The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/21/13
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining
us this hour.
By some measures, this was one of the scariest moments in recent
American history, January 2009. We lost more than 800,000 jobs, the
most in more than a generation. The following month, we lost another
700,000 jobs. We were shedding jobs the way a sheepdog sheds fur in
The economy was like a boulder running downhill, crushing things as
it went but just picking up speed as it rolled. And in the middle of
that harrowing, are we still tumbling, yes, we are still tumbling
national free fall, President Obama signed a $700 billion economic
stimulus plan into law to try to arrest that fall, to try to make the
nightmare stop. The president went to Denver, Colorado, to sign that
bill when it was ready to be signed.
And on the occasion of President Obama`s trip to Denver to sign
that stimulus bill to try to save the economy, they staged a rally
called “Barack Obama: You Don`t Know Stimulus.” It had a name.
And I say it was a staged rally because it was organized by
Americans for Prosperity, which put out a call on conservative networks
for people to show up in costume pig noses and carrying giant checks.
It was a staged protest with help from the Tea Party group, Americans
for Prosperity. They staged these in states around the country, not
always with pig noses.
At the rally in Virginia, you can see the supposedly grassroots
angry commoners all showed one preprinted Americans for Prosperity
signs. Also that year, Americans for prosperity tried the same kind of
color-by-numbers prefab protests on energy issues. They called it their
hot air tour, a supposedly grassroots movement against the whole idea
that global warming might be a real thing.
2009 was the year when Joe the Plumber was still briefly famous and
Americans for Prosperity hired him. They sent Joe the Plumber around
the country on a supposedly grassroots campaign against union rights.
If you go to recessrally.com today, recessrally.com today just
looks like another dodgy, generic weight loss scam site. But back in
2009 in the middle of all those Astroturf campaigns, recessrally.com was
where Americans for Prosperity orchestrated yet another supposedly
grassroots campaign against health reform before the bill ever passed
Congress. Americans for Prosperity orchestrated supposedly spontaneous
outpourings against health care, thanks to the tender guidance and cash
of the Americans for Prosperity benefactors known as Charles and David
If you combine the two billionaire brothers` net worth together,
Charles and David Koch collectively are the richest men in America.
Individually, they`re halfway down the top 10 list, I think at this
point, but combined, they have more money than anybody else in the
country. They got that way because they inherited a privately owned oil
and chemical corporation from their dad.
They`ve used that immense fortune to try to create the impression
that large numbers of grassroots Americans believe exactly what the
billionaire brothers believe about what is best for America and also
what is best for Koch industries. But regardless, America, too. Now,
the Koch brothers have a whole new campaign going. We`ve been talking
on this show about the Koch brothers funding the groups that brought us
the government shutdown.
Koch Industries declaimed any responsibility for the shutdown once
under way, but Koch brothers groups were funded to the tune of hundreds
of millions of dollars, the major groups that pressured the Republicans
to do it were all funded by Koch-related outfits.
Now, though, the government shutdown is over, they started turning
the lights back on again on Thursday. That means stuff like, oh, we`re
finally getting a new jobs report 2 1/2 weeks after it was due. The
people who put together that report got furloughed, so we won`t get the
2 1/2-weeks-late jobs report until tomorrow.
New poll out today from CNN says for the first time since taking
control of the House, Americans think it`s a bad thing that Republican
have control of the house since they used that power to shut down the
government and bring us to the brink of default. A majority of
Americans in the new CNN poll say they don`t want Republicans
controlling the Congress anymore because when they control the Congress,
that`s bad for America.
So, politically, the 16-day-long shutdown was not kind for
Republicans while it was dragging on. It continues to hurt them now
that it`s over. The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, though,
insists that the shutdown was worth it, was worth shutting everything
down to strike a stylistic, if not symbolic, if not substantive blow
against Obamacare, which they hate so much.
They`re warning already, even in the wake of the shutdown, even in
the wake of poll numbers like those from CNN, they`re warning in the
wake of the shutdown that their fight against Obamacare, their fight
against more Americans having health insurance, is a fight that has only
Sheryl Gay Stolberg at “The New York Times” has been reporting on
what the sharp end of that Republican campaign looks like now. It`s not
happening in Washington. It`s actually happening in the states, in
state capitals. And it turns out that effort in the states looks a lot
like the fake Astroturf, Koch-funded rallies about the stimulus bill or
union rights or about whether or not global warming`s a real thing.
Hundreds of volunteers in green t-shirts turned out for a
commission hearing, bust in by the Americans for Prosperity organizers
who provided them with Subway sandwiches for lunch. Quote, “This has
been one of the trench warfare efforts for a year now and I think it`s
one of those hidden stories of the whole fight against Obamacare,” says
the president of Americans for Prosperity. It`s not flashy, it`s just
in a whole bunch of state capitals and in the districts of a whole lot
of slate legislators, but it is important in rolling back Obamacare.”
Trench warfare in a bunch of state capitals, the specific capital
in that report was Richmond, Virginia, where the Republican-controlled
state government is still considering whether to use federal money to
offer health insurance to thousands of people who do not currently have
health insurance in Virginia. The Koch brothers are or orchestrating
this fight against expanded health insurance in Virginia, right down to
the bright green t-shirts packing all the public meetings.
Last night, a Tea Party chapter in northern Virginia sent out this
e-mail to all of its members, asking them to turn out for another
Virginia hearing today. They say, quote, “This time, our goal is to
have our expert witnesses testify for our position. There`s been a move
to silence us and not allow our witnesses. However, we will have two
witnesses of the seven this time.”
They continue, “Unfortunately, Americans for Prosperity,” meaning
the Koch brothers group, “will not be providing us buses this time.
Please come anyway, if at all possible, to support our witnesses.”
Support our Tea Party witnesses.
Yes, there may not be a Koch brothers funded bus to drive us there
this time, but at least we`ll have our witnesses telling Virginia what
to do on health reform. And sure enough, if you look at the agenda for
this Virginia state government hearing today, right there under Medicaid
reform options Virginia should consider are two witnesses from Koch
brothers connected groups, two of them scheduled for 45 minutes of
public time brought to you by the same billionaires who spun those 2009
town halls against Obamacare out of pure air, who spent hundreds of
millions on the organizations who brought on the government shutdown
from which the nation is still emerging.
And the guy from Americans for Prosperity says they`re waging
trench warfare in state capitals around the country. This is what they
mean. And they`re not just in Virginia.
The same woman from the hearing in Virginia, here she is telling
the Idaho state Senate to not expand Medicaid under Obama. Here she is
again in Oklahoma telling lawmakers in that state not to give more
people health insurance. Here she is in New Hampshire telling lawmakers
there, quote, “In my opinion, I don`t think there`s one good reason to
She must be getting very good at fitting her luggage into the
overhead compartment. Here she is again, this time in Mississippi,
talking to lawmakers there as a, quote, “Medicaid expert.”
This is a traveling Astroturf road show of Koch brothers-connected,
quote-unquote, “experts,” all trying to stop the states from getting
health insurance to people who don`t have it now, particularly to low-
We saw this with the Koch brothers trying to stop college students
from signing up for health insurance, right? Remember the creepy ads
with the paper mache head, Uncle Sam turning up in your gynecological
exam? They`re trying to persuade college students not to sign up.
In the states, they`re trying to persuade state government,
particularly Republican-controlled state governments, to not allow more
people in those states to get health insurance. And in a great many
places, this road show is working. It is having the effect the Koch
brothers intend, with all the millions they have spent on this cause.
That said, it`s not working everywhere, notably Ohio today became the
25th state to say that they would expand Medicaid to hundreds of
thousands more people in the state who currently don`t have health
insurance or an affordable way to get it.
Ohio`s Republican governor, John Kasich, today steamed past the
hard right legislature to get more people covered, even if it costs him
the support of some in his own party.
Ohio`s decision leaves half the states in the country, all of them
red states, controlled by Republicans who are refusing to expand
Medicaid to cover more people. But these two billionaires are trying to
hold that line. Do they get their way in the half of the country that
is still up for grabs? Can they push their agenda, state capital by
state capital, when the rest of the country is either struggling to make
this thing work or just too fixated on D.C. to notice much of what
Joining is Dr. Zeke Emanuel, he`s former White House adviser on
health care policy, former chair – chair of medical ethics and health
policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Emanuel, thanks for being here.
DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Thanks for having me
MADDOW: Why is it important from your perspective that states do
expand Medicaid to cover more people?
EMANUEL: So, there is the health reason, which is this is the
poorest people in the country that are being excluded. They`re people
who earn under 138 percent of the federal poverty line, roughly for a
family of four about $27,000, $28,000. So, they`re poor. They need
health care just like everyone else, and they`re being excluded, and
they`re typically working people.
They work already, but their jobs either don`t have health
insurance or don`t pay enough so that they can purchase it. And
Medicaid has been the solution for that problem.
MADDOW: What is striking because of that, because of the people
who we`re talking about being most affected, who are in most need who
are being affected by this campaign is to have these incredibly,
incredibly rich guys –
EMANUEL: Who inherited their money, by the way, did not earn it.
MADDOW: Who inherited – I mean, they`ve done a lot with dad`s
money, but they got it from dad. To see them ideologically campaigning
in a very effective way, state to state, and really funding the lion`s
share of these efforts to keep poor people from getting health
insurance. Is it an economic interest to them in their business
concerns or is it an ideological argument?
EMANUEL: Well, it`s clearly an ideological argument on their part.
In most states, it`s also an ideological argument, because most states,
like Ohio, stand actually to benefit net-net on their budget from
And here`s how that works. Right now there`s a hidden tax on
states who have to provide health insurance to their state workers,
their legislators or cabinet members. And in that money is money to pay
for uninsured people who go to hospitals and youth services. That will
Similarly, most states have a way of compensating hospitals who
take care of the uninsured for the expense. That will decrease if you
have Medicaid. And the federal government`s picking up 100 percent of
the Medicaid bill for the first three years, then it drops down to 90
So, it`s estimated that more than $13 billion will go to Ohio, for
example, and it will change their budget over the next 10 years by about
$2 billion added to their budget because of these decreases in state
insurance expenses and support for hospitals.
So, from a state budget perspective, this is a winner. So, it`s
economically rational to do, the only reason not to it is ideology.
MADDOW: Even the dimmest governor can add numbers that big in
their head, probably. Seeing John Kasich resist members of his own
party that tried to force him to not expand Medicaid, seeing him go
ahead and do that anyway, seeing a number of other Republican governors
making noises that they`re being, you know, dragged to it but doing it
anyway, do you think ultimately as states start to do this it becomes a
matter of competitive advantage that more states will have to?
EMANUEL: Oh, absolutely, because it`s going to be better for their
budget, and therefore, their bond rating and borrowing money. It`s also
going to be better for companies in the state to know they have a stable
health package and to know that the premiums are down because of things
like competition in the exchanges, et cetera.
So, I think, actually, states that do a good job on this are
actually going to see more businesses come in, and businesses want to
do, want to work in those states. I think this is – I`ve actually
predicted that by the end of the decade, all the states are going to be
on board, because it makes so much sense. Again, a lot of this is
driven by the next election and probably the presidential election in
2016. Once those are over, states are going to see the economic
MADDOW: We`re seeing so much of a patchwork, both in terms of
whether or not states are expanding Medicaid, which has a huge impact on
the number of people with insurance in the states, but also on whether
or not the exchanges work and whether they work well and whether or not
they`re being well promoted in the states.
In states where it doesn`t work well, where people, the number of
uninsured isn`t dropping and the number of people having easy access to
more affordable care doesn`t go up very quickly because the states just
aren`t doing a good job by hook or by crook, does that adversely impact
the effect of this law at making health insurance more affordable in
states where people are trying to make it work?
EMANUEL: Probably not. So, I think actually, we`re going to have
an interesting natural experiment. California has gone full steam ahead
with expanding health care. It was the state with I think the third or
fourth most uninsured people. They have a very good Web site, easy to
shop on, very good pricing, lots of companies in there. They`re
expanding medical very vigorously.
And then you`re going to compare them to Texas, which has the most
uninsured people, which has been resistant to everything under the sun.
And we`re going to see what happens to health insurance premiums in
those states for the uninsured people and for businesses, we`re going to
see what happens to the health status of people in the state, and I
think we`ll have this experiment where California`s going to show that
really doing it well and doing it properly is much better for the state
and going to be much better for the state economy.
By the way, the more competition there is in the exchanges, the
more they bring premiums down, the better for employers who are offering
insurance, the better for everyone else. So, there`s an important
dynamic here where the more people you get into the exchanges, the more
people who shop or have medical also is going to benefit all the rest of
us, and I think that`s not fully been explained to most people.
Texas, I think hospitals are going to hurt there because they`re
still going to have a large number of uninsured, and I think as a
consequence, people are going to see their premiums not come down.
MADDOW: From a policy perspective, that comparative natural
experiment is going to be fascinating to watch. It also makes me feel
like if I was watching this from Texas right now, I would think, I`m not
sure I want to be that guinea pig. We shall see.
Dr. Zeke Emanuel, former White House advisor on health care policy,
now, University of Pennsylvania, thank you for being here.
EMANUEL: Thank you.
MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took an interesting
stand today on a civil rights issue that he used to feel differently
about? No, he says he feels exactly the same way about it today, it`s
just caused him to act in an opposite manner. Right.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Governor, do you think this sort of confrontational tone
can increase your odds of getting this through the legislature?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, Tom, you must be
the thinnest skinned guy in America, because you think that`s a
confrontational tone, then you should really see me when I`m pissed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Governor Chris Christie of New Kersey. You should really
see him when he`s – that video`s from May of 2010. The man he`s
calling the thinnest skinned guy in America was at that point and still
is a longtime columnist for “The New Jersey Star Ledger.” He`s also the
newspaper`s editorial page editor.
Governor Chris Christie is the first governor in the history of New
Jersey to refuse to speak to the editorial board of that paper. It`s
the largest paper in the state and he will not talk to them.
So, the governor and the largest paper in his state, he insults the
editorial page editor in public for political effect, he insults the
whole paper by refusing to speak with them over four years in office.
So, what happens in the pages of that same newspaper when that governor
has to run for re-election? You`d be very surprised what happens. That
story is coming up.
MADDOW: NOM, NOM, NOM. NOM, NOM.
It has been a very bad day for NOM, for the National Organization
for Marriage. The National Organization for Marriage is the Prop 8
group, the group that came into existence six or so years ago to make
sure that gay people in California would never be able to get married.
But when they lost that battle, they found a lot of other things to
do. They got several Republican candidates for president, including the
one who became the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, to sign
a pledge promising that they would keep gay people from getting married
if they were elected president. Senator Marco Rubio, who`s made
robocalls for the National Organization for Marriage.
They sponsor events with up and coming Republicans like Texas
Senator Ted Cruz, who spoke at this summit sponsored by NOM, NOM, NOM
In their short tenure in conservative politics, the National
Organization for Marriage has tried to make itself a big deal in
Republican politics. And as the politics of marriage change in this
country, they have still convinced a lot of otherwise up-and-coming
Republican politicians to saddle themselves with an association with
this high-profile, antigay group.
All that said, this has not been a good few days for NOM. Over the
weekend, we learned that the bill that would have made it legal for the
Russian government to take children away from their parents and put
those kids into orphanages if their parents were gay, that lawmaker who
introduced that bill in Russia decided to withdraw the bill from
consideration, at least for the time being.
Russia has taken a really severely antigay turn in the past couple
of years, but American antigay activists have been helping with that,
egging them on.
The president for the National Organization for Marriage, a man
named Brian Brown, has been traveling back and forth to Russia to
address the Russian parliament and to encourage their antigay
legislation over there. He was there this summer, right after Russia
passed a bill making it essentially illegal to advocate for gay rights,
and right before they passed a bill banning adoptions b gay people or by
even some straight people if they were from countries seen as too pro-
Mr. Brown spoke in the Duma in the Russian parliament and he made
the same case on Russian TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN BROWN, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: Right now, you`re
having the fight over adoption, but the adoption is indivisible from the
marriage issue. If you don`t defend your values now, I`m afraid we`re
going to see very negative developments all over the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, it`s being translated into Russia because it`s being
broadcast – translated into Russian because it`s being broadcast on
The head of the National Organization for Marriage actually
traveled back to Russia again this past week, again to work with the
Russians on antigay legislation. The folks at Right Wing Watch noticed
Mr. Brown`s most recent trip to Russia. We asked him, following their
reporting, to confirm today whether or not he had actually just gone to
Russia again and in what capacity.
He confirmed to us that he did, in fact, go to Russia last week.
He said he`s working on organizing an antigay summit there for next year
and he says he is proud to work with his Russian allies against gay
rights. So, it`s got to be a sad day for NOM, now that the next planned
antigay legislation in Russia, the steal your kids from you bill, has
been put on hold.
That bill had been slated to February, which is when Russia is
hosting the Olympics. Now the bill`s author says he plans to resubmit
the bill later, maybe when everyone`s not paying attention to Russia
because of the Olympics. Maybe a quieter time would be a better
opportunity to pass a law that would forcibly take children away from
their parents and put them in orphanages, maybe with not so much
So, that was reason number one, that the National Organization for
Marriage is having a bad day. Things are getting slightly less
terrifyingly antigay in Russia, where they`ve been doing their best to
make things as antigay as possible. Reason number one.
Reason number two, up until today, New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie seemed like a National Organization for Marriage kind of guy.
He said all the right antigay things and he said them again and again
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CHRISTIE: My view and my position is that marriage should be
between one man and one woman. It always has been my position, it
remains so. I ran that way in 2009, told people that. It was an issue
in the campaign. I made myself very clear and now that the legislature
has passed that piece of legislation, then I will veto it because that`s
what I promised to do and that`s what I think is the right thing to do.
If my children came to me and said they were gay, I would grab them
and hug them and tell them I love them, just like I would do with any of
my children, but what I would also tell them is that dad believes that
marriage is between one man and one woman, and that`s my position.
Let`s make sure that political maneuvering is not what judges this,
and let`s not make sure this is not just someone trying to have fun and
create a campaign issue. It`s too serious. The institution of marriage
is too serious to be treated like a political football.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been vocally and
unapologetically antigay marriage rights since he was a candidate for
governor, so much so that he vetoed legislation that would have
legalized same-sex marriage, legislation that passed the New Jersey
legislature in February of last year.
So, all this stuff about him not wanting unelected judges to be the
ones ruling in favor of gay marriage, he didn`t want the elected
legislature ruling in favor of gay marriage either.
Chris Christie has always been an antigay, National Organization
for Marriage kind of Republican. Despite the moderate image, that`s
been his position. When not just the legislature but the court said
that marriage equality should be the law in New Jersey, Chris Christie
appealed the decision. He said he would fight it all the way to the
Well, today in New Jersey at one minutes after midnight, same-sex
couples began getting legally married for the first time ever in New
Jersey, because the state Supreme Court said they could, pending the
Just a few hours after those couples started getting married,
Governor Chris Christie unexpectedly announced that he was dropping his
appeal, that he`s ending his fight to stop New Jersey couples from
getting legally married. He had a spokesman put out a statement saying
that the governor is still totally against allowing gay people to get
married, but he just won`t fight it anymore, after fighting it all this
The National Organization for Marriage responded with outrage. He
said Chris Christie has “failed the test.” They said he`s revealed as a
man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions. They promise now
that he will never get the Republican nomination for president.
And that may be true. It may also be the dying gasps of a group
that calls itself national – that`s the “N” in NOM, NOM, NOM, but
lately they have to go to Russia to get any of their ideas put into law.
It may that be they`re a little desperate.
In any case, though, it does raise a pretty interesting question
about what Chris Christie is trying to do here, and how antigay exactly
Republicans are expected to be now if they want to aspire to office.
Joining us now is Jeff Cook-McCormac. He is senior advisor to the
American Unity Fund, which is a group funded by a Republican hedge fund
manager named Paul Singer. American Unity Fund works to get elected
Republicans to support at least some gay rights.
Jeff, thanks very much for being with us. Nice to have you here.
JEFF COOK-MCCORMAC, AMERICAN UNITY FUND: Rachel, thanks for having
MADDOW: So, Governor Christie is still pledging that he is as
antigay as he ever was. He`s just not going to act on it anymore.
I have to tell you that I see this as ridiculously craven and self-
serving, but I am guessing that you see this as progress.
COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, Rachel, you know, the governor has really
been pretty consistent throughout this entire process on his position on
the issue of marriage. Clearly, we don`t agree with him on the freedom
to marry, but he`s been very thoughtful and respectful throughout this
But at the same time, he has been truly an inclusive governor. He
signed a ban on reparative therapy, which, of course, is dangerous to
young people across the state of New Jersey, and he also signed the
toughest anti-bullying law in the country.
So, I think that what the governor is trying to do here, and the
type of leader that many Republicans across the country are looking for
is someone who can step away from some of the divisive politics of years
ago and really focus on the things that unite Republicans – economic
freedom, turning the economy around and creating jobs in New Jersey and
across the country.
MADDOW: It`s not consistent for him to have said I will fight this
all the way to the Supreme Court and then, once it gets to the Supreme
Court saying, eh, I am not going to fight this anymore. I mean, he
makes the decision on the day that a statewide poll comes out that shows
even Republicans are in favor of same-sex marriage rights in New Jersey
and they want the governor to stop fighting it. He makes the decision
on the day that everybody else who`s a rival for his attention, for
statewide attention in New Jersey is getting great press for supporting
these very happy couples that are getting married.
Isn`t it a better idea in his case to say that he has changed his
opinion on gay marriage? How can you be the guy who just wants to stop
fighting it, even though you`re just as antigay as you ever were?
COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, Rachel, as you know, tremendous progress
that`s been happening on this issue has just happened in the last few
days. Over the last few weeks, we have seen six legislators who
previously weren`t with us on the freedom to marry, agree and express
publicly that they`d be willing to support an override of the governor`s
veto in the fall veto session.
So, there`s been a lot of progress over the last couple of weeks.
But you know, the legislature and the court in familiar these last few
days has already made clear that when they denied the stay and allowed
the marriages to move forward, the writing was on the wall that,
essentially, that they were going to find the constitutional freedom to
We believe that the governor did the responsible thing here. We
know he doesn`t agree with the decision of the court, but at the same
time, his job is as governor of the state of New Jersey is to enforce
the laws and to end what could have been an ongoing, contentious debate
and to provide real certainty for families what are celebrating a really
amazing day in New Jersey.
MADDOW: Jeff, your group has focused in some ways not so much on
marriage equality going forward, but instead on the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act, an antidiscrimination bill at the federal level. Do
you expect Republicans who are holding on to an antigay stance on
marriage to nevertheless move on employment discrimination, to be
willing to vote yes on the discrimination bill, even if they`re still
antigay on the marriage issue?
COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, what we`ve seen is, clearly, there`s not a
majority of support for the freedom to marry within the Republican Party
at this point. However, there is a diversity of opinion, and the number
of Republicans that are standing up for the freedom to marry is growing
and it`s growing quickly.
More than 220 Republican state legislators across the country have
stood up for the freedom to marry and lived to tell the tale. What
we`re seeing on nondiscrimination is a completely different political
reality for Republicans as they look at their primaries. Not only is
there broad-based support across the country, but we also see very clear
majorities of Republicans in primaries also supporting the concept that
people in the workplace should be judged on their merit and not on their
sexual orientation or gender identity.
So, yes, there`s much broader political support at this point in
time among Republicans for nondiscrimination, and we expect that to
continue to grow, so much so that we expect that as Senator Reid has
promised, that there will be a vote on the floor of the Senate later
this fall on nondiscrimination. When he keeps his word, which we
certainly hope and will be holding him to that promise, we expect this
will be the 60 votes to get this out of the Senate and give the House an
opportunity to starts conversation.
MADDOW: That is the shiniest thing I`ve ever heard anybody say
about politics. The idea that Harry Reid might be the problem on
nondiscrimination and that you just want to get it to the House where
they`re going to have a sober conversation about this? You know what`s
going to happen when it gets to the House, right?
COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, I think –
MADDOW: Really? I mean, honestly, John Boehner`s going to put it
on the floor and Republicans are going to vote for it and it`s going to
COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, Rachel, your cynicism`s pretty thick here and
I understand that, but I think as we`ve seen in legislatures across the
country, you know, whether it`s Governor Christie signing the toughest
anti-bullying law in the country or Senate Republicans in New York
advancing the freedom to marry, when the gay and lesbian community and
those who believe and support freedom for gay and lesbian Americans
stand up and pursue an authentically bipartisan strategy, many things
are possible that we never thought were possible before.
This issue will never be accomplished and people will never be
treated equally, fully equally under the law until people in both
political parties recognize that what unites us as Americans is much
more than what divides us, and we all deserve to be treated equally
under by our government.
MADDOW: Jeff Cook-McCormac, senior advisor at the American Unity
Fund, I thank you for your tonight. You are right that my cynicism is
clouding out your smiley face. But your smiley face on this is
Thank you so much for being with us, Jeff. I really appreciate it.
MCCORMAC: You`re welcome. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: We have a programming note coming up, and the most
insulting endorsement I have ever read in politics.
That`s all still ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN.-ELECT CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: There being no objection
to the marriage from here, those present, having exchanged their vows, I
now, by the power vested in me, thank God, by the state of New Jersey,
it`s about time, I declare Joseph and Orville to be lawful spouses in
the state of New Jersey!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Programming note: Senator-elect and Newark mayor, Cory
Booker, is going to be here tomorrow night for an exclusive on the
interview. Hope you will tune in for that.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK, speaking of Chris Christie, one of the weirdest things
in 2013 American politics is the calendar for politics this year in New
Jersey. New Jersey just elected a brand new U.S. senator to fill the
open seat that had been held by the late Frank Lautenberg, but not only
was that statewide election held on a Wednesday, it was held on a
Wednesday that is two weeks and six days before New Jersey has another
Rather than just have both elections on the same day, Republican
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to spend an extra $24 million
in state money so that Cory Booker`s big Democratic victory in that U.S.
Senate race would not happen on the same ballot, on the same day as
governor Christie`s own re-election race.
So, the taxpayers of New Jersey are out $24 million that they
otherwise wouldn`t have had to spend. Cory Booker is New Jersey`s
senator-elect, and New Jersey still has to go back to the polls two
weeks from tomorrow to vote again, to vote for Governor Christie or for
his Democratic challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono.
It`s a system. Actually, it`s not a system, it`s just –
somebody`s a little chicken, but that`s how it goes this year in New
Jersey. It`s really weird.
And ahead of the governor`s race in New Jersey, the state`s largest
newspaper just published their endorsement for the governor`s race, and
in their endorsement, they just savaged Govern Chris Christie. Listen
“The governor`s claim to have fixed the state budget is fraudulent.
The property tax burden has grown sharply on his watch. He`s hostile to
low-income families, including raising their tax burden. He has been a
catastrophe on the environment. New Jersey`s credit rating has dropped
during his term.”
The paper says Chris Christie`s ego has done damage, quote, “by
removing two qualified justices from the Supreme Court without good
cause, he threatened the independence of judges at all levels.” They
accused him of a “power grab gone wrong.”
The paper says that even what seems good about Christie is actually
bad. They say, quote, “The public gives him top marks for his handling
of sandy, but the record is mixed. Why would his administration park
New Jersey transit trains on a low-lying area where they flooded? Why
should anybody believe taxpayers got the best price on refuse removal
from the governor awarded a no-bid contract through a political friend?”
Against this litany of what the paper calls his measurable
failures, “The Star Ledger” concludes by saying “his spin is way ahead
of his substance,” “you have to conclude he is much better at politics
than governing. “Our own view”, they say, “is that Chris Christie is
And then they endorse him. Seriously? Seriously.
That`s the endorsement. That`s the devastating tirade about how
terrible Chris Christie has been about governor of New Jersey, how he
has failed, how he is a fraud, how he`s overrated and people who like
him are inexplicably giving him credit for stuff he actually failed at.
After listing all of that, they endorse him. This is weird, right?
This is weird.
Somebody chalked an allegation on the sidewalk outside of the
newspaper`s offices saying how weird this was.
“The Star Ledger” itself published a follow-up story to their
endorsement that`s all about how bewildered their own readers are by
their editorial board talking substantively and at length about how
terrible Chris Christie is as a governor before endorsing him in same
breath. We hate him, but it`s all you`ve got, New Jersey.
It`s one thing to, like, damn with faint praise. This is praising
with robust damnation. This is the weirdest newspaper endorsement I
have ever seen. What a truly bizarre decision.
MADDOW: Happy Monday. Because it is Monday night, which means you
survived another Monday morning, you get a treat.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That colorful, harmonic, sort of trippy retro ad was
created by the state of Oregon, obviously, as a way to promote the thing
that you saw right there at the very end of the PSA. Cover Oregon, the
official state health insurance exchange created under our new national
health reform law. Cover Oregon was supposed to launch October 1st
along with the new national exchange, but like the federal exchange,
Oregon`s system had some technical difficulties so they decided not to
open the site yet.
People can prep their applications for health insurance but their
applications will be processed by hand until the online system has
worked out the kinks.
Even with those technical glitches, something amazing has happened
in Oregon since October 1st, so in just the last three weeks, they have
managed to sign up so many people for health insurance that they have
cut the total number of health insurance in the state by 10 percent
already. Look at that headline.
In the span of the first two weeks, the number of uninsured people
in Oregon dropped by 10 percent in total thanks to Obamacare and that is
without the exchange opening up. That`s because the other part of
Obamacare is the expansion of the existing health insurance program for
low income families which we have had for decades. They expanded the
criteria for who can qualify from that program, from Medicaid, and in so
doing, Oregon officials have signed up tens of thousands of people in
the state who were uninsured before Obamacare went into effect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In states where
governors and legislatures have wisely allowed it, the Affordable Care
Act provides the opportunity for many Americans to get covered under
Medicaid for the first time.
So, in Oregon, for example, that has helped cut the number of
uninsured people by 10 percent just in the last three weeks. Think
about that. That`s 56,000 more Americans who now have health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The original Affordable Care Act when it passed congress
mandated that all states would have to do what Oregon did. They would
have all to expand the eligibility rules to help people get insurance
through the Medicaid program.
But when the health reform law went before the Supreme Court last
year, the court overall upheld the constitutionality of the law, but
they did change part of it. They changed it so that the Medicaid thing
in the states is now optional instead of mandatory. So, because of the
Supreme Court ruling, states can opt out of expanding their Medicaid
programs. Twenty-two states have either opted out or leaning towards
opting out already.
This number is still fluid. It continues to change. For instance,
Ohio today moved towards saying yes to expanding Medicaid. But at this
point, there are 22 states that are moving toward opting out. And, yes,
those 22 states are mainly states with Republican governors.
And so, now, even just a few weeks into the start of implementation
of this new national project, we`re starting to get really vastly,
unequal outcomes and unequal progress among the 50 states.
There is no single story to tell about how reforming health care in
America is going so far. There`s a lot of different smaller stories.
The right, of course, is hoping for just broad-brush failure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: The average Americans, their families were
also feeling the pain thanks to the health care overall train wreck.
And six of them are here to tell their story, which, by the way, the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s a man named Sean Hannity, who hosts a television
program on the FOX News Channel, which is across the street from us.
Mr. Hannity recently interviewed three families who he said have
been suffering with the boot of Obamacare on their necks. That`s the
narrative on the right now, Obamacare is the end of liberty. Obamacare
is destroying America.
Salon.com recently published a fact-check of those Obamacare horror
stories that were aired on FOX News. A former staffer to Montana
Governor Brian Schweitzer, Eric Stern who was on “ALL IN” tonight, he
decided to track down each of the Hannity show`s guest, who said
Obamacare was ruining their lives.
One guest said that Obamacare was destroying his construction
business. He was firing employees. Well, he maybe firing employees but
it`s not because of Obamacare because his business is small enough that
nothing in the new law applies to his business at all.
Another guest said that her health insurance plan was being
terminated because of Obamacare. True as it turns out. But that`s
because here plan was overcharging her, and now, she can spend less
money to get a plan that covers everything that used to be covered plus
more. Isn`t that terrible?
Same goes for the third couple that appeared on the show on Friday
night. They told the FOX News audience that their existing health
insurance plan was also canceled. They said they think they are facing
a 75 percent rate increase. Actually, it turns out they can get a plan
that covers what their old plan covered for much cheaper. It`s on the
The reason that couple does not know it`s on the Obamacare exchange
is because they refuse to look at the exchange. They are opposed to
shopping there on principle and so they will not look. So, awkward
cable TV segment.
But the right has their narrative and they`re sticking it. Off TV
and back in policy land, the states and the federal government are
plugging along with varying degree of success.
This past weekend, the federal health insurance exchange was taken
down for more maintenance. President Obama at the Rose Garden event
today said the administration was mounting a tech surge to make the site
This week, Republicans in Congress are planning to hold oversight
hearings about how horrible and terrible it has gone so far, even while
experts continue to fix what`s wrong and press on with the rollout. Who
knows how it will shake out politically? Who gets the credit, who gets
But in the meantime, brass tacks, 56,000 non-hypothetical real
people in Oregon who didn`t have health insurance last month have it
Right next to Oregon, the state of Washington, they`re crowing now
about how – if you look at Oregon compare to them, Oregon is a failure
compared to Washington state. In Washington state, they`ve got their
online exchange open, and they`ve already signed up more 60,000 people.
And again, most of them are from the Medicaid expansion. But tens
of thousands of them are due to the Obamacare exchanges.
We are seeing this work in some places. It`s going to take a
while. It is falling in to place at different rates and different ways,
depending, in part, on whether your Republican governor wants to run for
But that is what is coming in to focus more than anything. It`s a
patchwork of unequal outcomes. In some places it`s working with, in
some places it is not working yet but it`s going to work and in some
places they are doing their damnedest to make sure that it doesn`t work
no matter what. Not ever if they can help it.
The consequences of that being a patchwork of outcomes in our
nation I think are hard to foresee at this point. Certainly, the
outcome for that politically is very, very hard to see. But these
outcomes are beyond just politics and maybe beyond health care. We
dramatize everything in politics saying everything is life and death,
right? We overuse that idea.
Whether or not you can access health care can be a life and death
thing and even when it is not a life and death thing, it is certainly a
thousand of dollars for your family year after year, for regular
everyday families no matter how your family votes.
I mean, if these differences in outcomes persist in a way that has
a real material effect on people`s lives, forget the politics. Should
we expect migration? Shouldn`t we expect that people might move from
states where you really can`t get good health coverage for your family
to places where you can get that coverage? It would have a huge
material effect on your life if these differences between the states are
sustained over time.
This is a work in progress, but right now, if you are in a red ate
without good health coverage, you probably are still screwed now and for
the foreseeable future.
But in some blue states that want this thing to work, inch by inch,
things are looking up in a very concrete way.
How does that change many our country in the long run?
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night
with our exclusive guest, New Jersey Senator-elect Cory Booker.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE”.
Thanks for being with us. Have a great night.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Ted Cruz spent the weekend
attacking Republicans and refusing to rule out another federal
government shutdown. This is, of course, bad news for almost everyone
except Democrats trying to take back the House of Representatives.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We`re going to stand against the train
wreck that is Obamacare.
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: The fight on Obamacare took us off
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The shutdown should be in
our rearview mirror.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show a little self-restraint, take a step back.
GRAHAM: Don`t do this again, Ted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The internal divisions of the Republican
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fighting, the posturing, the
UNIDENTFIED FEMALE: They are now taking center stage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It all comes down to winning elections.
CRUZ: You want to win an election in 2014?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s turn to Ted Cruz.
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