The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/09/15

Guests:
Charlie Dent, Anne Gearan, Xeni Jardin
Transcript:

CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now with Steve Kornacki, sitting in for
Rachel.

Good evening, Steve. And happy Monday.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening to you, Chris. Happy
Monday as well. Thanks for that.

Thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour. Rachel has
the night off.

This, what you are looking at right now this, is the Brown Chapel AME
Church in Selma, Alabama. It`s a church that played a major role in the
civil rights movement, back in the 1960s was used by Martin Luther King,
Jr. As his headquarters, sort of a staging ground for the fight for voting
rights.

And it was in front of the Brown Chapel in Selma, Alabama, that on
Sunday, March 7th, 1965, in the face of a ban on protest marches in that
city, it was on that day in front of that church that 600 demonstrators
gathered and kicked off their march from Selma to the state capital of
Montgomery. That was what became known as Bloody Sunday when those
protesters were viciously attacked and beaten with all of the world
watching by police officers.

Forty-two years later, 42 years after that day on Sunday, March 4th,
2007, the 42nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the keynote speaker chosen to
address the congregation at Brown Chapel in Selma was the junior senator
from Illinois.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: So, don`t tell me I don`t have
a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don`t tell me I`m not coming home when I come
to Selma, Alabama. I`m here because somebody march for our freedom. I`m
here because y`all sacrifice for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: I stand on the shoulders of giants. That`s what then-
Senator Barack Obama said in Selma in March of 2007.

Now, there were politics in the air that day eight years ago. Obama
was running for the Democratic nomination to become president. He marched
that day alongside Congressman John Lewis from Georgia, but also alongside
then-Senator Hillary Clinton, she was also vying for the Democratic
presidential nomination. That march, that day in Selma was actually their
first side-by-side appearance in that campaign.

And now this past weekend, President Obama returned to Selma for the
first time since that 2007 march. He was there for the 50th anniversary of
Bloody Sunday, and this time, he stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as the
nation`s first African-American president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The Americans who crossed this bridge, they were not
physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no
elected office but they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had
endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, countless daily indignities,
but they didn`t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised
to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages, not because the
change they want was preordained, not because their victory was complete,
but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible, that love and
hope can conquer hate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The speech ended up running for more than 30 minutes, this
weekend, covered quite a bit of ground.

President Obama addressing the recent Justice Department report in the
Ferguson police department, a report that came out just last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department
of Justice`s Ferguson report shows with respect to race, little has changed
in this country. And I understood the question. The report`s narrative
was sadly familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens
that spawned the civil rights movement.

But I rejected the notion that nothing`s changed. What happened in
Ferguson may not be unique, but it`s no longer endemic. It`s no longer
sanctioned by law or by custom, and before the civil rights movement, it
most surely was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Obama also spoke about patriotism, about what it
means to be a patriot, something that some people said was a response to
former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani`s recent comments about the
president`s patriotism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We are well-served to remember that at the time of the
marches, many in power condemned rather than praise them. Back then they
were called communists or half breeds or outside agitators, sexual and
moral degenerates and, worse, they were called everything but the name
their parents gave them.

Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their
patriotism challenged and yet what could be more American than what
happened in this place?

(APPLAUSE)

What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain
and humble people, unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high
station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition
but many, coming together to shape their country`s course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And on that day, Obama also walked across the Edmund Pettus
Bridge, the bridge where those protesters, where those marchers were beaten
50 years ago. Walked across that bridge with his family and with other
politicians, including former President George W. Bush.

All of them walking in remembrance of that day in 1965 when hundreds
of demonstrators embarked on that 50-mile journey, what was supposed to be
a 50-mile journey from Selma to Montgomery. Instead, they were met with
billy clubs, they were met with tear gas, they were met with state troopers
who beat them in some cases to within an inch of their life on that bridge.

Seventeen demonstrators were hospitalized that day, including now-
Congressman John Lewis who suffered a skull fracture.

In eight days after that march in 1965, eight days later after the
entire nation, after the entire world looked on at what happened on that
bridge, eight days later, President Lyndon Johnson addressed a joint
session of Congress and called on Congress to enact voting rights
legislation, to enact what those marchers had been looking for. Johnson
ended that speech that day with the words “we shall overcome.”

And months after that, the legislation that he called for, that those
demonstrators called for, it was passed by Congress, and it was signed into
law by the president. That was 1965.

Then, just about two years ago, on June 25th, 2013, the United States
Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, struck down
the heart of that law passed in response to Selma in 1965. In a 5-4
decision, the court invalidated a key provision of the law. A provision
that allows some states, mostly states in the South, to change their
election laws without any advanced approval from the federal government.

When that ruling came down in 2013, there were calls for Congress to
act, calls for Congress to make changes to the Voting Rights Act so that it
would still have teeth even after that Supreme Court ruling, which are
calls that have yet to be answered now nearly two years later.

Also, a call that President Obama renewed this weekend in Selma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Right now, in 2015, 50 years after Selma, there are laws
across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote.

As we speak, more such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting
Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the
product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, the Voting
Rights Act stands weakened, its future subject to political rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning
achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic
efforts. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office.
President George W. Bush signed its renewal when he was in office, 100
members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing
to die for the right to protect it.

If we want to honor this day, let that 100 go back to Washington and
gather 400 more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore
that law this year. That`s how we honor those on this bridge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: In politics, we have a tendency sometimes to romanticize
the past, talk about how there used to be more cooperation between the
parties, there used to be less posturing of yesterday`s politicians. Maybe
weren`t quite as obsessed with the next election as today, or how things
used to be better. That`s how we like to talk about politics a lot. And a
lot of that is complete nonsense. A lot of times, it`s just not the case
at all.

But not when it comes to the Voting Rights Act. For decades after
1965 it really was that rarest of things in politics, a truly bipartisan
issue, a nonpartisan issue, maybe even, one that both parties were for
overwhelmingly. Ronald Reagan, he signed its renewal back in 1982.
President George W. Bush, another Republican who again was there this
weekend sitting beside the first lady. George W. Bush, he also championed
and signed the renewal of the Voting Rights Act less than 10 years ago in
2006.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The Voting Rights Act that broke
the segregationists` lock on the ballot box rose from the courage shown on
a Selma bridge one Sunday afternoon in march of 1965. On that day African-
Americans, including a member of the United States Congress, John Lewis –

(APPLAUSE)

– marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a protest intended to
highlight the unfair practices that kept them off the voter roll.

I am proud to sign the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and
Amendments Act of 2006.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: George W. Bush back in 2006 saying he was proud to sign
into law the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. And the Senate vote
that made that signing possible back in 2006, the vote on the Voting Rights
Act in the Senate that year, 98-0 unanimous vote. And in the House that
year, it wasn`t exactly unanimous but it was overwhelming, overwhelming and
bipartisan, 33 no votes, 33 Republican no votes against it, everyone else
voting was for it. The overwhelming majority of Republicans for that in
2006.

But in 2013, the Voting Rights Act was dealt that severe blow by the
Supreme Court and since then things have changed. Congressman Bob
Goodlatte of Virginia, he`s the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,
told reporters he doesn`t think any changes to the Voting Rights Act are
need right now. That even without what the Supreme Court took out of it,
the Voting Rights Act provides the protections it needs to provide.
Goodlatte, by the way, actually did vote to reauthorize the Voting Rights
Act back in 2006. He was one of the yes votes.

So, this used to be a bipartisan thing. It really though – it really
no longer is. Yes, there are some Republicans like then-House Majority
Leader Eric Cantor who talked about working with Democrats to restore key
parts of the law after the ruling.

But Eric Cantor is gone. He was booted out in the Republican primary
last year. In fact, as of Friday evening, the night before the president
was to speak in Selma, as of Friday evening, there were no members of the
Republican congressional leadership who thought the 50th anniversary of
Selma was important enough to send anyone, until a last-minute change of
heart when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, when the number two
Republican in the House, announced he would, in fact, make the trip. He
did make the trip. He was there on Saturday in Selma.

Today, only a small handful of Republicans in Congress say that they
see a need for the Voting Rights Act to be restored fully – Republicans
like Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM SENSENBRENNER (R), WISCONSIN: I am committed to restoring
the Voting Rights Act as an effective tool to prevent discrimination, more
subtle discrimination now than overt discrimination. My job is to fix the
Voting Rights Act.

Now, the first thing we have to do is to take the monkey wrench that
the court threw in it out of the Voting Rights Act and then use that monkey
wrench to be able to fix it so that it is alive, well constitutional, and
impervious to another challenge that will be filed by the usual suspects.
I`m with you on this.

(APPLAUSE)

This is something that has to be done by the end of the year so that a
revised and constitutional Voting Rights Act is in place before the 2014
election season, both primaries and general elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Has to be done by the end of the year. The year
Congressman Sensenbrenner was talking about there, 2013, two years ago.

Now, Sensenbrenner is sponsoring a bill with Democratic Congressman
John Conyers of Michigan, a bill that would reinstate parts of the Voting
Rights Act that the Supreme Court gutted out.

There were only six Republicans who are co-sponsoring the bill, six
Republicans out of all of the Republicans nearly 250 of them in the House
of Representatives.

Among those Republicans who are co-sponsoring that bill, Republican
Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.

And joining us now is Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of
Pennsylvania.

Congressman, I really appreciate you taking a few minutes to join us
tonight.

Let me – let me just start with the bottom line question. The bill
that you have your name on, we talked about the margins back in 2006 when
it was 390-33 in the House to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. If the
bill with your name on it right now came to the floor and got a vote, would
it pass?

REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Absolutely.

And, Steve, thanks for having me on the show.

I absolutely believe that the Sensenbrenner bill that would
reauthorize the Voting Rights Act that changes the formula would pass
overwhelmingly. There would be strong Republican support. True, only six
Republican co-sponsors, but I believe there`s considerably more Republican
support for the bill than there are co-sponsors.

KORNACKI: So, what is the holdup here?

Because I look back, we say this used to be such a bipartisan issue
and really when you look back at the voting rights debate back in the `60s,
it wasn`t just moderate liberal Republicans, but some of the most
conservative Republicans in Congress back then were behind the Voting
Rights Act in the 1960s, and that was a story as we say through Reagan and
Bush. So, if you say the vast majority of Republicans would be for it now,
this thing would pass easily.

Why isn`t it getting a vote?

DENT: Well, obviously, the bill has been held up in the committee,
and you`re correct, Steve, back in the 1960s, I believe larger percentages
of Republicans voted for the Voting Rights Act than did Democrats back
then. So there is great Republican support for that.

But right now, I think there`s some issues with some on the Judiciary
Committee and I`m not sure why I understand what their issues are. That
said, what Sensenbrenner laid out I think is a very – I think he threads
the needle, let`s put it that way. He threads the needle. He protects
states` rights and voting rights, and he does it in a way to prevent
discrimination, and I think it should be given a very serious – very
serious look by my colleagues. It`s a good way to proceed.

In fact, under the Sensenbrenner bill, four states would automatically
be in preclearance as opposed to nine that were in preclearance under the
old formula. So, I think it really does strike a good balance. You
mentioned Congressman John Lewis, you know, an icon of the civil rights
movement. He`s very supportive of this bill and others.

So, I believe if this thing ever gets a fair consideration in the
House floor, it`s going to sail through – just like in 2006 when I voted
for that reauthorization, as well. I was proud to support it. Again, this
Voting Rights Act is the most significant piece of civil rights legislation
ever passed in American history.

KORNACKI: Let me – let me ask you this way in terms of where
resistance might be coming from. I don`t imagine we would hear this
publicly. But in politics, it`s true on basically any issue in politics.
Politicians often think about – selfishly about their own political self-
interests.

Are there Republicans you think who look at this and say President
Obama got something like 97 percent, 98 percent of the black vote,
Democrats routinely get 90 percent-plus of the black vote. In the last 50
years, since 1965 there hasn`t been a single Republican presidential
candidate who`s gotten more than 20 percent support among black voters.

Is there a self-interest, politically, here for Republicans where they
look at this and say there is simply nothing in this for us, that if we do
this, we`re helping Democrats?

DENT: No, I really don`t. I think there are some members probably
representing the states that are in preclearance that feel like they`ve
been on the probation list forever and that their states are not the same
today as they were in 1965 and, therefore, that there should be – they
should be given better consideration than has been the case given their
history.

Now, that said, the Sensenbrenner bill does allow jurisdictions.
States that have been violation-free for ten years, they`re out of
preclearance. I think that`s really the issue. And I say preclearance for
your listeners. I mean, many of these states must have the justice
department approve whatever changes those states make to their election
laws. And so, those states always had to go through Justice Department.

But there`s a way for them to get out. Now, we set up a national
model, so any jurisdiction could potentially go into preclearance if they
behave poorly.

So, I don`t believe any Republicans are looking at this saying, boy,
we haven`t done well in the African-American community. Therefore, we
should punish them by not approving the Voting Rights Act. I don`t think
that`s the case at all.

I do believe our members are – I think some still have questions
because this formula can be a little complex for some who aren`t familiar
with it. But it strikes the right balance. Sensenbrenner has done a great
job with it.

KORNACKI: All right. Republican Congressman Charlie Dent from
Pennsylvania, one of the Republicans sponsoring that bill to restore the
Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court ruling – thank you for your time
tonight. Really appreciate it.

DENT: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. We have a lot to get to tonight, including some
really fascinating and surprising new information about the 2016
presidential race. Brand new polling out tonight that will surprise you.

Plus, a brief appearance by Kim Kardashian on this show. Just don`t
tell Rachel. I promise it is for a good cause.

A lot more ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: This was the scene in the Wisconsin state capitol today,
hundreds of people filling the rotunda in Madison to protest the shooting
death of an unarmed black 19-year-old named Tony Robinson, shooting by a
white police officer. Many of those heard chanting slogans like “No
justice, no peace” and “black lives matter” were students from local high
schools around the city, as well as from the University of Wisconsin.
Students left their classes there this morning and marched down to the
state capitol for a third day of protesting.

On Friday, a veteran Madison police officer responded to a call about
a suspect jumping in and out of traffic after having assaulted someone.
The officer then pursued the suspect, that`s Tony Robinson, into a nearby
apartment. And the officer forced his way into that apartment. Police
officials say the unarmed teenager assaulted the officer before the officer
shot and killed him.

Today, the Madison chief of police apologized in an online post to the
family of the slain teen saying, quote, “Reconciliation cannot begin
without my stating I am sorry. I don`t think I can say this enough. I am
sorry.”

The shooting is being investigated by the Wisconsin division of
criminal investigation, which is part of the state`s Department of Justice.
According to a state law passed in 2014, which is thought to be the first
of its kind, an outside agency must investigate all officer-involved deaths
and once that review is complete, the Dane County district attorney is
going to determine if charges will be filed.

This was the third straight day of protests over the shooting death of
this teenager in Wisconsin. We`re watching the story very closely.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wisconsin is now officially a right-to-work state.
Governor Walker signing into law that controversial bill that makes union
dues optional for workers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signing into law a bill
today to make his state a so-called right-to-work state. It`s a major blow
to unions in Wisconsin, passed the state assembly in a party line vote, all
the Democrats voting against it, all the Republicans voting for it.

In right-to-work states, workers can choose not to pay union dues if
they don`t want to even though, as union backers point out, they can still
reap the benefits of a contract that union negotiates.

Waging political war with unions has become one of Scott Walker`s
calling cards. Remember the massive protests back in 2010 when he signed a
law dramatically curbing the power of public employee unions?

But the effort to recall Walker from office over that failed. He also
won re-election as governor just last fall – meaning he has now won three
statewide elections just since 2010. And this is a story that he, Scott
Walker, believes can make him the Republican candidate for president next
year. The idea that he is someone who has pursued a deeply and
aggressively conservative agenda in a Democratic state and still managed to
win elections in that state.

And here`s the thing – he may be right. Tonight, hot off the
presses, we have brand new numbers from the NBC News/”Wall Street Journal”
poll. These are numbers that show how excited Republicans across the
country are about Walker and these are numbers that are very ominous for
the supposed front-runner for Jeb Bush.

I want to take you through his numbers now and show you those two
things. First of all, the bad news for Jeb Bush and the opening that
creates for someone like Scott Walker. So, let`s take a look at this.
This, first of all, gets to the argument that Jeb Bush wants to be making
to Republicans about electability and the idea he`s the Republican best
positioned to win next year.

Well, look at this. All voters, Democrats, Republicans, independents,
do you have a positive or negative view of these major political figures?
See Bill Clinton doing well, Hillary Clinton pretty good for a potential
candidate. Barack Obama.

Look at this, though. George W. Bush right now more popular with all
voters than Jeb Bush. George W. Bush, who left office in 2008 with an
approval rating of about 30 percent is more popular right now according to
our poll than Jeb Bush. Very tough for Jeb Bush to look at Republicans and
say, hey, I`m the most electable when he`s running below his brother,
George W., in that question.

How about this? Look back to a 1999 – this is what I mean. When
George W. Bush was running for president, himself, at the same point in the
2000 cycle, this same question in this same poll, he came in at 55 percent
positive, 14 percent negative. His brother today, 23 percent positive.

When George W. Bush was running and telling Republicans to get on
board with me because I can win, these are the numbers they were looking
at. Very, very different story.

There`s more we can show you here – this is Jeb – excuse me, Jeb
against Hillary Clinton on the question of which one of these would be a
return to the past or which one has new ideas? Sixty percent saying that
Jeb Bush would represent a return to the past, old policies, past policies
as opposed to new ideas. Hillary Clinton, you know, 51 percent, not
exactly a good one, 51 percent saying she`d represent a return to the past.
But that is a bigger problem for Jeb Bush. Again, that gets to the
electability issue.

Then there`s this, if you look at Republicans, you look at Republican
voters and you say, could you see yourself supporting this candidate or
could you not see yourself supporting this candidate? So, this is
measuring sort of basic acceptability of all these candidates to Republican
voters.

What jumps out at you here? Look who does the best, 53 percent of
Republicans right now say, yes, I could see myself supporting Scott Walker
in this primary next year. Only 17 percent saying no. That`s a spread of
36 points.

You see Marco Rubio doing pretty well, Ben Carson doing pretty well,
Mike Huckabee doing pretty well. Go down a little bit and Jeb Bush
clocking in, 49 percent saying, yes, they could support him. Just under
half, 42 percent saying no. A spread of only seven points.

Look at that difference. Plus 36 for Walker, plus 7 for Jeb Bush.
That`s a big problem for Jeb Bush early on.

And now, how about this, take a look at this. If you looked at the
top two in the horse race or at this same stage going back to the 1988
cycle. Early 1987, if you took the Republican race for president, George
Bush Sr. against Bob Dole, they were one and two in the polls. George Bush
was clearly ahead of Bob Dole back then by 20 points.

In 1996, early 1995 that stage of the cycle, Dole was crushing Phil
Gramm.

How about George W. Bush in 1999 crushing Elizabeth Dole. You could
see they were way out ahead at this point in the cycle.

Only two recent nominees weren`t, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney
in 2011. At this point, they were running in the teens. You remember,
they both had lots of trouble getting the nomination.

We`ll take a look. Where does Jeb Bush fall if you average all the
polls taken, Republican polls for president on average, Scott Walker is
leading Jeb Bush right now, 16.2 percent, 15 percent points. Jeb Bush, the
supposed front-runner, just 15.8 percent averaging puts him in that
McCain/Romney territory, and that`s the threat of Scott Walker. Mitt
Romney was able to survive in 2012 because he had very, very weak
opponents. Ultimately, he was running against Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich,
Rick Santorum.

Well, Jeb Bush is going to be running against Scott Walker. Could be
a different match up for him.

This is a very good news for Walker, very bad news for Jeb Bush in
this NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll. And we will be back with more of the
show right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, here are two things I really don`t know that much
about. Pop culture and the tech industry but I learned today that the
mega-giant of the tech word, Apple, is worth about 10,000 times more than
the megaist of the megastars, Kim Kardashian – and that is newly important
to today`s news. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We talked earlier in the show about how only at the last
minute did Republican congressional leaders send a representative to Selma
this weekend. Well, there was also one major political figure who was
absent, conspicuously absent from Selma this week, Hillary Clinton.

Instead of being in Selma, Clinton was in Miami on Saturday for an
event sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative. The decision to go to
her family foundation event over the Selma anniversary earned Hillary
Clinton some bad press.

It`s also a reminder the heat is starting to turn up on her. By all
measures, she`s getting ready to run for president again and so she`s going
to be facing more and more scrutiny over her decisions.

And the criticism over her decision to skip Selma is nothing compared
to the other thing on Hillary Clinton`s plate right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL PLANTE, CBS EVENING NEWS: Mr. President when, did you first
learn that Hillary Clinton used an e-mail system outside the U.S.
government for official business while she was secretary of state?

OBAMA: At the same time everybody else learned it through news
reports.

REPORTER: Do you think your wife`s been treated fairly with the e-
mails?

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I`m not the one to judge that.
I have an opinion, but I have a bias.

REPORTER: What`s your opinion?

REPORTER: President Clinton, what`s your opinion.

CLINTON: I shouldn`t be making news on this.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: What I would like for her to
come forward and say what the situation is because she is the pre-eminent
political figure right now. She is the leading candidate, whether it
within Republican or Democrat for the next – to be the next president and
I think that she needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the
situation is. You know, some people say, well, she has a server in her –

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Do you think the silence is hurting her?

FEINSTEIN: I think at this point, from this point on, the server –
the silence is going to hurt her.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KORNACKI: That was Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from
California just yesterday, telling NBC`s Chuck Todd that Hillary Clinton
needs to explain why as secretary of state she conducted all of her
official State Department business over a personal e-mail account.

Clinton has been plagued by bad press about this topic ever since “New
York Times” broke the story last week. Now to be clear, Hillary Clinton
remains the overwhelming favorite, stress that, the overwhelming favorite
to win the Democratic nomination for president next year. In a new NBC
poll out just tonight, the number of Democrats who say they can see
themselves supporting her is a whopping 86 percent.

And Democratic women in the Senate have basically been a united front
in her favor for awhile now, for example, on this show, Rachel`s tried to
make the case that moderate Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is perhaps
the most electable Democrat out there right now.

But McCaskill has been adamant. She says she wants Hillary to run.
She says she`ll support her if she does.

So, now, for Dianne Feinstein, for a fellow Democrat, for a powerful
longtime member of the U.S. Senate to come out and say Hillary needs to
step up and speak out about the e-mail situation, to say she`ll be in
trouble if she doesn`t do that – well, that`s a pretty big deal. It`s
also not Clinton`s strategy or at least it hasn`t been her strategy so far.
It`s been more than a week and still hasn`t said anything in public about
any of this.

She did put out one tweet saying that she`s asked the State Department
to release her e-mails, but in general this scan dell is yet another
reminded of just how long Hillary Clinton has been out of day-to-day
campaign-style politics and even though she remains a huge public figure,
she has been able to stay on the spotlight mostly on her terms for the last
few years.

The question now, is can she afford to keep trying to do that. Can
she afford to keep ignoring questions, to keep refusing interviews, to keep
staying out of public except for occasional and highly scripted appearances
where she only talks about what she wants to talk about and nothing else.

Another new 2016 poll that just came out today, the Marist poll, show
Scott Walker, one of her potential Republican challengers, closing in on
her. She may in great shape with her own party but what about the rest of
the country? How does all this look to them?

There are signs that people in the Clinton camp are beginning to take
this more seriously. Longtime supporters like James Carville and Lanny
Davis now coming to her defense vociferously. And just over the past few
hours, reports have emerged that she will finally address the e-mail
situation at some point this week, maybe within the next few days.

So, what should we expect? Will it signal a turning point in Hillary
Clinton`s strategy and will it be enough to curb the slew of bad press
she`s received?

Joining us now is Anne Gearan, reporter for “The Washington Post”,
covering Hillary Clinton.

Thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.

ANNE GEARAN, “THE WASHINGTON POST” NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT:
Thank you. Happy to be here.

KORNACKI: Well, so let me ask you what you`re hearing then. We`ve
heard nothing from Hillary Clinton publicly for a week now. Are you
hearing that we will hear from her in the next couple of days?

GEARAN: Well, I mean we haven`t – not that we haven`t heard anything
from her publicly. She has been part of a couple of the sort of scripted
events that you –

KORNACKI: Right. But on the e-mail question, we`ve heard zero,
except for this week.

GEARAN: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

I mean, when Dianne Feinstein says you`re doing it wrong, you have a
problem, and she has to confront that problem because it`s gone beyond the
argument that she and her defenders can make that this is not a big deal or
a completely manufactured Republican hit job. It`s definitely gone beyond
that at this point.

So, she will have to respond. We don`t know in what venue, we don`t
know exactly when, but she will have to do this in some way that directly
and fully confronts the major question involved here, which is why was the
e-mail system set up the way it was when it was? What was her thinking at
the time?

KORNACKI: And when Dianne Feinstein comes out, as we say, it`s a big
deal. It is the fact that somebody in her own party, when she has those
poll numbers, would say that. Does that speak to something broader in the
Democratic Party right now, frustrations with how she`s handled this issue,
maybe frustrations with how she`s handling public appearances in general?

GEARAN: Well, I can`t speak for Dianne Feinstein, but there
definitely is a sentiment that sort of where there`s frustration on two
fronts. One is, why hasn`t the Clinton camp handled this better? That`s
sort of a short-term problem.

And, then, the second source of frustration is the idea that she`s it,
and whatever she says goes. And you alluded to this a bit in your
introduction. I mean, she has been able to dictate the terms of just about
everything so far and in a way that she certainly wasn`t able to when she
ran eight years ago, and the way – or six years ago – and the way the
Republicans are now. I mean, we got a zillion Republicans out there, and
they`re all, you know, having a feeding frenzy on one another.

There simply isn`t that same dynamic happening on the Democratic side.
She`s it. So when –

KORNACKI: She`s the only show in town.

GEARAN: She`s the only show in town, and when she says she`s going to
do something, she does it on her own terms, and when she doesn`t feel like
doing it, apparently thus far, she`s been able to not do it.

This is a real test I think in terms of how far – like how long is
that leash? How far does she get to say I`m not playing that game? I`m
not doing things the way you want me to do.

KORNACKI: Yes. So, I mean, what about, too, what we`re hearing
today, Lanny Davis is out there, James Carville out there on networks
saying all of this basically saying he kept saying all of this, all of the
questions about her e-mails and all of the things she has yet to address
publicly, these are just right wing talking points. It reminds me of her
initial response to the Lewinsky scandal, a vast right wing conspiracy. It
seems like they`re trying to bring that language back into this. Can they
do that?

GEARAN: Well, I mean, respectfully, no. I mean, if it – you don`t
have to have talked to any Republican in the last week to have the same
basic question I posed a moment ago, why did she set up a parallel e-mail
system to the State Department one?

I mean, there may be an explanation for it. Great. Let`s hear it.
But that has nothing to do with it being a Republican hit job. That`s a
simple question of public accountability.

KORNACKI: Right, and especially when there`s the fact here as well
that the president himself, that this was his administration saying you
can`t be keeping things –

GEARAN: Oh, and, by the way, the president was e-mailing with her on
that account. It`s not like it was a secret.

KORNACKI: Right.

All right. Anne Gearan, reporter for “The Washington Post” – thank
you for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.

GEARAN: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. When was the last time you gave much thought to
your wrists? That`s right. Your wrists.

Take a moment to ponder the humble wrist because it turns out the
wrist is the key to the future of everything. We`re going to try to
explain that, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Today in rural Halifax County, North Carolina, this
happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to get down. (INAUDIBLE) oh, my God.
Oh, my God. Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That is an Amtrak train ultimately bound for New York
striking the flatbed of a tractor trailer head-on at a grade crossing
around noon today, and upon impact, the train`s engine and car behind it
immediately derailed, went airborne along with the tractor trailer. The
trailer`s load was separated and pushed down the tracks.

Officials say at least 55 of the train`s passengers were injured.
None of the injuries, though appear to be life-threatening at least at this
time. The train was carrying 212 passengers and 8 crew members.

This Amtrak crash was not only the major train derailment that
happened in just the last 48 hours. That story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, here`s a good news/bad news situation for you. You may
remember the oil train derailment in Western Illinois we told you about
last week. Twenty-one cars full of oil went off the tracks. Two exploded.
Three others caught fire. That fire burned for three days after that.

The good news is that fire is finally out, and an EPA official says
they have not seen any oil in the Galena River, so that is the good news.

And now, here is the bad news. It`s from Ontario, Canada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Flumes of smoke continue to billow as crews try to put out
burning tanker cars full of crude oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enormous, enormous amount of flames.

REPORTER: More than 30 cars derailed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just heard a big boom.

REPORTER: No one was hurt in the nearby town of Gogama, but five cars
fell into this river. Many say this could have been far worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if it had been another two kilometers, and
it would happen in the middle of the village? You can imagine the size of
the fire just by the size of the smoke coming out of there. Gogama could
be gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Thirty-eight cars derailed Saturday morning. It`s not
clear how many are on fire.

Canada`s Transportation Safety Board apparently doubled the number of
investigators at the scene today. They are still unable to actually
investigate, though. A TSB spokesperson saying today, quote, “The fire is
still burning, we`re not able to access the accident site so we have to
wait.”

This was the third oil train derailment in northern Ontario in less
than a month, also the second in this area around Gogama. In fact, the
local in-keeper said her hotel was still full of workers cleaning up from
the last crash.

Here in the U.S., every time one of these trains has blown up, it`s
not been in a populated area, but Canada hasn`t been so lucky. They lost a
whole downtown and 47 people to one of these trains.

Someday, our luck is probably going to run out, too. This is a photo
from one of our viewers showing the CSX oil train line running right
through the center of Philadelphia, and in the background, that
construction site? It`s a new office and research facility for the
children`s hospital of Philadelphia, right along those tracks.

What could go wrong?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM COOK, CEO OF APPLE: Apple Watch is the most personal device we
have ever created. It`s not just with you. It`s on you. You can see
things like weather. Your calendar, right from your wrist you can receive
messages.

You can receive calls on your watch. I have been wanting to do this
since I was 5 years old. The day is finally here.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right. Full disclosure now, I really have no idea what
any of that means. I know that Apple`s CEO Tim Cook held another one of
his big blowout events today. Today`s headliner was the Apple Watch, which
apparently is going to be available next month. It`s a wearable device
that pairs with your iPhone, lets you do everything from checking e-mail
and weather, and, of course, the time, it monitors your health, order Uber,
pay your bar tab, answer a call. Prices of this thing start at 349 bucks.
There are multiple face sizes, multiple straps that escalate the price
quickly.

And I know it`s going to be a huge hit because I know it`s an Apple
product and Apple products are always big hits. And this is not – this
show is not supposed to be QVC. It usually is not about covering the
latest gadgets and gismos. If it was that, I wouldn`t be the guy here to
guest host it tonight. But the announcement from Apple is a different
thing.

Back in September, when the Apple Watch was first announced, one of
the show`s most popular guests was on hand for it and hailed it as an
iPhone or iPad level moment. This is Xeni today wearing the luxury version
of the new Apple watch which is fitted with super-durable 18 karat Apple
gold if that`s really a thing. It will run you more than $10,000, $10,000.

I thought watches were supposed to go the way of fax machines. I
don`t wear a watch anymore because I have a cell phone and the cell phone
is supposed to replace the watch. That`s what I thought.

So, it`s hard for me to understand importance of a development like
this. Seriously, this is what I picture when I think of Apple`s developers
and designers hard at work. It`s completely foreign to me, and that is
exactly why I`m bringing in a specialist.

Joining us now is someone the show trusts implicitly when it comes to
these issues. Xeni Jardin is co-editor of boingboing.net, THE RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW`s in-house tech Sherpa.

So, thanks for taking a few minutes to set me straight.

So, let me ask you a really a basic question. I thought they don`t
wear wristwatches anymore, we don`t want anything, because we got the
iPhone, the iPhone`s got the time on it, it`s got our e-mail, it`s got
everything.

What`s going on here?

XENI JARDIN, TECH CULTURE JOURNALIST: Steve, it`s not about the tick
tock. This is – it`s like a benevolent Trojan horse. This is a very
small networked computer that you wear in a familiar form factor of a wrist
watch. But this – the idea behind the Apple Watch is wearable computing,
wearable communication.

So, the ability to, as you mentioned, pay for goods and services with
a flick of your wrist, to read your heartbeat, to send your heartbeat to
your loved ones, or draw a little doodle to your wife or your kids or your
mom. All kinds of things are possible.

And as with other Apple products, like when the iPad launched, it`s
one of those design moments where you don`t know that you actually need it
until you have it in your hands.

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, is that part of the appeal of Apple here,
too? I say I know it`s going to be a hit because it`s an Apple product.
Can Apple basically put anything out and people are going to buy it? They
can make up a – oh, yes, you really need this gizmatron for your kitchen
and everybody would buy it because it`s Apple?

JARDIN: You know, if they did start making kitchen gadgets, honestly,
I probably – I was joking about this earlier today with other journalists.
At this point they have a strong enough track record with innovative
products, at the end of the day, we`re just going to be suckers and try
them out.

But I think what`s most interesting about the watch is not what
happens at launch. This is the tip of the iceberg. And I think once
they`re out there in the wild and developers start trying new things that
are a little bit off brand or maybe even conflict with Apple`s ideas of
what ought to be happening with the watch, that`s when things are going to
get interesting.

And part of what`s so interesting is apple has this huge, huge
footprint. They have a massive App Store, massive user base. So, it`s
completely different than an upstart company trying something similar.

KORNACKI: I guess in the doomsday science fiction world or whatever,
when we talk about the sort of advance of technology, you talk about we`re
turning into robots, the rise of the robots, that kind of thing. But I got
to tell you, when you look at this thing, it seems like you`re packing,
you`re condensing more and more functionality, more and more purposes into
a smaller and smaller thing that now we`re going to be wearing, apparently.
And it does – I do look at it, and I think this is the mark to becoming a
robot.

JARDIN: Relax, Steve. It`s going to be fun. It`s a smaller device,
so you won`t get in trouble as often for diverting your attention away from
the people or things you actually want to enjoy. I think the idea is to
get the device out of the way and make the computing and communication
experience what`s really the focus.

KORNACKI: And I`m gong back to wall-mounted clocks and, you know,
yes. Anyway –

JARDIN: Or wear your grandfather clock on your wrist, right?

KORNACKI: Exactly. Something like that.

JARDIN: I`m with you.

KORNACKI: Xeni Jardin, co-editor of boingboing.net, times for your
time tonight, I appreciate it.

JARDIN: Thank you, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. That does it for us tonight. Rachel`s going to
be back tomorrow.

Now, it is time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”

Good evening to you, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, THE LAST WORD: Steve, the Apple Watch was
explained in 1899, by a very important economist of the day. Two words:
conspicuous consumption.

KORNACKI: There it is.

O`DONNELL: That`s all it is. Steve, thank you very much.

KORNACKI: All right, Lawrence.

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

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