The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/21/15
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now with Steve Kornacki, in for Rachel.
Good evening, Steve.
STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks for that.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Rachel has the night
We`re going to do something a little different tonight. We`re going
to talk about a presidential candidate who is not Donald Trump. We`re
going to talk about one that has nothing to do with Donald Trump, except –
well, except to the fact that it has everything to do with Donald Trump,
because everything in politics right now has at least something to do with
Here is what I mean. Today, the Republican governor of Ohio, John
Kasich, threw his hat in the ring. He`s getting into the race. He`s
running for president. He made the announcement in front of a few thousand
people today at his alma mater at the Ohio State University.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The testing is what
makes you stronger. It`s the challenges that make you better. I have
lived through them and I have become stronger for them and America has
become stronger for them.
And here is how we have done it: by staying together. Not by
dividing each other, but staying together with the eyes on the horizon –
with our eyes on the horizon about the future.
I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your
efforts because I have decided to run for president of the United States.
I`m going to take what we`ve learned here in the heartland, the band
of brothers and sisters that I work with everyday, and we are going take
the lessons of the heartland and straighten out Washington, D.C., and fix
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, here`s a thing about Kasich: there are a lot of
Republican candidates for president this year. More that we`ve ever seen
before. You already know that. But among all of those candidates who are
out there right now, all 16 of them at this minute, among all of those
candidates, Kasich actually does stand out, at least on paper.
Think about this, he is the two term governor of a major swing state,
maybe the key swing state of Ohio. It`s a state that`s going for the
winning candidate in every presidential election since 1960.
If Republicans are going to win back the White House in 2016, they
need Ohio. And Kasich could get it for them. Last year, he ran for
reelection, and he won by a landslide. His Democrat opponent basically
imploded during that campaign. Kasich ended up winning it by 31 points.
His approval rating in Ohio right now sits at 61 percent.
Another poll shows that 72 percent of Ohioans feel that things are
going in the right direction in their state.
Now, think for a second here about another candidate in the
presidential race. Think about Chris Christie for a second. Think of all
those polls showing how deeply unpopular he has become in his home state
back in New Jersey.
Well, John Kasich doesn`t have that problem at all. He is popular in
Ohio, and Ohio could end up being the state that decides who the next
There`s also electability. Republicans want to badly to win back the
presidency and Kasich has a real case to make that he can over the swing
voters who aren`t too nuts these days about the Republican Party. For
example, he is one of the few governors who`s expanded Medicaid under the
Affordable Care Act, under Obamacare. Many conservatives don`t like this,
but it could be very attractive in a general election. That`s if Kasich
could get to a general election.
Look at how he talks about this issue. When a group of conservatives
confronted him about his expansion of Medicaid, he said this to them. He
said, “When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he is probably
not going ask you much of what you did about keeping the government small.
But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a
You don`t hear them talking and especially when it comes to the key
components and then the issue of immigration. Remember, the Republicans
got clobbered with Latino voters back in 2012. And actually, it`s not just
Latinos. How many voters of every strip have been turned off by the
nativist noise that has been emanating from the Republican Party.
But here is what Kasich had to say about the immigration today. He
said, “I don`t believe we should be demonizing people who are law-abiding,
hard working folks.”
And he sounds like a very different Republican than you`re used to
hearing. Here is the thing – you can argue that because of this, because
Kasich says and does things like this, that he is doomed no matter what.
The Republican base will never go for someone who talks like this and who
does things like this.
And maybe that`s true. Maybe that is. But Kasich said that he is
the Republican that Democrats least want to run against, well, there`s
probably something to that argument. He can tell Republicans, look, if
you`re sick of losing, if you don`t want to lose your third straight
election, if you don`t want to lose your fifth national election in the
last seven, if you don`t want to lose the poplar vote for the sixth time in
the last seven, if you don`t want all of that to keep on happening, then
get on board with me.
He can make that argument and it has something to back it up with,
too. But here is the real problem, here`s the real problem, here is the
real problem for John Kasich. He is getting in this race awfully late,
later than everybody else. He is the 16th candidate in the race, and it`s
the end of July. Look at the calendar for a second here because he faces
an immediate and crucial test. It`s a critical test that could end his
candidacy before it even gets going if he fails it.
And that test has to do with this date, August 6th. It`s just over
two weeks from now. It`s the date of the first Republican debate. FOX
News is going to be televising it, millions are going to be watching it.
It`s taking place in Cleveland. That is in John Kasich`s state.
And here`s a rule for this debate you probably heard about it. Only
ten candidates are going to be allowed to take part. The top ten
candidates in an average of the five most recent polls right before the
And right now, if that debate were being held tonight, right now,
John Kasich wouldn`t make it. He wouldn`t be allowed in the room. The
whole political world would be watching, all of the heavy hitter Republican
candidates on stage in Kasich`s home state and Kasich would be nowhere in
It would be a huge blow to his campaign. It would be a blow to his
credibility as a serious candidate.
John Kasich really, really needs to get in that debate. And now, he
has just two weeks to bump up his poll numbers and to make that top ten.
That is his challenge. Make the top ten or face the humiliation and being
denied a ticket to a debate in his own backyard.
So, Kasich got in the race today and normally, the big, splashy
campaign announced he made today, the one we showed you a minute off at the
top of the show, normally, that would be good for a bump in the polls –
the kind of bump that John Kasich desperately needs right now.
But here is the real problem for John Kasich, and here`s where you
know who comes in. Because while he did everything that he possibly could
to get the political world`s attention today, it isn`t John Kasich and it`s
not his campaign announcement that the political world is talking about
tonight. Instead, it`s this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was coming up and I see
your senator. What a stiff, what a stiff. Lindsey Graham.
By the way – by the way, he is registered zero in polls. Zero.
He`s on television all the time.
And then I see Rick Perry the other day, and he`s so – you know, he
is doing very poorly on the polls, he put glasses on so people would think
he`s smart. It just doesn`t work. You know, people can see through the
glasses. But he`s got the glasses, the whole deal. Oh, oh, oh, Trump, oh,
And these politicians, they run and they run and they win and
sometimes they lose and they keep running. That`s all they do is run.
Most of them don`t know what they`re doing. They just run.
They`re like – you know, like you wind them up and they run for
office. They don`t do anything when they get there. I know them better
So, they say that they didn`t like the way that the little – I`m a
little loud, I`m little too strong. But they don`t like it.
And then I watch this idiot Lindsey Graham on television today and he
calls me a jackass. He`s a jackass.
I`m suppose to be – guys, I`m trying to be nice. You know, I`m
working hard to be nice. But every time that I turn on, I have some guy
that is hitting me like hard.
Now, the reason they`re hitting me in all fairness is that when you
register zero on the poll, what the hell, they have nothing to lose, right?
But this guy Lindsey Graham, he calls me a jackass this morning. And I
said to myself, you know, it`s amazing. He doesn`t seem like a very bright
guy, OK? He actually probably seems to me not as bright as, honestly, as
Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry probably is probably smarter than Lindsey
Graham. But what do I know?
You know, have many millions between Facebook and Twitter, it`s
great. It`s like owning a newspaper without the lawsuits. It`s
So, I treated that Rick Perry should have to have an IQ test before
getting on the debate stage. People said that was tough. Today, I get
called a jackass by this guys.
And then I said to myself, hey, didn`t this guy just call me like
four years ago? Yes. He called me four years ago – three or four years
ago. Lindsey Graham, I didn`t even know who he was.
He goes, Mr. Trump, this is Senator Lindsey Graham, I wonder if it
would be possible for you to call FOX because until I ran, I had that
little thing I do just for fun. “Fox and Friends” are so great. Brian and
Steve and Elisabeth, they`re great people, right? They`re great.
And he wanted to know whether or not I could him a good reference on
“Fox and Friends”, OK? He wanted to know. Would I do that? And, then, of
course, he wanted to know whether or not he could come and see me for some
So, Lindsey Graham says to me, please, please, please whatever you
can do. What is this guy a beggar? He is like begging me to help him with
“Fox and Friends”. So, I say, OK, and I`ll mention my name. He said,
could you mention my name? I said, yes, I may.
And he gave me his number, and I found the card. I wrote the number
down. I don`t know if it`s the right number, let`s try – 202 (AUDIO
I don`t know maybe it`s three or four years ago, so, maybe it`s an
old number. 202 (AUDIO DELETED)
So, I don`t know, give it a shot. Your local politician, you know,
they won`t fix anything but at least they`ll talk to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Donald Trump today in South Carolina, Lindsey Graham`s
home state, giving out Lindsey Graham`s cell phone number to hundreds of
people who are at that rally, also to anyone who was watching on TV, to
anyone who`s seen that clip online, that happened today, and that`s taking
up a good chunk of the news today.
And not just that, today was also the day that Donald Trump went
after “The Des Moines Register” after it wrote an editorial calling on him
to drop out of the presidential race. Trump said that the paper, quote,
“will do anything for a headline in this poorly written non-endorsement got
them some desperately needed ink.”
It`s hard for this not to be news if for no reason, because it`s just
such a bazaar spectacle. Here you have a major national figure. It`s a
guy who is running for president and now a guy leading in the polls in the
Republican Party for president, that guy standing up and giving out the
phone number of one of his opponents.
It`s the kind of thing that gets notice if nothing else. It`s the
kind of thing that gets buzz, it`s the kind of thing that drowns out
someone like John Kasich, who`s making a much more traditional speech,
detailing all the reasons that he wants to run for president. And
everyday, something like this is happening, something like this keeps
There`s a new Donald Trump headline, a new Donald Trump controversy,
or just some new bizarre Donald Trump spectacle. It is a new poll that has
him leading. Maybe it`s comments about John McCain not being a war hero.
Maybe it`s comments about immigration.
It`s anything. It`s everything. Donald Trump has grabbed control of
the news cycle for weeks now and he is drowning out everyone else. And the
stakes in all of this are actually very real.
Whenever you think about John Kasich, he is a serious and credible
candidate for president. He has serious credentials. Two decades in
Congress, two terms as governor of a major state. He has shown the ability
to appeal across party lines. He is promising to talk about issues in a
way that many of the others don`t.
But it won`t matter. None of it will matter at all if no one hears
them. If he is not on the debate stage two weeks from now, then no one is
going to hear him and his candidacy could essentially wither on the vine.
So, Donald Trump is much more than a sideshow right now. It may very
well be that we are watching him right now destroy someone else`s
candidacy, someone who could be a one of Republican Party`s best shots of
actually winning in 2016.
Joining us now is John Harwood, chief correspondent for CNBC, and a
political writer of “The New York Times”.
John, thanks for joining us tonight.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Sure.
KORNACKI: So, this Trump phenomenon, there was a lot of talk over
the weekend that maybe he finally crossed the line with what he said about
John McCain, here he is a few days later. At least the initial polling
we`ve seen, and I know that`s subject to change, but there`s no immediate
price that he is paying for this.
How – the laws of politics say that someone making it up as he goes
along like this can`t last forever – how long can this last?
HARWOOD: I think that it will last longer. Look, we saw in the 2012
cycle, a serious of Republicans climb up the mountain and then fall down a
mountain, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich for a while.
I think that`s highly unlikely to happen to Donald Trump, and when it
does, the loose vote that`s going to be out in the field is going to be
available to people perhaps John Kasich, and, you know, I think everybody
has got to figure out what they`re going to do to buy their time and then
be prepared, try to take advantage when he falls.
Now, you`re right to say that Kasich doesn`t have a lot of time.
He`s got a debate in a couple of weeks. He needs to be on that stage. But
that`s not the last debate. There`s going to be others. We`re going to
have one in October and in Boulder, Colorado. They`ll be a CNN debate,
which will be the second one.
I mean, John Kasich is going to have other opportunities. I don`t
think it`s all make or break on the first one. But he does have time to
make up and he got to start hustling.
KORNACKI: So, have you see – I`m just curious. When you think back
to presidential races you have covered or you just know about from history,
have you seen a candidate quiet like this before? Because they have been
bombastic candidates who go out there and say outlandish things.
What I think might be different with Trump that I can really remember
is somebody who – when he is called on it by so many people in his own
party is completely unapologetic, completely defiant, doesn`t miss a beat
and throws it right back in their face. I think there`s a variable here we
haven`t seen before.
HARWOOD: I think that`s right. I think the other combination is the
bombastic rhetoric from Trump combined with the fact that he is leading in
the polls. You know, Herman Cain prospered for a while and talked about a
tax plan. Donald Trump is not really talking about policy, but he`s going
after people serially. John McCain, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush,
all sorts of people, and yet he has not come down.
In fact, you know, there is a new poll out today suggesting that the
bloom had not come off that rose. I think it`s going to. It hasn`t yet.
It`s a bazaar spectacle. I`ve got to say.
That was – that was a comedy routine almost, that speech he was
giving. It was – there was something funny about it unless you`re John
Kasich or one of the other candidates whose messages is getting bloated
KORNACKI: And also, I wonder though if its says something listening
to that extend Trump riff we just did there. What I am noticing is that he
is ridiculing these politicians by name, but also the idea of – we always
have those polls up that show Congress` approval rating that`s at 6 percent
now, politicians in general held in such a low regard. Washington held in
such low regard. I mean, there`s a sort of decorum that exists in politics
where you don`t do what Trump is doing and there`s an assumption that you
can`t survive in politics doing what he`s doing. But he is probably
connecting with an awful lot of sort of popular disgust out there with the
Lindsey Graham maybe isn`t that sacred of a figure outside of
HARWOOD: There`s no question about it.
Look, every single candidate in the race is dumping on Washington.
He is just doing it much more vituperatively and much more personally. But
the audience that`s listening to him loathes Washington, doesn`t like
politicians. They don`t see it as necessarily, oh my gosh, he is insulted
the senator from South Carolina – no, not at all.
So, the other thing about him that I think is unique is the nightmare
of a politician who has been embraced by a party who`s been solicited for
donations by a party, all of a sudden turning on them as exemplified in
that cell phone thing.
Look, Mitt Romney had a press conference in 2012 to tout the
endorsement of Donald Trump. This is something that the Republican Party
has been apart of. The Donald Trump phenomenon is something that the
Republican Party has some ownership of and now, they`re reaping the
KORNACKI: Yes. You got to wonder, how many of those Republican
candidates are saying, did I ever call him? Did I ever leave a voice mail?
HARWOOD: A bunch of them did.
So, maybe more to come. John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent
for CNBC, thanks for the time tonight. Appreciate it.
HARWOOD: You bet.
KORNACKI: So, with Donald Trump in this race and taking up all the
oxygen, the question for all those other Republican candidates is about how
you can get any attention for yourself. How do you drag the spotlight away
from the Donald and how do you put it on yourself?
Well, how about this for a suggestion? How about a wood chipper.
The rich history of a very particular kind of political stunt is next.
KORNACKI: So, let`s say you`re a long shot Democratic candidate
running for Congress in a comfortably red Republican district. You`re
probably going to lose, but you`re going to go forward anyway. So, how do
you set yourself apart? How do you get some attention? What can you do?
What can you do to get some of that attention?
Well, we have one option for you here. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They call me a long shoot. They say that I can`t
win in this district. What happens to an elephant that stands around doing
nothing for too long?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, what do you do? I guess you shoot an elephant shaped
pinata in the middle of the desert.
That campaign ad last year for Democratic congressional Estakio
Beltran didn`t exactly bring about the desired affect. After that ad went
up, the gun control group founded by former Arizona Congresswoman Giffords
put out a blistering statement that called Beltran`s ad, quote,
“irresponsible and offensive. This kind of misguided imagery and rhetoric
on both sides of the political spectrum just furthers the lack of balance
in our nation`s debate about guns.”
The campaign then decided to take the ad down. Nevertheless,
political candidates showing off their stellar marksmanship or just their
ability to destroy things, this is actually a long standing tradition
across the political spectrum.
And the newest example – the newest example just out today is a
doozy. More on that coming up next.
Stay with us.
(BEWGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA GORMAN: Nobody knew that I was a Second Amendment gal, you
know, that I actually enjoying the shooting sports. There a lot of kids
out there that`s taking pictures and so we shot a home video and put that
online. Finally, it came together and I threw it on YouTube and it`s
thanks to MSNBC, and the people that hate it the most is the ones that help
it go viral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: She was probably no one you`d ever heard of, and you may
not remember her now. But for a brief moment during the 2010 run for
Congress, this Arizona Republican was kind of everywhere, thanks to a
campaign ad, she made it seemed designed to trigger liberal outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: Meet Pamela Gorman, candidate for Congress in Arizona
3. Conservative Christian and a pretty fair shot.
Raided 100 percent by the NRA, conservative Pamela Gorman is always
right on target.
GORMAN: I`m Pamela Gorman, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, Pamela Gorman didn`t win that race for Congress in
2010. She actually lost the Republican primary to Ben Quayle. He`s the
son of a former vice president. He beat Pamela Gorman in that race in
2010, but Pamela won a place in the hall of fame for politicians shooting
That same year in 2010, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia had
better luck with an ad that showed him shooting up a copy of the cap and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE MANCHIN, THEN-SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: As your senator, I`ll
protect our Second Amendment rights. That`s why the NRA endorsed me. I`ll
take on Washington and this administration to get the government off our
backs and out of our pockets. I sued EPA and I`ll take dead I am at the
cap and trade bill – because it`s bad for West Virginia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Manchin made it to the Senate in 2010. He won his
election that year. Who knows how much he owes his victory to this taking
out of a helpless piece of paper.
First lesson of those ads is that voters remember them. The second
is that candidates repeat them.
In the Kentucky Senate race last year, Democrat Alison Lundergan
Grimes made a pitch for herself as an able marksman, a skeet shooter. It
didn`t work, though. She lost that race.
In the Iowa Senate race last year, Republican Joni Ernst went to the
firing range and came how with the Senate seat. She won her race.
Here is something that caught people`s attention last year. This was
from Republican Dan Sullivan, running for the Senate in Alaska.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN SULLIVAN: Millions of dollars of negative ads are flooding into
Alaska, paid for Washington special interest. Pretty soon, you`re going to
want to do this to your TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Dan Sullivan probably needed a new TV after that, but he
is also now a United States senator.
Also last year in Montana, a Republican running for Congress went
after some bigger prey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT ROSENDALE: I`m Matt Rosendale, and this is how I look from a
government drone. And this is what I think about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Candidates shoot targets, candidates shot clay pigeons,
they shot TVs, they shot the Affordable Care Act – Will Brook of Alabama
shot the Affordable Care Act a half a dozen times. It didn`t quite work.
He finished fifth in the Republican primary.
Ron Gould of Arizona shot the Affordable Care Act out of the sky. He
also lost his Republican primary.
Democrats shoot stuff too. Republicans shoot stuff. A big booming
gun is one way that candidates try to make themselves stand out.
In today, though, a new twist on the genre, a candidate who doesn`t
shoot stuff at all. Republican Rand Paul, he is running for president, his
poll numbers lately have been pretty middling, so middling in fact that his
campaign is quite down in the press and began to ask everything that
happened to him.
Well, it turns out Paul ahs been off practicing with a chain saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, I`m Rand Paul
and I`m trying to kill the tax code, all 70,000 pages of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Paul actually has three extended play videos, so you also,
you can burn the tax code with it if you want, or you can put it through a
wood chipper. It`s your choice. Paul put these videos online last night,
and so far, the main video has about 14,000 views, only one of the extended
play methods clips is showing above a thousand and the chain saw one the
clear favorite there.
So, this is not quite a viral hit yet for Rand Paul. Maybe it will
take off or maybe by now the shock value has worn off these things. Or
maybe just another thing that no one is noticing because they`re too busy
staring at Donald Trump.
KORNACKI: Still ahead tonight, did you have a poster of this on your
wall when you were a kid? This photograph right here known as the blue
marble was taken from space by an American astronaut in 1972. It was then
reproduced about a zillion times over.
And you can see why. There`s Planet Earth basically a dot swimming
in the infinity of space. When we think of Earth, this is what we think
of. For 40 plus years now, there has never been another photograph quit
like this one – at least until now.
It too is a breathtaking image. It`s coming up at the end of the
show in tonight`s best new thing in the world.
There`s a lot more to come tonight. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: This evening in Marietta, Georgia, the community gathered
to remember Lance Corporal Skip Wells. He`s one of the U.S. marines killed
in last Thursday`s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
That memorial tonight was held at Lance Corporal Wells` old high
school. Georgia actually lost two men in last week`s shootings in
Chattanooga. A sailor, Petty Officer Second Class Randall Smith was also
killed and we learned today that Randall Smith will be buried not in
Georgia, but in the city where he died, in Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Another victim of that shooting, Staff Sergeant David Wyatt of North
Carolina will also be buried in that Chattanooga. Sergeant Wyatt`s family
says they want him to be buried there, quote, “because of his love for the
Chattanooga community and their outpouring of support during this time.”
President Obama ordered government flags to be flown at half staff
today to honor the fallen servicemembers. The president offered his own
eulogy for the men, taking time during a speech to a VFW convention to
remember each one of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Back in Massachusetts,
Tom Sullivan cheered for his Boston teams. In battle, said a comrade,
Sully was just everything that a marine should be. In two tours in Iraq,
he earned a combat action ribbon, for his wounds, two Purple Hearts. When
he was warned that a gunman was there in Chattanooga, he ran in so that
others could live.
Today, we echo the words of his community, Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J.
Sullivan was our hero, and he will not be forgotten. Thank you for
Growing up in Georgia, Skip Wells was a true, serving leader.
Devoted to God and to his friends. Quick to lend a hand or put you on his
prayer list. During his hometown`s 4th of July parade, he was so proud to
be a Marine, he went in his dress uniform. Just 21 years old, a year out
of boot camp. Easy-going, always smiling, even during the hardest drills.
A friend said, “Skip is the kind of kid you want on your team.” As
Americans, we are forever grateful that Lance Corporal Squire K. Wells was
on our team.
As an Eagle Scout in Arkansas, David Wyatt would race up a mountain
to be the first on top. He was determined to do his part for our country,
found his calling in the Marines. He led with courage in Afghanistan and
Iraq, and with compassion, as a mentor to comrades with post-traumatic
stress. It`s said he was a gentleman and a gentle man. No one knew that
better than his wife Laurie and their two young children.
Today we see as they did why a friend would say that Staff Sergeant
David A. Wyatt was the kind of man this country needs more of.
Back home, Carson Holmquist was an embodiment of the spirit of
Grantsburg, Wisconsin, population 1,300. Loved country music, loved to
fish, to hunt, to play football. And he loved the Marines, showing up at
his old high school in his dress blues. He`s too served in Afghanistan,
was devoted to his family. His wife Jasmine, their two year old son. Said
his old coach, “Carson always did the best he could.”
Today, our nation is stronger because America saw the best of
Sergeant Carson A. Holmquist.
And in his hometown in Ohio, Randall Smith is remembered as the high
school baseball star with a fierce pitch.
He was a fun and outgoing guy, and a guy they said you just wanted to
be around. His buddies in the Navy knew it. He had just reenlisted. And
his family knew it too.
His wife Angie would call – who he`d like to call the most beautiful
woman in the world. Their young daughters, who he called his little
Today, we join the people of Paulding, Ohio, including VFW Post 587,
with five flags flying, in honor of Navy Petty Officer Second Class Randall
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was President Obama today, remembering the victims of
last week`s shooting at the Chattanooga naval reserve center.
Now, in Chattanooga, meanwhile, a spontaneous memorial to the fallen
service members has been growing. People have been leaving flags, balloons
and flowers outside of the other shooting site, a military recruiting
center. In the wake of the attack, some are now calling for the recruiters
to be armed in going forward, something that is actually prohibited.
Across the country, armed volunteers have been showing up to stand
guard outside recruiting centers, though the Defense Department has asked
them not to.
Meanwhile, investigators try to figure out the why and the how – of
how the Chattanooga shootings happened in the first place. Officials say
that they are focused on shooter`s mental health troubles and substance
abuse, and also a recent trip to Jordan where we learn today the shooter`s
uncle has been detained for days as part of this investigation.
Joining us now is NBC News national correspondent Miguel Almaguer,
who is in Chattanooga.
Miguel, thanks for being here tonight.
So, if you could, just take us up, the latest we know from the ground
in Chattanooga, and also the latest we know about the gunman here and
whether anybody else knew about this head of time.
MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS: Hey, Steve, good evening. Yes, it`s
certainly a two-prong investigation happening on two different continents.
Let`s start in Jordan, where the gunman`s lives. He`d apparently been
living there for about five years.
Federal officials telling us that the gunman`s uncle was taken into
custody a couple of days ago. He was questioned by Jordanian officials
where he continues to remain in custody tonight. Our law enforcement
officials tell us that investigators have questioned him for several hours.
They are concerned about his potential role while the suspect, while the
gunman Mohammad Abdulazeez was living there.
Of course, as you know, he spent about seven months there earlier
this year, returning just a few months ago here to the States. We were
told that while Mohammad Abdulazeez was living with his uncle, there were
periods in which he came and went freely and where his movements weren`t
always watched. So, that`s certainly a big part of the investigation
that`s happening over in Georgia.
Here in the state side, FBI officials will only say that there`s no
motive for the shooting. They have not linked the suspect to any type of
terror group or organization. So far, that`s what their investigation
Now, a family spokesperson has also spoken at length to us and told
us that gunman suffered from some mental health issues and also have some
substance abuse problems. He said that since the age of 12 or 13, the
suspect had been diagnosed with being depressed. He had been seeing a
child psychologist for several years, that he had highs and lows in his
life over several eyars.
And then we go back to about – we go back to Tuesday. The shooting
as you know happened on a Thursday. Back on Tuesday, the suspect has the
last interaction in which he argued with them at a family home. He had
recently gotten a DUI. The family spokesperson says that`s the last time
that the parents and gunman were in contact, the 24-year-old were in
He then apparently rented a Mustang, spent a day driving around town
with friends. What we`re told was the beginning of a three-day drug binge
in this area. He picked up his friends, he dropped them off, they were
speeding through the town going 80 to 100 miles an hour as early as 3:00 in
And then on Thursday, we have that rampage, first the shooting here
in this location, and this just a few minutes later, seven miles away at
the second location, as you know, those five service members killed.
KORNACKI: Yes. And, Miguel, also there had been reports about this
gunman possibly downloading recordings from an al Qaeda cleric. What do
you know about that?
ALMAGUER: That`s something that officials – law enforcement
officials did identify for us today. They said they had been poring over
his computer records, as well any web searches he had done on his mobile
phones. They say he had downloaded some audio recordings from a former al
Qaeda recruit officer that he had been listening to those downloadings.
He may have also downloaded an audio CD, certainly part of the
investigation. That raises many red flags for the FBI. That`s all part of
the bigger investigation.
But at this point, what officials had been telling us is that they
seem to believe that he may have been listening or interested in some type
of, quote, “jihad movement”, but wasn`t taking orders from a group. That`s
where the investigation stands out. They say, they warned it`s still very
early and there could be anymore twists and turns in this investigation as
the days go forward.
KORNACKI: All right. NBC News national correspondent Miguel
Almaguer, reporting from Chattanooga, thanks for your time tonight.
ALMAGUER: Sure thing.
KORNACKI: All right. Lots more to come tonight, including a
surprise guest who`s going to be on the show tomorrow night. I think that
you need the set the DVR right now for that show. I will give you all the
KORNACKI: If you spend any time geeking out on space and geeking out
on all of the various NASA flight missions over the years or the amazing
pictures of Pluto, maybe if you cannot get over the fact that we landed a
man on the moon.
If you geek out on space at any point over the last six decades, then
there`s a good chance that you done so with the help of this guy. This is
veteran NBC News space correspondent Jay Barbree. Some things happened in
space while you have been alive, Jay Barbree has been there to tell you
about it, to explain to you why it matters and how it happened.
Jay Barbree`s legendary run as chief explainer of non-Earth stuff,
well, that run has hit another milestone. That milestone is the best new
thing in the world. That`s coming up.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: OK. A quick and important programming note for you:
tomorrow night on this show, Rachel is going to be back, and she is going
to have a big interview with a Republican presidential candidate.
Rick Santorum beat out just about all of the other Republican
candidates back in 2012 when he came in second place to Mitt Romney for the
Republican nomination for president. Santorum won the Iowa caucuses back in
2012. He won 10 other states. He came very close to winning more than
that, maybe beating out Romney for the nomination. That was in 2012 and
now Rick is running again.
Santorum, of course, is a staunch social conservative and tomorrow
night is going to be his first sit-down interview with Rachel right here on
the show. It should be noted, though, that although this is Rachel`s first
sit-down interview with Santorum, this will not be the first time she`s
tried to interview him.
During that 2012 race, you may recall that Rachel went to New
Hampshire where she managed to squeeze in this quick question to him while
he was doing an entirely different interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: On the contraception issue, you said you
have been mischaracterized on that. Do you think the country would be
better off if there was less contraception use? You talked today about
what people – the liberty that people should do what they ought to do, not
what they want to do.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I talked about a
Brookings Institute study that said that, that`s a 2009 study, it said, if
you do three things, you are almost guaranteed not to be in poverty.
And those three things are: number one, work, right? It makes sense,
work. Number two, graduate from high school. And number three, if you are
a man, get married. If you are a woman, get married, but don`t have a
child before you are married. Get married and don`t have a child before
you are married.
Of course, engaging in sexual activity even with contraception,
there`s a good chance – or there`s a chance, not a good chance, a chance
to become pregnant.
MADDOW: So if contraception was more effective, wouldn`t have an
opinion? I`m sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: He never got a chance to answer the follow-up question but
maybe tomorrow night he will. That is tomorrow night right here. Rachel
is going to have a live sit-down interview with Republican presidential
candidate Rick Santorum. I don`t think I need to tell you this is one you
are not going to want to miss.
MADDOW: There`s a segment on this show that Rachel likes to do
called best new thing in the world. And today, we have a milestone
edition, a landmark moment.
Here we go. Earlier in the show we showed you this photo, the
original blue marble taken in 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17, from about
28,000 miles from Earth. This was the first and only photo of the whole
earth ever taken by a human. It`s one of the most widely reproduced photos
And because it`s in the public domain, because no one can make a
copyright claim on this photo, this image has made its way unto t-shirts,
in ties, in book covers, in dinner plates, posters, bumper stickers,
everything you can imagine ever since it was taken.
And now, today, almost 43 years later, after that photo was first
taken, we have a new, updated version of it courtesy of the Deep Space
Climate Observatory Satellite also known as the Discover. The Discover
satellite currently lives about 1 million miles from Earth and responsible
for monitoring and alerting the U.S. to changes in solar winds, which was
actually a pet project of Vice President Al Gore.
It was brought back to life by the Air Force and NOAA.
But Discover is up there now and just sent back this. This is the
first photo from the satellite. It shows a full view of North and Central
America at solar noon. No shadows, just a dead-on shot of the planet.
So, this week we have fresh images, not only of earth but pictures of
Pluto and its moon Charon, both up-close and from afar.
And today, MSNBC learned of this critical space and time discovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY BARBREE, NBC NEWS: Fifty-seven years ago today, I did my first
report for NBC News.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BARBREE: I have been with them ever since.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s right. Legendary NBC News correspondent Jay
Barbree did his very first report 57 years ago today. He has covered every
single manned space mission in the United States, every single one of them,
135 space shuttle launches. The man has been there every single time to
report on it for us. He`s not just a great journalist but his humor and
character make him one of space`s great advocates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBREE: I was working for our affiliate Channel 10 in Albany,
Georgia, and had a run in with the Ku Klux Klan there. My crew and I had
been out, and we were filming a meeting they had in a pasture and they
found us in the woods doing this film, and, you know, roughed us up, our
equipment and all.
It was suggested to me by the police in Albany that it would be wise
if I would relocate, that these guys were really after me. And so, any
way, I relocated at Cape Canaveral, Florida, came down here. I was very
interested in the space program.
TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Fifteen years ago, Soviet Union launched
Sputnik in to space and the space war was launched. One man has covered
every American space launch. His name is Jay Barbree, and I am honored
that he works for NBC News.
Jay, good morning.
On May 5, 1961, the first manned space flight by an American, Alan
Shepard, tell us about that day.
BARBREE: That was a day you`ll never forget. We saw the rocket
climb above the tree line, everybody, everywhere stopped. They stopped
their cars, fell on their knees, fell in prayer.
Asked his associate administrator for manned space flight appointed
top space officials, scientists and a veteran astronauts to a board of
inquiry this morning to investigate the country`s first spaceship disaster.
Beautiful here. Everything is on course. She is climbing
beautifully. Jim in mission control reporting she is 46 miles off of
Daytona, 17 miles high.
This picture is from a camera on board an external fuel tank. There
goes the (INAUDIBLE). They are now separating. There they are.
Just want to say you were talking about those two, what were they
beauty queens you were talking about a while ago.
UNDIENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir.
BARBREE: Tamron, you beat both of them. Don`t worry what their
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m blushing. Don`t do that.
BARBREE: What we have learned from the space shuttle and flights
today is we have learned how to live in space. That`s very important that
we keep doing that.
KORNACKI: So, thank you to Jay Barbree. Here`s to another 57 years.
Your devotion to following and explaining and plain loving what used to be
so far beyond our mortal reach. More than a half century of work, best new
and everlasting thing in the world today.
That`s does it for us tonight. Rachel is back tomorrow night. You
can catch me this weekend on “UP” at Saturday and Sunday morning, 8 a.m.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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