The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/28/14

Guests:
Lynn Bartels, Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Jamie Perino, Irv Halter
Transcript:

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR, ALL IN: All right. That is ALL IN for this
evening. Rachel Maddow starts now, with Rachel live in Denver.

Good evening Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening. Good evening Chris. Thank you
very much.

HAYES: That sounds fun.

MADDOW: Lots of thousand. Very exciting they`re all been here drinking
for hours.

Thanks everyone for joining us for this hour.

We are coming to you live tonight from the great state of Colorado. We are
at a lovely place called The View House in Denver with a lot of very, very
attractive people.

This is going to be fun.

So, OK.

A funny thing happened on the way to the reelection of President Barack
Obama. The Democrats, of course, had held their nominating convention 2008
in Denver. When it came time for the election in 2008, candidate Obama won
the state of Colorado, pretty easily. He beat John McCain in Colorado by
like nine points, or something if you got remember.

But in 2012, they knew it was going to be a harder fight. They knew it`s
going to be closed. The public polling had President Obama up by one maybe
two points since 2012.

The private polling being done by the Mitt Romney campaign showed Mitt
Romney winning Colorado. And that`s why the Romney campaign had Mister
Romney out here still doing Colorado events three days before the election
in 2012. The Romney campaign was doing this private daily tracking, right?
And they are – private daily tracking polls were eventually published
after the election by the new Republic, which is how we know this
information.

The secret Mitt Romney Colorado poll on a Saturday before Election Day
showed that Mitt Romney was going to win the election in Colorado 48-45.
That was Saturday. On Sunday, it was 48-46. They still thought Mitt
Romney was going to win. But when the polling was over and the actual
results came in, President Obama not only beat Mitt Romney in Colorado in
2012, he beat him by a ton. He beat him (inaudible) despite the polls
saying otherwise. So what explains this distance between the polls and the
results, the interesting outcome in Colorado, 2012.

Here`s another. This one is from 2010. And this was one of the polling in
2010 for the Senate race in Colorado that year. Of the final 18 polls done
in that Senate race before the election in 2010, 17 of 18 showed that
Colorado`s next senator would be a Republican guy named Ken Buck.
Seventeen of eighteen polls that Democrat, Michael Bennet would lose and
Ken Buck would win. But despite those polls, Republican Ken Buck lost.
Democrat Michael Bennet won.

And if you keep going back in time over the last few election cycles, there
is something real and something kind of explicable – inexplicable going on
in this state over time. That`s, in part, why we`re here.

You go back to like 1996. In 1996 Colorado looks like Utah or Idaho or
Texas. Bob Dole won for President in Colorado against Bill Clinton in
1996. He won the Senate that year too. In 1998, Republicans won the
Governorship in the U.S. Senate race here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MADDOW: 2000 Republicans won the Presidency in Colorado, George W. Bush
over Al Gore. 2002 Republican won the Governorship again and another
Senate race. 2004 George W. Bush wins again in Colorado. But look,
different color. Something else starts to happen.

For the first time in a long time in 2004, a Democrat won a top-of-the-
ticket race in Colorado. Ken Salazar won the Senate state for the
Democrats even as Colorado reelected George W. Bush. But it was that first
interruption in the Republicans running the table in this state. And then
after that little chink in the armor appeared, they lost it completely.

2006 Democrats won Governorship. 2008 Democrats won the Presidency here
and Mark Kiddle Senate race 2010. Democrats won another senate race even
thought everywhere else in the country went red that year. And they won
the governorship that year. 2012, the streak continues. Democrats win the
Presidential vote in Colorado, again, December despite Mitt Romney being
sure that wouldn`t happen. We just look at that change in fortune over
time.

Republicans still now believe that Colorado is home territory for the
Republican Party. But Colorado doesn`t vote for them anymore. Democrats -
- Democrats think they`ve figured something out in this state. They think
it doesn`t appear in the polls, it doesn`t appear and where everybody else
called the fundamentals. It just appears here, when the results come in
for Election Day.

It`s a secret sauce that underestimates their strength, that keep
surprising everybody year and after year for a solid decade now in which
they have been shocking Republicans by beating them in every single top of
the ticket race for a decade. Technique.

And this year, the National Democratic Party decided to try to bottle
Colorado Democratic secret sauce. That senator who beat Ken Buck in 2010
despite of all the polling to the contrary, Democrats have now made him the
head of the Democratic Senate campaign committee. He`s the top Democratic
in charged in getting Democrat elected in senate seat all over the country.
He`s Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, will be speaking with him in just a
moment.

And in case the symbolism and the secret sauce strategy isn`t clear enough,
the Democrats have also given a name, a name specific and kind a hard to
remember name to their national effort to elect Democratic senators around
the country and try to hold on to Democratic control of the United States
Senate. What they call their effort, nationwide, is the Bannock Street
Project because it was on Bannock street here in Denver, and a building
that is now home to a gym where, well, this explains it. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

MADDOW: All right. So here`s what I want to do.

LYNN BARTELS, DENVER POST POLITICAL REPORTER: OK.

MADDOW: I want you to correct my misconceptions about what I think is
going on in this elections this year.

BARTELS: That`s perfect.

MADDOW: Because I`m quite sure that I`ve got it wrong because it seems too
contestable to be correct.

So this is Bannock street in Denver. And this place, again, correct me if
I`m wrong, but this place, in 2010, was the – not the Michael Bennet
campaign headquarters, but the field`s – of course right.

BARTELS: Right, but it has a long history of Democrats. Ken Salazar is
winning senate campaign headquarters was here.

MADDOW: OK.

BARTELS: Bill Ritter`s for Governor winning 2006. Mark Udall, 2008,
winning here. And then the Bannock Street Project, as they call it now,
the victory field office in 2010.

MADDOW: OK.

BARTELS: Michael Benet`s headquarters was actually in Michael`s child
modeling agency. They still had the runways and the mirrors and I hope
mile away. There was most bizarre thing when you went in there. They
still had runways. I never saw him practice his walk, but he still won.

MADDOW: If you`re going to extrapolate from your local victory to elect a
big national strategy don`t do it from the child modeling agency. The
(inaudible) on that has be so bad. But it worked.

Here`s how I understand what happened in 2010. In 2010, and, again, I get
that this isn`t the template for exactly what`s going on here. But from
the Democratic perspective in 2010, Michael Bennet was getting killed in
every poll. I`ve looked like – I looked at the last 18 polls before the
erection, 17 of them had either a tie or had Michael Bennet losing to Ken
Buck and then on election day, Michael Bennet wins.

And so there`s two ways to interpret that. One is – well, three ways.
One is lead swing, everything changed at the last moment.

BARTELS: Yes.

MADDOW: Two is polls were wrong. Three is Democrats were doing something
that didn`t registered in the polls but did registered on election day.
They`ve decided it was number three, they`ve decided that they had some
magic in there, ground game, like in – and their organizing effort that
did not turn out in the polls. They had people to turn out with pollsters
didn`t expected, is that right?

BARTELS: They`re not basically, when a nutshell what they`re saying.

MADDOW: Yes. What do you think?

BARTELS: Well, I mean Republicans will tell you that theory doesn`t hold
water at all.

MADDOW: I can tell you this –

BARTELS: That the Ken Bucks pollsters was in our office saying this was
why we`re going to win.

MADDOW: Yes.

BARTELS: This is why we`re going to win. And I remember I was actually
covering the Jefferson County race a Congressional race. Jefferson County
is our like bell weather. It`s the barometer.

MADDOW: Right, yes.

BARTELS: And when early returns came about 7:15 and you know were public
concerns the early return people, they`re the good citizens.

MADDOW: Right.

BARTELS: And the Democrats kind a have to go to their doors and say come
on, get off your butt, go vote. That`s sort of thing.

MADDOW: Right.

BARTELS: But he was up two percent with early returns. I merely cost the
news room. I think Michael Bennet might have won.

MADDOW: Right.

BARTELS: He won by two percentage points.

MADDOW: Right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: That`s Lynn Bartels from the “Denver Post” who agreed to be my
sort of political tour guide here today, explaining Republicans of the
early return people, there are the good citizens. The Democrats you have
to go to their doors and say get off your butts.

Lynn told me that for all that the Democrats pride in their getting people
off their butts field work, for all that the Democrats believe that it is
their secret sauce that helps them beat not only the Republicans here, but
beat what the polls say here. She says, this year, the Republicans have
upped their ground game, too. But they don`t like to talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BARTELS: There`s this interesting thing going on where all of these
unaffiliated and democratic voters are getting all sorts of mail from Corey
Gardner.

MADDOW: Yes.

BARTELS: And they are like, I`ve got one mail piece from Mark Udall that
six from Corey Gardner.

MADDOW: Right. Interesting.

BARTELS: And you know, they don`t talk in public concerns talk to him
about their, I called it their devil secret ground game. You know, what
happens in fight clubs stays in fight clubs as what Corey Gardner said.

But they say that they`ve been out there for months.

MADDOW: So they say, Democrats are bragging about their ground game,
Republicans have one but they don`t want to talk about it. Right. Got it.

BARTELS: It`s in the lock box. From Social Security.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: In a state where the Senate race is tied and the governor`s race
is tied and nobody trusted the polls and nobody knows what`s going to
happen. That`s the person you want to talk to, right? The person who can
make the random Al Gore joke from the 90`s about Social Security being in a
lock box while she`s fake locking your face closed. So you won`t talk
about the secret fight club, Republicans get out the vote land that nobody
speaks up.

It is why did you come to Denver? This is why I came to Denver. I love
it.

So you want to talk people like that. The only people you want to talk to
in the middle of a race like this, in a middle of a state like this while
the Democratic Party is trying to extrapolate what happens here to the
whole nation, is the guy who made it happen here first, who is now trying
to make it happen for Democrats across the country. He is Senator Michael
Bennet of the great state of Colorado.

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: Thank you very much for having me here.

MADDOW: Thank you.

Let me ask you about the fight club assertion there, first. What I`m
hearing, no Republicans will talk to me. But what I am hearing from people
who Republicans will talk to is that Republicans actually have
spectacularly upped to their ground game. They think they are in great
shape and staying quiet about it until the election.

Do you think they`re blowing smokers? Do you think they`re opted?

BENNET: We haven`t seen any evidence of it. We know that AFP has knocked
on doors and I can`t imagine what it`s like to come to a door and say I`m
here to knock on door on behalf of the Koch brothers, you know, as opposed
to on behalf of your party.

And that I think they claimed yesterday did knock on 140,000 doors since
June. Udall`s campaign knocked on 145,000 doors last week.

So it maybe a difference of approached, certainly different of philosophy
but the reason we do this is that particularly after citizens united,
there`s no way we can compete on the air waves. And what we`ve got to do
is this house by house, block by block. That`s what we did in Colorado in
2010. And that`s what we`re doing here and in the last year Arkansas and
North Carolina, all across the country.

MADDOW: Is it just more of traditional door to door, knocking on doors
hanging mails on door knobs, old school, shoe leather, get out the vote?
Is it just more of it or you`re doing something substantial to that?

BENNET: It`s that combined – so let`s talk about that, first of all. In
order the do that, you have to have people that believe in the candidates
and believe in the ideas and that are willing take on extra shifts and make
extra phone calls. You know, this isn`t something that you pay for. Some
people try to pay for it, but they don`t – they`re not successful.

And by the way, I could have told you, you can called me a month before the
Romney-Obama election here, I could have told you that Mitt Romney was not
going to win. Not just because I saw polling but because there was no
evidence of any field programs at all here.

But you asked what`s different. What`s different is the level of precision
that people have when they know which door they`re knocking on and which,
you know, which call they`re making. We`re much more precise today than we
ever have been.

MADDOW: Why are the polls always so wrong here? Like, there`s all this
excitement today in the national press. The polls show Mark Begich in
Alaska surging ahead. And I`m thinking there`s never been an accurate poll
in Alaska within 20 points of the actual result.

It`s hyperbolic but Alaska notoriously terrible, why should call to take
up?

BENNET: It`s very – it`s very hard poll Alaska, first of all. Second,
you know, you only need about 132,000 votes to win in Alaska.

MADDOW: Right.

BENNET: For the entire senate race so there sometimes that poll –

MADDOW: But this is a big state?

BENNET: There`s so much bigger state.

MADDOW: Yes.

BENNET: And what – I`m not sure I can answer the question, I could tell
you that my poll. Thank you by the way, for reminding of that long summer
when every single public poll said that I was going to lose and I was
taking calls from my mom and everybody else saying, why keep you get it
together out there.

Our poll had whole time actually had me up by one. The only time we were
behind was in the very last week, and I can remember two nights our track
head me down one a night. So thought well maybe going to get use the idea
that we`re going to lose. But at the end we did – actually win was nice
to say, we won by 2.51 by 1.3.

MADDOW: Yes. Not that`s going to burn to your memory or anything.

BENNET: Right.

MADDOW: Senator Michael Bennet –

BENNET: Thirty-three thousand votes.

MADDOW: As you try to extrapolate your experience here to the rest of the
country. There s a lot of doubters but it`s fascinating to watch who each
eats crane (ph) that they afterwards.

BENNET: We will see.

MADDOW: Thank you Senator Bennet for staying.

BENNET: Thank you for having me here.

MADDOW: Thanks, sir. Appreciate it. Thank you. I`m having a great time.

All right. We are live from the View House in beautiful – am I saying
this right? LoDo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

MADDOW: Lower downtown Denver. In the most hotly contested political
state in the union right now. We`ve got lots more ahead including my
interview with Senator Mark Udall.

Plus, once again, we need to debunk just plain aggressively wrong
information from our friends at the FOX News channel. What their putting
out about the election in order to scare your goal-able conservative uncle
who watches FOX News all day, into being afraid of the fact that people are
voting in this state in particular. We`ve got that ahead.

Plus, my first-ever visit to a legal pot shop where I got everything wrong.

That`s all ahead. Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARTELS: Here`s another one of our great, my favorite Public Art Project.

MADDOW: Little horse on big chair.

BARTELS: Outside the library, how perfect is that.

MADDOW: That`s awesome.

BARTELS: Isn`t that beautiful?

MADDOW: This is a gorgeous library. It is, in some place –

BARTELS: You know what that is?

MADDOW: Socialism.

BARTELS: Libraries.

MADDOW: No.

BARTELS: Bang gone it. We`ve got the internet where you can get
everything you need.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: We are live in Denver Colorado tonight. We`ve got much more ahead
tonight, including – you can yell.

My first ever visit to a legal pot shop. It didn`t go well. It went well
for them. I was very confused. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARTELS: I read something where they call them “the happy conservative
Corey Gardner”. I wrote when I did a profile of him, not since Mona Lisa
has a smile than just discuss this much because it`s always smiley.

MADDOW: That`s helps, right?

BARTELS: And then – that comes across, where as Mark Udall best asset,
like, look in dictionary in to great guys, there`s Mark Udall`s picture
because of how they run their campaign with him. Staring into the camera
“I`m Mark Udall and the world was about to end.” It`s not played off his
strengths.

MADDOW: Yes.

BARTELS: Which is somebody you really like and you want to go have a beer
with. And even a Republican said to me, if you didn`t know any better, you
think that Mark Udall is the Republican in the state.

MADDOW: Because he seems dour and Corey Gardner seems happy.

BARTELS: Right.

MADDOW: But you look what they`re in support of on it.

BARTELS: For some people it doesn`t work.

MADDOW: Right.

BARTELS: That`s right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: So control of the United State Senate hangs in the balance.

Part of the calculation in determining that, according to local experts, is
who seems happy during the campaign.

If you were the guy who everybody said didn`t seem happy, how unhappy would
that make you to hear that?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: So I was talking to Lynn Bartels from the “Denver Post Today,” who
was a big fan of yours and also a big fun of you punished (ph).

SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: That`s right.

MADDOW: She described herself to me as a legitimately undecided voter.
She said it makes both sides very unhappy to hear that because she knows
both of you guys.

And she says in person, when she talks to you one on one, in her
experienced with covering you all of these years, is that you`re fun to be
with, you`re – you enjoy life, you are a conversationalist. And in your
ads, and in your campaign, you are already on Mount Rushmore and you are
carved in stone and very dour and serious.

And she feels like, stylistically, that may be a problem for your campaign
that Corey Gardner seems more fun and actually seems less conservative
because you seem like the dour guy.

What do you think about that?

UDALL: I think she`s got it wrong, actually. When you look at this race
and you look at the case I`ve been making, this is a serious choice that
Colorado have right now. We can move the state forward or are we going to
go backwards? And I guess, Congressman Gardner`s record makes me feel
serious because I think, it`s just so wrong for the state.

MADDOW: Yes.

In terms of what he`s been like in the Congress, I mean, and you`ve been
hitting this in some of your ads. He really is – he`s out there in the
Louis Gilmore. He`s – there`s the edge and then there`s a bit of Cancer-
Liver out over the edge. Like Louis Gilmore, Michelle Bachmann territory,
and he`s – he`s out there.

UDALL: Yes.

MADDOW: But the way he`s running in this state you would think he was
running to be a, you know, sentries, crossover, you know, new model
Republican. Has he been able to define himself better than you`ve been
able to define?

UDALL: Right. I think, of course the voters are going to have the final
say. But increasingly you see the surge in momentum we have over the last
few weeks. Voters are tuning in to that record that he talked about. It`s
not just women`s reproductive freedom where he`s had an objection what
position. He denies climate change. He`s voted to deport dreamers, he on
the LGBT front. He has voted against allowing gay couples to adopt. He`s
voted against measures to prevent discrimination against LGBT community
members in the workplace.

So that`s the fundamental case I`ve been making in Colorads.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: Senator Mark Udall of Colorado making the case study that it is
worth being very serious about policy. And, also, it`s worth being very
serious about who you`re running against, even if sometimes voters seem to
prefer the slightly what? Gigglier candidate.

And I mean, we`re not making this up. Look, random still from the debate
in the Colorado Senate race here this year. Look, we did not put that
captions on it. They are on that moment debating Ebola policy.

Look at them, Senator Mark Udall, serious as a heart attack. Corey
Gardner, giggly, delighted. Happy, happy, Ebola, Ebola.

This actually sort of is a factor up here. Multiple people that we`ve
talked to have raised this stylistic issue. It`s weird but it`s a factor
and talking to Senator Udall today, I think he knows it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UDALL: I love the state. I think, it`s – if we`re really on the cutting
edge of so many ways, including our craft here community, we`re produce the
most beer in the country.

MADDOW: You say over wink as if you know that I`m semi-pro drinker.

UDALL: It`s another form of energy and it`s actually it become an import
part of our economy.

MADDOW: So I went this morning and which my first-ever marijuana
dispensary, hot shot, right?

UDALL: Yes.

MADDOW: And I know you didn`t take a position when Colorado is worth
voting on it.

UDALL: Right.

MADDOW: And now we`ve got it.

UDALL: Right.

MADDOW: The Republican candidate Bob Beauprez is elected governor. He
says I`ll do everything he can to get rid of the existing legal marijuana
industry in the state.

Why did you stay neutral on it when the state was voting on it? And how do
you think its work out so far?

UDALL: Yes. I just thought the voters I just thought the voters ought to
make a decision based on their own perspective. And whatever they decided,
I would stand with them.

What we`re doing when it comes to, now the implementation is urging the
Federal Government to butt out. We need act and the big challenge right
now is the kind of industry does have access to the banking systems.

MADDOW: Yes.

UDALL: You heard that a cash-only business right now. That creates public
safety concerns and it also creates inefficiencies in the industry. So
those of us in the delegation are pushing very hard on the Attorney General
in Federal Government. Just to let us to let implement the experiments,
states for laboratories for policies experimentation. This is a classic
example.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: Even when talking about beer and then pot, very serious. Which is
kind of a nice thing actually, for somebody, who is in charge of important
things. And that point he raise about the marijuana industry, legal in the
state being a cash-business is a serious thing it turned out. I found out
all about it later this afternoon.

But I should tell you that aside from serious, serious, serious Senator
Mark Udall, his opponent really has taken a different approach. It`s more
the high privilege (ph) as an approached.

Smile everyone, smiles.

I would love to talk to Congressman Gardner about that and more on that
trip.

Congressman Gardner and his campaign never returned our calls, neither that
the campaign of the Republican Governor Bob Beauprez, until the “Denver
Post Today” published an article that quote me saying that Bob Beauprez
never called me back and then the campaign finally did in order to say no,
he wouldn`t come on. But they were very nice about it.

The other guy who said no to us also really nicely, he turns out to be the
most amazing one of all. I really would have agreed to talk to me, but
because he didn`t ever to talk about him. That`s next.

Plus, more on my confusing trip to learn how to buy pot when it is legal to
do so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Do you guys show people how to roll joints if they don`t know how?

JAMIE PERINO, OWNER, THE EUFLORA DISPENSARY: No, we don`t. We have pre-
rolled joints that they can purchase here but we don`t have any –

MADDOW: Or you can buy joint by joint?

PERINO: Yes.

MADDOW: Are they all priced the same?

PERINO: Yes, $10 per joint.

MADDOW: It`s so complicated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PERINO: As far as our usual customer client all base here, it`s usually
between 40 to 50-year-old, men and women, very well dress.

MADDOW: More men than women.

PERINO: No. I`ve say about, you know, have half and half.

MADDOW: OK.

PERINO: But it not your usual 22-year-old, you know, drive looking to get
high at 10:00 in the morning.

MADDOW: It`s your 44-year-old looking to get high in the evening.

PERINO: Exactly. He`s going to go home after a long day at work and put
the kids to bed and sit down they have a glass of wine or beer with his
wife. He`s just going to sit down and enjoy a joint and call it hunky.

MADDOW: Well, it`s a whole new world. Please show me what else you`ve
got.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: So I got a new introduction today to the wide world of legal pot
in Colorado. We`ve got more from that at the end of the show, sort of
which we`re saving as your desert because it`s amazing.

We are in Colorado. We`re coming to you live from the View House Bar in
downtown in Denver.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We have a lot to get to – including, we have to right some seriously wrong
information that our dear friends at the FOX News Channel are putting out
there now a week out of the election, about why voting here in this state
is a terrifying thing. That`s next.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MADDOW: So, one of the cooler things when you drive around Colorado close
to election day – one of the cooler things you see as you drive around
Colorado close to election day, something that I saw earlier today when I
was walking around Denver. Look.

That, right there on your screen, is a polling place in middle of the road,
white tent, with red box, people wearing ear warmers. That is a place
where you can drop off your ballot after you have filled it out. You drive
up or ride up on your bike, as I saw one guy do. You hand your ballot over
to one of these election officials stationed inside the tent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we do is they give us the ball los. We give them
the stick other and ask them to wear it. And then we put it in the box and
they pick it up whenever it`s full, and they take inside and process it and
everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, this is not a thing that you can do all over the country. But
in Colorado, this is the thing – drive-up voting.

Colorado now has a mail-based voting system where every voter registered in
the state gets mailed a ballot. You can fill it out at home, you can
either then mail it back, or you can drop it off at one of these very, very
handy dandy locations.

That new voting system, where, again, the state mails you a ballot that you
can then drop off somewhere, that has turned into this on the FOX News
Channel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Breaking tonight, with two weeks to the
midterms, we are getting warnings that a new law has opened the door to
possible voter fraud in a critical Senate race that could decide the
balance of power in Congress. It was roughly 16 months ago when the
Democratic governor of Colorado signed a first-of-its-kind new election law
– a set of rules that literally allows residents to print ballots from
their home computers, and then encourages them to turn ballots over to
collectors, in what appears to be an effort to do away with traditional
polling places. What could go wrong?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: What could go wrong?

Not even a little bit true. Not at all.

That was a report on the FOX News Channel last week, which suggested that
Colorado residents all can print their ballots on their home computers, and
then hand them over to mysterious collectors.

(LAUGHTER)

So, you know, fraud. Democratic plot to steal the election.

Colorado voters cannot all print their ballots on their home computers.
Members of the military and overseas voters can do that. But they`ve
always been able to do that. That`s not a new law at all and it`s never
been controversial before FOX News decided to make it controversial.

The local press has gone to pretty great lengths to try to clean up the
mess that FOX News has left behind with their unfortunate viewers here.
But it has really led to some confusion on the ground here about how you
can and cannot vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNN BARTELS, DENVER POST POLITICAL REPORTER: It was incorrectly reported
that you could print your ballot off your own home computer. So, people
had visions of liberals going to Office Depot and buying up all of the ink
cartridges and printing out, you know, millions of these – millions of
these ballots. And that`s true. If you`re overseas and military, which is
before the new law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: As you heard Lynn from “The Denver Post” say there, if you are an
overseas voter or member of the U.S. military, you can print your own
ballot. Otherwise, the state mails you a ballot, you fill it out. You can
either mail it back, or if you don`t like the idea of putting your ballot
in the mail, you can drop your ballot off at one of these handy locations.
Not that complicated.

Thankfully, last night, the FOX News Channel did sort of correct their
error on the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Last week, we said the new law allows all voters to print out their
ballot at home. That actually is not the case. Members of the military
and some others like Coloradans overseas can indeed print out their ballots
at home. But this was the case even before the new law passed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Excellent, right? No, it`s good. They`re correcting it. It`s
good. End of story, right?

That should be – no. Had that just been it, like, oh, we got a thing
wrong, we`ll be right back. No.

Because now, FOX News has figured out another way to scare-monger about
this idea of people voting in Colorado. Please watch this. I promise you,
we did not make this up. I promise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE WILLIAMS (D), COLORADO SECY. OF STATE CANDIDATE: There are some
Colorado people who prefer not to get a ballot mailed to them because there
might be someone in the household, a union boss, an employer, who
intimidates them once they get their ballot. So, the boss knows when the
ballot is going to show up, the union boss knows when the ballot is going
to show up, and they can try to come over and obtain that ballot from you
and turn it in for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: See, mail-in voting is bad for Colorado because union bosses, or
Kenyans, or whatever, might figure out when your ballot is going to arrive
in your house and will come over and steal your ballot from you and they`ll
fill out with the candidate of their choice and thereby steal the election.
Mwa-ha-ha!

This is completely insane. But that is the concern being peddled very
seriously right now in the FOX News corner of the world. A week before the
election, their idea is that union bosses are sneaking into people`s homes
in Colorado day and night, filling out their ballots in secret union boss
ways.

Do you have evidence that they`re not doing it?

If FOX News did not exist, we would have to make them up, part of a liberal
plot to steal the election with the New Black Panther Party.

The union boss knows them, it`s amazing. FOX News Channel is so amazing.
But you should know what`s happening on the FOX News Channel because that
is what your crazy conservative uncle now thinks about voting in Colorado
this year. That`s why he`s worried. Tada.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: We are live in Denver, Colorado. Much more ahead. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: After your comments about the President, do you feel voters are
owed a better explanation than just, I misspoke?

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: I think that – I stand by my statement
that I misspoke and I apologize.

REPORTER: OK. And who were you apologizing to?

COFFMAN: You know, I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I
apologize.

REPORTER: I apologize, we talk to you all the time, you`re a very
forthcoming guy. Who`s telling you not to talk and to handle it like this?

COFFMAN: I stand by my statement, that I wrote, that you have, and I
misspoke and I apologize.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Greatest tape ever. I stand by my statement that I`m – I stand
by my statement – if you ask the Beltway, that guy`s race is the only
competitive House race in Colorado right now.

Congressman “I standby my statement, I misspoke” Mike Coffman, versus
Democrat Andrew Romanoff. And indeed, that is a hard-fought Colorado House
race this year.

But it is not the only one. Here`s a sleeper for you, super-conservative
district, twice as many registered Republicans as registered Democrats.
Third most military-heavy district in the nation. Colorado Springs, home
to a huge population of active duty and retired military personnel, a
population that usually tends to vote Republican, or at least lean
conservative.

So, a really conservative Republican incumbent named Doug Lamborn is
running for a fifth term. Given those fundamentals should be a shoo-in.
But, surprise, as of October 15th, the Democratic challenger in that race
had out-raised Congressman Doug Lamborn by a ton of money. And it so
happens, that that Democratic challenger is himself a retired Air Force
major general who spent 32 years in the service.

And if you add to that, the amazing tape of what Congressman Doug Lamborn
got himself famous for doing last month at a campaign event here in
Colorado, in the basement of a bar – well, then, you`ve got a race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DOUG LAMBORN (R), COLORADO: A lot of us are talking to the generals
behind the scenes saying, hey, if you disagree with the policy that the
White House is giving you, let`s have a resignation. Let`s have a public
resignation and state your protest and go out in a blaze of glory. And I
haven`t seen that very much. In fact, I haven`t seen that at all in years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Let`s have a mass resignation among the generals. Go out in a
blaze of glory.

Congressman Doug Lamborn is a member of the House Armed Service Committee.
He says he`s working behind the scenes in wartime to get American military
generals to quit the military for political reasons. He says it would be a
blaze of glory, so he`s been trying to talk them into it.

So, yes, nobody is polling this particular race, right? Nobody`s doing
public polling, nobody thinks it`s in play because of the fundamentals.
But it`s Doug Lamborn whose seat it is, and the retire general who`s
running full tilt for that seat is Major General Irv Halter.

I wouldn`t bet on this race either way. And don`t take my word for it,
what do I know?

Consider Koch Industries, which has now jumped into the race. Koch
brothers to the rescue. They are Mr. Lamborn`s top contributor. And the
House campaign arm of the National Republican Party has now parachuted into
this race as well, running tens of thousands of dollars of ads for Doug
Lamborn in what is the most Republican district in the state, a place where
they never thought they would have to spend a dime.

This is a sleeper race and a fascinating one.

Doug Lamborn was asked to be on the show tonight. He very nicely said no.

Joining us now is retired Air Force General Irv Halter, who`s running in
Congress in Colorado`s fifth district against Congressman Lamborn.

General Halter, thanks for being here.

MAJ. GEN. IRV HALTER (RET) (D), U.S. CONGRESSMAN CANDIDATE: Thanks,
Rachel.

MADDOW: Nice to see you.

So, I think your race is a sleeper because in part of your fundraising
numbers and because of the kind of campaign you`re running and because I
think Mr. Lamborn has had some slips.

Why have you been able to raise a bunch of money?

HALTER: Well, look, Doug has not ever been popular down there, even among
Republicans. The Colorado Springs folks and the folks in the fifth
district know that he has a horrible record of achievement, in fact, almost
no record of achievement. And many of them are tired of him.
Unfortunately, they really haven`t had a choice for a while, so we`re
giving them one. We`ve in TV now for three weeks. Mr. Lamborn has not
been in TV at all because you don`t have money, you can`t get on TV.

So, we`re in a great position down there and we believe it is a sleeper
race and that we`re going to take this.

MADDOW: When you decided to get involved in politics, obviously, you had a
long and storied career in the military. You`ve been in the business world
since retiring from the military, as well.

Why did you decide to be a Democrat? I just asked that because I know
you`re a conservative Democrat.

HALTER: Sure.

MADDOW: And that`s a rare breed, just like a liberal Republican right now.

Why be a Democrat? Why is being a conservative Democrat mean right now?

HALTER: I think a conservative Democrat and what I`ve seen in the
Democratic Party is a much wider tent that you see in the Republican Party
nowadays. And I had to tell you, I was a Republican much of my life, and
proudly so. I look back at folks like Ronald Reagan, which I didn`t always
agree with his policies, but he was a leader.

But now, what I see in the Republican Party is a little too much close
mindedness at times. Although I have a lot of Republican friends, I have a
great respect for them. I think in a lot of cases, we see the world the
same.

So, I think a conservative Democrat is somebody that`s more to the center.
I think we need more people of both parties to be in the center, because
that`s when the deals are made when you`re legislating.

MADDOW: In the Beltway, when they look at a heavily military district like
yours, they think military voters always equal Republican voters. Do you
think that`s getting scrambled a little bit in the current state of the
military and in public affairs?

HALTER: When I was in uniform, I frequently reminded folks, even I was a
Republican, that nobody should assume this. And that the military should
stay apolitical.

One of the things that was so egregious about Mr. Lamborn`s comments about
generals was that it goes across that line. Everybody in that team is
supposed to be a part of one team and it isn`t about Republicans or
Democrats. And I think people would be very surprised to find that the
break out within the military is much more even than many people think.

MADDOW: General Irv Halter, retired from the Air Force, running to
represent Colorado`s fifth district in Congress – this is my pick for a
sleeper race in this part of the country. Nice to meet you, sir. Thanks
for being here. Really appreciate it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MADDOW: All right. Coming up next: as a non-pot smoker lost in a pot
shop, I find out what something called alien dog is and it works out very
well. That`s next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: Here comes the bus. I know it`s a pedestrian mall, but you can`t
stand – here`s the thing. Here`s a metaphor that I`ve yet to suss out
about Denver and about Colorado.

So, we`re in Denver. This is the 16th Street mall, right? It`s a place
where one walks. Not a place where one drives.

And, in fact, you as a normal person can`t drive on the 16th Street Mall.
It`s a pedestrian area, filled with buses and cop cars and cops going
really fast on motorcycles.

So, I don`t know. Like this is a normal compromise here? We won`t have
people and private cars. You can`t be killed by a private car while you`re
walking and not paying attention, but you can be absolutely killed by a
bus, because it`s a special bus-only area.

And the buses just – anyway. I don`t get it.

There`s a lot of things about Colorado that are Colorado specific. The
pedestrian mall with the giant buses running through it is one of them.

But the reason that we are here is right here next to the 7-Eleven and next
to the sports van, the LED sign there, “recreational meds.” That is a
euphemism for you can buy pot here.

And so, Colorado has legalized recreational sale and use – recreational
use – sale for the purposes of recreational use of marijuana, and I want
to see what that`s like. Let`s go inside. Watch out for buses.

Smells good. Just smells like college.

I`m good. I`m Rachel, how you doing? You need to see my ID, don`t you?
How old do you have to be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-one. And you need a legal form of ID from some
state.

MADDOW: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s kind of like ordering sushi once you know what you
want.

MADDOW: Categories, flour. I`ll figure this out. Actually, I probably
won`t.

May I take this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sure.

MADDOW: OK, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Rachel. I`m Jamie.

MADDOW: Hi, Jamie. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to meet you.

MADDOW: Sure, thank you for doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Do you want me to give you a little explanation
of what`s going on here?

MADDOW: Yes, I`m already mystified.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this is your first dispensary, you`re going to be
impressed. Most you walk into a counter, the budtender will hand you a
jar, you smell it.

MADDOW: A budtender?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Budtender, that`s the name we use.

MADDOW: I`m going just to take as an example.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.

MADDOW: What`s the name of this one again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one is alien dog.

MADDOW: Alien dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that`s an indica (ph), what we do with indica is
in the couch, that`s what you think of, when they do that typical kind of -
- I don`t want to use the pot head, just sitting around, kind of lounging.
That`s it.

MADDOW: Indica makes you boring in a happy way. Okay. Euphoric, tingly,
creative and happy. Let`s skip the medical effects for now.

Side effect, most common, users experience from this strain is dry mouth.
Medical effects, the strain is use to help patients treat stress, pain,
insomnia, lack of appetite and nausea, or the desire to exercise, if that`s
pathological in your life.

OK. So, you go through here and you got your little –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our menu right now. So, you write your
strain name. Because you are out of state, you would only be allowed to
purchase seven grams. So, you would put how many

MADDOW: Seven grams? That`s a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a lot.

MADDOW: I mean, depending, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if you are from in-state you can visit 28 grams or
one ounce per visit.

MADDOW: Per visit, you can purchase 28 grams everyday if you`re a Colorado
resident? If you had the money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, if you wanted to.

MADDOW: Cash-only. You got an ATM here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do have the ATM, but that is the one downside I
guess of this industry. I`m sure you follow it enough to know that we are
not allowed to bank at all. There`s no banking allowed for us.

MADDOW: Because even though it`s legal in state, there`s no state specific
banking. Everything is tied to national banking laws, and it`s still
really illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a huge issue for us. A lot of industry groups,
we get together and stuff, we talk about this. It`s no longer an issue or
problem, we`re calling it a crisis, because we have no place to put our
money. And it`s really –

MADDOW: Meaning your profits you can`t – you can bank your profits?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can`t technically bank your marijuana money
anywhere besides your own safe and your mattress.

MADDOW: That`s astonishing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I think that`s something a lot of people in this
country don`t realize, that this is a huge issue. We have a count or a
map, and you can see we have visitors from not only all over the U.S., but
all over the entire world.

MADDOW: This is where people – this is since you`ve been open in April?
This is where you have people come –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there is really, I don`t think a continent that
hasn`t been – obviously a continent that hasn`t been represented – most
country has at least one visitor as well.

MADDOW: Wow, that`s amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we`re very excited about what`s happening here.

MADDOW: You got Greenlanders?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Icelanders, Greenlanders, yes.

MADDOW: Can you show me some of this stuff?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, so let me go on over here.

So, basically on 16th Street Mall, because of the situation where you can
smoke in Denver, because you can`t smoke anywhere in visibility, we find
our edibles are the biggest sellers.

MADDOW: This is not – this is not normal candy, even though it looks like
it? It`s pot candy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is, in fact, infused medicated candy. These are
child proof containers. So, that way, children can`t get into them.

MADDOW: Right, although once they`re open, honestly, like the peach banana
rings that didn`t look any different than a regular gummy candy. I can see
why there`s stress around the edibles in terms of people essentially
getting dosed when they don`t intend to. I don`t – I guess the laws are
all really still in flux in terms of how things are getting regulated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s why the state of Colorado is trying to
regulate better so it doesn`t get back into the hands of children. But I
always have to go back to the same thing with alcohol. It`s parents`
responsibility to keep out of his children`s hands.

MADDOW: Can I ask you about these things that look like normal household
products?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.

MADDOW: All right. This looks like regular –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have some scotch guard here. And you open up the
bottom of it, and tada, it`s a stash can.

MADDOW: Why do you need stash cans?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s kind of a novelty item. We sell a ton of them.
It`s kind of fun.

MADDOW: So it`s a weighted like a can that was closed. That would have
fooled. This is why I don`t work as a border patrol officer. Yes, that`s
Red Bull.

Can I ask you like a cultural question about your buyers. What time of day
do people come in and buy the most pot?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It depends, usually after 5:00. I mean, we do get a
nice rest between 5:00 –

MADDOW: You`re open really early in the morning. More women than women?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say half and half. But it`s not your usual
22-year-old, you know, looking to get high at 10:00 in the morning.

MADDOW: It`s your 44-year-old looking to get high in the evening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. He`s going to go home after a long day of
work and put the kids to bed and instead of having a glass of wine or beer
with his wife –

MADDOW: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: – he`s going to sit down and enjoy a joint and call
it a night.

MADDOW: Wow. It`s a whole new world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: It`s a whole new world. I knew I was a dork before walking into
the pot shot and having no idea what anything was. But now, I`m a
certified dork in the state of Colorado.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I spent my day in beautiful Denver,
Colorado. Thank you all so much for being here tonight. It`s been a hoot
to have you here.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MADDOW: We will see you again tomorrow from New York City.

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”/

Good evening, Lawrence.




THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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