`t
have to have a picture identification.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should have waited until after the election to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s unfair, yes. It is unfair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a right to vote. And here again, we
struggle through the `60s for the vote right to vote and here it is in
2000, and we`re going through the same things. Come on, it`s a nightmare.
REPORTER: How would you feel if you weren`t able to vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would feel very badly because I know we have
come a long ways, when we could not vote. See, I remember when black folks
did not vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think when you made this law, they
particularly made it to cripple the black race so that Obama will not get
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: After the 2010 midterm election, Pennsylvania`s Republican
legislature passed and its Republican governor Tom Corbett signed into law,
a very strict new photo ID law for voting in Pennsylvania. Under the new
law, if you want to vote in this year`s presidential election in
Pennsylvania, you will have to show a government issued piece of
documentation at the polls you have never had to show in order to vote
That restriction is going to be an important barrier to voting for
older voters who, for obvious reasons don`t tend to have government issued
ID at the same rate at the rest of the population does.
Do you expect to have an unexpired driver`s license when you`re in
your 90s or one that has been expired for less than a year? Mazel tov, I
hope that is true. But most people will not.
Rick Hasen, law professor and election law expert at the University of
California-Irvine has been trying to sound the alarm about how important
Pennsylvania is specifically. Even among all of these Republican states
that have changed their laws about voting ahead of the election to make
voting harder. Hazen is calling Pennsylvania`s new law the most
consequential voter ID case in the country for the purposes of the
presidential election because Pennsylvania is the only presidential swing
state where there is uncertainty as to whether the voter ID law will be in
place this November.
It should be noted that Pennsylvania is a swing state, but
Pennsylvania has been going the Democrats` way in the last few presidential
elections. They have gone blue at the presidential level in every election
for the last 20 years. Blue. See? Blue. Pennsylvania was a blue state
See how blue? It was a blue state in 2004. See how blue it is? It
was a blue state in the year 2000.
Seriously, that`s what Pennsylvania looks like when it votes blue.
That`s what makes Pennsylvania a blue state. They have voted for the
Democrat in all of these presidential elections and in fact all of them
back to 1992.
But the map of Pennsylvania voting in presidential elections looks all
red like this because the less populated rural counties of the state always
vote Republican. It`s the corners, those corners that are the urban part
of the state – Philadelphia on one side and Pittsburgh on the other. And
it`s because of those areas that have so saturated with lots of people who
happen to be mostly Democratic voters that Democrats are able to carry the
state numerically even if they just win in those heavily populated areas on
the edge of the state.
And that means the Democrats un on huge voter turnout specifically in
those urban parts of the state in order to give them the overall state-wide
majority of votes. If something happens to mess up the vote in
Philadelphia, forget about Pennsylvania going to the Democrats.
Well, guess what`s about to happen to Philadelphia? More than 15
percent of active voters in Philadelphia do not appear to have the new
government issued photo documentation that will now be required in order to
The ACLU representing a handful of legal voters who do not have the
necessary documentation sued the state of Pennsylvania over this new law
back in May. Well, today, a state judge in Pennsylvania refused to block
the new law from being enforced ahead of this year`s election. This new
strict voter ID is going ahead. The judge said he ruled that way not
because the law is necessary to combat in-person voter fraud, the state
actually conceded before the hearing even started that they would not prove
there have been any known instances of the type of voter fraud in
Pennsylvania that could conceivably be prevented by this new law.
So the judge ruled that regardless of there being no evidence of the
problem this law was designed to solve, the state would be allowed to
proceed with this new law anyway. His reasoning was that even though in
his judgment anywhere between 1 percent and 9 percent of legal registered
Pennsylvania voters will not be allowed to vote in the presidential
election this year because of the new law, unless between now and then they
figure out how to get this proper ID they right not don`t have, he thinks
that`s OK. He thinks the state can do that to those voters because he
thinks the state is perfectly capable of getting all of those people new
IDs in time.
Seriously, the judge`s reasoning was that hundreds of thousands of
people in Pennsylvania who do not have this kind of ID will be provided it
by the state of Pennsylvania before the election. This of course requires
that the state can handle that influx of work, requires that all of those
hundreds of thousands of people in Pennsylvania are going to have the
documentation they need in order to get the new IDs. It requires that all
of those hundreds of thousands of people are going to have transportation
and access to the Department of Transportation offices in Philadelphia
where you can get these new IDs.
I should perhaps note here that Pennsylvania has the lowest proportion
of government workers to state population of any state in the country. I
should note that 13 of the state`s transportation offices where you can get
these IDs are open only one day a week. Nine Pennsylvania counties don`t
even have one of these offices at all.
And perhaps most pressingly, this whole rationale for the judge
keeping the law in place requires that the hundreds of thousands of legal
voter Pennsylvania residents will know in advance that they have to do all
of this in time to get it done before the election. They`ve got to
complete the paperwork, have their ID issued to them in time to vote.
Well, there is an education effort under way to inform feel about it.
The contract for the job of educating Pennsylvanians on the new voting
restrictions was given to a lobbying firm run by a major Republican donor,
a man who has helped raise $30,000 for the Mitt Romney for president
campaign. He`s also the former executive director of the state Republican
Most of the people expected to be disenfranchised by this ruling, of
course, are Democrats.
During the hearing over whether this law should be allowed to take
effect of ahead of this year`s presidential election, the Republican
Pennsylvania secretary of state, the top election official in the state,
admitted that she didn`t even know what was in the law. She said at the
hearing, quote, “I don`t know what the law says.”
Same thing happened to the Republican governor of the state, Tom
Corbett, when he was asked about the specifics of the new restrictions and
specifically what kind of IDs would satisfy the new law. Here`s what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We have been working with the
nursing homes to get people new IDs. It can be military ID. Two or three
other forms right now off the top of my head, I don`t have it in front of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t really know. I know it`s harder to vote, but I don`t
know how you vote.
The top election official in the state and the guy who signed it into
law do not know what`s in the law. But don`t worry, Pennsylvania is on top
of this thing. There`s no need to worry. At least the House Republican
leader in the state legislature knows what is in the law and why it was
passed in the first place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney
to win the state of Pennsylvania – done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the Pennsylvania state House Republican leader, the
top Republican in the House, in the state legislature in, which is
controlled by the Republicans, telling a cheering crowd at the Republican
state committee meeting last month how awesome the new voter ID restriction
is going to be when it wins the state of Pennsylvania for Mitt Romney.
And in fact, the folks at talking points memo among others have been
pointing out that the estimated number of voters in Pennsylvania who do not
have state issued IDs surpasses President Obama`s margin of victory in the
state in 2008.
So maybe the Republican statehouse leader was right. Maybe this new
law will deliver Pennsylvania to the Republican candidate for president for
the first time in two decades.
The judge deciding whether to let this law stand for the election this
year actually factored that into his decision today. He said, you know,
even if that was part of the motive for passing this voting restriction,
that doesn`t matter. That doesn`t mean Republicans don`t have the power to
do it anyway, even if the reason they did it was to get a partisan
advantage in the election.
This is not a done deal. This particular case is being appealed to
the state Supreme Court and the Justice Department is reportedly
investigating whether or not the law is discriminatory.
But for now, with this ruling today, one of the strictest voter
restrictions in the country is poised to be put in place in one of the
biggest swing states in the country just in time to take care of the
problematic blue corners of that state.
Joining us now is Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez. She`s a senior attorney
and director of the voter protection program at the Advancement Project in
Washington, D.C. Ms. Culliton-Gonzalez supervised the lead attorney for
the plaintiffs in the case where the judge ruled today.
It`s nice to here, ma`am. Thanks for being here.
KATHY CULLITON-GONZALEZ, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Thank you very
MADDOW: Let me ask you if I got any of the details wrong or the
explanation wrong in trying to walk folks through the Pennsylvania voting
law changes and how this lawsuit was handled. Did I screw any of that up?
CULLITON-GONZALEZ: No, you were absolutely right. It`s a sad day in
American democracy when our most sacred right in American democracy, with
all of the proofs and the facts on our side, is set up for a case that
can`t win. We`re appealing tomorrow because we respectfully disagree with
the judge`s decision.
MADDOW: You`re appealing to the state Supreme Court. I understand
because there`s one justice who`s is not going to be sitting in on this
case. She`s been investigated for corruption. As far as I understand,
that`s three judges, three Democrats and three Republicans. And if they
tie, if there is a 3-3 ruling, that ruling redounds to this ruling again
and lets this go ahead.
What are you expecting to happen at the Supreme Court?
CULLITON-GONZALEZ: We`re going to keep fighting and we hope that the
truth will prevail. It looks like it`s going to be very tough battle and
it looks like over a million Pennsylvanians will be disenfranchised.
The main reason we disagree with the decision is because of that
practical application of the law. We believe that Judge Simpson used the
wrong legal theory and we hope the state Supreme Court looks to the facts
and looks to the law and upholds our most fundamental of all American
MADDOW: I understand you`re part of the legal strategy stops next add
the Supreme Court, being handled as a state legal matter, but I also
understand that the justice department is reviewing this law in some cases.
What`s the role for the federal government and the Justice Department
in trying to protect voting rights in Pennsylvania in a case like this?
CULLITON-GONZALEZ: Well, I understand they`re looking into a
possibility of a claim under section two of the Voting Rights Act and
section two of the Voting Rights Act protects against discriminatory
This case clearly has a discriminatory impact against African-
Americans, especially against Latinos, senior citizens and the young. But
for people of color, there`s a clear discriminatory impact that can be
prevented by section two of the Voting Rights Act.
So, our lead plaintiff, Vivian Applewhite, is a 93-year-old African-
American who marched with Dr. King for her voting rights and she`s among
the millions of African-Americans who won`t be able to – excuse me, the
hundreds of thousands of African-Americans and Latinos who won`t be able to
vote this November if the law stands.
The Voting Rights Act was passed to stop these poll taxes, literacy
tests or other types of blocks to equal access to right for people of
MADDOW: I quoted an election expert named Rick Hasen in the
introduction because he is someone I have read on the subject for a long
time, an academic authority who is respected on both sides and he`s been
trying to shine a light on Pennsylvania and saying this is the one that
potentially has the biggest electoral impact.
I know that you in your career have been involved in voter rights and
the protection of the right to vote for a very long time.
What`s your overall assessment of how serious these threats are to the
right to vote in the country this year? And is Pennsylvania what you are
most worried about?
CULLITON-GONZALEZ: We`re worried about voter id and other forms of
voter suppression sweeping the country this year. The Voting Rights Act
was passed to stop these types of poll taxes and literacy tests, but
there`s been a wave across the country. So we`re in litigation with regard
to three states` voter ID laws, very strict photo ID laws that can
There is a wave across the country of 12 photo ID laws. There are
other types of cuts of early voting, all kinds of different types of poll
taxes and literacy tests and ways to block the voting rights of people of
color. And particularly the elderly as you said.
So, it seems that this year there`s an unprecedented wave of voter
suppression laws. There`s a lot of litigation, and millions of voters
could be impacted before November.
MADDOW: Unprecedented. Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez, director of the
voter protection program at the Advancement Project – thanks for joining
us. Please keep us apprised as this heads to the Supreme Court. I
CULLITON-GONZALEZ: Yes, ma`am.
MADDOW: All right, this just in, Mitt Romney was once the governor of
an American state. He has a governing record and everything. So why does
anybody ever talk about this now that he`s running for president?
One man who can talk about it with some authority is the last
Massachusetts governor to run for president of the United States. His name
is Michael Dukakis, and he is here for the interview tonight. That`s just
But, first, “One More Thing” about the other big crucial swing state
that Republicans appear to try to tilt in their favor by changing voting
rules to make them harder. In Ohio, as we have been reporting for the last
week or so, on this show, the secretary of state has been intervening at
the county level to allow early voting on nights and weekends in Republican
leaning counties in Ohio, but to not have any early voting on nights and
weekends in Democratic leaning counties in Ohio.
Gee, I wonder why. Well, today, facing increasing pressure, including
a blistering op-ed in the times, they announced nobody in Ohio will be
allowed to vote on weekends in the early voting period this year. The few
after-work hours that will be available for early voting in Ohio will at
least now be equal across the different counties, but this change still
does leave in place the no voting on weekends and the Republican
Republicans` elimination all together of the last three days of early
voting which includes the last Sunday before election day when African-
American churches traditionally bring their congregation to the polls.
There has been change in Ohio, but Ohio is still a mess.
We will be right back.
MADDOW: One of the interesting things about the announcement that
Mitt Romney was picking Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate was
the timing. The Romney campaign announced it on a Saturday morning, which
is weird timing. What are you getting it done in time for? The Saturday
news casts that are the least watched news casts of the week?
Believe it or not, even more than that, after all of the hullabaloo
that the first word about the V.P. choice was going to be announced via the
Romney campaign`s cell phone app, that ended up not to be the case. It
leaked out to the media at roughly midnight on Friday night. It was a
strange time and way to announce it. And who knows why they did it, the
way they did it.
But one practical effect for the Romney campaign of them dropping that
news at that weird time overnight between Friday and Saturday, is that that
news about the V.P. pick absolutely buried in a way that nobody has paid
any attention to, it buried a really surprising and strange admission that
Mr. Romney himself made in a Friday morning interview with NBC`s Chuck
That admission from Mr. Romney would have been a big deal, but it just
got swamped in the news cycle by the Paul Ryan announcement. I think what
Mr. Romney said in the interview is really important. I think it tells us
what is coming up next in the campaign and it`s coming up next here on the
MADDOW: Last time Mitt Romney ran for president back in 2008, he had
a really memorable run-in with the great Tim Russert on NBC`s “Meet the
Press.” It was memorable for a couple reasons.
First, during that appearance, as you see here, Mr. Russert confronted
Mr. Romney about his various flip-flops over the years. He actually showed
Mr. Romney real flip-flops passed out by his Republican opponent on the
campaign trail. Care to try them on, sir?
But it was also during that appearance on “Meet the Press” that was
what was at the time the greatest nickname in all of politics got some
national exposure. Mr. Russell grilled Mitt Romney on his attempt to
balance the Massachusetts state budget by raising fees on almost everything
in the state. Raised fees on things in the state as a way of avoiding
saying what he was doing was raising taxes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: You campaign around the country, you talk about
your record in Massachusetts with budgets and taxes and so forth. The head
of the Bay State Council of the Blind said that your name was “Fee Fee,”
that you just raised fee after fee after fee. That`s a tax.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let`s step back and
get all the numbers right. First of all, it was nearly a $3 billion budget
gap. That we faced as we came into office, my team and I. Of the roughly
$3 billion of shortfall, we raised fees by about $240 million. We were
able to balance our budget in a very difficult time without raising taxes.
RUSSERT: A fee is not a tax?
ROMNEY: If it were a tax, it would be called a tax.
RUSSERT: Governor, that`s a gimmick.
ROMNEY: It`s reality. >
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s reality, fee-fee.
Here`s what Tim Russert was talking about. While he was governor in
Massachusetts, Mitt Romney did face a $3 billion budget shortfall. The way
he proposed closing it was both creative and honestly a little stomach
churning when you looked at the details. He knew he was going to be
running for president soon and he did not want to have to run for president
on a record of having raised taxes, so presumably to avoid saying what he
was doing was raising taxes, he instead called for the department of mental
retardation in Massachusetts to charge a fee of $100 to determine a
So, you have mental retardation in Massachusetts? That will be $100
But it wasn`t just the mentally retarded, people without particular
intellectual disability. Mr. Romney also called for Department of Public
Health in Massachusetts to charge $50 for tuberculosis tests. Quote,
“Another $400 fee would be assessed for those who tested positive.”
Think about the health implications of that for a second. In a
society that wants to presumably avoid outbreaks of TB, we`d like you to
get tested for TB and now it costs $50. Then if you test positive, it`s
$400. So, are you ready for your TB test?
It wasn`t just the mentally retarded, wasn`t just people with
tuberculosis. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney actually proposed
charging people for the crime of being blind. Mr. Romney proposed a new
$10 fee on those seeking a certification of blindness from the state and
another $15 fee for photo identification cards for the blind. These things
you needed in order to be able to access services for the blind.
So in Mitt Romney`s Massachusetts, it costs $450 to have tuberculosis.
It costs $100 to be mentally retarded. But being blind is a relative
bargain. Mitt Romney will only charge you $25 to be blind in
Now, most of the stuff is ultimately rejected by Massachusetts state
legislators, but that was Mitt Romney`s budget plan – balancing the budget
on the backs of blind people.
Once before and not very long ago, a presidential campaign was built
on the economic record of a Massachusetts governor. His record was called
“The Massachusetts miracle.”
It was 1988, when former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis won
the Democratic nomination for president on the strength of the
Massachusetts economy under him and the decisions he made to strengthen it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Anyone who has been within six counties of Michael Dukakis
has heard the story of Massachusetts. How a run-down state with double
digit unemployment became one of the hottest economies in the country.
MICHAEL DUKAKIS (D), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: How did this
How is it that a state which 12 years ago was an economic basket case
Today is being called the Massachusetts miracle.
REPORTER: The answer as the story goes is Michael Dukakis. According
to his commercials, Governor Dukakis –
AD NARRATOR: Write down a huge budget deficit, cut taxes, and turned
the state around.
REPORTER: Dukakis set up innovative new programs which helped turn
economic backwater such as Lowell, Massachusetts, into urban models. He
brought business, labor, and government together to target development of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Massachusetts miracle. Under Michael Dukakis, Massachusetts
had the second lowest unemployment rate in the country. He brought
personal income there to 20 percent above the national average. Income 20
percent above the national average, and Michael Dukakis ran of that record
all the way to the Democratic nomination for president.
Of course, in the general election, he lost that year to George H.W.
Bush, but the Massachusetts miracle was a real thing.
Now, two decades later, we`ve got another former Massachusetts
governor running for president, but his economic record as governor is not
a miracle. After campaigning for the job of governor in Massachusetts as a
turnaround expert, as a businessman whose private sector experience could
bring jobs to the state, Massachusetts ranked 47th in job reaction during
Mitt Romney`s term as governor, 47th. Every year that Mitt Romney was
governor, his state piled up more and more debt. He left the debt deeper
into debt than it was when he came in.
And forget about the Massachusetts miracle. Between 2002 and 2006,
during the time of his governorship, the median weekly earnings of full-
time wage and salary workers in Massachusetts are estimated to have fallen
by nearly 2 percent. People`s pay dropped in the state under Mitt Romney.
The one economic thing that Mr. Romney does like to brag about when it
comes to his time as governor is that he lowered the state`s unemployment
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I came into office. We went to work as a team and we were
able to turn around the job losses. And at the end of four years, we had
an unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Awesome. Here`s the thing, according to actual economists in
Massachusetts, the unemployment rate fell specifically and only because
people were leaving the work force in droves during Governor Romney`s term.
Just one state had a birth drop in the labor force in that same period.
That one state was Louisiana, which was hit by hurricane Katrina in that
Mr. Romney`s economic record as Massachusetts governor is a bad
record. But it looks like he may now have to run on it. The thing that
got totally buried because of the Paul Ryan announcement which was leaked
late on Friday night was a truly newsworthy and surprising thing that Mr.
Romney said earlier in the news cycle on Friday morning to MSNBC`s own
You probably have not seen this, but this happened Friday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Our campaign would be helped immensely if we had an agreement
between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and
that attacks based upon business or family or taxes or things of that
nature, that this is just – this is –
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: Diversion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Business? Mr. Romney declaring his business record off
limits for the campaign?
That was an interview Chuck Todd did for an upcoming documentary on
Mitt Romney for MSNBC airing later this month.
What are the three things on Mitt Romney`s resume as he`s running for
president? The Olympics, there`s the businessman thing, and there`s that
problematic governorship. Sort of seems like they might try to run him on
the Olympics thing for a while. Frankly, they sort of blew that with the
terrible trip he took over to London last month to try to capitalize on the
Olympics happening again. All of this stuff about not knowing when his
wife` dressage horse was going to be competing in the Olympics. It was
awkward and weird before he began insulting the games once he got there.
There`s also the fact he lobbied for millions of dollars in taxpayer
funds to run the Salt Lake City Games when he was in charge even though he
says now that government spending never helps anything.
So, honestly, he can`t run for president as the Olympics guy. There`s
too many pitfalls and he kind of blew it with London. They tried for a
second with that. But it`s over.
If you listened to Mitt Romney in the primary, he was going to run as
a businessman. It was almost like he had never been a governor, like that
record didn`t exist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Because I spent my life in the economy. I spent my entire
career working in the private sector.
I spent my career in the private sector.
I spent my life in the private sector. The private sector is where I
made my mark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You would have never know that he had never been anything but
in the private sector, had never been anything other than a businessman.
That was what he was going to run.
Until his opponents in the primary and President Obama started
drilling down to the detail of the business record, and now being the mega
wealthy CEO of Bain Capital while Bain Capital did all of the stuff it did
has turned into more of a liability in the campaign than it is an asset.
So, there`s really only one thing left. If it`s not going to be the
Olympics and not going to be CEO of Bain Capital, the only thing left for
him to run on is his time at Massachusetts governor. And that`s coming.
There`s all this excitement about the Paul Ryan pick, it does not look
like Mr. Romney is getting a big bump in the polls, but at least there`s a
distraction for the media to talk about. Even the distraction seems to be
winding down. You`ll notice that in the news cycle, people move on and
start to cover other thing.
And the next thing that happens after the Paul Ryan mini-mania is that
Mr. Romney is a-apparently going to try to run for president based on what
he did as governor of Massachusetts. But all signs point to that being
next in the campaign.
Well, next on this show is the guy who had a Massachusetts record that
made sense to run on for president – the man behind the Massachusetts
miracle: former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. He`s here
for the interview. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The fact is when he moved that experience
to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country.
While you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time,
you were 47th in the nation in job creation. You failed as the governor of
JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can look at what
Mitt did in Massachusetts. He was number 47.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Massachusetts was
fourth from the bottom in job creation under Governor Romney.
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If his record was
so great, why didn`t he run for reelection?
GINGRICH: Governor Romney as governor raised taxes and Massachusetts
was 47th in job creation, fourth from the bottom.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: That was how Mitt Romney`s fellow Republicans attacked him in
the primaries this year. I think that is part of why you haven`t heard a
lot from the Romney campaign since about his time as governor of
By the process of eliminating other options, though, it looks like
that may be about o change.
Joining us now for the interview is the last governor of Massachusetts
to run for president of the United States, winning the Democratic Party`s
nomination in 1988. It`s Michael Dukakis.
Governor Dukakis, thank you so much for being here. It`s nice to have
DUKAKIS: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: Mr. Romney says his private sector experience makes him the
right person to turn the economy around. You are on record saying that Mr.
Romney`s record and the economy of Massachusetts was a disaster.
Can you explain why you say that?
DUKAKIS: Well, it was. And of course, we heard the same thing from
him when he ran for governor, that he was a private sector guy. He
understood the economy. He was going to turn the state around.
And as you pointed out, we were fourth from the bottom. Only
Michigan, Ohio, and Louisiana after Katrina were worse, and they had very
Not only that, but when he left the state at the end of just one term,
he couldn`t have possibly been re-elected, the state`s infrastructure was a
wreck. I mean, that`s the only way you can describe it – rusting bridges,
potholed roads, couldn`t get anything done. And everybody knows that if
you can`t build and maintain a first-rate infrastructure you can`t create
The Romney record in Massachusetts was frankly pathetic. And
fortunately, we have a new governor who has run ringed around him in terms
of economic development and job creation. Deval Patrick has really worked
at it. We`re now in the top 10 in the country and we`re doing very well,
especially compared to the rest of the country.
But for Romney to try to sell himself as a guy who can turn the
economy around, at least for those of us who watched him in action, is
pretty sad. I mean, he didn`t. It was a bad record.
And as you pointed out, the reason the unemployment rate went down was
because an awful lot of people, especially young people, started leaving
the state going elsewhere looking for work because they couldn`t find it in
MADDOW: He did ant interview with “Fortune” magazine that run today
in which he talked about infrastructure. I was struck by that because I
have been living in Massachusetts for a long time and I had the same
impression about his record on infrastructure. He said today that he`s
going to look to build out the infrastructure nationally if he`s elected
Do you fell like his infrastructure record in Massachusetts is one of
the things that`s sort of underreported, under-looked at in the
presidential vetting process?
DUKAKIS: I mean, it was terrible. I mean, you were there. It was
kind of a joke.
Bridge projects that should have taken 18 months were taking four and
five and six years. He couldn`t get anything done, a very weak
transportation team. They couldn`t execute – I mean, it was really sad.
It will take Governor Patrick his full two terms to repair this
record. He`s doing it. We`re finally, as you can sigh, getting action on
the infrastructure front, but Romney`s record was – was pathetic.
Incidentally, he did raise taxes, you know. I don`t know why he keeps
saying he didn`t. I`m not talking about fees. He raised fees, too, but he
raises taxes. And the combination was about $700 million. It wasn`t a $3
billion deficit, but it was $1 billion.
He raised taxes and high did it the right way, he closed loopholes.
Why he continues to deny he did is beyond me. I don`t understand it.
MADDOW: On the issue of his personal taxes, there`s of course been a
huge amount of push back from Mr. Romney, his family, and the campaign
about releasing more than two years of taxes. So far, we`ve got one year
and an estimate.
As you know, in order to run for governor in 2002, he had to
retroactively change his residency from part-time resident to resident
after it was discovered he had been paying taxes on a house in Utah as his
primary residence for the previous three years.
What I think is important about that is not so much his residency but
what he said was in his taxes turned out to not be in his taxes.
How important do you think it is that voters see more of his tax
DUKAKIS: You cannot return for the president of the United States
without releasing eight, 10 years of tax returns. I can`t remember now how
many years I released, but it was a lot. You just can`t do it. I mean,
sooner or later, he`s going to have to do it.
I don`t understand why he`s delaying this. Instead of releasing them
early and getting the issue out there, he`s now turning this into a major
campaign, and believe me, he`s going to have to release those taxes, and
he`s going to have to let the American people see what he paid and what he
That goes with the territory. You can`t run for the presidency
without doing that.
MADDOW: I looked up this afternoon to see how many years you had
released of your tax returns and I think at least what`s on the record is
six years. Would you be satisfied if he released the same six years that
you released when you ran?
DUKAKIS: I think six would be – I think six is fine. If he wants to
release eight or ten, I don`t know why I stopped at six. I`m not a guy
with a complicated tax return, as you know. So – I don`t have a lot of
tax shelters and money in the Cayman Islands and that stuff. I guess we
figured six was a pretty good enough.
I`d be satisfied with six. If he wants to do more, he should do that.
MADDOW: Governor Michael Dukakis, thank you for being here and
spending this time with us tonight. I really appreciate it, sir.
DUKAKIS: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. This was a huge day in terms of one area of federal policy
in the United States. Thousands and thousands and thousands of lives
changed directly. And the images showing what a big change this is are
kind of amazing from today`s news. What brought more than 10,000 young
people out to stay up all night and line up all day in Chicago and in other
big cities across the country today, and the images of them doing it is
coming up next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: As we reported earlier in the hour, the secretary of state
for the great state of Utah has just finally set uniform hours for early
voting state-wide in Ohio. So he has undone what we have been reporting on
for over a week. His previous actions to insure longer early voting hours
in Republican counties than in Democratic counties. That`s the good news.
The bad news is he has killed early voting on weekends all together. So,
if you`re a Ohio voter who works in the week and were planning to cast your
ballot on the weekend, that option is no longer available to you.
Tomorrow night on this show, we will be joined right here by Senator
Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is trying to get re-elected this year and one of
the most hotly contested Senate races n the country and whose voters will
have to brave the new voter restriction laws in Ohio to vote for or against
That is the interview tomorrow night on the show. But for now, we`ll
be right back.
MADDOW: A 28-year-old man named Floyd Corkins (ph) is in custody and
is the only known suspect tonight in a shooting this morning at the D.C.
the headquarters of the Family Research Council, which is a prominent
Christian lobbying group. Mr. Corkins reportedly walked into the front
lobby of the Family Research Council`s offices at about 10:45 this morning
and started arguing with the security guard, a law enforcement official
says he made a negative reference to the Family Research Council`s work
before opening fire on the security guard.
The guard was reportedly shot in the arm, but he and others were able
to subdue the shooter. He was subsequently arrested. The guard is
hospitalized in stable condition tonight.
NBC`s Pete Williams reports that the shooter`s weapon was a 9-
millimeter handgun purchased legally in Virginia five days ago. The
shooter reportedly had two 15-round magazines in his backpack, as well as
some material from Chick-fil-A restaurants.
The Family Research Council, of course, had publicly expressed support
for Chick-fil-A during the recent uproar over anti-gay rights comments made
by the president of the restaurant chain. The motivation of the shooter
here has not been conclusively determined, but it is being reported that
Floyd Corkins volunteered for the past six months at a gay community center
in Washington, D.C., then there`s the negative comments he made, then the
Chick-fil-A materials in his bag.
President Obama via his press secretary, Republican nominee Mitt
Romney via a statement, and a group of two dozen LBGT advocacy
organizations all today express concern for the victim`s recovery and all
condemned the violence today. We do not yet know what motivated this
precisely or what the circumstances were that led to this, but as more is
known about it, we will let you know.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: One peculiarly Democratic affliction in this first term of
the Barack Obama administration is that Democrats tend to worry that their
president does not get the credit that he deserves. Health reform, for
President Obama signed it in March, 2010, but some of its most crowd-
pleasing provisions only just recently took effect. A bunch of others
won`t take effect until next year or the year after that or the year after
that. It is hard to get credit for a law that has not finished becoming
reality. And so, Democrats worry.
Also, the payroll tax cut, sometimes called the stealth stimulus.
That payroll tax cut has quietly put money into the pockets of working
families for so long now, that most of those workers have forgotten that`s
even happening or who made it possible. So Democrats worry.
Democrats worry that President Obama does not get the credit he
deserves for that or for helping bail out the auto industry in Detroit or
for ending the war in Iraq or for adding private sector jobs, on and on and
Hey, Democrats, cheer up. Maybe President Obama will get credit for
this one. Look at this. Look at that – 12,000 people lining up in
Chicago today – 12,000 people, families, little kids, teenagers, college
students, young adults just starting out, all lining up.
And you know what? It wasn`t just in Chicago. People turned out
today in Miami and in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C. They turned out
in Denver and New York City and Houston and Phoenix and Albuquerque –
thousands and thousands and thousands of people.
Two months ago, President Obama issued a new policy for immigration
called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Today was the first day you
And look at these pictures – people everywhere, documents in hand,
wanting to apply. President Obama issued the order that led to this after
Republicans in Congress rejected what had once been their own plan for
immigration reform – their own bipartisan, Republican-sponsored
legislation. Republicans rejected the idea they used to support, and so
President Obama did what he could, on his own, using the power of his
office, to put in place this new policy.
The new program is really actually quite limited. You have to come to
the U.S. before you turn 16, you have to have had come to the United States
before you turned 16, you have to be younger than 31, you have to have
lived here for at least the last five years, you have to be in school or
hold a high school diploma or be a military vet, you have to present lots
But if you qualify and you ask for help, the federal government now
says, we will consider your request. We will consider not deporting you
for the next two years, so you can apply for legal status. But at the end
of those two years, if you don`t yet have that status, well, good luck with
whoever the president is then, if President Obama isn`t re-elected.
To the extent that Americans are paying close attention to the
immigration policies of our country, President Obama, so far, has been
known as the deportation president. He deported more people during his
first three years in office than any president in modern history, Democrat
or Republican. Well, now he is also the president who`s offering a tenuous
thread of hope to young immigrants, many of them brought to this country by
their parents as children.
Like this guy in Miami who came here as a kindergartner and who is now
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I should be a great asset to the country.
I mean, I`m getting a great education at a great institution and I mean, I
don`t want to go anywhere else. I want to stay here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That kid, now 19 years old, studying to be a mechanical
engineer, may have a chance to be a great asset to this country.
When Mr. Obama announced his policy back in June, his Republican
rival, Mitt Romney, accused the president of trolling for votes. He said
the president, quote, “seems to think the move will be just enough to get
him through the election.”
Candidate Romney is not saying whether a president Romney would keep
this new policy or throw it out. Leading Republicans in Congress are
calling for him to throw it out, if he gets the chance. They know what
they want from a President Romney.
As we hurdle toward the November election, it seems like faster and
faster now, that Mitt Romney is on his way to losing Latino voters, to
going worse among Latino voters than any Republican nominee since before
Remember the primary when Mitt Romney was Mr. 23 percent? He is still
that guy, with Latino voters. One poll in July showed Mr. Romney polling
at only 22 percent among Hispanic voters. Another one from NBC showed Mr.
Romney with 23 percent of the Latino vote.
This week, a poll from “Politico” showed Mr. Romney had bounced all
the way to a horrible 26 percent.
Mitt Romney is failing to win over Latino voters, really badly. And
it`s not just for esoteric reasons. It`s not for stylistic reasons. It`s
Mr. Romney called Arizona`s “papers, please” law, the anti-immigrant
sb-1070 law, as a model for the nation. He picked the anti-immigration
lawyer who helped write that bill as a model for the nation. He said he
would veto the DREAM Act if Congress passed it when he became president.
And when it came time to balance himself out as the most anti-
immigrant Republican presidential nominee in more than a decade, Mr. Romney
did not pick to balance himself out with Florida Senator Marco Rubio or New
Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez. He did not choose one of the party`s up
and coming Latinos, or someone who`s more moderate on immigration.
He picked one of the congressmen from the Republican Congress who
voted no on the DREAM Act, which caused President Obama to act on his own
for immigration reform, which led to scenes like this one around the nation
How on earth does a Republican candidate expect to win the presidency
in 2012 if he loses Latino voters by more than 40 points? How? How can
that be even so much as conceivable to them that you could lose so badly
among Latinos and still win the election? Did somebody say voter ID?
That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with
Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a great night.
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