The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/05/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: All right. That is ALL IN for this
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Nerdly uncomfortable wasn`t a segue to me,
HAYES: No, no. Nerdly self-assured and deeply comfortable.
MADDOW: Yes, obviously.
HAYES: That`s what I`m talking about.
MADDOW: Thanks, man. Appreciate it.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
The first time a presidential debates was televised was 1960. That
1960 debate is probably still the most famous American presidential debate
of all time, right? Thanks mostly to the fact that Richard Nixon was
famously sweaty in that debate and, therefore, a little shifty looking.
While John F. Kennedy looked cool, calm and collected under a thin but very
important layer of powder foundation.
That first debate was filmed in the Chicago studios of CBS, but it was
a joint production and it was jointly broadcast by all the TV networks at
the time. That was just landmark political moment in our country. That
first televised debate – 70 million Americans watched that debate. It
very well may have changed the course of history.
But interesting footnote to that night. That night, there was a third
candidate who thought that he should be there on the stage with Nixon and
Kennedy. And that third candidate pushed very, very hard to get himself on
to that stage. Obviously, they ultimately did not let him into that
But he did succeed in forcing the TV networks to give him some
semblance of equal time. His name was Lar Daly. Lar short for Lawrence.
He was a guy from Chicago. He was a perennial candidate who ran basically
for everything for 40 straight years, never won a thing.
But in 1960, when Kennedy and Nixon got all the free airtime on all
the networks with their big televised debate, Lar Daly convinced the FCC
that he, too, should get equal, free television time. And they ended up
giving it to him on “The Jack Parr Show” on NBC.
Lar Daly got to go on “The Jack Parr Show”. He wore an Uncle Sam
suit. He smoked a cigarette the whole time he was on the show, and he wore
a little sandwich board you can see there where you could write to him for
more information or to send him campaign donations. Lar Daly was his name.
Lar Daly was the first official pain in the butt of American televised
presidential debate. From the very first one, there was already a guy who
was trying to get on the stage and who was a huge pain for everybody and
annoying everyone and making it all very awkward. “The Jack Parr Studio”
audience, that night that he got his equal time on NBC, the Jack Parr
audience booed Lar Daly. And they heckled him throughout the audience.
Jack Parr complained on the air that night to the guy`s face that he
felt shocked and ashamed to have to have that man on his program.
After he got his time on “The Jack Parr Show” that night, Lar Daly
still didn`t give up, too. He told the FCC that they hadn`t given him
enough time to be truly equal. He demanded a further 22 minutes of
television time during that election, if that election was going to be
Lar Daly was his name, perennial county and a real pain in the butt.
This year, I check every day at the Federal Election Commission Web
site to see who has officially filed the paperwork to run for president for
2016. We`ve posted the link so you can do this yourself, as well. The
link is at MaddowBlog.com today. If you want to make this part of your
daily news gathering as I do.
But you can check every day and there really are new ones every day.
And as of this evening, the number of people who have filed official
paperwork to run for president of the United States for 2016, the number as
of tonight is 305 – 67 people have filed to run for the Republican
nomination, 46 people have filed as Democrats, 84 independents, seven
There is one person, I thought of Lar Daly, who said he was running
for the NBC Party. That doesn`t stand for NBC as in NBC News. Though, it
turns out it stands for the “Natural Born Citizen” Party. So, there`s
somebody running on the natural born citizen ticket.
And God bless the Federal Election Commission. You can click through
and you can see everyone is filing papers in addition to their name. So,
for example, one of the people running for the Republican Party nomination
for president named Ole Savior or – Ole Savior – Ole Savior is from
Minnesota. Ole Savior filed a handwritten declaration that he or she is
And this person has clearly – look at the signature, clearly been
practicing the signature to make it just perfect in preparation for signing
all the bills into law that they will sign into law as president Ole
I mean, it`s funny but this always happens. A zillion people always
file to run for president, whether it`s perennial candidates like Lar Daly
or optimistic Ole Savior like this guy from Minnesota.
I mean, it`s a little jarring when you go to the FEC Web site to see
all of those zillions of people, more than 300 of them, listed alongside
the more familiar names that are running but they all get filed alike. I
mean, there`s Rand Paul on this list right between Eugene Roselle Hunt Jr.
and Wanda Gayle Duckwald. They`re all running.
Marco Rubio`s papers are filed right next to Jefferson Woodson Sherman
and somebody named Princess Khadijah M. Pres Jacob-Fambro. The name of her
presidential campaign committee, I should tell you, is from One Alien to
Another Alien, Lil Wayne, Dwayne. That`s her campaign.
Princess Khadijah will be running her campaign from San Francisco,
You know, it`s great. It`s a free country. Anybody can run for
president. You could run for president. Anybody can run. Every year,
just about everybody does, to a certain extent. Several hundred people
When it comes to actually running an orderly campaign, and doing
things like setting up presidential debates, the major parties have always
had to deal with this to a certain degree, right? I mean, Princess
Khadijah is probably not going to make it into the presidential primary
debates this year, no offense intended. The party`s every election cycle
is more systemically figure out a ways to make sure that only the
candidates who have only conceivable viability actually make the cut and
get into the primary debates.
In some years, it`s a larger number of conceivably viable candidates
than it is in other years. These last couple of cycles, we actually have
had a few viable candidates. In 2008, the Democrats thought they would
have a pretty good chance as a party of taking the White House after two
long difficult terms of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. So, a lot of
Democratic contenders, a lot of potentially viable Democratic contenders
turned out in 2008. That year, the presidential debate had as many as
eight people on stage on the Democratic side, and yes, that included people
like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but also, you know, Dennis Kucinich,
and Chris Dodd.
You know, for more than 10 of the debates that year, there was also a
guy up there on stage named Mike Gravel. Mike Gravel, a former senator
from Alaska. You might remember him as the guy that did that one amazing
campaign ad where he didn`t say anything, he just stared into the camera
for a long time and threw a rock into a lake and walked away. That was his
whole ad. Mike Gravel, I miss you.
That same year in 2008, Republicans also sometimes had 10 people on
the stage for their debates. And, yes, it does make for a big crowded
debate stage, but there is a reason, right? There`s a small D reason to
err on the side of inclusion rather than the side of exclusion.
I mean, who is the parties or the TV networks to say who should be
allowed onto that stage and who shouldn`t? Here is a cautionary example –
in January 2008, the FOX News Channel hosted a Republican primary debate in
New Hampshire. For that New Hampshire debate, FOX News decided to not
invite Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Now, this debate was after the Iowa caucuses that year and Ron Paul
had just done really well in the Iowa caucuses. He got 10 percent of the
vote in Iowa that year. But FOX News still didn`t allow him to be up on
that debate stage in New Hampshire just a few days later. And they did
invite New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to be part of that debate, even
though he got way less of a vote in Iowa a few days previous. He only got
about 3 percent of the vote in Iowa. But they invited him. Ron Paul got
10 percent and they didn`t let him in.
And that decision by FOX News in January of 2008, that decision by
them to exclude Ron Paul from that debate led to this memorable scene in
the streets of Milford, New Hampshire, where an angry mob, literally an
angry mob of Ron Paul supporters spotted people who they thought were FOX
News employees in the street after that debate, and the angry mob literally
ran through the streets with their Ron Paul signs, chasing the FOX News
people screaming, “FOX News sucks, FOX News sucks.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: FOX News sucks! FOX News sucks! FOX News sucks! FOX News
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, cautionary tale, right? I mean, that`s not a scene you
want to see if you are the FOX News Channel during the Republican primary.
People chasing your employees or people they thought were your employees,
they`re at the streets yelling, “FOX News sucks.”
FOX News four days later, four days after that Milford, New Hampshire
debate, hosted the next Republican presidential debate, as well. They
clearly learned their lesson from that New Hampshire debate, and the next
one four days later in South Carolina, they made sure they included Ron
Paul. Fewer angry mobs that way.
So it`s important, right, that anyone with any perceived viability
gets to be seen in the process, right? Gets into the debate. It`s an
important part of running and, yes, sometimes that results in very large
debates, right? You don`t want Ole Savior and Princess Khadijah in there,
right? And you just – that`s like you couldn`t get Lar Daly onto the
stage in 1960 and his Uncle Sam suit with the cigarette.
But if you do have to stretch to nine, 10, 11, 12 candidates up on
that stage, so that you can get Mike Gravel and Ron Paul and Dennis
Kucinich and Alan Keyes, and Jim Gilmore and all these guys in there,
basically, the tendency has been to do it, right? That`s how our system
works. Err on the side of inclusion. That`s how our system works.
Until now. Because this year, there is a real problem if this is
going to continue to be our system. The system cannot hold this year.
In the last cycle, 2012, the Republican Party thought they had a
pretty good chance of making Barack Obama a one-term president. They
thought they had a shot to beat him. They did not. Part of that they
blame on their candidate, Mitt Romney, and the kind of general election
campaign that Mr. Romney ran.
But the Republican powers that be also really believes that they had a
flawed process in 2012 that led to choosing their nominee and that hurt the
Republican Party`s chances overall of beating President Obama no matter who
they chose. Specifically, they think they had too many debates in 2012.
The Republican primary in 2012 involved almost two dozen debates, 23
debates by most counts.
And they started really early. The first major Republican primary
debate for the 2012 election was four years ago today. It was May 5th,
2011, they started really, really early and they kept doing them. They did
almost two dozen debates and after the Republicans got beat in 2012, part
of their self-diagnosis of what went wrong is they had too many of these
debates and it just turned the primary process into a salacious reality
show that made everybody look small and fringe and divisive and petty.
And so, the Republican Party this year decided, I think, not without
reason, that they wouldn`t make that same mistake again. So, for the 2016
cycle, the Republicans announced really early on in January that the
official Republican Party would have an official Republican Party
sanctioned short list of debates. They said any candidates who
participated in any debate that wasn`t on that official short list would be
punished in the process. Everybody can only do that short list chosen by
the party. There would not be too many debates again this time.
Democratic Party followed suit. Democratic Party followed there would
be six Democratic primary debates in total. That`s down from 26 in 2008.
They – the Democrats today set that same rule where no candidate can do a
debate that isn`t on the short list until they want to get punished on
their primary campaign. So, now, we know, the parties have stepped in and
said we`re not going to have a circus again this year. Democrats are going
to do six debates. Republicans are going to do nine debates.
And there`s a little bit of an interesting question on the Democratic
side as to who`s going to be in the Democratic debates. So far, Hillary
Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the two declared candidates. It`s widely
assumed that Martin O`Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee may also get in.
Nobody knows if there are others. There`s a little bit of drama there.
On the Republican side, though – Katy bar the door. On the
Republican side, they have a problem that calls into question the whole
modern system of how we pick presidential nominees, because nobody has any
idea how the Republicans are going to choose who they let in their debate
stage, who they let on there and who they exclude.
And yes, I get it that every year a million people run. There really
are more than 300 people running this year. The FEC filings are hilarious.
There are always a zillion people technically running.
But every year, it`s pretty obvious where the tiers are, right? It`s
pretty obvious which candidates are like the Princess Khadijah`s, one alien
to another alien people, right, the Ole Saviors, right? And who is
conceivably viable in terms of the nomination. Usually, there is a pretty
clear line – FOX News Ron Paul notwithstanding, right, as to who makes the
cut. Usually you can tell.
This year, how are you going to tell? This year on the Republican
side, the conceivably viable list has at least 22 names on it by my latest
count. Granted, it`s a subjective count, but I don`t think it`s crazy.
If you take the list of people who are not crackpots, not fringe
figures, not people who you`ve never heard of, not people who have no
business making it into the debates, you`ve still got about 22 people.
Just consider this for a second, right? Mike Huckabee, latest who
officially joined the race today, Mike Huckabee won Iowa in 2008. He won
eight states altogether that year. It was a big surprise to Democrats in
particular that he didn`t run in 2012. A lot of very high level Democrats
thought Mike Huckabee had a really good chance of winning the Republican
nomination in 2012. Mike Huckabee has clearly got at least potential
viability as a nominee.
Mike Huckabee is officially in as of today. He joins Ted Cruz and
Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. There are now
six declared candidates.
I know Ben Carson may not be a household name nationwide, but Ben
Carson really does have huge support among the Republican conservative
base. He raised more than $12 million in support of his campaign before he
even got close to declaring, $12 million?
Carly Fiorina made a very credible bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010.
She is not seen at all as a fringe candidate, even though she`s never
technically held public office, she`s making a serious bid.
Up on the list with those guys who are declared, there`s the rest of
the obvious list, right? Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Chris
Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has been a national figure for
decades. He`s making more and more overt noise about the fact that he is
going to make a serious run.
Ohio Governor John Kasich is starting to sound more and more inclined
toward running. He will instantly be taken seriously if only because he`s
the serving governor of the great swing state of Ohio.
Rick Snyder of Michigan is making similar noises about running now.
He will come in at about the same tier as John Kasich, which is a
considerable tier to come in at.
Mike Pence of Indiana did have a bit of a national setback with his
anti-discrimination gay law last month. But he is a long time conservative
dark horse prospect for the presidency. He may yet run. He may try to
turn that anti-gay discrimination thing to his advantage.
I understand because I know you that you laugh at the prospect of a
Donald Trump candidacy. But Donald Trump, believe me, is actually hiring
campaign staff in multiple early voting presidential states. And Donald
Trump polls surprisingly well among likely Republican voters.
This year, the role of Tim Pawlenty will be played by former New York
Governor George Pataki, in the sense that to the outside world he is a bit
of a snooze fest, but Governor Pataki is well-respected and very well-
connected in Republican mainstream politics. And he says he may make a
John Bolton, the angriest ambassador ever, is another one of these
Republican candidates who have sort of a Donald Trump-esque laugh factor
outside of Republican politics and conservative politics. But laugh at
John Bolton at your peril. He has a permanent seat on the air at the FOX
News Channel. And he does seem to be running, and seems to have been
building support for a candidacy for sometime. He will be taken seriously
in many Republican circles, particularly foreign policy circles.
Even old Jim Gilmore is back, former governor of Virginia. You will
remember as the friendly potted plant on the Republican primary debate
stage back in 2008, who`s always there. it looks like Jim Gilmore will be
Add to that list, former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich.
Pugnacious New York Congressman Peter King, both of whom have been
doing the rounds in Iowa and New Hampshire and attending candidate forums
and giving speeches.
And without trying too hard, you get easily to 22 prospective
Republican candidates, none of whom braid their beard hair and call
themselves princess or plan to be running in an Uncle Sam suit carrying a
cigarette. I mean, that`s 22 non-crack pot names – 22 names that very
easily would have made it onto the debate stage as in previous cycles.
Which of them get cut out this year? None of them would have been cut
out in 2008 or 2012. Individually – if you take them individually, you
rank them against would who did make it? How are Republicans are going to
decide who to cut out this year? Seriously, how are they going to decide?
“Time Magazine`s” Zeke Miller reports today that the process is
already under way quietly between Republican Party officials and some of
the TV networks that are supposed to be airing the nine Republican debates
Typically, you use a polling threshold to decide who makes it into the
first couple of the debates. But with this many people in the running,
honestly right now, nobody even know who to poll on.
I mean, should they be polling on Carly Fiorina now? Should they be
polling on Donald Trump? Should they be polling on John – what was that?
That was what hilarious. John Kasich, is anybody polling on – Lindsey
Graham? Will they start if Lindsey Graham officially declares he`s running
for president, will they poll on him?
With this many people in the running, a polling threshold depends on
the preferences of the pollsters in terms of who they put on the list. And
honestly, the more people they put on the list in any poll, the less likely
it is that even substantial candidates will hit any reasonable numeric
threshold. I mean, in the NBC poll that came out last night, which is a
great poll – I mean, the answer not sure beat out both Rick Perry and
Carly Fiorina among registered Republican voters.
Carly Fiorina got 1 percent. Rick Perry got 2 percent. Not sure got
Does that mean Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina shouldn`t be allowed into
the debates? That seems hard to believe.
But today in “Time” magazine, Zeke Miller reports the prospects that
in this totally unprecedented situation we`ve got, with more than 20
potential and potentially viable Republican candidates, one metric the
party is considering using for who gets on the debates and who doesn`t is
money, fund-raising. Ekh!
I mean, which maybe is practical politics in terms of who might have a
chance of getting into the White House, but it also seems somehow
fundamentally wrong that the literal size of your campaign bank account
will determine whether or not people are loud to consider you as a
candidate for public office. Running for president is a process that has
always been very democratic and a little bit nutty. But this year poses a
challenge that has never, ever been faced before and I have no idea,
absolutely no idea how they are going to solve this very present problem.
MADDOW: So interesting failures in television news. I was just
talking about former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore and we randomly started
showing a picture of Kanye West, which is what hilarious.
Sometimes, producing visuals for the TV is hard. I have no idea how
that happened. It`s not like there`s going to be Kanye West news later on
in the show, and we like got things out – I don`t even know.
Sometimes making visuals for TV is hard, on a normal day, you know, in
normal politics. Therefore, pity the poor television producers who are
going to have work in the presidential campaign this year who are going to
have to show pictures like this, all of the viable presidential candidates
and potential presidential candidates on the Republican side, all the folks
who have real support or real name recognition or real experience and
actually have a shot. I mean, necessary are the serious Republican
contenders, 22 in all, enough to have two opposing football teams and
definitely enough that at some point, Kanye West is going to be mixed in
among them with nobody understanding why.
With that many people viably running, who gets to stand up on the
stage for the debates? How is the party going to choose? And if that
process is under way right now, what are they considering for winnowing
Joining us now is Zeke Miller, political reporter with “Time”
magazine. He`s reporting on this subject.
Mr. Miller, it`s really nice to have you on the program tonight.
Thanks for being here.
ZEKE MILLER, TIME MAGAZINE: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Am I wrong that Kanye West is running?
MILLER: You know, it`s news to me. But, you know, we`re at 22
running. So, 23, why not?
MADDOW: What have you been able to suss out about what factors
they`re considering for this short-term, difficult problem they`ve got
about who gets to be in the debates?
MILLER: Well, the obvious one is polling for the top tier, those who
are at 5 percent to 13 percent, 14 percent in the Republican vote. That`s
your Jeb Bushes, your Scott Walkers, your Marco Rubios, your Rand Pauls,
even your Ben Carsons sort of hit that threshold. People like them, people
know where they are. People are supporting them.
When you have trouble is the 10 candidates or so below 5 percent,
basically just in the margin of error, which is usually around 3.1 percent,
and, you know, they`re below that – they`re either at 1 percent or 2
percent or at zero or sort of almost negative in a way. And that`s not how
polling works, obviously, but they could statistically be at zero.
So, it`s not possible to know what their support is. So, the parties
are looking at and these networks are looking at money, so how much money
they`ve raised, how many individual donors they have? How many members of
Congress have endorsed them or sitting governors or sitting Republicans
officeholders? Those are all things that they`re going about. But usually
the way these work is that they decide who they want on stage and then they
make the rules sort of to fit that, they sort of back build the rules to
justify who they want on stage.
MADDOW: I want to come back to the money question in a second,
because I think that`s important and I think it rubs me the wrong way and
I`m not sure why. So I want to come back to the details on that in a
But on the polling issue, what seems to me to be new this year,
there`s always a question of what the polling threshold is in terms of
getting into the first couple of debates, before there are any primary
results to go on which seems like a better metric, this year, it seems like
there is something new because there are so many non-obscure but not top
tier candidates, that there`s a question as to who even makes it into the
I`m not sure we have a good sense of what Carly Fiorina or John Kasich
poll numbers or Mike Pence`s poll numbers might be. Mostly because you
can`t blame pollsters for keeping more than 20 names off their list. Once
you start polling on 20 things, it`s very unlikely that anybody is going to
come in above 3 percent or 4 percent.
MILLER: Exactly. For pollsters, it`s a matter of, you know,
practicality. If you want to put 22 names in a poll, people are going to
hang up on you. Most of those polls, polls you and I both respect are
usually the ones that are live dialed. That`s – you know, there`s a human
being on one end of the call and your list of names and what`s your
favorite ability of Jim Gilmore? Like at a certain point, people are going
to hang up and don`t want to give over two hours to a pollster.
So, it`s really hard there in terms of that. But then you`re dealing
with also just that number of people and the margin of error at 3 percent.
They`re all going be clustered together at some point.
MADDOW: On the possibility of them using money as a metric, it does
feel sort of anti-democratic, with small D, to consider that even though we
know money is part of a candidate`s viability, are they talking about
campaign donations, or is it donations to super PACs in support of a
candidate or, you know, other interest groups that seem to be pushing for
that candidate? I mean, measuring money and politics is a pretty inexact
science right now.
MILLER: Exactly. It`s not entirely clear yet, both sort of the party
and the networks are being tight lipped about this process for those exact
reasons. They don`t want to reveal too much about that process so that
people don`t influence it. But one of the things I`ve been picking up is
they`re potentially shying away sort of the bulk dollar amount raised to
demonstrating support from individual contributors both nationally and
potentially in the early states. You know, you need, you know, X number of
dollars raised from Y number of donors across the country.
And thereby being you can`t get just one big check from a super PAC
donor and say that`s the extra support that brought you into the debate.
You need to show that people like on a sustained basis, that you can
actually develop a grassroots network. It`s hard to collect a $2,700
check. You can do it, it`s easier.
It`s easy to – it`s relatively easy to collect $2,700 checks, a lot
harder to collect a heck of a lot of $100 checks. And that`s sort of the
test of viability. If you can`t get those $100 checks, how do you collect
the $1,000 checks you need or the $500 checks you need to go up against the
rest of the Republican primary field and also Hillary Clinton?
MADDOW: That`s right. And who wants to give $100 to any candidate
when you know you`re competing for your candidate`s attention, with people
who are giving them $100 million, potentially, which is a whole other
dynamic, unlike other donors –
MADDOW: Yes, Zeke Miller, political reporter with “Time” magazine,
this is a fascinating and really important subject. Thanks for your
reporting. Thanks for being here.
MILLER: Thank you for having me on.
MADDOW: This is – I do think this is – it`s a sleeper issue not
because people don`t pay attention to the debates, because I think people
realize this vetting is going on right now and I could be determinative in
terms of who the field of candidates is.
It`s a big deal. Lots more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, JetBlue announced that starting in July, they`re going
to be doing weekly flights on Friday afternoons, from JFK airport in New
York City to Havana, Cuba. Oh, really? It`s the first new flights from
New York announced since President Obama earlier this year relaxed our
relationship with Cuba after a half century long standoff.
So, now, when everybody you know in New York starts mysteriously
coming down with the flu on Friday, keep in mind these new Friday afternoon
flights to Havana which start up in July.
You can blame JetBlue when that starts happening this summer. Today,
JetBlue included this photo in their JetBlue daily news, which is the
employee newsletter they send out to their crew members everybody by e-
mail. As you can see, it shows presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with
the JetBlue crew on a flight she took with them today.
And Hillary Clinton did not go to Havana on that flight with JetBlue
today, but she did go back somewhere today to make a big change from her
political past. Big news from Secretary Hillary Clinton tonight.
That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: November 15th, 2007, seven Democrats vying for the 2008
Democratic nomination for president and they had a debate in the great
state of Nevada. This is one of those debates where the moderator ran part
of the debate like he was taking attendance. He went down the line asking
every candidate the same yes-or-no question. No explanations, just yes or
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MODERATOR: Do you support driver`s licenses for illegal immigrants?
JOHN EDWARDS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we don`t have –
MODERATOR: In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform,
doesn`t look like it`s going to happen any time soon, do you support
driver`s licenses for illegal immigrants?
MODERATOR: Senator Obama? Yes or no?
BARACK OBAMA (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
MODERATOR: Senator Clinton?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), THEN-2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Obama? Yes. Senator Clinton? No.
In fact, the day before that debate, Senator Clinton had issued a
statement on that issue. She said, quote, “As president, I will not
support driver`s licenses for undocumented people.”
That was eight years ago. Now times have changed. Former Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton does think that undocumented immigrants should be
allowed to get driver`s licenses.
And tonight, back in Nevada, she went all in on the immigration issue.
Not only embracing that change about driver`s licenses, but going right at
the entire Republican field on this issue saying that she supports what
President Obama has done already on immigration and if she were president,
she would not only fight Republican efforts to roll those policies back,
she would keep going. She would extend them a lot, by executive action if
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We can`t wait any longer for a path to full and equal
citizenship. Now, this is where I differ with everybody on the Republican
side. Make no mistakes, today not a single Republican candidate announced
or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship.
When they talk about legal status, that is code for second class
status. I will fight to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions
that would put DREAMers, including those with us today, at risk of
deportation. And, if Congress continues to refuse to act, as president I
would do everything possible under the law to go even further.
There are more people like many parents of DREAMers and others with
deep ties and contributions to our communities who deserve a chance to stay
and I will fight for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I will fight for them. Secretary Clinton back in Nevada
tonight, calling out the whole Republican presidential field for none of
them supporting a pathway to citizenship for immigrant families. Secretary
Clinton showing not only her own evolution on this issue, but how much
Republicans have actually slid back on that issue over the past few years.
This is starting to get exciting. Watch this space.
MADDOW: So, we barely rarely get a cabinet secretary on this show.
But that`s what we`ve got tonight for the interview. Seriously. Stay with
us. That`s next.
MADDOW: So, on Monday of last week, a week ago yesterday, the
Southeast got pounded by severe thunderstorms, pulsing rain, winds up to 70
miles an hour. It`s just a mess. In the midst of that big storm in the
Southeast, a local news reporter in Elmwood, Louisiana, captured this
The reporter was trying to ride out a storm at a local restaurant. He
parked his news van near the entrance of that restaurant and ran inside.
But he kept the camera on his dashboard rolling.
Look what the camera captured. Keep your eyes on train rolling across
the track at the top of the screen. Do you see that? Look at that. The
winds from the storm knocked those train cars right off the track, right
off that trestle bridge the train was passing over at the time. Amazing.
Incredibly, nobody was hurt. That happened last Monday in Louisiana.
That was Monday. This is Tuesday in Roswell, New Mexico.
Two freight train trains, one carrying sand, the other carrying
molasses. The two trains had a head on coalition. Unlike that train that
got blown off the bridge in Louisiana the day before, someone did get
killed in this coalition in New Mexico. Two crew members and one of the
train engines jumped to try to save their lives when they realized the
collision was going to happen. One of those two crew members who jumped
That same day, we also got brand new images of a big train accident
that happened in North Dakota. This was the view from a train carrying
cars full of grain. That was traveling through the town of Castleton,
North Dakota, at the time. You can see off in the distance, there is
another train approaching, coming in from the opposite direction on an
Well, here is the view from that train just before it hit the train it
was speeding towards, just before it slammed into a derailed car that had
tipped over from the grain train onto the adjacent track. You can see the
other train is about to hit that one car that has tipped over and slumped
on to the adjacent track.
This was the result of that collision. The fireball that lit up the
sky over North Dakota, that fire in Castleton, North Dakota, burned for
days. The engineer called 911 after the crash happened that he was running
away from the burning locomotive. The train had started blowing up.
The 911 dispatcher asked the engineer if she needed to call the local
fire department. The engineer responded, quote, “You need to call every
In that case, in that Castleton, North Dakota, crash, the reason it
was not the same kind of accident as though those other ones is because of
what was on board one of those two trains that collided in Castleton. One
of those two trains, not the grain train, the other train, was carrying
highly flammable crude oil.
For more than a year now, as one oil train after another has derailed
and blown up across the country, we have been expecting new rules to be
announced, to try to prevent more disasters like this, new federal rules
telling the oil industry what to do to make these oil trains safer. We`ve
been awaiting those new rules for more than a year now, and now, they have
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx just announced new rules
governing oil trains at a press conference in Washington. What he unveiled
is a 395-page order that covers everything from how thick the walls of the
tank cars need to be, to how fast these oil trains are allowed to move
through communities, to the types of braking systems they trains must have
It`s a tough, far-reaching, expansive order from the Obama
administration about this vexing new problem we have on the rails with all
these oil trains now.
But the order also does not go nearly as far as many people had hoped.
For example, that oil train derailment and explosion in Castleton, North
Dakota, involved a decades old car called the DOT 111. We`ve talked a lot
on the show about the flimsiness and repeated failures of that specific
kind of car. The DOT 111 was also involved in a fiery oil train derailment
in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people, wiped out near half the
center of that town.
Under the new rule, that specific tank car involved in those
derailments, which has a repeated record of failure, that specific train
car under the new rules can stay on the rails until the beginning of 2018,
three more years with those things.
This is the tank car model that the oil industry upgraded to. It`s
called the CPC-1232. It`s seen here going up in flames and dumping its
contents into the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, after a derailment
there last year. That newer tank war was also involved in fiery
derailments and explosions in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, and Galena,
Illinois, earlier this year.
Under the new rule, that specific tank car involved a nose derailment
can stay on the rails even longer than the DOT 111. It can stay on the
rails until April 2020.
Both of those types of cars do eventually have to be retrofitted to
meet a new standard, but they can stay on the tracks for years in the
One other things to note, after that oil train disaster in Lynchburg,
Virginia, last year, the Transportation Department required that the oil
train industry give information to local communities about when large
quantity oil trains like that were moving through their area. That
requirement led to a whole state of local news articles over the past year
about how many oil trains are moving through your particular city or town.
Local newspapers were able to inform the public about that, get that
information, because states were forced the turn it over through the
Freedom of Information Act.
The oil industry tried to prevent that information from getting out,
but the states had to mostly comply with those records request and,
therefore, we got all that local news.
Well, now, the new rule says that that information does have to be
shared with first responders, but it will no longer be available to the
public. The new rule says the information is proprietary to the companies
that are shipping the oil, releasing it publicly could pose a security
risk. So, now, you`re no longer allowed to know what is shipping through
your town and when.
There is a lot of good in these new rules. This is the first time the
federal government has tried to do anything this big and this permanent to
fix this problem. But is this it? Is this all we`re going to get, because
this as a potential solution seems a lot smaller than the existing problem.
The man whose signature appears right at the bottom of these new
rules, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joins us live, next.
MADDOW: Our nation`s transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, has just
announced the long awaited new federal rules aimed at making oil trains
less likely to derail and blow up in a town near you.
Joining us now for the interview is our nation`s transportation
secretary, Anthony Foxx.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us tonight.
ANTHONY FOXX, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Glad to be with you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, I know that you saw my introduction a moment ago, and I`m
delighted that there are new federal rules. I am worried that they are
federal rules that leave what seems like dangerous tanker cars on the rails
for three or five more years without much improvement.
FOXX: Well, Rachel, the first thing one has to realize is our
department doesn`t control whether things move. We control how things
And one of the challenges we face here is that, you know, you could
see more of this stuff moving on your highways if we don`t tighten up our
tank car standards. We think this is the right rule for the right time
right now, and we`re moving this rule as quickly as we can, prioritizing
the least safe tank cars first. Prioritizing the crude oil movements first
and making sure that we`re doing everything we can to get these cars in the
marketplace as quickly as possible.
But we also have to recognize they have to be made and they have to be
retrofitted, and we`ve got to make sure we account for the time that it
will take to do that.
MADDOW: The least safe cars that you are considering there, the
oldest standards, the DOT 111, was it within your power, was it under
consideration to ban them from carrying crude oil in a shorter term basis?
They`re going to be on the rails until 2018.
FOXX: Well, to be clear, we are banning them. It`s just that we have
to cycle them out of the market. And to also be clear – you know, if we
took them off the marketplace tomorrow, we would see more trucks carrying
the same crude oil and that also presents dangers.
So, the reality is, we have to – we have to deal with the fact that
this stuff is moving and we have to do everything we can to make it move as
safely as possible, and our rule is calibrated to get there faster than
many manufacturers think they can get there in terms of retrofitting and
producing new tank cars.
MADDOW: One of the rule changes or one of the changes under this rule
that I didn`t expect was about the information that people can get access
to and that local media can get access to about high volume oil trains
rolling through their neighborhood. As far as I understand it, the general
public is actually going to have less access to that information now under
the new rule, than they do already. Why was that change made?
FOXX: Well, one of the challenges we faced with the current emergency
order that requires reporting a different way is that first responders
weren`t getting access to the comprehensive information they need and they
weren`t getting that information as directly as they needed to. So, this
rule corrects that issue.
And, again, while a lot of the information, classified information for
security reasons, to the extent that the states and local government`s
desire to produce more information to the public, they will have some
discretion to do that based on whether the information is classified or
MADDOW: I want first responders to have all the information they need
and more, but I also feel like this is a political issue. I mean,
obviously, there`s a lot of politics around the safety of pipelines and
this national issue of the approval of the Keystone pipeline. You`ve
raised the issue of the safety of this stuff on the roads. We`ve just been
talking about the safety of this stuff on the rails.
People have a lot of strong feelings about this stuff as the United
States has started moving more domestic around in all these surface
methods. If the public has less access to this information, that`s going
to affect not only what we know and what we might do to keep ourselves safe
but the level of public discourse, isn`t it?
FOXX: Well, look, our goal is to ensure as much transparency as
possible. There are a lot of other equities at play here, including the
security of the material that is moving, and some of that actually belongs
to some of the other federal agencies in terms of their discretion to
But let me say this – that to the extent that information does not
pose a security risk, of course, the state and local governments will
continue to be able to disseminate that information as they choose to.
MADDOW: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Mr. Secretary, I
really appreciate you taking time to talk with us. We cover this a lot.
Having the chance to talk with you about it is a real privilege. Thank
FOXX: Thank you.
MADDOW: I appreciate it.
You know, it`s interesting. I – looking at what I see as some of the
weaknesses of the rule, the oil industry and railroad industry see this new
rule as far too draconian and they`ve already announced that they`re going
to fight it. And, of course, they have infinite monetary resources to do
so. It will be very interesting to see as the administration fights for
You know, with all of its weaknesses, they`re still going to have to
fight with it against rich industries who say it`s pushing them too much.
There will be a big fight over this in a big, big, moneyed way.
All right. Lots more ahead, including a much needed diversion
involving where you are allowed to put your mascara. That story is next.
MADDOW: I love this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, INFO WARS: I`ve gone from 279 pounds all the way down to
235 pounds, and the weight is going off even faster.
And it wasn`t just that my weight loss accelerated. My muscle mass
increased. My stamina, my energy levels exploded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: God bless Alex Jones and his stamina, and exploding energy
And the rest of the people may look at Alex Jones, the conspiracy
Internet guy and see just a regular Joe selling his Illuminate-free black
helicopter repellent male vitality potion.
I want to know if he`s also selling belly hair mascara. Look, before
- after. Before – after. Look at the torso transformation.
If body hair mascara is the next survivalist frontier, I want to know
if I should hoard it now.
But Alex Jones, the kind of Internet conspiracy theories really has
been onto to an actually big story this year, globalist big, Texas big.
And that story is becoming a very funny national joke right now, but it`s
also getting to very touchy and important national politics. And we`re
going to have that report for you exclusively here tomorrow night.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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