The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/07/12
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right
Good evening, Rachel. Great work last night.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Thank you very much. You look as fresh as a
daisy. I feel like I`ve been run over by a truck. But you look 10 years
younger than you did yesterday.
SCHULTZ: Actually, my key is you just have to forget what sleep is
all about and it kind of wears on you.
MADDOW: I hear you.
SCHULTZ: All right.
MADDOW: All right. Thanks, man, appreciate it.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you for staying with us this hour.
That happened! That really happened. We are not going to have a
Supreme Court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more
Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos added to this court.
We`re not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill
Medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation
fight it out on the open market to try to get themselves health insurance.
We are not going to do that.
We are not going to give a 20 percent tax cut to millionaires and
billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kid`s insurance to
cover the cost of that tax cut.
We`re not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth
control under the insurance plan that you`re on.
We are not going to redefine rape.
We are not going to amend the United States Constitution to stop gay
people from getting married.
We are not going to double Guantanamo.
We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of
Education or housing at the federal level.
We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the
military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans, because
the country`s new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents.
We are not vetoing the DREAM Act. We are not self-deporting. We are
not letting Detroit go bankrupt.
We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in
January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a
mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly
cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed
for help and there was no apology, not ever.
We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not
bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop
stocked with architects of the Iraq war. We are not going to do it.
We had the chance to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country.
And we said no, last night, loudly.
Now, to be fair. If you are a conservative or if you are rooting for
the Republicans, a few things did go your way.
Republicans did not lose that Senate seat that they might have lost in
Arizona. Jon Kyl`s old Senate seat goes to another Republican, to Jeff
Also, Republicans did not lose that other Senate seat they might have
lost in Nevada, the old John Ensign seat that was given to Dean Heller. It
stays with him. It stays Republican just barely.
And while President Obama carried 28 states last time, he carried 25
or 26 states this time, depending on how Florida goes. That means
Republicans did lose everything else, but they got back Indiana and also
So it was not a totally hopeless night for Republicans. Also, hey,
remember the crazy Thaddeus McCotter seat in Michigan, where Thaddeus
McCotter screwed up and the Republicans ended up having to run this
reindeer herder, Santa Claus impersonator guy for the seat, a guy whose own
brother says he`s crazy and that he will end up in jail if the people of
Michigan are crazy enough to elect him.
That guy won. The shirtless reindeer guy won. So the Republicans
Big picture in the House, thanks mostly to redistricting the
Republicans were not in danger of losing the House, and they didn`t legal
cause it, even though the Republican majority appears to have shrunk there,
and even though they did get the reindeer guy.
But in terms of, honestly, of what went well for Republicans in this
election, that was pretty much it. It is a short list. Want to talk about
what went well on the other side last night?
I`m actually going to pause for a second to give you a chance to hit
pause on your DVR in case you want to go make popcorn or something? Maybe
mix a drink. You`ll want to settle in for this. So get comfortable. Go
ahead. I`ll give you a second.
MADDOW: OK. You`re back? Ready?
Here we go. So last night, the Democratic senator who was supposed to
be the most endangered incumbent in the country not only won, she won by 16
Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who was so stuffed
with hedge fund misunderstood that he burped credit default swaps – Scott
Brown lost by a lot to the nation`s foremost authority on the economic
rights of the middle class.
After marriage rights for same-sex couples were voted down in state
after state after state for years, more than 30 times in a row, this year,
all change in Maine, they voted on marriage equality and they voted for it.
In Maryland, they voted on marriage equality and they voted for it.
In Minnesota, they were asked to vote against marriage equality, and
Minnesota refused to ban it.
In Washington state, the vote is not called yet. They are still
counting the vote and we will be watching it closely, but if you are on the
pro-gay right side in Washington state, it should be noted that it is
looking pretty good.
In Iowa, anti-gay activists were sure that they were going to turf out
a judge for ruling in favor of marriage equality. They had done it before,
to a bunch of other judges. They had been successful every time they had
tried before, but not this one, not this time. Judge Wiggins in Iowa keeps
Nevada elects its first African-American congressman this year.
America gets our first openly gay United States senator.
America gets our first-ever Asian American woman senator from Hawaii.
Her seat in the House, I should note, gets filled by this woman, a
Democratic Iraq war veteran. I`m going to tell you right now that her name
is Tulsi Gabbard, because she is on the fast track to being very famous
some day. Tulsi Gabbard.
Speaking of Iraq war veterans, Tammy Duckworth, veteran helicopter
pilot, she lost both her legs in Iraq. She is going to Congress and she is
sending home the opponent who mocked her for her war record, Joe Walsh.
California relaxed its “three strikes you`re out” law and rejected a
law to cripple the power of unions.
Decriminalization of marijuana was approved in Washington and in
The astonishing tide of dark money spent against Democratic Senators
Jon Tester in Montana and Sherrod Brown in Ohio turned out to be pointless.
Both those Democratic senators won, they held on to their seats.
Democrats won a Senate seat in North Dakota, of all places, a seat
that nobody thought they could win.
All of these states that had this hugely aggressive total Republican
takeover from the 2010 elections, Ohio and Wisconsin, and Michigan, and
Pennsylvania and Virginia and Florida, all of those states that went so red
in state government in these past couple of years and that then had these
big fights inside their states over how Republicans were governing there.
In Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and we will see about
Florida, last night not only did Republicans lose the presidential election
in every single one of those states, Republicans lost the Senate race in
every single one of those states too – Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin,
Debbie Stabenow, Bob Casey, Tim Kaine, Bill Nelson. Depending on Florida,
a Democratic sweep of the presidency, and definitely a Democratic sweep of
the Senate race – in those states that the GOP was so excited to have
supposedly turned red in a way that was going to stick.
Last night, Democratic women swept every major office in New
Hampshire. Last night, California Democrats won Democratic super majority
in the state House and in the state Senate. Not just majorities in
California, but super majorities. Wherein, if the Republicans don`t turn
up, any of them, any day at work, nothing will be different in California.
They`re completely legislatively irrelevant.
Allen West lost a seat.
More women got elected to the U.S. Senate than at any time in U.S.
The Republican presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee both
lost their home states.
Missouri and Montana and West Virginia chose Democratic governors.
West Virginia chose its first gay state legislature. So did North Dakota.
West Virginia and North Dakota? Yes, seriously.
Joe Lieberman`s old seat went to a real Democrat in Connecticut.
The proportion of young people voting compared to 2008, it went up,
same with African-Americans, up from 2008. Same with Latinos, up from
2008, not down, up.
If you are a liberal or if you are rooting for the Democrats, last
night was a very, very, very big night.
And, oh, yes, this happened. President Barack Obama, yes, will go
down in history as our nation`s first African-American president. But he
will also go down in history as the most successful Democratic presidential
candidate since FDR.
President Clinton got re-elected too, I know, but only Barack Obama
got re-elected with not just big Electoral College margins, but also with
majority wins in the popular vote, twice.
The guy who predicted this outcome, almost exactly, is Nate Silver, of
course, who writes the political statistics blog, “FiveThirtyEight” at “The
New York Times.” For accurately predicting, it appears, the exact outcome
of the race, and I mean down to every single state. We`ll see about
Florida, Nate was, of course, pilloried, pilloried on the right and by
right-leaning beltway media types, including Politico., for having the
audacity to print what his poll averages told him was about to happen.
But Nate was right, the polls were right, even without Florida being
decided, we now know that President Obama won in pretty much exactly the
way the state-by-state polls said he was going to win. He won with more
than 300 electoral votes. It was not magic, it was just math. Math that
was completely invisible to the political right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I believe the minimum result
will be 53-47 Romney, over 300 electoral votes, and the Republicans will
pick up the Senate. I base that on just years and years of experience.
GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: The wild card and what I`ve
projected, I`m projecting Minnesota to go for Romney.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think Ohioans vote
with their wallets. That`s why I think Romney is going to win on Tuesday.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Karl, I`m with you. Except I think you`re
more optimistic. I`ve got this Romney three points.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS: I think Ohio is going to be a squeaker, maybe an
80,000, 100,000, 110,000 vote margin. But I think the Republicans are
likely to take it.
HANNITY: Who`s going to win this election? Charles Krauthammer, your
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS: Romney, very close, but he`ll win the
popular by, I think, about half a point, Electoral College, probably a very
DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS: It will be the biggest surprise in recent
American political history. It will rekindle a whole question as to why
the media played this race as a nail biter, where, in fact, I think
Romney`s going to win by quite a bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m now predicting a 330 electoral vote landslide.
Yes, that`s right, 330 electoral votes.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Yes, that`s right. No, it`s not. Wrong, wrong, wrong,
But Republicans and conservatives plainly really believed this stuff.
I mean, they were talking each other into it a little bit, but it`s not
like they were faking it. They were so, so, so, so sure that they would
win. They were so sure that these polls must be wrong and that they must
And when the real math of the real world came barreling out of the
dark at them last night, they hid from it. They could not believe it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: FOX News can now project that President Obama
will win the crucial battleground state of Ohio.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: That`s the one we`ve all been waiting for.
And there`s a question now, about, you know, is it – what does that mean,
panel? I mean, does that mean –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s the president –
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Do you believe that Ohio has been settled?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t.
ROVE: I`ve got the director of the Ohio campaign for Romney on the
other end of the line, refreshing the page every few seconds. I think this
is premature. We`ve got to be careful about calling things when we have
like 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet
WALLACE: Well, folks – so maybe not so fast.
BAIER: Here`s what we`re going to do. Karl Rove said that we should
figure out what the deal is with this decision desk. The decision desk is
in a different place. Megyn, I will escort you down the steps here, so you
can go and interview them.
KELLY: Such a gentleman. All right.
BAIER: Watch your step.
KELLY: Thank you, thank you, I don`t want to fall in front of all of
these millions of people.
KELLY: All right.
BAIER: Megyn is going to go to the decision desk and interview them.
KELLY: They`re way down the hall. So we`ll do a little interrogation
and see if they stand by their call.
This is the decision desk. Now we`re in the heart of the decision
You tell me whether you stand by your call on Ohio, given the doubts
Karl Rove just raised?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re actually quite comfortable with the call in
KELLY: What do you make of it, Chris?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There just aren`t enough Republican votes left.
KELLY: Percent certainty?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ninety-nine-point-five percent.
KELLY: All right. Well, there you have it.
BAIER: OK, Megyn. Just called Karl back up from me and he`s coming
up here to the desk. He`s crunching numbers, he`s writing furiously, he`s
pointing at Bill Hemmer. A lot of things are going on right now.
ROVE: All I`m saying is, look, we`ve had one instance when things
were prematurely called. It seems to me to be a very early call.
KELLY: The folks at Obama headquarters in Chicago, they`re not
listening to Karl. They don`t care about what Karl said.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he
really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is
legitimately president of the United States, again.
And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment
rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no
evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the
polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not
making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel
bad. Nate Silver was doing math.
And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy
sometimes. And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And
nobody is taking away anyone`s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the
deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the
moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And
U.N. election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of
the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services
industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.
Listen, last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for
very obvious reasons, but it was also, possibly, a good night for this
country as a whole, because in this country, we have a two-party system in
government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides, both come
up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country.
They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate
between those possible solutions.
And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition
between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country
should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if
only one side is really working on the hard stuff.
And the if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the
conservative media is snuck a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of
telling each other what makes them feel good and denying the factual, lived
truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the
constructive debate about competing feasible ideas about real problems.
Last night the Republicans got shellacked, and they had no idea it was
coming. And we saw them in real time, in real humiliating time, not
believe it, even as it was happening to them.
And unless they are going to is secede, they are going to have to pop
the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not
want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them,
but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center. You
guys, we`re counting on you. Wake up.
There are real problems in the world. There are real, knowable facts
in the world. Let`s accept those and talk about how we might approach our
problems differently. Let`s move on from there.
If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative
media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night,
we will all be better off as a nation. And in that spirit,
congratulations, everybody. Big night.
MADDOW: So there was this job that nobody wanted in the United States
Senate. They literally could not fill the job, because there was no way a
person could succeed in that job, and if you`re in the U.S. Senate, you
want to succeed. So nobody would take – nobody would take the job.
Well, today the poor woman who they finally suckered into taking that
job is a super genius hero of the year. That amazing story is next.
MADDOW: In the fall of 2010, the Democratic Party needed to appoint
somebody to run the part of the party that is responsible for electing
Democrats to the U.S. Senate. Harry Reid offered the job to Virginia
Senator Mark Warner. Mark Warner said, no.
Harry Reid offered the job to Minnesota Senator Al Franken. Al
Franken said, no.
He then offered the job to New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Chuck
Schumer said, no. Nobody wanted this job.
Finally, on his fourth try, he convinced someone to take this
terrible, terrible job. Poor Patty Murray, the senator from Washington
state. Look at this. Democrats beseech Murray to take the job. Nobody
wants to be set up for failure. Nobody wants to take on a job at which
they are almost guaranteed to fail.
And in 2010, the job of trying to secure Democratic Party control of
the Senate in this year`s election, seemed like a completely impossible
Look at this. “Democrats face an extremely tough map in 2012.” “The
Democrats must defend 23 seats while just 10 Republicans are up for re-
No way, right? Odds totally stacked against the Democrats. No way
Democrats could hold the Senate under those circumstances. That is how it
looked when poor Patty Murray had to be beseeched into taking that job.
It`s not how it turned out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: When Harry asked me to take this
on, there was not one – and I mean, no one who gave us a chance of keeping
the majority. We played offense every day and we never let up and now Joe
Donnelly and Tammy Baldwin and Tim Kaine –
Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Mazie Hirono, they`re all coming to
join us in the Senate. And along, of course, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey
and Bill Nelson, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe Manchin, Debbie
Stabenow, Bob Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernie Sanders, Maria Cantwell,
Dianne Feinstein – we have delivered to you a great caucus, Mr. Leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Not only did every Democratic incumbent in the Senate win
their race last night, every single one, but Democrats actually picked up
two seats. Elizabeth Warren defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown in
Massachusetts. Joe Donnelly defeated Tea Party favorite, Richard Mourdock,
in Indiana. It should have been impossible.
Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, co-host of “THE CYCLE,” 3:00
weekdays here on MSNBC.
Happy aftermath, Steve.
STEVE KORNACKI, “THE CYCLE” CO-HOST: I was just checking
unskewedelectionreturns.com and they said Republicans have 67 Senate seats
now, so I`m not sure what you`re talking about here.
MADDOW: Also, Mitt Romney won with a anonymous vote.
KORNACKI: Yes. He won in D.C., that`s right.
MADDOW: That`s right.
What happened yesterday in the Senate specifically? Obviously, the
expectations were leaning much more toward the Democrats by the time we
actually voted, but the distance between Patty Murray having to be
essentially arm twisted into taking that job and what happened last night,
KORNACKI: Yes. You could have put a headline from something I wrote
in 2010 up there, because I was saying there was no chance for the
Democrats after the last election too. But I think what happened, you can
see now, it`s a reflection of the conclusions the Republicans drew from the
2008 election and the actions they took sort of over the last four years.
The conclusion they drew was Obama became president because we weren`t
conservative enough. And that`s sort of became how they defined themselves
for the next four years. We`re going to be as conservative as possible and
on a purity crusade within the party.
And that means the anything who wreaks of the establishment, anyone
who voted for TARP, anything like this, anybody who wants to compromise
with Democrats on anything, cannot win a Republican primary. So that
directly and indirectly affected what happened last night.
The direct impact is pretty obviously. You can see it in Indiana and
Missouri. You had two candidates, Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Todd
Akin of Missouri, who would have won Republican primaries in the pre-Obama
KORNACKI: They won Republican primaries, they behaved like fringe
candidates, they scared off fringe voters.
The indirect impact, though, I think is more interesting. It`s two
things, one is seeing candidates like Mourdock and Akin and back in 2010,
Sharron Angle and Christine O`Donnell start winning these primaries, it
told candidates who would be strong Republican candidates, the party can`t
deliver me the nomination, and made them sit on the sidelines. Or it took
candidates who would be strong candidates and decided to run anyway and it
made them weak candidates.
And a good example was Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin. It should have
been the dream nominee of their former governor, really popular. But to
make sure the Republican Party base didn`t revolt against him, he went and
told the Tea Party group this year that he wanted to phase out Medicare.
Well, it was taped, popped up in the general election, you lose because of
Think of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Again, you know, very rare for
a Republican to win in Massachusetts. Brown did it in 2010. Well, he
voted for the Blunt Amendment this year. That became a big issue because -
MADDOW: OK, right, sure.
KORNACKI: So you even had candidates like Scott Brown and Tommy
Thompson who could not be the strong candidates they should have been, and,
again, I think that has everything to do with the direction the Republican
Party chose to go.
MADDOW: But here is the thing I think is – I totally agree with all
of that. And here`s the part of it that I don`t understand. This is not
the first election cycle in which we have seen this dynamic at work. They
had a dress rehearsal of how this was going to go in 2010, when they had
Sharron Angle and Christine O`Donnell and they went through this exact same
dynamic and they lost all of those Senate seats they should have won.
Why wasn`t there any sort of effect on the Republican – the internal
processes in the Republican Party, that made them not want to make that
KORNACKI: Because they won 60-something House seats. They won all
these governorships. They won all these state legislatures. They were
able to re-draw congressional maps. They were able to do Scott Walker in
Wisconsin, John Kasich in Ohio.
So, I think they won so much that there were people in the party who
MADDOW: I don`t care about Delaware.
KORNACKI: – who were warning about – yes, who could have maybe got
the Senate seat, but it wasn`t the situation if they were in the House,
they would have had total power. They really looked at that and said, all
that`s missing now, we`ve got this unlosable Senate setup in 2012, we`ve
got Obama, the weakened candidate, so we`re going to take him out too and
have that complete control and we can do it all our way. And obviously
that`s not going to happen.
MADDOW: And unlosable became losable. And now we have to see.
I mean, the thing that`s going to be fascinating, watching the
Republicans pick somebody to run their Republican Senate campaign for two
years from now, watching what they do in terms of their own leadership
fights, in terms of what these guys believe about the right direction to
I mean, if Jim DeMint ends up taking a leadership job in this
Republican Party, or Mitch McConnell stays there, frankly, the way Mitch
McConnell is talking right now, I think it means they haven`t learned these
lessons and they`re aiming at something other than a majority. They`re
aiming at something else.
KORNACKI: Well, that used to be, to take that job, running the party
campaign committee was sort of a career-making step in Washington. And I
think there was a report today, supposedly, Marco Rubio was being talked
about, to run the committee for the Republicans in the next cycle, that has
no interest in doing it, because you can`t – you can`t recruit candidates
and say, we`re going to put our support behind you. They`re going to still
lose the primary.
MADDOW: Right. It`s a lose/lose situation in terms of those internal
Steve Kornacki, co-host of “THE CYCLE”, weekdays on MSNBC at 3:00
Eastern, you also seem very spry today, like Ed.
KORNACKI: Lots of caffeine. I`m going to crash this weekend.
MADDOW: I understand. All right. Thanks, Steve.
All right. So, how did the unfortunate comments about rape caucus do
in last night`s elections? Surprisingly poorly. That very cheery story is
coming up next.
MADDOW: OK. If you were Karl Rove today and your caller ID showed an
number with an area code 702 on your phone and it rung today, would you
answer it? Would you hit ignore? Would you perhaps throw your cell phone
in the nearest deep body of water and sprint in the opposite direction; 702
is the area code for Las Vegas. Las Vegas is where Sheldon Adelson lives.
Do you think Karl Rove is taking his calls today? What Sheldon
Adelson`s hundreds of millions of dollars did not buy it turns out to be
story worth telling. That`s coming up.
MADDOW: The Susan B. Anthony List is an anti-abortion group that
supports conservative candidates for office. Here`s what the Susan B.
Anthony List says was the mistake Republicans made in this year`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST: What we had,
unfortunately, was a de facto truce on social issues – a de facto truce on
social issues, on one side, but a full embrace of the war on social issues
on the other side. Republicans have a truce. Obama launched a war over
Voters overwhelmingly disagreed with those extreme positions by —of
the president and the Democratic Party. Moving forward, the Republican
Party and its candidates must expose and exploit those vulnerabilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: See, if you ask the anti-abortion activists, the only reason
Republicans lost this year, the only reason Mitt Romney is not president-
elect right now, is because he was not anti-abortion enough. The group
says, in its own internal polling of likely swing voters, that polling
proves that the reason Republicans did so poorly, is because Republicans
this year were not anti-abortion enough.
Which is funny, because actual exit polling from the actual election
yesterday shows that 59 percent of voters think that abortion should be
legal in this country, which is the position of President Obama and the
majority of Democratic candidates. And that is a 23-point advantage over
the number of voters who think abortion should be illegal, which is the
position of Mitt Romney and most Republican candidates.
So, on an issue where two-thirds of the electorate thinks you are
wrong, the anti-abortion movement says the secret is that you should
campaign more on what everybody thinks you`re wrong about.
The numbers get even worse for Republicans among Latinos. Yes, on
this issue specifically. Where less than a third of Latino voters say they
agree with the dominant Republican position on this issue.
After the Republicans won a record number of state legislature states
in 2010 and a bunch of governorships too, Republicans in those states,
since the 2010 election, have just been focused on abortion, like never
before. They enacted a record number of new anti-abortion laws, more than
at any time since Roe versus Wade became the law of the land.
The same thing happened at the federal level, as soon as Republicans
took control of the House, after the 2010 mid-term elections. HR-3, as in
the House Republican`s third bill overall, their bill was an anti-abortion
They have also tried to ban abortion after a certain time limit in
Washington, D.C. They`ve tried to roll back access to birth control. And
remember when they threatened to shut down the entire government if they
were not allowed to defund Planned Parenthood?
Where they were in power between the 2010 elections and the 2012
elections, Republicans governed very, very, very aggressively on this
issue. They governed so aggressively on this issue, it was unprecedented.
What happened then, though, which maybe the Republican were not
counting on was that Democrats decided they were going to make the
Republicans explain themselves. Democrats decided they were going to hold
Republicans to account for what they had been doing in terms of their
governance and their philosophy on this issue, and what they planned to
keep doing if Americans elected them again.
And when Republicans started having to answer specific appointed
questions about their issue on abortion, some creepy stuff happened this
year. We learned a great deal, very specific, very creepy detail of what
Republicans really do believe about this issue they`ve been so energized
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
RICHARD MOURDOCK (R-IN), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: Even when life
begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God
intended to happen.
REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: There`s no such exception as life of
the mother. And as far as health of the mother, same thing.
JOHN KOSTER (R-WA), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: On the rape thing, it`s
like, how does putting more violence on to a woman`s body and taking the
life of an innocent child that`s not – that`s a consequence of this crime,
how does that make it better? You know what I mean?
REPORTER: But she has to live with the consequence of that crime.
KOSTER: Well, that`s – I know. You know, crime has consequences.
TODD AKIN (R-MO), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: If it`s a legitimate rape,
the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT (R), MARYLAND: What is your percentage of
abortions to rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percent.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Twenty thousand pregnancies every year from rape.
BARTLETT: Yes and how many abortions? In the millions.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That`s 20,000 rapes. That`s 20,000 people who were
BARTLETT: I know. I know.
REPORTER: Why would you force a woman who`s been raped to have to
have that baby?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, like I say, Jim, I mean, my position is
pro-life and, you know, I care about the unborn and I feel that, you know,
that`s really where we should be in our policy.
REPORTER: What would the appropriate sentence be, shall we put her in
jail? Should we fine her? Do you have any thoughts on that at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, those are things that need to be worked
out through the, you know, through the legislative process.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Do you believe that a woman should
be forced by the government to give birth to a rapist`s baby against her
JOHN MACGOVERN (R-VT), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: I`ve always in my
career and to this day been loyal to the principle of life. I`m pro-life.
I`m profoundly pro-life. I`m pro-life to my core.
REPORTER: Should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, so, I`m very proud of my pro-
life record and I`ve always adopted the idea, the position that the method
of conception doesn`t change the definition of life.
REPORTER: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, god
forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own
TOM SMITH (R-PA), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: I lived something similar
to that with my own child. She chose life, and I commend her for that.
She knew my views, but, fortunately for me, I didn`t have to – she chose
the way I thought. Don`t get me wrong, it wasn`t rape, but similar.
REPORTER: Similar how?
SMITH: Having a baby out of wedlock. You know?
REPORTER: That`s similar to rape?
SMITH: No, no, no, but – well, put yourself in a father`s position,
yes. I mean, it is similar.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: That was a video sampling from the Republican Party`s creepy
rape and abortion comments caucus. Those guys were essentially forced by
precise and persistent lines of questioning in this election season to
campaign on their anti-abortion positions. Forced to explain themselves,
even when they did not want to, because, frankly, Democrats pushed them on
So how did these guys do in last night`s election? They did very,
very, very badly. The creepy rape and abortions caucus by our count went 0
for 9 last night. Every one of those guys you just heard from lost last
Richard Mourdock, who thinks God sometimes intervenes to make sure
rape victims are impregnated by their rapists, he lost the Senate race in
Indiana, costing Republicans what had been a considered a safe Senate seat.
Joe Walsh who thinks that abortion should be banned for women whose
lives and or health are in danger, Joe Walsh lost his House seat in
Illinois to Democrat Tammy Duckworth.
John “the rape thing” Koster, he lost his race for the House in
Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, he lost the Senate race against Claire
McCaskill, which was once considered an easy Republican Senate pickup.
Republican Roscoe Bartlett, who did not have the stats handy on
pregnancies resulting from rape, Roscoe Bartlett, he lost his re-election
bid in Maryland.
Rick Berg who said we can work out the details later of whether rape
victims go to jail for abortion, he lost the Senate race in North Dakota,
that was once seen as prime for Republican pickup.
John MacGovern who doesn`t want to talk about rape, he just wants to
talk about his pure, pro-life core, he lost to incumbent Senator Bernie
Sanders in Vermont.
Paul Ryan, who called rape just another method of conception, Paul
Ryan did win back his House seat, but he lost the vice presidency in rather
And Tom Smith, who thinks getting pregnant out of wedlock is totally
similar to getting pregnant by being raped, just put yourself in the
father`s position, he lost his U.S. Senate bid to incumbent Democratic
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
Republicans who were forced to campaign on their anti-abortion
politics, by and large, did not fare well this year.
But by all means, Republicans, follow the anti-abortion movement`s
advice and campaign harder on your abortion politics next time. Really.
Really, go for that one third of the electorate that thinks they agree with
you on this issue before they`ve heard you really explain it. Maybe you
can petition to change the rules of mathematics so that 36 percent will add
up to a majority.
Regardless, definitely talk more about rape, you guys. Keep it up.
MADDOW: Hey, to all of you who waited in long, long, long lines to
cast your vote in this election, your democracy thanks you, yay!
How about this? Let`s never have to do that again. Let`s fix that.
Who`s with me?
MADDOW: In south Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday, a voter named Gabriel
Pelonco (ph) needed four trips to the polls before he was allowed to vote.
Poll workers could not find his registration, and then they would not
accept his ID.
In Chicago, voters got sent from polling place to polling place, in
some cases, berated by election judges, given the wrong ballots.
In Orangeburg County, South Carolina, voters were asked for their
party affiliation, even though voters in South Carolina do not register by
In Pennsylvania, one poor guy voted for Barack Obama, but the machine
flipped his support to Mitt Romney, before his very eyes.
In Detroit, Michigan, Gena Porter (ph) showed up to vote yesterday at
5:00 a.m. She discovered 200 people had beaten her to the line, 5:00 a.m.
In Racine, Wisconsin, they ran out of ballots – which makes it
awfully hard to vote.
In Florida, Republicans cut the days for early voting in half. Then
early voters in Miami had to wait while clerks printed out several pages of
the ballot for each voter. It took until 1:00 in the morning for Miami`s
last early voting voter to actually vote and took them until 1:00 a.m. on
Election Day as well, waits of seven hours and more.
With lines of a dizzying length in Florida and Virginia and Ohio and
Maryland and North Carolina and Nevada and Indiana, this was the stay in
line election – people urging voters to please stay in line. No matter
who you`re voting for, stay in line, do not give up, #stayinline. Your
country needed you to stay in line. Not for any partisan outcome, but for
the sake of your right to vote.
Your heroism and patriotism were inspiring. You were going to vote,
doggone it, no matter what.
By making that sacrifice, you, you may have inspired change, or at
least the chance for change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank every
American who participated in this election.
Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very
By the way, we have to fix that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t know if that was an ad lib or not, but my heart
leapt, with “by the way, we have to fix that.” Could we?
Here`s the thing – voting is a federal issue, with federal laws to
protect it. Voting, right?
Elections are a state affair. To the extent that the problems
encountered by average voters stem from mistakes, those mistakes are made
by the state. To the extent that those problems are the product of bad
election rules and regulations, those are generally state rules and
Can President Obama or Congress fix all these horrendous state-level
problems with voting? Can we reach a consensus on what those problems are?
Is there a technocratic nonpartisan solutions here that could solve this
problem for the country and make our right to vote not part of partisan
And if we cannot fix it now, after the stay-in-line election, when
else could we ever fix this? Why couldn`t we do this now?
Joining us now for the interview is Rick Hasen, a professor of law at
U.C., Irvine, and the author of “The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the
Next Election Meltdown”.
Rick Hasen, thanks very much for being here today. I`m really glad we
were able to get you on the show.
RICK HASEN, AUTHOR, “THE VOTING WARS”: It`s great to be with you.
MADDOW: Why do you think the lines are so damn long in this election?
HASEN: Well, some of the reason is because there was a deliberate
effort in Ohio and Florida and other places, mostly with Republican
legislatures to cut back on the numbers of days and hours of early voting.
This was – you know, I think seen as a way of depressing Democratic
turnout. And I don`t know if it had that effect, people seemed to stay in
line for a long time, but it certainly seemed to be intended to make it
harder for people to vote.
MADDOW: You have argued, Rick, that Congress should step in and do
something to fix the problems we are having with elections, this recurring
problems now. What power does Congress hold here? What exactly could
HASEN: Well, you know, Congress can do a lot more than you might
think, because the Constitutions gives Congress the power to set the rules
for congressional elections. Now, it can`t set the rules for local
elections, but if it sets for congressional elections as it did when it
passed the motor-voter law in 1993, the states basically all come along and
they change their rules with it.
There`s a lot Congress could do. The problem is not one of
constitutional power but of political will. Is there going to be a
movement after the president`s comments to actually make changes in how we
run our elections?
MADDOW: What kinds of changes – if the political will was there, the
political finesse was there – what kinds of changes originating with
federal legislation are the kind of thing that you think would make a
difference that would really help?
HASEN: We could start small. We could start big. Small would be
Congress could provide incentives, money for states that implement early
You could have a federal ballot that just lists president and Congress
and Senate on it and it would be a simple form. Congress can mandate which
machines are used.
Congress could, if we want to get broader, Congress could set up a
nonpartisan agency to administer our elections. That`s what I`d like to
see. Let the federal government take over all voter registration and
register every voter.
When a person turns 18, graduates high school, drops out of high
school. They get registered. When they move, turn in a change of address,
your registration moves with you. We could do what most mature democracies
do, which is have a national election administration that`s nonpartisan and
MADDOW: Is there a state or a couple of states that could be seen as
essentially models for the nation? If we were going to try to do
federalization like you just described there, or something else where we
are going to try to change laws at the federal level, to reflect best
practices in the states where it works great, what kind of states should we
be looking at? What kind of practices should we look at as the model?
HASEN: Well, you know, there are pieces. So at the state level, the
state of Wisconsin has a pretty good Government Accountability Board, but
at the local level, it`s got local partisan election administrators who`ve
made all kinds of mistakes in the past and who – you know, are chosen
because of their party affiliation, not because of any history of
If we want to look for a model, I would look actually outside the
country to Australia, to United Kingdom, to Canada, almost all of these
democracies have agencies that do a very good job and are really not
controversial the way our elections are in this country.
MADDOW: Imagine an election in the United States – in the modern
United States in which the way that we voted was not one of the things that
we had to worry about heading into making our decision between candidates.
Rick Hasen, professor of law at U.C., Irvine, author of “The Voting
Wars” and keeper of the excellent election law blog which I read everyday,
Rick, thank you again for being here tonight. I really appreciate it.
HASEN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. If you tossed a billion dollars in cash into a
fire place you would at least get warmth from it, right? And the warmth
from burning thy billion dollars would be more than America`s most noted
cranky conservative plutocrats got for their money this year and what they
did with it. That story is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Back now with news of a big change in
American politics, one you will almost certainly see on your TV. The U.S.
Supreme Court today overturned laws on the books for nearly a century and
ruled that corporations can spend freely now on political campaigns. Those
who like this decision say it`s a victory for free speech. Those who don`t
say campaigns will now be drowning in corporate cash and influence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The vast majority of the money spent in this election,
outside of the political parties and the candidates themselves, came from
conservative groups, conservative groups just crushed liberal groups in
this election, outspent them 3-1. Liberal leaning groups spend actually
just about as much as they ever have in an election, but once the court
made it OK for anybody to spend anything for any reason, the conservative
spending just went nuts while the liberal spending stayed about the same.
And now as the election night hangover is just about to wear off,
maybe not, if there`s one thing you should know about the outside group on
this election is that it didn`t work. Could just as well set those big
piles of cash on fire.
Por ejemplo, Karl Rove super PAC – they spent more than $100 million
running ads in the general election. Some ads supporting candidates, all
Republicans, and some ads opposing candidates, all Democrats.
Of the candidates Karl Rove super PAC supported in the general
election, here`s how many of those candidates won, zero, also known as
zilch, aka nada, sometimes described as bupkis.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also got in on the Senate race. In
addition to supporting a bunch of Republican candidates for Senate, the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce worked to oppose 11 Democratic candidates for
Senate. Last night, despite that opposition, all of those candidates won
But, hey, at least the Chamber of Commerce did help to get Dean Heller
elected in Nevada. Mr. Heller accounted for about 1/64 of the chamber`s
overall spending this year. So there`s teeny, teeny, tiny victory for
FreedomWorks, the group that introduced the term astroturfing to your
lexicon, FreedomWorks, only a quarter of their money was spent
successfully. That`s according to the nonpartisan watchdog group the
Sunlight Foundation. The individual conservative millionaires and
billionaires who threw money at the election this year, they did not fare
much better on their political investments, despite their deep, deep faith
in their own selves.
Sheldon Adelson, when he wrote checks this year, he seems to have
never written one with fewer than six heroes. First, Sheldon Adelson
backed Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary, Mr. Gingrich lost, badly.
Then Sheldon Adelson bet on Mitt Romney to the tune of at least $34
million. Mitt Romney also lost, also badly.
Sheldon Adelson is estimated to personally have spent somewhere $70
million and $100 million to get no one elected this year. He couldn`t even
get Mitt Romney elected in his home state of Nevada. Ow.
The Koch brothers promised to spend $60 million defeating President
Obama and to leverage hundreds of millions more. And again, while dropping
that cash may very made them feel important, the math said it was not money
well spent. Outside groups spent more than a billion on the 2012 election.
Many of those groups do not seem to have gotten much for their money. I
wonder what they would do with it if they can get it back.
That does it for us tonight. Thank you very much for being with us.
Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.” Have a
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