The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/30/14
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
This is the picture that you may have imagined in your mind before today,
but you never actually saw it before today. Before prosecutors unveiled it
today in open court in Richmond, Virginia. That is the then governor of
Virginia, conservative Republican family values guy Bob McDonnell. Next to
him there is his wife whose name is Maureen. She`s in the passenger seat.
And that, the big vehicle there, that is not the McDonnell family`s
Ferrari. That is a Ferrari that belongs to a wealthy Virginia businessman
who let Governor McDonnell drive his Ferrari for free for part of a lake
side vacation that he provided to the McDonnells complete with the boat
that he had delivered to the house they were staying at for their use on
the lake they were staying at. Also a range rover he had delivered to the
vacation for the use of one of the governor`s daughters. Also, delivered
to the home for the use of one of the governor`s daughters, also delivered
to the home for the use of the governor was the white Ferrari.
“The Washington Post” last year published this photo of the white Ferrari
parked in front of the governor`s mansion in Virginia. You see, there`s
the car in the drive way. You can also see the sort of tell tale yellow
pinked of the executive mansion. You can see that shrubs certain looks
liked. That`s the car in front of the governor`s mansion.
The question, though, of how the Ferrari got to the governor`s mansion that
day has been a bit of a question. I mean, the governor`s explanation
before today was that that Ferrari had never been loaned to him free of
charge. It`s use was not provided to him as a gift. He said he was
actually only driving the Ferrari that day as a favor to a guy.
This is the statement the governor Bob McDonnell`s office put out last year
when the news about him driving the white Ferrari came out in “the
Washington Post.” Quote “the governor`s spokesman said as a favor to the
businessman, the family drove one of Johnny Williams` cars or range rover
to the lake house. And then drove the Ferrari back to Richmond.” Quote
“there was no recreational use of vehicles,” the spokesman said, “the
family was simply helping Mr. Williams get one car to his Smith mountain
lake house and return another to Richmond.”
See, there was no recreational use. This guy needed help moving his cars
around. And that`s what of the many skills, like Bob McDonnell developed
ad governor. He is an excellent valet. Always ready to help a
constituent. Need anything moved?
On day three of the corruption trial of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
today, the businessman who provided the Ferrari and paid for the lake house
vacation and the cape cod vacation and the Florida vacation and bought the
family iphones and golf shoes and golf clubs and designer shoes and
handbags and dresses and handed over $70,000 to the governor`s real estate
company and $50,000 to the governor`s wife and $10,000 to one of the
governor`s daughters. And 15,000 to the other governor`s daughter for her
wedding. The guy that bought the engraved Rolex for the governor. And,
and, and, and, and, and. Today, that businessman, Johnny Williams, took
the stand in the governor`s corruption trial in Richmond.
And he said right off the bat that all of that stuff and all of that cash
that he gave to the governor and his family, those were not the product of
a friendship. He said, actually, he saw himself as being in a business
relationship with the governor. Quote “this was a business relationship.
I needed his help. The governor was in the position to help secure state
sponsored research.” The businessman needed the office of the governor of
Virginia to confer credibility on his company and his products.” Quote “I
know he controls the medical schools, so I needed his help with the
testing, the medical testing of his company`s products.”
And so, the gifts to the governor and his family, those according to the
businessman were designed to help this businessman obtain state help. From
his perspective it was a business relationship. He wanted official acts
from the state of Virginia, in exchange for luxury goods and cash provided
to the governor and his family.
As to the Ferrari specifically, turns out the governor maybe was not
actually just doing a favor of moving the cars around for the businessman.
It apparently was not the case that the Ferrari just inconveniently
happened to be at the lake house when the governor was staying there, and
it needed moving to Richmond so the governor decided to help his friend
out. That had been the governor`s explanation. They had the official
governor`s spokesman issue that. It is a statement of the governor`s
But that apparently is not what happened. Not at least according to the
court proceedings this week. The court heard testimony today about how the
businessman actually it had to have an employee of his company drive the
Ferrari to the vacation house specifically so it would be available for the
governor to use on his vacation.
Quote “jurors were shown an invoice for a limo service that the company had
to hire to pick up the employee after he had dropped off the car.”
Yes, it wasn`t just there. You were helping him – this corruption trial
in Richmond is amazing. And he prosecution today showed the jury pictures
of the credit card scanners at the cash registers, at the pro shop and the
restaurant. At the golf club where the governor accepted thousands and
thousands and thousands of dollars of free stuff from this businessman.
The businessman wouldn`t even play golf, but the governor most of the time,
the governor would just turn up with his sons and have the golf club, put
everything put on the businessman`s tab.
Today, prosecutor showed the jury pictures of the credit card scanners at
the club and then asked the golf club manager on the stand in all the times
Governor McDonnell golfed here and ate here, and took home clothing and
equipment from here, did he ever ask if he could pay for anything? Did he
ever try to pay for anything? Like say with a credit card? In this place
where people pay? Did he ever ask if he could? The answer was no. He
never tried to pay, not once. Just put it on Johnny`s tab.
It`s been amazing stuff. It`s amazing enough, that weekly, in Richmond-
style weekly just published a cutout paper doll activity book for following
along with the trial. Paper doll evidence play time. That`s the Ferrari
on its side, you see there, and the Rolex right next to the wedding
catering, right underneath the tower of the businessman`s supplements.
I`m Bob McDonnell. I`m Mrs. Bob McDonnell. This is my Ferrari, it`s just
The corruption trial of Bob McDonnell has been incredible. So far, today
was day three. Johnny Williams is going to be back on the stand tomorrow
morning. But as the national coverage of this corruption trial picks up,
there is something sort of wrong about it or at least something unexamined
about it. And here`s what I mean.
It was January 21st of this year, when the governor and his wife were
indicted. They were indicted on 14 felony counts of corruption. And that
day, Bob McDonnell and his wife held a news conference in Virginia. They
appeared in front of the cameras together to proclaimed their innocence.
Keep that image in mind right there. That ends up being important. This
was January 21st.
Three days later, the McDonnell`s had their official court appearance. And
they arrived in court that day hand in hand for their official arraignment.
About a week and a half later, it was back to the court for the McDonnells
for a pretrial hearing. And there they are again, arriving hand in hand or
hand in umbrella and hand. A few weeks later, there was another court
hearing for them, this time to see if they could get any charges dismissed.
And again, there`s Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell arriving together
hand in hand.
So all these public appearances over the course of the last few months
starting with indictment day and all these appearances, Bob McDonnell and
his wife, Maureen McDonald are standing together presenting a unified
front. And that is what made this scene on Monday of this week all the
Monday was the first day of the trial. The first day of the Bob McDonnell
and Maureen McDonnell corruption trial. And look, what`s different?
There`s Bob McDonnell arriving at the courthouse all alone, without his
wife by his side. And that`s because she entered the courthouse
separately, a few moments earlier ahead of her husband. Bob McDonnell and
his wife, Maureen, arriving and leaving the courthouse separately, not
being seen together at all. And that`s how it`s been all week.
Here they are again, arriving today at the courthouse 40 paces apart. This
is what they are doing now in public now that the trial has started. And
that fact I think is part of the key to understanding the salaciousness of
the headlines you`ve been seeing about the Bob McDonnell trial. The
headlines are all like this this week, right?
Trial reveals governor`s wife had crush on CEO. McDonnell corruption trial
bombshell CEO became Maureen McDonnell`s favorite playmate, say her
lawyers. The trashy mail from Britain as always putting the finest points
on it. Maureen McDonnell`s lawyer claims her marriage to ex-Virginia
governor was over. And she had a crush on wealthy donor who lavished her
with gifts. McDonnell trial reveals ex-Virginia governor`s broken
marriage. Wife`s crush on government star witness.
The indictment, the allegations from prosecutors, those who have been out
there for months now. But now, now that we are having the trial, now that
the defense has started, what has stolen the show about the defense is this
designed for headlines assertion from the defense that the McDonnell`s
marriage was broken, and Maureen McDonnell had a child-like crush on this
businessman who the McDonnell`s are accuses of helping in exchange for tens
of thousands of dollars worth of gifts.
Their defense lawyer said in court, that Maureen McDonnell was angry at
governor McDonnell. They said she hated governor McDonnell. Defense
council told the jurors, Maureen McDonnell and Johnny Williams had a
relationship some would consider improper for two people not married.
The defense lawyer said at one point the governor wrote a long email to his
wife begging her to help save the marriage. Mr. McDonnell planned to read
the deeply personal email in court, his lawyers said. Bob has agreed to
open up his marriage and his life to you.
Honestly, none of this is any of our business. If a family or a couple is
having trouble, if a marriage is in trouble, if it doesn`t have public
policy consequences for some reason, it is none of our business. Even when
the people involved are public figures. Not unless there are some
hypocrisy consequences, right?
Bu the defense strategy in the corruption trial of governor Bob McDonnell
and his wife is apparently going to be that their marriage is the key.
They`re going to make the personal matter of the quality of their marriage
the centerpiece of their defense to these corruption charges. I mean, the
stuff about the crush and the loveless marriage and all the rest of that,
that`s being raised by the defense council for the McDonnell`s, not by the
prosecution. This is how they`re going to keep the governor and his wife
out of jail.
Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell send accuse of accepting over $160,000
in gifts and cash from this wealthy CEO in exchange for providing official
help from the state for the CEO`s company. That`s called corruption,
right? Give me something of personal value to me, and in exchange I`ll
give you a little something special from the government. The government in
which I am an official.
As a defense to that corruption allegation. It is tabloidy (ph) and
exploitive for the governor to blame the whole thing on his wife and their
alleged personal problems. Yes, it feels gross and it gets lots of
headlines, legally it does actually sort of makes sense. I mean, Maureen
McDonnell, as first lady of Virginia, that`s not a job title. She wasn`t a
public official technically, and she therefore could never have committed
an official act of any kind to help the CEO.
If there`s no official act there`s no crime. So that strategy, that she
took everything defense, I mean, it makes sense, it is undercut by the fact
that Bob McDonnell himself did things like ask this guy for a $70,000 loan
for his real estate business, right? That is their main defense strategy.
We have now look. The claim basically is that she did it all, and she`s
not a public official, and so there`s no public corruption. And there
couldn`t have been a corrupt scheme, a corrupt conspiracy between the two
of them, there was no two of them. They weren`t really a couple.
It was just her love sick stupidity. He`s actually kind of the victim
here. He may not have even known any of it was happening. That`s their
strategy, their legal strategy, which we should have had an inkling of when
they all started arriving at their court date separately this week.
But that McDonnell`s defense that their marriage is on the rocks, that she
had a crush on somebody else, it does make sense as a legal strategy. What
does not make sense is the media helping them with it.
To the extent this trial is being covered nationally, so far, it is being
covered purely in a tabloid way, right? Purely through the lens of catty
sexist gossip about the first lady and how she like expensive shoes and
fancy shopping sprees while Bob McDonnell is cool, calm and collective. He
is essentially collateral damage for his wife`s trashy expensive taste.
I mean, that framing is not only sexist and gross, it ignores the fact that
Bob McDonnell himself was doing things like setting up meetings for this
wealthy donor for the top state health officials, right? The government is
going to have to prove that he`s doing those things he did in exchange for
the vacation trips and the golf clubs and the Ferrari rides, and all the
rest of it. They claim they have the evidence to prove it.
But if the Bob McDonnell defense is going to be to blame it on the love
sick, emotionally, erratic Louis Vuitton loving wife, they`re, at least so
far, doing a masterful job of injecting that story line in the process and
getting the press to melt their defense for them.
The press is bending over backwards to help the McDonnell legal defense. I
mean, this is a legal strategy that their mounting. And it makes sense as
a legal strategy. But attention news media. This is an overt strategy,
and you are helping one side of this legal case by advancing the strategic
story line for them, because you can`t resist a tabloid soap opera tale.
You`re being played. I mean, it`s your choice if you want to cover it this
way. But you are being played by covering this at a tabloid story about a
marriage and not a crime blotter story about a corrupt governor.
MADDOW: No matter what your politics are, no matter you want to do with
your life, there`s one inarguable reason that you should run for Congress,
frankly that all of us should run for Congress. And it is Congress`s work
schedule. This is the House work schedule between now and the election.
There are zero workdays for them in August, 10 workdays in total for the
whole month of September, two days in October and they don`t in fact have
any sustained period of work at all after tomorrow until at least the end
of the year. Sweet.
But their longest vacation of the year, the more than five weeks that
they`re taking off starts tomorrow, which means we are down to the wire in
terms of weather they are going to do anything of substance.
Today, the crowning achievement of the House on the last day before they
leave tomorrow to go on a vacation that last the whole rest of the summer,
was that the House today voted to authorized a lawsuit against President
Obama. It was party line vote. No Democrats voted for it, all but five
Republicans did vote for it. And the five Republicans who didn`t, the five
Republicans who voted no apparently did so because the lawsuit does not go
far enough. Like it doesn`t go impeachment far enough.
But the interesting though about this, is that while it was the Republicans
who voted today to sue President Obama, it is the Democrats who held a
press conference about this vote today. Because the Democrats cannot
believe that this is how Republicans want to spend Congress` time.
And to put a finer point on it, Democrats cannot believe their luck that
this is how Republicans want to spend Congress` time. Because Democrats
feel like this lawsuit thing shines a spotlight on Democrats and the
president specifically trying to get stuff done while all the Republicans
want to do is try to destroy President Obama, stop him from doing things.
So this is a matter, this lawsuit authorization is something that only
Republicans voted for today. But on the House floor today, it was the
Democrats who basically did cartwheels about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WILL PASCHELL (D), NEW JERSEY: The House of Representatives is
apparently taking its marching orders from Sarah Palin. Good for us.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It
is unconscionable. That when this do nothing Republican Congress decided
to do something, it`s suing the president for doing his job when they
refuse to do theirs.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I urge each and every one of my colleagues
to have the courage – nothing but courage to oppose this insulting and
(INAUDIBLE) this resolution, has no place on this floor.
PASCHELL: The fact of the matter is, that the American people are tired of
the relentless partisanship that has led the Congress to having a lower
approval rating than head lice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And if you think Democrats were excited about this today, about
Republicans voting to sue the president, if you think Democrats were
excited about that in congress, check out the excitement today from the
Democrat who`s in the White House. President Obama today seemed to have an
excellent time talking about this matter in Kansas city, Missouri.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So some of the things we`re
doing without Congress are making a difference. But we could do so much
more, if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit. Just come
on. Come on and help out a little bit. Stop being mad all the time.
Something. Something. Stop just hating all the time. Come on. Let`s get
some work done together.
I know they`re not that happy that I`m president, but that`s OK. Come on.
I`ve only. I`ve only got a couple years left, come on, let`s get some work
done. You can be mad at the next president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama enjoying himself today in Kansas City, Missouri.
There is one day left before Congress leave for a month, plus a week, plus
a little bit more. What can conceivably can get done by this time tomorrow
when they will all be getting on airplanes and heading out of town. Can
they do ambassadors, can they do the VA, can they do anything on
immigration or the border? What reasonably, realistically could happen?
Joining us now is Chuck Todd, NBC News political director and the host of
the “Daily Rundown.”
Chuck, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening,
MADDOW: So reasonably, what might happen before they all leave? The
ambassadors, the VA, anything on immigration? Anything.
TODD: Looks like VA – the only substantive thing is the VA, right? And
when you look at it politically, why the VA, why is it that can they
somehow come together and get this done and nothing else? Because
politically, both of them are fearful of being labeled somehow anti-
veteran, and by the way, veterans vote. And it`s like one of these few
constituency groups that both parties think we can`t tick them off, so
let`s at least get this done. And by the way, a week ago, it looked like
they weren`t going to be able to get that done. So substantively that`s
This border bill business. The amazing thing about their inability to get
this one done, Rachel, is the fact that we`re talking. This is financially
a drop in the bucket, whether you use the president`s number, $3.7 billion,
whether use the Senate number, I think it`s $2.5 billion, even if you use
the house number which is less than a billion, this is unfortunately the
way numbers work in our budget, spare change. And they can`t even come
together on this, on a crisis that everybody agrees is a crisis, there
needs to be resources, there has to be more judges, all of things, and
they`re not going to get anywhere close to getting that done. That to me,
that is symbolizes just how ridiculously gridlocked this Congress is,
because we`re not talking about a lot of money.
MADDOW: Well, question on that, though. In the Senate, the Senate side on
the border, 11 Republican senators voted with Democrats this morning on a
bill to send resources to the border. Was I right to be surprised by 11
Republicans siding with Democrats on this, or was this just some procedural
TODD: I believe this was the procedural version of this. But the fact
that they did it, I mean – look, I think we`re, you know, it`s been
interesting on watching the immigration thing. The neither party feels
comfortable knowing exactly how immigration will play politically in the
midterms, both of them hope it`s not an issue either way. You know,
obviously Republicans are concerned about Hispanics, but the Hispanic vote
somewhat, but you`re in this midterm election because of where the battle
grounds are, you`re willingly talking a couple states where it may impact
them. At the same time, Democrats in some of these red states that are
less diverse, they seem to be afraid of looking like they`re not tough
enough on the border.
So there is this sense that nobody wants to do it but the folks that did
vote to move it on are that, it`s the same vote inside the Senate
Republican party that actually been the loudest about come on, Republican
Party, hurry up and do immigration reform.
MADDOW: On the lawsuit issue, suing the president. Democrats can`t talk
about it enough. Democrats from the White House and also in Congress. So
excited about it, we had a potpourri of things to choose from in terms of
looking at them being so excited. They believe that this totally fires up
the democratic base.
TODD: Well, they had nothing else to do it, that`s right. And this is
like electrifying, they think.
MADDOW: Well, does it electrify the Republican base too? I mean, is there
evidence that this lawsuit motivates the Republican base as much as it
TODD: Well, it seems to be more about placating the Republican base. I
think there`s a difference there in what they`re trying to do. But to me
this seems to be a little too cute on what Boehner`s trying to do. He`s
almost whetting the appetite of some on the right who, of course, they want
to go full border. There are – there is some fringe elements to the
Republican party that want to go about impeachment. They don`t know what.
And so, this lawsuit was a political maneuver by Boehner to try to keep the
impeachment caucus, however big it is, eight, 10, 11, 12 members at bay a
little bit, hand them this, and say, we`re going to sue the president.
Remember, it took them a couple weeks to even figure out what they were
going to sue him over. They hadn`t decided on what issue, which to me made
it obvious that this was a political maneuver, right? If they really were
upset about a specific law, well then, they would have said, it`s this,
it`s the way you acted on this law, and therefore we`re going to sue you.
And of course, they are sing them over a lot of they wish weren`t pass in
the first place on health care.
Now, on – this would have made more sense to me politically, if they were
going to be suing him on the immigration executive orders. That would have
at least made more ideological and principled sense. What they`re doing on
health care is a bit ham handed and I think sort obvious that this is a
MADDOW: And I think you are right that they were trying to placate the
people who want impeachment and they instead ended up sort of exciting them
or sort of the park where it is like if you give a massacre eat, you know,
TODD: Yes. Well, it is. By the way, I have a fun little stat on the do
nothing Congress, right, in this whole thing And the actual do nothing
Congress, the infamous one of Harry Truman, they pass 906 laws. This
Congress is on pace to do less than any Congress ever before. And the one
who broke the record for that was last Congress, the one – and they passed
So the most famous quote-unquote “do nothing law, do nothing Congress”
passed nearly 1,000 laws, OK? This one the last one did 283, this one so
far has done 142. So on pace for even fewer than the last Congress. I
think that – in comparison, we have a new do nothing Congress.
MADDOW: Well, yes. It is like trying to figure out what you call this as
requires like dividing by zero. But what do you call a third of nothing.
NBC news political director, Chuck Todd, host of the “Daily Rundown.”
Chuck, thanks very much for being here. It`s always great to have you
here, man. Thanks.
TODD: You got it.
MADDOW: All right.
Still to come tonight, some exclusive reporting on the part of American
politics where you really do have to face an angry mob, literally on your
doorstep, where you live. And that`s where is at.
MADDOW: So this is the thing that happens. I present it now without
further comment. This happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEPPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: I`m Sheppard Smith from the FOX News Channel,
and I`ve been challenged so it`s time to raise some money for charity.
Rachel Maddow, your challenge. I will donate $50 in your name to the
(INAUDIBLE) Foundation if you get ice and water dumped on your head. So
here we go. OK, that`s cold.
MADDOW: You ready?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Couldn`t be readier.
MADDOW: I hate cold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MADDOW: Let`s go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
MADDOW: Glasses off?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we countdown?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, 3, 2, 1.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: One of a kind of amazing local details about the big federal court
ruling on abortion rights yesterday is about what the last abortion clinic
left in Mississippi actually looks like from the streets.
The clinic is in downtown Jackson, the capital of Mississippi and after
they became the last remaining clinic in the state, they painted themselves
pink basically as an act of defiance to show that they were not hiding,
they were not ashamed of who they were, and they had no plans to go
anywhere, even though the state government of Mississippi was working with
the termination to try to shut them down. They painted themselves bright
Pepto-Bismol pink and they hung banners outside the clinic that say, “This
clinic stays open.”
And when the Fifth Circuit ruled yesterday that Mississippi was going too
far in its efforts to shut down that clinic, the states cannot shut down
every last clinic in the state. When that ruling came down yesterday, the
visual of the banners hung on that clinic became not just a slogan or a
rallying cry, they eventually became sort of an accurate caption to a photo
of that clinic, indeed, this clinic stays open.
The activism that has sprung up in Mississippi to try to keep that clinic
open has been feisty and scrappy because it`s had to be, but the activists
who hung those banners, the activists who support that clinic, they have
also occasionally branched out and gone to neighboring states in the deep
south and to neighboring clinics that they think also need help.
And when Operation Save America, an offshoot of Operation Rescue, went to
New Orleans this past week for a week-long siege of that city and its
clinics, some of the people trying to defend clinics in New Orleans and
make sure they could stay open, had actually come over from Jackson,
Mississippi, it`s about a three-hour drive. And so when the radical anti-
choice people showed up in New Orleans with their fetus pictures and their
bull horns to try to intimidate patients from going into one New Orleans
clinic, the Pink House Defenders from Jackson were there at that clinic,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that the patient is still scared of
MICHELLE COLON, PINK HOUSE DEFENDER: Definitely, most definitely. And I
witnessed that firsthand. This is why I know that they`re scared. A
patient is being escorted to her car and she`s attacked by a couple anti
with their cameras. They`re teasing her and taking photos of her. That`s
how I know they (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s the kind of work that the activists from Jackson do at
clinics. Another pro-choice activists and supporters including a woman
named DuVergne Gaines, who you may have seen here on this show recently.
She`s been here a few times.
Last week we spoke with DuVergne Gaines from New Orleans where she had gone
because of the week of intense anti-abortion protests in that city. And
part of her job at the Feminist Majority Foundation is to organize
basically defense at clinics against these types of anti-abortion protests,
so the clinics can stay open in the midst of the anti-abortion protesters.
She trains local people to act as legal observers and clinic escorts for
She also tracks anti-abortion activists who show up at these protests,
especially the ones who racked up criminal charges for taking their actions
too far. DuVergne describes her work as a privilege, but it does also
sometimes make her a target.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLIP BENHAM, OPERATION SAVE AMERICA: DuVergne, DuVergne, DuVergne. You
don`t have much more time, DuVergne. There is a God calling you. He`s
calling you – DuVergne, just turn right around, just turn on your heels,
180 degrees and run to Jesus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That man Flip Benham seems to know you by name.
DUVERGNE GAINES, FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, you know, I watched this, you`re like the
escorts, and didn`t engage. How easy is that to do?
GAINES: I think that`s really hard to do, actually. They`re extremely
aggressive, you know, when they find out your name which I do, because I`m
a figure, a public figure. You know, they try to use that against you.
He`s unhappy because we try to bring extremists to justice when they break
the law. So that`s what we do. I think he`ll continue to be unhappy about
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Radical edge of the anti-abortion movement does have a real and
long history of crossing over into violence. And some of the tactics that
were seen in New Orleans last week have proceeded violent acts elsewhere
like one activist distributed wanted style posters that publicized the name
and address of local doctors who do abortions.
In New Orleans they distributed this flyer in the neighborhood of a local
New Orleans doctor. They held signs pointing at the doctor`s home, they
used bull horns to deliver their message to her and to her neighbors. Some
of them even went up on to the doctor`s porch. Right up on to her front
We have some images of them here on her front steps. If you see there, a
man who appears to be a plainclothes police officers, asking the protesters
to step away from the front door of this private residence. When the
officer – we believe it`s an officer – asked them to leave, they tried to
say they were there to deliver the mail. They went to the doctor`s home at
least twice, they also went to the clinic where she works, they went to her
private practice office where she sees patients.
The doctor did agree to talk to us but we had to record this video
interview with her, only showing her from the waist down. She asked us not
to show her face because of the personal risks that she believes she faces.
We asked her what it was like to be the focus of these protests at the
clinic where she works, at her private office and literally on the front
step of her home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the beginning it was frightening, but I felt like
the New Orleans Police Department was wonderful. Couldn`t help but feel a
little bit weird and strange. Was somebody going to come up at any time?
Because let`s face it, abortion providers have been killed. And the people
who do that, they have no regrets, they think they are doing God`s work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel threatened personally?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes, but not most of the time. Not most of the
time. Ad you asked my age, I`m at the end of my life, and I`ve come to
grips with the fact that if somebody wants to shoot me, they will shoot me,
and that`s it. And I don`t mind.
I know they put out a flyer where they asked for the community to pray for
me. And I know they – and I know I`ve worked at all the clinic where the
people, they save anything. And probably what has motivated me more than
anything is the people who stand out on the street and scream.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To continue your work?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To continue the work. That really motivates me as
long as – and I made that decision very actively in Baton Rouge. That if
they were out there, I would be inside. And maybe if they weren`t out
there, maybe at some point I would say, maybe I don`t know. At some point
this group that stood on my street and did their damnest to intimidate me
really motivated me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The doctor who says that the protesters screaming at her actually
help motivate her to keep doing her work. She`s 74 years old. And she
told us at that at her age, she does not understand why the protesters are
targeting her, when they could just wait her out.
When many of the anti-abortion protesters left New Orleans this past
weekend, they went straight to Jackson, Mississippi, just in time for that
federal court ruling that this one last clinic in the state of Mississippi,
at least for now, will stay open. Those protesters did not go to Jackson
for the ruling, though. The reason they had gone to Jackson is that four
of them had a court date there. They had to go on trial in Mississippi,
three of them were convicted for the way they had crossed legal lines and
protesting at that clinic in Jackson.
That clinic that they would dearly love to shut down but they have not yet
figured out a way to do it. Yesterday it was a federal appeals court
holding them at bay, most days it is on the ground anti-abortion volunteers
who are forming a physical cadre on the front lines. A first physical line
of defense for patients and for people who work at these places.
A first physical line of defense to try to protect what is supposed to be a
constitutionally protected legal right.
MADDOW: Sometimes when you report the news for your job, you make
mistakes. We hate it when it happens, but it happens. When it does
happen, we correct the record. But when a politician comes after us for
reporting the truth, the provable and proven truth about that politician,
we do not take it back.
Today a U.S. senator who does not want to live with his true record started
attacking those of us who have reported that record. It was really over
the top, it happened on tape today and that story`s next.
MADDOW: OK. The U.S. Senate wrapping up at the end of this week. After
tomorrow they don`t return until the second week of September. And most
members of Congress will use all that time off to go home, go back to their
districts. Most members of Congress, but not all.
Look, Rand Paul hits road to White House with three-day Iowa tour. Rand
Paul, not a senator from Iowa, but that is where he`s going. According
from the “Des Moines Register,” Rand Paul, the national GOP frontrunner in
the 2016 race for the White House, will tour Iowa from end to end next
week, testing his attractiveness to voters in every congressional district
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky really wants to be president. And
so he is using his summer vacation to tour all over the congressional
districts in Iowa. Rand Paul recently hired one of Iowa`s top political
operatives, he is staffing up with veteran Republican operatives in New
And all that 2016 moving and shaking has led not just the Iowa press but
the beltway press to Christen Rand Paul, the Republican Party`s frontrunner
for the party`s presidential nomination in 2016. Amazing.
The most interesting and sort of long-term resonant thing I`ve ever heard
anybody say about running for president in this country from somebody who`s
in a position to know was said by the man who ran the John McCain campaign
for president in 2008. Steve Schmidt. He was a really great guy. He`s no
longer actively involved in electoral politics. He has no reason to tell
anything but the truth about electoral politics, and his take on running
for president is that a presidential campaign is basically a full body
David Axelrod has said something similar. He calls a presidential campaign
an MRI for the soul. The idea is that in the course of a presidential
campaign, everything about you will become known. Everything. The
scrutiny is so intense and it`s so pervasive that it lasts for so long, but
if you are planning to get elected president by making people believe
something about you that is not true, or by covering up something about
yourself that is true, that`s just no longer possible. The campaign won`t
Last October, we reported exclusively on this show about Republican senator
and presidential hopeful Rand Paul having a plagiarism problem. Rand Paul,
this is the first example we found during a speech in Virginia that month,
he plagiarized long sections of the Wikipedia entry for a movie called
“Due to frequent screening, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and
prejudice. The only way he can achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut
is to become a borrowed ladder.”
That`s Wikipedia. Now here`s Rand Paul today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Due to frequent screening, Vincent faces
genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way he can achieve his
dream of being an astronaut is he has to become what`s called a borrowed
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Plagiarism itself is a bad thing to have done. But then once
you`ve done it and you`ve been caught for it, the way that you handle the
fact that it`s been exposed is also an important thing about you. And Rand
Paul, not to his credit, started off by just pretending that he had never
done this plagiarism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I talked about a movie “Gattaca.” It is a copyrighted movie by the
screenwriters. And I gave every bit of credit to where that plot line came
from. The rest of it is making a mountain out of a mole hill from people I
think basically who are political enemies and have an ax to grind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I give every bit of credit? No, actually you used somebody else`s
words without saying they were somebody else`s words. That`s the
definition of not giving credit. So there`s the issue of plagiarism and
worse possibly, having lied about plagiarism when he got caught for it.
But the other issue that`s been exposed by all of this is the issue of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I think I am being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters.
And I`m just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my
character. I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people
can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never
intentionally done so. And like I say, if – you know, if dueling were
legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel
challenge. But I can`t do that because I can`t hold office in Kentucky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Nobody is hating on you. Right? We`re just noticing that you`re
copying and pasting Wikipedia pages and calling them your speeches. It`s
not personal, it`s your life.
And the response, I mean, it`s an issue of maturity, it`s an issue of
honesty, but it is happening again on a bigger scale now. The uncontested
public record is that Rand Paul has raised objections to parts of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. He has raised public objections to the part of the
Civil Rights Act that told private businesses they couldn`t anymore deny
services to people on the basis of race.
That was how lunch counters were desegregated. Private businesses were
told by the Civil Rights Act, yes, you`re a private business, but if you
serve the public you can`t decide you`re only going to serve white people.
Rand Paul has expressed objections to that specific part of the Civil
Rights Act, and he`s done so clearly and repeatedly over a series of
interviews in 2010.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act of
PAUL: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended
discrimination in all public domains, and I`m all in favor of that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But?
PAUL: You had to ask me the but. I don`t like the idea of telling private
business owners – I abhor racism, I think it`s a bad business decision to
ever exclude anybody from your restaurant, but at the same time I do
believe in private ownership.
There`s 10 different – there`s 10 different titles, you know, to the Civil
Rights Act. And nine out of 10 deal with public institutions and I`m
absolutely in favor of. One deals with private institutions and had I been
around, I would have tried to modify that. But, you know, the other thing
about legislation, this is why it`s a little hard to say exactly where you
are sometimes is that when you support nine out of 10 things in a good
piece of legislation, do you vote for it or against it? And I think
sometimes those are difficult situations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Paul saying that he supported everything in the Civil
Rights Act except that one part about forcing private businesses to serve
black people, even if they didn`t want to.
Senator Paul, even in 2010, really didn`t want to be talking about this.
But he was on the record on the matter. See, he was pressed on the matter.
He was running for Senate at the time. And that was the way he chose to
explain himself when he was asked about it. But now rather than explaining
that he`s evolved, he`s changed his mind, he no longer has those objections
to the Civil Rights Act, he`s now insisting that those 2010 interviews
never happened, and he never admitted to having those views and he
certainly never held those views. And anybody who says otherwise is just a
hater and is despicable and is lying.
Well, this was earlier today on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask you, as we`re talking about restoring
civil rights here, of course. You know, you stirred up a lot of
controversy with the 2010 comments.
PAUL: Who, me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And – part of what you said at the time, Senator, was
that you had concerns about the rules for private business while you
support most of the Civil Rights Act. Why did you evolve on rules for
PAUL: What I would say is that, to be fair to myself, because I like to be
fair to myself, is that I`ve always been in favor of the Civil Rights Act.
So people need to get over themselves writing all this stuff that I`ve
changed my mind on the Civil Rights Act.
Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it? Yes,
and I learned my lesson. To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical
discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and they will go
crazy and say you`re against the Civil Rights Act and you`re some terrible
And I take great objection to that because in Congress, I think there is
nobody else trying harder to get people back their voting rights, to get
people back and make the criminal justice system fair. So I take great
offense to people who want to portray me as something that I`m not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But when you said, well, here are the rules for private
businesses that are concerning, why not explain that you`ve evolved on
PAUL: Well, because I never was opposed to the Civil Rights Act and I`ve
been attacked by half a dozen people on your network trying to say that I`m
opposed to the Civil Rights Act. And somehow now I`ve changed. So I`m not
really willing to engage with people who are misrepresenting, you know, my
viewpoint on this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. I mean, yes, what you –
PAUL: Because I have never been against the Civil Rights Act. I have
never said I was against it. So for people to say that really they don`t
want to have an honest discussion about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. No, I think the honest discussion is you said
that some title of it, Title Two and Title Seven that relate to –
PAUL: The honest discussion would be that I never was opposed to the Civil
Rights Act and when your network does 24-hour news telling the truth, then
maybe we can get somewhere with the discussion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is a not a side bar. To Senator Rand Paul`s potential
viability as a presidential candidate. This speaks directly to his
viability as a candidate. You cannot base a presidential campaign on
something that is not true about yourself, or try to cover up something
that you have said now that you don`t like the way it sounds. The truth
But also when confronted with uncomfortable truths about yourself or with
criticism, your response should be about whether or not the criticism is
warranted, not whether or not the person criticizing you is within punching
or dueling distance. So whether you can cast dispersions on them for
daring to question the great Rand Paul. I mean, not only is this not
presidential temperament, this is not senator – this is not even
playground temperament in most well-run elementary schools. I mean, nobody
expects you to be perfect. But nobody expects you to be a petulant person
who lies and is constantly threatening imagined adversaries about it.
It`s not a good look in any one of the congressional districts in Iowa, let
alone all four of them. If presidential campaigns are like MRIs, so far,
the test results on Rand Paul really, really do not look good.
And now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Thanks. Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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