The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/09/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, can I retroactively participate in
your panel discussion?
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: You can. Tell me about your thoughts on
MADDOW: Here`s the thing about RadioShack, which makes it truly
tragic. I have never gone into a RadioShack and left without the thing I
needed. And that is because the people who work at RadioShack were
expected to help you.
HAYES: That`s right.
MADDOW: What other store do you go into and they got like tools?
HAYES: That`s right. And the model of retail in which, I was
comparing it to, when I was a kid, we would buy shoes. The shoe sales
people knew things about shoes. The model of a retail store in which
there`s embedded knowledge in the sales person, that is also going away,
also Ron, but Apple kind of does that.
MADDOW: Yes, but you got to make an appointment, you know? They`re
setting it up like a school.
RadioShack, you walk in with your busted garage door opener and 3
bucks. And the guy is like sit down. I`ll take care of it.
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) for you.
MADDOW: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
MADDOW: That was fun going back in time to be on Chris`s show.
All right. Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next
OK. It has now been just over three days, a little more than 81 hours
and there is still no clarity tonight on this story. But we do have some
new information, some pretty specific new information that I want to convey
to you right now.
All right. This all started on Friday afternoon, roughly noon Eastern
Time. We started to hear the first reports on Twitter and other social
media platforms that an American woman, a young American woman had been
killed while she was being held as a hostage by the terrorist group ISIS.
Now, it had been known for some time that 26-year-old American aide
worker Kayla Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, was being held as an ISIS
hostage. she was believed, in fact, to be the last American being held by
ISIS. They had her for almost a year and a half since they kidnapped her
But before Friday, not much was known about her fate. That was in
part because her parents, her family, wanted her name kept out of the news.
They thought it would be a way of keeping her safe. But it was in part by
decisions by ISIS. We hadn`t heard much about her from them either.
Then on Friday, ISIS made this announcement online that Kayla Mueller
had been killed. That ISIS announcement that their last remaining American
hostage was dead.
That announcement came as a surprise for a few different reasons –
excuse me, for a few different reasons. For one thing, as weird and morbid
as it is to say, ISIS has now killed so many of it`s hostages that we have
learned their basic routine for how they do things. Last summer, when ISIS
wanted it to be known they had American hostages and they intended to kill
their American hostages, they paraded those hostages, right?
James Foley, Steven Sotloff, later, Peter Kassig, they were made to
appear in ISIS propaganda videos that were released online. And ISIS each
time said, we are going to kill them unless you, the American government
does X, Y, and Z.
In each of those cases, the American government refused to pay ransom
or change policies when ISIS demanded it. And those American hostages were
later executed by ISIS.
Last month, ISIS did the same thing with a pair of Japanese hostages
who they were holding. They paraded these two men in various propaganda
videos. They gave the Japanese government a deadline. They said if you
don`t do x, y, and z, we will kill these Japanese hostages. And ultimately
I mean, this is a gruesome and barbaric stuff. But honestly, it`s a
pretty well worn tactic on their part this time. They have done it a lot
But in the case of Kayla Mueller, with this hostage, there was no such
routine. There`s no propaganda video. There were no public deadlines or
demands given. They just announced on Friday afternoon that she was gone,
that Kayla Mueller had been killed.
And they provided no evidence to prove it beyond their own assertion.
They released Kayla Mueller`s name. They said she had been killed. They
released a few still images of a building in Syria where they said that
Kayla Mueller had died.
They said she died not at their own hands, not at ISIS`s hands. They
said she died as a result of a U.S. coalition-led bombing raid,
specifically they said it was bombing raid conducted by Jordanian pilots.
So, that`s what they said, and that is what we were able to report as
of Friday. To be clear, then and still today, ISIS has not offered any
further evidence that this American young woman has actually been killed.
And the claims that she was killed by a Jordanian air strike don`t square
with what we know now about coalition air strikes in Syria on Friday which
is when they say she died.
ISIS says Kayla Mueller was killed in an airstrike on Friday in the
Syrian city of Raqqa, which is their sort of capital city. It`s their base
of operations in that country.
Jordan, today, says, yes, they have launched more than 50 combat
operations in Syria since last week, against ISIS targets, but they say
they have launched none near the Syrian city of Raqqa. And so, it remains
a mystery tonight as to whether or not this 26-year-old American aid worker
was actually killed on Friday as ISIS says she was.
Her family in Arizona is holding out hope that Kayla Mueller is still
alive. They now say they have reached out to ISIS to try to confirm that.
They`re seeking a private communication from ISIS to Kayla Mueller`s
Look at this. This is remarkable reporting tonight from NBC`s Andrea
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS (voice-over): Her parents` vigil continues,
waiting for her captors to answer their last appeal three days ago. So
far, silence. Nothing since ISIS claimed that Kayla had been killed in a
coalition airstrike. A fate that the family refuses to believe.
TODD GEILER: The family right now is in a very fragile state as you
can imagine. They`re worried.
MITCHELL: Her parents` desperate plea to the terrorists, “You told us
you treated her as your guest. As your guest, her safety and well-being
remains your responsibility. At this time, we ask you who are holding
Kayla to contact us privately.” But they haven`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: “This time we ask you who are holding Kayla to contact us
privately.” Imagine what it takes for the family to do something like
While Kayla Mueller`s family and all of us, honestly await any further
word about her fate, we are now getting some specific new details about the
U.S. mission that was attempted to rescue her and to rescue the other
American hostages last summer.
What we have known previously is that U.S. Special Operations troops
launched a rescue attempt inside Syria last July. This was a risky
helicopter-led rescue mission inside Raqqa to try to find the four American
hostages that ISIS was holding at that time – James Foley, Steven Sotloff,
Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller.
That mission, that raid, was unsuccessful, but we`re learning there
were certain clues the Special Ops found on the ground there that indicated
that the hostages had recently been at that location, specifically they
reportedly found strands of hair they believe to be from Kayla Mueller.
They found those strands of hair where they believed it to be held and
launched the raid looking for them. But the hostages had been moved before
the Special Ops guys got there.
But details like that from that failed mission, those are now starting
to leak, even as Kayla Mueller`s fate remains uncertain.
ISIS meanwhile is moving ahead with their propaganda campaign today.
They released a strange new 12-minute propaganda video featuring another
one of their hostages, featuring British photojournalist John Cantlie.
ISIS has been using John Cantlie in the surreal way for several months now.
They`re essentially using him as if he is an ISIS reporter, using him as a
Western journalism-style mouthpiece, in this case to show that life under
ISIS rule is great.
The latest video shows the hostage touring Aleppo talking about how
great the ISIS fighters are doing there now, how they don`t fear the
Americans at all, just bizarre to hear this stuff being voiced under duress
by hostage John Cantlie.
Earlier today, NBC`s Keir Simmons filed this bit of reporting from
Jordan. As I mentioned, Jordan has been very public about its stepping up
its air campaign against ISIS, in the last week after a Jordanian pilot was
burned alive by his ISIS captors. Well, today, the commander of Jordan`s
air force told NBC that Jordan has its sites set on the top leader of ISIS
specifically, on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed supreme leader
of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Al Baghdadi does not appear often in public for obvious reasons. His
movements are well-guarded by ISIS. But watch this. Watch what the top
commander of Jordan`s air force said this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: We joined Jordan`s pilots preparing for a mission that was
canceled this time.
Still, they say the ISIS leader himself, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have assets always in the air for an
opportunity for target like Baghdadi and his gang.
REPORTER: In your view, he`s frightened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no doubt about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We have assets always in the air for a target of opportunity
So, that was this morning, and then – this is kind of interesting. I
mean, who knows if these things are related. Just a few hours after that
NBC News interview, new reports surfaced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been
wounded, seriously wounded in coalition air strikes in Syria today.
It was reports from “Reuters” today that Baghdadi was wounded in
airstrikes in Raqqa. NBC`s Jim Miklaszewski reports tonight that U.S.
military and intelligence officials said they have no information to
confirm that claim about whether or not he was hit today. Of course, there
has also been previous reports that he was wounded or killed – reports
that turned out to be false. Still though, a girl can dream.
And here is a new and potentially significant new wrinkle in this
story. This U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS up until has been
focused exclusively on Syria and Iraq. More than 2,000 airstrikes against
ISIS on those two countries over the last six months.
But today, we learned that surprise, this war is apparently not
contained to just Syria and Iraq. American military personnel launched an
attack against ISIS today in Afghanistan.
Last month, “The Washington Post” ran this story, “Meet the shadowy
figure recruiting for the ISIS in Afghanistan.” That story described a
former Taliban commander who was once in U.S. custody, he was freed during
the Bush administration, where he landed after he was freed from custody
was back in Southern Afghanistan, ultimately. And what he has been doing
there is recruiting for ISIS.
And that is weird, right? Because ISIS is in Iraq and Syria.
Afghanistan isn`t even contiguous with those countries. It`s quite a long
But still, “The Washington Post” reported that this guy was trying to
make a go of it for ISIS in Afghanistan. That report about that ISIS
commander came out last month, January 13th. Today, it is reported that
specific guy, that commander, was just killed in Afghanistan and he was
killed by an American drone.
So, a one name guy who everyone said was key to ISIS`s effort to gain
a foothold in a third country. He was key to their effort to gain a
foothold in Afghanistan. He was the one guy who everybody was willing to
say he is the outpost of ISIS in Afghanistan and he`s recruiting heavily.
Apparently, they got him. It was the Afghan government that announced
that, quote, “precision strike” today, but local Afghan officials in the
area said the actual hit that killed the ISIS operative came from an
American drone. One tribal elder telling the “New York Times” that the
ISIS commander and a few others had just returned from a livestock market
where they had gone to preach and encourage people to join ISIS, and then
he was shot down by a drone.
“New York Times” describes this strike as the first known military
operation undertaken against ISIS in Afghanistan. More than 1,000 miles
from the group`s home territory in Syria and Iraq.
So, if you`re keeping track at home, the U.S. is at war with ISIS in
Iraq, and in Syria, and now in Afghanistan as well. It is getting to be a
big war, right? I mean, three countries, thousands of airstrikes, hundreds
of aircraft, thousands of ground troops, not to mention the special forces
raids behind enemy lines. It is getting to be a pretty big war, this thing
we`re not calling a war. And all of it without any input from the U.S.
government that gets to declare when, where, and why we go to war.
And there`s also some real news tonight on that front. Late last
week, we learned that congressional leaders were told by the White House to
expect the White House to send over draft language for this war, draft
language for Congress to debate on and vote on authorizing this new war
that we`re uncomfortable calling a war. Tonight, there are reports that
that draft language could – could – be heading to Congress the day after
tomorrow. Obama to seek new authority for Islamic State fight by
Now, I should note that NBC News has not independently confirmed that
it will be Wednesday. These are unconfirmed reports at this point, but
when it does happen, apparently that will mean that six months behind the
news, Congress will have actually started to debate in a real way, not just
on TV shows, debate in a binding way, what we are doing against ISIS. How
that mission should be defined, how that mission should be constrained, and
whether or not what we`ve been doing for the last six months already is
Joining us now is Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, member of the Senate
Armed Services Committee. He has led the effort in the Senate to get a new
authorization vote for this mission against ISIS.
Senator Kaine, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for your time.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Thanks, Rachel. Great to be with you.
MADDOW: What is your understanding about what is about to happen on
this subject? And is it what you have been advocating for?
KAINE: Well, Rachel, I started this talk in June of 2014 about the
need for Congress to approve a mission against ISIL, which was then
seemingly a threat. I don`t think any of the previous authorizations cover
what we`ve been doing since August 8th. We are in our seventh month of
war, but I was heartened when the president in the State of the Union said
he would be seeking congressional authority.
And again, I`m not sure of exactly the day, but I think very soon, the
White House will send a proposed mission statement for this war and in the
Foreign Relations Committee, I serve on committee in the Senate, we will be
undertaking to question administration witnesses about the proposal, the
limitations in the proposal, and we will probably add our own revisions and
amendments to it. It`s way past time that we do this. We`ve already lost
American service members lives in operation and inherent resolve without
Congress doing what we`re supposed to do.
So, I`m glad that day is finally arriving because there are many
questions we need to ask.
MADDOW: In terms of the scope of those questions, and what you think
your committee and the rest of Congress will be doing with the proposed
language, obviously, it seems clear to me as it does to you they were
putting the cart before the horse to debate a war that`s already been under
way for six months.
KAINE: Indeed, absolutely.
MADDOW: Is there, weirdly though, some sort of strategic upside to
that? Because now, one of the things you can debate is not, you know,
wondering what might work against ISIS, but what we have been trying
already, debating whether or not we`ve been fighting them effectively for
these past six months.
KAINE: Absolutely. And you`ll see us doing that, and that question
of effectiveness and the mission has many components. Are there geographic
limitations to the battle? You talk about the death of the ISIL commander
in Afghanistan? Should there be a sunset clause? I think there should be,
where the president would have to come back and seek a new authorization
after a certain period of time.
Are we – is this just a mission against ISIL, or, as you know, during
the early authorizations, the administrations both wishing Obama developed
a broad notion of associated forces that will enable us to take the fight
probably far beyond what Congress originally intended. And then there`s
some probably the most critical question is, what does the White House say
about the use of any American ground troops in this mission?
Our work thus far has been largely in waging I think a pretty
significant air campaign that`s been effective in Iraq to support ground
troops from the region, and the president has said on the number of
occasions, we`re not going to be using American ground troops in this
particular war, but we need to kind of dig into that.
I suspect you`ll see that as a significant point of difference between
members of Congress who are overwhelmingly in support of military action
against ISIL. But there are some differences on important details.
MADDOW: When I – when I imagine what these hearings are going to be
like, and what this debate is going to be like, we know enough already from
the news to know that ISIS is not degraded or undermined to a degree that
the U.S. is going to feel comfortable with in terms of our national
security and the risk to destabilizing the region. So, we know there`s
going to be bad news to hear about ISIS` persistence in the face of these
2000 air strikes.
I worry and wonder and anticipate that because of that, the debate is
inexorably going to steer toward a bigger response than we`ve already got.
It is inexorably going to steer toward ground troops or toward activating
other kinds of military resources that we haven`t thrown at this problem
thus far. Do you think that`s an inevitable course of that debate?
KAINE: The debate is certainly going to have people making that
argument, Rachel. I`m skeptical about it and I`ll tell you why. You know,
again, I introduced a resolution. We ought to take military action against
ISIL that I introduced in September. But do I think a weariness about
ground troops makes a lot of sense.
Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan was here and sadly, he was here on
the very day when the Jordanian pilot was burned and that video was
released. It was kind of a very emotional meeting with him.
But he said something very powerful, he said, look, this is not
America`s fight. This is the region`s fight against its own terrorism.
Now, we need your help but you have a right to expect that we in this
region will stand up against this regional terrorism. We`ll stand up
against it. And if we do, you should help us. You can`t carry the burden
of the fight alone.
We`ve already been the party that has directed more than 80 percent of
the air strikes. These nations in the region, they have a lot of weapons
and I know because the U.S. has sold them a lot of weapons. But other than
Jordan, they`re not really all in, trying to beat this extremism, which is
created in the region and which poses a much more direct threat to them
immediately than it does to the United States.
So, sure, we`ll have a debate back and forth about ground troops, but
the point that I`m going to be making is this: the U.S. cannot police a
region that does not want to police itself. Now, we and other nations can
help a region that will police itself, but one of the important questions
is, how seriously are the countries in the region taking this fight to
ISIL? And if they`re not, that`s going to be a significant question that
we`re going to have to ask why and get good answers about.
MADDOW: Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, thank you so much for your
time tonight, sir.
MADDOW: And I have to say, just personally, thank you for being so
loud about this issue, about Congress` responsibility here. You were loud
about it when a lot of other people weren`t, and I think you gave other
people courage to speak up on this subject. Thanks for being ahead on this
KAINE: And I`m going to keep being loud, Rachel.
MADDOW: Good. Well done, sir. Thank you very much.
All right. We got lots ahead tonight, including total chaos in
Alabama today. Much of it of a very happy variety.
Also, coming up on the show this hour, we`ve got have bears and owls
and ducks. Seriously. Moo.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: I don`t think I`m allowed to touch him, I don`t know how he
keeps getting back in here. But he is back.
Unnerving. But now that you`re here you may want to stay where you
are. We do have some news concerning this – concerning this guy.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Quote, “Confusion and disarray in administration of the law,”
yes, and then some.
After a federal judge overturned Alabama`s ban on same-sex marriage,
ordering the state of Alabama to start performing marriages for everyone as
of today, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore said, “If Alabama
did that, if Alabama followed federal law and followed federal court orders
on this matter, that would create, quote, `confusion and disarray in the
administration of the law.`”
And so, last night, Judge Roy Moore acted to prevent that kind of
confusion and disarray. He ordered the state`s local family law judges to
not perform same-sex marriages despite the federal ruling that said they
had to. Huh?
So, thank you, Judge Moore in Alabama. Thanks to him, “chaos reigns”.
Probate judges across the state grappled with conflicting rulings.
Alabama Live had to put together this handy county by county map today
showing just what kind of marrying was happening in each county in Alabama
today. And no confusion and disarray there, Judge Moore.
Many probate judges today decided just not to issue any marriage
licenses at all, to gay couples or straight couples. So, that`s one way to
solve the problem. Marriage unavailable for anyone, that`s not confusing
And for those judges who did want to make their way through the
thicket of conflicting rulings and instructions, Alabama`s attorney general
issued this helpful statement. Look at this, “I advise probate judges to
talk to their attorneys about how to respond.” That`s right.
So, the judges should get lawyers. And the judges should speak to
their lawyers about with a they should do – not confusing at all.
It should be noted, though, in the handful of green counties, there
were a lot of very happy gay couples getting hitched in Alabama. And the
reason they were able to get hitched under that federal court ruling is
that the U.S. Supreme Court denied the state`s request to stay that ruling.
And, of course, everybody has been trying to read the tea leaves on
the United States Supreme Court on the issue, because they are set to rule
this year on whether gay marriage is protected by the constitution. People
are anticipating this could be a big national sweeping ruling within just
the next few months.
So, today with this decision in Alabama, a lot of people saw the
Supreme Court`s decision to not block same-sex marriages from going
forward, even though the state wanted that. Some people saw that as a sign
that maybe the Supreme Court is going to rule favorably toward marriage
equality when they hear that case later this spring.
One of the people who seemed to think that today was Justice Clarence
Thomas. He doesn`t like the idea but he seems like what he thinks is going
Joining us now to explain is Kenji Yoshino, legal scholar and the
Chief Justice Earl Warren professor of constitutional law at NYU. He`s
also the author of the forthcoming book “Speak Now: Marriage Equality on
Kenji, it`s great to see you.
KENJI YOSHINO, LEGAL SCHOLAR: Great to be here.
MADDOW: Clarence Thomas did a little punditry today. I mean, this
was his dissent. He said Alabama should have been granted its request to
not implement marriage equality today, because they didn`t to, even though
a federal court told them to. But in so doing, he basically said, yes,
everybody is about to get gay married everywhere.
YOSHINO: Well, I think actually what he said was that this could be
taken as a sign, right?
YOSHINO: I think that he was trying to give himself a little running
room there, that this might not be the case.
MADDOW: OK. So, is there reason to look at what happened between the
state of Alabama and the Supreme Court today as anything other than
something about Alabama, as something that might tell us what`s going to
YOSHINO: Oh, I think there definitely is, you know? The big
difference about this case that the Supreme Court had granted review in
between. So, this is different from all of the other earlier cases because
the Supreme Court has now granted review and arguments will be held in
April. The decision is going to be made by June.
So, Justice Thomas has a point when he says this will be decided by
June, so therefore, just wait awhile.
MADDOW: Leave the status quo in place since you know this is going to
YOSHINO: Exactly, and that`s different from status quo before the
Supreme Court took place where people could be waiting independently if a
stay didn`t put in place.
MADDOW: Obviously, there is a lot of historical resonance because
it`s Alabama, saying, you know, we`re not going to do what the federal
court tells us to do. We don`t recognize your authority here. The
resonance there is too obvious to restate.
But what do you make of the legal chaos today with the chief justice
of the Supreme Court, who`s been very outspoken on this subject,
essentially directing lower court judges in the state to not follow federal
law. And all of those probate judges making decisions, county by county,
whatever – based on whatever they felt was the right thing to do. How do
you explain that?
YOSHINO: I think it`s extremely troubling from a rule of law
perspective. And we`ve seen this before. We saw it in California during
the Prop 8 litigation.
MADDOW: Oh, the other direction, right.
YOSHINO: Yes, they kicked it and said the California district rules
is the law of the case, meaning the final and ultimate disposition of the
case. There was some squawking on the side about how only the parties
before the court were bound, and this wouldn`t bind California. But that
ended up not being the case. You know, Kamala Harris put a stop to that as
attorney general of California, and that squawk kind of died out.
Now, that that squawking as an imprimatur of someone like the chief
justice of the state supreme court, it has a very difference resonance, and
a very troubling resonance with regard to the rule of law, because I think
what he`s saying is it`s perfectly fine to disobey a federal, as you said,
ruling by a district court judge so long as it doesn`t comfort with his
interpretation – remember he`s not a judge in the case – with his
interpretation of what the United States Constitution requires.
MADDOW: How do you think it will resolve in Alabama? Usually these
things resolve when a federal court tells a state this is what you`re
allowed to do and this is what you`re not allowed to do. In this case,
that has not brought us to the end, the chaos in Alabama today, I mean,
punctuated by some very happy people being married some places. But that
chaos today, how does that get resolved?
YOSHINO: Yes, I think it`s going to get resolved by suits against
probate judges who refused to issue warnings, right? So, I think that one
of the reasons why the judges are choosing the quality of graveyards to the
quality of the vineyards. Marriage for no one as opposed to marriage for
everybody, because they`re trying to hedge themselves against claims that
they are flouting the equal protection clause of the federal constitution.
So, I think this will be – those lawsuits will percolate. One thing
where Justice Thomas and I agree on is, you know, at a minimum, this will
be over in June 2015.
MADDOW: Well, Judge Roy Moore, if you accomplish nothing else in your
life, (a), you did create a lot of chaos in Alabama today in the
administration of law.
But also, Judge Roy Moore, in some weird way he may have stopped
straight marriage in Alabama at least in a number of counties. I`m sure he
is sleeping well.
Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren, professor of constitutional
law at NYU and the man who explains these things to us – Kenji, thank you.
YOSHINO: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: All right. Just ahead, an adult-sized portion of info bunk
will be debunked.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Stay where you are my fine feathered friend, creep.
Last week on this show, we told you about a series of owl attacks –
owl attacks on joggers in Oregon, specifically in a park in the state
capital of Salem, Oregon. The first victim was Ron Jakes, an Oregon
surgeon who has been jogging extra hard in the park in order to make sure
he could still fit into his adorable Green Bay Packers suit. He`s a Green
Bay Packers fan and he likes this suit.
Full disclosure, this is not what he was wearing when he got attacked
by the owl. But when he did get attacked by the owl, the owl came down on
him so hard that it punctured his scalp, presumably with its talons. The
doctor thought he was having an aneurysm when this owl attacked him.
And now, since in that same park, there had been at least three more
people have been attacked since the doctor. Well, now, the city of Salem
has these attack owl warning signs. Given the ferociousness of the owl
encounters and the mounting number of owl attacks, we thought the sign
should be a little scarier. We suggested this sign for an owl warning sign
for Salem, Oregon.
We also after posting that sign online, we heard back from the doctor
with the Green Bay Packers suit who was owl victim number one. He saw our
report about what he went through. Look what he sent us. Look. Look,
that`s him on the right wearing a shirt with our attack owl warning sign
printed on the front of it.
Dr. Jakes will warn the people. Thank you, sir. Thank you.
Also today, “The Statesman Journal” newspaper in Salem, they announced
the ten finalists in their effort to name the aggressive owl in their town.
They want a name for the owl.
You can vote for Thurston Owl III, also, Hoodini – because owl.
Claws, that`s a simple one but it might sound Christmas-y. I like
owlgetcha. That`s pretty good.
Polls are opened until noon tomorrow, West Coast time.
That`s the latest on Oregon and owls. But tonight we also have live,
and in the flesh our new favorite Oregon Bears, CJ and Chris, proud Oregon
Bears who are playing a surprising role in national top tier American
politics right now from their perch in Oregon.
And that story is coming up and so are they. This is going to be
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Every now and again I get to do a segment called “And Now
Here is a Thing.” It is just a thing that happened that you should know
about. Without further adieu. And now, here is a thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: And now, here`s a thing –
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: You know we call you “The Duck” in
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Duck?
HARRIS-PERRY: We call you “The Duck”, so – in Nerdland, we say you
have a very placid and even way of presenting, but you`re just working for
Would you quack for us?
HOLDER: I`m not sure I`m going to do that, but I like the analogy.
HARRIS-PERRY: You do like the analogy, good.
HOLDER: I like to think – well I was born in New York City in the
`50s and `60s, and for an African-American guy, the thing was to be cool,
you know? You had to be cool, things don`t bother you. So, on the surface
that`s how I like to appear to be, but you`re absolutely right, those
little duck feet are moving as fast as they can underneath, and things are
going as fast as they can behind the scenes.
And I may have been cool in congressional hearings on the outside, but
I was pissed off a lot of the time too, you know? It`s a question of
trying to rein in that – those feelings and make sure on the outside, I
SUBTITLE: And that is the thing that happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And that is a thing that happened. No, I will not quack like
a duck for you Melissa Harris-Perry, says outgoing Attorney General Eric
Holder, while admitting to getting P.O.`d a lot of times in congressional
Placid on the surface, paddling furiously below the waterline, I can`t
believe that happened. That was so excellent. Well-done.
MADDOW: Hoot, hoot! Debunktion Junction. What`s my function?
First, true or false. OK. Today was the day that Virginia Governor
Bob McDonnell was due to show up for day one of his federal prison
sentence. After being convicted on more than a dozen felony corruption
charges and sentenced in the pokey. A judge later announced that Governor
McDonnell would be allowed to stay free on bond while he pursues his
appeals, so today didn`t have to be day one in prison for him.
Today was also, though, the day that we were due to learn the federal
sentences recommendations for Bob McDonnell`s wife. Today we got that news
about the recommended sentence for Maureen McDonnell about her felony
And the news about her recommended sentence was fairly shocking. Look
– 18 years, whoo, 18 years. Her husband, Governor Bob McDonnell got two
years. But prosecutors are trying to lock Maureen McDonnell up for 18
That was the news today. Is that true? Or is that false?
MADDOW: It`s false, actually. Prosecutors are not seeking a sentence
of 18 years for Maureen McDonnell. That literally was just a typo, I`m
sure it was a terrifying typo for Mrs. McDonnell. But it originated in an
“A.P.” wire report today about her case. And because it was in a wire
story, that misinformation got replicated in “Politico”, and in “Salon”,
and, of course, “A.P.`s” story which shows up in their own native ways all
around the Internet, went rocketing around the news faster than a Ferrari
borrowed from a political patron who would like to boost – would like a
boost from the state. Hello, Governor.
In reality, prosecutors are asking the court to sentence Maureen
McDonnell to prison but not for 18 years, but what they`re asking for is 18
months. Oops. Literally, it was a typo. I mean, by law, she could be up
for more time at her sentencing later this month, but the governor`s
punishment turned out to be a fraction of what he could have gotten, and
now, the first lady looks to be on the same path to not much time in
That terrifying typo, one final gift from Governor Gifty just in time
for Valentine`s Day.
Also, true or false? Over the weekend, the Web site “Politico”,
again, spent time poking fun at the current list of potential Republican
candidates for 2016. Quote, “A line up of long shots crowds the Republican
field.” Quote, “The Republican 2016 presidential field includes three
politicians, George Pataki, Jim Gilmore and Bob Ehrlich, who last won
election when the flip phone was hot technology.”
OK, is that true or is that false? Is it true or false there are
three Republicans in the 2016 field who last won elections like more than a
decade ago, back in flip phone-ville? Is it true or false that there are
three of those guys in the field?
MADDOW: False. While it is true those three guys, George Pataki, Jim
Gilmore, Bob Ehrlich, have not won any election in over a decade,
“Politico” also inexplicably left out their comrade in arms here, Jeb Bush.
The last time Jeb Bush won an election was also more than a decade ago when
he was reelected governor of Florida in 2002, and yet it`s almost like
they`re not willing to hold that against Jeb Bush the way they hold it
against those other guys on the Politico.com long-shot list.
I mean, the point remains though, a lot has changed since 2002. Right
now, Jeb Bush is dealing with a very contemporary, very contemporary
political problem, thanks to a couple of adorable bears from Northwest
And those bears are coming up next. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Something about traveling to London that makes America`s
would-be presidents kind of bonkers, or makes them look bonkers at least.
Mitt Romney went over there and insulted the London Olympics, then had
the British prime minister insult him back. He forgot names, and he talked
publicly, he bragged publicly about stuff that were supposed to be secret.
Bobby Jindal was just in Britain and he also got insulted by the
British prime minister after he spouted a bunch of made up, debunked right
wing blog comment, “World Net Daily” nonsense about Britain while he was in
Britain and they knew the difference. He just embarrassed himself.
And then, Chris Christie tripped on his own tongue about whether kids
should get their shots. Following those remarks, he then canceled his
media availability even though he was in London and reporters kept
following him around anyway while he snarled at them.
I don`t know what it is about London, but it`s like quick sand for
these guys. Step right up, sink right down.
The next contender to try his lack with the British people and the
British press is Wisconsin`s Governor Scott Walker. Scott Walker is going
to be in Britain all week. Maybe, it will go great. Maybe he will break
the curse, but be on the lookout for how these things usually go.
So, Scott Walker in the U.K. today. Chris Christie back from the U.K.
and off to Iowa today. Rand Paul was in Iowa over this weekend, still
talking about vaccines, seriously, he gave another vaccines interview this
But the big news that`s happening right now among Americans who want
to be president is that Jeb Bush is rolling out his online Jeb Bush for
president operation. A bit of bumpy start to that today, as they made a
big deal about hiring this guy as their new chief technology officer for
the Jeb Bush for President PAC.
Shortly after making the announcement of that hire though, Andrew
Kaczynski at “BuzzFeed” starting that guy`s online history starting to
disappear. Tweets like these, quote, “New study confirms old belief,
college female art majors are sluts. Science majors are also sluts, but
Or this one, quote, “Most people don`t know that Halloween is German
for night that girls with low self-esteem dress like sluts.” Or this one,
quote, “When I burp in the gym, I feel like it`s my way of saying, sorry,
guys, but I`m not gay.”
Or, this is a nice one, quote, “There are 12 girls that will never
amount to anything greater than being some girl that`s slept with Tiger
So, he seems nice. Where did you find him? That`s who Jeb Bush just
hired to be his chief technology officer for the big online rollout of his
He`s also launching he`s running for president Web site. We don`t
know exactly what kind of Web site it is, but we do know that it goes live
tomorrow and that it will include the first chapter of his new e-book,
along with a whole bunch of emails from his time as governor, for your
We also know that the new Jeb Bush for President Web site being
launched with all this fanfare tomorrow will not be at the web address
JebBushforpresident.com. Not because he`s shy about that at all, but
because these gentlemen, this couple from Oregon, they are the proud owners
of JebBushforpresident.com. And they have been since 2008.
C.J. Phillips and Charlie Rainwater are a couple of self-described
high-tech bears. They`ve been together for almost 20 years. They both
work in tech. They both disagree with Mr. Bush`s record and past remarks on
gay rights. And now, thanks to them, there is a handy place to learn about
and discuss gay rights online, at their Web site, which is
Joining us now are CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater, the proud owners
of that Web site.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. I`m so happy to meet
CJ PHILLIPS, OWNS JEBBUSHFORPRESIDENT.COM: Hi there.
CHARLIE RAINWATER, OWNS JEBBUSHFORPRESIDENT.COM: We`re happy to be
MADDOW: First of all, I feel like I`ve made a big deal out of the
fact that you guys are bears and that you call yourselves high-tech bears.
I want you to know that I mean it with as much affection as I can possibly
muster. I hope that hasn`t bothered you at all.
PHILLIPS: Yes, right back at you.
RAINWATER: Yes, not at all.
MADDOW: Very good. Sometime, I`ll tell you about the gardening bears
I met in Texas, who said they lived at a place so nice, where the gardens
were so nice it was bear-sigh.
RAINWATER: We love to hear that story.
PHILLIPS: Bring it.
MADDOW: So, you guys were living in Texas actually when you decided
to buy this Web site in the first place. Tell me about that decision.
PHILLIPS: Well, we were living in Austin, which is an amazing city.
And there was this weird convergence of the timing of the other Bush
getting out of office and President Obama coming back in, or coming in, and
Texas passing some really, pretty strict legislature that put us in a bind,
right? And Charlie and I were talking. And it`s like, wouldn`t it be
funny if we could use Jeb Bush`s name to like try to educate people about
LGBT issues, get on the Internet two minutes later, we bought the domain
for 8 bucks.
MADDOW: And have you been renewing it ever since? Have you had the
Jeb Bush folks try to buy it from you? Or any – have they approached you
RAINWATER: No, they haven`t approached us. We haven`t heard a word
from them. Every year, it would come available. We were like, do we want
to keep it? Yes, we need to do something about it. And we would renew it
and then procrastinate and not really do anything.
MADDOW: So, what are you guys going to do with it? I see that you`ve
definitely started something already. It redirects to a page that`s got
discussions under way and some explanation about why you bought it. Do you
have a bigger plan in mind?
PHILLIPS: We`d really like to use it as a platform for letting people
learn about this is what a real LGBT couple faces, right? What we`re
really like. So many times in our past, we`ve heard people ask us
questions, because they don`t know. They don`t know another gay couple.
They don`t realize that two guys who look like us, big old bears, are
a couple, right? This is a chance. This is what we want to use it for.
MADDOW: Since you guys have become known for owning this domain and
this suddenly very, very relevant domain, have you had any negative
comments, or any notable positive reactions? What`s happened since you
guys have come out about this?
RAINWATER: We`ve had a lot of very nice, very supportive comments,
some really good stuff. Unfortunately, some of the worst negative comments
were on an Oregonian here in Oregon.
MADDOW: On the newspaper Web site.
RAINWATER: On the newspaper Web site. One comment was we look like
two frail refugees from a nursing home.
MADDOW: Wow. That`s some imagination. I can`t even squint and come
up with that. Anything but frail in every way.
CJ and Charlie, you guys have been such good sports about this.
You`re sort of genuine openness about what you`re doing here and your
feelings about it and everything have turned this into a story that I think
you can keep it going as long as they can`t pry this Web site away from
you. I wish you guys the best of luck.
RAINWATER: Well, even if they do eventually get it, we have a backup
MADDOW: What`s that?
MADDOW: Naturally. I recommend an owl for a mascot, fellows.
RAINWATER: Swooping down on a jogger.
MADDOW: It`s great to have you, guys, here. Thank you. Good luck to
PHILLIPS: Thank you, ma`am. Bye-bye.
MADDOW: I love my job. Gave me an excuse to call these guys. I love
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Two big things are about to happen this week, both of which
are very, very, very rare in Washington. One of them is that there`s going
to be a presidential veto, woo-hoo. We`ve only had two vetoes the whole
Obama presidency. Both on little technical matters nobody remembers.
But now, on Wednesday, the House is expected to pass the Keystone
bill, Senate already passed it last month. So, once the House does this
thing on Wednesday, that heads to President Obama`s desk for his signature,
which it will not get. Veto coming.
The White House has said for a long, long time, that the president may
or may not approve Keystone once all the reviews are done. But they say
that it is his call to make, not Congress`. So, he will do a thing he
never does. He will do a thing we have not been able to cover the whole
time he has been president, veto on the way maybe this week.
And almost as rare as a modern presidential veto is the blue moon of
this Congress actually making a new law. But that`s about to happen too.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Marine Corporal Clay Hunt`s
family, they did the impossible. They moved mountains. They got Congress
to do something substantive.
The Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill passed both Houses. It
will become law. We`ve just now learned that President Obama will hold a
big celebratory signing ceremony on Thursday afternoon. President Obama
always talks about how much he loves a signing ceremony.
But honestly, he gets very little opportunity to do them because this
Congress passes nothing. But on Thursday, we will see the results of a
nice, rare exception to that rule. And rightfully, I think they`re going
to make as big a deal out of it as possible.
That does it for us tonight.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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