The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/27/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Happy first day to your little boy,
Chris. I had to do my eye make up twice because I made the mistake of
doing it while you wished him happy birthday.
HAYES: He`s so cute.
MADDOW: He`s really, really cute, and you`re a very sweet dad.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is
indifference. If you`re a public, particularly a political public figure,
there is nothing to worry about if people hate you, and that`s because
hate, first and foremost, is a form of attention, and politicians need
attention like fish need water right? Like macaroni needs cheese, like
Burt needs Ernie.
Politicians need attention. Hate is a form of attention.
Also the hate of one group of people can sometimes be leveraged into
admiration or even love from some other group of people who hate the ones
who hate you. Hate itself is not the problem. Particularly if you`re
running for office and you are in the primary part of the campaign. You`re
not trying to get a vast swath of people to sign up with you, you`re just
trying to energize a big enough sliver of people that you come out on top
of all the other candidates, who have a slightly worse ratio than you do,
of the sliver of people who hate, versus the sliver of people who love you.
Hate for a national level politician – for, say, a politician
running for president in 2016 – hate is nothing to worry about. What you
have to worry about is when they stop bothering to hate you.
On the left side of your screen is New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie. On the right side of your screen is former congressman, former
Republican candidate for president, full-time anti-immigration professional
torn in the side, Tom Tancredo.
Last year, Tom Tancredo ran for governor in Colorado, or at least he
tried to. He never became the Republican Party`s candidate for governor
because he lost the primary. He lost the Republican primary to a former
congressman named Bob Beauprez. Now, at the time, the head of the
Republican Governors Association nationwide was New Jersey Republican
Governor Chris Christie.
And it was the state of policy of Chris Christie`s group that they
would not pick favorites in primaries. Yes, it`s their job to make sure as
many Republican governors as possible get elected in November, but they
said they wouldn`t pick sides in the states as to who the Republican Party
in each state should nominate to run in the general election.
Well, Tom Tancredo in Colorado, he lost that Republican primary for
governor in that state, and Tom Tancredo believed, he still believes, that
the reason he lost the primary is because Chris Christie lied about not
getting involved in that primary. According to Tom Tancredo`s view of
things it may have been the policy of the Republican Governors Association
under Chris Christie not to interfere in this Colorado primary, but Tom
Tancredo believes that Chris Christie did. He believes that Chris Christie
engineered a win for Bob Beauprez over Tom Tancredo. And then, of course,
Bob Beauprez went on to lose the general election to the Democrat in
November, even though Republicans basically ran the table everywhere else
in the country, including doing really well in their other big Colorado
Tom Tancredo not only believes he would have been the Republican
nominee for governor in Colorado last year, were it not for that meddling
Chris Christie. Tancredo also believes he would have actually been
Colorado`s governor by now, except for that guy from New Jersey who Tom
Tancredo cannot stand.
And so, in November, a super PAC was born. It had the admirable
title the “Stop Chris Christie PAC.” This is their web site. It`s formed
in November by Tom Tancredo.
Mr. Tancredo did a great interview with MSNBC last year where he
explained that stopping Chris Christie`s run for the presidency is his new
reason for living. Literally, he called it his raison d`etre.
But now, that was only November. Now, something has changed. The
Stop Chris Christie PAC has only existed since November but now Tom
Tancredo is now giving it up. He is shelving the whole thing and he says
he won`t raise money for his Stop Chris Christie PAC anymore.
But check out the reason. He tells MSNBC`s Aliyah Frumin today this,
quote, “It would not probably be worth the time that we put into it because
now, nobody believes Chris Christie has a chance.” Quote, “I don`t think
anybody is going to give money to stop Chris Christie because he is someone
who they believe is probably stopped already.”
Tom Tancredo is giving up raising money to Stop Chris Christie with
Stop Chris Christie PAC, because he thinks there`s no point in raising
money to stop a guy who has no chance anyway no matter what anybody does.
And that is something coming from a guy who was most famous for losing high
profile elections, right?
I mean, whether or not Tom Tancredo is right, and there is no point
in trying to stop Chris Christie because there`s really no risk of him
going anywhere in this national campaign, Governor Chris Christie is still
out doing things that look very much like him running for president.
Tonight, he is doing a Republican fundraising event in Michigan. On
Tuesday, the quarter is going to close for this quarter`s fundraising.
Part of the reason that Chris Christie on paper looked like he might be
competitive for the Republican nomination for president is it was assumed
he`d be able to get all of the big Wall Street money, all the major donor
establishment money on the Republican side of the ledger.
That`s why Tuesday is going to be so important for Chris Christie,
and the all important question for him as to whether or not his campaign is
basically already stopped. If he has not been able to raise any
significant money, if he`s got nothing else to cite in terms of his
expected fundraising, that`s deadly for him in his presidential campaign,
because he really doesn`t have anything going for him in the asset column.
He doesn`t have anything that might put him at the top of the PAC in the
race for the nomination, unless it`s huge money.
Republican based voters don`t like Chris Christie. Iowa Republican
voters don`t seem to like Chris Christie very much. New Hampshire
Republicans don`t even seem to like him any better than anybody else in the
The big thing Chris Christie was going to have was the money – the
big, establishment high dollar money. Instead, it looks like that big
money has been going to Jeb Bush, who just out-maneuvered Governor Christie
and the Republican mega donor ATM line.
So, this is really worth watching over the weekend – the last few
frenzied days before the quarter closes on Tuesday. It`s really worth over
the weekend and over the next three to four days, before that quarter
closes on Tuesday, because what happens on Tuesday, if the numbers look as
people expect they`re going to look, that could be an even worse sign for
Governor Christie`s presidential hopes, than the stop Chris Christie PAC
being shutdown for lack of perceived need to try to stop him.
As we head toward that potential death kneel fundraising deadline on
Tuesday, Jeb Bush is really pulling out all of the stops to try to just
bury everybody else – to bury any potential rivals, to shock everyone with
a huge lead that he`s got in money so his rivals drop out, or decide not to
get in, so donors see that no one else but him looks like a available
candidate. A mega number fro Jeb Bush could do that. That`s how his
brother did it 15 years ago.
George W. Bush raised so much money so early when he was first
running in 1999 and 2000 that he effectively knocked all of the other
Republicans out of the race and got to enjoy being the inevitable
Republican nominee in the year 2000.
Of course, that`s sensitive subject. Jeb Bush doesn`t like people
making references to his brother or to his father when they consider his
own run for the presidency this year. Jeb Bush`s de facto kick off
campaign speech was organized to get across one simple message, “I am my
He said at that kick off speech, “I love my father, and brother. I
even love my mother. I hope that`s OK. But I am my own man.” And
everybody dutifully wrote that down, “I am my own man.”
And now that we have that out of the way, my mom would like to talk
to you about donating to my super PAC. And also, my brother would like to
talks to you about donating to my soup every super PAC. And now today, my
dad would like to talk to you about donating to my super PAC.
They should rename this thing the “I am my own man Bush family” super
PAC. Collect them all.
I am my own man. Don`t think about my family. My family would like
to talk to you about my run for the presidency. Do you have your wallet?
In addition to Chris Christie and Jeb Bush competing for the biggest
donors in the party, it will also be interesting to see the kind of money
that Scott Walker has been able to pull in since he is being seen right now
as the one possibly plausible alternative to Jeb Bush getting the
Republican nomination. Scott Walker gets lots of positive press. He`s in
a press honey moon right now. People giving him lots of slack on legal
gaffes and stuff.
Nobody in the national press for example, even pick up on the Yahoo
News story this past week Scott Walker`s secret donations from the richest
man in Wisconsin, and what that donor has also received from Scott Walker`s
state government since those secret donations came in.
Scott Walker is in a bit of a honeymoon period right now. The press
is treating him as Jeb Bush`s only real rifle. But they`re really only
printing positive things about him. Everybody is talking about how he`s
just blowing people away on the campaign trail, charming everyone as he
travels the country and gets ready to start this campaign.
And that press honeymoon is why when a liberal group in Wisconsin
said today that Scott Walker is prepared to be commander-in-chief, he said
that he was prepared to be commander-in-chief, he`s prepared to be
president, because he`s an Eagle Scout. When that headline popped in the
political press today, all day today, I kept seeing headlines about that
and references to that and all day today I thought it was a metaphor. I
thought like, oh, Scott Walker is finally getting critical press. He must
have made a clumsy response to a question about his qualifications.
It turns out no, it is literal. He really said he is ready to be
president and not worried about the responsibilities of being president and
being commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States because
of his own experience in the boy scouts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEWITT: Does the prospect of being commander-in-chief daunt you
because the world that you describe when you were talking about safety is
going to require commitments of American men and women abroad obviously at
some point. And how do you think about that?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: It`s an appropriate question. As
a kid, I was in scouts and one of the things I was proudest of when I was
in the scouts is earning the rank of Eagle. Being an Eagle Scout is one of
the few things that gives a kid that you are not in the past. It is
something you are. And so, every time I go to an Eagle Scout ceremony, I
go during and speak to the young man who`s gotten the rank and I say, I`m
not here to congratulate you. I`m here on behalf of all of the other Eagle
Scouts like me to issue a charge to you, to tell you that because you`ve
attained this rank, you are now for the rest of your life responsible for
living up to the calling of an Eagle Scout.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And that`s why I`m qualified to be president of the United
States. That was the question. Are you daunted by the prospect of being
commander-in-chief of the armed forces? Hey, I was an Eagle Scout. Yay,
for Eagle Scouts. Eagle Scouts are awesome.
Also, it is hard to see how long Scott Walker`s honeymoon in the
press is going to keep lasting if he keeps talking in public and people
keep accurately writing down what he says.
That event where he said he was qualified to be president because he
was an Eagle Scout, that event was apparently supposed to be closed to the
press. But a Democratic tracker apparently got in and sent that around.
So, there is one last thing to keep an eye on, at this turning point
phase that we`re in in terms of national politics. The number one dark
horse possible candidate for the presidency, the number one guy who is not
obviously in the race already but who party insiders pined for in 2008 and
they pined for him again in 2012, and now, presumably, they are secretly
pining for him again, even though the field basically already has every
Republican in it who you`ve ever heard of and about 10 others who you`ve
haven`t heard of, party insiders apparently see him as the best chance most
viable candidate on the Republican side who is not in the race already.
And he has just in the past 24 hours been hit with a huge wage of national
He is this guy, the guy in the middle there, between all of the nuns
and friars and stuff. He is the one at the desk.
Mike Pence, Republican governor of Indiana, perennial wishing and
hoping favorite of the elite conservatives at the Republican political
class, Mike Pence has to decide whether he is running for reelection as
Indiana governor next year or if he is going to run for president instead.
He cannot do both.
And he has been salting the political press about this, trying to
keep their hopes up that he will run. I`m not saying I will, I`m just
saying I might.
But what`s going on for him at home right now is the kind of stuff
that`s going to be very hard to figure out how it might play in the
national contest, because what`s going on under him right now in Indiana,
it`s funny. It is a serious mess on a couple of different levels. And in
both cases, they are things that no other state is dealing with in the same
way at all. Mike Pence is out there going out there on his own on this
The first thing going on is that Governor Pence has just declared a
public health emergency in Indiana because of a very large outbreak of HIV,
the virus that causes AIDS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Today, I declared a public health
emergency? Scott County, Indiana, due to the outbreak of HIV virus that
has reached epidemic proportions. An epidemic as the CDC explained to me
is whenever you have a disease that breaks out of the statistical norm. In
a county the size of Scott County, the average number of HIV cases on an
annual basis is roughly five cases. As I stand here today, we have 79
confirmed cases, and more testing it being done. And we expect that number
to go up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Because this outbreak is being attributed to people sharing
needles when shooting prescription drugs, Governor Pence has announced for
one month only, he will drop his opposition to needle exchange, so people
can exchange used needles for sterile ones in order to not run the risk of
contracting a virus like HIV when they shot up.
Needle exchange is a controversial but proven life-saving harm
reduction technique that, yes, prioritizes keeping people from dying even
if they can`t stop using IV drugs.
Governor Mike Pence has never supported that kind of program in the
past. In fact, he says he is still against it, but he`s got this huge
cluster of dozens of people all turning up HIV positive all at once in a
specific part of his state. And so, he has declared, this public health
emergency, including an emergency needle exchange for 30 days. Thirty
Thirty days seems like it`s not going to cut it for a problem this
big. I`m just guessing. But that`s what he`s decided – 30 days and then
he says he will reassess.
While in the midst of mounting that response to the shock public
health outbreak in his state, though, Governor Pence has simultaneously
been busy turning the state government`s attention to the pressing need of
making sure that it is legal to discriminate against gay people in the
state of Indiana.
You might remember that Arizona, a couple of years ago, passed a bill
and sent to the governor that would have given businesses in the state of
Arizona the explicit right to refuse service to gay people. The Arizona
legislature did pass that bill, but when the country figured out what
Arizona has just passed and businesses and organizations all over the
country, including professional league sports, when people all over the
country letting Arizona know that if that bill became law, people would
move businesses out of Arizona, move businesses and events and conventions
and maybe even the Super Bowl out of Arizona in protest because they didn`t
want to do business in a state that had a law like that, in Arizona, in the
face of those national boycott threats couple of years ago, Jan Brewer
decided to veto that Republican bill.
Not Mike Pence, that`s him signing it. That same thing that got
vetoed in Arizona, Mike Pence at that signing ceremony just signed it –
making Indiana the first state in the country to move, overtly, wholesale,
on purpose, to legalize and say the state approves of businesses refusing
service to people on the basis of sexual orientation, or anything else your
religion might encourage you to discriminate on the basis of. He just did
what even Jan Brewer was smart enough to avoid doing.
Mike Pence just did it yesterday and it is landing with a thud in his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the much debated religious freedom bill
is now law in Indiana. Governor Pence made it official yesterday. But
reaction remained swift and sharp and it`s coming from across the country.
Reporter Chris Kirschner is live this morning with possible backlash
and what it also means for Indiana businesses – Chris.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, good morning, Julia.
On the surface, it appears this new legislation which supporters say
is meant to protect from discrimination will be bad for Indiana business,
especially that business that relies on Hoosier hospitality. You know,
despite protests throughout the debate over this legislation and protests
that even continued Thursday, Governor Pence signed the religious freedom
bill into law. The groups opposed are many and varied. From the
Indianapolis chamber, which called it a, quote, “divisive and unnecessary
law”, to the NCAA, which expressed concerned about how the legislation will
affect athletes and employees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: To the point of the NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis.
The men`s final four in the NCAA basketball tournament is in Indianapolis
The NCAA put out a statement today expressing their concern about
this Mike Pence bill that he just signed, saying they will, quote, “closely
examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future
events, as well as our workforce.”
Again, the NCAA doesn`t just hold a lot of events in Indianapolis,
they have their headquarters there. Could they move the whole NCAA because
The CEO of Yelp said today that that company will not expand in
Indiana because of that law. He also says they won`t expand in any state
that passes a law like that.
A big company called Salesforce is based in California, but that
company just bought an Indiana-based company Exact Target last year for
$2.5 billion. The CEO of Salesforce now says that because of what Mike
Pence just did, that company will cancel all of their Indiana-based
programs even though they just bought this huge Indiana-based firm.
The CEO of a little company you may have heard of named Apple, that
company that now has double the market valuation of ExxonMobil, roughly,
Apple CEO said today, quote, “Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply
disappointed in Indiana`s new law and calling on Arkansas` governor to veto
the similar bill.”
That bill in Arkansas is basically the same thing that Mike Pence
just signed in Indiana. It`s pending in Arkansas, passed the Arkansas
Senate today. It looks like it will be on the way to the way to the
Arkansas governor`s desk and soon.
If that happens, that governor can look forward to looking down the
same barrel, of the same, huge coast to coast business backlash that Mike
Pence just brought down on his state, because of his urgent desire in the
middle of actual real challenges facing his state, his urgent desire to
change state law, to make sure it is legal for businesses to refuse service
to gay people.
Could make an excellent basis for a presidential campaign, no?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRICIA MCKINNEY, TRMS SENIOR PLANNING PRODUCER: Hi. We have a news
dump coming up. We had some player play, and we need some prizes to give
MADDOW: Nice bucket.
MCKINNEY: Yes, I know. I don`t know why we have it.
MADDOW: It seems like a big thing to be looming around, that none of
us have seen. Do we have like a whole room full of stuff that way?
MCKINNEY: It was in a closet. So that`s one possibility.
(INAUDIBLE) I could give a whole box of thin mints.
MCKINNEY: This is from way back in the day when we used to do game
shows, on the show, remember pin the tail on the donkey.
MCKINNEY: We had three podiums, these were in the front of the
MADDOW: This was our set dressing?
MCKINNEY: Yes, this was our set dressing. So there is three of
them, it could be like a TRMS, I even still have the price is right style
nametag that I wore, and – we saved –
MCKINNEY: I had it at my desk.
MADDOW: Very nice. But I love that we saved construction paper by
having to double side it. So, the kids, the bucket, this is just a
galvanized made in Mexico bucket.
MCKINNEY: Or some cookies.
MADDOW: I think we should offer a bucket full of Girl Scout cookies,
and I`ll add more boxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Today, after investigators searched the home of the co-pilot
who allegedly deliberately crashed the passenger airplane into the French
Alps this week, after locking the pilot out of the cockpit, today, after
the search of his home German prosecutors say they found several doctors
notes indicating some sort of illness that rendered that co-pilot
officially unfit for work, including one doctor`s note dated the day of the
The airline says they never received any such note about the co-pilot
and his health on the day of the crash. But prosecutors say these
documents support a preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his
illness from his employer and from his colleagues.
The co-pilot had been treated at a hospital clinic as recently as 17
days ago inside Germany. Germany has strict medical privacy laws, and
citing those laws, the clinic has declined to say what the co-pilot was
treated for. They said it was not depression.
Apparently, aviation authorities did know that the co-pilot had had
some kind of medical condition at least in the past. That was indicated by
a special coding on his pilot license. It was coded “SIC”, which in this
context apparently means specific regular medical examination.
It`s not clear, though, what condition that referred to, what earned
him that designation on his license. It`s not clear whether it was
physical illness or mental illness.
In this country, in order to be medically certified to fly by the
FAA, a pilot has to go online and fill out a detailed questionnaire which
includes this medical history section where they`re asked to self-report
mental disorders, substance abuse, suicide attempts. The questionnaire is
then transmitted to an FAA medical examiner who does an in-person exam with
that pilot. But, of course, a lot of what the doctor has to go on is the
information that the pilot, him or herself, has provided on this form.
After that, once a pilot has his or her medical certificate, he or
she is required to have a physical example every year or twice a year if
they`re over 40. Beyond that, though, airlines basically rely on pilot
self reporting, or on their colleagues bringing concerns to superiors if
they think something might be up with one of the people they`re expected to
Airlines say they will help any pilot who reaches out, but naturally,
some pilot say they would fear for their jobs if they ever revealed any
mental health issue in the context of their work environment.
Joining us now to give us some insight on this latest reporting about
the Germanwings co-pilot and what is in place to try to stop something like
this from happening is Dr. Gerald Surya. He`s a medical director and
senior aviation medical examiner from Medport at JFK and LaGuardia
Dr. Surya, thanks very much for being here.
DR. GERALD SURYA, AVIATION MEDICAL EXAMINER: Thank you for having
MADDOW: Pilots fill out a form and self declare any conditions that
might raise red flags or call out further evaluations? Is that basically
accurate that`s what they do?
SURYA: That`s the first step.
MADDOW: OK. And then once you as a medical examiner in that context
see what the pilot has listed on that form, if they don`t check yes in any
of those boxes, if they don`t raise any red flags themselves, are you still
empowered to follow up on those things yourself and try to discern the
answers to those things as a physician?
SURYA: Sure, definitely. The guidelines are set by the federal
surgeon and the Aeromedical certification division. Any doctor can get
certified to do this, but they have to be they don`t have to be a
psychiatrist, and we don`t have to do an official mental status exam, but
we are encouraged to form a general impression based on their emotional
reactivity and cognitive functioning during the examination.
The first step is that form and the FAA is very – encourages to
probe deeply to see if there`s any conditions which are not reported.
MADDOW: Have there been any instances in your own practice –
obviously, I don`t want any specific information about anybody that would
violate their privacy, but have you ever recommended a pilot for further
recommendation before that pilot being OK`d to fly even if the pilot didn`t
self-report any problems?
SURYA: Yes, when there`s certain vague medical conditions like chest
pain, or difficulty sleeping, those can be indications of actual
So, this – the air, the aviation medical examiners are encouraged to
follow up in an integrative way, the symptoms, the history, as well any,
you know, reports that they get.
MADDOW: In the absence of formal psych evaluation of pilots, whether
it`s just initial psych evaluation or periodic as a part of this sort of
recertification, we`re left to sort of see how these other things that you
describe sort of fit together to create a safety net, to protect passengers
from a pilot whose mental issues might end up creating a safety issue for
everybody onboard that plane.
One of those things that fits together to form the safety net is that
pilot`s colleagues and superiors are supposed to be able to basically turn
them in if they think something is wrong, even if the pilot doesn`t think
anything is wrong with himself or herself. Does that actually happen? Dou
you ever get pilots or airline personnel saying, hey, I want you to take a
look at this guy, I don`t think he is all right.
SURYA: Those serious cases would go more straight to the FAA rather
than to a routine examiner, in the context of the way I perform it. In a
post-9/11 world, I feel like there should be more directed question in
terms of – instead of just, is there a history of suicide? Does the
applicant have any way to rationalize suicide? That has to be a direct
question in my opinion. It`s not enough to ask if there`s been something
in the past.
MADDOW: So, there could be further questions even for psychiatrist
physicians doing that kind of exam.
MADDOW: Interesting. Dr. Gerald Surya, senior aviation medical
examiner, thanks for your time. It`s good to have you here. Thank you.
SURYA: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Lots more ahead, including a major announcement
from a true two-fisted politician. Also, this season`s must have attorney
general fashion accessory.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: November 7th, 2008, three days after he was just elected
president, Barack Obama was giving his first press conference as the new
president-elect of the United States. The U.S. economy was mid-meltdown,
but the pressing issue that day was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With respect to the
dog, this is a major issue. I think it`s generated more interest on our
Web site than just about anything. Malia is allergic, so it has to be
hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On
the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog. But
obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are much like me.
So, whether we`re going to be able to balance those two things I
think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That pressing issue for the Obama household, three days
after dad got elected president, that pressure issue was solved a few
months later when along came the Bo, the Obama family Portuguese water dog,
they got two of them now, Bo and then Sunny came along in 2013.
There had been lots of presidential dogs over the years of all kinds.
There is one unchanging, harden fast rule about presidential dogs of all
kinds, which is that you do not mess with the presidential dogs. That rule
is a rule that it turns out is not always followed, and that story is next.
MADDOW: This adorable Scottish terrier is Barney. Barney was first
dog of the White House for eight years. He belonged to President George W.
Bush. He liked to play with soccer balls. He liked to watch people play
Sadly, Barney died a couple acquires ago. And despite the charmed
life he led while at the White House, Barney did have to put up with his
share of adversaries, like for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin,
who once told President Bush that Barney was not a good – not as good a
dog as Mr. Putin`s own dog, a big dog you see there. His name is Koni.
Vladimir Putin once told President George W. Bush to his face that
Koni was, quote, “bigger, tougher, faster, and meaner than Barney.” Wow.
The only other high ranking government official that we know who had
the gall to insult the first dog of the United States to the president of
the United States` face, the only other person to have ever done that was
Nevada Senator Harry Reid.
This is from “The New York Times” magazine in 2010, quote, “When Bush
invited Harry Reid for coffee in the Oval Office in the final weeks of his
presidency, the president`s dog walked in.” How did Harry Reid greet the
arrival of Barney? Harry Reid told the president, quote, “Your dog is
fat.” Poppy – don`t listen, don`t listen.
But at that point, President Bush was probably used to Harry Reid not
mincing his words. February 2002, quote, “President Bush is a liar. He
betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country.”
May 2005, when asked President Bush, Harry Reid says, quote, “The
man`s father is a wonderful human being. I think this guy is a loser.”
And while some people might have backtracked on calling President
Bush a loser and a liar, that is not Harry Reid. Quote, “The things you
heard me say about George Bush you never heard me apologize about any of
them, because he was. What was I supposed to stay? I called him a liar
twice because he lied to me twice.”
And that in the nutshell is Harry Reid. The steadfast but freaking
combative leader of the Senate Democrats for the past decade, which is not
to say he`s incapable of being cordial. Just the other day, Harry Reid
said some very nice and unprompted things about Republican Senator Rand
Paul on the Senate floor. He thanked Senator Rand Paul effusively.
Senator Paul is an ophthalmologist and Senator Reid said that Rand Paul had
been very kind to him and offered him expert advice while Senator Reid
recovers from his eye injury. That was very nice. Harry Reid can do nice.
He is capable of nice.
But when he is trying to be confrontational, Katy bar the door. That
picture there is not random. The guy on the right is Harry Reid. The guy
showing all of his teeth while he punches the other guy`s lights out,
that`s Harry Reid in his boxing days.
In 1970s, when Harry Reid was chairman of the Nevada Gaming
Commission, somebody offered him money, $12,000 cash, if he`d approve a use
of some new gaming devices in Nevada casinos. Harry Reid called the FBI to
report this attempted bribe.
The FBI set up a sting operation to catch the guy in the act, and the
plan was that Harry Reid would take a meeting with this guy, FBI agents
would set up a hidden camera. They`d be watching from the next room.
Harry Reid was supposed to say, “Is this the money?” That was the signal,
and then the FBI agents would know to rush in and arrest the guy.
That is not how it worked out, though. Harry Reid did take the
meeting, did offer him the money, but then instead of just saying the
signal phrase so the FBI could rush in, a videotape of the sting reportedly
shows Harry Reid, quote, “getting up from his chair and saying, `You son of
a beep, you tried to bribe me`,”and then he attempts to choke the guy. The
FBI did have to rush in to make the arrest, but also to save the attempted
briber from Harry Reid who at that moment had his hands wrapped the guy`s
throat and he was squeezing. And then he rose up to the ranks of the U.S.
Congress and multiple terms in the Senate and became the leader there.
Harry Reid is very soft-spoken. He is also a pugnacious so and so,
who shows his teeth when he punches, literally.
Now, with Senator Reid announcing today that he will not run for
reelection next year, not only will Nevada need to replace him, Senate
Democrats will need to replace him as leader. Democratic Senator Chuck
Schumer from New York seems poised to take over the job.
People who know these things say that it`s not so much a leader`s
policy preferences that matter once they get a huge Washington job like
this. It`s so much what they want in terms of policy, it`s their style.
That has been Harry Reid`s style. The Democratic Party will be very
different in Washington without him there.
MADDOW: Behold the new fashion statement at the Justice Department.
This wrist bands say “Free Eric Holder.” They have apparently begun
popping up all over the Justice Department headquarters in the last few
weeks as the nomination for Eric Holder`s successor as attorney has just
stopped in the Senate.
Last night, the Senate held 43 votes all in one night, it`s what they
called a voto-rama. Forty-three votes, but not one on Loretta Lynch to be
And after failing to vote on her nomination last night, the Senate is
now bolting down for two weeks of vacation. So, no new attorney general,
they just will not vote on her.
So, free Eric Holder. This thing has gone on so long, it is now
entering the merchandising phase.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, we have been watching an awesome story out of Kentucky,
where high school students drafted a “we want to be involved bill” that
will allow a high school student to seat on the selection committee for
picking a local superintendent of schools. After those high school
students did that very reasonable civic-minded un-cynical thing, these two
Republican state senators attached their own controversial and completely
unrelated amendments to the kids` bill, one demagoguing the issue of
bathroom use by transgender students. And the other expanding basically
the right to discriminate in Kentucky schools in the name of religious
freedom. And then they came up with another genius amendment to make the
student on the committee a nonvoting member. Oh, that`s nice.
So, in Kentucky, they took a bill, written by students, designed to
give students a voice in the selection of their superintendent, they
stripped the voting power out of it, and filled it with poison pills on
uncontroversial unrelated issues, and then they lectured the high school
kids on what they just done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. DAMON THAYER (R), MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER: It goes back to
that old Rolling Stone song that I like to quote so often, Mr. President,
you can`t always get what you want, but you can try sometimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Because if there is anything the Rolling Stones stood for,
it`s overbearing authority figures. Who had the most – maybe the only
mature response to this Kentucky ordeal were the teenagers themselves, who
just wanted their bill passed. When it all blew up this week, they thanked
the legislature and they said, quote, “This was not the result we wanted
but we will be back next year, continuing to push for legislation that
recognizes the value that student voices can bring to the table.”
See you next year. I remain moved by these kids` perseverance and
their dedication to be absolutely freaking continued.
MADDOW: Friday night news dump time.
Kent Jones, who`s playing tonight?
KENT JONES: Tonight, Rachel, we have Matt Nash from Boston,
Massachusetts. He is an artist and a professor, a self-described history
nerd and a little controversial here, he claims to be Steve Benen`s biggest
fan. Matt Nash.
MADDOW: Oh, Matt. Very nice to meet you.
MATT NASH, BOSTON, MA: Hello. Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: I am a bigger fan of Steve Benen than you are. What?
NASH: We`ve have to arm wrestle over that or something. I don`t
know. I`ve been following his career for a long time.
MADDOW: He is a special dude. And you`ll get to talk to him in just
a moment because he, of course, is the lord of veracity here. But, first,
very happy to have you here. We`re going to get three multiple choice
questions about this week`s news. If you get at least two of them right,
you`ll win this tinny little piece of junk.
KENT JONES: As always, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW cocktail shaker.
MADDOW: It probably leaks.
NASH: Which I`ll use to make tiny cocktails and I will think of you
every time I drink them.
MADDOW: Thank you very much.
If you get all of the questions right or if you do very poorly and
you need extra credit or likely just because I feel like it, we have
something random for you that we found in a closet, in our office.
Kent, I have a vague memory –
NASH: Rachel, can I ask? Is it from Steve`s office, by any chance?
MADDOW: I`ve never been allowed into Steve`s office.
JONES: No, no, random but delicious. A bucket of Girl Scout
MADDOW: So, he gets the bucket and all the cookies inside?
JONES: Oh, yes. Twofer.
MADDOW: Pretty good.
And you get to talk to the disembodied voice of Steve Benen, the lord
of Maddow Blog.
Matt, meet Steve. Steve, meet Matt.
STEVE BENEN, MADDOW BLOG: Matt, pleasure to meet you.
NASH: Steve, I`m so excited to talk with you and Rachel. I`m a fan
of both of your work. But I have to say it`s really exciting to talk to
MADDOW: You know, it`s kind of nice to feel like I`m in the way.
BENEN: You`re not, really, you`re not. I promise.
NASH: You have a very important part to play in this. I`m just
trying to work the refs here to get the judges on my side.
MADDOW: I got you. I know my important part, it`s just bridging the
relationship between you and Steve. It`s all right. I`m fine.
First question, from Monday`s show. And on Monday`s show, you are
from Massachusetts, you are joining us from Boston. On Monday`s show, we
talked about the tiny, tiny, tiny Republican delegation in the
Massachusetts state Senate. Republicans hold only six of the 40 seats.
NASH: That`s right.
MADDOW: But each and every one of those six lonely Republicans does
get something surprisingly great for their service in the state senate. Do
they all get, (a), leadership title and the extra $15,000 salary that comes
with that leadership title, do they get, (b), taxpayer funded cars, which
happen to be all painted Republican red, (c), do they get free college
tuition for their own kids but for all their staffer`s kids, or (d), a t-
shirt that says, I got elected to the Massachusetts Senate as a Republican,
and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?
NASH: I would be happy to send them all a t-shirt, but I`m 100
percent certain they all get a leadership title and the money.
MADDOW: Steve, did Matt get that right?
BENEN: Let`s check the statement from Monday`s show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: They have given every Republican in the Senate a leadership
title, which, by the way, means they all get an extra $15,000 in their
salary. If you check under your state right now, you get a leadership job
and you get a leadership job, everybody gets a leadership job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENEN: The correct answer is (a), and they all gave themselves a
sweet gig on Beacon Hill and Matt is one for one.
MADDOW: Matt, you`ve already got one down.
NASH: Yes. Two to go. We can do this.
MADDOW: You have to get two right to guarantee yourself the cocktail
shaker. Let`s go to question two.
NASH: I live in Boston. I work in Cambridge. If I miss these, I
can`t go to work on Monday. Nobody will talk to me. So, let`s do this.
MADDOW: Let`s do this thing.
Well, it`s too bad you never worked in Utah, because this next
question is about Utah. Monday show, we reported that Utah`s Governor Gary
Herbert surprised everybody by signing into law a piece of legislation that
he had previously described as, I quote, “a little gruesome.”
What did that little gruesome legislation do? Did it (a), ban so-
called flushable baby wipes that people use as toilet paper, because
they`re really flushable? (b), was it a new set of regulations on how
dentists dispose of the teeth that they pull? Was it (c), a new bill to
overtly legalize discrimination against gay people by Utah businesses? Or
was it (d), a bill to bring back the firing squad in Utah as an official
way for Utah to kill its prisoners?
NASH: I`m pretty sure that (c) is Indiana. So I`m going to go with
(d), the firing squad.
MADDOW: Steve, what`s the right answer?
BENEN: Let`s take a look at the segment from Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Utah Governor Gary Herbert has just signed the bill that
will bring back the firing squad as a method of execution in Utah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENEN: The correct answer is (d), firing squad. Matt is right once
MADDOW: Matt, you are on a roll. This is very exciting.
NASH: Can I do Muppet face yet or should I wait to the third one?
MADDOW: Oh, you should wait. Don`t do it yourself. Muppet face is
NASH: That`s true, that`s true. I don`t want to get ahead of
MADDOW: All right. This one is from last night`s show. Last night,
we talked about the new governor of Oregon signing a landmark law and being
so happy about it, she did break into a Muppet-like open mouth smile.
Now, presumably the governor is happier now, now that her neighboring
state of California is thinking about copying Oregon`s new law, which she
just signed. What is the policy that might be moving from Oregon to
California? Is it (a), everybody will now vote by mail instead of a
polling place? (B), the state will automatically register everybody to
vote? (C), there will be in California a $15 an hour minimum wage? Or
(d), mandatory attack owl protective helmets for all joggers?
NASH: Hmm. I`m going to go – we know it`s not the owl. I`m going
to go with voter registration.
MADDOW: Voter registration. Steve, you got the answer for us?
BENEN: I do have the correct answer. It`s b. The governor showed
us the infectious smile, while signing the bill automatically, registering
everyone to vote. And it`s on its way to California.
MADDOW: Matt, you`re the king of the world. Kent, what did matt
JONES: Everything. Cookie time! Cookie time!
MADDOW: You get the cocktail shaker, you get the cookies, the bucket
that the cookies come in. Matt, it was awesome to have you here. Thank
you very much for playing.
NASH: Thank you for having me. This was amazing. Steve, it was
great to talk with you. Rachel, we love your show. Thank you so much.
MADDOW: I love you back. That was awesome. That was great.
If you want to play, send us an e-mail, Rachel@msnbc.com. It`s OK if
you like Steve better than me. A lot of people around here like Kent
better than me. A lot of people around like everybody better me, but I
still like playing this game. E-mail us, Rachel@msnbc.com – tell us who
you are, where you`re from, why you want to play the news dump. There is a
lot of lousy muck and occasionally also new galvanized buckets around our
office that could have your name on them.
Now go to prison.
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