The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/10/15

Hayato Watanabe

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Happy Friday.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Friday to you, too.

In the summer of 1999, the president of the United States and his family
decided that they would spend their summer vacation at the home of some
people they had never met. And they spent the summer vacation in a town
that is harder to pronounce and spell than almost any other town in the
country, and certainly than any other town in the state which they

This is the town name. How would you pronounce that name? Sound it out.
If you guessed Skaneateles, you are not alone. But you would be deeply,
deeply wrong. The way you say the name of this town is – skinny-atlas.
The local news anchor that covers Skaneateles, New York, in 1999, the local
anchor for that station there was a super dorky local TV anchor. But he is
now a network news ABC anchorman named David Muir.

You know David Muir at ABC? This is what David Muir looked like before he
was David Muir.


ANNOUNCER: Live, from the great New York State Fair, this is Eyewitness
News 5 at 5:00.

DAVID MUIR, TV ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. I`m David Muir.

MAUREEN GREEN, TV ANCHOR: And I`m Maureen Green, live at the New York
State Fair. And we have lot to tell you about today in a very exciting,
very busy.

MUIR: The fair is always busy no matter what day you choose, but today was
particularly busy because the first family of the United States came to the
fair grounds. In fact, just a short time ago, their motorcade past by
right behind our Channel 5 studio here out of the state fair. And we`re
going to be meeting some of those people that they got a chance to greet as
they toured the fair grounds.

GREEN: And besides all that, this is Senior Citizens Day, it`s Dairy Day,
and as you can see, the weather is spectacular.


MADDOW: Senior Citizens Day and Dairy Day, and the president of the United
States and the first lady of the United States and their daughter came to
the New York state fair.

And that`s because they were staying nearby for their summer vacation at
Skaneateles, New York. That`s where they took their summer vacation,
Skaneateles, I`ve been saying it all day. Skaneateles.

They had never been there before. They did not know anybody in that town
or anywhere near there. They didn`t even know the people whose house they
borrowed for the purpose of vacationing in it.


REPORTER: The first hello from the first family went to developer Tom
McDonald, his wife Cathy and their family. They have offered up their
Skaneateles home for the week.

The other central New Yorkers are just as thrilled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re really excited the Clintons have chosen central
New York as their vacation spot. I think it`s an honor for all of us.
Whether we like the president or not, I think it`s an honor that we should
all treasure.


MADDOW: Whether we like the president or not, still nice. This was a year
and a half before the end of the Bill Clinton presidency. Hillary Clinton
obviously still the first lady of the United States at this point. They
lived at the White House.

But this sort of seemingly random vacation they took to Skaneateles in
Central New York was not at all a random choice, because by that point,
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had started the process of doing
something that had never been done before in American history. She had
started the earliest stages of preparing to be the first First Lady of the
United States to ever run for and win elected office.

That summer in 1999, she launched what she called a listening tour in
rural, upstate New York. She launched it at a farm owned by the retiring
New York Senator Daniel Moynihan, whose seat she would eventually be
running for. At that kickoff event of her listening tour, there were
protesters outside the event holding signs that send things like “Hillary
go home” and “A New Yorker for New York.”

And those protesters had a point. I mean, she was planning to run for a
U.S. Senate seat for New York, despite the fact that she had never lived in
the state of New York a day in her life. And it wasn`t like oh, you know,
typical Mitt Romney problem where he just had a vacation home there or
something and he tried to call it his house. No, when the Clintons wanted
to vacation in New York state, they had to use somebody else`s house. She
had never lived in New York, ever.

That fact alone made it just seem impossible that she would have any shot
at winning that Senate seat. Never lived in the state, absolutely no
history in the state, no first lady has ever been elected to anything ever
before. She was running as first lady in an administration where her
husband, the president, had just been impeached. It seemed inconceivable
she would even run. And it seemed impossible that she could win.


REPORTER: And the vast of Skaneateles is what the Clintons will see, even
though many here thought the president should have been impeached.

FRED WELCH, LOCAL RESIDENT: I think the office is the important thing.
But I think they should treat him with respect while he`s here.

REPORTER: Most will. Doug Clark won`t.

DOUG CLARK, LOCAL RESIDENT: I don`t want to talk politics, because I`m
going to lose. But he`s a liar and a forgerer and I have no use for him.

REPORTER: The owner of Doug`s Fish Fry is telling anyone who will listen,
the Clintons are not welcomed at this restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary special.


REPORTER: The owner of Johnny Angels` burger joint doesn`t care for the
politics of Bill or Hillary Clinton, either. But he`s taking a more light-
hearted approach. He`s renamed one of his sandwiches the Hillary Special.
One that`s full of baloney.


MADDOW: That summer of 1999, it seemed incredible that the first lady of
the United States was from the White House going to start a run for a U.S.
Senate seat in a brand new state she`s never lived in, right? It was
incredible to try it.

It seemed like it might be impossible to pull off, particularly when it
emerged that her likely opponent for that Senate seat was going to be none
other than Rudy Giuliani, the nationally known pugnacious, super combative
Republican mayor of New York City at that time, or even before 9/11, had a
very high profile national reputation. Had Rudy Giuliani not faced term
limits, he at the time would have loved to run for another term as New York
City mayor. Barring that possibility, though, he also loved the idea of
running for anything against Hillary Rodham Clinton.


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: The first lady is already in New York virtually
every week. She and local Democrats are trying to dispel criticism that
she`s a carpet bagger.

This summer, the first lady will practically go door to door in rural and
suburban areas where she`s far behind her mostly likely opponent, New
York`s tough Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

RUDY GIULIANI, THEN-NYC MAYOR: My reaction to her, talking to political
consultant. She should talk to political consultants. She can learn
something about New York.

MITCHELL: In case anyone misses the point, she`s dressing up like an
Arkansas Razorback, just a hint of what to expect when the first lady
becomes an official candidate.

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington.


MADDOW: It was Hillary Clinton versus Rudy Giuliani for that New York
Senate seat.

Giuliani dressing up like a University of Arkansas football player, to
taunt Hillary Clinton about not being from New York. At one point, he flew
down to Little Rock, Arkansas, to do an in-your-face Rudy Giuliani
Republican fund-raiser in Arkansas while he was running in New York against
Hillary Clinton. He actually raised the Arkansas state flag at one point
over New York City Hall, to taunt Hillary Clinton further about being from
Arkansas, not really being from New York. Everybody in New York was
furious about the Arkansas flag flying over city hall, using city hall to
make this crash political point.

But Rudy Giuliani was like that, just relentless, right? And nevertheless,
she did formally get into the race. And when she did formally get into the
race against Giuliani, honestly, she cleaned his clock honestly.

You could see from day one the way she rattled him, despite all his
bluster. Literally day one on the day that she made her announcement, the
day she made her carefully choreographed, meticulously planned, formal
announcement she was running, Giuliani`s response that day was to
accidently blurt out that he was running, too, without apparently even
knowing he had said that and tried to take it back as soon as he did.


TV ANCHOR: Becoming the first First Lady ever to run for public office in
this country. She made it official, announcing her candidacy for the U.S.
Senate seat in New York, a state where she`s lived for about a month.

REPORTER: Will New Yorkers buy the new Hillary Rodham Clinton? Her
biggest challenge to sharpen her differences with likely opponent New York
Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both candidates support gun control and abortion
rights. He hasn`t announced yet, but appeared on five Sunday talk shows
and said on “Meet the Press” –

GIULIANI: I`m going to run for the Senate, and hopefully, I`m going to win
and I`m going to serve there.

REPORTER: You just said you`re running for Senate.


REPORTER: Is that a correction?

GIULIANI: Well, I don`t think that way. We`ll see.


MADDOW: I did? I said that?

From day one, she rattled him enough that he didn`t even know he had
announced he was running on “Meet on Press”. I did?

He did ultimately properly announce that he was properly running and
everybody thought he was going to win. He was Rudy Giuliani after all.
Rudy Giuliani ended up dropping out of that Senate race in May of that
year. He cited health reasons. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer
a few weeks earlier.

But even before his announcement that he was dropping out, he was already
trailing Hillary Clinton by double digits in the polls. As a candidate, he
was just flailing. Famously, Rudy Giuliani hated to leave New York City
even while he was campaigning for the statewide race, even though upstate
New York was supposed to be Republican territory, that is where Hillary
Clinton pressed her strongest advantage.

This from “The New York Times”, at an upstate Republican dinner in
Binghamton, New York, Rudy Giuliani spoke for exactly 22 minutes, stood for
an eight-minute news conference and turned around and went home. Less than
a week later, he abruptly canceled four upstate events because he said he
wanted to attend the rescheduled opening game for the Yankees.

Mrs. Clinton`s campaign pounced. Overnight, staffers arranged for her
trips to the cities that Mr. Giuliani snubbed upstate and they worked the
telephones with upstate reporters to stoke that story. Yes, she beat him.

And after Giuliani dropped out of the race, a Republican congressman named
Rick Lasio got into the race in Rudy`s place. At the same state fair where
the Clintons had taken their very high profile otherwise inexplicable
summer vacation, the summer before, Rick Lasio in the summer of 2000, he
knew enough to realize that he should also attend that fair, he should go
upstate and go to that fair.

While he was there, though, he refused to speak to any local media. That
wasn`t a nice thing to the upstate local media. And when somebody asked
him about the signature fair food of the New York state fair, which is
sausage sandwich, Rick Lazio volunteered that he was so-so on the sausage
sandwich, and he did not want to eat one.

And so, Hillary Clinton came back to the state fair, with Bill, cue the
triumphant, joyful eating of the sausage sandwich in front of as many
reporters as they could possibly find. Take that, Rick Lazio. And yes,
Hillary Clinton cleaned Rick Lazio`s clock, too.


TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: Hillary Rodham Clinton now has two titles, first
lady of the United States and senator-elect from the state of New York.

MITCHELL: She came out of the city with a 3-1 edge, ands she split in
rural areas. So, all that time to set up the base and travelling in 62
counties around New York really did pay off. He carries the suburbs but
she was head to head with him in the rural areas. That turned out to be
very important.


MADDOW: Hillary Clinton won that Senate seat. And as the junior senator
from New York, she served as a senator in much the same way she had won the
seat in the first place. She spent a lot of time upstate, all over the
state, rural areas, state fairs, county fairs, local parades, a hard core
attention to constituent services.

When it came time for her re-election efforts six years later, she didn`t
have the, you know, carpet bagger, out-of-stater thing going against her
anymore. By the time she was running again in 2006, it was clear that she
was going to be running for president in 2008. They couldn`t use that
against her for her re-election effort.

That turned out to be no problem, though. I mean, this was the electoral
map when she beat Rick Lazio, when she won the seat in the first place in
2000. That was the electoral map when she won re-election in 2006, by more
than 30 points.

Hillary Clinton is good at this. She`s really good at this. Yes, she did
lose the 2008 presidential primary to Barack Obama, barely.

But it is still a historically inexplicable the way she became the first
ever woman elected to the United States Senate in New York state, when she
had never lived there a day in her life and she was running against the
most famous New Yorker in the country.

But she did it and she did it with small scale events and shoe leather and
paying attention to local media and surprising everybody by showing up over
and over and over again in places that other candidates wouldn`t bother.
And now, this weekend, her campaign says that she will launch her second
campaign for president of the United States. But this time she`s going to
go back to that successful strategy that she used in 2000 to win that most
unlikely Senate seat in New York.

She`s going to release a video online on Sunday. That will serve as the
official announcement. Apparently, it`s already been taped, it`s already
in the can.

But once that video launches this weekend, once they hit send, it will be
off to small scale events, rural areas, one-on-one meetings and very small
scale meetings with voters. No soaring rallies, no big rhetoric, no large
rooms. Just showing up, especially in small town places where people do
not expect her to be outworking everybody else. Will it work this time?

NBC`s Chuck Todd, the moderator of “Meet the Press,” joins us next.


MADDOW: NBC`s Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press,” is here live
next. Stay with us.



BROKAW: Hillary Rodham Clinton now has two titles, first lady of the
United States and senator-elect from the state of New York.

MITCHELL: She came out of the city with a 3-1 edge, ands she split in
rural areas. So, all that time to set up the base and travelling in 62
counties around New York really did pay off. He carries the suburbs but
she was head to head with him in the rural areas. That turned out to be
very important.


MADDOW: Near 2000, then First Lady Hillary Clinton won the Senate seat
from New York state, first First Lady to ever win elected office. First
woman ever elected to the Senate in New York. Despite the fact that at the
time, she had never lived in New York a day in her life.

On Sunday, we are expecting a new announcement from Hillary Clinton that
she`s running for president for a second time. Her soon-to-be campaign
says this time around, she plans to redo that strategy that carried her to
that surprising first win back in 2000 when she spent all that time in all
62 counties in New York state, including a lot of time in Republican areas
in small town New York. She surprised everybody.

Joining us now is Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press”, NBC News
political director.

Chuck, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Thanks. Absolutely, Rachel.

MADDOW: Is it fair to think that there could be a national parallel to the
way she ran for that Senate seat? 2000?

TODD: No, absolutely. I mean, everybody I talked to close to the Clinton
campaign when they`ve been trying to describe what they`re trying to do
here, this is all coming from her Rachel, is what I`m told, is that
essentially, Secretary Clinton, you know, said, what she – she knows what
she`s good at and she knows what she`s not good at.

The big rallies, that isn`t her strong suit. That`s a strong suit of Bill
Clinton, strong suit of President Obama. She knows that she was at her
best, that she believes she was at her best in doing what you described
before, the very small, sort of county by county, town by town style of
campaigning that she did in New York. That`s where she`s most comfortable.

And at the end of the day, as her adviser is saying, if the candidate is
not comfortable, then no matter whether you agree or disagree with the roll
out, and trust me, Rachel, that`s been a lot of debate how to do this. But
Secretary Clinton wants to go small and slow. There are a lot of people
that said, hey, why didn`t she start this at Seneca Falls? Why didn`t she
make this a big – make it about electing the first woman president, have a
huge announcement and the big speech right away? And she vetoed that. She
refers to do it this way.

MADDOW: There`s a math problem in terms of the sort of multiplier effect
here, right, that if you are only reaching people in very small groups,
you`re not reaching thousands of people or even hundreds of people at a
time, that might work if you spend enough time doing it in a single state
where you`re running a statewide campaign, even a big state like New York.
But you can`t possibly meet, reach enough people in enough swing states,
enough early primary and caucus states to contact enough of them to make a
difference, unless they`re able to let the media in on all of those small
events, which makes it harder to make them charming, right?

TODD: Well, there is that. And I think there is going to be a little bit
of – not – by the way, not just the media. Don`t forget, she`s got a
very large foot print. You know, she has Secret Service protection as a
former first lady. So, there`s that foot print that also comes when you
try to do this living room style of campaigning that frankly and
particularly Iowa Democratic activist love.

But you just pointed out, I think she`s got the luxury of time a little
bit. There is no Barack Obama that`s getting ready to run. So, she`s not
pressured to sort of out-organize somebody.

And you know what? The world is going to get out, so she can do these
element settings. And we`re going to be there, we`re going to have
cameras. We`re all going to see it. Everybody is going to see what she`s

MADDOW: Is it also – I mean, trying to do this in a national setting,
it`s one thing to show up in Skaneateles and little lakeside towns and
little fairs and stuff in upstate New York. It`s another thing to try to
do that in Iowa and New Hampshire where she may be the only big-name
Democrat who is doing it, but there`s about 47 Republican candidates who
are all trying to use essentially the same strategy in all those places in
Iowa and New Hampshire. Is it going to look like a more typical Iowa and
New Hampshire approach, rather than having the novelty that it had in New

TODD: Well, I think that`s right. But don`t forget, this will be a
novelty as far as the way Hillary Clinton is doing this. This is sort of
different – the point they want to make is, hey, she`s learned her process
faults, if you want to call them that, back in `07 and `08. She`s not
going to take anything for granted.

But I`ll tell you, the other part that I think is hard about this is, in
re-watching that trip down memory lane that you she gave us on New York
there, I was reminded – Hillary Clinton got to play the role of the
underdog the entire time. Even though she was the front-runner, there was
so much skepticism.

I remember very closely covering that race – there was just constant
skepticism. Oh, but she`s a carpet bagger. Oh, but she`s a carpet-bagger.
Sure, she was ahead in the polls, but there was always that skepticism. She
always had that underdog mentality about her.

Remember when she finally got good on the campaign trail against Barack
Obama, when she fell behind.

MADDOW: After she lost in Iowa, that`s right.

TODD: And so, I do wonder of how good – she`s not proven to be a good
front-runner before, and I think that to me is one of her tests. Is she –
how will she handle not being sort of in that underdog role, because I
think she`s at her best when she is an underdog.

MADDOW: Right. I mean, it`s hard for anybody to be a front-runner, you
know, almost in any field, but particularly in politics. I think it will
be interesting to see, watching the RNC launch its ready to go/stop Hillary
campaign with their ready to go TV ads, multiple states everything today –

TODD: By the way, Rachel, there`s going to be multiple presidential
candidates on the Republican side who are also going to do ad campaigns
against her, too. So, this is going to be a full frontal assault.

MADDOW: That`s right. But she can be the underdog against the vast right
wing conspiracy. Maybe that`s going to be the way she can do it.

Chuck Todd, NBC News political director, moderator of “Meet the Press” –
Chuck, thank you so much. It`s great to have you here, my friend.

TODD: We love Sunday news and she`s given us Sunday news.

MADDOW: Yes, exactly. That`s right. Big audience this weekend, I`m sure.

I should also tell you at home that Chuck is going to be speaking with
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky on “Meet the Press” this weekend. And if
through no fault of your own, you somehow miss that interview Sunday
morning on NBC, I should also tell you, don`t forget that “Meet the Press”
re-airs right here on MSNBC at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Just in case you sleep

We`ll be right back.



We have the Friday night news found swag`s pick.

OK. We`re going to start, we found Mardi Gras – something.

MADDOW: Oh, this is the women`s crew.

MCKINNEY: Oh, is that what that came from?

MADDOW: Yes, they`re awesome. Nice. Noisy.

MCKINNEY: OK. Kelsey found this randomly in a drawer. It`s a stamp for
bills, past due.

MADDOW: Does it work? Oh, yes, past due.

MCKINNEY: I tested it.

We gift it to you for your birthday. You regifted it back to us.

MADDOW: Some of it. That I didn`t drink, yes.

MCKINNEY: And so, we thought, maybe one can –

MADDOW: Is that illegal?

MCKINNEY: Oh, to ship it?


MCKINNEY: Ah, but what if the player lives in New York City?

MADDOW: They can pick it up in person.


MADDOW: Do we know that the contestant is a drinker and over 21?

MCKINNEY: We don`t know that the contestant is a drinker. We do know that
the contestant is over 21. If this is too problematic, let`s go with
these. You tell me.

MADDOW: I like it`s problematic. I say, you either get the past due stamp
or the beer, depending.


MADDOW: Yes, we don`t want to pressure anybody. It`s good beer. All

MCKINNEY: OK. You want to keep that?





MADDOW: It was October 9th, 1995. Southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, an
Amtrak train is going from Miami, all the way to Los Angeles, was crossing
that remote stretch of Arizona desert in the middle of the night.

What the 258 people on board that train that night didn`t know as they sped
through the darkness was that somebody had sabotaged the tracks ahead of
their train. Somebody had pulled out 29 of the heavy railroad spikes that
hold the track together. They then ripped loose 19 feet of the rail line,
the actual train track.

Whoever did that also rigged the warning system that would have alerted the
engineer on that Amtrak train that something was wrong ahead. And so, when
that train got to that spot in the middle of the desert, 70 miles outside
Phoenix, that sabotage effort worked.


DAVID BLOOM, NBC NEWS: It was Amtrak`s president said, a conscious attempt
to kill people. The train track sabotaged. Then, at 1:20 a.m., an Amtrak
train carrying 268 people derailed in the remote Arizona desert, four cars
plunging 30 feet off the wooden trestle into the dry spring bed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started making a little noise, then there was –
we were all sleeping, there was a big jerk, and people started to scream.
And we went outside to look, and these (INAUDIBLE) and people are screaming
and there`s blood everywhere.

BLOOM: Amtrak said the wreck of the Los Angeles bound sunset limited left
one crew member dead, five critically injured, more than 70 others hurt.
And given the rugged terrain, it was almost impossible to get help. This
afternoon, the FBI took over the investigation. The Maricopa County
sheriff say all signs point to domestic terrorism.


MADDOW: All signs point to domestic terrorism.

In this derailment, one crew member on that train was killed, as you heard,
more than 100 people ended up being injured ultimately, 12 people
critically injured. Nearby to the crash train, they found four copies of a
weird letter claiming credit. It was signed “Sons of the Gestapo.” The
letter referred to the disastrous federal standoffs that Waco and Ruby

This derailment again was in 1995. Ruby Ridge had happened in 1992. Waco
happened in 1993. So, authorities set out to find out who was responsible
for this deliberate act.


REPORTER: By this morning, almost 100 agents were in place, in the remote
Arizona desert, 60 miles southwest of Phoenix. The number of agents here,
second only to the Oklahoma City bombing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Using the public, very often between a little bit of
skill, a little bit of effort and a little bit luck, we`re going to be

JANET NAPOLITANO: We are going to pursue every bit of evidence and every
lead very thoroughly.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: We`ll get to the bottom of this. We will
punish those who are responsible.


MADDOW: That was 1995. It`s been almost 20 years since that train wreck,
that deliberate train wreck. And whoever did it, has never been found. So
far, they have gotten away it.

But the case has never been closed. Over the last 19 1/2 years, the FBI
and local sheriff deputies have conducted hundreds of interviews, followed
thousands of leads.

And then today, the local FBI office in Phoenix, Arizona, announced
unexpectedly that not only had agents recently reenergized their
investigation into this derailment, they have also upped the reward in the
case. They`re now offering a reward of more than $300,000 for information
leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.

FBI special agent Mark Cwynar said somebody out there knows exactly what
happened and now, more than 20 years on, it`s time for that person to come


send a message to those responsible to this senseless act of sabotage. And
that message is simple. We`re very close, we are watching, and we will
bring you to justice.


MADDOW: Why did they just up the reward now? Why now? Can upping the
reward have an effect, even this long after a crime like this? And, of
course, who did it, right?

Joining us now is Jim Cavanaugh, former FBI special agent, MSNBC analyst.

Jim, looking at this – is it just the passage of time, is that enough of a
reason for the FBI to do this now? Or should we see this as some
indication that they`ve got something new in this case?

JIM CAVANAUGH, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, they try – they could,
Rachel. They could have something new, but they`re trying to bump that
investigation, to get that little slice of information where they can drill
down to who is responsible.
You know, you laid it out pretty good. There was the note, “The Sons of
the Gestapo”. It should have been the poltroons of the Gestapo.

But I remember hearing about it at the time and we never heard of the
group, and nobody ever knew of the group. So, that could be two or three
people. It could be real and it could have been inspired by the Oklahoma
City bombing just two weeks earlier. So, this could be a real, you know,
blatant act of domestic terrorism, and they really want to solve it.

MADDOW: Is that a group that ever surfaced, that name, the group that
claimed responsibility, did that name ever surface in conjunction with any
other attacks, or were there other attacks that seemed like the work from
the same kind of people?

CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, train wrecking is a separate federal statute,
but it`s rare. It doesn`t happen much. You know, 150 years ago, when
there was more trains. There was, you know, maybe more attacks on trains.
But we didn`t – it`s not been frequent.

Little groups like that, splinter groups pop up with kind of Nazi-fication
names to them. You know, we found all kinds of groups from large to small.
No one ever heard of this, but certainly, it`s a major lead category and it
could very well be two or three people, as you outlined.

You know, it`s really difficult to fry up all those 29 spikes, and move
that rail, and also hook the switch so the engineers trip. So, somebody
had a little knowledge, very determined and tried to kill 258 people. Just
lucky they didn`t kill 258 people, which would have been more people killed
in Oklahoma City.

So, it is a very significant case and I salute the FBI and the U.S.
attorney and the Maricopa County sheriff detectives who are trying to solve
it. They need that one call, a tidbit. You know, I heard something,
somebody bragged to me – $310,000, that can change a lot of talk.

MADDOW: Jim Cavanaugh, former ATF special agent, MSNBC analyst – Jim,
thank you on this. I appreciate it. Great seeing you.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: You know, it`s interesting. In terms of thinking about how far –
how far down the road a reward can make a difference, you know, it was more
than a decade down the road that they upped the reward for Whitey Bulger
and that ended up sparking a tip that led to bringing him, that famous
Boston gangster. Sometimes this stuff works. This is almost a 20-year-old

All right. We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: The Chestnut Mountain Resort in Northern Illinois is primarily a
ski resort. They also host weddings and banquets and corporate conferences
there. On their Web site, they have a bunch of live camera feeds so you
can see what`s going on there at any given time. One of those feeds is the
mountain top camera, which shows the really scenic area around that resort.

Well, last month on March 5th, this is what the view looked like from that
mountain top camera. Look, a huge, black plume of smoke rising up from
down by the river. The smoke that you could see from the resort`s live cam
that day was coming from this disaster, which was unfolding down below.
The derailment and explosion of a 105-car oil train. It took days to put
that fire out.

That oil train disaster in Illinois came just a few weeks after another
huge derailment and explosion in Mount Carbon, West Virginia. A 109-oil
car train spun off the tracks there, along the river, causing this huge
explosion, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

This is sort of how it goes across America. You know, as the oil trains
come through, will your town be the next one like in Illinois or like in
West Virginia or like here in Lynchburg, Virginia?

What we have been awaiting for close to a year now is a set of new rules
from the Obama administration on oil trains, new rules to make the tank
cars stronger and less likely to go kaboom when they come off the tracks.
We`re told to expect those new rules next month. But they come with a sort
of caveat.

One of the biggest issues around these oil train disasters is how the
question of combustible the oil is that`s being packed into these trains.
And these new rules coming out next month, it appears the Obama
administration is not going to take on that issue at all.

The Transportation Department reportedly wanted that to be in the new
rules, but according to “Reuters”, the White House nixed that idea. They
decided instead that they would leave that whole issue up to the states.
Specifically, they would be leaving it up to the state of North Dakota,
which is where most of this oil originates from.

And so, that`s neat for North Dakota to be so trusted. It`s sort of
terrifying for the rest of us, though, because North Dakota over the last
few years, and I mean no offense by saying this, but North Dakota by their
actions, they have shown themselves to be fundamentally uninterested in
safety when it comes to these oil train bombs that keep blowing up

North Dakota`s oil industry has been trying desperately to convince the
rest of the country that there`s really no problem when it comes to these
oil trains. Nothing to see here. The state`s top oil regulator has it
written into his job description that he`s also supposed to be the state`s
top oil industry promoter. Oh, because that`s not a conflict of interest.

And then, there`s the North Dakota legislature. North Dakota legislators
this week have been going over the next state budget. One of the things
the state government has asked the legislature for when it comes to oil
trains is a state-run rail safety program. They want about $900,000 to
hire two rail safety inspectors and one rail safety manager whose job it
will be to inspect the tracks in North Dakota and make sure the rails were
all in good shape, the guard against the kind of derailments and explosions
which North Dakota itself has also experienced very recently.

There are currently only two federal rail inspectors in the region that are
responsible for all of North Dakota, as well as parts of South Dakota and
Montana. Two people total for those three states. And this bill in North
Dakota said let`s hire two of our own people here in the state to inspect
the tracks here. We know this is a problem. Let`s make things safer in
the state where all the oil is coming from.

That bill went before a House committee in North Dakota this week, and
Republicans in the state legislature killed the funding for the rail
inspector. They passed the budget for the state agency that has oversight
for the oil industry but they stripped the funding for rail safety right
out of the budget. One of the Republicans who helped kill the funding
said, quote, “I just don`t think having a couple of state inspectors
running around is going to make a hill-of-beans of difference.”

Yes, who needs inspectors? It`s not like we have a problem here on the
rails. What`s the big deal?

Democrats in the state legislature say they`re going to try to restore that
funding somehow. They`re going to try to find a way to get that money in
there for those inspectors. As of now, when asked whether they should have
a couple people checking out the oil train tracks in their state, North
Dakota Republicans said, no, we`re good. We`re good, just an amazing

Watch this space.



Viyan was once a schoolteacher. Now, she spends her days in this room
watching and trying to find the enemy just across the street.


MADDOW: Richard Engel is NBC`s chief foreign correspondent. He is
intrepid. He is multilingual. He`s not just traveled but lived all over
the world. His passport looks like a phone book.

Richard gets a lot of credit, deserved credit for his war reporting. But
one of the things that makes his war reporting different and often very
powerful is his ability to get with people who are in the middle of
conflict situations. It`s more than just being in danger, right, for him,
it`s his willingness to spend significant time with people who are in the
middle of these dangerous situations, to figure out what makes those people
tick and what they are experiencing in the middle of those conflicts.
Richard is very good at his job.

And in November, Richard did a special report in this hour here on MSNBC
about the fight against is in Syria. And for that report, on the Turkish-
Syrian border, Richard got into the Syrian town of Kobani where the Kurds
who live in Kobani were fighting a relentless fight against ISIS, which was
trying to take over their town.

And some of the most amazing footage that Richard got in that town in the
middle of that battle was from the time he spent with women fighters,
female Kurdish fighters fighting ISIS for their hometown. We have an
update on that story tonight. But just watch this from Richard`s report in


ENGEL: Twenty-six-year-old Viyan was once a schoolteacher. Now, she
spends her days in this room watching and trying to find the enemy just
across the street.

Born and raised in Kobani, Viyan says leaving was never an option. “Kobani
is our home,” she says. “Where else would we go? We will stay here and

“It`s especially important,” she says, “for women to be strong in the
Middle East, where they are rarely seen or heard from.”

“We stand here as symbols of strength,” she adds, “to all the women of the

So you`re fighting for Kobani and for women`s rights in the Middle East?

“Yes,” she says. “Right now, I`m fighting for Kobani. But I promised
myself that wherever a minority is attacked, I will be there to fight for
her rights.”

To past the time, Viyan sings a song of mourning for her fallen comrades.
She knows that Kobani can only be remembered one of two ways, as the site
of a horrific victory over ISIS, or as the site of a horrific massacre.

Which is why everyone in Kobani, the old and the young, women and men,
carry a special bullet around. They call it the bullet of honor, and plan
to use it to take their own life if the enemy manages to get through the
lines. Better that, they say, than falling into the hands of ISIS alive.


MADDOW: That fighter, Viyan Peyman, and her fellow fighters in Kobani,
they did push ISIS out of Kobani less than three months after Richard shot
that footage with her.

But today, her military unit told NBC News that Viyan was killed in battle
as she and other Kurdish fighters pushed out west of their town.

These are images of Viyan Peyman`s funeral procession. Richard tells us
today that at her funeral, the mourners played a song that Viyan Peyman
wrote about Kobani`s resistance, because he says that song has become
basically an official anthem for the fighters there, and for their fight.
Life during wartime.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Did you hear something? What`s that coming down the road?

“Friday Night News Dump” time. Happy Friday, everybody.

Producer Julia Nutter, who is playing the “Friday Night News Dump” tonight?

JULIA NUTTER, TRMS PRODUCER: Tonight, we got Hayato Watanabe from New
York, New York. He`s a paralegal for the Innocence Project. He wants to
go to law school, but he also likes sewing and fashion.

MADDOW: Sewing and fashion. Hayato, it`s very nice to meet you. How are

HAYATO WATANABE, NEW YORK, NY: Nice to meet you, too, Rachel.

MADDOW: Are you wearing a large hat if

WATANABE: I am wearing a very large hat. It`s my pilgrim`s hat. I`m like
ready to go to Plymouth Rock and churn butter.

MADDOW: All right. I don`t know if they churn butter at Plymouth Rock,
but they`re going to start because of that hat.

All right. We`re happy to have you here. You probably know how the game
works, but just in case – you`re going to get three questions about the
news. If you get at least two of them right, I guarantee you, you will win
this teeny little piece of junk.


NUTTER: This adorable little cocktail shaker.

MADDOW: Very good. It will pose no risk to you.

If you get all of the questions right and you need extra credit or if you
need a consolation prize, we do have something random for you that, up
until tonight has been cluttering our office.

Julia, what is our random office swag tonight?

NUTTER: So, he`s got two options. He gets part of your birthday present -

MADDOW: The attack owl beer.

NUTTER: Which is this attack owl straight from Oregon.

MADDOW: It`s really good. It`s not like regifting. I don`t know if you
like beer. Any way, it`s delicious.

NUTTER: He can have that, or he can have this “past due” stamp that we
found in an old desk.

WATANABE: I want that one, definitely.

MADDOW: All right. We also need to bring in the disembodied voice of
Steve Benen from Maddow Blog. He is the man who determines whether or not
you got the right answer.

Hello, Steve.

STEVE BENEN, MADDOW BLOG: Good evening to you both.

MADDOW: Yehey!

All right. Hayato, are ready for your first question?

WATANABE: All right. I`m ready.

MADDOW: You`re ready.

On Wednesday`s show, we reported on the annual NRA convention, which is
being held in Nashville this week, in which almost all the Republican
presidential hopefuls are attending. It`s kind of a big deal that part of
it this year, because NRA members have been told this year that they are
allowed to bring loaded weapons inside the ballroom where the candidates
are speaking.

Which of the following presumptive Republican candidates is not going to be
speaking at the NRA convention because he wasn`t invited? Was it (a),
Marco Rubio, (b), Ted Cruz, (c), Jeb Bush, or (d), Rand Paul?

WATANABE: I`m going to have to go with d, Rand Paul.

MADDOW: Steve, did Hayato get that right?

BENEN: Let`s check the segment from Wednesday`s show.



MADDOW: Rand Paul was also not invited. Although the NRA is not
explaining that in terms of them having some beef with Rand Paul, they just
say they didn`t have time to invite everybody.


BENEN: Right. So, yes, the correct answer is d, Rand Paul. And Hayato is
right .

MADDOW: You`re on your way to the butter churning.

All right. You have to get two right to win the teeny little prize.

This is from Monday`s show. On Monday show, we reported on an unusual
occurrence at this year`s White House Easter egg roll. While President
Obama was reading a kid`s book to a group of kids, he was interrupted by
the little kids screaming bloody murder because a bee had flown by and it
was freaking the kids out. What book was the president reading when the
bee freak-out happened? Was it (a), are you there, God, it`s me, Margaret,
(b), where the wild things are, (c), the lion, witch, and wardrobe, or (d),
the adventures of captain underpants?

WATANABE: I`m going to have to go with (b), where the wild things are.
Rumpusing and all.

MADDOW: Rumpusing. Steve?

BENEN: Let`s take a look at Monday`s segment.



are wild things. You`re not supposed to be scared of bees.


BENEN: Yes, the correct answer is where the wild things are. And Hayato
is right again.

MADDOW: Wonderful, all right. Last one. Are ready for your last
question? It`s a good one and it has a sound component to it.

WATANABE: I`m ready.

MADDOW: All right. Last night`s show, we reported on the conservative
media stoking outrage about a made-up story from a state capitol. Behold
the journalistic temple that is the FOX News Channel in the morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is a communist flag flying next to an American
flag over a state capitol? It didn`t take long for a few patriots to take
care of that. They took it down. Find out where it all happened.


MADDOW: That`s the question. Where did it all happen? They raised, in
fact, a Chinese flag as a nice gesture because a Chinese ambassador was
visiting. No outraged patriots had to take that flag down. State
employees took it down as normal once the ambassador left.

But where did this source of fake FOX News outrage take place? Was it (a),
Washington, (b) California, (c), Idaho, or (d) Steve Dooce-istan?

WATANABE: I`m going to go with (a), Washington state.

MADDOW: Steve, you got the answer on that one for us?

WATANABE: You know, in a way, the outrage happened in Steve Dooce`s mind.
So, he could arguably be the right answer. But the better answer is (a),
the great state of Washington. And Hayato is correct again.

MADDOW: Hayato, this has been a very, very impressive, impressive time.

Julia, does she win?

NUTTER: Yes, she absolutely wins the shiny cocktail shaker.

MADDOW: And am I right in thinking that if you get extra credit, which you
clearly did, you would prefer the stamp that inexplicable says “past due”
to the beer from Oregon?

WATANABE: Well, I`m gluten-free, but I`m going to have to go with the

MADDOW: You don`t have to drink it.

MADDOW: I think it`s illegal to ship it to you, so you`ll have to come to
the office and pick it up. Can we arrange that?


MADDOW: Yes. OK, wear the hat. That`s how we`ll know who you are.

WATANABE: Rachel, I`m not sure you can tell, but my face is going to be
permanently frozen with a smile. This is the best day of my life.

MADDOW: Oh! Hayato, you have better days ahead, trust me. Thank you.
It`s great to have you here. Thank you.

All right. Yay, see? Even if you`re gluten-free, you can get something
from us. If you want to play, send an e-mail to, tell us
who are, where you`re from, why you want to play the news dump. We cannot
wait to de-clutter our news offices and send our junk to you.

Now go to prison.



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