The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/13/15

Guests:
Daniel Bice
Transcript:

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

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now, one of California`s finest products.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, I got to tell you, California water is
kind of a bull`s eye for the Maddow family. This is all Maddow family
collective watching this week. We`re so psyched that you`re doing this.

HAYES: I`m microprogramming to the Maddow family. I`m happy to hear that.

MADDOW: It`s working. You have maxed out the demo. Well-done, man.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Monday.

So, Milo Bloom, you know Milo Bloom? Milo Bloom is 10 years old. He`s a
10-year-old newspaper reporter. Even though he`s only 10 years old, Milo
Bloom is sort of world weary. He`s very wise.

Steve Dallas is the amoral super skeezy lawyer who always wears sunglasses
and is always smoking a cigarette.

Opus is a penguin. At one point, Opus got a nose job and didn`t look like
a penguin anymore but he`s a penguin.

This guy is Oliver Wendell Jones. He`s always my favorite one. Oliver
Wendell Jones is also 10-years-old. He`s a computer genius, kind of a
hacker.

In the “Boom County” comic strip that included all of these characters and
that honestly got me through a good portion of my cynical adolescence in
the 1980s, Oliver Wendell Jones was a mad genius, was always very
comforting to me.

You see him dressed up like a pirate here? Whenever he was computer
hacking, he would dress up as a pirate.

Here is one where he was trying to hack into NBC News. Enter NBC News.
Beep, password incorrect. Entry into the NBC News files not approved.

Then he gets prompted for a password again, then he enters “Dan Rather is a
turnip”. Beep, approved. He`s like yeah, the dude is hot. Gets into NBC
News.

There was also the time he tried to end the Cold War by hacking into the
Russian newspaper “Pravda”. He hatched this great scheme where he would
hack into “Pravda” and he would change the headline on the front page so it
would say this, it would say, “Gorbachev urges disarmament, total,
unilateral.” That was going to be the front page of “Pravda”.

Now, Milo Bloom, the kid newspaper reporter, says to his friend, the
hacker, are you sure about the translation now that you have that on the
front page of “Pravda”? Are you sure about the translation? Oliver says,
yes, sure I`m sure. I`m pretty sure.

And then the point of view changes to Moscow, where some burly, fur-hatted
Russians are reading that day`s copy of “Pravda”. What attach actually
translates to is, Gorbachev sends tractors, turnips, buttocks.”

The word turnip is always funny, even when it is not paired with either
tractor or buttocks. “Bloom County” was always funny and also won the
Pulitzer Prize.

But “Bloom County” has been gone for 25 years, until today. It just came
back.

Today, the Pulitzer Prize winner creator of “Bloom County”, his name is
Berkeley Breathed, he posted this picture of himself on Facebook showing
himself working, see what it says there? “Bloom County 2015”, working on a
new “Bloom County” strip.

He chose Opus the Penguin and the news strip shows opus waking up after a
24-year nap. It ends with a profane joke I cannot show you on television
about the exact physical nature of penguin puberty.

But in the comments that were put on his Facebook post, when he announced
that he was back in this way, Berkeley Breathed basically confesses on his
Facebook page that the reason he`s bringing “Bloom County” back after 25
years is because he can`t resist the fact that Donald Trump is running for
president. Somebody wrote to him on his Facebook page saying, “How fitting
it was to have `Bloom County` back because Donald Trump was returning to
the political spectrum”, and Berkeley Breathed responded to that by saying,
he couldn`t deny that, quote, “the chap you mentioned had something to do
with it.”

So, the character that portrayed Donald Trump in the heyday of “Bloom
County” back in the 1980s was the character Bill the Cat. Bill the Cat,
his signature phrase was ack or (INAUDIBLE) – the whole shtick about Bill
the Cat, he was sort of filthy. I thought maybe Bill the Cat was dead,
buried and then dug up. He kind of looks like that.

Or maybe he was part road kill or may be he was kind of a hair ball or
something. The conventional wisdom is that he was the anti-Garfield. Bill
the Cat was wonderful and inherently repulsive and Bill the Cat played
Donald Trump in “Bloom County” in the 1980s. And now, presumably, he will
again now that “Bloom County” is back.

Donald Trump is so good for political satire. He`s not only brought us
Trump Your Cat, where you brush your cat to create a pile of your cat`s own
fur and you form that into a Trump-like cat toupee and put that on your
cat`s head and put it on Instagram.

Donald Trump is so good for satire. He has not only brought us Trump Your
Cat, he`s brought back Bill the Cat as Donald Trump, he`s brought back
freaking “Bloom County” after out for 25 years.

Donald Trump is so good for American political satire that he has also
brought David Letterman out of retirement. David Letterman just retired.
Stephen Colbert hasn`t even taken over for him yet at CBS. David Letterman
hasn`t been seen in public doing stuff since he stopped doing his show back
in May. But, apparently, Donald Trump is enough to bring David Letterman
back.

This weekend, David Letterman popped up as a surprise guest at an event
with Steve Martin and Martin Short and he explained why he was back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: You`re saying to yourselves, why is he here?

(LAUGHTER AND CHEERS)

I would just say one thing, and this is not my way of bragging. And by the
way, I am so happy to be out of the house.

(LAUGHTER)

I retired, and –

(BOOS)

This is the first you`re hearing of it?

(LAUGHTER)

I have no regrets, none. I was – I was happy.

(APPLAUSE)

I`ll make actual friends.

(LAUGHTER)

I was complacent, I was satisfied, I was content. Then a couple of days
ago Donald Trump said he was running for president.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

I have made the biggest mistake of my life, ladies and gentlemen.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN SHORT, ACTOR: What is this, Dave?

LETTERMAN: Well, every suit I own comes with a top ten list.

(CHEERS)

LETTERMAN: A lot of people think that we would know everything by now
about a man, Donald Trump – a high profile fellow, somebody who doesn`t
shy away from every aspect of his life.

But take a look at the list I have here tonight: interesting facts about
Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, David Letterman has come out of retirement because he cannot
resist making fun of Donald Trump. I have to interrupt here, because this
was not a David Letterman top ten list that he created for his network
television show. This is something he did for a live event. Much of it is
too blue for me to play on television, but not all of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: Number five – number five, Donald Trump weighs 240 pounds, 250
with cologne.

Number four, Trump would like all Americans to know that thing on his head
is free range.

Number two, Donald Trump has pissed off so many Mexicans, he`s starring in
a new movie titled “No Amigos.”

And the number one interesting fact about Donald Trump, thanks to Donald
Trump, the Republican mascot is also an ass. There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: David Letterman, still retired apparently, but working again,
despite himself, because Donald Trump is, in that one very specific way,
very good for our country. He`s good for the well-being and mental health
of political satirists.

Just this weekend, Mr. Trump reportedly told a gathering of Hollywood
conservatives that the United States shouldn`t have invaded Iraq when
George W. Bush was president, but not for the reason you`re thinking. He
says the U.S. should not have invaded Iraq because the United States
instead should have invaded Mexico.

The comment was reportedly not intended as a joke and was greeted with
rousing applause. That was Friday night.

Mr. Trump also then head a well-attended rally in Phoenix, Arizona, the
following morning on Saturday. But at that event, he was again
unintentionally funny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jeb Bush, let`s say he`s
president. Aye yi yi.

I always want to be loved, you know? Like when I went on dates, if a woman
dropped me, which happened often, I would always like to say or at least in
my own mind that I dropped her. Does that make sense?

So, what happened – makes me feel better.

I don`t even have to worry about Obamacare because my people do better. My
people got lucky. But I got lucky, too. They`re great people. Great
people.

But ISIS – ISIS will be in such trouble.

(APPLAUSE

ISIS, believe me, they will be in such trouble.

I`m like a really smart person. By the way, just so you understand – even
the press will say this crowd today blows away anything that Bernie Sanders
has had, that I can tell you.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Whoo. Feel the burn. There is something almost Bill the Cat
level surreal, ack, about seeing Donald Trump taunting Bernie Sanders over
his crowd size. But actually, truth be told, Bernie`s is bigger.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

MADDOW: Come on, come on. Do we have that clip? Please tell me we got
the Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump. Do you have it? Play it again. Go on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: The size of his crowds matters to Donald Trump.

TRUMP: We have about 10,000 people.

REPORTER: The Republican presidential candidate bragged in Las Vegas about
what awaited him at his next stop in Phoenix.

TRUMP: This crowd today blows anything that Bernie Sanders has had, that I
can tell you.

REPORTER: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was welcomed by
10,000 people in Wisconsin.

Trump topped him with this Facebook post from the Phoenix Convention
Center. Quote, “This is what 15,000 people looks like.”

It was a great crowd. The hall was packed. There`s one problem, 15,000 is
more than three times the hall`s maximum legal capacity of 4,200.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: This is what 15,000 people looks like to me. I could be wrong.

That was from KPNX in Phoenix.

So, Donald Trump continues to be at one level sort of almost too ridiculous
to cover, like it`s this incredible fodder for satirist and cartoonists,
right? The Simpsons and comedians.

On the one hand, it`s in the realm of performance and pop culture and
satire. On the other hand, Republican voters do seem kind of serious about
him. I mean, no, there weren`t 15,000 people who turned out in Phoenix to
see Donald Trump. But there were a few thousand people. That was bigger
than any of the other Republican candidates are getting in terms of crowd
size.

There`s a new national poll out today which has Donald Trump polling in
second place nationwide, only Jeb Bush ahead of him. That`s the second
straight national poll which Republican voters have put him and Jeb Bush as
number one and number two.

And while this is not easy to – amazing to watch and it is bringing about
a new golden age of comedy apparently, it is going to be real interesting
to see how the other candidates, the supposedly more serious candidates,
have to position themselves against him if he keeps attracting this much
attention and sucking up this much media attention and pulling big crowds
and trumping them all, forgive me, in the polls.

I mean, today, Republican presidential candidate number 15 entered the
race, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He gave a very good speech. No
teleprompter, no notes. He had a little bit of a Rick Perry. It got a
little hot in there but you know what, it`s July.

Also, there was maybe a slightly dicey choice for one of the introductions
which came from a FOX News Channel host.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY, FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR: Scott has been married to
Tonette for 24 years.

(APPLAUSE)

Twenty-four? Twenty-four is Bill Clinton`s favorite age.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It`s kind of a weird way to set up Scott Walker`s presidential
announcement today, but he did make his long awaited announcement.

And you know what? On paper, if you sort of run the numbers on Scott
Walker, if you want to go money ball on Scott Walker, he is a super
formidable candidate. He`s maybe the best all around package that the
Republicans have got in this giant field of theirs, at least when you look
at him on paper.

I mean, even before announcing he was running today, he`s been leading in
Iowa in 11 of the last 12 Iowa polls, polling in first place in 11 of the
last 12 Iowa polls. He does not have one of those splitting the base
problems that somebody like Mike Huckabee has or Jeb Bush has where they
can either please social conservatives or fiscal conservatives but not
both.

Scott Walker is a guy who really pleases both camps. Scott Walker has
shown a proven ability to win in swing state territory. Wisconsin voted
for President Obama for president twice, but they`ve also elected Governor
Scott Walker twice. And they kept him in office when it looked like a
recall effort might push him out. He was the first American governor to
ever survive a recall effort.

Scott Walker is a huge favorite of the Koch brothers, as well, and their
whole donor network. The Koch brothers made clear they like a lot of the
Republican candidates in the race this year, but you get a sense that if
they had to pick just one, it seems like the one they would pick is Scott
Walker. They`ve supported him so aggressively and for so long that at one
point during the recall campaign, somebody prank-called the Wisconsin state
capitol, said that they were David Koch calling to talk to Scott Walker.
He had a long conversation with this guy who he thought was David Koch but
who he really was not.

That kind of thing is the other side of Scott Walker. I mean, he does
really have all this stuff going for him on paper. He`s not lost an
election since 1990. He hasn`t lost an election since like “Bloom County”
days, including that super tough recall. It`s simply based on historical
precedent of every governor losing every recalled that have come before him
in American history.

He looks great on paper and when he gets fired up, he can give a speech.
He doesn`t have some of the awkwardness – forgive me – that Ted Cruz or
Rick Perry have, where they seem like they`re acting out their speech. He
seems like he`s speaking his speech as himself. I mean, he`s not Rick
Santorum level. I continue to believe that Rick Santorum is the most
natural communicator of all of them.

But Scott Walker`s a pretty good talker.

It seems like he`s got it all going on really. But then he does take the
crank call from the guy he thinks is David Koch and the court order release
of his staff e-mails and we get to see him writing a special Hanukkah
message and he writes to sign off by saying, thank you again and Mazel tov,
but what he actually writes is “thank you again and Molotov.”

OK. There`s a whole bunch of stuff like that including him radically
miscalculating how to handle a softball question from an admiring right
wing talk radio host about whether or not he feels at all daunted by the
prospect of becoming commander in chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

HUGH 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. How do you think about that?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 scouts is earning the rank of Eagle. Being Eagle Scout is
one of a few things that gives a kid that you are not in the past. It`s
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 say, I`m not here to
congratulate you. I`m here on behalf of all 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.

I want a commander-in-chief who do everything in their power to ensure that
the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil.
We will have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message not only
that we will protect American soil but do not – do not take this upon
freedom loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with
that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the
same across the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to finish with a question that, we assume
it`s a tradition now to ask visiting particularly Republicans – senior
Republicans that come to London, and it`s not about cheese and it`s not
about foreign affairs. It`s actually about evolution.

Do you – are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe
in it? Do you accept it?

WALKER: For me, I`m going to punt on that one, as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Really?

WALKER: That`s a question a politician shouldn`t be involved in one way or
other by that. So, I`m going to leave that to you and –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any British politician right or left wing would say,
they would love and say, yes, of course evolution`s true.

WALKER: To me, I said it`s just one of those where I`m here to talk about
trade, not to pontificate on other issues.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Roomful of people in England laughing at him.

That was the same trip to London that Scott Walker recently referenced on
the campaign trail, saying that during that trip when he met with Prime
Minister David Cameron at Ten Downing Street, he says David Cameron told
him that President Obama was a weak leader whose approach to the world just
wasn`t working. After Scott Walker said that publicly about David Cameron,
David Cameron put out a statement in response saying, quote, “The prime
minister did not say that and does not think that.”

Can he be president?

I am an Eagle Scout. It`s not that I was an Eagle Scout, I am an Eagle
Scout.

Does that answer the question?

Scott Walker on paper makes sense as a presidential front-runner in terms
of his political career. When this comes to actually running for president
though, he does keep doing some dumb stuff.

Under his leadership as governor, Wisconsin has had a really bad time of it
when it comes to jobs and the economy. The private sector job growth is
his state is one of the worst in the nation. The Wisconsin middle class is
shrinking at a faster rate than any other state in the country. Over the
course of his time in office, Wisconsin has steadily fallen in terms of job
creation numbers when ranked against other states. In 2011, they were 35th
on the country, the next year, they were 36th. The next year after that,
they were 38th.

Last year, I should say they held steady at 38th in the nation in terms of
job growth. And under Scott Walker, Wisconsin`s economy has done terrible
vis-a-vis the rest of the country, vis-a-vis the region. It`s been
terrible when compared to states of a similar size and economic profile.

If he does well in this giant Republican field, that economic record will
probably be the thing that Democrats focus on when it comes to Scott
Walker, his really bad economic record in Wisconsin.

The question, though, is whether or not we even get to that point. Whether
or not what we`ve seen about him campaigning so far is what we should
expect, whether these embarrassing things that keep happening and that he
keeps saying during his campaign are happening because he really isn`t
ready for primetime national guy or whether these are just kinks that he
was working out in the early days and some day soon when we look at Scott
Walker, we`ll see what the Koch brothers see in him.

Joining us now is Dan Bice, columnist at “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel”,
who has covered Scott Walker for 22 years, and was at his announcement
today.

Mr. Bice, it`s nice to see you again. Thanks very much for being here.

DANIEL BICE, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL COLUMNIST: Nice to be here.

MADDOW: Do you see a difference between presidential candidate Scott
Walker and what he`s been like as a politician in Wisconsin?

BICE: In some ways. But I thought today, you very much got Scott Walker,
the real Scott Walker. He`s a friendly, affable, if a little bit sweaty
guy, who has limited experience outside of Wisconsin, who is selling a
polarizing, domestic and foreign policy agenda. And so, there`s some
similarities.

But at the same time, at his core, is he who he is. He`s a little more
polished than he used to be, and he`s made fewer gaffes in the last two
months or so. But he`s still the same guy I`ve known for 22 years.

MADDOW: You know, the reason I went through some of those gaffes that have
happened on the campaign trail is not just for the absolute value of
showing Scott Walker gaffes. Although I admit there is absolute value to
that for any candidate. It was in part –

BICE: No, no, sure.

MADDOW: Yes, it`s in part just to say, like, you know, the Eagle Scout
answer to why do you think you`re prepared to be president or why aren`t
you intimidated by the prospect, was an unforced error that could not have
been a friendlier audience. Similarly, he volunteered the analogy between
protesters at the Wisconsin state capitol and the Islamic state in Iraq and
Syria. Because those things have happened in low pressure environments,
those are the things that make me wonder what`s going to happen in the high
pressure environment of like the debates.

BICE: He`s – you know, he`s been pretty cool under pressure in the past.
And I think lot of these things were just unanticipated. He had never run
for office outside of Wisconsin.

So, I think he`s going to get better and better as you go along. The thing
is he`s been underestimated for the last two decades.

I – to tell you the truth, when I first met him, I was underwhelmed by
him. I didn`t think he was going anywhere. All I knew is he liked to go
in front of TV cameras and get interviewed. And the joke was the easiest
way to get injured was to step between Scott Walker and a TV camera, and
that`s all I knew about him.

But now – you know, he does have an agenda. It`s a great deal of distrust
of government at all levels, even though that`s where he`s drawn his income
for the last two decades, and a great deal of confidence in the private
sector. That`s what he wants to bring.

He also wants to be the anti-Obama, which is very clear today. He wants to
set himself apart from Obama on just about every issue there is.

MADDOW: Dan Bice, “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” columnist and every day a
must read – Dan, thanks for being here. Really appreciate it.

BICE: Sure.

MADDOW: Thank you.

Wisconsin is blessed with an excellent news corps actually in terms of –
you cover all these states around the country and I have to admit places
that have great reporters and great columnists and political analysts of
their state – of their state politics, get better coverage in part because
guys like Dan Bice help us understand what`s going on there and what`s
important about it. Great reporter.

All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: There`s been a fierce debate raging online today about what to
call the physical object that`s going to be featured next on this show.
I`m here tonight to officially end that debate with one word, a word that
starts with the letter X and ends with ylophone.

That`s next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hate is a four-letter word. So is love. Which one are
you going to teach your children?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Sorry. Thanks, Zach Braff. The more you know.

Or in our knockoff cable version, it`s – you know more now. Thanks, Nick.

When news stories that – I don`t know how long we can keep this up.

When news stories that previously ended on a cliffhanger, news stories that
previously ended on a to be continued, when you finally find out what
happened in those news stories then, you know more now. That includes
stories like the troubled adventure of Shell oil trying and trying and
failing and failing to drill the arctic for oil.

Last week, we reported on the latest banana peel that Shell slipped on in
the arctic, which had to do with some serious damage to one of their ice
breaker ships, literally a giant hole in the side of one of their critical
ships. Shell had been hoping to start drilling this month but then last
week, that ice breaker was discovered to have a three-foot long hole ripped
into the side of it while it was on its way to the shell drilling site.
Oops.

Shell apparently has no idea how that hole got there. We think they still
don`t really know how that hole got there. But Shell is still trying to
convince everyone that it`s OK, they can handle it, they know what they`re
doing. That`s a hard sell because of the disaster upon disaster upon
disaster that was the character of the last time Shell tried to drill the
arctic for oil in 2012.

And this new incident last week renews those concerns whether or not shell
knows what they`re doing up there. No idea where that three-foot long hole
came from.

And it`s an ice breaker. It`s not like it`s a fragile little ship. It`s
not like they had a canoe that they – anyway. Now that they`ve got a
mystery three-foot long hole in one of their ships, what happens to their
plan to drill the arctic?

Remember, small window of time here in which they can get this drilling
started, let get it done and they can`t do it without their whole fleet of
ships, in place and ready to go. The ship with the hole in it has the
giant capping stack on board that they have to use if the drill hole has a
blowout up there. They can`t start drilling without that in place.

So, that`s been the cliffhanger here. Would Shell be able to repair so
would Shell be able to repair that ripped up ship right there on site in
Alaska? Would it be an easy fix to get the whole operation bark on track
in a matter of day, keeping open the prospect that Shell might actually be
able to start drilling the arctic this month, or did this just screw up the
whole thing? Would shell have to send the busted ship all the way back to
the Continental U.S. for repairs which, of course would be a much longer
process that could potentially throw off all their drilling plans.

Well, the answer we learned today is, option B – a long trip all the way
back to the west coast. Shell announced today they are sending their ship
with the giant hole in it all the way down to Oregon to be repaired in
Oregon, which was essentially their worst case scenario. That ship will
now be dry-docked in Oregon potentially out of service for weeks. It`s
eight to ten days just to travel from Alaska to O. It remains to be even
how long it the actual repairs will take.

While it`s in Oregon, by some estimates, Shell`s ice breaker could be out
of commission for three to four weeks. And if that`s the case, honestly,
it`s not going to happen.

Shell is insisting that this is no big deal, I`m sure they hope it`s no big
deal. But, you know, the Arctic has never been offshore drilled before.
Maybe there`s a reason why.

Shell says everything is fine. But having to send their busted ice breaker
all the way to the lower 48 for repairs in the middle of July is not
something that was in the program. Not in the program, this star crossed
slip and fall apparently Godforsaken program.

Ooh. Innovation there. Well-done.

We`ll be right back. Who taught you that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So, Scott Walker join odd the race for president today. The
Democratic Party welcomed him to the race by having Hillary Clinton try to
stomp on his announcement by giving a major economic policy address on the
same day that he got in. The Republican Party welcomed Scott Walker by him
being overtaken in the polls by the one person Republican candidates really
don`t want overtaking them in the polls right now. Come on in, Governor,
the water is fine.

That story is next. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: From his first week as secretary of defense, Ash Carter has said
that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.
He was a brand new secretary of defense.

He had just minted when he went to Afghanistan, and American service
members in Afghanistan asked hip about the transgender ban, and he
responded by saying transgender troops would be fine with him. He said,
quote, “I don`t think anything but their suitability for service should
preclude them from serving.” That was his first week on the job. Defense
secretary said that in February.

Well, tonight, the Pentagon has announced that it is moving toward opening
the door for transgender troops, the same way the Pentagon opened the door
in the first term of the Obama administration for gay troops.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has ordered a six-month study to review the
military`s policies on transgender service members and to consider the
effect that changing those policies would have.

Now, this is really interesting. While this study is going on, openly
transgender people still will not be able to sign up for the military. But
decisions on whether or not to kick transgender people out of the military
will now get made by Ash Carter`s undersecretary for personnel.

It means those decisions about kicking somebody out of the military because
they`re transgender, those things will not happen at the local command
level anymore, they will get made right at the top while this 6-month study
is happening.

And as for the six-month study, six-month review, Secretary of Defense Ash
Carter says the study group will start with the presumption that
transgender people should be able to serve without adverse impact on
military effectiveness and readiness unless and accept where objective
practical impediments are identified.

So, if you are having a little deja vu here, it is because this is a
parallel process to how they got rid of “don`t ask, don`t tell”. Before
the military lifted the ban on gay troops in 2011, they also collected and
studied the evidence, and surveyed ranks. They did this big, deep, very
detailed review. And at the end of the review, the country ended “don`t
ask, don`t tell”, and the sky didn`t fall. Very few consequences, except
that more people who want to serve their country are now allowed to serve
their country.

Nobody knows how smoothly this new push from this new defense secretary is
going to go on the issue of transgendered troops, but is he moving ahead as
of today. Again, the Pentagon announcing tonight that the ban on
transgender troops is believed to be outdated and a distraction and they
are now working on practical ways to end it.

Big news on this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Let`s call it, at least for tonight, “the who`s allowed to compete
cable news derived random number generator”. That`s the best thing I can
come up with so far. This is why they don`t give me naming rights for
nouns.

The FOX News Channel has set rules for the first Republican presidential
debate that will only allow 10 of the 15, 16, 17, 18, who knows Republican
candidates to actually compete for the nomination for president by getting
up on the debate stage. Only ten. FOX News says they will pick their ten
on the basis of one criteria. They will average five of the most recent
national polls and take the ten candidates who have the highest national
poll averages.

Now, which polls will count? Who knows, they`re not saying. Why pick
national polls and not say standing in the early voting states? Who knows?
They`re not saying.

What is the sound statistical difference between somebody polling at 3
percent and somebody polling at 4 percent which will likely be the kind of
difference in this system that will determine who is allowed to compete for
the presidential nomination and who is not? There is precisely no
statistically significant difference between 3 percent and 4 percent in
this kind of a lineup.

But under the FOX News rules, 3 percent probably means you`re dead. And 4
percent probably means the FOX News Channel will allow you to compete for
the job of president of the United States of America.

It`s insane that they are doing it this way. But it`s what they`re doing.

And so, we`ve been trying to guess at what FOX News might decide. We`ve
been keeping a running tally of what we think FOX News might count as a
national poll.

On Friday, as we were trying to figure it out, we – by our calculation, we
looked to us like Jeb Bush was in first place in that average of the last
five national polls. Scott Walker was in second place.

Now, today on the day that Scott Walker has announced he`s running for
president, looks like he`s moved down in our rankings, he`s now in third
place because today, a new national poll came out from Monmouth University.
It also has Jeb Bush in first, but in second place it now has Donald Trump,
which is nice for Mr. Trump, I`m sure. It also has the effect of vaulting
Donald Trump ahead of Scott Walker in the five-poll average national
standings, which really is what FOX News is using to determine who`s
allowed onto the debate stage in the Republican presidential primary
debate.

Now, as of today, with that new poll, these first seven seats basically
look to me to be comfortably safe right now in terms of these getting into
the debate. Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson,
Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee. Those seven look like they`ve got a podium.
They`re in.

Everybody else, all ten of these other candidates have to battle it out for
the three remaining spots on stage. Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Perry,
Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham,
George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. Ten candidates competing for three spots
and every single one of those candidates is within the margin of error in
national polling.

At this point, it is an absolute crap shoot as to which one will get to
compete for the presidential nomination by appearing in the debate.

And there`s really not much that these candidates can do to try to adjust
their position, right? Lindsey Graham spent last week sending e-mails like
this to try to get some attention or rally some support. Subject line:
Brad Pitt. “Under the current debate rule supported by the RNC, Brad Pitt
would have a better shot of being on the debate stage than real candidates
for president.” Brad Pitt.

He`s also making sure to mention Brad Pitt whenever anybody talks to him in
tern about the campaign. Maybe the Brad Pitt strategy will work, I don`t
know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL HEMMER, FOX ANCHOR: The polling would suggest, though, you`re not
cracking the top 10, which means you would not be on the main stage for the
FOX debate on August 6th.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right.

HEMMER: If that stays the way it is, sir, will you participate in the
forum that afternoon?

GRAHAM: Well, I`ve got to make my mind up about that. But Brad Pitt would
be in the debate in August. Anybody with any celebrity would be in the
debate. I think this is a dumb way to weed out the field.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Brad Pitt would never weed out the field this way. Brad Pitt.
Rick San – Brad Pitt – Rick Santo – Brad – Rick Santorum has also been
vocal for weeks about his dissatisfaction with the FOX News culled the
field plan. Senator Santorum was asked about it again today. He was asked
about his strategy to try to get himself onto the debate stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve been very, very vocal
about this. I think to have the national media play such an important role
early in a primary to determine who the, quote, “top tier” are and who is
not is undermining the – from the RNC – if I was an RNC chairman, it`s
undermining the process that was established by the RNC to let the states
and voters actually make that call as opposed to the national media.

And when they`re particularly using a yardstick that historically has had
no relationship to who the actual winner of any of these primaries are
going to be, to me, it`s a miscarriage of – by the RNC to agree to
something like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Rick Santorum says it is a miscarriage.

Lindsey Graham talking about Brad Pitt.

Ted Cruz has his own new strategy. Ted Cruz today e-mailed supporters
asking them to sign something called a debate poll pledge. It`s hard to
tell exactly what he`s asking for. But there`s a picture of the podium,
which make you think it has something to do with the debates.

Quote, “Make sure the liberal media elite cannot deny our campaign a spot
in the first presidential primary debate. Sign your personalized debate
poll pledge to help us show just how much momentum we truly have.”

The liberal media elite. FOX News. Anyway, that`s Ted Cruz`s strategy
there. Pledge something.

George Pataki today told Luke Russert his plan to try to get into the
debates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Under the current rules of the debate, you do not
qualify, Donald Trump does. Is there a problem with that?

GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I don`t worry about the
rules, Luke. When I ran for governor of New York, there were 3 million
more Democrats. Was that fair?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The George Pataki plan, don`t worry about the rules.

Lindsey Graham`s plan, Brad Pitt.

How is this going to play out? How is this debate, this bizarre fight over
who is going to make it into the debate and who doesn`t, how is it changing
the way the field looks right now and how they`re interacting with each
other and with people who might conceivably tell a pollster that they like
one of these guys?

Joining us now from the site of the Scott Walker campaign announcement
today in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is Kasie Hunt, MSNBC political correspondent.

Kasie, thanks for your time tonight.

Is the adrenaline still coursing through the room?

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The adrenaline is being quickly
evaporated from the room, Rachel, as they move very quickly to try to break
the sound before midnight when a lot of 4H kids are going to show up and
look for some space here.

MADDOW: Kasie, I am thinking broad picture about the shape of the field.
Scott Walker, number 15, to get in today.

My take on him is that he is a perfect candidate on paper, much the way
that Rick Perry was in 2012 and 2011. But when he talks, I feel like he`s
a black hole of charisma and he makes a lot of very funny gaffes. Did I –
I have a feeling it doesn`t feel that way in person, though.

HUNT: Well, Rachel, look, I think that this speech, he showed a
significant development over the course of the last six months. He`s work
a lot on his delivery in front of a crowd. He`s improved a lot.

He had memorized this entire speech. In fact, one was his aides was
telling me he`s wearing a fit bit and taking thousands more steps per day
for the last week or so as he`s paced around trying to memorize this
speech. So, that part of it was good.

But I do think that he does have some hurdles he has to cross. The biggest
question is in my minds of a lot of establishment types, donors, is whether
or not Scott Walker can take the stage in Wisconsin and actually step it up
and fill those enormous shoes that are the commander-in-chief.

And I think he took a solid step toward doing that today, but I think that
there are a lot of Republicans who I think that he has a lot to prove in
that regard.

MADDOW: One of the things we were speaking about with Dan Bice is the
prospect of Scott Walker under pressure. Obviously, the way he made his
bones as a national presence is by fighting Democrats, by fighting unions,
by fighting liberal interest groups and the liberal media of all kinds.
We`ve never really seen him duke it out with fellow Republicans.

Is it at all clear to you what sort of role he`s going to have, what kind
of dynamic he`ll be part of in terms of these candidates having to kill
each other even just to get onto the debate stage less than a month from
now?

HUNT: I mean, I think that`s the absolutely key question, Rachel. If you
think about, projecting toward that debate stage, which is probably going
to be Walker`s first chance to do this in an aggressive way, if trends
continue and we end up with Donald Trump on that debate stage, I think
there`s going to be a lot of evaluation of how these different candidates
are interacting with him. And the opportunities to stand out might come in
those interactions.

And I`m not sure for somebody like Scott Walker that`s a great place to be,
because obviously, Trump has tapped in to this base Republican voter anger.
Generally, and a lot of those voters are people that Scott Walker, for
example, is going to need. I think the question is who in the field would
be well-positioned to take that argument on, to stand out in that kind of
environment.

Now, whether or not Chris Christie, for example, is even going to earn a
spot on that stage, we don`t know. But I think right now the dynamics of
this race are such that it is so completely unpredictable and really being
pressured by forces I don`t think any of us expected to be seeing.

MADDOW: MSNBC political reporter Kasie Hunt – Kasie, thank you. And I
worry about you and all those forklifts. Please stay safe in there.

HUNT: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Kasie.

All right. We got much more news ahead tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: OK. Just one more thing about the Scott Walker presidential
campaign launch. Lots of attention today the Scott Walker campaign logo.

That`s not the Scott Walker campaign logo. That`s the logo for America`s
Best Contacts and Eye Glasses. That`s not what Scott Walker`s logo. Come
on, you guys, put up the right one.

Ah, now that`s Scott Walker`s running for president logo. See, totally
different.

I would also point out, though, that once upon a time, there was an all
liberal talk radio network called Air America Radio. And the flagship
station when Air America Radio launched are headquarters in our biggest
station nationwide was WLIB in New York City, and this was our logo, which
I know had nothing to do with America`s Best Contacts and Eye Glasses.

But if Scott Walker took it as an inspiration – well, you`re welcome,
Governor, no charge.

Also, ReadyforWalker.com? Redirects to the Web site for Planned Parenthood
right now. I`m just saying, seriously. Try it at home.
ReadyforWalker.com. Try it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: It`s just my impression, but when Ted Cruz announced his candidacy
this year, it seemed to me like he was running for vice president. He`s
running just for the chance to be somebody else`s running mate.

I thought – I still think that Ted Cruz is really running to be the
Republican vice presidential nominee. He`s not really running for
president.

But I also think Jim Webb might also be running to be the Republican vice
presidential nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM WEBB (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we can bring a different
tone to the Democratic Party. You`re right. The party has moved way far
to the left. And that`s not my Democratic Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Like Ted Cruz, it`s possible that Jim Webb might also be running
to be the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Think about what a coup that would be.

I mean, I don`t know what else the strategy would be for a Democratic guy
going on FOX News to talk about how terrible and left wing the Democratic
Party is, but Rubio/Webb, I mean, can`t you see it?

That brings me to some great news. Tomorrow, we`re going to have as our
special guest, Martin O`Malley, former Maryland governor, current
Democratic contender for president. We`d love to have all of the
presidential contenders on this show, particularly, Jim Gilmore. Call me.

But Martin O`Malley will be here on the show tomorrow night. You do not
want to miss it.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.

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

Good evening, Lawrence.

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

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