The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/10/13
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
The Washington Post leads today with a scoop that is the biggest
development yet in the scandal that envelopes a man who the Republican
party nearly chose to be their party`s nominee for vice president just this
past year. “The Washington Post” reporting on its front page today on
another $120,000 in loot, just in plain cash, that Virginia governor Bob
McDonnell has seen fit to pocket, without telling anyone, during his time
as governor. This brings over $140,000, the tally of undisclosed cash that
the governor McDonnell and his family accepted from the CEO of a troubled
Virginia company that`s now under federal securities investigation.
The very same day that this CEO handed over a $15,000 check to cover
catering costs at the McDonald`s daughter`s wedding. “The Washington Post”
now reports that the same CEO, also that same day, handed over a check for
$50,000 that was just made out to the first lady, made out to Maureen
McDonnell personally. Then when other McDonnell daughter was getting
married, cough it up again, big guy. Another $10,000 check written out to
the eldest McDonnell daughter. See, that`s how you have to do it if you
want it to not turn up on the governor`s financial disclosures. If you
give it to him he`s supposed to disclose it. But if you give it to the
wife and kids, then maybe we can get away with this, at least for a while.
But wait, there`s more. Yet another $50,000 check and then another $20,000
check beyond that that actually do go to governor Bob himself except they
go to Governor Bob by means of a corporate entity that he and his sister
set up to pay the mortgages on their beach houses in Virginia beach.
So, those $70,000 in cash gifts or loans the governor and his sister, those
don`t have to get reported either, since a little corporate entity like
that functions as actually like a family member in terms of it insulating
you from having to report it. $120,000 in cash, who knows what else is
going to turn up. Since it seems like every day brings something new. But
the tally so far, in terms of what Virginia Republican governor Bob
McDonnell has taken from this company since he has been governor, now
includes a check for $15,000 made out to that company that catered the
governor`s daughter`s wedding, a $6500 Rolex watch, purchased by the CEO
and given to the governor, although the governor told reporters that was a
gift from his wife. Also a $10,000 Oscar de la Renta suede jacket given to
the governor`s wife on a shopping trip to New York with the CEO. A Louis
Vuitton handbag, also given to the governor`s wife on the shopping trip to
New York with the CEO. Also, two pairs of designer shoes given to the
governor`s wife, same trip, a designer dress given to the governor`s wife,
same trip, a lakefront home vacation given to the McDonnell family.
Thousands of dollars in trips on a private jet given to the governor. A
loan of the CEO is $190,000 white Ferrari for the governor to drive.
And now a check for $50,000 made out to a corporate entity owned by the
governor and his sister. And another $20,000 check made out again to that
same corporate entity owned by the governor and his sister. And a check
for $50,000 made out to the governor`s wife, and a check for $10,000 made
out to one of the governor`s daughters, a different daughter than got the
$15,000 check that went to catering.
That is what is known so far in terms of cash and expensive gifts that
Governor Bob McDonnell has taken for himself and his family from one
specific company since he has been governor. A company that it turns out
the governor also took numerous official actions to assist. The governor
is denying that, but I don`t see how long he can keep this up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: In the particular case of Mr. Williams
and Source Scientific, that company has received no state benefits, no
economic development grants, no targeted money out of the budget, no board
appointments. They have really – they`ve received nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Nothing? Nothing except a launch party for the magic tobacco pill
that`s made by the CEO`s company, a launch party held at the governor`s
mansion and hosted by the governor and the first lady. They still have the
press release up on their Web site, bragging about how their product launch
was being held at the Virginia`s governor mansion today. So, this company
didn`t get nothing from the Virginia governor. They got that. And they
got the first lady of Virginia touting the benefits of the magic tobacco
pill at multiple events both inside Virginia and outside Virginia. Her,
traveling around the country helping tout the benefits of the company`s
product and they got a top level meeting with Virginia state health
officials for the magic tobacco pill company CEO. Where the CEO was able
to pitch his idea of a Virginia state funded study of his magic pills
benefits to the state. And they also got another meeting with the state
secretary of health, a meeting with the cabinet secretary that was set up
either by the governor`s office directly or by the governor`s wife. And
that seemingly would never have happened without the governor or the first
lady intervening to make that meeting happen, since the health secretary
says himself the magic tobacco pill was not ready for prime time. But,
yes, governor McDonnell, other than the one on one meeting with the cabinet
secretary and the other meeting with the health official that you set up
and the launch party for the magic tobacco pill. The governor`s mansion
which you attended and your wife attended and other that this picture of
you as Virginia governor holding a bottle of the magic tobacco pills and
your wife traveling around the country touting the magic tobacco pill, yes,
other than that –
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: They`ve really, they`ve received nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, other than that, really nothing.
Bob McDonnell maintains the company got nothing in value in exchange for
the more than $140,000 in cash plus all the other gifts that this company
has given him and his family since he has been governor of the state of
If the company did get things of value from the governor, and it can be
proven that those things were given in exchange for all the money and gifts
the company gave to the governor and his family, then the governor will go
to federal prison for violations of the Hobbs act which is what prohibits
that kind of official corruption even at the state level.
And that is one half of what`s wrong right now for Virginia governor Bob
McDonnell. There`s also the other category of things the governor took for
himself and his family and charged to Virginia taxpayers. Allegations of
him either charging things on the state credit card or asking state
employees to do personal business or straight up the McDonnell family just
lifting stuff from the governor`s mansion and taking it away for the
McDonnell family`s personal use.
Even after state officials intervened and told the governor this was
improper and the state`s taxpayers should not be paying for the McDonnell
family`s personal expenses, he kept doing it.
Quote “sales receipts released by the state indicate that they went on to
bill taxpayers for myriad medicine cabinet products, vitamins and the
specifically the body wash that officials already told the governor should
not be billed to the taxpayers. Then when “the Washington Post” started to
publish the list of things the governor McDonnell had taken for himself,
the body wash, the gastrointestinal digestive cleans, that dog vitamins,
all the rest of that petty list of miserableness, governor McDonnell
denounced “the Washington Post” for having published false charges.
And then after he said it was false, he changed tact and said, OK, maybe
the list is not false, but it`s actually fine for him to take all that
stuff. The thousands of dollars worth of stuff that was charged to the
governor`s mansion credit card that never came to the governor`s mansion at
all. That the McDonnell just charged to the credit card and then gave to
their kids to take to their college dorm rooms with them. Those thousands
of dollars the lawyer for governor McDonnell said were just like, and I`m
quoting here, “the cold meat ball sandwich that his own mother used to pack
for him when he went back to school as a gift. Every family treats their
kids like that, the lawyer said, the first family should not be treated any
differently.” That was the argument. Although presumably, the lawyer`s
lovely Italian mother did not steal the cold meat ball sandwich from her
employer to give to her kid to take to school the way Bob McDonnell charge
everything to the state credit card for his, the stuff that his kids took
But that was the argument. First, the governor said it was false that he
had ever taken that stuff, then he said it was fine, it was just like a
cold meat ball sandwich, he didn`t have to pay for any of it. He just
thought it was part of his salary, or at least it ought to be for the
taxpayers of Virginia to pay for that stuff for him and his family. And
then he relented and finally decided yes, I guess he would pay back the
state for some of that stuff.
On Friday of the July 4th long holiday weekend the governor quietly paid
for some of the stuff that he first denied existed and that it shouldn`t
have to pay for. So, for our tally, you can add this list to stuff that
the governor took for himself and his family to the previous stash that we
already knew about. Gatorade, paper towels, laundry detergent, cold cuts,
microwave food, chips, energy shakes, toilet paper, body wash, deodorant,
and quote “other items purchased with the mansion credit card and sent off
to school with the of the governor`s five children.” Plus, don`t forget
the digestive system cleans, a cherry-flavored sleep elicsir and a variety
of vitamins including vitamins for the dog that we are all, at least,
initially put on the governor`s mansion visa card.
And that is all in addition to the Ferrari and the $145,000 in cash, and
the $6,000 Rolex and the Oscar de la Renta suede jacket and all the rest
that the governor has taken for himself and his family from the company
that he helped out with the launched party and all the rest.
Nice haul, right?
As governor, Bob McDonnell gets paid $175,000 as his real salary. He
doesn`t have to take it from anybody, it`s actually paid to him officially.
He also gets a free place to live. But all of the stuff that he has taken
for himself and his family, this is all on top of that.
And now, there`s a new twist in all this, when governor Bob McDonnell first
got elected it was not a surprise that a Republican won the Virginia
governorship. I mean, Virginia has been trending blue in presidential
election years, but when Virginia holds its statewide races in odd off
years it, as they do in the commonwealth, it ends up being a lower turnout
affair. And lower turnout elections often tend to benefit Republicans.
So, it`s not crazy that a Virginia Republican won the governorship. What
was unusual about Bob McDonnell specifically getting elected, it wasn`t the
he was a Republicans, but it was the fact that the Republicans had picked
him. That the Republicans had picked somebody so very deeply conservative
for a statewide Virginia job like that.
I mean, he had been a leading anti-abortion crusader his whole time in the
legislature, he had done an adult masters degree at the Pat Robertson
televangelist college, where his Masters thesis was about how public policy
should be used to punish homosexuals, fornicators and adulterers.
It was a real statement from Virginia Republicans to put this guy up for
governor about five minutes after the state voted for Barack Obama for
president. For ending wise though, reputation wise, the ideological saving
grace for Bob McDonnell has turned out to be a man who he ran with that
year when he first got elected. Because Bob McDonnell does not want to be
seen as the new Jesse Helms, the new Rick Santorum, the new Gary Bauer, the
new alma matter, Pat Robertson, the new (INAUDIBLE) George Allen. I mean,
Bob McDonnell wanted to govern in that bane. He wanted the forced
ultrasound bill and he wanted the bill that would close the state`s
abortion clinics. He wanted to put out his commemoration honoring the
brave confederate fighters in Virginia, the commemoration of confederate
history month that dropped any mention of slavery. He wanted to govern
that way, but he`s not wanted to be seen that way.
And the bright shiny distraction that`s made Bob McDonnell not seem that
way, not seem as out there as he is and always has been, is the states
attorney general who got elected alongside Bob McDonnell.
Ken Cuccinelli, known in Virginia as the Kuch, seen here as the target of
Virginia`s (INAUDIBLE) watch protesters who dogged the attorney general at
his public appearances to try to draw attention to whatever new radical
thing the Kuch is doing now. Wrote to state universities as soon as he and
bob McDonnell took office to tell state schools that they had to re-sinned
their nondiscrimination policies that included sexual orientation. He told
the state schools of Virginia, you`re not allowed to ban discrimination
against gay people by order of the state.
He is the guy who changed the state seal to cover up the terrible nakedness
of the statue of virtue, which Thomas Jefferson had first seen felt to
design for the state seal. He is the guy who launched the state attorney
general`s office Jihad against scientist Virginia Universities trying to
fair it out evil climate science research that they might be doing as
When the Virginia state board of health declined to go along with
Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell in their effort to issue new regulations that
would shut down abortion clinics in the state, it was Ken Cuccinelli who
threatened the board of health individually that if they don`t go along in
shutting down the clinics, he as attorney general would cease to provide
any defense to them for any of their official actions. They would have to
take on the legal expenses of the Virginia board of health out of their own
pockets as individuals if they didn`t go along with what he wanted them to
do to the clinics and so they went along against their own findings and
recommendations and they shut the clinics down.
Bob McDonnell is a whole new ball of wax for purple state Virginia. But
Ken Cuccinelli, he is like a giant globe full of wax running down Virginia
like Indiana Jones in a freaking cave sprinting for his life.
And now, as Bob McDonnell fights for his political life in his overlapping
corruption scandals that show him beneath the (INAUDIBLE) self-
righteousness, to be the kind of g who may be able to hook you up for your
launch party for your non FDA regulated wonder pill at the governor`s
mansion, if you could hook him up with a ride in the Ferrari and a new
As governor ultrasound now frantically treads water try not to drown in his
overlapping duo corruption scandals. It turns out that Ken Cuccinelli is
being called to answer for his own role in the same scandals. It turns out
that the company that gave the Rolex and the white Ferrari and all the rest
of it to Bob McDonnell was also busy giving gifts to Ken Cuccinelli.
One of the damning things about the mountain of cash and prizes given to
this company by Bob McDonnell, is that he didn`t disclose them, at least no
initially. He claimed that they were gifts to his family and not to him,
or he claimed that he forgot they were presents. Did you enjoy your trip
to the NCAA final four, Mr. Governor? Yes. How did you get there, private
plane. It was awesome. Who`s private plane? The guy from the magic
tobacco pill`s company, his plane. Well, I guess that`s a gift. I need to
disclose it now. It is kind of how it has been going with Bob McDonnell,
same deal, it turns out, with Ken Cuccinelli, who only belatedly disclosed
his own multiple trips to the lake side vacation home of the same magic
tobacco pill company CEO once the scandal broke publicly and who Virginia
Democrats are now demanding disclose the details of his own relationship to
the scandal that look set to end the career of Virginia`s Republican
governor very soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONNELL: The particular case of Mr. Williams and star scientific, that
company has received no state benefits, no economic development grants, no
targeted money out of the budget, no board appointments, they have really -
- they have received nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Despite headlines now, you still plan to
remain as governor until the end –
MCDONNELL: Yes. But I don`t know where these things come. The press is
so – press accounts have been completely out of control about rumors,
about resignations, so forth. I`m thoroughly enjoying and being incredibly
productive I think with my team as governor of Virginia. We have an awful
lot of things that w do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republican governor, Bob McDonald, of Virginia said that
yesterday, what I believe is his last interview, before today at another
story broke of another $120,000 in cash payments that were made to governor
and to his family, by the CEO of a troubled Virginia company.
Joining us now is state senator Barbara Favola, She is a democrat who
represents Arlington, parts of Fairfax and Loudon county, a senator for
holistic day called for the resignation of governor McDonald.
Senator Favola, thank you for being with us tonight.
STATE SENATOR BARBARA FAVOLA (D), ARLINGTON: Thank you Rachel. It is my
MADDOW: Why do you think that the governor McDonnell should resign now, a
federal investigation and a state investigation are both underway into
these corruption allegations, why do you think he should not wait for the
results of those investigations, but he should step down there?
FAVOLA: Well, my view is, is that the governor has acted far beyond a
reasonable parameter of ethical behavior. If you just look at the fact
pattern, it`s hard to imagine that a company that did not make huge
contributions at Star Scientific would ever get the governor and the first
lady to host a launch party for their diet supplement pills, the governor
and the first lady. The first lady primarily went around the state
promoting products from Star Scientific, and they basically have had this
sort of hand in glove relationship.
I am convinced that a corporation or a donor does not contribute $145,000
and not expect something in return. And I can say and as you pointed out
earlier on your show, there certainly have been examples of how this
company has benefited from their relationship with the governor and that`s
just not what Virginians expect, it`s not what Virginians deserve.
We have a history of a clean government. We want, you know, we want a
state government that runs on transparency, we want a government that
operates in an efficient and effective manner and in honest manner in a way
where companies are not given special treatment, simply because they write
checks to the governor`s campaign.
MADDOW: On the issue of whether or not they have received special
treatment. The governor has been specific in saying what this company did
not get. He says no state benefits. No economic development grants. No
targeted money out of the budget. And no board appointments. And then he
extrapolates from that to say nothing.
We know a number of things that this company did get, though. The launch
party, the first lady traveling around the country touting the benefits of
the pills. The first lady or the governor`s office directly intervening to
get meeting between the CEO and state health officials including the
From what you know of the way business is done in Virginia, are those kinds
of things that we know this company got, the kinds of things that lots of
companies get and is a standard helping hand to business that the governor
may get anybody even if they weren`t loaning them their Ferrari.
FAVOLA: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. I can`t think of
another dietary supplement company that got the level of attention that
Star Scientific received. I can`t think of another company where the first
lady personally went out and marketed their products. And I believe that
marketing efforts, especially when you`re talking about the head of a state
or the first lady are of value, and any business person would tell you,
they have to dedicate a certain amount of money to their marketing budget.
And it is important to get their product out on the market and it`s
important to have a known spokesperson. That`s why companies pay for
politicians and sports heads and all kinds of public figures to promote
their product, because it matters. Because it is of value.
MADDOW: Let me ask specifically about the attorney general Ken Cuccinelli
who is obviously the Republican nominee to – for governor now, he would
like to replace governor McDonnell in the state house. One of your
democratic colleagues in the Senate says that he will put in a freedom of
information act request to try to force the attorney general to disclose
more information about his relationship to this same company and the same
CEO, which we know the attorney general held a lot of stock in, made a lot
of profit from the stock sales from and received a lot of personal gifts,
including some he didn`t initially disclose.
Do you feel that Ken Cuccinelli has disclosed his links to this scandal or
do you feel there`s more that ought to be known and could be pried out of
FAVOLA: I expect there`s more that needs to be known. I find it
fascinating that both the governor and Ken Cuccinelli all of a sudden after
three and a half years in office are remembering gifts that they received
from Star Scientific, you know, years ago and they just remember them
within the last ten days, I find that fascinating. And just as an aside on
Ken Cuccinelli, of course, Ken Cuccinelli had to recues himself from
defending governor McDonnell in this whole Star Scientific investigation
because he, as you just mentioned, had received gifts from this company and
had not reported them. So, I will certainly join that effort to ask for a
freedom of information act request.
Again, I am a very strong believer. As many Virginians are of having an
open government and understanding how things work, and certainly
recognizing where the money is – where the money flows and who benefits
MADDOW: Senator Barbara Favola of Virginia, thank you for your time
tonight, Ma`am. It is nice to meet you It is nice to have you here.
FAVOLA: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks you.
I should note, you know, having senator Favola here, we have had one other
Virginia state senator on the show talking about this, who called not
directly for the governor`s resignation, but said he should disclose more
and if he couldn`t he should resign. But, that`s really it in terms of
Democrats in Virginia who are calling for the governor`s head about this.
The Democrats have been receipt sent to make political hay out of this.
They have been watching the investigations going-forward and watching the
reporting happen. But I think right now, the flood gates are broken, have
All right, still ahead, Dan Rather here tonight for the interview. Stay
MADDOW: Hey, the one and only Dan Rather is here for the interview tonight
talking about a $34 million present that it turns out nobody wants. That`s
MADDOW: In southern Afghanistan, in Helmand province, there`s a two-story,
football field sized state of the art command and control center that has
been built for the United States Marine Corps. It cost $34 million to
build. It has an operations center with tiered seating, has a briefing
theater, spacious offices, fancy chairs, powerful air conditioning.
Generals have said that this brand new facility rivals anything that the
Marine Corps or indeed the whole military has back at home. It is maybe
beyond even state of the art. It`s the nicest thing out there. 1,500
people can work at this behemoth of a complex.
How many American troops work there right now? Zero. Not one. Goose egg,
because this brand new command and control facility sits completely empty.
The Marines did not want it, they never asked for it, and they say they do
not need it and will not move in. The special inspector general for
Afghanistan reconstruction told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a letter
released today, that this is the best constructed building he has seen in
all his travels to Afghanistan. And he`s posted admiring pictures of this
nice facility on Flickr, showing the theater with all its empty seats still
in plastic wrap. Showing some empty but still very lovely offices.
Showing an empty – I don`t know what this is. Maybe a rec room? Is that
a piano? No, a credenza. I don`t know.
Here is what this modern marvel looks like from the outside. It`s a
football field sized command and control facility that was just built, that
will never, ever be used by U.S. troops, and now according to the special
inspector general, its fate is that probably it`s going to be torn down.
After you and I spent $34 million American taxpayer dollars to build it.
NBC`s Jim Miklaszewski spoke with the special inspector general today.
JOHN SOPKO, SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL: This was designed originally for an
Army three-star general`s headquarters, and it was actually a very large
building for that, 64,000 square feet. Then we made a decision during the
surge not to bring the Army down to (ph) leatherneck, so the Marines took
over. The Marine Corps general who ran that area, after he saw the plans,
I assume, said I don`t want it, I don`t need it, don`t build it.
As far as we know, the Afghans don`t know anything about it, they don`t
want it, and they probably couldn`t maintain it.
If you go inside, it is beautiful. It is state of the art, from the air
conditioning to the electronics, to the computers, beautiful chairs. It`s
got a theater, it`s got a war room. And it will probably never be used.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Your tax dollars at work.
You know there is new and contested reporting this week from the New York
Times that the war in Afghanistan might be ending harder and faster than
had been previously expected. Now, President Obama might be considering
zeroing out the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and pulling them out
faster than he had previously announced.
Does the $34 million headquarters that no one will ever work in, that will
likely be demolished right after it got finished, does that kind of fiscal
and public relations and strategic disaster affect the overall politics of
the war? Does it affect whether or not we`re going to get Americans home
from that war faster than we otherwise thought we might?
Joining us now is Dan Rather. He is the anchor and managing editor of “Dan
Rather Reports” on Access TV. Mr. Rather has been to Afghanistan 16 times
since the start of this war. He was there most recently early this spring.
Mr. Rather, thank you so much for being here.
DAN RATHER, ANCHOR, “DAN RATHER REPORTS”: Always a pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: There`s never been a war without waste, without profligate waste,
but does a humiliation like this change what people and politicians are
willing to keep investing in the continuation of a war?
RATHER: I think the answer is it could. But let`s see clearly. This is
an outrage. It`s also something at least near a sacrilege to all the young
men and women, American and others, who shed their blood in Afghanistan.
This is a job for President Obama. Who authorized this building? Whose
name signed off on the cost? What company was in charge of the overall
construction? What are their political connections?
Now, it may be that this is not a case of war profiteering, but the prima
facie evidence so far is that it is just that. And when you talk about –
we should have a national debate about how much to spend on defense. This
kind of thing, it undermines public confidence not just in the war in
Afghanistan, but in the Defense Department, and it pollutes, it`s toxic to
a future debate on the defense of the United States. This is a job for the
One would hope that tomorrow morning, I doubt this will happen, but I hope
it happens, he comes out and as I say, who signed off on this, what company
was in charge of the overall construction, who got the contracts, how did
they get the contracts – this would be about the best thing he could do in
starting a real national debate about how soon can we get out of
Afghanistan, how soon should we get out of Afghanistan.
I just – you know, I`m almost – I can`t speak about it, because I feel so
strongly, that this kind of thing goes on – albeit on a smaller scale –
it went on in Iraq and it went on in Afghanistan.
MADDOW: By the billions.
RATHER: By the billions, by super billions, and thank heavens for these
investigators who finally got to the bottom of this and exposed it. It
says something good about the United States of America that we have such
dedicated public service who say, listen, the public needs to know about
this, we need to have transparency about it.
MADDOW: These inspectors general who are aggressive and independent.
They`ll put up the photos of it, they will tell you the background on it,
and they won`t – they are not shy about putting the stuff out there. I
think you`re right, I think these guys, these are the kind of guys that
ought to get a medal.
RATHER: They play no favorites, they pull no punches, and in (inaudible)
phrase, they shoot up lights on both sides of the street.
RATHER: It`s a good thing we have them.
MADDOW: Dan, I know that you have solid sources, in military and political
spheres, including in Afghanistan right now, where we still have got tens
of thousands of Americans serving. What are you hearing about this
contested reporting from the New York Times that President Obama is
suddenly considering ending the war faster and ending it with a zero troop
option? No residual force left?
RATHER: When you see clearly that this option has always been around, the
so-called zero option, which is to say at the end of 2014, we`re out of
there, period. This is basically what we did in Iraq, but people tend to
forget that we had a deal – we thought we had a deal in Iraq for a long-
standing security arrangement in Iraq, where U.S. troops would stay on. It
fell apart at the last minute and we went out.
My own personal opinion is, that I don`t think this is a realistic option
for President Obama at the present time, and I think he knows it. I
believe what the administration is trying to do, is say to President Karzai
in Iraq (sic), listen, you have to stop dumping all over the United States
and criticizing the United States. You have to get real about what we can
and should do post 2014.
Now, what the military needs, and they`ll tell you in a second. First of
all, if we`re to leave some troops there, if there isn`t to be a zero
option, which I don`t think is going to happen. Sometimes I`m wrong about
these things, but I don`t think it`s going to happen. The military says
for whatever numbers of troops you leave, what will be the strategy, what
is the mission?
MADDOW: Why are they there?
RATHER: Why will they be there? And once that is made, and that is a
decision at the end that only the president can make, once you make that
decision, then comes how many troops do we need to carry out that strategy?
Some say you could leave as few as 7,500. Others say 15,000, some say
I think the military at the moment is centered around the figure of 13,000
to 14,000 troops. But they keep emphasizing, tell us what you want those
troops to do after 2014, and then tell us what the number is, and they need
that decision immediately. They needed it yesterday. They`re a little
reluctant to say so publicly. But that`s where the military is on this.
And the number of diplomats of all persuasions, same–
MADDOW: And the political decision has to be made so that strategic
decision can follow. Dan Rather.
RATHER: Karzai has turned out to be something of a disaster, and I think
the Obama administration is sorry they supported him for reelection in
MADDOW: Well, whether he`s going to stay on whether he`s going to be
turfed out, any agreement that he makes about keeping troops on is going to
be hard to believe in for the long run, which is why I think the zero
option is more viable. Maybe – it`s a more viable option than you do –
but we all have to watch and see. Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor
of “Dan Rather Reports,” which is on Access TV. Dan, it`s always a real
pleasure to have you, thank you.
RATHER: My pleasure.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right, something I`ve been working on all day today that has nothing to
do with the $34 million headquarters that nobody will work in or with Bob
McDonnell is coming up next. It`s chart imitates life, hold on.
MADDOW: If you squint just enough, the fight over in North Carolina about
the Republican plan there to shut down the state`s abortion clinics, it
looks a lot like many of the other fights going on in Texas and Ohio and
Indiana and all these many other states that are moving on Republican
legislation to restrict access to abortion right now.
But there`s one difference in North Carolina that makes the fight there
unlike the fight in the other states. The one not so slight difference in
North Carolina is that the Republican governor of that state made a
campaign promise last fall that he would not sign any new abortion
restrictions into law if he were elected governor. And he was elected
governor. And we all know how campaign promises go once you`re elected,
but that is what he promised. And as this debate continues to heat up and
continues to escalate in North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory`s pledge has
been a really unique question mark in this particular Republican fight,
will he or won`t he?
After much wondering about whether or not the governor really meant that
promise when he made it, early today Governor MrCrory put out a statement,
saying he will veto what his fellow Republicans have been trying to race
through the legislature. Quote, “Unless significant changes and
clarifications are made addressing our concerns, Governor Pat McCrory will
veto the existing bill,” period. So there you go. Settled. Done. Not
going to happen.
Not exactly. Later today, just hours after Governor McCrory threatened to
veto the abortion bill, the Republicans in the legislature adapted. What
they did is they took a bill that had been about motorcycle safety and
decided to turn it into a new abortion bill. They didn`t tweak the
motorcycle safety aspects of this bill; they tweaked it with just enough
anti-abortion changes to address the governor`s stated concerns, leaving
most of the other anti-abortion provisions in the bill intact.
These adjustments using the motorcycle bill, they happened so fast this
morning, that the House Judiciary Committee set to vote on the motorcycle
bill was only made aware that it was now an abortion bill three minutes
before they convened to vote. Democratic State Representative Joe Sam
Quinn (ph) tweeted at 10:26 a.m., quote, “New abortion bill being heard on
the committee I am on. The public didn`t know. I didn`t even know.”
The committee did approve the motorcycle/abortion bill in a party line
vote, 10/5. Now it has to go to the full House, where it can go for a vote
tomorrow. And so now the question mark is back. Will Governor Pat McCrory
still veto this wolf in sheeps` clothing of a bill that looks like a
motorcycle bill but is really the anti-abortion bill? Will the Republicans
figure out a way to somehow seem to address his concerns but still jam new
abortion restrictions through? We still do not know, but in North
Carolina, a state where it looked like a foregone conclusion that
Republicans would be able to rush through his stealth attack abortion ban,
that they would shut down access to clinics in most of the state, things
have at least slowed down for the time being. But they are still moving
and they are still uncertain. North Carolina is proving to be a weird one.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Chart imitates life. At the end of this one, you can take a
picture of your TV screen, cut it out and tape it up on your refrigerator,
or get a magnet and stick it up there indefinitely. Ready? Chart imitates
Here is what the Republicans have done in government since the election in
November. The great state of Texas has 42 facilities that provide
abortions, among other women`s health needs across the state. Today, the
Republicans in the Texas assembly voted again on legislation that is
expected to close 37 of those 42 clinics. The bill now moves to the
Senate, where the Republicans have the numbers to pass it there, too, and
Republican Governor Rick Perry is eager to sign it, so under Republican
governance this year, it looks like the number of places where Texas women
can get an abortion will drop from 42 to 5. That is Texas.
In Wisconsin, there are currently four facilities that provide abortions,
among other women`s health needs, across the state. On this past Friday,
after a long holiday weekend, Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin
signed into law the bill that Republicans passed through the legislature
there that is expected to close two of those four facilities. So under
Republican governance this year, it looks like the number of places where
Wisconsin women can get an abortion will drop from four to two. That`s
In Mississippi, there is only one facility in the whole state that provides
abortion, among other women`s health needs, just one place. Last year, the
Republican governor there, Phil Bryant, signed into law legislation passed
by the Republicans in the legislature, that would close that last remaining
facility in the state. So under Republican governance in Mississippi, it
looks like the number of places where the women of Mississippi can get an
abortion will drop from one to none at all. There will be nowhere in
Mississippi where a woman can go for an abortion. That is Mississippi.
Same story in North Dakota. There was only one facility in the far eastern
part of the state that provides abortions in the state. In March,
Republican lawmakers passed a law designed to force that one remaining
clinic to be closed. So under Republican governance in North Dakota this
year, the number of places where women in the state can get an abortion
will drop from one to zero. In North Dakota, there will be zero facilities
providing abortions. That is North Dakota.
Alabama. Alabama has five facilities that provide abortions, among other
women`s health needs, across the state. In April, the Republican governor
of Alabama signed a bill that would close three of those five facilities.
So under Republican governance this year, it looks like the number of
places where women in Alabama can get an abortion will drop from five to
In Virginia, there were 20 facilities that provide abortions, among other
women`s health needs, across the state. In April, after threats from the
attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, the state board of health voted to
rubber-stamp a law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that is
designed to close 16 of those 20 facilities. So under Republican
governance in Virginia, it looks like the number of places where women in
Virginia can get an abortion will drop from 20 to four. That`s Virginia.
In Ohio, there were 12 facilities that provide abortions, among other
women`s health needs, across the state, but Republican lawmakers there
passed a law to close four of those 12 remaining facilities, so under
Republican governance this year, it looks like the number of places where
Ohio women can get an abortion will drop from 12 to eight. That`s Ohio.
In North Carolina, there are currently 16 facilities that provide
abortions, among other women`s health needs, across the state. Because of
what the state has been going through in the state legislature in the last
couple of weeks, just today, Republicans sneaking abortion restriction
language into a motorcycle safety bill. Because of that maneuvering in the
North Carolina state legislature, 15 of the 16 clinics in the state are now
in danger of closing. So under Republican governance this year, it looks
like the number of places where women in North Carolina can get an abortion
may drop from 16 to one. That`s just North Carolina.
We have been covering this state by state, as this has been happening this
year. First in Mississippi, then in North Dakota, then in Virginia, and
now almost everywhere where Republicans have control. But if you stop
looking at it per individual states, it is a pretty dramatic thing that is
happening to American women right now. If instead of covering it just
state by state, you put it all on the same map, look at what Republicans
have set in motion just since the November elections. This shows the
current number of clinics where an American woman can access abortion now,
in states where Republicans are in charge and they`ve decided to go after
that right. This is before the Republican Party`s blitz to shut down
clinics this year. And this is after.
We have been covering this state by state, but we never before looked at
the overall impact. This is what Republican governors and Republican
legislators have done across the country. All of these trap laws that use
targeted state regulations to shut down clinics, this is the impact. Don`t
let anybody tell you – right, look at that – don`t let anybody tell you
that governing doesn`t matter. Where Republicans have taken the reins of
state power across the country, they have used it single-mindedly to shut
down women`s health clinics (inaudible), just since the last election.
And it is not like we didn`t have a national fight about this issue in that
election. I mean, for their national ticket in 2012, the Republicans
picked an anti-abortion hard-liner ticket, a vice presidential contender
who said he would even force rape victims to bear a rapist`s child against
their will. And a presidential contender who, for his part, pledged
frequently, to end Planned Parenthood. He said he would cut off federal
funding for Planned Parenthood, he would end it. He said he would overturn
Roe versus Wade. That is what he hoped for.
The Democrats responded to the Republican`s initiatives on that front by
stepping up their support for women`s rights. President Obama addressing
Planned Parenthood directly. Democrats running ads up and down the ticket,
not just at the presidential level, but throughout the country in
Republican-Democratic general election races all over the country, saying
that Democrats will be the ones to defend women`s rights and ability to
decide themselves on their own pregnancies without the government.
Democrats warning across the country that a vote for Republicans would be a
vote to ban abortion in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: If Roe v Wade were overturned, Congress passed a
federal ban on all abortions, and it came to your desk, would you sign it?
Yes or no.
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: Let me say it, I would be
delighted to sign that bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Banning all abortions?
ROMNEY: I would be delighted to sign that bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to mislead us. That is wrong. But ban all
abortions? Only if you vote for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And it turns out even if you don`t vote for him. Because, you
know, in the last election, in November 2012, which was not that long ago,
Mitt Romney lost in a landslide. Republicans lost the last election
nationally really badly. They lost the White House really badly. They
lost seats in the Senate, they lost seats in the House. Nationally in the
last election, Republicans lost, and Democrats won.
But national is not everything. And if Republicans are in control in your
state, this is what they have decided to do with state governance now.
Since that election, that is what they have decided state governance is for
now. If you live where the Republican Party is in control, right now, this
is your life. I know it is not a Beltway story, doesn`t feel like a
national story because nobody adds up what happens in the individual states
to see how it affects American women, to see how it affects American rights
in an aggregate sense. That is not the way we do Beltway reporting in this
country, but this is a national story that is significant in terms of the
way it`s going to affect women`s health, women`s lives, and American
families for generations to come.
This is a national story.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. Now it
is time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.” Have a good one,
thanks for being with us.
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