The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/30/14
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very much.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to for staying with us for the next hour. It`s
very busy news night tonight.
Obviously, we`re five days out for election day. We`ve got the great
Steve Kornacki here tonight to talk about the state of play and what might
be a glimmer of hope for Democrats in what`s otherwise looking like a tough
election for Democrats.
We`ve got the latest on the battle for a quarantine for that defiant
nurse in Maine who returned to this country from treating Ebola patients in
Sierra Leone. She herself has no symptoms of Ebola and does not appear to
have the disease. She`s fighting efforts to quarantine her now in Maine.
We also tonight are going to wrap up the show with a big correction
that we have to make.
So, there`s a lot – there`s a lot going on. There`s a lot in
tonight`s show. But we have to begin tonight with some breaking news out
This is on the FBI`s 10 most wanted list. There they are. The first
photo that you see there is a man named Eric Matthew Frein. Eric Frein is
accused of shooting and killing a Pennsylvania state trooper and wounding
another trooper with a sniper rifle last month at the Blooming Grove
barracks in Pike County, Pennsylvania.
The trooper who was killed was Corporal Bryon K. Dickson. He was 38
Since that shooting on September 12th, Eric Frein, trained
survivalist, has been on the run from police sparking a seven-week long
manhunt throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. Throughout he manhunt,
authorities have picked up various items that they say tested positive for
Eric Frein`s DNA, including a diary in which Eric Frein allegedly laid out
in detail his escape from authorities.
Quote, “Got a shot around 11:00 p.m. and took it. He dropped. I was
surprised how quick. I took a follow up shot on his head/neck area. He
was still and quiet after that.
Another cop approached the one I just shot. As he went to knell, I
took a shot at him and jumped in the door. His legs were visible and
Frein jumped in this chilling diary to describe how he jumped in his
Jeep to flee the scene. He only made it half a mile away before he heard
helicopters above and then he accidentally drove into a pond. Police later
found that Jeep. They also found what`s believed to be his AK-47, as well
as used diapers and food and clothing, two pipe bombs, ammunition that
matched the weapon he allegedly used to shoot those two Pennsylvania state
But tonight, the big news is that after 48 days of looking for him,
the FBI – look – has updated their 10 most wanted page. Their 10 most
wanted page now includes this caption on the photo of Eric Matthew Frein.
Captured. That one word in red.
NBC News tonight confirms that Eric Frein has finally been captured in
Pennsylvania. He was apparently found at an abandoned airplane hangar at
the Birchwood-Pocono Resort in Tannersville, Pennsylvania.
That airfield is no loner active. NBC News reports that the U.S.
Marshals task force was at the airfield scouting that area earlier this
evening when they spotted the man who turned out to be Frein. They
captured him outside the hangar. A rifle and a pistol, we`re told, were
found inside the airfield.
We`re still waiting more details, exactly on the capture or how they
found him, how they knew to be scouting this location, or whether it was a
coincidence that he was found there. But again, as of tonight, Eric
Matthew Frein is in the custody of Pennsylvania state police after 48 days
of a manhunt.
Joining us now is Andy Mehalshick. He`s an investigative team
reporter at the NBC affiliate WBRE. He`s in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Mehalshick, thanks very much for being with us. Appreciate your
ANDY MEHALSHICK, WBRE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (via telephone): Sure.
It`s been –as you can imagine, Rachel, it`s been a crazy night, unfolding
literally minute by minute. But he is, as you say, in custody. I`m told
without incident. He was armed, he is in custody.
Right now, where I am, the Blooming Grove Township municipal building,
this is where media staged for a press conference sometime tonight, the
barracks about a mile or two miles from here. I was just down there. It`s
a beehive of activity. State troopers, that`s where the ambush took place.
Seven weeks ago tomorrow night, ironically, there`s where the trooper,
Corporal Dickson and Trooper Douglass were gunned down.
MADDOW: In terms of what else is expected tonight, Andy, do we have
any details yet, or are we waiting to hear them at the press conference in
terms of how this capture happened, whether they were at this airfield,
specifically because they thought that`s where Eric Frein might be or
whether they just stumbled upon him? Do we have any of those details?
MEHALSHICK: Well, that`s exactly the details we`re expecting to hear.
But I can tell you from sources I`ve been working as far as day one,
told me that, you know, they were widening their search. It`s not that far
from the immediate area that you were reporting from for weeks, as we have.
The helicopters in the (INAUDIBLE) area. It`s about 30 miles southeast of
the city of Scranton, in the Poconos of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
They felt he was in that general area somewhere. So, it`s not that
far off. They were steadfast in believing, and they only know what they
know. So we`re hoping the details of why they went to the airport.
But the U.S. Marshals, Rachel, I`m told, they were the lead agency.
They actually took him into custody. You know, once they put Frein on the
FBI most wanted list, that brought in the authority to bring in the full
resources of federal investigators including U.S. Marshals.
But they took him into custody. He was armed. Sources tell me at
this point that he did not resist, that there was no gunfire, there was no
MADDOW: OK. In terms of – Andy, as someone who`s been covering this
from day one, in terms of why this took so long – obviously, there`s great
joy now in that region and for the people who grieved the loss of that
trooper and for everybody who has been looking for him, there`s great joy
that this manhunt has come to an end. But in terms of us understanding why
it took so long, what was it about the way he hid out that allowed him to
evade capture for so long?
Do we understand yet about the kind of tactics that he used, the kind
of training he put to use, in order to evade capture for so long?
MEHALSHICK: Well, that`s the question and they maintained from day
one, Rachel, that this guy was a self-taught survivalist. He was living a
fantasy life of an Eastern European, a Serbian soldier. The enemy was law
And keep in mind, this was his backyard. We all grew up in
neighborhoods that we know, you could bring in Navy SEALs and FBI, they
don`t know the area like he does. So, he apparently, one, planned it out.
But two, he knew literally every nook and cranny.
I can tell you from being – living in this area, my hometown area,
the terrain in Northeastern Pennsylvania, very rough, very rocky, very deep
vegetation. But ironically, Rachel, to catch him, they narrowed him down
now, the leaves are falling off the trees. It`s getting colder. I`m
confident we`re going to hear that the weather turning colder was a factor
in helping maybe make him sloppy, maybe making him leave evidence somewhere
that led to an airport hangar where he was caught tonight.
MADDOW: Andy Mehalshick, WBRE investigative team reporter, NBC
affiliate there in Northeastern Pennsylvania – Andy, thank you for keeping
us up-to-date on this. I know we`re awaiting the press conference. We`ll
get more details there. But it`s good to have your updates. Thanks, Andy.
MEHALSHICK: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. There`s a lot more to cover tonight. We`ll keep
you appraised as we learn more about when that presser is expected and
we`re going to get more details.
But again, breaking news tonight, Eric Frein captured after a 48-day
manhunt in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The largest continent on Earth – Asia. Even with absolutely
enormous countries like China and Russia and India taking up big chunks of
Asia, Asia is still big enough that it has tons of other countries there.
There`s, like, 47 different countries in Asia, all on that one continent.
Asia is just enormous.
Second largest continent on Earth is Africa. Similarly huge but even
more nationally subdivided. There are more than 50 countries in Africa,
and of all the more than 50 nations on the vast continent of Africa, only
three of them right now are said by the World Health Organization to be
dealing with significant outbreaks of Ebola.
Ebola is epidemic in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, three small
nations in just the portion of Africa we are showing here, which is Western
Africa. And that`s it.
So, there are dozens of other countries on that same continent who do
not have that same problem, even though they are also countries in Africa.
That`s possible because Africa is big. It`s an enormous place. It`s
And although that doesn`t seem like a very complicated idea, in the
United States, we sometimes have trouble with that idea. We sometimes,
embarrassingly, conflate all of the different countries in all the
different parts of Africa into one big African thing. One giant nation of
Africa, about which we are not only usually confused but definitely afraid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wednesday morning, hundreds of Hazlehurst
parents removed their children from the middle school after hearing rumors
about the principal`s recent trip to Africa. Panic then spread to the
elementary and high schools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s local footage from Central Mississippi, just south of
Jackson, Mississippi, where in a place called Hazlehurst, parents pulled
hundreds of kids out of a middle school and then high school and then
elementary school, all in this one Central Mississippi school district,
because the principal of the middle school had traveled on vacation to a
country called Zambia.
Now, for the record, Zambia is in Africa, but it is literally nowhere
near, it is thousands of miles of way from the countries that are dealing
with Ebola crises in Africa. But two weeks ago in Mississippi, the fact
that a middle school principal traveled to a country thousands of miles
away from Ebola was enough to get hundreds of kids pulled out of school
On the same day, NBC News and CNBC both reported that a college in
Corsicana, Texas, a called college called Navarro College, sent out a
rejection letter to several students of Nigerian origin who would apply to
go to that college. Here`s the letter.
“With sincere regret, I must report that Navarro College is not able
to offer you acceptance for the spring term. Unfortunately, Navarro
College is not accepting international students from countries with
confirmed Ebola cases.”
Now, the prospective students who got these rejection letters in
Texas, they were from a nation in Africa that has, in fact, been actively
affirmed by the World Health Organization to have no cases of Ebola.
After this college`s somewhat bizarre admissions policy was widely
reported, the college later changed its explanation. And they say, now,
no, actually, they`re not just rejecting students from countries which the
college wrongly believes to have Ebola epidemics, no, they say, now, they
just prefer students from China and Indonesia this year. That`s more their
focus this year. OK.
Two days later, Texas struck again when an elementary school in
Friendswood, Texas, announced that that school would not be allowing one of
their elementary schoolteachers to return to school to start the school
year because she had also traveled to apparently what many Americans
believe is the nation of Africa. She traveled to a country called
Tanzania, which is even slightly further away from the Ebola epidemic than
But lest you think this is just a south of the Mason Dixon line kind
of experience, don`t go too smug, Yankees, because two days after that one,
in Burlington County, New Jersey, an elementary school there freaked out
and decided to keep out of school two kids who had moved to Burlington
County, New Jersey, this year from the east African nation of Rwanda.
Rwanda, for the record, is over there by Tanzania which, again, is
thousands of miles away from the three countries that are having such
trouble with the Ebola epidemic.
Literally, the distance between where those kids were from in Rwanda
and, say, Liberia, it`s roughly the same distance as between San Francisco
and Bangor, Maine. Yes, but, you know, when you sneeze, can`t be too
careful. You know how they say, the stupid, it burns?
That pretty sums up a lot of our “cannot be too careful” local
decision-making about this disease.
I have to tell you, though, today, there was a little green shoot of
not stupid which popped out of this terrible, terrible mud. One of the
places that had made one of these absolutely ridiculous, ignorant decisions
was a school district in Milford, Connecticut, which decided to exclude a
7-year-old girl because she had taken a trip to Nigeria with her family to
be a flower girl in a relative`s wedding. Again, the World Health
Organization certified there is not any Ebola in Nigeria. But Milford,
Connecticut, apparently when they squint at Africa, it all looks like one
And so, this little girl who is not sick, who has never met a person
with Ebola, who was never been around a person with Ebola, who has never
been in a country that has Ebola in it currently, other than the United
States, this little girl, third grade, 7 years old, was being forced to
What has turned out differently in Milford, Connecticut, though, as
compared to all those other bastions of wrong is that in Milford,
Connecticut, the family`s daughter was being excluded from school, they
decided to sue. And tonight, there is late word from the family of that
little girl that finally she is going to be allowed to go to school.
The family sued, they reach a settlement with the Milford school
district tonight. The school district now concedes that the girl is
perfectly healthy. The girl has had no contact with any Ebola patients.
She does not have Ebola. She does not present any health risk to any
individual, and finally, finally, after all of this idiotic rigmarole, she
will be allowed to go back to school as of tomorrow. Happy Halloween.
The school district still insists they were acting out of good faith,
you know? So, who knows how this would have resolved had the family not
sued to get their little girl back in school, but now, she will be back in
The history of fear-driven ignorant public health panics is a long
one. And so it is not surprising that confronting something like Ebola has
led to a lot of ridiculous, irrational, inane, panicked decisions. But we
have now, I think as of this week, certainly as of today, we have now
entered the phase of our nation`s response to this, where we are both
continuing to make ridiculous, irrational, inane panicked decisions. But
at the same time, some people are also fighting back against those
And so this family in Milford, Connecticut, fought back and their
little girl gets to go back to elementary school tomorrow.
And in Louisiana where Bobby Jindal`s health department has written to
the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is due to have
their annual meeting in New Orleans next week, Louisiana has written to all
of those doctors and told them not to come to New Orleans if they`ve been
working on fighting that epidemic in Western Africa.
That group of doctors is basically the collection of global experts on
how to actually deal with of this disease. They know that Louisiana`s
order to them is ridiculous. They are now considering how to fight back
My guess is that if Louisiana, out of ignorance, is telling all of
those doctors that Louisiana is too afraid to have them come visit, then
maybe those doctors will find somewhere else to hold their annual
conference. I`m just guessing.
So, there`s pushback happening in Connecticut, there`s pushback
happening in Bobby Jindal`s Louisiana today. There`s also, of course,
pushback in the great state of Maine. This fight between the Doctors
Without Borders and the state health department in Maine, and also New
Jersey Governor Chris Christie before that, this fight with the nurse has
had a ton of attention this week.
Consider, though, as context that the state of Maine has not exactly
distinguished itself in terms of how stupid it has been thus far in
panicking about Ebola. It was the town of Strong in Franklin County,
Maine, which decided that they would keep one of their own elementary
schoolteachers home recently, keep the teacher home and out of work, not
because she had treated an Ebola patient, not because she had traveled to a
Western African nation dealing with Ebola, not even because she had
traveled to anywhere in Africa.
No, they decided to keep her home and not allow her to teach school
because she traveled to Texas.
Yes, in Franklin County, Maine, travel to Dallas, Texas, is enough to
so panic a town confused about Ebola that they were willing to keep a
teacher out of school about that.
So, that unfortunately is also the home state of Doctors Without
Borders nurse Kaci Hickox, the one who has pushed back so hard about the
decisions, first by New Jersey and now by the state of Maine to try to
force her into basically house arrest, involuntary strict quarantine, even
though she does not have Ebola, she has not tested positive of Ebola, she
has no symptoms of Ebola, and as an experienced health worker who has
worked all over the globe, she`s perfectly capable of monitoring herself
and knowing how to report it to authorities in the unlikely event she ever
did develop symptoms.
Maine`s bombastic walking carnival of a governor, Tea Party Republican
Paul LePage, has now personally responded to the nurse – the nurse doing
things like talking to reporters and going for a bike ride today. Governor
LePage has basically now threatened that that nurse may not be safe in
Maine. He`s basically saying that he can`t be responsible if anything, you
know, happens to her.
Her response today to that nurse was just astonishing. Watch what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Right now, she can come out of the house
if she wants, but we can`t protect her when she does that. The reason
there`s a police car there is to protect her more than anybody, because the
last thing I want is for her to get hurt.
But at the same token, her behavior is really riling a lot of people
out there. And, you know, I can only do what I can do. And we`re trying
to protect her, but she`s not acting as smart as she probably should.
We have 1.3 million people to protect. So, under one hand, I`m trying
to protect the entire state, but at the same token, I don`t want her to get
Tempers get flared when people are scared. And this is not a nice
position to get in.
REPORTER: So, as things stand right now, she`s allowed out of the
house and she`s allowed go about business, as long as she doesn`t come into
LEPAGE: Yes, well, she can`t go into establishments or other places.
I would think that she would restrict herself to what she`s been doing.
REPORTER: OK, so you don`t want her getting in among other people?
LEPAGE: I don`t want her within three feet of anybody.
REPORTER: What happens if she does? Is there any legal
LEPAGE: Let`s put it this way. I`m going to use the legal provisions
to the fullest extent that the law allows me. And I just hope that she
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The response to those threats from the governor of Maine –
well, I mean, the verbal threats from the governor, but also legal threats
from the state to forcibly confine this nurse, based on apparently evolving
standards in Maine about what they think they ought to be doing despite any
relevant science-based guidelines, the Maine Medical Association and a
bunch of top infectious disease experts from the state of Maine have now
written to Governor Paul LePage in Maine. They have written to Governor
LePage and his administration, sending him a letter, protesting the way
that Maine is handling this case.
Governor LePage has apparently not hired a state epidemiologist in
Maine. There used to be somebody in that job, but there hasn`t been one in
that job for six months. The last two people who held that job before Paul
LePage decided to keep that job open have signed on to this letter, this
protest letter today, as how former state health officers, and the head of
the Maine Medical Association. They`re criticizing what Maine is doing as
basically a knee-jerk panicked reaction that isn`t based on science, and
that will make everything worse.
Quote, “Ultimately, we need to be guided by science and not emotion.
An epidemic of fear can be as dangerous as an epidemic with a virus.”
Joining us now is Gordon Smith, who`s the executive vice president
with the Maine Medical Association.
Mr. Smith, I appreciate your time tonight. Thanks very much for being
GORDON SMITH, MAINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: It`s my pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: Why do you and your colleagues at the Maine Medical
Association think that this quarantine – I guess this evolving quarantine
policy is a bad idea? Why do you believe this has been handled the wrong
SMITH: Well, while it may be well-intended, it actually will do much
more harm than good, in a number of contexts. None of us expected Fort
Kent, Maine, to be the epicenter of the Ebola controversy, but today,
patients were calling the Northern Maine Medical Center, canceling
appointments, cancelling procedures because of an unfounded fear that
somehow having Kaci Hickox, who to us is a hero, in the community, was
making their health care unsafe.
So, it`s creating a chilling effect on people getting what they need
to do for their own health care.
Secondly, if, in fact, everybody who treats – every health care
worker who treats an Ebola patient, and that such a patient might arrive
someday in Maine, if they have to be – if those workers have to be
quarantined for 21 days after treating an Ebola patient, then regardless of
the science, we don`t have nearly enough infectious disease specialists and
nurses to take care of Maine people.
So, and finally, you know, every day around the globe, there are Maine
doctors and nurses and support staff going to places, putting themselves at
risk and taking care of people under the worst imaginable conditions, and
we don`t want to do anything to discourage that. It is that type of
activity that will help the West African nations, you know, control the
epidemic. And to do anything that would make these – make it more
difficult for these folks to take two weeks off of their vacation and go
and help people, if they have to then be quarantined for three weeks when
they get back, even if they have no symptoms, have no risk, then they won`t
Those are three of the chief concerns that we have. And also this
nurse, Kaci Hickox, I`ve never met her, but she should – she should be a
hero for the work she`s done throughout the globe and not be vilified and
not have the stigma that our own elected officials and many members of the
public are participating in. It`s embarrassing and it`s not the way we
would expect Maine to be.
MADDOW: Now that the Maine Medical Association has objected in this
public way to what the state is doing, and what the governor has – the
response the governor has led, are you expecting a response from the
governor? Are you expecting any sort of meeting or chance to be involved
at the expert level in terms of effecting what the state does next in this
SMITH: Well, we`re certainly in touch with the physician director of
the state CDC, Dr. Pinette, and we have communication with her. And we are
– we would hope that the infectious disease doctors in the state would be
looked to for advice –
SMITH: – and that a reasonable accommodation would be based upon
science, not based upon emotion, not based upon politics. It`s
particularly disconcerting that this is now five days before an election.
We`ve already seen Ebola come up in one of the political ads, and so, that
just makes it that much more difficult for people to sit in a room and
frankly discuss this in a common sense way.
MADDOW: Gordon Smith, executive vice president at the Maine Medical
Association, which today publicly objected to the way that state is
handling Ebola and the threat of Ebola in that state – thanks for helping
us understand the position of the Maine Medical Association. I appreciate
it, sir. Thank you.
SMITH: My pleasure.
MADDOW: All right. We will be right back, including with the
unexpected uproar caused by this. People are very upset.
MADDOW: So, five days out from the election, it`s a little weird
there`s so much uncertainty about what`s going to happen in the election.
Usually, five days out, you see headlines like this, and then they come
This was 2006, and that is what happened in 2006.
This was 2008. And that is what happened in 2008.
This was 2010, and that is what happened in 2010.
This year, with the same number of days out from the election as all
those headlines, but it`s nothing like that. And yet, people are making
predictions. People do have feelings about how it`s going to go.
But nobody know what`s going to happen with the kind of certainty that
we`ve had at this point in the cycle in previous years. I think part of
that is because it seems to be close this year. But part of that is
because weird stuff keeps happening in important races at the last second.
And the latest total surprise involves crying on the campaign trail.
It`s a very strange story. It`s broken very late in the game. And
MADDOW: It was one day before the Democratic primary in New
Hampshire. Candidate Barack Obama had just come off a big win in Iowa. He
was steam-rolling into New Hampshire. He had one day to go until New
Hampshire voted. Things were looking great in the polls. And then this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I have so
many opportunities from this country. I just don`t want to see us fall
backwards. You know? So –
You know, this is very personal for me. It`s not just political.
It`s not just public. I see what`s happening, and we have to reverse it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton with her presidential campaign on the line
sort of breaking down a little bit on the campaign trail in New Hampshire,
showing real emotion after being asked by a New Hampshire voter how she
stays so upbeat during a campaign that had so many ups and downs.
It did not seem to be a planned thing. It seemed to take the
candidate by surprise as much as it took everybody else by surprise. But
that ended up being a standout moment for the Hillary for Clinton for
president campaign in a good way. It was a window into Hillary Clinton the
person that the public didn`t often get to see.
And it worked. Whether it was due to that moment or not, Hillary
Clinton the very next day won the New Hampshire primary going away.
And even though she didn`t go on to win the nomination, that moment is
locked into political history as a winning moment for her. A candidate who
can break through like that in human emotional terms, that is a priceless
thing. And it`s unforgettable.
But you can`t just try to do it, right? It can`t be planned. Crying
on the campaign trail is sort of an all-or-nothing proposition. If it
happens, authentically, then yes, you probably do end up looking great.
You look like the most relatable person ever.
But if it`s inauthentic or you force it or you fake it, that`s so much
worse than never trying it in the first place. And with that, enter
Charlie Baker – Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts.
Charlie Baker is in a tight race with Democrat Martha Coakley.
He has been dinged in this race for being a little stiff, a little
non-emotional. But earlier this week in their last TV debate before the
election, Charlie Baker got his chance to pull a Hillary Clinton in New
Hampshire. It was one of those wild card questions that sometimes happens
in a debate. The moderator asked both candidates when was the last time
And I don`t think there`s any reason to think that Charlie Baker knew
that question was coming, but, boy, was he ready for it. As soon as the
tell me about you crying question was asked, as if on cue, Charlie Baker
just turned it on. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE BAKER (R), MASSACHUSETTS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: So I got
asked the other day – and I may not make it through this story. I got
asked the other day if – to tell stories of interesting people I had met
over the course of the campaign.
And I told a story about a fisherman in New Bedford, down at the docks
who was coming off the boat. He`s a big huge man, completely soaked in
sweat and salt water. And I said I wanted to talk to him about the
business and the industry.
And he kind of looked at me and he started to cry. I gave him a hug.
He was a big huge guy. It was like hugging a mountain.
And he shook for a while, and then we started talking about the
business and the industry and the federal government. And then, he said
see those two kids out there? And he pointed to these boys on the boat.
He said those are my sons.
And he said, they were both spectacular football players at New
Bedford High School who were given college scholarships to go play
And I told them, no. I said, you`re – you`re going to be fishermen.
I was a fisherman. My brothers were fishermen. My father was a fisherman.
You`re going to be fishermen. And I ruined their lives.
And you hear those kinds of stories every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That moment, that raw emotion became the story of the
campaign so far in Massachusetts.
In the “Boston Globe,” it was, quote, “The moment that defied
Democrats` attempts to cast Charlie Baker as a heartless technocrat.”
“The Boston Herald” said it was the defining moment of the election.
Listen to this one, “When Charlie Baker lost it Tuesday night, I was
standing in my kitchen finishing the dinner dishes and I swear to God I
felt a lump in my throat, too. It was a weirdly seminal moment. In a
tough and tight election that`s going down to the wire, it instantly became
must-see TV. It was live, it was riveting, it was cringe-worthy, it was
Except maybe now it wasn`t. This is such a weird story, but within
the last 24 hours, Charlie Baker`s story of the moment that made all of the
Massachusetts press swoon, it has sort of fallen apart. That story that
Charlie Baker told during that debate was about a New Bedford fisherman he
met during this campaign, he said, who forced his two boys to forego their
college football scholarships to instead become fishermen themselves, thus
ruining their lives. Cue the water works.
After Charlie Baker broke down telling that story in such great
detail, the local press in Boston started trying to report out that amazing
story. But that means asking for specifics. When did you meet his guy?
What is his name? Can we talk to him? Can we talk to his sons?
And when asked those questions about this guy, who Charlie Baker says
he met on this campaign, the press started coming up dry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BAKER: You`re going to be fishermen. And it ruined their lives.
TV ANCHOR: Charlie Baker getting emotion during last night`s
gubernatorial debate. He said he was recounting the story of a New Bedford
fisherman who`s been burdened by unfair regulations.
(INAUDIBLE) spent the day looking for that fisherman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw him on the news this morning crying, he
came off to me as genuine.
REPORTER: He`s talking about Republican candidate for governor,
Charlie Baker, the final debate at the WCVB studios. Baker asked when he
last shed tears. He related the story of a New Bedford fisherman talking
about his sons.
BAKER: And he said, they were both spectacular football players at
New Bedford High School who were given college scholarships to go play
football. And I told them, no. I said –
REPORTER: So exactly who was Charlie Baker talking about? No one
here seems to know.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: No one here seems to know. In fact, no one anywhere seems to
Here`s the local newspaper in New Bedford where Charlie Baker says he
met this fisherman. Quote, “People intimately involved with the city`s
fishing industry and high school athletics say they don`t know of a family
that fits Baker`s description.” Quote, “No one comes to mind that I can
think of,” said Jim Kendall, president of New Bedford Seafood Consulting.
“I`ve got several calls on this, texts and e-mails, too. I checked around.
No one seems to be able to put a finger on who it would be.”
A source with a long-time association with New Bedford High School
athletics said after many years familiar with the program, he didn`t know
of any two brothers there receiving football scholarships, never mind going
So, after asking and asking and asking, finally, the Charlie Baker
campaign was forced to acknowledge today that the story that Charlie Baker
turned on the waterworks for at that debate to such great effect was
actually a 5-year-old story, and you`ll just have to believe them that it`s
true because, no, they can`t remember who Charlie Baker talked to or where
that guy might be now. Charlie Baker just got grilled about this today on
the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAKER: I remember things that people tell me. I heard that story
four years ago. And every time I tell it, it`s like it happened five
minutes ago as far as I`m concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s like it happened five minutes ago.
And look at this. Charlie Baker then told reporters that he may have
gotten a detail or two wrong, but the fisherman, quote, “certainly existed
This race is deadlocked right now in Massachusetts. The latest poll
out today shows Charlie Baker with a three-point lead. That`s within that
poll`s margin of error.
But I should tell you, that polling was done before Massachusetts`s
voters had any idea what a good actor Charlie Baker is.
Joining us now to talk about the state of that race and other great
governor`s races on deck right now is our own Steve Kornacki.
Steve, thank you for being here and bringing your magic wall. It`s
STEVE KORNACKI, UP: I love using this thing and I`m really excited to
So, let`s take a look at Massachusetts now.
KORNACKI: You just cited the most recent poll in Massachusetts. What
we have here, what you`re looking at here, this is the average of the
polls. You take all the polls out there in Massachusetts right now,
average them together, it takes out a lot of noise and margin for error.
You see a 2 1/2-point lead for Baker.
So, as you say, before all of this sort of just erupted, Baker ahead
in this race by a small amount. We`ll see what happens over the next week
as a result of what you`re talking about.
Now, in terms of why Baker is ahead, we can show you exactly what`s
going on here. Turn the telestrator on. We see these are the biggest
cities in Massachusetts. A couple of things to keep in mind – the city of
Boston has been producing obviously the biggest city has been producing
huge, huge pluralities for Democratic candidates for Massachusetts.
Charlie Baker has had about 150 events in Boston. He has worked the
wards of Boston like no Republican candidate in recent memory. He`s not
going to win it, but right now, he is cutting into Martha Coakley`s normal
Democratic edge in Boston.
Worcester, same thing, this is a city where Martha Coakley struggled
when she ran in 2010 against Scott Brown.
A lot of emphasis here in Lowell. Lowell, Massachusetts, I put this
one up, it`s near where I grew up. It`s partly why it`s in there. But
this is also – this is the fourth largest city in the state, and this is a
city that Martha Coakley lost to Scott Brown in 2010. A lot of sort of
working class, white ethnic Democrats, Catholic Democrats here, those types
of people. Scott Brown won them. Charlie Baker going after them.
So, again, if he can cut down the Democratic margins in the city,
that`s the recipe for him in this campaign. And right now, again, before
all of this, it seems to be working for him.
Now, we can broaden this out a little bit. Like a lot of other
governor`s races going on, we just showed you, Massachusetts, a state
currently controlled by Democrats that is in danger of going the
What you`re seeing here, all of the state where is we say partisan
control of a governorship is at risk. So, what you see for instance next
week, you have eight red states here. These are eight states that are
colored in red that Republicans now control where there are now Republican
In these states, the Democrats have a real chance of winning next
week. These are eight governorships Democrats could take over. The blue
states, we have eight of these as well. These are eight states where
Democrats are now governor and Republicans could win next week. That`s a
total of 16 governorships we`re looking at potentially a different party
taking control of. It`s a very high number for this time of year.
So, we showed you Massachusetts, one of the biggest blue states that`s
at risk of going red next week.
We thought we would show you a couple of the Republican states at risk
of going blue, at risk of turning Democratic. So, we`ll start with the
biggest one, the biggest target for Democrats, no surprise here, you all
know the basic story in Florida. Charlie Crist, the former Republican
governor running against Rick Scott, the current Republican governor.
What I want to point out what`s interesting about this race, these are
the polling averages you`re seeing here. Now, if you look at the bottom,
this is where the average stood about six weeks ago, in the middle of
September. It was a small lead. The average of the polls, Scott was
The key there is that came after a summer in which Rick Scott spent
$25 million blanketing the airwaves in Florida with negative ads about
Charlie Crist. Charlie Crist does not have the kind of money that Rick
Scott does. He was not able to answer those ads. In the last six week,
he`s been able to. The whole episode with the fan at the debate happened.
Some things have happened that have not been so fortunate for Rick Scott.
So, you see now in the polling average, a lead of almost two points
for Charlie Crist. This looks like slight movement. This is actually very
significant when you`re talking polling average. It`s gone to a race where
Rick Scott had a slight advantage, to a race where Charlie Crist has the
And the other one I want to show you is, what I think is the most
interesting race, the most interesting state where a Republican is in
danger this year.
MADDOW: That`s the poll average there right now? Oh my gosh!
KORNACKI: This is. Look at that. So, Paul Davis, the Democrat
challenging Sam Brownback in Kansas, leading by a point in the average.
But here`s what I want to show you in Kansas. Here`s a map in Kansas.
There`s one county in a sea of squares. This is Johnson County. This
actually accounts for about one in every four votes cast in the entire
state of Kansas.
And it is the story of why Sam Brownback is in trouble, because we
look at Kansas and we say, big Republican state, Mitt Romney carried it by
20 points, and that is true in Johnson County as well. Mitt Romney won it
by about 20 points in 2012. But what is Johnson County?
Johnson County is an affluent suburban county right outside of Kansas
City. So, this is filled of voters who are Republican voters, but they`re
suburban Republican voters. They like their public schools. They want
their kids going to good colleges.
They are the Republicans who are most upset with Sam Brownback, the
tax cuts, the cuts in education. These are – as goes Johnson County next
week, I think that`s how Kansas is going to go. So, if you want all these
counties in one, look right there.
MADDOW: This is going to be obviously election night is always fun no
matter what happens.
In terms of what`s going on with the Senate, it`s been so chewed over.
The stuff going on with the governors right now is not only less chewed
over, but it`s so up in the air and the details in every state are so lurid
and fascinating everywhere from Kansas to Massachusetts.
Steve Kornacki, I can`t wait until Tuesday. Thank you for being here
for the preview. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: All right. Steve will be back with his magic board on
election night. As you can see, he can telestrate with his index finger
exceptionally well. If you do not yet have plans for Tuesday night, plan
to spend them here with us.
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK. So, last night I may have crossed the line. I went a
little too far and said something that offended some of our viewers and
rightly so. It was not my intention to offend.
So, we`ve got a Department of Corrections coming up on the way.
Anybody who likes to watch this show because you like to yell at me on the
screen, you will like this next thing that I`m going to have to do. Mea
culpa on the way, that`s coming up.
MADDOW: I have an important correction to make. Last night, we had a
report about Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst. We reported that she took a
page from former Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle when she threatened
to use Second Amendment remedies, when she threatened that she`d use a gun
to fight against the government if she didn`t get what she wanted through
the political process.
Well, tonight, I have a correction to make about that. I`ll tell you,
though, that this correction has nothing to do with Joni Ernst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Here in our offices at 30 Rockefeller Center, in our office
closet actually, we have sort of randomly a really hideous, complete set of
kitchen canisters. These exact same canisters were the folksy kitchen
scene backdrop behind a Republican candidate named Sharron Angle when she
clutched a coffee cup and announced her political comeback.
I would say watch this space, but I know all your watching right now
is these hideous kitchen canisters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Turns out, I was wrong about that. And here`s how I know it.
Subject line: my canisters. Quote, “I was insulted that you referred
to the canisters as ugly. As I had bought that same set many years ago, I
wish I still had my cute, adorable canisters.”
Quote, “Hey, Rachel, my mother has a set, too. We could use a
Quote, “Dear Rachel, if you don`t have a use for those canisters, I
would love to get them off your hands. They were exactly the ones I wanted
when I was first married, and have always had a soft spot in my heart for
Then there are your tweets. Look. Quote, “If by hideous you mean the
most awesome canisters of all time, then you are correct.”
It turns out not only do quite a lot of you own a set of mushroom-
themed canister, some our sets are twice the size of ours. The rest of you
are still pining for your mushroom canister sets long gone, the one that
matched your family`s mushroom theme kitchen, complete with matching
mushroom spoon rest, napkin holder and wall clock.
Frankly, it`s been a 24 hours of mushroom canister love and
appreciation – so much so that I have been aesthetically swayed, and so, a
Yes, I once believed those mushroom canisters were hideous in the
context of threatening armed violence against government officials, a la
Sharron Angle in Nevada and Joni Ernst in Iowa. I also still do kind of
think they`re hideous here at my office.
But in real life on your shelf, on your kitchen counter, in the
recesses of your childhood memories, the merry mushroom canisters your mom
bought at Sears in the `70s, which also happened to match your merry
mushroom curtains, those mushroom canisters really aren`t hideous. They
So, thank you for fact checking me on this. I sincerely regret what I
now believe is an error. I love your mushroom canisters and your kitchen.
I love all of it. Sorry.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
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