The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/06/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour,
For a hot minute, in the commonwealth of Virginia, not long after the
Civil War, there was a political party called the Re-adjuster Party.
The Democratic Party, which was conservative and racist at the time,
had been the dominant force in Virginia politics for a long time. They
were always opposite either the Republican Party or the Whig Party,
depending on the year. But at the other moment, the party challenging the
Democrats and in fact winning the governorship of Virginia, it was not the
Whigs or the Republicans, it was the Re-Adjuster Party. I bet there was
awesome thesis somewhere about the lost Re-Adjuster Party. If only I could
just Google it hard enough.
But when William E. Cameron of the Re-Adjuster Party became governor
of Virginia in 1882, he made history, not just because his strange, now
forgotten party won that high office. He made history because his time in
the statehouse, his time of governor of Virginia in the 1880s, that was the
last time that any party in Virginia was only able to hold the governorship
for one term.
Before last night, no party in Virginia had been turfed out of the
governorship after only one term in office since 1885. Just in terms of
politics, the Republican Party losing the governorship of Virginia is
almost historically unbelievable. Bob McDonnell winning the governorship
for his party and then having to give it back after just one term – that
never happens in Virginia happens in Virginia. That has not happened in
well over a century.
But it`s also amazing that Virginia will have a Democratic governor at
the same time we have a Democratic president as a country. That never
happens either. Since1977, Virginia voters have been very, very careful to
always elect a governor who is the opposite party of the president, except
last night. Virginia picked a Democratic governor at the same time that we
have got a Democratic president. The state has not done that in 36 years.
Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican Party losing the Virginia
governorship last night just broke the mold, historically. And when you
look at the data about who actually turned out in Virginia, this is a much
more worrying story for Republicans in general than it is for just this one
losing candidate in this one losing race last night. Republicans like to
think they have sort of a structural advantage in a state like Virginia
because it votes for its statewide officials in the off-off election like
2013 and 2009.
You obviously get the biggest turnout when a presidential election is
on the line. When you vote in other years, that means you get fewer people
turning out to vote. And when fewer people turn out to vote, the
electorate tends to be more Republican, and that, of course, is good for
So, look at these numbers in Virginia, the last time Virginia elected
a governor, it was an off-year election, it was `09. This was the
electorate that turned out that year. Republicans were 37 percent,
Democrats were 33.
So, that was an electorate in that off-year election, the last time
they elected the governor where they had an advantage of four points in
terms of the electorate. In 2012, it was a totally different story. That
was a presidential election year, you got more people turning out in the
state, when you get more people turning out, the electorate gets more
Democratic, Republicans were 32 percent that year, the Democrats were 39 of
So, that was a seven-point Democratic advantage in the presidential
election year in terms of just who turned out to vote in Virginia.
Republicans look at a history like that and it`s a pretty consistent
history. And it`s not hard to see them hoping that the electorate doesn`t
like a presidential year.
They want a smaller turnout and they want a more Republican turnout.
They want the electorate to look like the last time they elected a
governor, one of these odd year/off year elections. Well, look at the
turnout last night, it was just slightly more independent that it was in
2012, by a hair, by one point.
But the Democrats had a huge turnout advantage over the Republicans
that they would have had in a presidential year. Democrats were plus-7
when President Obama got elected last year. And they were there this last
night, when terry McAuliffe won the governorship.
If you get presidential election type turnout in Virginia, from here
on out, in all of their elections, Republicans will never win again in that
Look specifically at the African-American turnout. When the
Republicans won that governorship back in 2009, the black turnout was 16
percent. When President Obama was on the ballot last year, black turnout
turned up to 20 percent of the electorate. Last night again, black turnout
was 20 percent of the electorate. African-American voters in Virginia
turned out, even though it was not a presidential year, even though it was
an off-off year. And if African-American voters can turn out like that
again in every election in Virginia, that is a permanent nightmare scenario
for the Republican Party.
So, yes, Ken Cuccinelli lost, and the Republicans lost the
governorship. Both of those are history-defying, bad news, benchmarks for
the Republican Party.
Beyond that, though, the electorate and who turned out, looks bad for
Virginia Republicans not just for last night`s race but for every race
going forward in that state. And in the face of the terrible news for the
Republican Party, the Republicans have decided they are not sweating it.
They are not bummed. They are not worried.
Republicans do not see a problem with what happened in Virginia last
night. And you can see it both in their attitudes and in their plans about
what they will do going forward.
In terms of the attitude – I mean, there is no ambiguity about the
race, no question about whether or not Terry McAuliffe won. But Ken
Cuccinelli reportedly never called the man he lost to. “The Washington
Post” says Ken Cuccinelli has no plans to ever call Terry McAuliffe to
formally concede or congratulate him on his win. That is in terms of the
In terms of the plan, though, Republicans never seem to make a course
collection. You might remember last night, even in the reporting of the
results coming out from Virginia, you already hearing the sort of lament
from Republicans, that they actually did have a candidate in Virginia who
probably could have won very easily over terry McAuliffe.
They did have a guy who could have won. This guy, the Republican
lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling – a sort of mainstream, moderately
conservative Republican in Virginia, who was pretty well-liked. He
probably could have won if he had been on the ballot instead of Ken
But the reason Bill Bolling, this electable lieutenant governor guy
was not on the ballot for the Republicans and Ken Cuccinelli was, is
because Ken Cuccinelli and the Tea Party guys, the hard right guys,
outmaneuvered the moderates in the state party. And they changed the
rules, so Republicans picked their nominee for governor at a convention of
party activists, instead of putting it to a vote in a statewide primary.
That let them pick their slate – let them pick fire and brimstone
hard right slate, with just a show of hands from the diehard activists who
turned up for the party meeting. That`s how you got the Cooch instead of
Bill Bolling as the Republican candidate for governor. That`s how you got
a guy like Bishop E.W. Jackson on the Republican Party line for lieutenant
governor, just long enough to get destroyed at the polls by the Democrat,
Republican`s only hope statewide is that attorney general`s race,
which is at this hour is still too close to call.
Even after what happened last night, the Republican Party is making no
plans to change that system about how they pick their candidates. They
could, as a party, make a decision to go back to the old system and choose
their candidates in the primary instead of just at a meeting. But they`re
sticking with the “jut at a meeting” plan. They`re sticking with the
It could go back to that old system of choosing the candidate at a
primary, but they`re not doing it. They`re going to use the same system to
pick the Republican nominee for Senate to run against Mark Warner. Why
change, right? Everything worked out to so great.
There are a lot of things that come out in the news where you realize
the Republican Party and conservative movement is really kind of in its own
world that doesn`t have interaction with the rest of the world.
Today, though, after Election Day, that isolation is stark enough and
weird enough that the right today is actually carrying on as if in their
mind, they kind of won Virginia. As if Ken Cuccinelli`s losing Virginia,
if you look at it the right way was pretty much a Republican victory, sort
of. It`s been a weird day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN CUCCINELLI (R), VA GOVERNOR`S CANDIDATE: Tonight, you sent a
message to the president of the United States that you believe that
Virginia understands that Obamacare is a failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Remember, this is the guy who lost. But he is saying his
loss sent a message that Obamacare is so terrible, Virginia thinks
Obamacare is so terrible that that is why they voted for the guy who likes
This is some of the weirdest spin I have ever seen out of an election
loss. But it`s not just coming from the candidate. This is the right`s
understanding of what happened last night in Virginia. They are totally
going for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obamacare actually could have been the reason that
Cuccinelli had a late surge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Obamacare turn a runway course into one that
nearly cost the Democrat`s election in Virginia last night?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obamacare could throw a scare into some
Democrats up for reelection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As he sought to make this election a referendum on
the botched rollout of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Yes, they did seek to make the governor`s election a
referendum on Obamacare. And then anti-Obama care side lost, right? You
know that they – our friends on the FOX News Channel have been whacking
away at this all day trying to turn the Republicans losing the governorship
in Virginia into a bad thing for Democrats, specifically a bad thing for
But the fact is, last night, Virginia against all historical odds
elected a Democrat. Not a Republican. They elected a Democrat who
specifically promised to expand health reform in the state.
Today, President Obama went to Texas, of all places to talk about
expanding health reform in that state. Texas has more uninsured people
than any other state in the country by a mile. And the Republican-
controlled state government in Texas is doing everything in their power to
make sure that the opportunities to get health insurance that are offered
by Obamacare are as hard as possible to access for people who live in
And, politically, of course, it`s provocative to see the Democratic
president going down to Rick Perry`s Texas to make this case about how Rick
Perry and the Republicans have done so wrong by the people in their own
The Republicans in Texas have not been able to help the people in
Texas. But the federal government is controlled by a Democratic president.
And he would like to offer some help if only the Republicans would let him.
That is a provocative geopolitical stance for the president today.
But substantively, on that issue of health reform and the issue of politics
of health reform, there is something going on with this story right now,
that the national media, certainly the conservative media, but I think also
just broadly, the Beltway media and the national media have not caught on
to yet. It may explain the Republicans` sort of willful denial that they
actual lost last night in Virginia.
Over the first few weeks that the health reform exchanges were over,
over the first few weeks of the implementation of health reform ,the
rollout went really poorly, right? The Web site was really glitchy, the
White House was on the defensive, the administration is on the defensive
about how much they were screwing up the rolling out of the program.
Look at what happened in the polls, though, over those first few
weeks. Gallup poll showed that over those first few weeks of Obamacare,
Americans` view of health care reform became slightly more positive,
supposed to be a disastrous rollout, right? But this Gallup poll and “The
Washington Post” poll and the Pew Research Center poll, found that weirdly,
health reform held steady or even ticked up a little bit in public esteem
over those first few supposedly disastrous weeks.
After the government shutdown was over and the conservative media
could settle full time into talking only about how terrible health reform
is, culminating in the last two weeks of just wall to wall, 24-hour
coverage of terrible, terrible Obamacare, the poll numbers according to a
new “Reuters”/Ipsos poll that`s out today, weirdly, the support keeps going
Overall public support for health reform law from last month to this
month has gone up a little bit. Among Americans who don`t have health
insurance, their approval of the Affordable Care Act is going up. Their
disapproval of the Affordable Care Act is going down.
Again, this is in 24-hour fire hose coverage of how terrible health
reform is, how everything is wrong with it that you could possibly imagine.
But the proportion of uninsured people in this country who are looking
forward to trying to use the new law to get health insurance has gone from
37 percent last month to 42 percent this month. The poll numbers on
Obamacare are going up, which is absolutely inexplicable if you only look
at the Beltway media.
Yes, the conservative media, but pretty much the whole national media
is following their lead on talking about just how terrible this is, to the
exclusion of everything else about it. They`re talking about it in a way
that is specifically design to translate individual bad news stories about
what some don`t like about health care reform, into political disapproval
of the law in the widespread way – political disapproval of the president,
political disapproval of Democrats.
That`s the message from the national press which makes no sense when
you look at the polls.
What is driving the polls up when all of the media pressure should be
pushing them down? Maybe the answer to that can only be found in the local
press, in the local news. In these little human interest stories about
people`s actual individual lives and how they are actually individually
affected by this policy.
Maybe the Beltway press is not ready to admit it yet. But maybe there
are political consequences, not just for the things that are wrong with
health reform, but also the things that are right with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Fifty-seven-year-old Gail Roach said she couldn`t believe
what she was hearing when she was told she could have health insurance
under the Affordable Care Act for $70 a month, and when she realized she
qualified for subsidies on top of that, her rate was cut again to an amount
she calls astonishing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: $1.11 per month.
REPORTER: Per month.
Roach received help using the federal Web site from a group called
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, we don`t want everybody to think
they`re going to get health insurance for a dollar a month.
REPORTER: We spoke to the group`s state director, Bill English, from
Philadelphia today, through a face time interview. He says Gail has it
right. It is possible she will only have to pay about a dollar a month for
the most basic insurance plan offered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based upon her income and family size, the tax
credits that are available to help a sister with the premium payment would
in fact make her payment what she told you it is, a dollar a month.
REPORTER: But it`s also important to people to realize her situation
is very rare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is very unique, we haven`t come across
anybody else who was able to purchase this plan for a dollar. But just
from looking at the model, it is possible that other people may find
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s local coverage from Pittsburgh, from WTA in
Pittsburgh. And this is representative of the way good news stories about
health reform are covered, right? You see this stuff in almost human
interest reporting terms. It`s being reported as a curiosity that we found
locally. Not something that has any national consequences or political
All the bad news about Obamacare will shape the national, political
consequences of this law. But the good news? That`s fascinating, quirky.
It`s totally counter to the actual narrative. But it is actually
people`s lived experiences. You see it in Pittsburgh story. You see it in
Kentucky, where people are being help. You see it in Maine where people
really want to sign up. Interest is high.
You see it in Oregon, where people are signing up in a hurry. You see
it in states like bright red Oklahoma and Tennessee, where they`re counting
up a number of people who are eligible for help buying health insurance
under the new law.
Republicans convinced themselves they have done nothing wrong
politically this year, that nothing needs to change. That even the races
they`re losing, they`re technically winning, because they`re against
Obamacare. That`s all you need, just sit back and reap the political
We are 34 days into the implementation and the polling is what it is.
The national press and the conservative press and the Republicans say that
it`s terrible and it`s getting worse. And Americans, on the other hand,
are kind of starting to like it more and more every day.
One day after this historic loss last night in Virginia is a weird
time for Republicans to be oh, so cock sure that they need to do nothing
else besides against Obamacare. One day after that race is a little bit
weird to be such a cock sure time about this rather fragile, fragile,
little strategy they`ve got going on.
Joining us now is Celinda Lake, the Democratic pollster. Ms. Lake,
thanks very much for joining us tonight. It`s nice to have you here.
CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: So, the Republicans insist even against the evidence of
losing that governorship last night that they can win all over the country
by running against Obamacare. The polls, to me, seem inconclusive. But if
anything, to be going the other direction, how do you see it?
LAKE: I see it exactly the way you see it. And let me tell you the
other really important number, only 24 percent of the people want to repeal
Obamacare, and not replace it with anything. Another 13 percent want to
repeal it and replace it with the Republican alternative, and then 22
percent of the people actually want to expand it. There is only a quarter
of the people who want to get rid of this thing.
Most people want to make it work because they know how serious it is
to have affordable health insurance. Moreover, that 24 percent has been
the same for two years. This so-called botched introduction – well, real
people want to see it fixed but they also want to see what opportunities
are provided for them. And every day, it gets better.
My own small business, we`ve already gotten a rebate and we`ve already
gotten a notice that we were supposed to notify all the employees that now
they have birth control with no co-pays and it`s considered preventive
care. We already have two positives on our side, thanks to Obamacare.
MADDOW: Can you tell the extent to which any of races around the
country are actually seen with a referendum on Obamacare, which the
Republicans were so eager to brand that governor`s race in Virginia, even
though they lost?
LAKE: That`s right, even though they lost.
I tell you, the Virginia races, I think, were a referendum on the
shutdown. And what people couldn`t believe is that the Republicans would
shut down the entire government over Obamacare. And in fact, we went into
Richmond, and we did four focus groups of people, all who were independents
and Republicans, not necessarily very pro-Obamacare. They had been seeing
ads against Obama care.
And we asked them, do you think the government should be shutdown
against Obamacare? And they said are you kidding? Absolutely not. This
is reckless, let`s get going.
They didn`t say we love Obamacare, they just said let`s get going,
let`s try this thing. Let`s make it better. Americans want to move
forward. They want to fix the Web site.
For goodness sake, we sent a person to the moon. We can fix this Web
site, let`s get going. Let`s get this figured out.
I will say what I think is the most sinister thing, which is what the
insurance companies are starting to do, which is falsely say they`re
knocking people off their plans because of Obamacare. And we as Democrats
and progressives have to aggressively respond on that, because that is
outrageous. It is not true. And we need to call out the (INAUDIBLE) and
say that the insurance companies would blame everything, including the
snowstorm on Obama care. That`s not what is happening.
MADDOW: Celinda Lake, Democratic pollsters, thanks for helping us
understand this dynamic.
LAKE: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. A very busy day after Election Day, including an
excellently very funny error by Vice President Biden, and a big city mayor
and chair of the Democratic Party.
Plus, Senator Rand Paul`s refusal to just stop digging gets deeper and
deeper and deeper.
MADDOW: This is a bad week to be a person whose name is Rob Ford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB FORD, TORONTO MAYOR: Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But no,
do I – am I an addict? No, have I tried it? Probably in one of my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Mexico City is the largest city, then it`s New York, and then
Los Angeles, and then there is the city that this guy amazingly is still
the mayor of right now, the guy who is admitting to the crack smoking thing
that he denied for a long time, that he now says he did do, and he would
please like to see the tape of it, which Toronto police say is in their
With that amazing thing going on in the news, pity the many people,
the more than a handful of people around the English-speaking world who
also share with that mayor the relatively common name of Rob Ford.
For example, quote, “My Twitter is blowing up. The mayor of Toronto
must be up to some shenanigans again,” says a totally different Rob Ford.
And then there is this Rob Ford in Manchester, England, quote, “Tired of
annoyed Canadians accosting me with weird questions about crack pipes.”
To be fair, mayoral name misidentification is not just a problem in
Canada and for Rob Ford. In Boston last night, when Marty Walsh beat John
Connolly, Democrats from across the country made calls to Boston to
congratulate Marty Walsh for the win.
Vice President Joe Biden called, Debbie Wasserman Schultz called, the
head of the Democratic Party, even R.T. Rybak called, an ongoing big city
mayor himself, mayor of Minneapolis. He`s got some Boston roots. They all
Even a White House operator called looking to set up a call between
President Obama and the new mayor-elect of Boston, Marty Walsh – except
they all called the wrong Marty Walsh.
See, it turns out in Boston there was a guy who was a staffer of Ted
Kennedy`s, who was another well-connected Democrat. He`s a political
consultant whose name is also Marty Walsh. Also apparently the Mayor-elect
Marty Walsh has a cousin who is also named Marty Walsh, who also got some
of the congratulations calls last night.
But hey, it all worked out. You know, in Boston, if you know a guy
who knows a guy who knows a guy named Marty Walsh? You know that guy, that
kind of just means you live in Boston, no hard feelings.
MADDOW: This is real money, not Monopoly money. This is a pile of
money being thrown off the balcony of the Hart Senate office building which
was then promptly rolled around in by a bunch of people in suits who are in
that building when the money was thrown down to the ground, rolling around
the free money, exulting in it.
What that had to do with something that surprisingly failed at the
polls last night on the West Coast is coming up in just a moment.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: The overall margin of victory for Democrat Terry McAuliffe
over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the governor`s race was three points.
But when you break out the exit polling, it was the gender gap that really
gave McAuliffe the win. He took the Virginia lady vote overall by nine
points, 51-42. He took the African-American vote by an astonishing 84
point margin, it was 91-7 among African-American women in Virginia.
But we kind of knew it was coming. The pre-election polling foretold
both the win for Terry McAuliffe and the big problem for the Republican
candidate with women voters specifically. Ken Cuccinelli is a life long
and crusading social conservative activist.
His record includes personally intervening as attorney general with
the state board of health to get them to shut down abortion clinic clinics.
It also includes support for the state`s forced ultrasound legislation, and
a long history of supporting legislation that would not just ban all
abortion, it would likely ban the most popular forms of birth control.
Ken Cuccinelli is the kind of candidate who said he expected God`s
wrath to rain down on America because American women are allowed to have
abortions. So, yes, the polling last night showed that Ken Cuccinelli had
big distance to make up in the polls with Virginia women. To finish
strong, therefore, to make his last best efforts to win, to make the women
voters, give him a second chance, because that`s what he needed in order to
Ken Cuccinelli hit the trail in the last closing days of his campaign
with a roster of Republican men that looked like a list for a “Right to
Life” rally at the Republican National Convention.
This is the final list of people he brought into the state to campaign
with him in the last few days before the election. Anti-abortion
Republican senator guy, Marco Rubio, long time anti-abortion Republican
congressman guy, Ron Paul, anti-abortion Republican senator guy Rand Paul,
and anti-abortion Republican governor guy Bobby Jindal, anti-abortion
Republican governor guy Mike Huckabee, anti-abortion Republican senator guy
Rick Santorum, and the anti-abortion family, the Duggars, 19 kids and
There`s also one other anti-abortion Republican guy who the Cuccinelli
campaign brought on stage at the end, sort of blast from the conservative
past, long-time anti-abortion activist Republican governor, Scott Walker.
Governor Scott Walker did not draw a particularly good crowd for Ken
Cuccinelli in Virginia in the closing days of the campaign. But it was not
for a lack of trying and it was not for a lack of congruent politics
between the two men.
Governor Scott Walker is himself up for re-election next year. If he
runs for election, as expected, that will be his third election in four
years. First, he was elected, then he survived a recall election set in
motion by his stripping union rights in the state. The fight over union
rights in the recall effort made Wisconsin the center of the political
universe for a while.
Governor Walker surviving the recall effort, his win in the race made
him a national Republican darling. So now he pretty clearly is running for
re-election in Wisconsin. But also he is just as clearly apparently
running for president. He has a running for president style book that is
just out, titled “Untimidated”, so you can learn his amazing story of his
And also, Scott Walker is letting it be known that he will be in New
York later this month, to meet and mingle with the national Republican
donors who right now are gearing up for the presidential race.
“Unintimidated,” also, need money.
But as Governor Scott Walker dreams about new drapes in the Oval
Office, Democrats have suddenly gotten serious about unseating him from his
day job, from the one that`s in Wisconsin. One Democratic contender for
governor in Wisconsin just upped the ante significantly by signing up a
bunch of A-list Democratic campaign staffers, including two key members of
President Obama`s campaigns for president.
The head of advertising for President Obama`s two campaigns, and the
head of direct mail for one of President Obama`s campaigns have just signed
on to work with Wisconsin Democratic hopeful, Mary Burke, as she tries to
beat Scott Walker and become governor of that state.
In very early polling, Mary Burke is essentially tied with Governor
Walker. That said, he has already beaten good Democrats twice for the
office that he now holds.
What makes Democrats believe they can turn it around a year from now,
and how do his 2016 hopes interfere with all of that?
Joining us now for the interview is Mary Burke. She`s a member of the
Madison school board. She`s a former executive at Trek Bicycles and she
served as Wisconsin`s commerce secretary from 2005 to 2007.
Mary Burke, thanks very much for being with us.
MARY BURKE, FORMER WISCONSIN COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, thanks,
Rachel. It`s a pleasure to be here.
MADDOW: Does it matter to Wisconsin – should it matter to Governor
Walker`s re-election effort if he is in fact running for the Republican
presidential nomination for 2016 while he is also trying to be governor?
Should that matter?
BURKE: Well, I think what the people of Wisconsin care about is they
have a governor focused on the issues that are most important to them. As
I travel around the state, I hear people are most concerned about jobs, and
that the governor has that focus and are making it the priority. That
they`re doing all they can to move the state forward.
You know, we have been lagging in terms of job creation since the
recession. And I believe we can do better, by bringing people together,
considering all the options, and making sure that we`re focused on the ones
that work. Put problem-solving ahead of politics.
MADDOW: Wisconsin was the political center of the universe when
Governor Walker moved so bluntly to strip union rights in the state. And
that was – I mean, I think the reaction to that was in part, the policy,
but also the way he did it, the confrontational way he did it.
But the recall effort to turf him out of office after that, despite
all the anger, it didn`t succeed. How do you think the effort changed
Wisconsin politics? Why do you think you can beat him now when the recall
effort couldn`t beat him before?
BURKE: Well, I think it gets down to who you are in Wisconsin. We
are people who like to get along with each other and we like to work
together to move forward. And as you mentioned, this was incredibly
divisive. And I think people really want leadership that does bring people
together. And I have heard that, as I traveled the state.
Andi I think that that`s actually will be a big campaign issue, is the
type of leadership. Is it the type of leadership that brings people
together or is it the divisive leadership that we`ve seen over the last
MADDOW: Women`s rights, and reproductive rights have been an area of
huge focus around the country. In Wisconsin, things have taken a very
sharp right turn on those issues under Governor Walker, he went after
Planned Parenthood, shutting down abortion clinics. He even rolled back
equal pay for equal work law in Wisconsin.
Did those efforts contribute to your decisions to run against him?
BURKE: Absolutely. You know, I believe very strongly that women
should have the freedom to make their own health care choices. And what
the governor has done is roll back Wisconsin many, many years. And so I
think it is important this we`re able to make those choices. I was
encouraged to have Planned Parenthood`s endorsement today.
But also we`ll focus on the issues that matter the most to people of
Wisconsin, which are jobs.
MADDOW: You did get an endorsement as you just said, a year out from
the election from Planned Parenthood. I read their endorsement. They`re
very focused on the policy changes in Wisconsin.
It`s a bit of a signal that if you`re a candidate against Governor
Walker, it`s going to be a big high profile race. Do you expect there to
be a lot of national attention, a lot of national outside groups weighing
in the way that Wisconsin politics have sort accustomed to over these past
BURKE: Well, I wouldn`t be surprised by it. I think no doubt
Governor Walker has made himself a national Tea Party figure. And that
will bring attention. But I think the election in the end will be about
what the people of Wisconsin care about, about whether they have leadership
that`s focused on the issue – issues that are most important to them.
You know, I have a track record of 30 years in terms of addressing
issues in the private sector. I worked for Trek Bicycle and the division
that I ran there, we increased sales from $3 million to over $50 million in
just a few short years. Then, at the Department of Commerce, we had a 4.8
percent unemployment rate, and 84,000 more jobs than we have today.
And then I got into education. I said, how are we going to close the
achievement gap? And I created a partnership that brought together the
boy`s and girl`s club and the Madison public schools. So that students,
high school students who would be the first in their family to graduate
from college were on that path and able to realize their dreams.
And I think that`s what the Wisconsin voters care about, they care
about leadership that brings people together, that sets the priorities that
are most important to them. And that`s what I`m going to do when I run the
MADDOW: Mary Burke, candidate for the Democratic nomination for
Wisconsin governor, thanks very much for the introduction tonight. I know
this is your first national interview. It`s nice to have you here, ma`am.
Good luck to you.
BURKE: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: And I should say, Governor Scott Walker, you have never
before consented to come on this show. And I have a feeling you`re not
going to do it now.
But it won`t stop me from asking. Governor Walker, we`d love to have
you, anytime. Hey, you`re going to be in New York. Meet with me with
those national donors. Come on.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: One of the most interesting things that happened in D.C.
during the government shutdown was this moment, in the big office building
where the U.S. Senate does its work. Those are real $1 bills, over a
thousand dollars in one dollar bills that activists threw off the inside
balcony of the Hart Senate Office Building, and then people dressed up as
lobbyists or congressional staffers or something just rolled around in the
dollar bills and made money angels like the dollar bills were snow.
That was anti-Monsanto protest at the Senate. And three of the people
involved in throwing the money that day and rolling around in it got
Turns out one of the guys arrested there was the sort of activist-in-
chief for the tingly soap company, Dr. Bronners. You know, Dr. Bronners,
the family owned company that has an excellent sense of humor and that has
taken on a few high profile political causes over the past few years. Josh
Harkinson at “Mother Jones” reported this week on Dr. Bronners getting
involved in one particular issue, in this week`s election in Washington
As you see there on the label for their soap, Dr. Bronner took the
side of yes on 522. 522 is a Washington ballot measure where products
taken from genetically modified organizations should be labeled as such.
And in Washington state, going into yesterday`s election, it looked like
that measure was going to pass.
The early polling on 522 showed Washington voters in favor of it by
about 2-1. And they had money on their side, too, including the Dr.
Bronner`s money, which is just some of the money that flowed into
Washington from out of state in support of labeling GMOs. But check this
out. Look at how the money breaks down in that race. These numbers are
from “The Seattle Times.”
The side that wants to label genetically modified stuff, they raised
about $8.5 million, with about 70 percent of it raised out of state.
Sounds like a lot, right? Look at the other side, though, the don`t label
side. The we don`t want to know side, they raised almost three times as
much, they raised $22 million, and they raised all of it from out of state.
Actually, I should modify that. Of the $22 million they raised, they
raised $550 in Washington state. Not $550,000, $550 out of $22 million,
which means that pie is not to scale.
Ten thousand people from across Washington state contributed to the
yes, contributed to the yes on labeling side. Basically, nobody from
Washington state contributed to the no on labeling side. But the no side
had such a huge tide of corporate money behind them, from Bayer and Dow
Agra Sciences, and DuPont, and Coke and Pepsi and Nestle and General Mills,
basically no one was on the company`s side in this fight. But those
companies put so much money into it that they totally swamped the other
side, and they reversed those poll numbers and measure to label genetically
modified food appears to have failed in Washington yesterday.
It was Dr. Bronner`s and 10,000 donors across in Washington state,
against Coke and Pepsi and Monsanto, yes, the Coke and Pepsi side looks
like they probably won.
There`s a reason these companies knew that pouring out of state money
into this race in Washington would be effective. That reason is called
California. You might remember in 2012 elections, that was a huge victory
for progressives. California obviously voted for President Obama. But
Democrats also in California won a 2/3 super majority in the state
legislature that day.
It wasn`t just a victory for Democrats, it was a major victory for
progressive policy. California voters overwhelmingly that day voted to
raise income taxes to fund public education. They voted to ease up
California`s mandatory three strike sentencing law. It was a big night for
Democrats and for liberal politics in California, except for one big loss.
Heading into that November 2012 election, when Californians were asked
if they support labeling genetically modified organisms in their food,
Californians tend to say yes by huge margins. On the ballot in California,
the labeling proposal was Prop 37. And Californians supported that kind of
labeling by huge margins in the polls until ads like this started flooding
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: They would create a legal nightmare for California
farmers and grocers.
This illogical unfair labeling proposition makes no sense.
And it would increase costs for California farmers and food companies
by over $1 billion a year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Administering 37 complex regulations would waste
millions of tax dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The people who funded those ads across California were
Monsanto, and DuPont and Pepsi, and Grocery Manufacturer`s Association and
Kraft Foods. It`s all the same folks that was in Washington state this
year doing it in California last year.
And the corporate side outraised the other side, 5:1 in California.
They dumped nearly $50 million worth of advertising and campaigning to
beating the labeling initiative in California. And it worked in California
last year. It looks like it worked in Washington this year.
There was enough money to take something really, really popular in the
state and make it lose on Election Day. Take that you tingly soap hippies.
For now, the pro-labeling folks in Washington state have this message
on their Website after last night`s election. Washington state votes by
mail. Results take a long time to come in. They have not given up the
fight yet. They say the ballots are coming in from parts of state where
their message was strongest.
Even so, it is hard to imagine that the pro-labeling side is going to
make up the difference in the vote right now. We will see.
But if you are looking for a base line story how powerful corporate
money can be in elections, if you are looking for how industry can get what
it wants by sheer power of overwhelming millions, despite the unpopularity
of their cause, this fight in California last year and in Washington state
last night, they both show how big money gets it done even in blue, blue
states, even on blue, blue nights.
MADDOW: This was the front page of today`s “Kentucky Enquirer”. At
the top of the page there, “My fault, Senator Paul says of plagiarism.”
This was the front page of off to day`s “Lexington Herald Leader”
newspaper. “Paul to retool office after plagiarism charges. He is
hopeful, quote, `It will make people leave me the hell alone.`”
This was the front page of the “Courier Journal” in Louisville,
Kentucky. “Paul admits his plagiarism, quote, `is my fault”.
And that front page story on the front page of the “Courier Journal”,
that was nothing compared to what the paper had to say on the editorial
page. Today, the “Courier Journal” published this scathing editorial.
“Recent news accounts make it clear that Senator Paul made a habit of
using without attribution other people`s words, thoughts and ideas. His
reaction so far has not been to plead guilty and beg forgiveness. That`s
not his style. He claimed to be the victim of a witch-hunt by hacks and
haters. He takes it as an insult that people would accuse him of being
dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done
“The real insult here,” the paper says, “is that Mr. Paul would expect
voters to believe his half-baked, nutty explanations. The real insult is
that he would expect to us believe he is not at fault and this is the
result of partisan opponents. But the biggest insult is that he would use
a writer`s or researcher`s word, claim them as his own and expect everyone
to look away when he gets caught.”
The terrible hometown press that Rand Paul is getting right now might
explain why the senator is melting down over this issue. Now, it`s come to
the point where he is threatening to quit and leave politics altogether
unless people stop criticizing him over his plagiarism problems and
reporting on them, presumably.
Senator Paul told “The New York Times,” “To tell you the truth, people
can think what they want the I can go back to being a doctor any time. If
they`re tired of me, I will go back to big a doctor and be perfectly
Senator Paul, who “The Times” described as drawn and clearly shaken
during their interview with him, continued, quote, “What we are going to do
from here forward if it will make people leave me the hell alone we well do
them look college papers. We`re going to try to put out footnotes.”
Senator Paul followed up that exasperated emotional sweary interview
with “The Times” yesterday with another one few day with “The National
Review”. Senator Paul described by interview at the NRO” as, quote,
“furious.” And he says, to his interviewer, quote, “It annoys the hell out
of me. If I could just go to detention after school for a couple days
everything would be OK. But do I have to be in detention for the rest of
One thing that is maybe underappreciated about this stressful episode
for Senator Paul is that it`s happening at a key time in his career.
“Politico” reported he recently met with Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News
Corps, and Robert Ailes, the head of the FOX News Channel, two king makers
you need on your side if you`re a Republican running for president.
For Republicans who are trying to make that run, this is the time when
the guys are trying to establish themselves as viable candidates, serious
candidates. In the middle of all of this, Rand Paul is all but breaking
down in these interviews about these ongoing plagiarism revelations.
Not only can he not handle rigors of the difficult workload of being a
freshman senator, which was his excuse for plagiarizing an article for an
op-ed, not only cannot handle the workload of being a senator, he
apparently can`t handle criticism of thing he`s has done wrong.
Plagiarism has forced other people out of political races in the past,
like Joe Biden in the `80s. But in this case, Rand Paul says he might not
be even make it to the race for president. He`s now threatening quit even
being a senator right now he cannot take the heat, he cannot take the
Senator Paul is clearly under a lot of pressure right now. This is a
key moment for him and his political future. But if this is the we he
handles pressure, that is probably a good thing to know about him now. It
is probably better that we learn that fact about him now, rather than some
time in the future.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Have a great night.
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