The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/20/15

Steve Kornacki

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


Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.

HAYES: You bet.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

This is the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and all the rest of it,

The founding document of our country, when you look at it, though,
just as a physical object, type graphically, it`s a little strange, right?
It`s a hand-written document. Obviously, it`s an 18th century document.
The lines all slope a little bit throughout the long body of the
declaration. The calligraphy is sort of – you know, it`s very obviously

Up top, you have very big letters, in Congress, July 4th, 1776, and
also in very big letters, “The Unanimous Declaration of the 13 United
States of America.” I don`t know how they made “of the 13 united” very,
very small. It`s a sort of weird thing about top line of the top line of
the Declaration of Independence.

And down at the bottom where you get all the signers, right? I think
it`s 56 Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. Down
at the bottom, there`s only really one of them that you can read from a
distance, at least. And that`s just because he signed his name so much
bigger than everybody else. And that is John Hancock, right?

That`s how we get John Hancock as a synonym for signature. Put your
John Hancock on there, because John Hancock`s name is like this big when
everybody else`s is like this. So when they say, you know, we need your
John Hancock here at the bottom – when I was a little kid, I thought that
was a dirty joke of some kind. For the longest time, because I realized it
was actually just a reference to his name. It`s a reference to the fact
that John Hancock signed his name huge at the bottom of the declaration.

I mean, signing your name really big, right, on a public document,
that is one sort of narrowly focused, narrowly targeted way to make sure
you have your name remembered, right? To make sure you`re the one who
sticks out.

Well, former President George W. Bush has apparently taken that
lesson to heart. I mean, if he`s not going to be remembered for anything
else, maybe it will be for the fact that this is apparently how he signs
his letters now. We didn`t blow up the signature on this.

And it`s not like the leatherhead doesn`t have his name in big enough
letters at the top, right? But look at that. George Bush has turned to
graffiti in his post-presidency years. George W. Bush now signing thing
with a can of spray paint.

This letter signed with great enthusiasm by former President George
W. Bush. George W. Bush! It went out today as a fund-raising appeal for
the presidential campaign of his brother, Jeb.

And that, in itself, is not an embarrassing thing. Unless, of
course, you`re the brother who launched your presidential campaign by
telling everybody that they should think of you as a stand-alone candidate,
unrelated to your family. Yes, sure, maybe you had a father and a brother
who were also presidents, quite recently, but that`s totally irrelevant to
your own run for the presidency, because you are your own man.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As you might know, I`ve also
been fortunate to have a father and a brother who helped shape America`s
foreign policy from the oval office. I recognize that as a result, my
views will often be held up in comparison to theirs. I admire their
service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make.
But I`m my own man. And my views are shaped by my own thinking, in my own


MADDOW: That was how Jeb Bush basically told us he was going to run
his campaign for the presidency. I mean, right before he had his dad start
fund-raising and doing events for him and then he had his mom start fund-
raising and doing events for him. Then he had his brother start fund-
raising and doing events for him. Right before all of that, he did the, “I
am my own man” speech.

And now today, Jeb Bush, I am my own man, his campaign for president
announced that in October, the whole Bush family will be hosting a $50,000-
a-person donors` conference for the Jeb Bush for president campaign, hosted
by his dad and his brother and his mom. This one`s going to be held in
Texas, where his brother lives. Unlike the last one of these they did,
which was held literally at his mom and dad`s house.

But remember, I am my own man. I mean, all of these things about how
he is running a Bush family campaign for the presidency, it sort of would
be fine, right? It would be exactly how everybody expected Jeb Bush to
make a run for the presidency.

It would all be fine, except for the fact that he went out of his way
to get all those headlines. Saying, I`m not going to run that way, I`m my
own way. I`m not running as the third Bush for president. Pay no
attention to my father and my brother. I`m running on my own terms.

None of the way he is running for president would look bad in terms
of the way he`s using his family, had he not started everything off by
saying, I`m not going to use my own family. Had me not started everything
off with the “I`m my own man” joke. Just a bad, unforced political error,

And that was even before he formally got into the race. That was his
signal that he was getting in. I`m getting in and getting in as my own
man. It was a foreign policy speech that he said that.

He was saying in context, my foreign policy will have nothing to do
with my father`s foreign policy or my brother`s foreign policy. And then
he immediately, that day, followed that up with the press release,
announcing that he was bringing onboard 21 foreign policy advisers to his
campaign, 19 of those 21, had worked for either his brother or his dad or

So, it`s just this really unforced political error that Jeb Bush made
right off the bat. And then, the first big political stunt he launched was
his effort to be seen as a tech-savvy, wired, Silicon Valley kind of e-

First, he hired the cofounder of to be his chief
technology officer. Then he had to fire the kid one day later when it
emerged that nobody on the Jeb Bush campaign had apparently read that kid`s
twitter field, which was all about his ranking of the different kinds of
sluts in the world.

Then, Jeb Bush released hundreds of thousands of e-mails from his
time as Florida governor. He made a big splash out of this. I`m releasing
all of these e-mails. I`m being super transparent. I`m letting you know
how tech savvy I am.

Apparently, nobody read those e-mails either before the Jeb Bush for
president campaign pulled that particular trigger. And that document dump,
which, again, nobody asked the campaign for. They did this on purpose, on
their own terms, it was their own bright idea.

That document dumped ended up posting online thousands of people`s
personal information. That these people had clearly never ended to become
public. With that first campaign stunt that he did, Jeb Bush posted online
totally unredacted information, including people`s real e-mail addresses,
real full names, real contact information, real physical addresses, in some
cases, real and sensitive medical information, people`s real Social
Security numbers. Jeb Bush just uploaded all of it! Put it all out there!
Did I mention I`m the tech-savvy guy?

And it was around that time that we noticed that if you typed into
your web browser, what popped up was this really
quite adorable website of a super cute gay couple from Oregon. Their names
are C.J. and Charlie. They`re bears. They call themselves tech bears.
They`re both engineers. And they own

Because tech-savvy Silicon Valley-wise Jeb Bush never bothered to buy, C.J. and Charlie have bought it instead and they
have turned it into a really friendly discussion page about gay rights.

I mean, Jeb Bush must have known he was going to maybe run for
president since, when? High school. Junior high. Did they tell him in
the womb?

I mean – but it never occurred to him to maybe grab that website,
and that sort of thing, that sort of oversight, that sort of screw-up.
That sort of failure to cover even the basics started off becoming evident
very, very early in the Jeb Bush for president campaign. It even started
before the campaign properly started.

But now, it is becoming a really salient issue in American national
politics. It started to bubble up in political discussions about the
presidential campaign a few weeks ago. But now, I really do think it`s
becoming an urgent matter of concern.

The way it came up a few weeks ago is when Jeb Bush volunteered –
again, this was totally unforced – he just volunteered as an aside, when
he was asked about Planned Parenthood, he just volunteered something that
will follow him all the way to the end of his political career, no matter
where that political career ends. He just brought this up, apropos of
nothing, when no one was asking.


BUSH: The argument against is this is, well, women`s health issues
are going to be – you`re attacking – it`s a war on women and you`re
attacking women`s health issues. You could take dollar for dollar,
although I`m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women`s health


MADDOW: I`m not sure – that was a couple of weeks ago. Jeb Bush
volunteering, as an aside, apropos of annoying. Eh, why do we need all
this money for women`s health? Yuck.

Whether or not you agree with him on that, that`s the sort of thing
that`s obviously going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. Like, maybe,
53 percent or so of American voters who are women, all of whom have health
of some kind. Why do we need all this money for the women`s health?

More to the point, though, just as a matter of political practice,
Jeb Bush didn`t have to bring that up. Nobody was asking him about that.
That was just another unforced political error. At “The Weekly Standard,”
a conservative writer named John McCormack responded to that mistake by
saying, quote, “Isn`t one benefit of an establishment candidate supposed to
be that he`s not going to make gaffes like this?”

Jeb Bush, after he made that gaffe, did put out a written statement,
trying to take it back. Taking back what he said about women`s health. He
said he misspoke about that. In response to that, Craig Robinson, a
longtime Republican operative in Iowa, told, quote, “Every
time Jeb Bush has stuck his foot in his mouth, it`s been a cleanup on Aisle
3 moment. I think it shows a real lack of message discipline with Bush.
We`ve seen more errors out of Jeb Bush this campaign than most of the other
candidates.” Which is true.

We used to do something on this show called the John Boehner is bad
at his job hypothesis. It was when the Republicans took over control of
Congress in 2010, but it felt like they just couldn`t even get the basic
stuff done to run Congress, because their leadership couldn`t figure out
basic stuff, like how to stop their own side from fighting in public or how
to just keep the lights on, keep the government running, when they weren`t
trying to shut it down. And we called that the John Boehner is bad at his
job hypothesis.

The Republican presidential campaign has now, unexpectedly, but I
think, unavoidably, given birth to the Jeb Bush is bad at his job
hypothesis. And nobody would have expected this, from a guy who`s the
third presidential candidate from the same nuclear family that includes two
other presidents.

But Jeb Bush really is, unexpectedly, bad at running for president.
And I say that with no malice. I say that as an observer of his political
skills. And I think it`s becoming increasingly important, for an
increasingly wide circle of people.

Today, his latest bowl of confusion happened on the issue of
immigration. Republicans following Donald Trump`s lead this year, they
have decided that people born in the United States should not be citizens
anymore, which is really quite a radical position. But Donald Trump put
that out there this year as his immigration position. And a great majority
of all the other Republican candidates have fallen right in line behind him
on that.

Jeb Bush has tried to maintain a little bit of distance from that
radical position, but he is also, while sort of inexpertly and bumbling
way, in a bumbling way, stumbled through the policy part of it, he`s also
stumbled into using some super offensive language borrowed from Donald
Trump to talk about this issue, and then he purported to not understanding
that that was the language he was using, then he defended using the
language, and then he rejected the using the language, and then asked the
reporters to give him some better language to use, and then he actually
didn`t have any idea what to say next.


BUSH: There ought to be greater enforcement. That`s – that`s
legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don`t have these,
you know, anchor babies, as they`re described, coming into the country.

REPORTER: Governor –

BUSH: Yes?

REPORTER: Do you think the term “anchor baby” is offensive?

BUSH: No. No. If there`s another term that I can come up, I`m
happy to hear it.

REPORTER: Governor, do you regret using the term “anchor baby”
yesterday on the radio?

BUSH: No, I didn`t.


BUSH: I don`t, I don`t regret it.

Do you have a better term?

REPORTER: I`m not – I`m asking you.

BUSH: You give me a better term, and I`ll use it.

REPORTER: Governor, governor –

BUSH: Don`t yell at me behind my ear, though.

REPORTER: Sorry about that.


REPORTER: The language “anchor baby,” is that not bombastic?

BUSH: No, give me another word.

REPORTER: Undocumented immigrants in the U.S..

BUSH: That`s not another word. That`s like a seven – here`s the
deal, what I said was, it`s commonly referred to that. That`s what I said.
I didn`t use it as my own language.


MADDOW: “Didn`t use it as my own language.” He does not have his
own language to use to describe what he was talking about. He would maybe
like to borrow some from a reporter, and he does not like what the reporter
had suggested, and so he`s not using the reporter`s language, or that other
language that he used, but that he does not use, because it`s not his own
language, because he did not use it. Does anybody have any words I can

He`s Jeb Bush and he`s running for president. And he`s his own man.
Jeb Bush said, before he decided to run, that one of the factors he would
consider in deciding whether or not he would run for president is whether
he could do it joyfully. He said if he could not run joyfully, he would
not do it. He does not seem to be running joyfully. He does not seem to
be having a good time.

Part of the reason, I think, it hasn`t seemed fun for him is because
he has had a really hard time. He could not answer the world`s most
expected questions about whether or not he would have also invaded Iraq
like his brother did. He said he would have, then he said he misheard the
question, then he said it was an offensive thing for him to answer that
question, then he said he wouldn`t answer the question, then he said, no,
he wouldn`t have invaded Iraq. It took him four days to unwind that one.

At one point after that, he say he would phase out Medicare, get rid
of Medicare. Then he said he misspoke about that. Took that back.

He went on “Face the Nation” one morning and got the retirement age
wrong. At the beginning of July, he said, in order to make his economic
plan work, quote, “Americans are going to have to work longer hours,” which
I think is what he meant, he never quite took it back, but boy did that
sound out come wrong.

Jeb Bush, whether you lake him as a potential president or not, he
has not turned out very good at the art of running for president. I mean,
to the extent that really the only fun and unexpectedly awesome thing from
the campaign trail from him running is that he makes funny noises a lot. I
mean, that`s turned out to be – I thought it was going to be an amusing
side bar about him. Turns out, that is his strong suit.


BUSH: That`ll light up the Twitter – the Twitter universe. There`s
some heads exploding right now. It`s – I can feel it. Like.

Rather than, you know, urg, you know, just angry all the full-time.
You know, urg.

I`m a candidate for president of the United States of America.


BUSH: Whoo!

Whoo. Urg. Urg.


MADDOW: Other than making awesome noises at unexpected intervals, I
hereby propose the hypothesis that Jeb Bush is bad at his job, if his job
is now running for president.

Part of it, to be fair, no one is doing that great a job at running
for president, except for Donald Trump, who is very clearly winning and
winning by a lot. One of the people Donald Trump is happiest to talk smack
about while he`s winning is Jeb Bush. What`s wrong with Jeb Bush is like
Donald Trump`s favorite topic.


Bush. The last thing we need is another Bush. OK? Believe me. The last
thing we need is another Bush.

If you people go with Bush, you`re going to lose.

Jeb Bush is a low-energy person. For him, to get things done is
hard. He`s very low energy.

And the poll just came out. And I`m tied with Jeb Bush. And I said,
oh, that`s too bad. How could I be tied with this guy? He`s terrible.
He`s terrible.

I don`t see him as a factor, and I know it`s the Bush name, which got
us into lots of – I mean, you know, in all fairness, not the greatest.
But Jeb Bush, I don`t get it. So when they said, Mr. Trump, you`re in
first place. Oh, that`s good. You`re tied with Jeb Bush. I said, that`s
not good. How could I be tied with this guy?

You know, right down the road – thank you. Right down the road, we
have Jeb. Very small crowd. You know what`s happening to Jeb`s crowd, as
you know, right down the street? They`re sleeping! They`re sleeping now.


MADDOW: Donald Trump likes insulting a lot of the other candidates.
He appears to like insulting Jeb Bush the most. He`s also just dogging Jeb
Bush in a way that appears to be driving Jeb Bush a little nuts.

The Jeb Bush campaign had already announced this big event they
wanted to do in Merrimack, New Hampshire, last night. They had already
announced that Merrimack event when Donald Trump apparently looked at that
and decided that he, too, would be in New Hampshire for his first town hall
on that same night, at that same time, less than 20 miles away from the Jeb
Bush event.

Jeb Bush ended up turning out around 150 people at his little
sleepover. Mr. Trump, simultaneously, less than 20 miles away, filled a
room with more than 800 capacity, plus hundreds of people in the overflow.
And then he got up at the podium and spent the whole time talking about
what a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible person Jeb Bush is.

There`s no reason to think that Jeb Bush is a terrible person. There
is reason to believe that Jeb Bush is a terrible candidate for president.
And that is important, because even though Donald Trump is clearly winning
right now in the race for the Republican nomination for president,
everybody in the establishment, everybody in the Beltway still thinks that
Jeb Bush is the most likely guy to ultimately win the nomination.

And that`s partly because of Bush family name recognition. It`s
partly because he has locked up so much establishment support already.
Mostly it`s because of his fund-raising, fully half of which comes from
legacy donors, who had previously supported his dad or his brother or both.
Hiss fund-raising still outpacing everybody on the Republican side by a
mile, except for Donald Trump who doesn`t fundraise, because he says he
doesn`t need to.

Realizing that Jeb Bush is bad at campaigning, he`s bad – really bad
at campaigning for president, realizing that, it`s like realizing that you
just – you got pretty good grades, pretty good SATs, maybe you`re like,
you know, you were jayvee a couple of years in a couple of sports, but
varsity a couple of years. It`s like realizing you`re so far on the bubble
in terms of top-tier schools and you just applied to all the Ivy League
schools. And then one safe school, and now you`ve realize d that you`re
not going to get into your safe school.

Is that hypothesis about Jeb Bush fair? And is there another safe
school on this Republican list? In the unlikely event that they don`t
actually nominate Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: You don`t have to look at the camera yet. It`s like it`s
just sneaking up on us.

STEVE KORNACKI, UP: I`ll just ignore it.

MADDOW: Pretend it`s not there.

Steve Kornacki is here. He`s right here, in just a minute. Hold on.



BUSH: I just think when people get this narrative, whatever the new
term narrative, they`re going to find that I`m going to be the guy that
they`re going to vote for. And it`s a long haul, man. Whoa, whoa, whoa!


MADDOW: Whoa! Whoa! You people are so close. Inappropriately
loud. Some of you are behind me.

Jeb Bush gearing up for the long haul against front-runner Donald
Trump. If he can make it through without throttling any of these terrible
reporters who are very close to him. In an uncomfortable way. I did not
expect him to be like this.

Joining us now is the great Steve Kornacki, host of “UP” on MSNBC, on
the weekends.

Steve, it`s great to have you here today.

KORNACKI: Great to be here.

MADDOW: I hereby offer the hypothesis that Jeb Bush is bad at his
job and his job right now is running for president. Do you think that is

KORNACKI: I think I would qualify it a little bit. I think I would
say, what I wonder about is, is Jeb Bush a bad candidate for this moment in
politics, and this moment in the Republican Party?

Because I think if you look at, there are past elections where Jeb
Bush himself, or a candidate like Jeb Bush, would be doing sort of – would
have the same approach to the campaign, and we would be saying, wow,
they`ve got it mastered, what a well-oiled machine.

But I think we`re in a moment new where the Republican Party, in the
past they`ve been angry at the Democrats and the Democratic president. It
is just as angry now at its own leaders, at its own establishment. At all
the sort of brand name players in the Republican Party.

So when I`m seeing Donald Trump surge to the top of the polls, that`s
obviously a huge story. But look below Trump in the polls. Who`s number
two right now? It`s Ben Carson.

MADDOW: Right.

KORNACKI: It`s a neurosurgeon who`s never done anything in politics
until about two years ago.

It`s Carly Fiorina, who five years ago couldn`t even come close to
winning a Senate race in California. Before that, Hewlett-Packard, no
other political experience. She`s surging in the polls right now.

So, I think there`s something broader going on in the Republican
Party, where there`s this anger. There`s in frustration. There`s this
absolute aversion to anything that reeks of the establishment, and Jeb
Bush, that`s what he reeks of.

MADDOW: Well, yes, I think that`s true. If we`re going to describe
his reek, I would say that`s what it is.

But I can`t imagine a year in which anybody would be seen as a good
candidate when they, oops, accidentally say “anchor babies”, and then say
they don`t know what it meant and it wasn`t their real language. And they,
oops, accidentally say, we shouldn`t have funding for women`s health, and
then say, oh, I misspoke. And they shouldn`t have their mom and dad and
brother do all their fund-raising for them after they did a big campaign
launch essentially saying, pay no attention to my family.

I feel like there`s a lot of unforced stuff about Jeb Bush, which
makes him not just sort of a story of what`s going on with the field,
what`s going on with the Republican voters` mind, I just feel like he`s

KORNACKI: Well, here`s why I say, a different year, it would be a
different story. Think about the examples you just gave. A lot of those
examples are the product of the climate of 2015 and 2016. This anchor baby
thing is this challenge he finds himself facing, which is he wants to run
the general election campaign. He wants – you know, he wants to, you
know, he says he wants to be willing to lose the primary to win the

And, yet, Donald Trump has completely hijacked the terms of the
debate. So, on immigration, an issue where Jeb Bush wanted to position
himself more in the center, he is now awkwardly trying to occupy some of
the ground that Donald Trump is on –

MADDOW: Including using that language.

KORNACKI: But look what happens. When he moves in that direction,
everybody immediately says, oh, my God, you said that, and he acts like a
politician in that situation, tries to qualify it, tries to parse his

Meanwhile, a guy like Donald Trump will say it and will own it. And
to the Republican base, it becomes a test of authenticity. Donald Trump
says it and means it. Jeb Bush says it and it`s mealy mouthed.

And then Trump lays it on thick. When Trump says those things about
Jeb Bush, I can see those Republican heads nods. It is a diagnosis that
resonates with the base. And I think back to 2000 when George W. Bush ran.
That was the one really it all comes to me is 1994, 20 years ago. Jeb Bush
and George W. Bush both running for governor for the first time. Jeb in
Florida –


MADDOW: – at the same time.

KORNACKI: In a month before that election, Jeb was supposed to win
and George W. was supposed to lose. And if that hadn`t happened, if it
hadn`t been for the upset in Florida, Jeb`s the guy who goes in 2000. And
the climate in 2000 was Jeb`s climate.

MADDOW: Right.

KORNACKI: Instead George W. got it. Now he`s got to answer for
George W.`s presidency. He`s got to be against Donald Trump in 2016 and
talking about immigration. That`s what I mean about the year he`s running
in is making a lot of these –

MADDOW: I think the year in which he`s running, I think you`re
right, that changes the stakes of the way he fails. I am just surprised to
see him – I think he`d be failing in any year, because I think he`s a bad

Maybe he was a good candidate when he ran – last ran for office a
dozen years ago –


MADDOW: – in Florida. Maybe he`s just rusty. Maybe he`ll shake it
off. And maybe by the time people stop pay attention to Donald Trump,
he`ll be great at it.

KORNACKI: One quick thing I would say, about weaknesses in
candidates, I look at George W. Bush as a communicator now, compare him to
Jeb, and my estimation of George W. as a communicator has gone up a little
bit. I`ll say that.

MADDOW: Yes, absolutely. I agree.

There, a nice thing said about George W. Bush on THE RACHEL MADDOW

Steve Kornacki, host of “UP” weekend mornings at 8:00 Eastern here on
MSNBC, it`s always great to see you, my friend.

KORNACKI: You, too.

MADDOW: There`s lots more ahead tonight, including how should you
respond when a famously obnoxious politician says, “If you ask me to leave,
I will leave.”

Stay with us.


MADDOW: OK, so I`m on “The Tonight Show” tonight. The actual
“Tonight Show.” Jimmy Fallon and I made drinks and I tried to persuade him
that there is something genius going on in politics right now, although
nobody sees it as genius.

Now, I think we have persuaded “The Tonight Show” to allow us to play
a clip, so we can show that to you in just a moment. I think we got
permission to show the clip. In which case, it is coming right up and it`s
really good. So, hopefully, that`s coming up in just a second.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: There are a lot of different types of machine guns. This is
one machine gun that gets used now in active duty in the U.S. military.
It`s called a SAW, stands for squad automatic weapon.

One thing to know about the squad automatic weapon is that it`s
really freaking heavy. The reason I know it`s heavy is because I have
fired one. I know that seems very unlikely, but it`s true. I was terrible
at it.


MADDOW: What is this larger weapon that we`re going to shot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the M249 SAW, currently in service with
the U.S. military.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: M249 SAW. SAW stands for squad automatic weapon.

It does the job very well. Real heavy, a lot of support. It will –
fairly easy to shoot.

MADDOW: This is something that infantrymen are using now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it`s part of every fire team.

MADDOW: OK. And what caliber bullets does it shoot?

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: The 556 rounds linked together, just like this.

MADDOW: OK, so it`s automatic.


MADDOW: Can we see how badly I did on this one? Can we pull that
target in?


MADDOW: See, on this one, I wasn`t aiming here. If I was aiming
there, I would hit rigiht there. I was actually aiming right there. I
should have nailed him, I was going for the outer forearm.

What I did in Las Vegas.


MADDOW: The SAW machine gun is something I fired after somebody was
kind enough to lift it up and put it into place for me and I hunched over
it like a hobbit and squeezed the trigger.

That is not the kind of gun I would just be able to carry it around.
I would certainly not with able to carry it around for a 12-mile march.
But U.S. soldiers do. Soldiers carry that SAW, they carry that 20-pound
gun plus all that heavy ammo on top of all their other gear and equipment.

And that specific detail about the SAW machine gun, the weight of
that thing may be helpful context for understanding this.


2ND LT. ZACHARY HAGNER, U.S. ARMY RANGER: I carry the SAW for about
three days. And I was like, OK, I need somebody to take this for me. I
and went to every single person just in the line, no order, and they`re
like, no, I`m really tired, too, I`m broken, and as soon as I went to
Ranger Griest, she was like, she wanted it from me. She basically took it
away from me.

So, of nine guys were like, I`m too broken, I`m too tired. She just
as broken and tired took it from me, like, almost excitement. I thought
she was crazy for that. Maybe she was just motivated. That`s how she is.


MADDOW: That`s how she is.

Second Lieutenant Zachary Hagner, talking about his fellow U.S. Army
Ranger, Captain Kristen Griest, the one soldier in his unit who volunteered
to carry that machine gun when everyone else was too broken or too tired to
do so.

She, along with First Lieutenant Shaye Haver had just become the
first women to make it through the ranger school, to make it through the
toughest test in the U.S. Army and thereby earned the coveted Ranger
insignia. They`re going to receive their ranger tabs at a ceremony
tomorrow morning in Fort Benning, Georgia, alongside the 94 men who
completed this course with them.

These are the first two women ever, this is the first year they even
let women try for it, and these two are graduating.


through my mind, at least, you know, you`re way too tired and way too
hungry to really honestly care. But I know, I mean, it`s in the back of
our minds, obviously, we`re aware what`s going on, but at the end of the
day, everyone was a ranger. It didn`t matter. You know, everyone was a
ranger. It`s the same throughout, as long as the team pulled through and
accomplished the mission.

REPORTER: There`s a lot of scrutiny, I`m sure you`re aware, that
there`s a lot of questions about whether standards were lowered. We
already heard – we already heard at some length from the leadership here
that that`s not the case.

But do you feel like, in any way, that has diminished your
accomplishment or, you know, get frustrated when you`ve kind of caught,
probably, at least in the last day or two, some of that conversation? And
I guess this really goes for men and women.



CARVALHO: So, as far as I`m concerned, I know my first experience
with the women in ranger school was during rap week, and one in particular
event that stood out in my mind would be the 12-mile rock march, which we
had about maybe 50 pounds plus whatever weight we carried in water on our
backs. And the women, these two women, at least, finished well ahead of
some of the males –


CARVALHO: Well ahead –


CARVALHO: And well ahead of 60 other men that didn`t even complete
the rock march. That`s what validated it for me. Hey, these women are for
real, they`re here to stay, they`re carrying the same weight that we are
and doing the same stuff that we are. And that was what really solidified
it for me.

REPORTER: I`m wondering if any of you, before the training, perhaps
were skeptical about whether this was going to work out and if your minds
were changed. Any – does that apply to anyone there?

skeptical. I went to school with Shaye and I knew she was a physical stud,
but I was skeptical of whether or not I could handle it. I was fortunate
enough – this was my third time in ranger school, I`d been dropped twice
before. I was skeptical if they could handle it physically.

Now, we got to mountains, and there was one night we were doing a
long walk. I was at 320 gunners and I had a lot of weight on me and I was
struggling. I stopped and I asked halfway point, hey, can anyone help take
some of this weight.

I got a lot of deer in the headlights look, a lot of people were
like, I can`t take anymore weight. Shaye was the only one to volunteer to
take that weight. She took the weight off of me and carried it the last
half of me, literally saved me. I probably wouldn`t be sitting here right
now if it weren`t for Shaye. So, from that point, no more skepticism. I
knew she was going to make it right through.


MADDOW: Joining us now is MSNBC military analyst, combat veteran,
recipient of the Medal of Honor, Colonel Jack Jacobs.

Colonel Jack, thank you for being here.


MADDOW: I was with you today when we saw that press conference
started. And I was interested in the Army`s decision to put those two
pioneering women rangers out there, alongside all the other men who they`re
graduating with, to let both them and the men tell the story about what
happened here.

What do you make about the Army`s strategy here for how they have
made this decision and rolled this out?

JACOBS: Well, I think it`s kind of interesting. The original
assumption would be that if they wanted to test women out to see if they
could be in combat units, they would stick them in combat units in the
States, where they`re in garrison. If they`re out in the woods, they have
rucksacks and so on and firing blanks and doing war games and small unit
tactics and so on.

And then maybe, much later on, they would decide whether or not they
were going to send women to the toughest school in the United States Army
had. They didn`t do that. They did it exactly the opposite way. They
sent women to the toughest school first. And the result of that is, of
course, is that it`s difficult to engender any kind of support for people
who say, women can`t take it.

It`s going to be sometime probably before women –

MADDOW: Just because – anybody saying women can`t take it,
statistically speaking, none of those people are going to be people who
could do what these women just did at the Ranger School.

JACOBS: It`s true. Stick them in a regular unit, but don`t send
them to Ranger School, people would say, OK, they`re in a unit, but they
can`t go to Ranger School. But if they go to Ranger School and complete
it, and 40 to 60 percent of the men don`t complete it, then you`re way down
the road to putting women in combat units and I think that`s the objective.

MADDOW: In terms of the applicability here – I mean, obviously, the
army has not yet made a decision that the Ranger Regiment, Special Forces
Ranger Regiment would be open to these women. At least one of the women
said she would be interested if it were available to her. There is now
talk from the Navy that they`re thinking about allowing women to go through
bud school and trying to become Navy SEALs.

Are there going to be different processes in the different branches,
do you think we know what`s going to happen? Do you think there`s any
suspense here to what the bottom line?

JACOBS: I think there`s no suspense about what ultimately the bottom
line will be. I think the path may be a little bit different, but I think
the end result is going to be pretty much the same. There will be women in
combat units. And I think the root to them, and the Marines, in the Army,
and in – among the SEALs, is going to be different – there`ll be
different lengths, but I think the end result is going to be pretty much
the same.

I think – and I`ll tell you something else. If you take a look at
the way combat has been in the last war, when we decided that we did not
want to put women in combat units, because we didn`t want women to be in
combat units and get killed and wounded, and instead put them in trucks and
drove trucks down unsecured roads, where they got killed and wounded, you
see exactly where the military establishment is going.

I think women are going to eventually be in combat units. It`s just
a question of changing the culture.

MADDOW: Colonel Jack Jacobs, MSNBC military analyst, really
appreciate your time.

JACOBS: My pleasure.

MADDOW: To have you here. Thank you.

All right. Ahead, I share some quality sofa time with an old friend
on the TV machine.

Lots more still to come. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Congratulations. We have achieved a new record.
Collectively, we humans have done something brand-new we`ve never done

All right. So, we humans, as a species, we have been keeping
detailed temperature records since 1880. You`ve probably heard that nine
of the ten hottest months ever recorded on earth were all recorded within
the last ten years. The single hottest year on record is last year.

This year is already on track to beat last year and set a new record,
because January to July, this year, was hotter than any other January to
July that has ever been recorded on earth. And here is where the big
congratulations come in, because this past month, July 2015, July itself,
turns out to be the single hottest month ever recorded on planet earth.

In the history of keeping records of earth`s average temperatures, no
month has ever been hotter than this past month. We did it.

But, remember, global warming is a hoax, easily disproven by the fact
that it still sometimes snows in the winter. So pay no attention to the
Armageddon lurking in the data.


MADDOW: Programming note, I will be a guest on “The Tonight Show”
with Jimmy Fallon. I`m excited for you to see it and we did successfully
persuade them to give us a clip from the interview in which I think I
convinced Jimmy something genius concerning politics. I`m not sure, I`m
not sure, but I least tried very hard.


MADDOW: If he decides not, he`s sort of threatening to run as an
independent, right? If he decides not to –

JIMMY FALLON, TONIGHT SHOW: But he didn`t like that, in the debate,
he`s like that was kind of tricky question. He is like, would anyone here
raise their hand if they would even, you know, think of running on a
different party and he was like, eh.

MADDOW: Me, this guy.

FALLON: That was gutsy. That`s why people like. It`s like you
don`t know what he is going to do. It is honesty.

MADDOW: It`s actually genius. I don`t think he`s a dumb guy. I
don`t think that he`s playing a dumb game.

What he is doing is genius. If he was going to say at that debate,
no, no, I`ll never run as an independent, I will only run as a Republican
he loses leverage and then he just one of the Republicans. But if he says,
no, you guys be nice or I will jump in an as independent, thereby
guaranteeing Hillary Clinton will be the next president. What does that
mean? That means if he doesn`t do that, the Republicans owe him forever.
And if he does do that, Hillary Clinton becomes president and she owes him
forever. Nice.

So, right now, he will never have more power than right now, because
either way this goes, as he runs as an independent or doesn`t half of the
political infrastructure is going to owe him the rest of their lives. That
is the art of the deal.

FALLON: The art of the deal.

MADDOW: The art of the deal. It`s perfect.


MADDOW: That was fun. I`m on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon
tonight, 11:35 eastern on NBC. I will be wearing these shoes but not these

More ahead. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Cape Elizabeth is a nice town in southern Maine outside of
Portland. Cape Elizabeth leans blue. They voted against Republican Paul
LePage for governor in 2010. He won any way. They voted against Governor
LePage last year when he won a second term.

Paul LePage has never been a Cape Elizabeth kind of governor, not
when he was trying to roll back child labor laws or when he said the IRS
was the Gestapo or when he told the NAACP to kiss his butt or any other
stuff he did.


GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: The one thing that I heard is if you
take plastic ball and put it in the microwave and heat it up it gives off a
chemical similar to estrogen. And so, being worse case is some women may
have a beard and we don`t want that.

REPORTER: What do you like to do?

LEPAGE: I want to find the Press Herald building and blow it up.

TV ANCHOR: We are about to put on the screen what the governor said.
Some viewers may find it distasteful may want to hit the mute button and
turn away for the next seconds or so.

The governor told the reporters, “Senator Jackson claims to be for
the people but he`s the first to give it to in the people without providing
Vaseline.” When he was asked if he realized some may find it offensive,
he`s reported to have said, “Good, it ought to, because I have been taking
it for two years.”


MADDOW: Governor Paul LePage of Maine, nice guy.

Last month, Governor LePage sat down and wrote a letter to a retired
librarian in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We know that Governor LePage sent this
retired librarian a letter because her son posted it on Facebook.

So, we know that retired librarian Louise Sullivan wrote to the
governor to ask him to step down, to save the state time and money and to
save himself time and embarrassment because he`s facing potential
impeachment proceedings now in May. We also know that Governor LePage
wrote back to that librarian personally.

Here`s his response, “Louise, I bet you would like to see me resign.
You live in the south.” Louise, retired librarian doesn`t live like in
Alabama or something, she lives in Maine, she lives in southern Maine, but
apparently is enough of a sin to get a mad letter written full of
handwritten exclamation points and bad grammar written to you from Maine`s
governor. “I bet you would like to see me resign. PS, not going to
happen, exclamation point.”

This has been a tough summer for Governor LePage. The Maine
legislature has started to talk about impeaching him after he threatened to
cut off funding for a school that hired one of his political enemies. The
Maine legislature is considering whether he abused the authority of his
office and in so doing, one result of that investigation is that he could
be impeached.

Given that, a friendly local radio station asked the governor whether
he is concerned about his legal troubles, and this is where it gets amazing
because listen to his response.


HOST: Governor, I know the answer to this question before I ask it
but I have to. You worried about an impeachment proceeding?

LEPAGE: You know, if the people of Maine want me, I`ll do the job.
If they don`t want me, just ask me to leave. You don`t have to impeach me.


MADDOW: You don`t have to impeach me. Just ask me to leave. Tell
me more, Governor.


LEPAGE: If the people of Maine want me, I`ll do the job. If they
don`t want me, just ask me to leave. You don`t have to impeach me.

HOST: Well, there was a woman that wrote you a note and asked you to

LEPAGE: Well, there`s 1.3 million people. So far, I`ve only got
four people write me and want me to resign.


MADDOW: Maine Governor Paul LePage is saying if enough people ask
him to resign he will resign. He said they don`t need to impeach. He will
quit if enough people ask him to.

Well, that one retired librarian in Cape Elizabeth apparently started
the ball rolling. The governor says three others have asked in writing to,
but he says only if he gets enough but will he step down. Now, apparently,
Maine is starting to take him up on it. This is in “The Bangor Daily
News”. It is going national.

Paul Schlein of Arrowsic, Maine, says he has not only written himself
to Governor LePage asking him to please resign for the good of the state.
He says he`s also written letters to the editor in a dozen newspapers
encouraging people to send Governor LePage a note asking him to please
leave office. After all, the governor says that`s all you would take.

Yesterday, Mr. Schlein says he got his first answer from the
governor`s office. He got this response, “Our office appreciates hearing
from you and will take your suggestions under advisement. Have a nice

Maybe Governor Paul LePage`s office is taking the suggestion to leave
under advisement right now. For the record, the governor has never
explained whether he was serious about his offer to resign if he got enough
letters asking him to. He also hasn`t said how many would have to resign
in order for them to do it. He also hasn`t said how many Mainers so far
have taken him up on his office now that he said that`s what it would take.

We asked his office about those things today. When we hear back, we
will let you know but I suggest you don`t wait up.

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


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