The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/03/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Alex, it`s great to see you. I have to
tell you – you guys hit – you guys just hit on something really important
about the Ted Cruz bacon video. We`re going to do a huge fact check that`s
going to change everything about the Republican field.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC: Awesome.
MADDOW: I`m telling you, you`re onto something here.
WAGNER: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks. Great to see you.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We are going to do a big fact check on the making bacon with a
machine gun video. And that`s coming up. I`m sure it`s going to change
There`s a lot coming up on the show tonight. Happy Monday. Happy
It was all the way back in May when I instructed our poor beleaguered
graphics department that they need to come up with a single image, a single
way to show on screen all at once all of the people who we thought might
conceivably be running for the Republican nomination this year.
And I am ridiculous boss, and that was a ridiculous request, because
obviously, there`s no normal situation which you would try to show in an
identifiable way 22 different people all on the same screen all at once,
right? I mean, Hollywood Squares is nine people. Yes, you get a crowd
shot where you don`t care who all the individual people are, but 22
individual humans, you`re supposed to able to identify individually and
have separate thoughts about? You don`t put 22 individuals on screen all
at once. It just doesn`t make sense.
But I insisted we do that, because there was no other way to show at
a glance who was in the running for the Republican nomination. So, even
though it was unfair, it was an unfair thing for me to ask, we did it.
And, by necessity, it was a mess from the beginning.
The only silver lining is I thought we wouldn`t have to live with it
for long. I thought for sure when we made this chart back in May showing
these 22 Republican contenders, I felt sure that this chart would not stay
so cluttered for long, that a lot of these people, yes, maybe they were
toying with running, but when it came down to it, they wouldn`t actually
get into the race, especially when they saw how many other big names were
getting into the fight for the Republican nomination. We figured we would
be able to thin this out really quick and start once again making normal
looking pictures to put on TV.
That`s not how it worked out. We started with this chart of 22
people in May. And, yes, there were some who dropped out, not many.
First, it was Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. He said he would not
run and so we got to poof rick Snyder.
Then it was the very stern, very well-connected governor of Indiana,
Mike Pence, who seemed to be quite visibly rattled by the big gay rights
controversy he created in his state this year. Soon thereafter, Mike Pence
said he would not run for president. So, Mike Pence was out. Three, too,
Then, it was the bellicose New York Republican Congressman Peter
King. Three, two, one, poof.
Then it was the even more bellicose U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
He`s basically made a career since he left the George W. Bush
administration. He`s made a career out of saying he might run for
president. So, it was sort of surprising when he definitely said that he
would not. But he said he would not, so we were able to say John Bolton,
three, two, one – poof.
Four guys dropped out. But other than those four guys dropping out,
all the rest of them stayed in. All the rest of them, declaring one by one
that they were in fact running for president.
The last one was the guy way down there on the bottom row in the
middle, my friend Jim Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia. Jim
Gilmore made his announcement that he`s running in this – do we have the
The less than riveting, unrelenting 11-minute long YouTube video he
used as his announcement. Most of it, it`s 11 minutes long. Most of it is
just one excruciating, unmoving close-up shot of his face.
And Jim Gilmore is a very dynamic and handsome man. But 11 minutes
just looking at his – it was not the most scintillating start to a
national political campaign.
Still though, he got in last week, and it was exciting to be able to
complete our chart that we started all those months ago. Just a nice sense
of completion to nail down the decisions and the fate of all of these
So, first thing we were able to do is poof out four guys who dropped
out. Goodbye, Rick Snyder, Mike Pence, Peter King, John Bolton. They`re
all gone. OK.
You know, start at the top, everybody else stays in. This is our
field. Now we know. Mike Huckabee, in, Ted Cruz in, Rand Paul, Marco
Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal,
Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Donald
Trump, George Pataki, Jim – hold on a second, there`s one extra person.
We forgot one. Who is that guy again? Right next to Jim Gilmore? Who is
I totally forgot about that guy. The guy in the bottom, that is Bob
Ehrlich. I forgot about him for months. Bob Ehrlich, former governor of
Maryland, I completely forgot. He`s the only one of our original 22 who as
of this weekend that had not made up his mind whether or not he was going
But then, yesterday he told “The Boston Globe,” poof me. He did not
say “poof me” to “The Boston Globe”. But for our purposes, that is what it
means when he told “The Globe” he would try to advance the issues he cares
about by using a political action committee instead of running for
So, OK, we got to poof Bob Ehrlich again which doesn`t give me the
same sense of completion because I forgot he was there.
But at least that`s it now, right? A total of 17 candidates running
for the Republican nomination for president – 17, done. Except maybe not.
Because there`s another guy who we forgot so hard, we never even put
him on our initial list of 22 back in May. He was the commissioner of the
IRS in the George W. Bush administration. He also worked in the Reagan
administration. He was involved in the creation of the Department of
Homeland Security. He`s got this big long federal career.
He`s now filed a formal complaint with the FEC seeking to force the
FOX News Channel to allow him not even into their presidential debate
Thursday night, he filed this complaint with the FEC just to be allowed to
be led in to the pre-debate event that involves all the other candidates
that FOX won`t allow on the debate stage.
His name is Mark Everson. And he just wants in to the kids` table.
He doesn`t even want into the debate.
The question is, on what grounds could FOX reasonably say no to that
request? I mean, Mark Everson is not Limberbutt McCubbins, right? He`s
not Deez Nuts, or Brystol Palyn, or Sara Palyn, both of which are spelled
wrong and neither of which is the Bristol Palin or the Sarah Palin you are
His name is Mark Everson. He`s not a joke candidate. He`s not a
protest candidate. He`s not the guy Oh Savior, he`s not the guy who calls
himself on the FEC filing “Titus the great.”
He really was the IRS commissioner under George W. Bush. And he
points out in this FEC complaint, that the Republican Party is supposedly
organizing these debates with the media partners. Well, the RNC in one of
their scammy online, who do you want to vote for, for president fake polls
has been including Mark Everson`s name on the list of people who
Republicans can choose to fake vote for in a Republican primary.
So, if they`re using him to promote the Republican primary, why
wouldn`t they actually let him into it? Why wouldn`t they let him into the
debate – or I`m sorry, not into the debate. Why wouldn`t they let him
into the event before debate that`s just for the candidates who FOX News
says will not be allowed into the real debate because FOX News says so? On
what grounds can they keep him out?
But FOX is not saying whether they`re going to let Mark Everson into
that event on the debate night that`s going to make place before the real
debate. FOX is still not – it`s this week. FOX is still not even saying
whether they`ll let Jim Gilmore in.
Interesting story about Jim Gilmore. Right now, it`s freaking
August. This is the first week of august. Jim Gilmore told his hometown
in Richmond, Virginia, several weeks ago that he would make his
announcement about whether or not he was running the first week of August.
He said he would announce this week. But he`s already announced.
He didn`t wait as long as he said he would. He made his announcement
last week. Maybe that`s why his announcement video was so terrible. Maybe
his staff was rushed.
But the Gilmore campaign has now confirmed to us that the reason they
moved up the date of his announcement and had him announce last week
instead of waiting until this week is specifically because they thought if
they announced last week, he would be able to get into the kid`s table
event that FOX is putting on before their debate on Thursday night. That`s
why they did it.
Is FOX going to let him in? Don`t know. FOX isn`t saying. They`ll
decide when they feel like deciding.
FOX changed their rules, one of many rules chances they`ve had since
they first got this debate. They changed the rules, so there`s no lower
threshold in terms of a polling floor, polling ceiling I guess that
candidates have to hit in the polls in order to be included in that pre-
debate event. Jim Gilmore has been included in some national polls
although the results are not pretty.
But Jim Gilmore thinks he ought to be at that event. Now, he
recognizes. FOX is going to keep him off the big debate stage. But if
they`re going to do another event for candidates who aren`t polling as well
who are serious candidates and they are running, why shouldn`t Jim Gilmore
be in it? Why shouldn`t Mark Everson be in it? He thinks he ought to be
at that event.
FOX News just won`t say. They won`t say even now whether candidates
like that will be allowed in. It does seem a little unfair, not only to
those candidates but to the other candidates who are trying to figure out
who they`re going to be on stage with. Who knows?
FOX still, the week of their debate, they won`t announce which polls
they`re going to be using for their calculations. They`re going to
announce apparently tomorrow night which ten candidates they`re going to
allow on stage to debate.
But even now the day before, less than 24 hours ahead, we still have
no idea the criteria that FOX is going to use to decide which polls count,
who`s going to be allowed to debate for the Republican nomination, who`s
not, on what grounds they`re going to say the candidates are competing for
those seats, are they going to round to whole numbers, are they going to
take account of a number of errors? Is it all going to be the same kind of
poll? Is it going to be polls that just pick the candidates who FOX News
wants to be on the stage? They`re not saying. It`s nuts. And that`s how
we`re picking a new president.
It`s so nuts now that the national polling companies have started to
go into revolt over how FOX wants to use their data, or at least cite their
data to give themselves some sort of semblance of scientific objectivity
the way they`re setting up the first debate. The pollsters are starting to
want nothing to do with this.
Marist College, for example, is a very respected national poll and
they do state by state polls as well. Marist announced today they will not
release national Republican primary polling this week because they believe
FOX News is misusing that kind of polling in order to include and exclude
various candidates from the debate.
Monmouth University, they do another respected national poll. They
did release their latest polling number for the Republican candidates
today. Surprise, surprise, Donald Trump wins. But they also, with the
release of that data, they also put out a cautionary statement explaining
their polls, like every poll, they`ve got a margin of error, saying overtly
that it is statistical nonsense to be making these hugely consequential
political decisions about who is allowed to compete for the Republican
presidential nomination based on infinitesimal differences in polling
numbers between the candidates.
They actually released a new stacking of the Republican candidates.
Look closely at these, look at these columns here. The number they put in
their poll, but the lower and upper margin, the support range including the
margin of potential sampling error.
They`ve released this new stacking of the Republican candidates using
their own data, their own poll, using how – you know what? If you`re
honest about it, if you are honest about it, if you actually want to look
at what these numbers really say, and you take account the margin of error,
you take account, you know, the statistical noise in surveys of this size,
and basically almost all the candidates overlap.
Yes, there are a few candidates who you could safely say are top ten
candidates like Donald Trump right now. And you could safely say that
George Pataki and my friend Jim Gilmore, they`re undoubtedly way down at
the bottom. But pretty much everybody in the middle, almost everybody in
the middle overlaps. To say there`s some meaningful statistical difference
between John Kasich and Rick Perry is nonsense, because statistically
speaking, they really do have the same amount of support. It is radically
biasing to the Republican presidential primary process to say John Kasich
gets into the debate and Rick Perry doesn`t, when there is no statistical
justification for making that kind of distinction between them.
So, the pollsters are not only pointing that out, they`re basically
in revolt. The candidates have moved beyond complaining to the press to
making formal federal complaints. FOX is still not saying, still, who is
even before considered for one of their events and they`re still not saying
how they`re deciding who`s going to be in the actual debate. And it`s this
We`re going to have more on the pollster`s revolt later on in the
show. Suffice to say, though, FOX still has a chance to make the very easy
switch here that basically every unbiased observer, and lots of biased
observers, think they ought to choose. There`s an easy way for FOX to fix
this problem. And there`s nobody who could rightfully complain about it in
terms of its fairness compared with what they`re doing with their thumb on
the scale in picking the candidates for this debate on Thursday.
It`s a very easy fix. They could still do it. Nobody would be mad.
I mean, what Iowa Republicans and South Carolina Republicans and New
Hampshire Republicans have all asked FOX to do, what pollsters like the
lead pollster from Marist has suggested they might do, what the Republican
voters surveyed by Monmouth say they prefer that FOX should do, by a very
large margin, is the easiest solution that this problem that they`ve got of
this giant Republican field.
Yes, I know it`s a crowded graphic. That would be a crowded stage.
You don`t have to put them on all at once.
Just do two heats, two events. Not some kid`s table and the real
thing, but two events, equal, randomly assign eight to ten candidates to go
first. And then the remaining eight to ten candidates you randomly assign
to go second. Just divide it that way. Two equal heats.
We don`t know who`s going to be in each heat until that night. It
would be exciting to give you bingo balls to pick who is in each heat or
something. People would watch both.
FOX could still do that. There is still time to fix this.
But tonight in New Hampshire, nearly all of the Republican candidates
did all appear all at once on one debate stage. It wasn`t so terrible.
The first time we`ve seen them together for the first time in the 2016
And at this event in New Hampshire, which took place tonight, some of
the candidates overtly made the case from that stage that the way FOX News
is running the first real debate this week does a disservice to the whole
Republican field and particularly Republican voters in the early states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, if I may just start
by saying, thank you, St. Anselm, for hosting this, and thank you, Joe
McQuaid as well for reminding the political class that we don`t have a
national primary and managing to get all of the candidates here to the
first in the nation primary state. Thank you for doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s from this event tonight that happened in New
Hampshire, that just ended moments ago. This may be the closest the
Republican presidential candidates will ever come to being all on the same
It was a fascinating thing to watch. Rick Perry was asked if he
wanted to redo his oops moment from the last time he ran for president.
We`ve got that. We`ve got a live report from what happened there at this
event in New Hampshire tonight. That`s coming up next.
MADDOW: So, tonight, more than 10 Republicans running for president
this year all got on the same stage at the same time. When will we see
You`re not going to see it at the first official Republican debate
which will happen on FOX News this week. But what happened tonight in New
Hampshire was basically the kickoff to the competitive 2016 Republican
presidential nominating process.
Remarkable event tonight in Manchester, New Hampshire. We`ve got a
live report from the scene in just a moment.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, this was very exciting tonight. It started on time at
the stroke of 7:00 p.m. Eastern, zero, zero, zero, zero. They emerged.
And it was super exciting to see all of them, all these Republican
candidates standing on one stage, ready to debate at St. Anselm College in
Manchester, New Hampshire. I say debate. Technically, they weren`t
debating, because according to the Republican Party`s rules, this was not
one of the officially sanctioned debates this year. So, no one candidate
was allowed to address directly any other candidate.
Instead what happened is the candidates answered questions,
individually. The questions had been selected for each of them by the
moderator. And then it was like this – it was like a fire drill. They
were just quickly musical chairs with one chair? I don`t know.
They were quickly hustled off the stage. It was like a Republican
conveyer belt. OK, you`re gone, OK, you`re gone. OK, you`re gone.
Three of the 14 candidates in this debate, three of the senators,
joined the forum remotely in a “Brady Bunch” box because those three wanted
to stay in Washington for a vote in the Senate to defund Planned
Parenthood. That vote failed, but they wanted to register those failing
votes any way.
So, they were in the “Brady Bunch” box with an unfortunate satellite
delay between them and the moderator.
But all together, this was the first time we`ve had them in this big
of a group, between the guys on the satellite feed and the 11 guys on
stage, we had 14 of the 17 Republican presidential contenders participating
tonight in this forum. And hey, who remembered George Pataki was so tall?
There was more than one open seat in the room. The room was not
filled, which I find hard to believe with all those candidates there. But
the room was by no means full. Hard to believe.
The first candidate up was Rick Perry. He was really fired up, like
almost inappropriately fired up. He had his Wheaties, he seemed very
excited to be there.
At one point, over the course of the night, they gave him a chance to
redo his oops moment that sunk his 2012 chances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MODERATOR: Governor Perry, in the past you mentioned cutting federal
agencies. We talked a lot tonight about the debt, size of government not
working for the rest of America.
What specifically, what agencies would you either eliminate or cut?
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve heard this question
MODERATOR: I thought you might go there.
PERRY: I thought you might do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Honestly, the forum itself was a little subdued. I think in
part because the audience was not allowed – they were directed
specifically to not react to the candidates. So there was no clapping,
people trying to stifle any sort of response. Also, the candidates would
not react to one another, so a little dry in part.
The only candidate who got much reaction be ended up being Senator
Lindsey Graham who unprompted brought up Hillary Clinton and bill Clinton,
and he got a rise out of people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As to Hillary
Clinton, the last person in the world you want to send into the ring with
the Russians is Hillary Clinton. As to the Clintons, I`ve been dealing
with this crowd for 20 years. I`m fluent in Clinton speak. You want me to
When he says, Bill says, “I didn`t have sex with that woman,” he did.
When she says, “I`ll tell you about building the pipeline when I get to be
president” means she won`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Lindsey Graham got a mild titter from the crowd there.
It`s amazing that FOX News is not going to allow him to debate – how
is this possible? But that was Lindsey Graham tonight in New Hampshire.
The only real competition between all the candidates tonight really
did seem to be about one specific thing in their biographies, the one thing
they really fought it out amongst themselves was who had it harder growing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two decades ago, my
mother was a maid at a hotel, my father worked was a bartender working
banquets behind a portable bar in a back of a room.
GRAHAM: At 22, I was flat broke when my parents died within 15
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fifty-eight years ago,
my father fled Cuba. When he was standing on the deck of that ferryboat
looking back at imprisonment and torture in Cuba.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank God that my
father carried me on his back. His father was a coal miner. My mother,
her mother could barely speak English.
FIORINA: I started out as a secretary in a little nine-person real
estate firm, and went on to lead the largest technology company in the
world, and now I`m running for the presidency of the United States. My
story is only possible in America.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Hard scrabble upbringings and ancestors to whom much is
owed. That was kind of a personal theme.
Much of the rest of it went sort of as you might expect. They all
agree on basically all policy. So, lots of promises to repeal Obamacare,
lots are vowing to secure the border.
Scott Walker worked into the very first few words of his very first
answer, the fact that he is an Eagle Scout and that`s why he wants clean
Some of the biggest headlines to come out of this event tonight is
about who chose not to be there.
My friend, Jim Gilmore did not participate tonight. Apparently he
announced he was running for president too late for the satisfaction of the
New Hampshire debate organizers.
Mike Huckabee didn`t show up tonight. We called his campaign last
week to find out why he was going. And we never got an explanation for
him. I don`t know why Mike Huckabee didn`t go, but strange he didn`t.
The biggest outstanding empty chair tonight, though, was from the
distant front-runner for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump. Donald
Trump was not there tonight answering any questions at this forum. He
explained basically he didn`t like the newspaper that had convened the
forum in the first place. “The New Hampshire Union Leader” wrote an
editorial about him that he did not like, so therefore, he would not do
Mr. Trump could not stay away entirely, though. He did pose his own
questions to all the candidates on his Facebook page.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would like to ask all of
the candidates that as politicians and really people that don`t negotiate
jobs and lots of other things, how are you going to make America great
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Donald Trump`s contribution to the New Hampshire
candidates forum tonight. They didn`t ask that question nor did they play
the tape. It would have helped their ratings.
We are three days away from the real Republican debate in Cleveland
hosted by FOX News. Mr. Trump will be at that event. He will be center
stage as the Republican front runner. As for tonight, maybe this was the
practice round. Maybe this is the stuff you say as a candidate when you
can speak uninterrupted for several minutes at a time, and where there is
no Trump factor.
But this was really the opening salvo. This was the first bit of
competition, the first night of competition for the 2016 Republican
Joining us now from the spin room, at the first Republican candidates
forum of the 2016 campaign is MSNBC political reporter, Anthony Terrell.
Anthony, I love that you`re there for us. Thanks for doing this.
ANTHONY TERRELL, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: Hi, Rachel. Thanks for
MADDOW: So, watching it tonight as it was happening, it was weird
for me that the audience was forbidden from making noise or responding to
the candidates. When you were there inside the room, could you get any
bead on how the candidates were being received or was it a mystery to you
in the room?
TERRELL: Right. It was a little subdued. There were some empty
seats. You know, Lindsey Graham got one of the biggest rounds of applause.
They were all sitting next to each other which kind of subdued it a little
But I`ll tell you one thing, Rachel, it really put an exclamation
point on how big this field is with 11 of them on stage. They each had
about 6 1/2 to 7 minutes and it felt like speed dating.
TERRELL: There were some folks in the room saying is that it, is
that all? So, the enormity of the crowd really shows what we`re looking at
in the next six months. And you know what, this was also a preview of what
we may be seeing on Thursday when these candidates can go after one
Tonight, it was a little more polite, more of a forum setting. But
on Thursday, these guys tested out their – and Carly Fiorina, tested out
their messages here. But on Thursday, we`re going to see them go after one
MADDOW: Anthony, were they – I mean, I know that they`re not
allowed to engage. You know, they`re not allowed to go “you, sir, you are
lying about my record.” They`re not allowed to do that sort of thing at
this forum. They weren`t on stage together. They had that little conveyer
belt thing going on, where one would get on the stage and one would get
But were there oblique shots at each other or at Donald Trump, were
there – was there any distinctions drawn between any of the candidates on
policy? I felt like they were all talking about supporting the same policy
and having the same noble grandparents.
TERRELL: Well, you`re right, Rachel. They were each actually
complimenting one another. They try to make themselves stand out as Scott
Walker did of saying, he`s won three times in four years in a blue state,
something that Rick Santorum did, as well.
So, these guys were hyping their own records. They weren`t really
going after one another, but they were going after the Democrats and
Lindsey Graham really went after Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. So,
that drew the biggest laughter and applause in the room. So, they were
focusing their attacks on Democrats. That will change on Thursday.
MADDOW: MSNBC political report Anthony Terrell – Anthony, I love
having you up there. Thanks for being with us, man. Great to see you.
TERRELL: Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate it.
MADDOW: All right. We got lots more ahead tonight, including –
we`ve got an interview tonight, live interview with one of the pollsters
who is in revolt, who is publicly defining the FOX News debate strategy and
how they are using polls and saying, I want me and my poll to have nothing
to do with this. Fascinating take.
We`ve also got a brand new installment tonight of Debunktion
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So here comes a gun sound. You may want to put on your
headphones and protective goggles, now.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That is the sound of automatic gunfire. That is an
automatic rifle being fired for so long. Do you see the flames there this
that it catches fire.
And presidential candidate Ted Cruz just made that newly important in
the presidential race, that phenomena. And when he made that important in
the presidential race, it turns out he totally screwed it up. And that`s
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Sizzurp, also known as purple drink to those in the know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: If you`ve never seen it –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All day, that purple drink.
REPORTER: Chances are, your teenager has.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve o`clock, afternoon –
REPORTER: With YouTube hits growing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s turning purple.
REPORTER: It`s called Sizzurp, yes, called like that, or the purple
drank. A mixture of soda, jolly ranchers candy for color, and extra
sweetness, and prescription cough syrup with codeine, an instant high,
described as euphoric.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The word is Sizzurp, purple drink. I`m sure I am saying it
wrong. Even with that helpful pronunciation guide. I`m sure I`m getting
But the rise of Sizzurp in song lyrics and celebrity social media
accounts, and its increase use particularly by young people, its perceived
dangers, caused such a media frenzy and much concern last year that last
April, one of the companies that makes Sizzurp`s main ingredient, an
innocuous sounding pharmaceutical company called Actavis.
Actavis decided they would yank their product off the shelves. They
made this cough syrup with codeine in it. There was nothing wrong with
that cough syrup, except for the day it was being misused in the real
world, misused in the real world, turned out to be the base for this
popular party drug.
And so, they yanked their cough syrup off of store shelves. They
stopped selling it.
This is how they explained it: “Recently, one of our products has
gained significant attention in the media and elsewhere for its illegal
recreational abuse. This attention has glamorized the unlawful and
dangerous use of the product, which is contrary to its approved indication.
Given these significant concerns, we made the bold and unprecedented
decision to cease all production and sales of this product. While we
regret the impact this will have on the consumers who rely on this
medication for its intended use, we believe that this is the responsible
course of action.”
So, this is a bold step for this company, right? I mean, this
product has a real use. There`s nothing wrong with the product.
But they felt that the only responsible thing to do was to yank the
product off the shelves anyway, because it was being wrongfully and
dangerously misused in the real world. And yes, maybe Actavis, maybe this
drug company just wanted to avoid a lawsuit or avoid the media spotlight or
avoid showing up on Soulja Boy`s Instagram account. But it was an
honorable move. It was not a problem they created, but the misuse of their
product was wrong and dangerous. And so, they fell on their sword. They
pulled their product from the market place.
And now, the new Sizzurp is national polling on the candidates for
the Republican nomination for president of the United States. The new
codeine cough syrup is national polling among the Republican candidates.
National polling among the Republican candidates itself is fine, it
serves a purpose. But it`s being wrongly and dangerously misused by the
FOX News Channel and the Republican Party. And so, now, the pollsters are
doing the only responsible thing and they are pulling their product out of
the market place.
FOX News says they`ll only invite the top ten candidates from an
average of five recent national polls to be on stage for Thursday`s debate.
Which five polls will they use to determine this, who knows? Will they
round up to the nearest whole number? Who knows? Will they use a decimal
point and pick among the candidates based on tenth of percentage points?
No idea. Who knows?
And that is nuts for the candidates, right, that their campaigns are
being made or they`re broken by something this arbitrary and opaque and
irrelevant and random.
But for the pollsters, it`s also a little bit of a moral issue,
right? Do you really want your work to be misused this way and in such a
consequential way? Misused as if you, the pollster, are saying something
way more precise than you`re actually saying, and having your work thereby
misused not just in the way that people don`t understand it, but it`s being
allowed to decide who is allowed into presidential debates.
Well, now, a number of pollsters decided they don`t want to be part
of this problem anymore. They are warning people that Sizzurp must be
stopped. They do not want their polls misused to determine who makes the
debate stage. The pollsters, as of today, appear to be in revolt.
Today`s new Monmouth University poll found Donald Trump in first
place with a whopping 26 percent of the vote. He`s ahead of Jeb Bush who
is in second place by more than a 2-1 margin. But that same poll also came
with a warning, that FOX`s system figuring out who makes the stage this
year based on polls like this one is a really bad idea.
I mean, factoring in their margin of error, all these highlighted
candidates could make the top 10, but it`s literally unknowable as to
whether or not they`re a top ten nationally ranked candidate, because they
are so statistically close to one another. Ten candidates have polling
results so close, they statistically overlap.
There is literally no sound way to tell which of them ranks higher
than the other one. The Monmouth poll director writes in their poll
release, quote, “Based on current polling, there`s no good rationale for
arbitrary selecting a top ten.”
Another well known national pollster is taking it a step further.
Marist College also just released a poll. They did some interesting
general election match-ups. They found Hillary Clinton would beat Jeb Bush
and Donald Trump if Donald Trump were to enter the race as a three-way
party candidate. That`s an interesting three-way, general election
But when it comes to figuring out who Republican voters would vote
for, for the Republican nominee, Marist says they will not poll on that
now. Not because that information is wrong to have, not because that
information is hard to get, but because that information is being misused
as a determining factor for who gets into the debates, and that`s wrong and
they don`t want their data used that way.
The director of the Marist poll today lamenting, quote, “Now, the
public polls are affecting the process they are supposed to be measuring.”
So, Marist is not doing a Republican candidate`s national poll now.
These pollsters are basically telling FOX News, stop doing what you`re
doing with our information. Stop doing what you`re doing with our product.
You are doing it wrong. You`re using it wrong. You were using it in a way
that is dangerous and now how it`s intended to be used.
These pollsters are now saying to FOX News and the Republican Party,
it was not our decision for you to use our information this way, and we
actually don`t want to be part of it. We don`t want to be part of this
disgrace any longer and one of those pollsters is here next.
MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview is Dr. Lee Miringoff.
He`s the director of the Marist Poll which announced they are leaving out
of their polls questions about who Republicans will vote for in the
primaries. And they`re specifically doing that because they don`t want
that polling information misused as a determining factor for who is allowed
to appear in the first Republican debate on Thursday.
Dr. Miringoff, thank you so much for being here.
DR. LEE MIRINGOFF, MARIST POLL: My pleasure, Rachel. How are you
MADDOW: I`m good. I am –
MIRINGOFF: But you`re upset.
MADDOW: Well, no. I think this is an important turn. You and
Monmouth have done something different but with a similar thrust, which is
you do not like the way that the polls are being used to determine who is
in and out of the debate. We talked about this a little bit – a few days
So, why did you make this extra step to not collect this data?
MIRINGOFF: Well, we did do a poll. We did a national poll with
McClatchy, as we do very often. But we just didn`t ask the ballot
question, the tossup question for the very reasons you`ve been citing. We
don`t think it`s good use of polls to determine the eligibility of who sits
at the table basically for the Republican debate, or for a Democratic
debate if they had a big crowd for that matter.
So, it`s a problem. It`s a misuse of the data and, look, it`s
affected the way the candidate have behaved. They`re all trying to get the
bump right now so they can get the invitations, so they can get to the
It`s so early in the process, even some people you think are well
known in our poll today, 36 percent don`t know who Marco Rubio is, 42
percent don`t know who Scott Walker is. And other people are known less
So, it`s so early, there`s a chance for people to sort of look at the
field to see who is out there.
MADDOW: You feel – we don`t know which polls FOX is going to use.
MADDOW: If they ended up using a national Marist poll as one of the
five they were going to average in to do this, do you essentially feel like
you`d be implicated in a way that was not – I guess not – wasn`t treating
your numbers with integrity?
MIRINGOFF: Well, that`s correct. I don`t think there`s a great high
crime against the future of democracy. There are plenty of polls to pick
I should say one thing the way FOX is doing this and the way CNN is
doing this that is good, in the polls that they have talked about, the ones
they are likely to pick from are at least the scientifically based polls.
There`s a lot of junk polls out there. Those aren`t the ones are being
MADDOW: Well, we think. We don`t know. We see what they choose to
or if they even announce which polls they use.
MIRINGOFF: Well, I think they probably will, but we hope they are
ones that have live interviewers. They called cell phones as well as
landlines. That they did a whole variety of things that ensured at least
the quality of those numbers is responsible. Even if I`m unhappy with how
the polls are being used to determine eligibility, at least they`ve
identified some decent polls we think because a lot of the networks do
serious polling. Someone is saying, oh, great controversy out there among
We talk to each other, but we`re hardly out there figuring out who
are we going to put in front this week. It doesn`t work like that.
MADDOW: Your stand on this and your explanation of why you`re doing
it, coupled with Monmouth coming up with a similar explanation, they did
it, this may be the bump they need to make the change this week. If it
happens, it will largely be because of you.
Dr. Lee Miringoff, thank you very much.
MIRINGOFF: If pollsters were so powerful, they would just let us
pick the presidential candidates.
MADDOW: But when you say my integrity of a pollster, I`m not going
to be part of this is a powerful thing to have done.
MADDOW: Thanks for being here.
MIRINGOFF: Appreciate it, Rachel.
MADDOW: Good to see you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead, including Debunktion
Junction. We`ll be right back.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In the great wide world of pork-related and pork-seeming
products, there`s bacon, which is bacon. There`s faking bacon which I
think is a tofu product or some other form of not meat. And then there`s
real bacon that you can make using a gun. Ted Cruz brought that into the
presidential vernacular today, and he did it wrong.
That story is ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Hoot, hoot. Haven`t done this in a long time. It`s very
Debunktion, junction, what`s my function?
First up, today presidential candidate Ted Cruz did a hilarious video
where he said in Texas, the way they cook breakfast food is to wrap their
bacon around the muzzle of a machine gun and then fire the machine gun
until the hot barrel of the gun cooks the bacon.
Senator Cruz starred in this video posted online today. This is the
title screen, “Making machine gun bacon with Ted Cruz.” This is designed
to be hilarious obviously. It`s also designed to make gun enthusiasts very
excited about Ted Cruz, which it did.
This is the Guns.com headline, “Ted Cruz cooks and eats machine gun
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: In Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most folks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
CRUZ: Mmm, machine gun bacon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Here`s the question: Is that true or false? Did Ted Cruz
just make and eat machine gun bacon? I mean, this is the title, right,
making machine gun bacon with Ted Cruz. Is that true or is that false?
MADDOW: It`s false, because that`s not a machine gun. We reached
out to the gun range where Mr. Cruz shot that video. They`ve confirmed
what we thought, which is that it`s not a machine gun being used in that
video. It`s a general AR-15. It`s semiautomatic. You have to pull the
trigger for each bullet you want to fire.
And, in fact, it`s kind of obvious, this is not a machine gun. If
you listen to the sound the gun makes while the senator fires it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Here`s what it would sound like if it really were a machine
gun cooking your breakfast meat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s true. You can see the flames here.
Guns can get really hot when you fire them a lot. The Internet is
lousy with videos of people setting fire to guns by firing them too much
and too fast, particularly in fully automatic mode.
But there`s a difference between a fully automatic machine gun like
this and what Ted Cruz made bacon with. Does he really not know what a
machine gun is? Does he think he was firing one here? Does he want us to
think he was firing one here and he knows he wasn`t or does he not know?
We now await the moment when all gun groups get mad at Ted Cruz and
say Ted Cruz doesn`t know what he`s talking about when he talks about guns.
Apparently, Ted Cruz doesn`t know what he`s talking about when he talks
about guns. Sorry, Senator.
Next up, Governor Chris Christie – there`s little doubt that
Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen. You can`t be a truther
about it. There`s video evidence. This is our cherished clip of Chris
Christie rockin` out without a care in the word at a Bruce Springsteen
concert 15 years ago.
But in a recent interview with a conservative news site called
LifeZette, everything we thought we knew about Chris Christie and Bruce
Springsteen went out the window. He did a series of rapid fire, would you
rather type questions, and he and his wife were asked and each picked Jon
Bon Jovi over Bruce Springsteen.
It`s kind of sad, right? I mean, if you know three things about
Chris Christie, statistically speaking, one of them is probably the bridge.
One of them is like he yells at teachers and one of them is loves Bruce
But apparently for the purpose of running for president he`s given
that up. It`s very sad. I kind of figured thought that was the end of it
when he did interview. It`s very sad.
But then this weekend, my friend Jake Tapper at CNN did an interview
with Governor Christie and asked him to explain what that was all about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN: I read something in the press that really upset me
the other day where you were quoted as saying – and maybe it was a
misquote but you were quoted as saying when it came to your favorite New
Jersey musician, it was no longer The Boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen, it was
Jon bon Jovi.
Would you clear this up? And how can you justify such an egregious
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not an
egregious a flip-flop. What we asking, what Laure Ingraham was asking,
both me and Mary Pat, was, as a friend, who do you prefer, Springsteen or
TAPPER: As a person?
CHRISTIE: Yes, as a person. And Jon and Dorothy Bon Jovi are
friends of ours.
TAPPER: And they`re lovely people. Absolutely.
CHRISTIE: They`re good friends of ours and that was the answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Of course, I didn`t turn my back on Bruce Springsteen. You
must have misheard the exchange. You didn`t listen.
See, what the interviewer was asking as a friend specifically not in
terms of their music, do you prefer Springsteen or Bon Jovi. It was
specific to the friendship. It wasn`t the music.
That`s how Chris Christie explains what happens in that interview.
But is that true or is that false?
MADDOW: It`s very false. Very false.
Here`s the exchange with Laura Ingraham that Governor Christie was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen?
MARY PAT CHRISTIE, WIFE OF GOV. CHRISTIE: Ah, that`s hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a hard question?
M.P. CHRISTIE: Their music or their person?
INGRAHAM: No explanation.
M.P. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi.
GOV. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Your explanation, Governor Christie of dissing Bruce
Springsteen is not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRISTIE: What she was asking, what Laura Ingraham was asking,
both me and Mary Pat, as a friend, who do you prefer, Springsteen or Bon
TAPPER: As a person.
GOV. CHRISTIE: Yes, as a person.
M.P. CHRISTIE: Their music or their person.
INGRAHAM: No explanation.
M.P. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi.
GOV. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t think anybody really cares which New Jersey singer
the state`s governor likes more. I do think people might care that he
would pick that as something to lie about overtly.
Governor Christie, in a blind taste test, you and your wife chose Bon
Jovi. That is a choice you are going to have to live with. We have the
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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